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Press Release

Mobile Telecommunications & Health Research Programme

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 has published their conclusions today as part of its 2007 Report.

The six year research programme 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 10 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 re-assuring 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.

12th September 2007

Notes For Editors

The Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme was set up in response to the research recommendations contained within the ‘Stewart Report’.

The Programme received approximately £8.8 million of funding from a variety of government and industry sources.

To ensure the independence of the research carried out, scientific management of the programme was entrusted to an independent Programme Management Committee made up of independent experts, mostly senior university academics. Funds contributed by the sponsors of the Programme are managed on behalf of the Committee by the Department of Health as Secretariat to the Programme.

The first Chairman of the Programme Management Committee was Sir William Stewart and he was succeeded in November 2002 by Professor Lawrie Challis, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Nottingham and formerly Vice-chairman of the Stewart Committee.

The Programme was set up in 2001 and has supported 28 individual research projects, mostly undertaken in UK universities. Of these, 23 have now been completed and most have published results in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals (23 papers to date, with more expected in the near future).

The Report 2007 summarises the state of knowledge at the time of the Stewart Report and the current state of knowledge, taking account of both research supported by the Programme and that carried out elsewhere. It also provides an indication of future research priorities.

Details of all the projects supported by the Programme are published on its web site (http://www.mthr.org.uk).


Press Enquiries:

For news enquires please call the Science media Centre – 02076702980 smc@sciencemediacentre.org

For non-news media enquires please call – Nigel Cridland – MTHR Scientific Co-ordinator 01235822666 MTHRDL@hpa.org.uk.



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