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Current Issue | August 2009 | Volume 57

Correspondence

Health Hazards of Mobile Phones in Children

MA Aleem

Head & Professor of Neurology KAPV Govt. Medical College & AGM Govt Hospital, Trichy 620017. Visiting Consultant Neurologist ABC Hospital, Trichy 620018. Received: 22.12.2008; Accepted: 6.2.2009


Sir,

I wish to create awareness on the cell phone induced health hazards in children. Mukta Kapdi et al (JAPI 2008; 56 : 893 - 897) has discussed all the problems of cell phone related health issues.1

As shown by increasing number of biological clinical and epidemiological studies the radiations emmited by telephony at levels that people are daily exposed are highly bioactive producing a variety of effects on human beings particularly in children.

Electromagnetic field is an important biotropic factor, affecting not just a human health in general, but also the processes of the higher nervous activity, including behavior and thinking. Radiation directly affects human brain when people use cell phones. For the first time in history, we face a situation when most children and teenagers in the world are continuously exposed to the potentially adverse influence of the electromagnetic fields (EMF) from mobile phones.

Despite the recommendations, which insist that persons under 18 years should not use mobile phones, children and teenagers became the target group for marketing the mobile communications. The current safety standards for exposure to microwaves from the mobile phones have been developed for the adults and don’t consider the characteristic features of the children’s organism. The WHO considers the protection of the children’s health from possible negative influence of the EMF of the mobile phones as a highest priority task. This problem has also been confirmed by the Scientific Committee of the European Commission, by national authorities of the European and Asian countries, by participants of the International scientific conferences on biological effects of the EMF.

Potential risk for the children’s health is very high and which include:2

  1. The absorption of the electromagnetic energy in a child’s head is considerably higher than that in the head of an adult (children’s brain has higher conductivity, smaller size, thin skull bones, smaller distance from the antenna etc.).
  2. Children’s organs have more sensitivity to the EMF, than the adult’s;
  3. Children’s brains have higher sensitivity to the accumulation of the adverse effects under conditions of chronic exposure to the EMF;
  4. EMF affects the formation of the process of the higher nervous activity;
  5. Today’s children will spend essentially longer time using mobile phones, than today’s adults will.

The following health hazards are likely to be faced by the children mobile phone users in the nearest future: disruption of memory, decline of attention, diminishing learning and cognitive abilities, increased irritability, sleep problems, increase in sensitivity to the stress, increased epileptic readiness.

Expected (possible) remote health risks: brain tumors, tumors of acoustic and vestibular nerves (in the age of 25-30 years), Alzheimer’s disease, depressive syndrome, and the other types of degeneration of the nervous structures of the brain (in the age of 50 to 60).3

So there is urgency to defend children’s health from the influence of the EMF of the mobile communication systems. An appeal to the government authorities, to the entire society to pay closest attention to this coming threat and to take adequate measures in order to prevent negative consequences on the future generation’s health is a must in the current scenario.

The children using mobile communication are not able to realize that they subject their brain to the EMF radiation and their health - to the risk. We believe that this risk is not much lower than the risk to the children’s health from tobacco or alcohol. It is our professional obligation not to let damage the children’s health by inactivity.

References

  1. Mukta Kapdi, Sumedh S Hoskote, Shashank R Joshi Health Hazards of Mobile Phones: An Indian Perspective. J Assoc Physicians India 2008; 56:893-897.
  2. Krause CM. Bjornberg CH, Pesonen M, et al. Mobile phone effects on children’s event related EEG during an auditory memory task. Int J Radiat Biol 2006; 82:443-450.
  3. Preece AW. Effect of a 915 MHz stimulated mobile phone signal of cognitive functions in men. Int J Radiat Biol l999;75:447-456.
 
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