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Doctor's Urge Mobile Ban For Children
Irish News
February 09, 2005

Young children should be stopped from using mobile phones for fear of adverse reactions, a doctors’ group warned today.

The Irish Doctors Environmental Association (IDEA) said action should be taken to curb exposure to electromagnetic radiation as it may be affecting the health of some sections of the population.

“There may be a proportion of the population, up to 5%, who may be hypersensitive to electro magnetic radiation such as from mobile phone base stations,” Dr Philip Michael, chairman of the organisation, said.

“The Government needs to act by at least stopping children.”

Dr Michael said ministers should look to a report from the British National Radiological Protection Board which advised parents not to give mobiles to young children.

The group said there was a body of research from Scandinavian countries which highlighted sensitivity to the effects of electromagnetic radiation such as that emitted from mobile phones.

“They haven’t been proved to be safe, while there is no conclusive evidence against them,” he said.

“There is a huge body of evidence, if you look into the literature, that people have suffered from this.”

Dr Michael said the studies, mainly from Sweden and Britain, had pointed to irritation, drowsiness and lethargy from using the phone itself.

He said there was no research carried out in Ireland, but the group had carried out a scripted study among 16 people from the Irish Electromagnet Radiation Victims Network over the last few years.

The Irish study pointed to distressing side-effects from radiation including heightened levels of clumsiness, excessive fatigue, confusion, paraesthesia (tingling) and dizziness.

“People are suffering severely to the extent it can prevent them working or even leaving their houses,” he said.

The group said there was no official recognition of this from the Government or the health service and the most at risk had to be protected.

Dr Michael said he had proposed a motion to come before a meeting of the Irish Medical Council suggesting that the Government should discourage children from using mobile phones except in emergencies.

Other motions also include a request the Government bans the building of base stations on or near schools.

Dr Michael said health experts would be carrying out a further phase of their study to see if they could prove all of the effects.

“We are looking to see if we can prove that, the effects of electromagnetic radiation, the scripted study doesn’t prove anything,” he said.

Dr Michael said the group had already made a submission to the Joint Committee on Communications, Marine and Natural Resources in relation to mobile phone radiation.

The Department of Communications said there was no valid scientific reason to warn against the use of mobile phones by children, but it would adopt a careful approach on the issue of safety.

The Oireachtas Committee meeting heard that the communications regulator Comreg had carried out an investigation of 400 mobile base stations which had shown that none were exceeding the guidelines on radiation.

The IDEA also called for an epidemiological database to be set up with details of individuals suffering from symptoms related to exposure to radiation and stricter safety rules, like those in New Zealand, for the building masts.

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