Report finds no conclusive evidence that Mobile phones pose a health risk, but use by children should be limited
An independent report has found no conclusive evidence that the radiation emitted from mobile phones poses any health risks, but advised children not to use them too much, to be on the safe side.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has said that the evidence should continue to be monitored, but found no conclusive links to cancer, brain disease or infertility in a major survey of all the scientific evidence available.
The report by the Health Protection Agency’s Independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR) considered hundreds of studies of the effects of exposure to radiofrequency (RF), but found no convincing evidence that exposure below internationally agreed guidelines causes health effects in adults or children, including brain tumours or any other kind of cancer. It also found nothing to suggest a link between other conditions such as cardiovascular morbidity and reproductive function.
The majority of studies have focused on RF fields emitted from mobile phones, but these can also be produced by other wireless devices such as Wi-Fi, television and radio transmitters. Studies into these other sources have been limited, but still provided no evidence.
“There are still limitations to the published research that preclude a definitive judgment, but the evidence overall has not demonstrated any adverse effects on human health from exposure to radiofrequency fields below internationally accepted guideline levels,” concluded Professor Anthony Swerdlow, Chairman of AGNIR.
“There has been considerable new scientific evidence published since the last AGNIR report in 2003, and this report further consolidates the evidence base on which the HPA issues its advice,” commented Dr John Cooper, director of the HPA’s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards. “The HPA’s position on mobile phone technologies is in line with the AGNIR’s findings. There is still no convincing scientific evidence that RF field exposures from mobile phones and other radio technologies affect human health at exposure levels below internationally agreed guidelines.”
However AGNIR said that since mobile phones are a relatively new technology and there are only 15 years worth of statistics, the monitoring of evidence must continue, including national brain tumour trends. This stance has been reiterated by HPA, who have also warned against excessive use of mobile phones by children.
“As this is a relatively new technology, the HPA will continue to advise a precautionary approach and keep the science under close review,” added Dr Cooper. “The HPA recommends that excessive use of mobile phones by children should be discouraged and mobile phone Specific Energy Absorption Rates (SAR) values should be clearly marked in the phone sales literature.”
Despite there being no clear evidence to suggest a link between cancer and mobile phone use, the World Health Organisation labelled mobile phones as ‘possibly carcinogenic’ in June last year, despite previously advising that they were safe.
Pressure groups have accused phone manufacturers of hiding health warnings and have called for them to be displayed more prominently. San Francisco passed a law in 2010 that required phone vendors to declare their radiation levels, although a similar requirement in the US state of Maine failed to come to fruition.
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