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ICNIRP Reconfirms RF Exposure Guidelines

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17 August 2009

The International Commission on Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) published a statement on 13 August 2009 reconfirming the 1998 EMF exposure guidelines.

The ICNIRP statement concluded:   

  • "it is the opinion of ICNIRP that the scientific literature published since the 1998 guidelines has provided no evidence of any adverse effects below the basic restrictions and does not necessitate an immediate revision of its guidance on limiting exposure to high frequency electromagnetic fields."
  • "Therefore, ICNIRP reconfirms the 1998 basic restrictions in the frequency range 100 kHz-300 GHz until further notice."

On base stations the statement concluded:

  • "Epidemiological data on possible health effects of chronic, low-level, whole-body exposure in the far-field of radiofrequency (RF) transmitters are poor, especially because of lack of satisfactory individual exposure assessment. The few studies with adequate exposure assessment did not reveal any health-related effects."

Mike Dolan, Executive Director of the Mobile Operators Association, said: "I welcome this statement by independent scientific experts on the continuing relevance of the 1998 ICNIRP guidelines. The public can be reassured that a thorough review of scientific studies has been carried out prior to confirming the 1998 guidelines. ICNIRP will continue to keep the guidelines under review."

ICNIRP also published a review of science on 14 July 2009 that will be part of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) risk assessment of high frequency electromagnetic fields and health expected to be completed within the next two years.

ICNIRP Statement on the "Guidelines for limiting exposure to time-varying electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields (up to 300 GHz)" is available from ICNIRP's website http://www.icnirp.de/ as a pdf: http://www.icnirp.de/documents/StatementEMF.pdf.

The review “Exposure to high frequency electromagnetic fields, biological effects and health consequences (100 kHz-300 GHz)” is available from ICNIRP’s website http://www.icnirp.de/ as a pdf: http://www.icnirp.de/documents/RFReview.pdf.

61% of UK adults access the internet from mobiles

Mobile phones cannot work without a network of base stations (masts). There are approximately 52,500 base station sites (excluding microcells) in the UK. Only a third of these are large, free standing masts. A YouGov survey for MOA (Sept 2014) showed that nearly 8 out of 10 people recognise the link between masts and good mobile coverage. Mobile telecommunications are vital for the UK’s economic competitiveness and in promoting social inclusion. There are now 89.9 million mobile subscriptions in the UK. In Q1 2015 61 per cent of UK adults used their mobile phones for internet access. Tablet ownership is 54% of UK households.

No Established Health Effects

Mobile phones operate by using radio waves, similar to those that have been widely used for decades, for example in radio, TV and radar signals. A large number of studies over the last two decades have found no clear evidence of adverse health effects from the use of mobile phones or from phone masts.