Environmental Data Interactive
November 23, 2005


By Sam Bond

A long-term study has been launched in Australia in an attempt to
discover whether children are at higher risk than adults from
radiation emitted by mobile phones.

The study will track a sample of 300 12 to 13 years olds and measure
whether mobile phone use has any impact on brain reaction, sleeping
patterns or ability to concentrate.

Whatever its results the research is likely to add fuel to the fire of
controversy which surrounds the possible dangers of the ubiquitous
mobile phone and associated masts.

The study will be carried out by the Melbourne-based Australian Centre
for Radiofrequency Bioeffects Research, set up in July 2003 with a
multi-million dollar grant and the health effects of mobile phones
very much in mind.

The primary purpose behind the research is to assess whether young
people whose physiology is still developing are more vulnerable to the
effects of electromagnetic radiation than adults.

Scientific consensus says children absorb more radiation because they
have smaller heads and thinner skulls.

But a question mark hovers over whether this could possibly cause
behaviour, learning or concentration problems, or indeed any physical

While many urge legislators to follow the precautionary principle, and
limit the use of mobile phones among children until they have been
proven to be safe, most reputable bodies, including the WTO, do not
recommend such a course of action.

In January, however, Sir William Stewart, the British Government's
chief adviser on mobile phones, said children aged three to eight
should not use mobiles and older children should limit their use until
more was known about their impact.

The Australian research should clear up some of the questions which
still divide the scientific community.

Copyright Faversham House Group Ltd 2005.