HL Deb 29 July 2002 vol 638 cc142-3WA
Lord Campbell-Savours

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether research into the incidence of cancer at a primary school in Valladolid in Spain is being considered by departmental officials with responsibility for mobile transmittal licensing policy. [HL5205]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

The early reports of a cancer incidence in Valladolid in Spain were first noted in December 2000 and have subsequently been reported in the press. After this case received much national and international attention the World Health Organisation released a statement saying that none of the recent reviews has concluded that exposure to the radiofrequency (RF) fields from mobile phones or their base stations causes any adverse health consequence.

The Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (the Stewart Group) was set up to investigate the public health implications of mobile phone technologies. Its report, based on a review of all available research to date, was published in May 2000. It concluded that the balance of evidence does not suggest that the mobile phone technologies put the health of the general population at risk. It did, however, include a recommendation to set up a substantial research programme. This programme, jointly funded by government and industry, is currently under way.

The Stewart Group also recommended that there should be an audit of base stations to ensure that exposure guidelines were not exceeded and that base stations on or near to sensitive sites should be a priority. The Radiocommunications Agency, an executive agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, undertook 100 audits in 2001 on schools with masts on their premises, and this exercise showed a level of emissions far below the international guidelines. All the results are on the agency website (www.radio.gov.uk).