Concerns over long-term health effects of mobile phone antennae

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 January, 2013, 5:00am

Myth or reality?

It is very much a modern-day phenomenon - the sprouting of mobile phone base stations or antennae in recent years has sparked a slew of concerns about their long-term health effects.

Stories about clusters of cancer cases in areas surrounding mobile phone antennae are as widespread and hotly debated as cases of mobile phones themselves allegedly causing cancer through radiation.

Scientists say radio and TV towers put out far greater quantities of radiation than mobile phone base stations but are generally much taller and further from people's homes.

A 2010 study published in the British Medical Journal concluded there was no association between the risk of early childhood cancers and a mother's exposure to mobile phone base stations during pregnancy.

The World Health Organisation says on its website that there is no conclusive evidence that exposure to radio frequency fields from mobile phones or their base stations causes any adverse health consequence.

However, campaigners such as the US group People Against Cell Towers at Schools insist the science is incomplete and want mobile phone base stations to be banned from near schools.

As mobile phone antennae continue to spread and an element of uncertainty remains over their long-term health effects, the concerns of parents like those at the University of Science and Technology are likely to persist.