Mobile Phone Radiation and Children: Is There Cause for Concern?

Mobile Radiation Standards Test Only The Largest 3% Of The Population Meaning The Smaller 97% Will Have Higher Exposure Than The Measured Standard.

In our ‘wireless world’ we are constantly immersed not only in the use of our most beloved wireless gadgets, but also in the mobile radiation (MR) emitted by them. Devices such as mobile or cordless phones, tablets and laptops all emit this unseen form of radiation and it is this that can pose as a serious threat to our health and wellbeing, if not protected.

There is mounting cause for concern in the scientific community and mainstream media about the health effects of MR. CNN pick up on a studywhich suggests that the rise in malignant brain tumours in the UK may be due to MR whilst The World Health Organisation classed wireless radiation as a class 2b carcinogenin 2011. Putting it amongst the ranks of lead, car fumes and asbestos. Read more about the health effects of mobile radiation on our research page.

Nowadays it’s not just adults that have their own devices but children too. Growing up glued to the screens of their iPhones and iPads it begs the question;

Are children at a higher risk of the damaging health effects of MR in their early stages of brain growth and development? The Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructuremakes several points as to why children are in fact at a higher risk to the health effects of MR than adults:

  • Children absorb more MR than adults.

A 2010 study of mobile radiation claimed that ‘children’s hippocampus and hypothalamus absorb 1.6–3.1 times higher and the cerebellum absorbs 2.5 times higher MWR (microwave radiation) compared to adults’; children’s bone marrow absorbs 10 times higher MWR radiation than in adults.’ This is because children’s heads and brains are considerably smaller than that of an adult, as well their skulls being thinner.

  • MWR is a Class 2B carcinogenamongst the likes of chloroform, lead, nickel, styrene asbestos and diesel fuel.

Common sense would have it that you wouldn’t think about letting a child play with these substances, so why an unprotected mobile phone?

Hugh S. Taylor, M.D. Chair of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale School of Medicine drew a similar conclusion. He claims that the mother’s use of mobile devices (therefore exposing the foetus to MWR) both prenatal and post-natal was associated with emotional and hyperactivity issues when the child was around the age of school entry.

  • There is a link between extended exposure to MR and the growth of cancer.

This can be said to be significantly more relevant for children. The modern day child is often introduced to mobiles or tablets as a means of entertainment from as young as one.  Many if not most have their own devices through their pre-teen and adolescent years. Cancer is said to take 10-20 years to develop, and as previously stated, children absorb considerably more MR than adults. Is this early exposure to wireless devices likely to lead to an epidemic in the future?

Test standards for phones have not changed since being introduced in 1996 and are not representative of how a child will absorb MR and the American Academy of Paediatrics agree, having sent a letterin 2012 requesting a revaluation of the safety standards. Before launching a new mobile to the public, all wireless device companies i.e Apple and Samsung must have their products tested following SAR (Specific Absorption Rates) guidelines set by the FCC(Federal Communications Commission). SAR is used to measure the rate at which RF (radio-frequency) is absorbed using SAM (Specific Anthropomorphic Mannequin)  which is a standardised model of the human head and body, filled with liquids that simulate the RF absorption characteristics of different human tissues from the source being measured – in this instance, a wireless device. The SAR result is then used to identify whether the device meets the safety guidelines set by the FCC and if the product is safe to be sold to consumers. It is however worth noting that the SAM used to measure the rate of RF absorbed by the body is that of a  large adult at 6’2” and 220 pounds in weight. SAM represents only the largest 3% of the population meaning the smaller 97% will have higher exposure than the measured SAR. With this in mind, it can only leave you with feelings of concern for the smallest percentile of the population – children. Are mobile phones and tablets really safe for their use?

Whilst there appears to be more studies into the health effects of MR on adults than children – probably due to mobile devices being considered an adult possession – it is apparent that in this day and age, children are being exposed to the potential health effects of this radiation from a very early age. Whilst some have attempted to shine a light on this, it seems that the issue is being somewhat ignored by modern-day safety regulations until MR is proven to be the cause of a major health concern. But as wireless devices have only become a staple in a child’s life in recent years, is it worth the risk of waiting to find out?