Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Mobile phones a danger to young

Letter to the Evening Standard - June 24th 2002

Sir

The article by Victoria Fletcher (Mobile phone safety alert, 19 June), reporting the conclusions of the two-year study in Finland, reconfirms that there is enough scientific evidence to justify a more precautionary approach to the unrestricted use of mobile phones. Two years ago, I tabled a question to the European Commission asking for its views on the health implications of mobile-phone use. This was in the light of an emerging body of evidence suggesting a possible link between brain damage in adults and the use of mobile phones.

I have also asked what measures it proposed to protect children from the risk, given that children's developing brains are more sensitive to electromagnetic radiation and that their skulls are thinner. Despite this greater risk for children, in its answer the European Commission drew no distinction between the dangers for children and adults.

As a qualified doctor, I feel it important to raise this issue.

As of yet, no one has been able to explain why malignant brain tumours have been rising dramatically in the West.

I believe the preliminary evidence justifies a ban on mobile-phone usage for children under the age of 14 years old. I can see no economic advantage in small children (as opposed to the clear advantages for adults in their jobs, etc) having access to mobiles and many parents may be relieved at not having to pay for the cost.

I call upon the Government, following the Stewart Report, to take a clear lead in this area.

Dr. Charles Tannock MEP (Con)
Brussels