This is according to a panel of influential scientists, which believes that much stricter safety measures are needed to protect people from being harmed by electromagnetic radiation from devices including cellphones, cellphone towers, powerlines and wireless internet.

The scientists met to consider all the evidence linking wireless devices to cancer, neurological diseases and infertility, and concluded that there was evidence of ‘€œserious disruptions to biological systems’€.

The panel’€™s findings and recommendations have recently been published in the scientific journal, ‘€œReviews on Environmental Health’€.

But Vodacom spokesperson Richard Boorman says there is no cause for alarm:

‘€œThere have been thousands of scientific studies into the effects of radio frequency on health. There is no evidence to convince experts that exposure below the guidelines set by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) carries any health risks, for adults or children.’€

But according to the Swedish Karolinska Institute, which took part in the panel: ‘€œMany researchers now believe the existing safety limits are inadequate to protect public health because they do not consider prolonged exposure to lower emission levels that are now widespread’€.

Panellist Professor Elihu Richter from the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Medicine in Israel said there was already ‘€œan increase in cancer and neuro-behavioural impairments, even though these wireless technologies are fairly new. This finding suggests that the exposures are already too high to protect people from health harm’€.

Professor Yuri Grigoriev, Chair of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, said simply: “Pregnant women and children of all ages should avoid using cell and cordless phones given the health effects we are seeing already.”

The panel recommends that government should greatly reduce the exposure limits for electromagnetic radiation. It also called for the establishment of an international registry to track the incidence and mortality rates for cancers and neurological and immune diseases over time.

It also proposes that the producers of new wireless technologies needed to prove that these are safe and that there should be compulsory testing of electromagnetic emissions levels before these were introduced.

Boorman agreed that there were ‘€œstill some gaps in scientific knowledge, and more research is being carried out to fill these’€ and that the World Health Organisation set the priorities for global research

‘€œHowever,’€ added Boorman, ‘€œpeople who personally want to can take simple steps to reduce their exposure as a precaution by keeping the mobile device away from the head and body during use, by using an earpiece, using the loudspeaker function, placing the device on a surface when sending data files and texting instead of calling’€.

Author

  • Health-e News

    Health-e News is South Africa's dedicated health news service and home to OurHealth citizen journalism. Follow us on Twitter @HealtheNews