Report hints at minimum age for mobile phone use

Independent inquiry finds children may face increased risk from mobile phone radiation
Written by Wendy McAuliffe, Contributor

A government-appointed commission could recommend urgent new guidelines on a minimum age limit for mobile phone users. A report by the government-funded Stewart Inquiry, released Thursday, is also expected to recommend restrictions on the length and number of calls made by children.

The report will reveal that children may face a greater health risk than adults from mobile phones.

Government officials were shown the report last week after the Treasury received £22.5bn from the auction of third-generation mobile phone licences. The full report tackles health issues facing young mobile phone users, who currently account for one in four of all sales.

The inquiry will stress that there is no conclusive evidence to prove mobile phones are a health risk, but will call for further research in the non-thermal effects of mobiles to children in particular. Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer, will work with Stewart to devise new safeguards for mobile phone users.

Dr Michael Clark, Scientific Spokesperson for National Radiological Protection Board which helped with the report, commented: "This is a genuinely fresh look at the subject, without any pressure from the Government or industry. It focuses on broader issues that have generally never been looked at before, such as the planning behind the positioning of mobile phone masts ".

A source involved with the report said that the findings of the inquiry do not identify an actual risk, but "a risk of a risk". He added that "whatever the nature of the risk, children are always more susceptible -- this is all that the report is reflecting. It highlights a precautionary rather than an actual risk".

The Consumer Association and the government both refused to comment.

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