Parents should encourage children under 18 to limit the time they spend talking on cellphones, Health Canada said Tuesday in new advice on mobile phone usage.The guidance is a nuanced change from previous advice, which suggested that people could limit their use of cellphones if they were concerned about an unproven suggestion the devices increase one’s risk of developing brain cancer.
“Really it’s more proactive in encouraging cellphone users to find ways to limit their exposure, and … to empower parents to make healthy choices to reduce their children’s exposure,” explained James McNamee, division chief for health effects and assessments in Health Canada’s bureau of consumer and clinical radiation protection.
The new advice, a response to a World Health Organization report issued in May, reminds people they can reduce their exposure to radio-frequency energy by limiting the length of their cellphone calls and substituting text messages or chats on hands-free devices in the place of phone-to-ear cellphone calls.
Radio-frequency energy is the type of radiation emitted by cellphones. It’s also given off by AM-FM radios and TV broadcast signals.