Expert: Keep children from mobiles
LONDON, England -- Children under the age of 8 should not be given mobile phones by their parents, the head of an official safety study in Britain has warned.
William Stewart, chairman of Britain's National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), said Tuesday he believed that mobiles might pose a health risk, although this was not yet proven.
Recent reports from Europe raised concern over possible links between mobile use and tumors in the ear, and any health risk -- if it exists -- is certain to be greater for children than for adults, he said.
"When you come to giving mobile phones to a 3- to 8-year-old, that can't possibly be right," Stewart told BBC radio.
"I believe that parents have a responsibility to their children not simply to throw a mobile phone at children and say 'There you go.'
"If there are risks -- and we think there may be risks -- then the people who are going to be most affected are children, and the younger the child, the greater the danger."
Stewart was speaking ahead of Tuesday's publication of a report by the NRPB following up an inconclusive study in 2000 by the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, which he also chaired.
The 2000 report recommended a "precautionary" approach to mobiles, urging adults to keep conversations short -- and to discourage children from using handsets.
Since then, the NRPB has carried out an expert review of research into the health effects of mobiles and of the base stations and masts that relay signals between phones.
Stewart said that no firm conclusion had been reached on the possible impact of mobile phone technology on the human body.