§ Miss McIntosh
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of recent research by the National Radiological Protection Board on the relationship between magnetic fields and the risk of miscarriage. 
§ Mr. Wilson
The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) has not recently conducted specific research into any possible relationship between magnetic fields and the risk of miscarriage.
Two papers have, however, been published in the January 2002 journal Epidemiology by authors funded by the California Department of Health Services. Both papers purport to show an epidemiological association between magnetic fields and the risk of miscarriage and have attracted some media attention.
One leading American epidemiologist has, in an editorial in the same journal, already questioned the papers' findings and the possible influence of confounding factors.
The conclusions of the papers are also contrary to the findings of an expert Standing Committee of the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, who thoroughly reviewed the published epidemiological literature on electric and magnetic fields and health over the last three decades. Their review was published in December 2001.
The NRPB's Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR) will be looking at these papers during the coming weeks and will report its views.