Mobile Phone Use and Health


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GSMAP # 024 Mobile Phone Use and Health : 

March 22nd., 2006 Dhaka, Bangladesh Unrestricted - Industry Unrestricted - Public Unrestricted - Other GSMAP # 024 Mobile Phone Use and Health Unrestricted - Information This document is subject to copyright protection. The GSM MoU Association (“Association”) makes no representation, warranty or undertaking (express or implied) with respect to and does not accept any responsibility for, and hereby disclaims liability for the accuracy or completeness or timeliness of the information contained in this document. The information contained in this document may be subject to change without prior notice. Access to and distribution of this document by the Association is made pursuant to the Regulations of the Association. © Copyright of the GSM MoU Association 2003 GSMAP Doc 024_XX * All GSM Association meetings are conducted in full compliance with the GSM Association’s anti-trust compliance policy Gordon ChangChunghwa Telecom, Taiwan

Bar base stations from residential areas : 

2 Bar base stations from residential areas In December 2005, some legislators in Taiwan proposed that regulations should be changed to restrict mobile operators from building base stations in residential areas because of the complaints about the equipment and health concerns. To build a base station in the future, mobile operators should obtain the endorsement of at least half of the residents within 20m radius area. The proposal also stipulated that existing base stations will have to be removed if more than half of the residents within 20m radius area ask for the removal. The proposal endorsed by 74 lawmakers from across party lines and has already been submitted to the legislative floor for review. Just 40 lawmakers are needed to endorse an issue to make it an official proposal.

The response from mobile operator : 

3 Mr. Tan Hochen, the Chairman of Chunghwa Telecom responded to the proposal: "As there is no substantial proof indicating that exposure to radio frequencies and microwave radiation will pose health risks to the people nearby, we think it will be too messy to restrict construction of base stations by revising the law.". Hochen said restrictions on base stations will result in a major impact on users of mobile phones, since the measure will disrupt wireless connections. 70 percent of Chunghwa Telecom's 7,000 more base stations are in the residential areas. The base stations have cost between NT$3 million (US$89,596) and NT$4 million each. Over 400 of the 20,000 base stations owned by the five nation's mobile operators were dismantled last year. The response from mobile operator

Cell Phone Risks Cited in Studies : 

4 Cell Phone Risks Cited in Studies On February 01, 2006, Nancy McVicar , South Florida Sun-Sentinel Health Writer reported: ” Three European research groups in separate studies have found an increased risk of brain tumors in people who have used the phones for 10 years or more.“,0,7105692.story Two of the studies, one in England and one in Germany, are part of the 13-nation Interphone Study, an effort sanctioned by the WHO to assess possible health risks from the radiation emitted by cell phones. On the Sun-Sentinel story, neither the German nor UK INTERPHONE studies found any overall increased risk for less than 10 years of usage.  The authors do note that they have insufficient numbers of cases to make a determination of risks for greater than 10 years usage. The recent Swedish publication is a reanalysis of data from two prior studies. It suffers from problems of too many comparisons and small numbers of subjects in some categories.

Mobile phone use and risk of glioma in adults: case-control study : 

5 Mobile phone use and risk of glioma in adults: case-control study On 20 January 2006, a publication of a UK population-based case-control study of gliomas in the British Medical Journal is the latest in a series of studies published as part of internationally coordinated INTERPHONE project. ( ) The authors reached the following conclusions: Use of a mobile phone, either in the short or medium term, is not associated with an increased risk of glioma. Overall, they found no raised risk of glioma associated with regular mobile phone use and no association with time since first use, lifetime years of use, cumulative hours of use, or number of calls. It is also important to note that all mobile phones sold comply with international health and safety exposure guidelines.

The Public Perceptions : 

6 The Public Perceptions Media reports regularly carry stories of latest scientific findings of alleged health risk from use of mobile phones or highlight the anxiety of residents when masts are planned for their community. From a consensus scientific perspective compliance with standards is an assurance of safety. However, the public perception is of greater scientific uncertainty and politicians and regulatory authorities feel obliged to respond, especially when subjected to lobbying by special interest groups. The UK mobile communications industry has been tracking attitudes to mobile phone handset and base station health concerns since 1998. It was taken up by the Mobile Operators Association( MOA) and is conducted via MORI's (Market & Opinion Research International) Face-to-Face Omnibus.

Media Headlines Around the World : 

7 Media Headlines Around the World

Public Relies on Media Stories : 

8 Q: Why do you say that mobile phones are unsafe to use because of the health risks? Source: MOA/MORI. Base: All who agree mobile phones are not safe to use because of the health risks (108), September 2003. I have seen stories on the TV I have read stories in national newspapers I have read stories in local newspapers I have heard stories on the radio Teachers at school have told me Friends or family have told me Friends or family have suffered health effects I have suffered health effects personally Information sent to my house Personal observation/research Public Relies on Media Stories

Phones deliver personal benefit : 

9 Phones deliver personal benefit Source: MMF/GSMA/MORI. Base: All mobile phone users (1,511), December 2003. Q In which, if any, of the following situations have you used a mobile phone? For friends/family to contact me in an emergency For help when car I was travelling in broke down To let family or friends know I’m going to be late To let colleagues/clients know I’m going to be late For directions when lost To seek other emergency help/999 calls To report a dangerous situation To seek emergency medical help To report a crime None of these 5% 15% 16% 18% 40% 54% 70% 84% 15% 37%

Significant number concerned : 

10 Significant number concerned Q And which of the following are you also seriously concerned about? Health risks of Mobile phones/ masts = 22% Source: MOA/MORI. Base: All GB adults aged 15+ (2,046 -September 2003).

Understanding The Need for Masts : 

11 Understanding The Need for Masts Initial deployments are driven by coverage. Subsequent sites are driven by capacity.

What are we facing ? : 

12 What are we facing ? There is widespread public concern about the potential adverse health effects of mobile phones, and especially their associated base-stations. Alongside this there are hundreds of, apparently conflicting, reports in the media about the health effects of mobile phones & base-stations. The scientific literature is large and confusing to the public, apparently showing inconsistent effects across studies.

What should we be aware of : 

13 What should we be aware of Mobile phones emit radiofrequency (RF) energy . Exposure to high levels of RF energy can heat body tissue, but RF energy exposures from mobile phones are too low to cause significant tissue heating . Concerns have been raised that RF energy from mobile phones may pose a cancer risk to users . Researchers are studying tumors of the brain and central nervous system (CNS) because mobile phones are held next to the head when used. Studies have not shown any consistent link between mobile phones use and cancer, but scientists feel that additional research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn.

Why is there concern that mobile phones may cause cancer? : 

14 Why is there concern that mobile phones may cause cancer? Mobile phones emit radiofrequency (RF) energy, a form of radiation, which is under investigation for its effects on the human body . Mobile phone technology is perceived as relatively new and is still changing, so there are no long-term studies of the effects of RF energy from mobile phones on the human body . The number of mobile phone users is increasing rapidly. Experts estimate that by 2010, there will be 2.2 billion subscribers worldwide. But Texas Instruments Inc. CEO Rich Templeton said mobile phone users will double to 4 billion people within five years, more than analysts expect, as demand rises in India. (March 15,2006)

How can RF energy affect the body? : 

15 How can RF energy affect the body? Electromagnetic radiation can be ionizing (high-frequency) or non-ionizing (low-frequency) . RF energy belongs to the non-ionizing type of electromagnetic radiation. Ionizing radiation, such as that produced by x-ray machines, can present a health risk at any level of exposure through DNA damage. Non-ionizing radiation can not cause direct DNA damage but there remains concern about possible cancer risk. Mobile phones operate in a frequency ranging from about 800 to 2,200 megahertz (MHz) . In that range, the radiation produced is in the form of non-ionizing RF energy. It is generally agreed that the amount of RF energy encountered by the general public is too low to produce significant tissue heating or an increase in body temperature.

What parts of the body may be affected during mobile phone use? : 

16 What parts of the body may be affected during mobile phone use? Mobile phones are used close to the head, there is concern that the RF energy produced by these devices may affect the brain and nervous system tissue in the head. Researchers have focused on whether RF energy can cause malignant (cancerous) brain tumors such as gliomas (cancers of the brain that begin in the glial cells, which are cells that surround and support nerve cells), as well as benign (non-cancerous) tumors, such as acoustic neuromas (tumors that arise in the cells of the nerve that supplies the ear) and meningiomas (tumors that occur in the meninges, which are the membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord). Research to date provides no convincing evidence of brain cancer risk, however, some scientists suggest that there have been few long term studies.

Children and Mobile Phones: Clarification statement from WHO : 

17 Workshop on guiding public health policy in areas of scientific uncertainty 11-13 July 2005 Ottawa, Canada Children and Mobile Phones: Clarification statement from WHO There have been no adverse health consequences established from exposure to RF fields at levels below the international guidelines on exposure limits published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP, 1998). The ICNIRP guidelines were developed to limit human exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) under conditions of maximum absorption of the fields, which rarely occurs, and the limits incorporate large safety factors to protect workers and even larger safety factors to protect the general public, including children. Present scientific evidence does not indicate the need for any special precautions for the use of mobile phones. If individuals are concerned, they might choose to limit their own or their children's RF exposure by limiting the length of calls, or by using "hands-free" devices to keep mobile phones away from the head and body.

Market Awareness of EMF Issues : 

18 Market Awareness of EMF Issues 1-5 = Low to Medium Awareness 6-10 = Medium to High Awareness No response. GSMA survey of members, Sep 2005. 49 countries responded.

EMF Impacts on Business : 

19 Based on survey of users and expert interviews on the German market Current perceived uncertainty continues: 16% keep call short, 12% use phone less. Revenues decrease by 7.8% (~1.9B€). Germany is about 4% of the global mobile market revenues. Source: Soreon Research (2002), Deutsches Bank (2004), Ovum Ltd (2004) Responsible action on health concerns EMF Impacts on Business

Variety of RF Access Technologies : 

20 3G FDD and TDD Macro-Cell 2.5G 802.16a WiMax 802.11b WiFi WLAN 3G FDD Pico-cell Bluetooth FIXED OFFICE LAN Mobility Range Mbps 10km 100m 10m 0.1Mbps 1Mbps 10Mbps 100Mbps 3G HSDPA Bandwidth Variety of RF Access Technologies

GSMA Internal Management : 

21 Support from Dr Jack Rowley GSMA HQ ( GSMA Internal Management

GSMA 2006 Health Priorities : 

22 GSMA 2006 Health Priorities Support for health research. Expanded information resources. IARC/WHO reviews.

GSMA Health Studies 2000-2006 : 

23 GSMA Health Studies 2000-2006 Main reports scheduled for publication 2005-2006. GSMA contribution 6M€. Overall programme value about 19M€.

GSMA 2005-2008 Programme : 

24 GSMA 2005-2008 Programme GSMA Board approved in March 2005: Priority areas for action: Quantify children’s exposure during mobile phone usage. Support for WHO Int. EMF Project Coordination Activities. RF safety standards and compliance studies. Russian-French study to resolve inconsistent standards. Risk perception research/impact of precautionary advice. Studies of electromagnetic interference issues. Human studies with new radio technologies.

Infocentre Environment Knowledge Base : 

25 Infocentre Environment Knowledge Base

Member Only Information : 

26 Member Only Information Regular updates on developments Alerts on potential media issues

GSMA Public Resources : 

27 GSMA Public Resources

Regular Health Updates : 

28 Regular Health Updates Produced jointly by GSMA and MMF. Mobile Abstracts lists new research publications. Wireless Communications Health Policy Update for regulatory issues. Back issues available: To subscribe email:

Health, Environment & Society : 

29 Health, Environment & Society Next event planned for 11-12 May 2006, Brussels.

IARC/WHO Reviews : 

30 IARC/WHO Reviews Many research findings expected in 2006: Overall INTERPHONE results for brain tumour expected in Q2/2006. Long term animal study results in Q3-Q4/2006. In early 2007 cancer risk assessment by International Agency for Research on cancer (IARC): A specialist WHO agency. In 2008 WHO policy advice to governments. In 2008 ICNIRP to review recommended international exposure guidelines.


31 CONCLUSIONS It is important to learn whether RF energy affects human health, and to provide reassurance if it does not. Although research has not consistently demonstrated a link between mobile phone use and cancer, scientists still caution that more research needs to be done before conclusions can be drawn about the long term risk of cancer from mobile phones. Expert groups generally believe that due to the low level of radio signals there is unlikely to be a health hazard from base stations but the public shows greater concern. There are some reports of EMFs affecting neurotransmitter systems, but no confirmed effects in the peer reviewed scientific literature. We need more well-designed studies to assess biological mechanisms in a more focused way. GSMAP needs continued GSMA supports on responding to health concerns. Recommendations: Subscribe to and access the GSMA information services. Nominate a GSMAP representative for RAG-Health Policy.

Thank You ! Gordon Chang Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwane-mail: : 

32 Thank You ! Gordon Chang Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwane-mail:

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