Health & Safety

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Mobile Masts - No Short-term Harm

28 March 2009

A study by an Essex University team, published on 25 July 2007, in the journal "Environmental Health Perspectives" has concluded that Mobile phone masts do not cause harmful short-term health effects.

mobile phones

The study included a number of people who say they experience symptoms when they are close to Mobile phone masts strongly countered the notion that low-level electromagnetic fields from cellphones or base stations are dangerous. Researchers looked at 2G and 3G phone masts in a laboratory setting under "double blind" conditions, meaning the participants and researchers did not know whether the equipment was turned on. The set-up was designed to mimic the output from a phone mast at 20-30 metres from the subject and concluded that the evidence shows that people could not detect the signals.

Out of the 159 people who took part in the experiment 44 said they were sensitive to electronic equipment. At first the participants were told when the electric field was turned on while being tested. Under these conditions, the electro sensitive participants reported unpleasant symptoms such as headaches and nausea. In three further tests the researchers subjected them to 2G radiation, 3G radiation or no radiation under "double blind" conditions. Under these conditions only two of the electro sensitive group and five of the control group correctly identified whether the electricity was on every time - no better than you would expect by chance alone.

The team also measured heart rate, blood volume pulse (a measure of pressure) and the sweatiness of the subject's skin. All of these should go up when the participants are experiencing unpleasant symptoms or anxiety. The electro sensitive individuals had generally higher scores than the control group for all three, but they did not change when the 2G or 3G radiation was switched on.

Professor Fox, the leader of the Essex University study team, stated in the report's conclusions that scientists and sufferers should now concentrate on finding the real cause of the symptoms. One previous survey found that 4% of people in the UK claim to be sensitive to electronic equipment.