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Taiwan mulls school cellphone ban amid cancer scare

Taiwan will consider banning mobile phones from schools following a recent health warning that users may face an increased risk of cancer, officials said today. The education ministry is planning to host a meeting with experts and school representatives to discuss the issue after several lawmakers called for a ban, an official told AFP, adding that the timing of discussions had not been set. Some local environmental groups have recommended that a mobile phone ban in schools be introduced on students aged 15 and under.

Concerns were sparked last week after the World Health Organisation’s cancer experts said that radio-frequency electromagnetic fields generated by mobile phone devices are “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” However the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - the WHO’s expert arm on the subject - cautioned that current scientific evidence showed only a possible link, not a proven one, between wireless devices and cancers.

There are about five billion mobile phones registered in the world. The number of phones and the average time spent using them have both climbed steadily in recent years. About 57 percent of Taiwanese students aged between six and 18 years old use mobile phones, of which 62 percent bring them to school, according to local surveys.

(Source: AFP)

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