BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 September, 2004, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Phone radiation openness demand
Man using mobile phone
Handsets give out different amounts of radiation
It should be easier for mobile phone users to discover the amount of radiation generated by their handsets, a leading expert has said.

Sir William Stewart, head of the Health Protection Agency, chaired an inquiry into mobile phone safety in 2000.

It said radiation levels should be publicised.

But, speaking at the Children with Leukaemia conference in London, Sir William said, while data was available, it was not easily accessible.

He said the phone's Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) - the rate at which the body absorbs emissions from the handset - should be displayed on the handset itself.

Whatever the SAR value of your handset, it will be within safety limits
Mobile Operators Association spokesman
"If it is possible to have football scores on a handset, surely it is possible to have emission levels on them."

Sir William said phone users could find SAR values on the Mobile Manufacturers Forum website, but it was "not easy" because the information was not set out in a way which allowed users to compare the SAR values of different handsets.

No evidence

Mobile phones cannot be sold to unless they fall within the SAR of 2 watts per kilo.

However some models have higher SARs than others.

There has been years of debate over the safety of mobile phones, but there is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that mobile phones pose a risk to health.

Sir William said: "We said in the Stewart report that it's not possible to say categorically that there are not health effects, but what has come out of the industry is that mobile phones are safe."

He said the mobile phone industry in the UK was responsible, but had been "selective" about what it had said about his report.

A spokesman for the Mobile Operators Association, which represents mobile networks rather than handset manufacturers, told BBC News Online: "The information on SAR values is available, but the concern is how easy it is to get hold of."

However, he added: "But whatever the SAR value of your handset, it will be within safety limits.

"The maximum SAR is two, but the safe level is much higher."

Mobile phones 'harm blood cells'
08 Apr 04  |  Health
Q&A: Mobile phone safety
14 Jan 04  |  Health
Fresh fears over mobile phones
19 Jun 02  |  Health

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific