Editor's note: Electrahealth.com does not endorse coercive regulation backed by force. Rather, we prefer voluntary methods to promote change like education. If enough people understood the dangers of giving cellular devices to children, the market for such products would dry up and they would disappear from the marketplace voluntarily, no force required. We included this article in our blog today so that our readers can be informed of the latest news related to cell phones and children.
New regulation for the sale of mobile phones in Belgium
As of 1 March 2014, new regulations will apply to the sale of mobile phones. On the one hand the sale of mobile phones that have been specially manufactured for young children (under 7s) will be prohibited. On the other hand the SAR value will have to be listed everywhere where mobile phones are sold: in stores as well as for distance sales over the Internet.
Sale of children’s mobile phones prohibited
As of 1 March 2014, mobile phones that are specially designed for young children may no longer be introduced to the Belgian market. This concerns customized mobile telephones suitable for children younger than 7 years of age, for instance having few buttons and a shape attractive for children. Additionally, from this date forward, no advertising may be made for mobile phone use among the same age group.
The specific absorption rate (SAR) to become mandatory consumer information
When you purchase a new mobile phone, from now on you will be able to choose your new device based on the specific absorption rate (SAR). The SAR value is different for every mobile phone. The SAR value will have to be indicated along with the other technical specifications, not only in the shop, but also for distance sales over the Internet.
Why these measures?
As a precaution. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, 2011) there may be an increased risk of brain cancer due to the intensive use of a mobile phone. The IARC has therefore classified radio frequency as “possibly carcinogenic”. Measures are being taken pending clearer scientific conclusions. The intention is to raise awareness among mobile phone users.
Children already come into contact with mobile phones from a very young age. The overall exposure during their lifetime will thus be greater than that of today’s adults. Moreover, children absorb more mobile phone radiation than adults (twice as much in the brain and 10 times more for skull bone marrow). This is already a reason for additional caution, given the classification of radio frequency as “possible carcinogenic” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).