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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 15:18 GMT
'No evidence' of mast health risk
Mobile phone
Handsets and masts posed no health problems, Prof Barker said
Mobile phone masts and handsets are no more dangerous than television or radio transmitters, an expert has suggested.

Communities often use health arguments to protest over their construction but Prof Anthony Barker said there was no proof they had an adverse effect.

He said TV transmitters had a similar strength field but people did not question their construction.

Residents often protest strongly over perceived health risks in positioning masts near homes and schools.

Prof Barker told an audience of students and academics at the University of Ulster: "There is no reason to expect mobile phone signals - which are essentially low-powered radio transmissions - to be bad for health."

Television presence

He said that for over 80 years there have been wireless transmissions - "we have big TV and broadcast radio transmitters all around us".

He said concerns were only raised when phone masts - "which is also a radio transmitter" - were proposed.

Prof Barker has three decades experience studying the biological effects of electromagnetic fields.

He is based at the Department of Medical Physics of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

In September 2005, a Worcester family faced financial ruin after losing a two-year legal battle against mobile phone company Hutchison 3G which erected a mast near their home.

The High Court rejected the case of Agnes Ingvasdottir and Eirikur Petursson that the mast caused health problems.

A laboratory study concluded last year that radio waves from mobile phones do harm body cells and damage DNA.

However, the European Union-funded Reflex research did not prove such changes were a risk to human health.

The UK government-commissioned Stewart report in 2000 concluded there was no evidence of harm associated with using mobile phones.

Q&A: Mobile phone safety
21 Dec 04 |  Health
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12 Sep 05 |  Hereford/Worcs
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