International Herald Tribune, September 25, 2007
HEALTH RISKS FOR A WIRED CHILD?
[Rachel's introduction: As a parent, I have a choice of waiting years for results [of studies of the health effects of electromagnetic radiation] or following the "precautionary principle" with my child who will be exposed to electromagnetic energy over a much longer period of her life than mine. Should I use "dial up" or WiFi? I know what we can live with.]
By Doreen Carvajal
With the start of school, I blithely purchased a mobile telephone for my 11-year-old daughter and then started evaluating wireless networks to install in our country home in a village 30 kilometers northwest of Paris. Unlike most of the regions of France, our village is still stuck in a rural gulag of dial up.
I didn't think about the health impact of a mobile telephone pressed to a child's ear, which would absorb electromagnetic energy. Nor did I think about wireless networks, which emit less electromagnetic energy than telephones and seem to be spreading everywhere I walk in what has become Cyber Paris.
Then I heard about the French health ministry's demand for a study on this issue, pressed by environmental groups. There is not much scientific research in the United States on the impact of exposure to mobile telephones, but Europe is moving ahead with a number of on- going scientific studies. There is one glaring gap: research on children, whose brains are developing and may react differently than adults.
With that great unknown, some public officials and teacher associations are promoting the "precautionary principle." That means that if there are suggestions of risk, use cautiously. A British study was published earlier this month that urged further testing on children to evaluate the impact of mobile telephones. They are about to start new studies of children with brain cancer to determine if there are links.
As a parent, I have a choice of waiting years for results or following the "precautionary principle" with my child who will be exposed to electromagnetic energy over a much longer period of her life than mine. Should I use "dial up" or WiFi? I know what we can live with.