The Telegraph, 20 January 2012

An official inquiry 12 years ago recommended that the widely varying levels of radiation given off by mobile phones should be displayed when they were sold. Successive governments have failed to implement this recommendation. But now India may be beating us to it.

New guidelines laid down by the country’s official Telecom Engineering Centre suggest that the levels should be shown on each handset. And this week, the Delhi government moved to ensure that they are prominently displayed.

It’s scarcely a radical suggestion. The British committee was chaired by Sir William Stewart, a former government chief scientist, and contained several of the experts who have been most sceptical about radiation dangers from handsets. Since its report, the evidence that mobile phones can cause cancer after long-term use has strengthened. Last summer the World Health Organisation classified them as a “possible carcinogen”.

The mobile-phone industry has long vigorously fought such an apparently reasonable step – which may be one reason why our pliant governments have neglected to take it – and has already declared its opposition to the Indian plans. When San Francisco proposed a similar measure some years ago, the industry both called in the lawyers and announced that it would stop holding its lucrative annual exhibition, bringing some 68,000 people to the city. What, one wonders, does it have to hide?

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