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New report on mobile phone research published

Mobile phones have not been found to be associated with any biological or adverse health effects, according to the UK’s largest investigation into the possible health risks from mobile telephone technology.

The Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) Programme published its conclusions on September 12 as part of its 2007 Report.

The six-year research programme, chaired by Professor Lawrie Challis, Emeritus Professor of Physics at The University of Nottingham, has found no association between short term mobile phone use and brain cancer. Studies on volunteers also showed no evidence that brain function was affected by mobile phone signals or the signals used by the emergency services (TETRA).

The MTHR programme management committee believes there is no need to support further work in this area.

The research programme also included the largest and most robust studies of electrical hypersensitivity undertaken anywhere in the world. These studies have found no evidence that the unpleasant symptoms experienced by sufferers are the result of exposure to signals from mobile phones or base stations.

The situation for longer-term exposure is less clear as studies have so far only included a limited number of participants who have used their phones for ten years or more. The committee recommends more research be conducted in this area.

The MTHR programme also investigated whether mobile phones might affect cells and tissue beyond simply heating them. The results so far show no evidence for this and the committee believes there is no need to support further work in this area.

Professor Lawrie Challis, Chairman of MTHR, said: “This is a very substantial report from a large research programme. The work reported today has all been published in respected peer-reviewed scientific or medical journals.

“The results are so far reassuring but there is still a need for more research, especially to check that no effects emerge from longer-term phone use from adults and from use by children.”

The research programme has also funded some basic measurements of radio signals from microcell and picocell base stations such as those found in airports, railway stations and shopping malls. These have shown that exposures are well below international guidelines.

Additional studies also confirmed that the use of a mobile phone while driving, whether hand-held or hands-free, causes impairment to performance comparable to that from other in-car distractions. There are however indications that the demand on cognitive resources from mobile phones may be greater.

Details of all the projects supported by the Programme are published on its web site:

Emma Thorne | alfa
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