Mobile phones are to be banned from French primary schools, under new government measures to reduce the health risk to children.

The new measures will also require companies to provide text-only hand sets and phones that will only work when connected to headsets to limit the danger of electromagnetic radiation.

At present, French schools ban the use of mobile phones in the classroom but allow their use elsewhere. The new rules mean that although students will be allowed to own a phone they will not be able to use it.

The measures come after a six-week review of mobile phone and wi-fi radiation by the French government.

However, the extent of the ban depends on the results of French and international studies into the risks of mobile phones, which are due to be released in the autumn.

Campaigners have attacked the government for playing down the risks associated with mobile phones and for rejecting their calls for a blanket ban on their use by children under 14 years old.

The government also refused to take drastic measures to limit the power and location of masks, particularly those near schools, hospitals and houses stating that there was little evidence that they affected peoples’ health.

Experiments are now to be carried out in three cities to test the ability to reduce the power of transmissions.

So far little long term research has been carried out into the risks that mobile phones may pose.

In February, despite a lack of evidence a telecoms operator was told to dismantle phone transmitters around Lyons, south-east France, because of the pot¬ential risk to resid¬ents.

A recent British study showed mob¬ile phones did not pose short-term risks but warned that little research had been done involving participants who had used phones for longer than ten years, the time that many cancers take to appear.