Wed, Oct 08, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Group urges official action to dissuade child cellphone use

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A civic group urged the government yesterday to take action to dissuade children and teenagers from using mobile phones because of health concerns.

The Taiwan Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard Protection and Control Association (TEPCA) presented results of a survey on child and teenager cellphone use, along with information about the levels of electromagnetic radiation produced by cellphones marketed in Taiwan.

The survey, conducted last month and this month among children and teens aged six to 18, found that 34.4 percent of polled elementary school students, 67 percent of junior high school students and 89.6 percent of senior high school students used cellphones.

Based on the survey, the association, a non-governmental organization promoting legislation to restrict the impact of electromagnetic radiation on public health, estimated that around 2.2 million children and teenagers nationwide have their own mobile phones.

The survey also found that the older respondents talked longer on the phone, estimating that 390,000 young cellphone users speak on the phone for at least five minutes per call on average and 170,000 speak for more than 10 minutes per call.

Meanwhile, tests on the electromagnetic radiation levels of 33 types of mobile phones showed that more than 60 percent of the handsets emitted electromagnetic radiation 1 million times higher than the background level, or general exposure level to electromagnetic fields.

The association said that many industrialized countries have advised children, teenagers and pregnant women to refrain from using cellphones.

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