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UK NRPB's Independent Advisory Group on Non- ionising Radiation (AGNIR) report: 'Health Effects from Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields'

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December 2003

The Stewart Report of May 2000 (IEGMP) recommended that, "the issue of possible health effects from mobile phone technology should be the subject of a further review in three years time, or earlier if circumstances demand it."

In responding to the recommendations in the report, the government asked the Board of NRPB to undertake this further review and the Board requested its independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR) to carry this out. AGNIR was set up in 1990 with terms of reference 'to review work on the biological effects of non-ionising radiation relevant to human health and to advise on research priorities.' Having reviewed the science AGNIR found:

"Exposure levels from living near mobile phone base stations are extremely low, and the overall evidence indicates that they are unlikely to pose a risk to human health."

"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 effects from exposures to RF 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."

The Report contained specific conclusions on cellular, animal, brain activity and cognitive function studies and cancer and non-cancer epidemiology.

The full report is available on the Health Protection Agency website at

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).