......The official European Environment Agency (EEA) is sounding a discreet alarm. And the French government is so concerned that it is developing measures to ban the devices from primary schools, stop their promotion to children under 12, and prevent them being sold without a headset to heavily reduce radiation exposure.
Early studies found no sign of cancer – causing blanket reassurances from ministers and the industry. But they were largely irrelevant, because few, if any, of the people they examined had been using the phones for as much as a decade, and cancers normally take at least 10 years to develop.
More recent studies – especially in Sweden, where mobile phones took off early – have included such “long-term” users. They have found, on average, that they are about twice as likely to get malignant gliomas – an incurable brain cancer – on the side of the head where they held the handset. As the latency period for cancers is usually 20 to 30 years, this may indicate a much bigger toll to come.
Worse, more Swedish research – limited, but believed to be the only work on the effects on children and teenagers – found that people who started using the phones before the age of 20 were five times more likely to contract the cancers, and eight times more prone to get them on the appropriate side of the head.
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First Published in September 2009
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