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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
3G masts 'cause health problems'
mobile phone masts
The location of mobile phone masts has caused controversy
Phone masts for the high-tech third generation mobile phones cause headaches and nausea, researchers have claimed.

Dutch government scientists looked at the signals transmitted by base stations for the new phones.

They operate at a higher frequency than those for traditional mobiles.

But mobile phone manufacturers and radiation experts said more research was needed before it could be concluded that the phone masts damaged health.

We can't rely on one study
Dr Mike Clark, National Radiological Protection Board
The first third-generation mobile phone network opened in the UK in March this year.

The technology allows callers to see each other and send video footage via their phone.

Campaigners have expressed concerns that radiation from mobile phones could be linked to conditions ranging from cancer to blood clots in the brain.


The Dutch study exposed volunteers in laboratories to radiation from 3G and "traditional" masts - without telling them which version they were being exposed to.

Seventy-two people took part in the study, half of whom had complained about the health effects of living near traditional mobile masts.

The survey found both those who had complained about mobile phones radiation - and even those who had not - complained about significant levels of nausea, headaches and tingling sensations when they were exposed to signals that mimicked third generation mobile networks.

A spokesman for the Dutch Economics Ministry, said: "If the test group was exposed to third generation base station signals, there was a significant impact.

"They felt tingling sensations, got headaches and felt nauseous."

In contrast, exposure to radiation from standard masts showed no significant effect.

Maarten Lortzer, a spokesman for the Dutch research organisation TNO, which carried out the research on behalf of the government, told BBC News Online: "These findings were very unexpected.

"It means that there are a whole lot of other questions coming up."

He said other studies needed to be carried out to confirm the finding.


Dr Mike Clark, scientific spokesman for the National Radiological Protection Board, said mobile phone users should not be worried.

"Until the finding is repeated, they should not be concerned. We can't rely on one study, however good the research and the organisation behind it. It does need to be replicated."

He said similar research would be carried out as part of UK's Mobile Telecommunications Health Research Programme.

The GSM Association, which represents mobile phone companies, said: "As the effects are small, it is unclear whether they have any health significance."

A spokesman for Ericsson, said: "Our position is that there is no scientific evidence that there are any health problems associated with radio waves from mobile communications."

A major long-term study looking at the health risk of mobile phones is currently being carried out by the International Agency on Research on Cancer.

3G goes live in the UK
03 Mar 03  |  Technology

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