x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Debate rages over health risks of mobile towers

The Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation says there are no convincing evidence to suggest mobile phones and transmitter masts could harm health, but other reports challenge that.

A long-standing debate has raged between telecoms companies and researchers over the health risks of electromagnetic fields and radio-frequency radiation.

The BioInitiative Report, compiled by professionals from 10 countries last year, concluded bioeffects can occur in the first few minutes of exposure to levels associated with mobile and cordless phone use.

A few minutes exposure to mobile-phone masts, Wi-Fi and wireless utility meters can result in illness, the report said.

Authors point out to five mobile tower studies that reported headaches, concentration difficulties and behavioural problems in children and adolescents, as well as sleep disturbances and headaches in adults after long exposure.

But such reports have also received flak from several companies and health organisations for being unscientific.

In April, the Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation said there was no convincing evidence to suggest mobile phones and transmitter masts could harm health.

The Health Protection Agency in the UK said that, although there was a lack of convincing evidence, it advised a precautionary approach and discouraged excessive exposure, especially among children.

aahmen@thenational.ae