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Knesset Science Panel Takes Up Cellphone Radiation
The Knesset Science and Technology Committee yesterday adopted recommendations by the Nuclear Research Center in Nahal Sorek to minimize use of cellphones by children 16 or younger.
The committee was reacting to a special report by the center that suggests electromagnetic radiation from cellphones may influence brain activity and could harm health by heating the brain.
Children are more susceptible to harm because their nervous systems are not fully developed and their heads absorb more electromagnetic radiation.
The center said that measurements of electromagnetic radiation from cellular transmission stations outdoors and from the phones themselves cannot practically be carried out because the country lacks a standard for permissible levels. In addition, the report said there is no authority charged with making such measurements.
Committee chairman Anat Maor said responsibility for informing the public about any health dangers from cellphones belongs with the various government ministries.
The committee will also advance a bill that will require cellphone companies to set aside a certain percentage of their income to an independent, professional research fund to conduct studies on the effects of the radiation, Maor said.
The center also said that electromagnetic emissions from the phones are not checked before they are sold. Instead, the state depends on standards approved by European authorities, which are less stringent than US standards.
"It's easy to create panic, but the public asks for clear information," MK Eliezer Sandberg said. "The danger is not clear. For example, the public want to know if there are differences in electromagnetic radiation among the various models."
Ronen Hareuveni, chief of the center's electromagnetic radiation division, said the best way to reduce exposure is to keep the phone as far away from the head as possible. Do this, he suggested, with an earphone, speaker in the car, or anything else that maximizes the distance. He also advised against using the phone in places with poor reception, such as in elevators or under ground, where the emissions are stronger.