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Phones Report To Call For Cash For Study
The Journal
April 29, 2000

A long-awaited report into the possible health hazards of mobile phones is expected to recommend the Government spends a slice of its 22bn windfall from the new generation licences on research into the phones' effects.

The 10-month Stewart Inquiry, which is due to be published next month, is also believed to recommend stricter controls on the siting of mobile phone masts.

The independent group was set up by the Government in response to continued public concern about the safety of Britain's 24 million mobile phone users.

Some experts have likened making a 10-minute call to putting your head in a microwave.

And earlier this month the Consumers' Association published research which showed hands-free kits - which had been promoted as a way of reducing microwave interference on the brain - could actually amplify the energy and channel it directly into the caller's head.

The far-reaching inquiry took evidence from experts across the country and its panel, chaired by Prof Sir William Stewart, featured experts in physics, telecommunications, engineering, neuroscience and radiobiology. Alasdair Philips, of consumer group Powerwatch, said: "What we believe they will say is that to date the government spending on mobile phone health effects has been wholly inadequate.

"They are recommending that a significant percentage of this licence money is allocated for further mobile phone research, particularly on mental functioning."

Chancellor Gordon Brown has said cash from the 22.5bn auction of licences to run the next generation of Internet-compatible mobile phones will be spent on reducing the national debt.

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