The Department of Health in the UK has a tough decision to make regarding something that we almost all own and use daily.
Should it listen to the scientists at institutions like the the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority and the International Agency for Research on Cancer that say that the evidence is that this thing is 'probably carcinogenic' and spark a public scare or go with the scientists at Children with Cancer who say the threat is not proven.
The DoH have gone somewhere in the middle and have adopted a precautionary line of telling users to protect themselves and their children from potential, but not proven, long term health risks, especially head cancer.
There are more than 5 billion users of mobile phones worldwide but nobody can decide whether they are a health hazard or not.
The Office of National Statistics suggest a 50% increase in frontal and temporal lobe tumours in the last decade and France has banned phone adverts aimed at children while Israel requires all mobile phones and adverts to come with a health warning that heavy use and carrying the device next to the body may increase the risk of cancer.
San Francisco is currently attempting to implement the same health warning on mobile phones and the Epidemiology for Cancer Prevention Unit say that the 2% annual increase in childhood brain cancers is down to 'an electro-smog' and 'people are exposed to wireless devices that we have shown in the lab to have a biological impact'.
On the flip side the Institute of Cancer Research and the Advisory Group on Ionizing Radiation say in order to believe there is a health threat, it needs to be shown consistently and it has not yet been proven.
The UK’s Mobile Operators Association says that most health agencies agree that there is 'no credible evidence of adverse health effects from mobile phone technology' yet if you look at the small print in the booklets that come with your mobile, there is some worrying advice.
My recently purchased Blackberry advises: 'use hands-free operation if available and keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.98in (25mm) from your body (including the abdomen of pregnant women and the lower abdomen of teenagers) when the BlackBerry is turned on and connected to the wireless network and reduce the amount of time spent on calls.'
If the jury is out then the DoH must decide if it wise to loudly warn of potential hazards of mobile use and risk irreparably damaging a multi-billion pound industry or say nothing and continue the research and risk the health of the people it is meant to protect.