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Tuesday, 4 June, 2002, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
No mobiles for Bangladeshi youth
Young girls with mobile phone handsets
In Europe mobile phones are popular with children
Bangladesh is preparing regulations to ban mobile phones for children under 16 to protect them from exposure to radiation that could damage their brains.

Environment Minister Shahjahan Siraj outlined the plan to a conference of doctors and scientists in the capital Dhaka.

Mobile phone companies lashed out at the proposal, saying there was no scientific basis for the measure.

While some scientific studies have linked them to headaches, memory loss and cancer, other studies claim that they are perfectly safe.

The private companies, which have one million users, say they have no problems with selling the phones to children.

Yamin Bakht from GrameenPhone, the largest of the nation's four mobile phone companies, said that few of their subscribers were under 16.

Rules followed

He thinks however, that a lot of children might use their parent's phone.

"We have complied with all the regulatory obligations so far," he told the BBC's World Business Report.

"As far as we know, all major handset manufacturers have done studies and have assured that there is no health hazard in using mobile phones," he said.

"As a responsible company GrameenPhone is constantly seeking advice from the GSM association, which is the industry body," he added.

At less than one phone for every 100 people, Bangladesh has one of the lowest telecom penetration figures in the world.

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 ON THIS STORY
Yamin Bakht, GrameenPhone
"As a responsible company GrameenPhone is constantly seeking advice from the GSM association."
See also:

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25 Jan 02 | Health
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