Cellphone ban mooted for under-16s - TechCentral

Cellphone ban mooted for under-16s

Soon to be illegal?

A ban on pregnant women and children under 16 using cellphones may be on the cards if new legislation being mooted by government is enacted.

A draft policy document produced by the department of health shows government is concerned about the potential health risks associated with using mobile phones.

The document, which is likely to spark a public outcry, proposes an outright ban on pregnant women and children using cellphones, at least until the scientific community can prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that there are no deleterious side effects to people’s health.

The department cites international research that purports to show there is a link between cellphone radiation and a range of health problems, including leukemia and lymphoma, especially in children. It cites research that says radiation from cellphones can also cause Alzheimer’s disease and has been linked to autism.

Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi says he has consulted closely with communications minister Roy Padayachie and the telecommunications regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of SA, about the department’s plan. He says the proposed ban enjoys widespread support in government.

The department of health intends calling a public hearing at which it wants to hear presentations from public health experts and telecoms engineers about the best way of implementing the legislation.

The department’s decision to draft legislation follows a November 2009 resolution by a Norwegian panel to call on mobile providers to suspend the roll-out of wireless networks amid fears that they can affect the health of children, pregnant women and their unborn babies. The panel warned that “new biologically based exposure limits are crucial to guide new technology development towards solutions that are not harmful to health”.

“The global roll-out of wireless technology has outpaced both health studies and calls for more restrictive public safety limits,” the Norwegian panel said.

Any move to ban the use of cellphones is likely to be met with fierce resistance. Children under 16 are some of the most prolific users of mobile technology, glued to their handsets as they send messages on instant-messaging services such MXit and BlackBerry Messenger.

The department of health hopes to conclude consultations on the proposed legislation in the next few months, before sending the law to parliament for ratification in the second half of 2011.  — Staff reporter, TechCentral

  • This was TechCentral’s 1 April joke for 2011. Were you caught out?

15 Comments

  1. This is just stupid. Trying to take cellphones out the hands of those who need them most in emergencies. It’s beyond irresponsible and short-sighted, it’s downright dangerous.

    The one bright point in this, is the Norweigan report it was based on; it’s not an official study or anything, just a report written by an avid anti-EMF activist, hopefully it has as much of an impact on our government as it did on the Norweigan one… zero.

    >> proposes an outright ban on pregnant women and children using cellphones, at least until the scientific community can prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that there are no deleterious side effects to people’s health.

    The scientific community keeps doing this, but like religious zealots, the EMF people always find a reason why the argument is invalid. No. The onus is on them to prove there’s a problem, not the other way round. If every piece of technology ever made had to go through decade long studies to ensure safety, we’d probably still be 100 years away from inventing the transistor.

    Christopher Hitchens quite about religion applies here: “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence”

  2. D’oh you got me, just realised it’s April 1. This one was a MILLION times better than MyBB’s one… I didnt even have to read past their headline!

  3. You had me hook line and sinker until ” call on mobile providers to suspend the roll-out of wireless networks amid fears that they can affect the health of children,” lol

  4. Isolet Jansen on

    Phew…. I was about to completely loose it and then realised… 1 April. I FALL for this kind of thing EVERY year. Won’t believe anything ANYONE tell me today.

  5. Consumer protection at work!

    What’s worse, unproven cellphone risks or proven carbon emissions? Will manufacturing be stopped in some cases because the chemicals being used are hazardous to the environment?

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