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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).