HC Deb 13 June 2003 vol 406 cc379-80W
Mr. John MacDougall

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what evidence he has assessed of cancer rates among people who live or work within a(a) five-mile radius and (b) 10-mile radius of telecommunications masts in the UK. [115939]

Ms Blears

A study of radio and television transmission masts published in 1996 by the Small Area Health Statistics Unit concluded that people living close to such masts are not at increased risk of developing leukaemia.

Radiofrequency (RF) emissions from mobile phone base stations are currently being considered under the LINK mobile telecommunications and health research programme (MTHR). Concerns about possible health risks from exposure to emissions from mobile phone transmitters are being addressed by MTHR in a recently commissioned epidemiological study. Further information can be found on the web site at www.mthr.org.uk.

Over the last few years a number of groups have assessed the possible health effects of exposure to RF radiation. These include reports from a Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel (1999), The Health Council of the Netherlands (2000), an Expert Group set up by the French Government (2001) and the British Medical Association (2001) as well as the Stewart Report (2000). In all cases the conclusion has been that the epidemiological evidence currently available does not suggest that RF exposure causes cancer. The public health implications of mobile phone base stations were comprehensively assessed by the Stewart independent expert group on mobile phones (www.iegmp.org.uk) in May 2000 and concluded that: The balance of evidence indicates that there is no general risk to the health of people living near to base stations on the basis that exposures are expected to be small fractions of guidelines.

Measurements undertaken by the National Radiological Protection Board and the Radiocommunications Agency have confirmed that public exposures are very much lower than the international guidelines and are published on the websites at www.nrpb.org and www.radio.gov.uk respectively.

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