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Mobile phones may put children's health at risk
Posted: 10-May-2000 [Source: FT]

[A UK government sponsored study, to be published on Thursday, may recommend cautious use of mobile phones by children due to their higher vulnerability to emissions.]

"UK government ministers are to order urgent new guidelines restricting the use of mobile phones by children, following a report from leading scientists suggesting they could be at risk.

"A government-commissioned study, to be published on Thursday, will say children should be discouraged from using mobiles because they are more vulnerable to radiation emissions. Sir Liam Donaldson, chief medical officer, will be asked to work with the author of the report, Sir William Stewart, of Tayside University, to draw up new guidelines on mobile phone use.

"Sir William's report will dismay mobile phone companies, for whom the youth market represents an estimated one-in-four of all UK sales.

"Publication of the report comes within days of the Treasury's gaining a 22.5bn windfall from the auction of third-generation mobile phone licences. During the course of the auction, selective leaks to the press suggested the government-sponsored report would give mobiles a clean bill of health.

"Although the report will stress there is no evidence currently available that mobiles damage health, it will raise a number of concerns. It will recommend much more research is done, especially on the little-understood non- thermal effects of mobiles.

"The government is acutely aware that the warning on health risks to children could spark alarm among the UK's estimated 24m mobile users.

"We will publish the full report and let the public see what the conclusions are for themselves, but then we need Sir William Stewart and Sir Liam to sit down with other scientists and draw up detailed guidelines," said one Whitehall official.

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