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UK government announces new research programme into effects of mobile phones

15 May, 2000

The Department of Health has issued a response to the report of the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones and Health (IEGMP) .

Yvette Cooper, Minister for Public Health said "The Government commissioned Sir William Stewart's report to determine whether there were any risks to health from this fast-expanding new technology. We welcome his group's report, which breaks new ground. It is the world's most comprehensive review of the possible health effects of mobile telecommunications. Sir William states that the balance of evidence does not suggest that mobile phone technologies are a risk to health. He points out that some biological effects may occur with mobile phone use, although these do not necessarily mean that health is affected. Importantly, his report states that currently there are gaps in scientific knowledge."

The Government is to rapidly expand the research programme into the effects of mobile phone use. The NHS Director of Research and Development Professor Sir John Pattison and the Chief Medical Professor Liam Donaldson are to prepare a comprehensive, multi-million pound research strategy, spanning several years.

At the moment a precautionary approach is being recommended with mobile telephones, especially with regard to children. The report states that children are particularly vulnerable because of their developing nervous system, the greater absorption of energy in tissues of the head, and a longer lifetime of exposure.