Chapter 4 cover

Chapter 4

First reactions

Mobile phone radiation is already a cause for concern across governments and associations worldwide. Legal regulations and recommendations are introduced to raise awareness of electromagnetic radiation exposure and its influence on health.

Growing number of smartphone users

The number of smartphone users has been constantly growing since 2014 (1.57 billion in 2014 and 2.1 in 2016).

In comparison, by 2011 there were only 472 million mobile phone users. The number is expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019. Just over 36 percent of the world’s population is predicted to use a smartphone by 2018, up from about 10 percent in 2011.

China, the most populous country in the world, leads the smartphone industry. The number of smartphone users in China is predicted to grow from around 563 million in 2016 to almost 675 million in 2019. Around half of the Chinese population are predicted to use a smartphone by 2020. In 2017, there will be around 223 million smartphone users in the United States. Statistics say that 89% of American teenagers (12 to 17-years-old) have a mobile phone. The worldwide smartphone market grew by 1.1% year-to-year.

The latest research on the time spent using smartphones in different countries shows that people spend about two hours per day online via mobile phone, 4.8 hours in Brazil, 3.5 in China, 2.6 in USA and 1.5 in France. The way in which smartphones are used has changed over the years. In 2014, 91% of all mobile internet use was ‘social-related’. Mobile internet usage overtook desktop internet usage in 2014.

In 2015, Google's report entitled ‘Micro-moment’ found that 68% of phone users check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up and 87% always have their smartphone at their side, both during the day and at night. Due to such an intense growth of mobile phone usage, it is important to be aware of possible adverse side effects. There is no doubt that the advantages of smartphones are important in everyday life but it is worth noticing that the governments of many countries around the world have decided to recommend limiting mobile phone usage. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Law regulations on mobile radiation

Mobile phone radiation is becoming a cause for concern in many countries whose governments are aware of the newest scientific research. There are several regulations which are crucial for the authorities, such as child safety or educating people on reasonable mobile phone usage.

Protecting the youngest is of the utmost importance. As we know, it is scientifically proven that children are at a higher risk of suffering from adverse health effects relating to radiation.

In Belgium and France it is forbidden to sell mobile phones designed for children. Phone advertisements cannot be targeted at children. The most restrictive law was passed in Taiwan, where parents may be fined for letting children under the age of 2 use electronic devices.

In many countries it is considered crucial to protect schools and kindergartens from harmful WiFi radiation (e.g. France, Cyprus, Israel, India). Recommendations on the safe usage of electronic devices were issued by governments or associations in countries such as: Finland, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, United Kingdom, Turkey, Denmark, USA, Ireland, Singapore and Russia.

It is also often required to put warning labels on mobile phones 7, 8, 9 for sale (e.g. in Belgium, France and Israel) to keep customers informed about the possible side effects of using them. This information includes advice on how to protect oneself from mobile phone radiation.

Worldwide recommendations

Map

Worldwide law regulations and initiatives

Find out more

Mobile radiation has become a subject of interest amongst authorities worldwide. Governments and organizations are paying appropriate attention to this matter and recognise the need to prevent future issues, relating to the health and well-being of their citizens. The health effects of mobile radiation are now widely discussed, as mentioned in our section on worldwide law regulations.

Resources
  1. L2inc (2017) Scott Galloway: Why Technology Is Irresistible [Youtube Video, Online] "/> https://youtu.be/bCwlLwe3cAI
    (Accessed: 07.08.2017)

  2. Statista (Unknown) Number of smartphones sold to end users worldwide from 2007 to 2016 (in million units) [Online] "/> https://www.statista.com/statistics/263437/global-smartphone-sales-to-end-users-since-2007/
    (Accessed: 04.08.2017)

  3. Statista (Unknown) Number of smartphone users worldwide from 2014 to 2020 (in billions) [Online] "/> https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/
    (Accessed: 04.08.2017)

  4. IDC (2017) Smartphone Vendor Market Share, 2017 Q1 [Online] "/> http://www.idc.com/promo/smartphone-market-share/vendor
    (Accessed: 04.08.2017)

  5. Digital Buzz Blog (2011) Infographic: Mobile Statistics, Stats & Facts [Online] "/> http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/2011-mobile-statistics-stats-facts-marketing-infographic/
    (Accessed: 04.08.2017)

  6. Google (Unknown) Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile [Online] "/> https://think.storage.googleapis.com/images/micromoments-guide-to-winning-shift-to-mobile-download.pdf
    (Accessed: 04.08.2017)

  7. Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection [Online] "/> http://www.sviva.gov.il/English/env_topics/Radiation/Pages/RadiationfromCellphones.aspx
    (Accessed: 09.08.2017)

  8. Assemble nationale (2014) PROPOSITION DE LOI [Online] "/> http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/14/propositions/pion2065.asp
    (Accessed: 09.08.2017)

  9. Health Belgium (2014) New rules for selling mobile phones [Online] "/> https://www.health.belgium.be/sites/default/files/uploads/fields/fpshealth_theme_file/19096044/Guide%20mobile%20phone%20v5.pdf
    (Accessed: 09.08.2017)