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    PM - Mobile warning for children

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    MARK COLVIN: New Swedish research suggests that children may be five times more likely to develop brain cancer if they use mobile phones.

    The research argues that thinner skulls and smaller brains put children at much greater risk.

    There have been many studies over the years pointing to the health risks posed by electro-magnetic radiation but none have found a causal link.

    And critics say this research also falls short and that current health safety standards provide adequate protection.

    Richard Lindell reports.

    RICHARD LINDELL: Australia has one of the highest rates of mobile use in the world.

    There are 21 million phones out there and more than half of all children under 18 own one.

    But the health risks associated with a product in use for two decades are still hotly disputed.

    Overnight, a Swedish study found that people who start using mobiles before the age of 20 are five times more likely to develop two types of brain cancers. One that targets the central nervous system and another benign tumour that can cause deafness.

    MARC COUGHLAN: I think the issues that it raised are particularly whether or not, after latent periods for example 10 years, because mobile phones are becoming as you know much more common and more frequently used and I think we're spending more time on the phone.

    So the question is whether after a latent period we're going to see more of these brain tumours and then in retrospect we might be looking back and I guess specifically for that paper it just raises questions as to whether children are more susceptible to the potential damage done by electromagnetic radiation. Because we do know the paediatric brain is a little bit more susceptible to any noxious stimuli.

    RICHARD LINDELL: Dr Marc Coughlan is a Neurosurgeon at Sydney Children's Hospital.
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