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Taiwan bans mobile phones for students

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cancer risk? mobile phone use? cellphone ban?

Taiwan's Ministry of Education is mulling the idea of prohibiting students below 15 years of age from using mobile phones in schools. According to a report, the ban is prompted by concerns over the potential cancer risks associated with mobile phone use.

The proposal to prohibit students under 15 years old and below from using mobile phones came from the Taiwan Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard Protection and Control Association.

On May 31, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an organization under the World Health Organization, announced that it has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans, based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer1, associated with wireless phone use.

The classification of a Group 2B risk by IARC is lower than Group 1 (definitely carcinogenic) and Group 2A (probably carcinogenic).

The IARC classification comes after a working group of 31 scientists spent a week assessing the available information. The working group did not quantify the risk but IARC did reference one study of past cellphone use up to the year 2004 that showed a 40 percent increased risk for gliomas for heavy and long-term users, defined as 30 minutes per day over a 10-year period.

"The evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B classification. The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cellphones and cancer risk," says Dr Jonathan Samet, overall chairman of the working group in University of Southern California, USA.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times

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