Health Alert As Youth Craze Fuels Mobile Phones Boom
January 6, 2000
Almost half the population now uses mobile phones. Figures released
yesterday show that an extra 4.39 million people joined the networks in
the run-up to Christmas.
That doubled the total number of users from this time last year to
24million, or four out of every 10 people.
New pre-pay models have proved attractive to teenagers. Industry experts
estimate that under-18s account for up to a third of new customers.
In what it admits is a ploy to attract the "youth market" American giant
AT&T is producing phones with Disney faces. But the strategy has been
branded irresponsible by scientists who believe children are at greater risk
from the radiation the phones give off.
A study by Professor Om Gandhi at the University of Utah showed that
children absorb up to 50 per cent more radiation than adults.
Biophysicist Gerard Hyland, of the
University of Warwick, believes that under-12s are particularly at risk.
Health campaigners point out that the Mickey Mouse phones appeal to
children aged five rather than 15.American campaigner Libby Kelly, who
recently briefed MPs at the Commons, said: "You have to wonder if
children who use them might become a little goofy."