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Mobile phones have been used in the UK since the mid 1980s and there are now more mobile phone connections in the UK than people. With the advent of mobile phones some people expressed concerns that exposures to radio waves - from mobile phones and base stations - could pose a health risk.

Around the world there have been many research programmes to investigate whether there are possible adverse health effects from mobile phones or base stations. Thousands of scientific studies have been published in peer reviewed scientific journals and form the basis for systematic reviews by health agencies.

The balance of evidence from this significant body of research to date suggests there are no established adverse health effects from radio wave exposure from mobile phones or base stations.

However, gaps in scientific knowledge have prompted calls for further study to be conducted. This is happening in the UK and around the world.

In this section is a brief outline of some of the recent health reviews that have examined mobile phone technology and health, and their findings relevant to mobile phones and base stations.

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).