Survey aims to uncover how mobile phone masts affect our health

Researchers at the University of Essex are embarking on the first phase of a unique project to find out if mobile phone masts, have an adverse effect on our health.

The research team, led by the Department of Psychology, was awarded £250,000 to investigate into widespread public concern regarding exposure to electromagnetic fields emitted from mobile phone masts.

The first phase of the project aims to determine how common sensitivity to these fields is, and in what forms this sensitivity occurs. To do this, 20,000 homes in Colchester and within a 20-mile radius of the town – including Chelmsford, Braintree, Ipswich and Colchester – will shortly be receiving a questionnaire.

Professor Elaine Fox, who is leading the project, said: ’We need as many members of the public as possible to complete and return their questionnaires. This survey, and the results we hope to achieve from it, will be instrumental in finding out just how many people experience symptoms associated with electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome (EHS) and in creating a index that can easily identify sensitive individuals.’

This is one of the largest surveys of its kind in Europe, and the first to address the impact of electromagnetic fields emitted from mobile phones, and their base stations.

The team aim to analyse the responses from the questionnaires over the next few months. The next stage of the project will then be to invite people to participate in a study to determine whether exposure to electromagnetic fields has a clear effect on a variety of health indices.

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