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1996-2002

Health Council of the Netherlands - Mobile Phones: An Evaluation of Health Effects, Advisory Report

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January 2002

In an advisory report to the Dutch Government, the Electromagnetic Fields Committee of the Health Council of the Netherlands provided an overview, based on scientific literature, of whether exposure to electromagnetic fields from antennas and mobile phones can adversely effect health.

The committee concluded:

  • The electromagnetic field of a mobile telephone does not constitute a health hazard, according to the present state of scientific knowledge. Therefore, there are no reasons to revise existing exposure limits.
  • Properly conducted research has not demonstrated any association between frequent use of a mobile phone and symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and insomnia.
  • Further research is needed to better understand the possible effects, especially long-term, of mobile phones on health.

The full report is available at: http://www.gezondheidsraad.nl/en/publications/mobile-telephones-evaluation-health-effects-0

Telecommunications and Health Research Programme

Begun in January, 2002 (Ongoing)

In May 2000, the Stewart Report called for the establishment of a substantial independent research programme to help fill gaps in scientific knowledge about mobile phones and health.

This was accepted by the UK Government and mobile phone operators. In February 2002, a three-year £7.4 million independent health research programme was announced. Mobile phone companies are funding 50% of the project, but will have no other involvement.

The first studies will examine:

  • Possible effects of mobile phones on blood pressure and hearing.
  • Whether mobile phone use effects the risk of developing brain cancer or leukaemia.
  • Possible effects of mobile phone signals on brain function.
  • The effects of talking on the phone and driving.

Details of the research programme can be found at www.mthr.org.uk

 

British Medical Association - Mobile Phones and Health, An interim Report

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May 2001

The aim of the report was to summarise the current knowledge about mobile phone technology and public health by examining all the previous publications relating to this topic.

Summary of published reviews:

  • Whilst there are small physiological effects there are no definite adverse health effects from mobile phones or their base stations.
  • All the major professional organisations have called for more research to be conducted to address the gaps in knowledge.
  • The precautionary approach should be adopted while research remains inconclusive.
  • The BMA supports the international commitment to current and planned research.
  • The BMA endorses the Department of Health's policy to issue information on mobile phone technology direct to the public, which should help them understand and assess any possible risks.
 

Zmirou Report - French Health General Directorate

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January 2001

The report's objective:

  • To define research that proved the existence or absence of medical and biological effects following exposure to RF emissions relating to mobile phone technology and to highlight research in this area which is ambiguous.

Conclusions and recommendations:

  • They do not back the hypothesis that there is a health risk for populations living in the vicinity of base stations.
  • The general overall objective for the future should be to reduce average exposure of the public to the lowest possible level compatible with service quality.
  • They do not support The Stewart Report (May 2001) site sharing recommendation as installing several antennas in the same place can result in higher emissions.
  • Sensitive buildings (schools, hospitals) located less than 100 metres from a base station should not be in the path of the beam of highest intensity.

Full report available in French and English at: www.sante.gouv.fr

 

Stewart Report

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May 2000

The Stewart Report was commissioned by the UK Government and conducted by the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) to:

  • consider present concerns about the possible health effects from the use of mobile phones, base stations and transmitters
  • conduct a rigorous assessment of existing research
  • give advice based on the present state of knowledge
  • make recommendations on further work that should be carried out to improve the basis for sound advice

It concluded:
''The balance of evidence indicates that there is no general risk to the health of people living near to base stations on the basis that exposures are expected to be small fractions of international guidelines. However there can be indirect adverse effects on their well-being in some cases''. (paragraph 1.33)

The report recommended:
''A precautionary approach to the use of mobile phone technologies be adopted until much more detailed and scientifically robust information on health effects becomes available'' (paragraph 6.35)
''A substantial research programme should operate under the aegis of a demonstrably independent panel'' (paragraph 5.270)
''The issue of possible health effects of mobile phone technology should be the subject of a further review in three years time, or earlier if circumstances demand it'' (paragraph 5.273)

Full report available at www.iegmp.org.uk

 

Royal Society of Canada's (RSC) Expert Panel's Review of the Potential Health Risks of Radiofrequency Fields from Wireless Telecommunication Devices

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March 1999

This report is the result of the approach made in July 1998 by the Health Canada’s Radiation Protection Bureau to the Royal Society of Canada with a request to commission an expert panel to address the public concerns over the adequacy of Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 with regard to potential health risks associated with radiofrequency field exposure from existing and emerging wireless telecommunication devices.

The full report can be found at: http://www.rsc.ca//files/publications/expert_panels/RF//RFreport-en.pdf

World Health Organisation (WHO) - The International EMF Project

Begun 1996 (Ongoing)

In May 1996 WHO launched an international project to assess health and environmental effects of exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMF).

The International EMF Project:

  • reviews the scientific literature on biological effects of EMF exposure
  • identifies gaps in knowledge requiring research that will improve health risk assessments
  • formally assesses health risks of EMF exposure after the required research is completed

Conclusion so far:

  • Current scientific evidence indicates that exposure to RF fields, such as those emitted by mobile phones and their base stations, is unlikely to induce or promote cancers.

Further research:

  • A large epidemiology study across 10 countries (co-ordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer) is being conducted to identify whether there are any links between mobile phones and cancer.
  • WHO is also looking into the effects of radio frequencies on human health in general, the environment and interferencewith electromagnetic devices.

Recommendations from published fact sheet, June 2000:

  • strict adherence to Guidelines - RF signals in areas of public access surrounding base stations are far below international guidelines
  • protective measures such as fences to be erected around some base stations
  • sensitive siting of base stations

International EMF Project available at www.who.ch/peh-emf

Other Links

Dr. John E. Moulder, Professor of Radiation Oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US, prepared a report in October 1999 at the request of FEI on the evidence relating to radiofrequency radiation and cancer. Downloadable Acrobat pdf file (181k) of the report.

 

No Established Adverse Health Effects

Mobile phones operate by using radio waves, a form of non-ionising radiation. There is a large body of scientific evidence on the effects of exposure to radio waves because they have been widely used for decades: for example, radio, TV and radar signals are radio waves. The scientific consensus is that, apart from the increased risk of a road accident due to mobile phone use when driving, there is no clear evidence of adverse health effects from the use of mobile phones or from phone masts. (Source: Health Protection Agency, Health Advice on Mobile Phones, May 2010).

A Wealth of Research

A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use. (Source: World Health Organisation Fact Sheet N°193, June 2011).