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Health Alert As Youth Craze Fuels Mobile Phones Boom
The Express
01/06/00

Almost half the population now uses mobile phones. Figures released yesterday show that an extra 4.39million people joined the networks in the run-up to Christmas.

That doubled the total number of users from this time last year to 24million, or four out of every 10 people. New pre-pay models have proved attractive to teenagers. Industry experts estimate that under-18s account for up to a third of new customers.

In what it admits is a ploy to attract the "youth market" American giant AT&T is producing phones with Disney faces. But the strategy has been branded irresponsible by scientists who believe children are at greater risk from the radiation the phones give off.

A study by Professor Om Gandhi at the University of Utah showed that children absorb up to 50 per cent more radiation than adults.

Biophysicist Gerard Hyland, of the University of Warwick, believes that under-12s are particularly at risk. Health campaigners point out that the Mickey Mouse phones appeal to children aged five rather than 15.American campaigner Libby Kelly, who recently briefed MPs at the Commons, said: "You have to wonder if children who use them might become a little goofy."