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Mobiles 'Safe' But More Research Needed
Journalist: John Vov Radowitz
January 14, 2004
Mobile phones appear to be safe, but more research is needed to be certain they pose no health risks, scientists advising the Government said today.
The expert group, chaired by Professor Anthony Swerdlow, examined all the available evidence from research into the hazards of mobile phones and base stations over the last three years.
It was the first thorough appraisal of mobile phone safety since the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) headed by Sir William Stewart reported in 2000.
The Stewart Report said there was no clear evidence that mobile phones were harmful to health, but accepted there maybe biological effects below guideline radiation levels and recommended a “precautionary approach”.
Its findings were echoed in today’s conclusions from the Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR).
The report said: “In aggregate, the research published since the IEGMP report does not give cause for concern.
“The weight of evidence now available does not suggest that there are adverse health affects from exposures to RF (radio frequency) fields below guideline levels, but the published research on RF exposures and health has limitations, and mobile phones have only been in widespread use for a relatively short time.
“The possibility therefore remains open that there could be health effects from exposure to RF fields below guideline levels; hence continued research is needed.”
More than 47 million British adults have a mobile phone – about 70% of the population. Mobile phones are more popular in the UK than in the US, where only 40% of people have one.
Some experts have claimed that radiation from mobile phones may be linked to brain tumours, headaches, sleeping disorders and memory loss.
But the jury remains out after Professor Swerdlow’s expert group found no evidence for any of these claims.
The report also dismissed fears about the safety of mobile phone base stations.
AGNIR said exposure levels from base stations were extremely low, and they were unlikely to pose a health risk.