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Stewart Report

11 May 2000

NRPB welcomes the report 1 published today from the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) chaired by Sir William Stewart.


The Expert Group has produced a wide-ranging and comprehensive investigation into the present state of knowledge about mobile phones and health. It has also considered broader issues related to the development of the telecommunications industry and its public acceptability. There are over 30 recommendations for Government to consider on a variety of topics, and five recommendations are directed at NRPB. The Board of NRPB will provide a detailed response to the recommendations made about NRPB after the report has been considered by Board members themselves.

Given the rapid expansion of the use of mobile phones by the UK population, and the telecommunications industry's plans for further developments, the IEGMP report is a very timely review of the present state of scientific and medical knowledge. It has also taken account of public attitudes to possible risks from mobile phones and their transmission masts via its series of open meetings around the UK and its call for written evidence. The Expert Group was set up as a body independent of NRPB following a request in April 1999 from the then Minister for Public Health, Tessa Jowell, to the Chairman of NRPB, Sir Walter Bodmer. This arrangement has ensured that the Expert Group has carried out a fresh and thorough investigation of this important topic without preconceptions, and independent from Government or industry.

NRPB is itself an independent statutory body set up to advance the acquisition of knowledge about the protection of mankind from radiation hazards, and to provide information and advice to Government and others with responsibilities for radiological protection. Its remit covers the full spectrum of potential radiation hazards, from x-rays and ultraviolet light through to radiofrequency waves and the electromagnetic fields from power lines. It has given advice on its assessment of the possible health risks from the radiofrequency waves emitted by mobile phones and base stations for some years 2. The Board's advice has always reflected the understanding and evaluation of current scientific evidence. The Board has stated that if and when further relevant information becomes available, such as that produced by the Independent Expert Group, it will review its advice.

Further information on the work of the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP), and the full text of the Stewart Report, can be found at the IEGMP website [external link].

The Stewart Report was discussed at the meeting of the Board of NRPB of 25 May 2000.

1 Sir William Stewart (Chairman) Mobile Phones and Health: A report from the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, Chilton, IEGMP Secretariat (May 2000).

2 NRPB. Statement by NRPB: Advice on the 1998 ICNIRP guidelines for limiting exposure to time-varying electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields (up to 300 GHz) Doc. NRPB, 10, No. 2, 1-3 (1999).

R2/00
11 May 2000

Last reviewed: 5 December 2012