AMTA's response to Senator's call for mandatory mobile phone hands-free kits.

Attention: Letters Editor

Herald Sun

The claim that the French Government is regulating the supply of hands-free kits for every mobile phone (‘Hands-free levy’, 26-8-03), is a misunderstanding. There is no pending or draft regulation in France about the supply of hands-free devices with mobile phones. Any such regulation would contravene European Union free trade agreements.

Unfortunately some international media reports earlier this month got the facts wrong. These inaccurate media reports led to a Senate motion which asked the Australian Communications Authority to look into such a measure in Australia.

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) current advice on mobile phones and health is:

“Present scientific information does not indicate the need for any special precautions for use of mobile phones. If individuals are concerned, they might choose to limit their own or their children's RF [radiofrequency] exposure by limiting the length of calls, or using 'hands-free' devices to keep mobile phones away from the head and body.”

AMTA, while confident of the safety of mobile phones because they meet strict science-based safety standards, supports the personal choice approach of WHO, for those with concerns.

Also, the article’s suggestion of a link with mobile phones and cancer (“cancer causing radiation”) is at odds with the established judgment of the international scientific community. On cancer specifically, the WHO’s opinion is:

“Current scientific evidence indicates that exposure to RF fields, such as those emitted by mobile phones and their base stations, is unlikely to induce or promote cancers.”

There is no sound scientific basis to warrant the use of a hands-free device and we would not support a proposal to regulate the use of personal hands-free kits, because it is a matter of personal choice and they are easily available inexpensive devices.

Yours sincerely

Graham Chalker, CEO

Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association

Canberra