Dáil Éireann - Volume 596 - 26 January, 2005
Written Answers. - Mobile Telephony.
Mr. F. McGrath Mr. F. McGrath
409. Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the position regarding the safety of mobile phones, especially for children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1224/05]
Mr. N. Dempsey Mr. N. Dempsey
Mr. N. Dempsey: My Department maintains a watching scientific brief on health issues relating to electromagnetic energy, including those related to mobile phones. Concerns about the possible sensitivity of children to electromagnetic fields were first raised by a review of the available research related to biological and health effects of electromagnetic fields from mobile telephones. This was carried out by the independent expert group on mobile telephony in the United Kingdom in 2000.
The review did not find any definite adverse health effects due to mobile telephones, but did not conclude that there were none. The group felt that, because of children’s developing skills and the likelihood that they would have longer lifetime exposure than adults, they would be more vulnerable than adults to any as yet unknown health effects. The group therefore recommended a precautionary approach on mobile telephone use by children.
In 2002, the health council of the Netherlands, after a separate evaluation of the health effects of mobile telephones, concluded that there was no reason to recommend that mobile telephone use by children should be limited. In 2003, the National Radiological Protection Board of the United Kingdom, NRPB, noted that little had been published on childhood exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields.
To examine the question of children’s sensitivity to electromagnetic fields the World Health Organisation held an expert workshop in Istanbul, Turkey, in June 2004. The workshop concluded that carefully controlled cognitive performance tests on children with electromagnetic fields at the top of the range of those from current mobile telephones did not show any significant difference in performance between those exposed and those not.
I am satisfied that my Department is in possession of the most up-to-date information available on this subject, that at this time there is no demonstrated adverse health effect and therefore is no reason for me to act to limit the use of mobile phones by children. My Department will continue to monitor the scientific evidence and participate in the relevant international projects and committees. If it is deemed prudent in time to change the guidelines, we will not be slow to respond.
Dáil Éireann 596 Written Answers. Mobile Telephony.