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Bill Wants «Moderate Use» Warning on Cell Phones for Spine Hazards

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A bill wants to force manufacturers to warn about the risks of staying on the phone too long. The packaging must come with the following warning: «moderate use, excessive use damages the cervical spine». The idea comes from Senator Otto Alencar (PSD-BA), who is an orthopedist.

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PLS 55/2018 requires that this warning occupy 10% of the front surface of the package. In addition, it should be included in the instruction manual and user guide, printed or electronic, with «instructions for the safe use of the equipment, correct posture and other measures to prevent harm to health».

If the project is approved, the rule will apply to domestic producers and importers smart phones . If a company does not include the notification, its certification will not be recognized in Brazil.

The bill began in the Senate and has a long way to go. It has been blocked since March in the CTFC (Commission for Transparency, Governance, Surveillance and Consumer Control and Protection) and, if approved, will be sent directly to the House of Representatives. If amended, he returns to the Senate to be sanctioned (or not) by the president.

In the Senate’s public consultation, 70% of people do not support the proposal. Do we need such a law?

Bill wants to warn "Use infrequently" on cell phones for spinal hazards 2

Mobile phone use can cause deformed vertebrae in young people

Otto Alencar explained in May, in a speech before the Senate plenary, why he defends this bill. He recalls that people use smartphones earlier and earlier: «The young man does not have the bone structure, the mineral and organic structure is already defined, so it can be deformed by pressure,» says the senator.

«Pressing the neck to use the mobile phone … will somehow distort the growth and anatomy of each cervical vertebra,» Alencar fears. Hence the idea of ​​putting the warning on the packaging of the smartphone, «like the recommendation used for cigarettes».

The senator says that this problem affects less adults, because they already have the bone structure formed. What worries him most is that «the young man, in the growth phase, starts at the age of 5 and continues until the age of 18 by flexing the cervical spine, with the neck bent.»

The deformity of the vertebrae, he said, causes «a painful injury throughout life, irradiated to the shoulders and arms and numbness in the hands.» Alencar says that «there is no physiotherapy or pharmacological treatment to solve it.»

The tilted head increases the pressure on the neck.

Bill wants "Moderate use" warning on cell phones for spinal hazards 3

A 2014 study says that while the head weighs about 5 kg, the actual weight on the neck increases when bent. At an angle of 15 degrees, it seems to weigh 12 kg; at 60 degrees this increases to 27 kg.

«Will an 8-year-old need surgery at 28?» Reuters activated spinal neurosurgeon Dr. Todd Lanman. «In children with thorns that are still developing and undeveloped, we are not sure what to expect or whether this can change the normal anatomy.»

Doctors recommend that you change your neck tilt, take frequent breaks while using your mobile phone, and practice basic stretching exercises.

In my opinion, the bill has good intentions, but sins in execution. Yes, it is important to teach people to improve their posture, whether they use a computer or a smartphone. But do we need to make this a law and a new obligation for producers?

With information: Senate Agency.

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