Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Commission to prepare action plan for research into possible health effects of mobile communications

At the initiative of Commissioners Martin Bangemann (Information Technology and Telecommunications) and Padraig Flynn (Public Health), the Commission has nominated a group of eight experts to prepare a blueprint for an action plan for comprehensive research into the health eff...
At the initiative of Commissioners Martin Bangemann (Information Technology and Telecommunications) and Padraig Flynn (Public Health), the Commission has nominated a group of eight experts to prepare a blueprint for an action plan for comprehensive research into the health effects of mobile communications (radio frequency radiation). On the basis of this blueprint, which is expected to be ready by April 1996, the Commission is then intending to launch a comprehensive research programme on this issue.

The Bangemann report on "Europe and the global information society" identified mobile and personal communications as a necessary building block of the Information Society and advised on the strengthening of its potential. Mobile and personal communications are, indeed, expected to become the key motor for growth and innovation in telecommunications over the next decade. In some of the more advanced mobile markets in Europe, it is expected that more than 50% of all telephone accesses will be wireless by as early as the year 2000.

With the growth of mobile and personal communications and the penetration of radio telephony systems into the mass consumer market, questions are, however, increasingly being asked on safety and health related issues. Opposition is, moreover, being expressed against the installation of radio base stations in urban areas because of perceived hazards to human health.

The evidence regarding health and safety risks arising from the use of mobile phones is tenuous. Nevertheless, the subject of human health in conjunction with the use of mobile phones is a very complex matter. While the thermal effects of exposure to radio frequency energy are relatively well known, there is a lively debate as regards the athermal effects for which, however, no convincing adverse effect has been demonstrated. Research into this latter area is difficult and time-consuming and will involve experts from a multiplicity of different disciplines such as biologists, epidemiologists, physicists, pathologists and physicians.

It is in this context that the Commission, supported by the recent Resolutions of the Council and the European Parliament, has adopted a Decision for the preparation of a comprehensive action plan for research in this area.
DE
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