The Green Party has called for cell phone health warnings after a World Health Organization (WHO) study found they could cause an increase in the risk of a malignant type of brain cancer.
Green Party MP Sue Kedgley said she would like to see labelling information on how much radiation cell phones emit on all cell phone packaging and advertising, and warnings about the risk of long term cell phone use.
The WHO study classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans, or in Group 2B by its classification system. Group 2B also includes lead and gasoline.
Ms Kedgley said New Zealanders were one of the highest users of mobile phones in the OECD, and most people were oblivious to potential health risks from long term use.
“Millions of New Zealanders use mobile phones, so we need to take a precautionary approach and seek to reduce our exposure to the radiation they emit wherever possible,” said Ms Kedgley.
“Cell phone technology is too new to know whether it could be damaging, but the signs aren’t good. When so many people are using them, we need to know the potential risk to our health because we have a right to know what we’re gambling with.
“Imagine if we’d wisened up to the risks of smoking cigarettes earlier. Many lives would have been saved and the money we put into health care could have been better spent.”
The Green Party wants cell phone packaging to display the device’s Specific Absorption Rate — the level of electromagnetic radiation that could be absorbed by the body — and is also advocating for New Zealand’s radiation standard to be reviewed.
“The Government and telecommunications companies also need to provide information on how to lower the risks associated with high phone use,” Ms Kedgley said.
The new research was conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a WHO subsidiary, and was worked on by a group of 31 scientists from 14 countries.