Cell Phone Use by Children and Youth

Summary:

The Board of Health and Toronto City Council recently endorsed a Prudent Avoidance Policy that will help ensure that public exposure to radiofrequencies (RFs) from cell phone towers is 100 times below the current Health Canada exposure standard known as Safety Code 6. This policy does not address public exposure to RFs from the use of telecommunication devices such as cell phones. RF exposure from using a cell phone can be considerably higher than environmental exposure to RFs from local cell phone towers or antennas. Cell phone use has risen consistently in the last decade in Canada. In particular, the number of children who use cell phones has increased greatly. This report responds to the Board of Health’s request for further information on the use of cell phones by children and youth and their consequent exposure to RF energy.
The 2007 Toronto Public Health (TPH) report titled “Update and Review of Research on Radiofrequencies: Implications for a Prudent Avoidance Policy in Toronto” summarized research about RF exposure and potential health impacts in people. Considerable research has been done to explore the health impacts from cell phone use in adults. There are gaps in knowledge however, regarding exposure and health impacts in children. The research that is available suggests that children are likely more vulnerable than adults.
Many international reports and scientific experts in the field view the limitations and uncertainty of current research as warranting precautionary recommendations around children’s use of cell phones. There are currently no specific Canadian recommendations with regard to cell phone use by children. Some jurisdictions in Europe recommend that children decrease their exposure to RF by strictly limiting their use of cellular phones and some have strongly recommended that use be avoided completely. TPH has broadened its precautionary messages and advice on cell phone use. The focus is on messages for
parents and teens to limit use of cell phones by children where possible.

The Board of Health and Toronto City Council recently endorsed a Prudent AvoidancePolicy that will help ensure that public exposure to radiofrequencies (RFs) from cellphone towers is 100 times below the current Health Canada exposure standard known asSafety Code 6. This policy does not address public exposure to RFs from the use oftelecommunication devices such as cell phones. RF exposure from using a cell phonecan be considerably higher than environmental exposure to RFs from local cell phonetowers or antennas. Cell phone use has risen consistently in the last decade in Canada.In particular, the number of children who use cell phones has increased greatly. Thisreport responds to the Board of Health’s request for further information on the use of cellphones by children and youth and their consequent exposure to RF energy.

The 2007 Toronto Public Health (TPH) report titled “Update and Review of Research onRadiofrequencies: Implications for a Prudent Avoidance Policy in Toronto” summarizedresearch about RF exposure and potential health impacts in people. Considerableresearch has been done to explore the health impacts from cell phone use in adults. Thereare gaps in knowledge however, regarding exposure and health impacts in children. Theresearch that is available suggests that children are likely more vulnerable than adults.

Many international reports and scientific experts in the field view the limitations anduncertainty of current research as warranting precautionary recommendations aroundchildren’s use of cell phones. There are currently no specific Canadian recommendationswith regard to cell phone use by children. Some jurisdictions in Europe recommend thatchildren decrease their exposure to RF by strictly limiting their use of cellular phones andsome have strongly recommended that use be avoided completely. TPH has broadenedits precautionary messages and advice on cell phone use. The focus is on messages forparents and teens to limit use of cell phones by children where possible.

Full Report: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.toronto.ca/health/hphe/pdf/boh_children_safecellphone.pdf

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