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Do Not Let Kids Use Mobiles
Journalist: Nathan Yates
December 22, 2004

Children should be banned from using mobile phones because of harmful radiation, scientists said yesterday.

Radio waves from mobiles can alter youngsters' DNA, harm their body cells and even warp genetic material in adults, a four-year study has concluded.

The warning will terrify millions of parents. A quarter of seven to 10-year-olds now have their own mobile and children are the fastest growing sector of the market.

Stressing it was NOT known if the cell changes were a health risk, study leader Franz Adlkofer said: "We don't want to create panic. But it's good to take precautions." He said children should only use mobiles in an emergency.

The Mobile Operators Association hit back: "The results of this study are preliminary. Independent scientific bodies have consistently concluded that evidence suggests radio waves from mobile phones do not cause adverse health effects."

Twelve research groups in seven European countries took part in the 3million research on the impact of radiation on animal and human cells.

They found that cells exposed to mobile phone waves showed a significant increase in DNA damage. In some cases the damage was permanent. Worryingly, damage appeared to carry on into the next generation of cells. Mutated cells are seen as a possible cause of cancer.

Children were seen to be particularly vulnerable. The study - by the EU-funded Reflex group - said more research was needed to discover the actual effect of mobile phone use on health.

So far, no test that could be independently repeated has proved that radiation has permanent harmful effects.

Powerwatch, which supplies information to campaigners against mobile phone masts, said: "This is one more piece of evidence that mobile phones are not as safe as the industry tells us."

But Dr David Land, a physics lecturer at Glasgow University, said: "I wouldn't take any notice of the results until they have been replicated in at least two other laboratories and have been properly reviewed."

The National Radiological Protection Board said: "There is no reason for people to be worried."

In the past four years, the number of mobiles in Britain has more than doubled to 50million. Worldwide, 1.5billion people use the devices.

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