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Swedish Radiation Protection Authority (SSI) - First Annual Report from SSI's Independent Expert Group on Electromagnetic Fields

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December 2003

The Swedish radiation protection authority, SSI (Statens strålskyddsinstitut) has appointed an international independent expert group (IEG) for electromagnetic fields (EMF) and health. They have been asked to evaluate the scientific development and to give advice to the SSI. The IEG will take recent major scientific reviews as starting points and discuss and assess relevant new data and put these in the context of already available information in a series of annual reports to develop a risk assessment of exposure to EMF.

The Authority's report which looked at studies on possible biological effects of radio frequency electromagnetic fields concluded:
" This first annual report of SSI’s independent expert group looks at studies on possible biological effects of radio frequency electromagnetic fields. The focus is on epidemiological and experimental cancer research and on blood-brain barrier damage and heat shock proteins. In none of these areas has there been break through results that have warranted firm conclusions in one way or the other. Indeed, while quite a number of new studies have been published within these areas in recent years, the overall scientific assessment has not changed markedly since the Stewart report was published and the conclusions that were formulated at that time are still to a great extent valid. It is worth noting, however, that intense research is currently ongoing in several countries. This research is often part of a scientific program that has been aimed to fill the gaps in knowledge identified by the WHO EMF Project in order for the WHO to complete its assessment of health risks and electromagnetic fields. Given the complexity of the research area it is essential that both positive and negative results be replicated before accepted. Given the increase of new technologies, it is essential to follow various possible health effects from the very beginning, particularly since such effects may be detected only after a long duration, due to the prolonged latency period of many chronic diseases. Thus, more research is needed to address long-term exposure, as well as diseases other than those included in the ongoing case-control studies."

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).