ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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New Technologies : Whose Responsibility?

Whose Responsibility? Reports have appeared periodically that cell phones may have an unanticipated health dimension. Review and study committees in the UK have lately found some evidence that the extensive use of cell phones may be linked to a higher incidence of brain tumours and other related developments, especially among young adults. Some countries have commissioned studies in an attempt to better understand the link. Over time there has accumulated some evidence on the health effects of electromagnetic radiation emitted by high voltage power lines. The negative impact of working on personal computer consoles has led to various cautions being advocated in their use and the development of

Reports have appeared periodically that cell phones may have an unanticipated health dimension. Review and study committees in the UK have lately found some evidence that the extensive use of cell phones may be linked to a higher incidence of brain tumours and other related developments, especially among young adults. Some countries have commissioned studies in an attempt to better understand the link. Over time there has accumulated some evidence on the health effects of electromagnetic radiation emitted by high voltage power lines. The negative impact of working on personal computer consoles has led to various cautions being advocated in their use and the development of 'safety' features. Any number of medical technologies in extensive use today have never been assessed for safety. Are there any deleterious effects in the use of ultrasound technology for instance? Only in recent years has been instituted a systematic study in the UK to look into aspects of the effects of ultrasound imaging on children exposed in utero.

Insofar as technological development responds to necessity – be it bound by market conditions – the use and dissemination of new technologies do not wait assessment of long-term and sometimes even short-term effects on human societies, not even health effects. Market forces will intervene to weed out technology only where the deleterious effects are major and immediate. Who then is responsible for ensuring that potentially harmful technologies, however useful and cost-efficient, do not proliferate? Should there be such an agency at all?

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