Expert says restrict mobile phone use

  • Niall Hunter, Editor

Children and young people have been advised by the State's health safety expert to restrict their use of mobile phones due to possible adverse health effects from frequent use.

He has also advised that all drivers should refrain from using mobile phones, including hands-free devices, due to the risk of road accidents.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chied Medical Officer with the Department of Health, advised that young people should be encouraged to use mobile phones for 'essential purposes only' and all calls should be kept short, as talking for long periods prolongs exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields.

Recently, the WHO and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from mobile phones as possibly causing cancer in humans.

Research has shown a positive association between mobile phone use and an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer

Dr Holohan said there is general consensus that children are more vulnerable to radiation from mobile phones than adults.

"Therefore the sensible thing to do is to adopt a precautionary approach rather than wait to have the risks confirmed."

Dr Holohan said all mobile phone users can reduce their exposure to radiofrequency energy by making fewer calls, reducing the length of calls, sending text messages instead of calling, using cell phones only when landline phones are unavailable, using a wired 'hands free' device so that the phone need not be held against the head, and refraining from keeping an active phone clipped to the belt or in the pocket.

He pointed out that given the scientific uncertainty regarding mobile phone-related cancer risks, many countries including Germany, France, Austria, the UK and Russia have taken a precautionary stance regarding cell phone use, particularly by children.
Dr Holohan added there was strong evidence proving that using a mobile phone while driving increases the risk of traffic accidents and the use of a hands-free kit does not significantly reduce this risk.

Therefore, he strongly advised that all drivers should refrain from using mobile phones.

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