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09/01/2005 - Stewart Report Update

On Tuesday 11th January 2005, in London, Sir William Stewart launches his updated report on the state of the scientific evidence regarding whether or not mobile phones and their base stations may be dangerous. It should be remembered that current Department of Health Advice is that children and young people under 16 should only use a mobile phone for essential calls and should keep these calls short.

It is believed that he will state that the evidence for possible harm has become stronger in the (almost) 5 years since the publication of his original IEGMP Report. Recently the EUREFLEX project [more details] confirmed DNA and protein changes in repeated laboratory experiments that point towards the likelihood that mobile phone use and maybe base station microwave emissions may both be a cause of increased numbers of cancers. Not only has the acoustic neuroma link with brain tumours been confirmed recently, but the incidence of other tumours also seem to sharply rise after 5 years of using a mobile phone only once per day. Other effects reported include headaches, chronic fatigue and early onset dementia when people get to middle age. Leif Salford's work with rats shows good reason for young people not to hold a mobile phone to their head. [more details]

It is believed that Sir William will call for:

  • Stronger advice to parents, children and young people to minimise their use of a mobile phone
  • Improved leaflets giving such advice to be distributed to every house by Government - this was requested in the original report but refused by Government as "too expensive"
  • Mobile phone handset games and music downloads not to be targeted at children
  • Adults to be advised to use a wired land-line phone in preference to making or receiving a mobile phone call whenever possible
  • Companies not to ask employees to use a mobile phone as their main phone
  • When they do use a mobile phone handset, people always to use a hands-free kit with a microwave blocking ferrite on the lead to prevent microwaves travelling up the wire to the ear, or the type with stethoscope air tubes to the ear
  • All base stations to require planning permission - or a requirement that the companies sign a certificate for each base station stating that the microwave radiation to nearby members of the public is as low as possible for the signal coverage needed in that location
  • Maximum microwave exposure near to base stations to be limited to levels much lower than the current ICNIRP guidance levels - ideally less than 0.1 volts/metre in homes
  • Doctors to take claims of mobile phone or mast adverse health reports by their patients seriously, and for the Department of Health to set up a monitoring database of such reports
  • Members of the public who believe that are being affected to be encouraged to take part in the various testing programmes, such as those funded by the UK MTHR, including that at Essex University under Professor Elaine Fox
  • More public money for further research. The MTHR has a £10M draft programme that it believes should be urgently started, but the Goverment is saying that they will only pay a maximum of 50% and that the MTHR must find private sources of the other £5M plus. Considering that the mobile telecomms industry now contributes about £18bn per year to the UK economy, this lack of financial support from Government for good scientific research into possible serious adverse health effects is scandalous.

We also believe that he will be highly critical of the new tax incentive introduced by this Government to allow firms to supply mobile phones and contracts to their employees and to members of their direct family (including children!) free of tax and national insurance. This already applies to large companies and will apply to all employers from April 2005. Powerwatch also considers that this may be anti-competitive under European law - why should mobile phone operators services have a tax advantage over land-line (including cable) telecomms suppliers?

Powerwatch claims that most base stations now being installed in villages, towns and cities, are exploiting a "de-minimis" planning rule that exempts them from needing any consultation with the public or with the local council. The Operators merely need to tell the council that they are installing it. A recent NRPB report, funded by the MTHR, showed that these low-height antennas, often mounted on walls of buildings, actually irradiate the local population to a much higher degree than the taller, more traditional masts. This loophole should be closed. We will issue a more detailed story about this for Tuesday.

The TNO study showed that microwave radiation from 3G base stations seems to create more adverse effects on a person's well being than the older GSM base stations.

More on this will be posted on this website as soon as possible.