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News for Year 2010

MOA responds to Tom Watson MP

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Tom Watson MP has, ahead of his adjournment debate in Parliament, published an article on the Guardian website on the issue of the effects of mobile phones on human health, particularly in relation to brain cancers.

Mr Watson is correct in pointing out that many studies have been published on the health effects of mobile phones over the past decade. It is important to note that these studies have been reviewed more than 30 times by independent health agencies in the UK and internationally. These reviews have consistently concluded that there is no evidence to suggest using mobile phones causes adverse health effects.

The most recent review undertaken by the World Health Organisation resulted in the publication of an updated fact sheet on mobile phones and public health in May 2010. It provides information on and summaries of health concerns, protection standards and WHO initiatives.

The Fact Sheet concludes: "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 for mobile phone use."

The fact sheet can be found at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs193/en/index.html

It is also worth noting that, according to Cancer Research UK, brain tumour incidence rates have remained steady in the UK in the past two decades.

There is a long-standing internationally acclaimed research programme in the UK – the Mobile Telecommunications Health Research (MTHR) programme. This is part funded by the industry and Government and a firewall is in place to ensure that there is no external interference in either the studies that are funded within the programme, or the results that are published.

The first phase of the programme has been completed and the MTHR programme management committee published a report in September 2007 summarising the results of the research. The overall conclusion of the report is that, “None of the research supported by the Programme and published so far demonstrates that biological or adverse health effects are produced by radiofrequency exposure from mobile phones."

Further information on the MTHR programme can be found at http://www.mthr.org.uk/research_projects/research.htm

A second round of research is underway, which includes a long-term epidemiological study of mobile phone users, which will look, in greater detail than has been achieved before, for any possible health issues arising from long-term use of a mobile phone. The COSMOS (Cohort Study of Mobile Phone Use and Health) study was successfully piloted in the first MTHR programme and Imperial College launched the main study in April 2010.

Mr Watson’s article suggests that children are most at risk from using mobile phones. This has not been established by science, which has consistently found no evidence of adverse health effects from mobile phones operating within international health and safety guidelines on exposure to radio waves. These guidelines are designed to protect all members of the public, including children.

Some countries have suggested additional precautionary measures for children when using mobile phones, such as texting or using hands-free kits. This advice is not, however, based on any established evidence and is precautionary. There is, in fact, evidence to suggest that introducing precautionary advice which is not supported by scientific evidence can actually increase rather than address concern. Therefore, we do not believe further precautionary measures are warranted.

The Mobile Operators Association and the UK mobile network operators continue to support independent research in the UK and believe it is important to address concerns regarding the use of mobile telecommunications openly and transparently. It is also important to note the reassuring advice of the UK Health Protection Agency, the World Health Organisation, and similar organisations around the world.

 

Latin American Experts Committee on High Frequency Electromagnetic Fields and Human Health

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instituto_edumed_logo Latin American Experts Committee on High Frequency Electromagnetic Fields and Human Health –
A Scientific Review Non-Ionizing Electromagnetic Radiation in the Radiofrequency Spectrum and its Effects on Human Health

   

Comment on Media Claims that Brain Tumour Risk From use of Mobile Phones was Underestimated by the Interphone Study

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17 June 2010

A number of articles in the press on 15 June reported the claims of a small, self selected group, which claimed inaccuracies in the statistical analysis of the recently published paper “Brain tumour risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the INTERPHONE international case-control study”. The Interphone paper was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, and can be accessed via the following link: http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/dyq079v1

 

ICNIRP Note on Interphone Publication

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May 2010

The International Commission on Non Ionizing Radiation Protection has published a note on the publication of the Interphone study.

The note concludes: "ICNIRP recently published a review of the scientific evidence on the health effects of radio frequency exposure from mobile phones. We found the existing evidence did not support an increased risk of brain tumours in mobile phone users within the duration of use yet investigated. The subsequent publication of the Interphone study has added greatly to the volume of evidence available. ICNIRP believes on preliminary review of the results, however, that they do not change the overall conclusions. ICNIRP therefore considers that the results of the Interphone study give no reason for alteration of the current guidelines."

The note can be found at http://www.icnirp.de/documents/ICNIRPnote.pdf

   

WHO Factsheet Electromagnetic Fields and Public Health: Mobile Phones

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May 2010

The World Health Organisation has published an updated fact sheet, on mobile phones and public health, which provides key facts, further information on and summaries of health concerns, protection standards and WHO initiatives.

The Fact Sheet concludes: "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 for mobile phone use."

The fact sheet can be found at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs193/en/index.html

 

Institution of Engineering and Technology

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Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) - Position Statement on the Possible Harmful Biological Effects of Low-Level Electromagnetic Fields of Frequencies up to 300 GHz

May 2010

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has a special interest in any possible health effects of occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) as well as in any due to exposure of the population at large. The IET remains determined to be at the forefront of rigorously examining the scientific evidence for any such effects and identifying any hazards as early as possible. To this end it maintains its Biological Effects Policy Advisory Group on low-level electromagnetic fields (BEPAG).

   

Mobile Operators Welcome Publication of Interphone Study

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MOA welcomes today’s publication of an overall analysis of a multi national, population-based, case-control study of glioma and meningioma in the International Journal of Epidemiology. It is the first in a series of overall analyses of head and neck tumours, published as part of the internationally coordinated Interphone project.

In the present study, the authors reported the following conclusion:
“Overall, no increase in risk of glioma or meningioma was observed with use of mobile phones. There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma at the highest exposure levels, but biases and error prevent a causal interpretation. The possible effects of long-term heavy use of mobile phones require further investigation.”

 

UK COSMOS Study Launched

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30 April 2010

Imperial College London launched a long-term study, on 22 April 2010, on the use of mobile phones and health, known as COSMOS (Cohort Study of Mobile Phone Use and Health). In addition to the UK, four other European countries are taking part in COSMOS: Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands.

   

New Executive Director for MOA

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John Cooke has joined the MOA as Executive Director following the retirement of Mike Dolan.

He has over twenty years experience in managing legislative and regulatory change, competition issues, crisis management, and reputational programmes.

   

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.