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Health and safety 

Child Internet Safety

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) unites over 100 organisations from the public and private sector working with Government to deliver recommendations from Dr Tanya Byron's report 'Safer Children in a Digital World' (

Reporting directly to the Prime Minister, the Council will help to improve the regulation and education around internet use, provide help in providing independent quotations, tackling problems around online bullying, safer search features, and violent video games. This coalition of experts and organisations aims to ensure that parents and young people have a voice in the development of a Child Internet Safety Strategy, to be delivered in 2009.

The Executive Board to the Council will be chaired by Home Offfice and DCSF Ministers and is expected to meet on a quarterly basis. Its role will be to provide strategic support and direction to Council activity, hold the Chairs of the working and sub groups to account and ensure progress against the strategy is secured. Dr Mike Short, who is a member of the MoLeNET Advisory Board in his capacity as Chair of the Mobile Data Association, has been appointed to the Executive Board. The membership of the Board is:

Mobile phone alleged health risks - Key reports and research

The Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP)

At the request of the then Minister for Public Health an independent committee, under the chairmanship of Sir William Stewart, was set up to report on Mobile Phones and Health. The committee’s report, published in May 2000 (available at, was the most comprehensive in the world and concluded that:

  • The balance of evidence at that time suggested that exposures to emissions of radiation from mobile phones, at levels below NRPB and ICNIRP guidelines, do not cause adverse health effects to the general population.
  • There was scientific evidence however which suggested that there may be biological effects occurring at exposures below these guidelines.
  • A precautionary approach to the use of mobile phone technologies was recommended until much more detailed and scientifically robust information on any health effects becomes available.
  • More research was needed

Link Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR)

Following the publication of the report by the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones a research programme, called the Link Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR), was set up to look into the possible health impact of Mobile Telecommunications.  Details of all the projects supported by the Programme are published on its web site (

MTHR 2007 Report

Key messages from the 2007 Report press release, published in September 2007, are:

  • The six year research programme has found no association between short term mobile phone use and brain cancer. Studies on volunteers also showed no evidence that brain function was affected by mobile phone signals or the signals used by the emergency services (TETRA). The MTHR programme management committee believes there is no need to support further work in this area.
  • The research programme also included the largest and most robust studies of electrical hypersensitivity undertaken anywhere in the world. These studies have found no evidence that the unpleasant symptoms experienced by sufferers are the result of exposure to signals from mobile phones or base stations.
  • The situation for longer term exposure is less clear as studies have so far only included a limited number of participants who have used their phones for 10 years or more. The committee recommends more research be conducted in this area.
  • The MTHR programme also investigated whether mobile phones might affect cells and tissue beyond simply heating them. The results so far show no evidence for this and the committee believes there is no need to support further work in this area.
  • The research programme has also funded some basic measurements of radio signals from microcell and picocell base stations such as those found in airports, railway stations and shopping malls. These have shown that exposures are well below international guidelines.
  • Additional studies also confirmed that the use of a mobile phone while driving, whether hand-held or hands-free, causes impairment to performance comparable to that from other in-car distractions. There are however indications that the demand on cognitive resources from mobile phones may be greater.
  • The full 2007 Report can be downloaded from the MTHR website at

WiFi alleged health risks

On 12th October 2007 the Health Protection Agency announced that it is going to "carry out a systematic programme of research into wireless local area networks (WLANs) and their use. This will include measurements of exposures from the Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) network and is part of the Agency's ongoing programme of work in the area of electromagnetic fields."

Professor Pat Troop, Chief Executive of the Health Protection Agency said: "There is no scientific evidence to date that WiFi and WLANs adversely affect the health of the general population. The signals are very low power, typically 0.1 watt (100 milliwatts) in both the computer and the router (access point) and the results so far show exposures are well within ICNIRP guidelines. Given this, there is no particular reason why schools and others should not continue to use WiFi or other wireless networks. However there has not been extensive research into what people's exposures actually are to this new technology and that is why we are initiating this new programme of research and analyses. We have good scientific reasons to expect the results to be re-assuring and we will publish our findings."