PAU LOXSE – JUNE 2004 – OPTION 2 : EXAM AND KEY
Read the text and the instructions to the questions very carefully. Answer all the questions in English. A massive investigation into mobile phone safety has failed to rule out risks of brain damage and cancer. Experts say there are still large gaps in scientific knowledge about what radiation is doing to users’ bodies and brains. The results of a three-year study highlighted continuing uncertainty over the safety of handsets. Parents were urged to limit mobile phone use by children because of the potential damage. Campaigners have long feared that users of Britain’s 50 million phones are risking cancer, brain damage, Alzheimer’s disease, sleeping disorders and memory loss because of radiation emitted by handsets directly into the head. Now the report says there may be other hidden problems because mobiles have been in widespread use among British people for only a few years. Professor Anthony Simons, who led the study, said: ‘We cannot be sure what will be found and the possibility of an effect still remains’. ‘It’s still early days, particularly on the use of handsets,’ he added. ‘There could still be effects we don’t know about. We can’t predict what we are going to learn tomorrow. In the meantime, excessive use of mobile phones by young children should be discouraged. While children are growing and developing, they are more susceptible to all sorts of things. About a quarter of mobile phone users are under 18, with many having been given them by their parents so they can easily stay in touch. Those under ten are thought to be particularly vulnerable because their skulls are thinner and may allow radiation to penetrate deeper into the brain. Also their nervous systems are still developing’. Questions 1. Write a title in English which best summarises the text and justify your answer. (2 points) I think that the phrase: “Mobile phones, friends or foes?” could provide a good summary of the text. In fact, in the text it is said that mobile phones, which are nowadays the most widely used means of communication and not only by adults of all ages and social classes but
also by teenagers and children, may turn out to be a threat to our lives, since they could cause such serious illnesses as cancer or Alzheimer. Moreover, our children are even more likely to suffer from the negative effects of mobiles, especially if they are under ten years old, because of the thinness of their skulls and due to the fact that their nervous systems are still developing. In sum, taking into account that the risks we are warned of are really serious, perhaps from now onwards we shouldn’t go on regarding our mobile phones as friendly tools, but rather, as enemies which are putting our lives in danger and, as a result, we should start using them less and less. 2. Explain in English the meaning of the following expressions as used in the text. (1 point; 0.5 each) a) widespread use b) potential damage “Mobiles have been in widespread use among British people for only a few years.” This means that a very high percentage of people in Great Britain have been using mobile phones for a not very long period of time. “Parents were urged to limit mobile phone use by children because of the potential damage.” This means that mobiles may be really dangerous, they are likely to cause serious illnesses and so, parents shouldn’t let their children use them too often. 3. Complete the second sentence of each pair so that it has the same meaning as the first one. (2 points) a) ‘We can’t predict what we are going to learn tomorrow’, the Professor said. The Professor said that THEY COULDN’T PREDICT WHAT THEY WERE GOING TO LEARN THE FOLLOWING DAY. b) Parents were urged by investigators to limit mobile phone use by children. Investigators URGED PARENTS TO LIMIT MOBILE PHONE USE BY CHILDREN.
4. Answer the following questions in your own words. The information must be taken from the text. (2 points) a) According to the report, why does the possibility of problems still remain? The person who led the study, Professor Anthony S., says we can’t be certain whether or not mobile phones are really safe. Apart from problems such as memory loss and sleeping disorders, or illnesses such as cancer, which could be related to an excessive use of our mobiles, the people who carried out the investigation fear that there may be some other negative effects which have not been identified yet, which are still hidden. That is the reason why Professor Anthony S. Says that “the possibility of an effect still remains.” b) Are the results of the study in favour of or against mobiles? The results of the study are against mobiles. Although it cannot be definitely proved that they are dangerous appliances, the connection between their extended use and some serious illnesses cannot be ruled out, either. For that reason, since “prevention is better than cure”, these scholars advise us to reduce our use of mobile phones and they place the emphasis on their use by children, who are given mobile phones as presents by their parents. Parents may not realize that by encouraging their children to use mobile phones they might be risking their offsprings’ lives.
5. Are you in favour of or against mobile phones? Why? (Minimum 80 words, maximum 100 words; 3 points)