Pregnant women should not use cellphones because electromagnetic radiation from them could harm their unborn babies.
This was the warning issued last week by an international panel of scientists studying the health risks associated with the radiation emitted by wireless electronic devices.
Members of the panel included Yuri Grigoriev, of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, and Olle Johansson, of Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology.
Also among the researchers calling for new "biologically-based public exposure standards" to protect public health were Lloyd Morgan, of California's Bioelectromagnetics Society, and Elihu Richter, of Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem.
Johansson said: "Standards for radio frequency and microwave radiation from wireless technologies are entirely inadequate.
"They were never intended to address the kind of exposures from wireless devices that now affect more than 4billion people."
Electromagnetic radiation is emitted by devices such as cellphones, cordless phonesand wi-fi routers.
The scientists produced warnings specifically for cellphone and cordless phone users, including:
- a recommendation that pregnant women stay away from cell and cordless phones, and away from people using them;
- a "strong" recommendation that children of any age must not use cell or cordless phones, or palm-top computers;
- that users should keep cellphones away from the head and body at all times;
- that phones be switched off before being put in a user's pockets;
- that schools use wired internet access instead of wireless connections because wireless connections "create pervasive and prolonged electromagnetic exposures for children";
- avoid using any wireless devices - including baby monitors, wireless internet, wireless security systems, wireless power transmitters and wireless headsets - which might produce potentially harmful radiation.
Tracey-Lee Dorny, chairman of the Electromagnetic Radiation Research Foundation of SA, said a foetus is the most vulnerable to radiation "because it is in water and water attracts radiation more".
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