Cell-phones: the U.S. Congress calls attention to the precaution principle for children under 12.
With the exception of the representative for the telecommunications industry, all the scientists present on Monday September 14 during the hearing on possible health risks of mobile phones reiterated the facts that I summarized in a recent blog on the subject (see October 16 2008)and emphasized the importance of the precaution principle, particularly concerning children under the age of twelve. They also reaffirmed that it is urgent to set up significant funding for independent research so as to clarify this question and, if necessary, develop technologies to protect users from the effects of telephones' electromagnetic waves.This clearly confirmed the actions that I and 19 other colleagues initiated in Europe in June 2008, when we made a public appeal to sensitize governments and public opinion to the risks that cell-phones may pose to healthy brain functioning. The fact that the U.S. Senate has now taken up the issue is wonderful news for those of us who are eager to see research move forward on this question. We should not wait, as we did with cigarettes, until multitudes are dead, and then tell ourselves after the fact that we should have been more vigilant. Let me remind you of our main recommendations:
- Don't authorize children under 12 to use a cell-phone. If you do, make sure they make only very short calls, or use text messages.
- Keep cell-phones well away from brain and body. Always use an earpiece or headset (Bluetooth is acceptable, but wired headsets are preferable), or the "speaker" mode.
- Do not keep mobile phones on your person all day long, and avoid placing them too close to the body at night. For example, avoid keeping them under the pillow.