Toronto’s department of public health is advising teenagers and young children to limit their use of cellphones to avoid potential health risks.
The advisory – believed to be the first of its kind in Canada – warns that because of possible side effects from radio frequencies, children under eight should only use a cellphone in emergencies and teenagers should limit calls to less than 10 minutes.
“Teach them the ways to use a cellphone responsibly – to make shorter calls, to use other modes of communication; if it’s possible, use a landline,” said Loren Vanderlinden, a health department supervisor and the report’s author.
In an interview with the Toronto Star, Vanderlinden said scientists were dismissive of any risk years ago. But with more studies, she said, a pattern is emerging that suggests people who have used their cellphones for a long period of time are at greater risk of certain kinds of brain tumours.
Eight years ago, a government inquiry in Britain concluded cellphones shouldn’t be marketed to children under 16 because so little was known about the long-term health risks.
But according to Health Canada, there is no firm evidence that cellphones pose health risks.