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Antisocial Behaviour: Mosquito Device

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of the ultrasonic antisocial behaviour deterrent device Mosquito on retail workers under the age of 25 years; (134933)

(2) what discussions he has held with (a) audiologists, (b) radiation experts, (c) animal rights groups and (d) trade unions in respect of the ultrasonic antisocial behaviour deterrent device Mosquito;

(3) what assessment he has made of the (a) social consequences and (b) environmental impact of the ultrasonic antisocial behaviour deterrent device Mosquito.

[holding answers 30 April 2007]: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has not held any discussions with audiologists, radiation experts, animal rights groups or trade unions in respect of the ‘Mosquito’ device. The device is a commercially available device and is not subject to endorsement by the Home Office.

As we understand it the Health and Safety Executive has considered the literature available on the Mosquito device in order to determine whether there is any risk to health, either to hearing or other effects, which might be relevant under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, etc. 1974. The Health and Safety Executive concluded that the literature available on very high frequency/ultrasound units of this type did not identify any significant and relevant health effects that may harm children/youths exposed to vhf/ultrasound in the long-term.

The Health and Safety Executive also considered that in terms of noise exposure in the context of the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, and therefore possible implications for persons working in proximity to these units, at the stated output level (for the Mosquito unit) of an A-weighted sound pressure level of 76 dB, for the likely daily duration of exposure, there was not likely to be any risk of an exposed person suffering hearing damage. They concluded that based on the information and evidence available, and while there is the possibility of some short-term subjective effects if the duration of exposure is prolonged, there would appear to be little likelihood of persons exposed to vhf/ultrasound from this device suffering long-term ill health.

The Home Office has not therefore undertaken any assessment of the social consequences, environmental impact or consequences of the Mosquito device on retail workers under the age of 25.