Welsh children offered precautionary advice on mobile phones


Press Release

Information and advice on mobile phones and health is now available for primary and secondary school children.

Two bilingual leaflets, which are available electronically, offer young people and their parents precautionary guidance on mobile phone use including suggestions on the most appropriate and safest use of mobile phones. One leaflet will be for primary school children and another for secondary school pupils.

Mobile phones use radio waves to send and receive signals and although current evidence does not link mobile phones to health problems, the advice for children is to limit their exposure in case any health concerns are found in the future.

Children are advised to:
•Keep mobile phone conversations short;
•Send texts instead of calling where possible; and
•Use a speaker phone or a hands free kit when calling.

The leaflets also offer advice on how children can avoid mobile phone theft and what to do if they receive unwanted texts or calls on their mobiles.

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell, said: “Protecting the health of the young people of Wales is a priority, and although current research indicates that using mobile phones does not appear to cause health problems, more work is still to be done.

“We don’t expect young people to stop using mobile phones all together, but there are a few simple steps they can take to protect their health for the future. It is always better to be safe than sorry.” Health Minister Edwina Hart added: “There has been an interest for information to be made available for children on mobile phones and their health.

“These leaflets, which children across Wales helped shape, provide guidance on safe mobile phone use.
“The precautionary advice has been put in an easy and understandable language and format for children and young people.”
Click here for the leaflets

The leaflets are also available on a variety of websites, including schools across Wales, Public Health Wales, and the Chief Medical Officer for Wales’ website. They can be printed for children who do not have access to a computer at home. The new leaflets reiterate the current guidance. Health professionals and children have been involved in the development of these leaflets.

Guidance on the use of mobile phones was issued in 2000 and updated 2005 on a UK-wide basis - check
The Health Protection Agency
The IEGMP Report by Sir William Stewart
A UK Government-funded study found in 2007 that there was no epidemiological association between short term – less than 10 years – mobile phone use and cancers of the brain and nervous system but recommended more work was done on the long-term effect.
The latest study – the 13-country INTERPHONE study - on mobile phone use and health was published in May.

The Health Protection Agency, which advises the Welsh Assembly Government, on scientific matters concerning electromagnetic fields, said the study has not established an increase in brain cancer but some uncertainties remain, particularly regarding high users.

The World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer will review the potential of mobile phones to cause cancer as part of a major regular comprehensive review in May 2011.

A European Union-funded project, MobiKids, will also investigate the risk of brain tumours from mobile phone use in childhood and adolescence.

A new study was launched by Imperial College, London, in April 2010, to look at brain cancer and also a wider range of health outcomes in the long terms.

More articles on mobile phones and masts

First Published July 2010

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