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Heated debate on mobile risks

The Académie de Médecine has criticised calls by cancer experts this week to restrict children’s use of mobile phones.

The Académie de Médecine has criticised calls by scientists and cancer experts this week to restrict children’s access to mobile phones.

Psychiatrist and best-selling author David Servan-Schreiber has formed a high-profile group which is claiming mobile phones, their antennae and also wireless internet networks have a negative health effect, particularly on the young.

Oncologist Thierry Bouillet, one of the doctors backing the claims, said: “At this moment scientific knowledge is insufficient to come to a definite conclusion about use of mobile technology and cancer.

“However users should be aware that there are risks and should be cautious with their use of mobiles.

“We are in the same situation now that we were in 50 years ago with tobacco and asbestos. The dangers were not fully realised then, and are now.

“Either we do nothing and accept the risk, or we accept the fact that there are worrying medical trends emerging.”

The group has urged that children under the age of 12 should not be allowed to use mobile phones and for adults to use hands-free kits or hold the phone as far away from the head as possible.

They also urge users to switch mobile off when they are not using them and to have the keyboard side of the device, which they say is the safest, facing the body.

The French Academie de Médecine rejected the calls, branding them “marketing and publicity”.

A spokesman said: “Modern medicine must be grounded only in facts.

“To frighten the public in such a context is to play maliciously on public fears, and without a shred of scientific evidence.

“Many millions of mobile phones have been used across the globe for the last 15 years.

“There are no substantiated health risks.”

Another organisation, call Robin des Toits – (Robin of the roofs – a play on Robin Hood, Robin des Bois in French), has gone further in calling for children to be banned from using laptops and for the creation of “white zones” where there are no radio signals.

Photo: Tim Bishop

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