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Mobile phones and computers with wireless internet connections pose a risk to human health and should be banned from schools, a powerful European body has ruled.
A Council of Europe committee examined evidence that the technologies have “potentially harmful” effects on humans, and concluded that immediate action was required to protect children.
In a report, the committee said it was crucial to avoid repeating the mistakes made when public health officials were slow to recognise the dangers of asbestos, tobacco smoking and lead in petrol.
The report also highlighted the potential health risks of cordless telephones and baby monitors, which rely on similar technology and are widely used in British homes.
Fears have been raised that electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless devices can cause cancers and affect the developing brain.
The findings were seized on by campaigners who oppose the spread of wireless devices.
The committee concluded that member states should:
• Set thresholds for levels of long-term exposure to microwaves of the type emitted by mobile phones;
• Introduce clear labelling on products indicating the presence of electromagnetic fields and any health risks associated with use;
• Ban all mobile phones and wireless networks in classrooms and schools;
• Run information campaigns aimed at children and young adults about the risks to human health;
• Step up research on less-dangerous types of antennae and mobile phones.
The Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and is based in Strasbourg, cannot impose its will on governments, but is highly influential in policy-making and has often seen its decisions enacted through conventions and treaties.
A draft resolution – calling on governments to “take all reasonable measures to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields” from mobile phones and similar devices, including the ban in schools – was adopted unanimously by the organisation’s Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs.
The committee is composed of 84 MPs and politicians from member states, and its vice-chairman is Lord Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister. Its members reviewed the latest research on the effects of electromagnetic fields and took fresh evidence from experts before reaching its conclusions.
The draft resolution will now go before the council’s full Parliamentary Assembly for approval.
Public health and telecommunication experts are divided on the dangers posed by mobile phones and other wireless devices.
A report by Britain’s Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme in 2007 said that there was no association between mobile phones and adverse health effects, but it is now conducting a more detailed study into the long-term effects of mobile phones.
Other researchers have found no association between short-term mobile phone use and cancer. A major epidemiological study published last year found no increased risk of cancer from using mobile phones over a ten-year period.
Prof Les Barclay, the vice-chairman of the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme, said: “We haven’t had mobile phones for very long and there are now studies going on to look for longer-term effects.
“There is very little evidence at the moment for harmful effects. The powers that mobile phones emit are getting less and less, and they are well below the limits set by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection. Banning mobile phones and wireless networks in schools is a step too far in my eyes.”
Prof Paul Elliot, of Imperial College, London, who is leading a major international study of the long-term effects of mobile phone use on 200,000 people, said: “There are potential questions about whether mobile phones might have cognitive effects and impact on sleep.
“Mobile phone technology is clearly incredibly beneficial and useful, but we have to weigh up those potential health effects, so it is responsible to do research on that. In children, that research has not yet really been done, so we need more research in this area. In the meantime the advice is not to be excessive in use.”
Powerwatch, a campaign group that aims to raise awareness of the risks from electromagnetic fields, welcomed the draft resolution. A spokesman said: “It is long past the time when governments all around Europe should have started being more precautionary about these issues.”
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, warned that a ban on mobile phones and wireless networks in schools would bring widespread disruption.
He said: “The impact on schools would be enormous. Most schools have Wi-Fi networks now, while pupils and teachers carry mobile phones. Many schools are shifting towards far more mobile computing so pupils can have laptops they can take home to do their homework on. This would prevent all of that.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: “As you would expect, we keep all available scientific evidence under review. Our guidance remains the same. Children should only use mobile phones for essential purposes and keep all calls short.”
By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent 9:30PM BST 14 May 2011
Source: The Telegraph
The official publication of the first intermediate results of the International Interphone Study from the International Research Centre on Cancer (CIRC) dependent on WHO confirms the increased tumors and cancer cases due to the use of mobile phone
The Use Of Mobile Phone Is Carcinogenic: Here (PDF)
INTERPHONE Results latest update Oct. 08, 2008: Interphone Results Update (PDF)
(Natural News) A new review of more than 100 studies on the safety of mobile phones has concluded that cellular devices are poised to cause an epidemic of brain tumors that will kill more people than smoking or asbestos.
The review was conducted by neurosurgeon Vini Khurana, who has received more than 14 awards in the past 16 years, who made headlines worldwide with his warnings. He called upon the industry to immediately work to reduce people’s exposure to the radiation from mobile phones.
The studies and survey conducted by Australian Health Research Institute indicates that due to billions of times more in volume electromagnetic radiation emitted by billions of mobile phones, internet, intranet and wireless communication data transmission will make almost one-third of world population (about two billions) patient of ear, eye and brain cancer beside other major body disorders like heart ailments, impotency, migraine, epilepsy.
Dr. George Carlo was the leading scientist of the biggest study ever ($28-million) conducted on Cell Phones.
Dr. Carlo was hired as an independent scientist by the industry to prove that cellphones are safe. Yet Dr. George Carlo hissed all red flags possible (incl. cancer)!
German translation: Salford Studie (Vollversion) (PDF)
Leif G. Salford,1 Arne E. Brun,2 Jacob L. Eberhardt,3 Lars Malmgren,4 and Bertil R. R. Persson>3
1Department of Neurosurgery, 2Department of Neuropathology, 3Department of Medical Radiation Physics, and 4Department of Applied Electronics, Lund University, The Rausing Laboratory and Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden
They found that mothers who did use the handsets were 54 per cent more likely to have children with behavioural problems and that the likelihood increased with the amount of potential exposure to the radiation. And when the children also later used the phones they were, overall, 80 per cent more likely to suffer from difficulties with behaviour. They were 25 per cent more at risk from emotional problems, 34 per cent more likely to suffer from difficulties relating to their peers, 35 per cent more likely to be hyperactive, and 49 per cent more prone to problems with conduct.
B. Blake Levitt is an award-winning journalist who has specialized in medical and science writing for nearly two decades. She has researched the biological effects of non-ionizing radiation since the late 1970’s. A former New York Times writer, she has written widely on medical issues for both the lay and professional audience. Her work has appeared in numerous national publications.