HL Deb 12 May 2003 vol 648 cc15-6WA
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government

What action they intend to take following the research undertaken in Sweden, and published in theInternational Journal of Oncology, providing evidence of a link between mobile phone use and brain tumours. [HL2620]

Baroness Andrews

The publication of the Stewart report in May 2000 provided a comprehensive review of the possible health effects of radiofrequency (RF) exposure from the use of mobile phones. Experimental and epidemiological studies gave no indication of a risk of cancer on the basis of evidence available. The expert group did, however, note the limited amount of time that phones had been in use and the need for more research.

Over the last few years a number of review groups for example in Canada, the Netherlands and France as well as the Stewart group have assessed the possible health effects of exposure to RF radiation, as from mobile phone masts. In all cases the conclusion has been that the epidemiological evidence currently available does not suggest that RF exposure causes cancer.

A recommendation in the Stewart report was that there should be a further comprehensive review of the science related to possible health effects of exposure to RF radiation within three years. The Government asked for this review to be carried out by the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) and the board of NRPB asked for this to be undertaken by its independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation. This review is nearing completion and will be finalised by the end of 2003. It will include a review of the totality of scientific evidence related to concerns about the risk of cancer.

The main on-going epidemiology (human health) study related to the use of mobile phones is the Interphone study being conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. This combined series of multi-national case-control studies has greater power to provide definitive information on this subject than any previous or individual study.

Results from the Interphone study are expected in 2004 and more information about this study is available on the web site http://www.iarc.fr/pageroot/ UNITS/RCA4. html

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