A new campaigning group – Mobilewise – don’t let it go to your head sent out an excellent press release a few days ago which took you straight to the warnings that both Blackberry and iPhone print in their ‘information sheets’, but in such small type that no one ever reads them. These tell you to keep the phone 15–25cm away from your body when using it, and especially away from the abdomens of pregnant women and children. Why would they print those warnings unless they believed that there was an inherent danger in using mobile phones, even if they are not prepared to admit it ‘in public’?
(This scary-for-those-kids’-heads picture comes from their website.)
Mobilewise is not, of course, campaigning against mobile phones as such. I do not think that anyone could deny that, although they may pose significant, if not very considerable long term health risks to users, they have also delivered such enormous benefits to everyone from rural farmers in deepest Africa to Arab spring revolutionaries, whatever about our now-chronically-over-connected developed world, that getting rid of them is just unthinkable. However, what is extremely think-able, is ways of making them safer to use, and, until such time as that has been done, restricting or reducing the risks to the most vulnerable users. So that is what Mobilewise is trying to do, focusing their attention especially on children: educate now and encourage development for the future.
The site includes research (did you know that children absorb 60% more radiation into the head when they use a mobile phone than adults?), information from other countries (many of whom follow a very much more precautionary route that the UK), medical opinion (see neurosurgeon Kevin O’Neill, a trustee of Mobilewise’s letter to the BMJ), loads of useful advice on the safer use of mobile phones and ways of reducing risk, and plenty of interaction from children.
And, of course, you can follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook and support the campaign. Naturally, I just have…
17th October – I have just received an alert about another piece or research suggesting that ‘when electrical properties are considered, a child’s head’s absorption can be over two times greater, and absorption of the skull’s bone marrow can be ten times greater than adults.’ See Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine 14th October.