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Retailers "Ignore Mobile Phone Dangers"
December 18, 2001

Mobile phones are used by 88% of schoolchildren.

A BBC investigation has revealed that mobile phone retailers are failing to give proper advice about possible health risks to children.

A government leaflet issued last year advising customers about possible dangers was not available in three-quarters of the shops visited by BBC Radio Five Live reporters.

Although there is still no conclusive evidence of damage from mobile phone radiation, independent research suggests that children are more at risk because their skulls are thinner.

As a result, the government issued millions of leaflets advising children to limit mobile phone use to essential calls only.

Five Live reporters posed as customers in high street shops nationwide, saying they were interested in buying phones for children aged between eight and 14.

None of the shops volunteered the advice and less than a quarter had the government leaflet available.

And of those that did have the advice, it was usually displayed at the back of the shop.

Some staff even said that there were no risks and one shop assistant joked that the child should use the phone at arm's length.

Unknown effects
John Lewis, Dixons, Tesco and Sainsbury's were named as stores where there was no leaflet available.

And Five Live said there was better trained advice at specialist mobile phone shops.

A spokesman for John Lewis told Five Live that is was usual practice for the leaflets to be available in their shops.

And Dixons said the leaflet must have been out of stock.

Last year the government's Stewart Report warned against children using mobiles because of the unknown effects of microwave radiation on developing brains.

Doctors have called for more research into text messaging, because the phone is held at waist level.

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