Mobile phone networks and the base stations needed to support them are expected to grow with the implementation of 3G technology, and the NRPB study recommends that “monitoring of potential exposures from 3G base stations should be concomitant with the roll out of the network.”
The public also faces ever-increasing RF exposure from wireless LANs, Bluetooth, UWB (ultrawideband), and RFID (RF identification) technologies. “The issue of signal characteristics, in particular the nature and extent to which they exhibit pulsing, remains a subject of public concern,” the NRPB study says.
Despite the concerns raised, the mobile phone industry, as represented by the Mobile Operators Association (MOA), welcomed the study, stressing that “the key point of the NRPB advice is that there is no hard information linking the use of mobile telephony with adverse health effects.”
The MOA was established to represent the five U.K. mobile phone network operators (Vodafone Group, Orange, T-Mobile, mmO2, and Hutchison 3G UK) on radio frequency health and planning issues.
Still, the NRPB study takes pains to point out that the lack of hard evidence does not mean that mobile phones do not pose a public safety risk. “The widespread use of mobile phone technologies is still fairly recent and technologies are continuing to develop at a pace that is outstripping analyses of any potential impact on health,” the study says.
According to the NRPB, data exists that suggests RF fields can interfere with biological systems. The study also pointed to Swedish research that found an increase in the risk of acoustic neuromas, a type of benign tumor, in people who used mobile phones for over 10 years.
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