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Aerials: Health Hazards

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what monitoring and reviewing of the evidence of the symptoms of radio frequency radiation the Health Protection Agency has undertaken in the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (285575)

[holding answer 9 July 2009]: The HPA carries out research on radiofrequency radiation, monitors other studies, and conducts comprehensive reviews of the scientific evidence. The independent Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR) also prepares reviews for the HPA of the evidence for health effects. AGNIR published a review of health effects in relation to radio waves in 2003 (see documents of the NRPB, volume 14, number 2: “Health Effects from Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields: Report of an independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation”), and the HPA in 2004 (see documents of the NRPB, volume 15, number 3: “Review of the Scientific Evidence for Limiting Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (0-300 GHz)”). These publications are both available on the HPA website. AGNIR is commencing another review of the health effects of radio wave exposures, which is expected to take two to three years to complete.

A copy of the report “Report 2007” from the independently managed Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR), funded by Government and industry, has been placed in the Library. None of the studies completed demonstrated that biological or adverse health effects are produced by radiofrequency exposure from mobile phones or base stations. Further research is being carried out to address longer-term exposures and to assess whether hypersensitivity symptoms can be caused by exposure to terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) signals. Further information on these studies is available on the MTHR website at:

www.mthr.org.uk/research_projects/MTHR2_projects.htm

The HPA has concluded that there is no consistent evidence to date that exposure to radio waves from wireless networks adversely affects the health of the general population. Radiofrequency exposures are likely to be lower than those from mobile phones and well within the internationally accepted guidelines from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. The HPA keeps the situation under ongoing review. The HPA is carrying out a systematic programme of research into wireless local area networks and their use, expected to be complete in 2010. Details can be seen on the HPA website at:

www.hpa.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733726123?p=1171991026241