Mobile phone industry response to Federal Government report on electromagnetic radiation

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) said today that the Government response to the Senate Inquiry into electromagnetic radiation should reassure the Australian public about the safety of mobile phone technology.

"The Inquiry found no substantiated scientific evidence of health effects from mobile phones and their base stations that comply with strict safety guidelines, which has now been reiterated by the Government," said AMTA CEO Graham Chalker.

"This is consistent with other recent government and expert reviews internationally, including the landmark review completed by the World Health Organisation (WHO)," he said.

Australians have embraced mobile technology for benefits, including convenience, personal security and safety, and they should be reassured by this report. There are now almost 13 million mobile phone subscriptions in Australia and almost half of all calls to ‘000’ are made from a mobile phone.

The industry supports reasonable recommendations consistent with an open and responsive approach to mobile phone issues and the provision of information to assist people’s understanding of these issues. This has been shown by the industry’s initiative to report SAR levels for all new mobile phones sold in Australia.

In addition, the industry has introduced a new code to increase consultation with the community when mobile phone base stations are built. The code, which was recently registered by the Australian Communications Authority, will address community concerns about the design, operation and selection of sites for communications facilities.

"We acknowledge some people have concerns about the safety of this technology and support continuing independent research in line with the multinational WHO research program and the provision of reliable and accurate information to consumers by government and industry.

"Recent reviews and investigations, including those undertaken by the WHO, the European Commission, the American Cancer Society, and the governments of Britain and the Netherlands, support the international consensus on mobile phone safety (see next page). However, we are committed to addressing any remaining health concerns responsibly," Mr Chalker said.

AMTA supports the continuation of the National Health & Medical Research Council research program, which is paid for by an industry levy on radiocommunications license fees of $1 million per year.

Mobile phones are designed, built and tested to comply with strict science based guidelines which are recognized by health agencies around the world. International scientific consensus gives reason to be confident in the safety of this technology, Mr Chalker said.

Media enquiries to Matt Stafford on 03 9685 7518 or 0409 977 358

Recent expert assessments on mobile phones and health

Health Council of the Netherlands (2002)

The Health Council of the Netherlands released its report of a review of the research on 28 January 2002 and therefore represents the latest scientific advice in this field. In announcing its advisory report to the Dutch Government, the Health Council said: The electromagnetic field of a mobile telephone does not constitute a health hazard, according to the present state of scientific knowledge. Therefore, there are no reasons for a revision of the exposure limits. This is the main conclusion of an advisory report that has been presented today to the Dutch Government by the Health Council of the Netherlands.

American Cancer Society (2001)

The American Cancer Society conducted a review of the research on mobile phone technology and cancer and presented the findings in March 2001. The review found: In summary, there is now considerable epidemiological evidence that shows no consistent association between cellular phone use and brain cancer. …the lack of ionizing radiation and the low energy level emitted from cell phones and absorbed by human tissues makes it unlikely that these devices cause cancer.

European Commission’s Scientific Committee (2001)

The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) in 2001 found: The additional information which has become available on carcinogenic and other non-thermal effects of radiofrequency and microwave radiation frequencies in the last years does not justify a revision of exposure limits set by the Commission on the basis of the conclusions of the 1998 opinion of the Steering Scientific Committee. In particular, in humans, no evidence of carcinogenicity in either children or adults has resulted from epidemiological studies…

World Health Organisation (2000)

The World Health Organisation in June 2000 issued advice to the public on the health safety of mobile phone sand their base stations in light of recent reviews of the effects on human beings of exposure to radiofrequency fields. The WHO concluded: None of the recent reviews have concluded that exposure to the RF (radio frequency) fields from mobile phones and their base stations cause any adverse health consequences. …Present scientific information does not indicate the need for any special precautions for use of mobile phones.

UK Independent Expert Group (Stewart Report) (2000)

In April 1999, the UK Government established an Independent Expert Group to rigorously assess the current state of research into the health impacts of mobile phones. In April 2000, the finding of the Independent Expert Group, known as the Stewart Inquiry, was that mobile phones do not cause adverse health effects. The balance of evidence to date suggests that exposure to RF radiation below NRPB and ICNIRP guidelines does not cause adverse health effects to the general population.

6 February 2003

Mobile phone industry response to Federal Government report on electromagnetic radiation

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) said today that the Government response to the Senate Inquiry into electromagnetic radiation should reassure the Australian public about the safety of mobile phone technology.

"The Inquiry found no substantiated scientific evidence of health effects from mobile phones and their base stations that comply with strict safety guidelines, which has now been reiterated by the Government," said AMTA CEO Graham Chalker.

"This is consistent with other recent government and expert reviews internationally, including the landmark review completed by the World Health Organisation (WHO)," he said.

Australians have embraced mobile technology for benefits, including convenience, personal security and safety, and they should be reassured by this report. There are now almost 13 million mobile phone subscriptions in Australia and almost half of all calls to ‘000’ are made from a mobile phone.

The industry supports reasonable recommendations consistent with an open and responsive approach to mobile phone issues and the provision of information to assist people’s understanding of these issues. This has been shown by the industry’s initiative to report SAR levels for all new mobile phones sold in Australia.

In addition, the industry has introduced a new code to increase consultation with the community when mobile phone base stations are built. The code, which was recently registered by the Australian Communications Authority, will address community concerns about the design, operation and selection of sites for communications facilities.

"We acknowledge some people have concerns about the safety of this technology and support continuing independent research in line with the multinational WHO research program and the provision of reliable and accurate information to consumers by government and industry.

"Recent reviews and investigations, including those undertaken by the WHO, the European Commission, the American Cancer Society, and the governments of Britain and the Netherlands, support the international consensus on mobile phone safety (see next page). However, we are committed to addressing any remaining health concerns responsibly," Mr Chalker said.

AMTA supports the continuation of the National Health & Medical Research Council research program, which is paid for by an industry levy on radiocommunications license fees of $1 million per year.

Mobile phones are designed, built and tested to comply with strict science based guidelines which are recognized by health agencies around the world. International scientific consensus gives reason to be confident in the safety of this technology, Mr Chalker said.

Media enquiries to Matt Stafford on 03 9685 7518 or 0409 977 358

Recent expert assessments on mobile phones and health

Health Council of the Netherlands (2002)

The Health Council of the Netherlands released its report of a review of the research on 28 January 2002 and therefore represents the latest scientific advice in this field. In announcing its advisory report to the Dutch Government, the Health Council said: The electromagnetic field of a mobile telephone does not constitute a health hazard, according to the present state of scientific knowledge. Therefore, there are no reasons for a revision of the exposure limits. This is the main conclusion of an advisory report that has been presented today to the Dutch Government by the Health Council of the Netherlands.

American Cancer Society (2001)

The American Cancer Society conducted a review of the research on mobile phone technology and cancer and presented the findings in March 2001. The review found: In summary, there is now considerable epidemiological evidence that shows no consistent association between cellular phone use and brain cancer. …the lack of ionizing radiation and the low energy level emitted from cell phones and absorbed by human tissues makes it unlikely that these devices cause cancer.

European Commission’s Scientific Committee (2001)

The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) in 2001 found: The additional information which has become available on carcinogenic and other non-thermal effects of radiofrequency and microwave radiation frequencies in the last years does not justify a revision of exposure limits set by the Commission on the basis of the conclusions of the 1998 opinion of the Steering Scientific Committee. In particular, in humans, no evidence of carcinogenicity in either children or adults has resulted from epidemiological studies…

World Health Organisation (2000)

The World Health Organisation in June 2000 issued advice to the public on the health safety of mobile phone sand their base stations in light of recent reviews of the effects on human beings of exposure to radiofrequency fields. The WHO concluded: None of the recent reviews have concluded that exposure to the RF (radio frequency) fields from mobile phones and their base stations cause any adverse health consequences. …Present scientific information does not indicate the need for any special precautions for use of mobile phones.

UK Independent Expert Group (Stewart Report) (2000)

In April 1999, the UK Government established an Independent Expert Group to rigorously assess the current state of research into the health impacts of mobile phones. In April 2000, the finding of the Independent Expert Group, known as the Stewart Inquiry, was that mobile phones do not cause adverse health effects. The balance of evidence to date suggests that exposure to RF radiation below NRPB and ICNIRP guidelines does not cause adverse health effects to the general population.