Cellphone guidelines for Kiwi kids?

Guidelines recommending children limit their use of mobile phones may be introduced in New Zealand.

Guidelines recommending children limit their use of mobile phones may be introduced in New Zealand.

Ministry of Health officials are to study a British report into possible harmful effects on mobile phone use, which the BBC says has also recommended mobile phone companies do not aim their advertising at children.

While the Stewart Report has found no clear evidence that cellphones can damage the health of either adults or children, scientists suggest there may be some effect on the human body and the report makes the recommendations as a precaution.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson in Wellington confirms the ministry was awaiting the report with interest and would study it next week.

“However, it is too early to speculate (what action our government might take here),” she says.

However, the BBC says the panel of 12 who produced the report are set to recommend that new precautionary guidelines are drawn up on mobile phone use in Britain.

This could involve advice on how often and how long young people could use a mobile phone- and even recommend a minimum age.

The BBC says other recommendations will include restrictions on siting mobile phone transmitter masts near schools, hospitals or residential areas.

However, this is understood to be on planning grounds as no strong health problems relating to the masts have been found.

The report, due to be released in Britain late on Thursday (NZ-time), was commissioned in response to fears that cellphone use may be linked to memory loss, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Some studies have suggested children are more at risk from the effects of microwave radiation emitted from the phones, as their young nervous systems are not fully developed. Their thinner skulls also provide less protection from microwave emissions that heat the brain and may damage brain cells.

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