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Youths At Risk Frm Mobile Phone Radiation Emissions
http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc? pagename=View&c=Article& cid=FT3Y0WUZ18C&live=true& useoverridetemplate=ZZZFKOXOA0C& tagid=ZZZPCGI2B0C &subheading=telecommunications
Mobile phones may put children's health at risk UK government ministers are to order urgent new guidelines restricting children's use of mobile phones following a report from leading scientists suggesting they could be at risk.

A government-commissioned study, to be published on Thursday, will say children should be discouraged from using mobiles because they are more vulnerable to radiation emissions. Sir Liam Donaldson, chief medical officer, will be asked to work with the author of the report, Sir William Stewart, of Tayside University, to draw up new guidelines on mobile phone use.

Sir William's report will dismay mobile phone companies, for whom the youth market represents an estimated one-in-four of all sales.

Publication of the report comes within days of the Treasury's gaining a 22.5bn windfall from the auction of third-generation mobile phone licences. During the course of the auction, selective leaks to the press suggested the government-sponsored report would give mobiles a clean bill of health.

Although the report will stress there is no evidence currently available that mobiles damage health, it will raise a number of concerns. It will recommend much more research is done, especially on the little-understood non- thermal effects of mobiles.

The government is acutely aware that the warning on health risks to children could spark alarm among the UK's estimated 24m mobile users.

"We will publish the full report and let the public see what the conclusions are for themselves, but then we need Sir William Stewart and Sir Liam to sit down with other scientists and draw up detailed guidelines," said one Whitehall official.

Sir Liam will be asked to look at whether a minimum age limit would be appropriate and whether children should be told to limit the length and number of calls per day.

Government officials say ministers were intentionally not shown copies of the report until the end of last week - after the end of the third- generation mobile phone auction.

The committee of 12 experts was set up last year after reports that radiation from mobiles could trigger memory loss, Alzheimer's disease and cancer. The committee looked at all the available research including two that showed radiation from phones stimulates the brain.

The report is expected to to recommend stricter planning controls on the siting of transmission masts, advising that they are kept away from schools, hospitals and residential areas.

(5/10/2000)

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