NRPB Report reconfirms scientific consensus that mobile phones do not cause adverse health effects

The UK National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) today reconfirmed its main conclusion from the Stewart Report in 2000 that the balance of evidence suggests mobile phones do not cause adverse health effects, said Graham Chalker, CEO, Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association.

The UK Board agreed with other expert bodies and health authorities around the world, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) in further concluding that widespread use of mobile phones worldwide has not resulted in increases in adverse health effects.

“The report also states that a precautionary approach to the use of mobile phone technologies should continue to be adopted and the industry supports this view,” said Mr Chalker.

A previous report by the NRPB said that the act of carrying out a risk assessment and the addition of safety factors to a safety standard can be both considered a precautionary approach.

Australia has adopted the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines, bringing Australia into line with about 25 countries around the world.

The ICNIRP’s new chair, Paolo Vecchia, said there is no need for a special approach for children or other special groups because the guidelines are already applicable to any group of the population.

“Because EMF exposure guidelines are based on worst-case hypotheses and include reduction factors providing safety margins for possible lack of data, the Commission does not need to create separate guidelines to protect special groups such as children,” said Paolo Vecchia, at the World Health Organization (WHO) International EMF Project's workshop on Children's Sensitivity to EMF in Istanbul in 2004.

Despite the lack of hard evidence of adverse health effects, ultimately it is up to parents whether they allow their children to have a mobile phone. Parents no doubt will be cautious about trading off an unproven possible risk against a known public health and safety benefit.

The WHO also supports the ICNIRP safety standard because it is based on careful analysis of all scientific literature and offers protection against all identified hazards of RF energy with large safety margins.

“The technology used by mobile phones is not new and the potential health impacts of radio frequency energy have been studied in great detail over the past 50 years. Only recently the WHO said that despite the feeling of some people that more research needs to be done, scientific knowledge in this area is now more extensive than for most chemicals.

 “However, the industry acknowledges that some people are genuinely concerned and we are committed to addressing these concerns responsibly through continued support for independent research,” said Mr Chalker.

AMTA supports research, in accordance with the WHO’s research program, to advance the science in relation to mobile phones and health and so that there is accurate information to assist people to make informed choices in relation to mobile technology and health.

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