10/01/2005 - Stewart Report Press Release
Mobile phone use by children
In line with Department of Health Advice, Powerwatch believes that young people should only use a mobile phone when essential. Children under 11 should never use one, and over 11 they should be encouraged to use SMS texting and hold the phone away from their body when sending the message. Active "online" games should never be played.
Alasdair Philips, Powerwatch Director, states: "I believe that we will see a large increase in early-onset dementias when young phone users reach middle-age. Dementias (like Alzheimer's) that used to be seen after people reached 65, are now being diagnosed as early as 40 years of age. I believe that the Leif Salford work with rats strongly suggests that early mobile phone use is likely to greatly increase the chance of dementia developing at an early age." See: Powerwatch News Story
It is usually parents who buy mobile phones for the use of children and teenagers. The Department of Health recommends that children under 16 should only use their phones when essential. Their leaflet should be revised to contain the results of the last few years' research showing some of the adverse health effects from mobile phone use, as this will enable parents to make a more informed decision about the phone contract they choose, ensuring that it does not encourage their children to use the phone more than absolutely necessary. This leaflet should be handed to the purchaser as a mandatory part of the sales contract.
Mobile phone use by adults
Powerwatch believes that adults should only use a mobile phone when absolutely necessary and always use a land-line whenever possible.
Companies should not expect their employees to use a mobile phone as their main means of communication. Powerwatch condemns the Government's new tax incentive where companies can provide their employees and members of their direct family (including children!) with mobile phones free of tax and national insurance charges. We also believe this is an anti-competitive incentive favouring the mobile operators over land-line providers and may well be illegal under European law.
Mobile phone Base Stations:
A recent NRPB Report showed that low height "de-minimis" base station installations expose members of the public to much higher levels of microwave radiation than much higher free-standing masts. There are 5,008 base stations 10 metres or under listed by the Operators. For technical and political reasons the NRPB ignored the 2,000 highest powered (radiating up to 100 watts) base stations, and decided to select 20 to measure from those with a relatively low power of 5 watts or less. The NRPB's remit had been to measure microcells (by definition low height/low power), and it deliberately ignored the alleged 'microcells' (the ones that defy the definition and are in fact low height/high power) that are the worst ones irradiating the public.
It is scandalous that these low height installations do not require any planning permission. What is worse, they do not even require any consultation with members of the public or local authorities. Operators are using these as a way of avoiding a public consultation and approval process. They just have to tell the local authority that they are going make the installation.
In one square quarter-of-a-mile in Soho there are 126 mobile phone base stations, 90 of which (71%) are less than 10 metres and most would not have needed any (including GPDO) planning permission. People living across the street from these will be continuously exposed to significant levels of pulsing microwave radiation.
We believe the Department of Health should set up a database collecting information about the adverse health effects experienced by people living near base stations, either self-reported or through a GP, to gather together the information needed to decide what risk, if any, the masts subject the general population to. If there is a subsection of the population that is more susceptible to such radiation, it will produce a good base of information for future epidemiological research.
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