A team of leading scientists has dismissed health fears about harmful radiation caused by mobile phones, Wi-Fi technology and phone masts.
In a 20-page report released this week called Making Sense of Radiation, scientists have also criticised ill-informed ‘headline grabbing publications’ for generating anxiety among the general public.
Professor Elaine Fox, of the University of Essex, carried out a study last year in which no evidence of short-term symptoms from mobile phone masts was found, yet action groups continue to campaign.
‘By not paying attention to the scientific evidence, a lot of unnecessary panic and anxiety is being generated,’ Fox explains. Dr Eric de Silva of Imperial College London adds that ‘this document serves as a much needed correction to such confusion, replacing hyperbole with clearly explained evidence-based science.’
Radiation shielding products
The report, produced by the charity, Sense About Science, also critises companies for relying on the general public’s fear to sell their products. On the market alongside low-radiation cordless phones, there are now also shields, which manufacturers claim reduce exposure to EMFs (Electromagnetic fields).
Neil Bullock of Mummywraps, a New Zealand-based company selling fabric radiation shields for pregnant mothers says, ‘perhaps it is prudent to err on the side of caution’, while Sarah Paine of EMFeilds in Ely, Cambridgeshire claims that ‘there is an abundance of evidence demonstrating that there is a possibility of a risk’.
Doctor Stephen Keevil is a Consultant Physicist in MRI at the Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. He believes that ‘pedalling misleading information is a cynical means for unscrupulous charlatans to make money’.
Jon Barrow, Which? magazine’s senior telecoms researcher welcomed the report. ‘The current advice from the Health Protection Agency is that there’s no scientific evidence that Wi-Fi can have an adverse effect on your health. While it’s important that we continue to monitor the situation, publications would do well to remember this advice instead of spreading scare stories that have little scientific basis. And consumers should also bare it in mind before buying expensive products that claim to protect them from a danger that hasn’t been proven to exist.’
The report, Making Sense of Radiation, was put together with the assistance of the British Institute of Radiology, the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
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