Wednesday, 1 December 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
144. Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if her attention has been drawn to the widespread concern among the medical profession of over-exposure to mobile phones here, which is resulting in headaches, dizziness, distorted vision and biological effects; her views on whether it is appropriate that mobile phones carry a health warning; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31747/04]
Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. N. Dempsey): I am aware of the concerns to which the Deputy refers and, correspondingly, I maintain within my Department the expertise necessary to advise me on health issues relating to electromagnetic energy, including that related to mobile phone usage. I am advised that the concern is not widespread throughout the medical profession, but is limited to a small number of general practitioners.
Ireland participates in a number of international bodies which undertake detailed programmes of research into interactions between electromagnetic energy and people. The very latest reports in this area conclude that, notwithstanding many years of investigation, no adverse health effects, be they headaches, dizziness, distorted vision or other biological effects, have been demonstrated to have been caused by electromagnetic energy emitted by mobile phones. I appreciate that some people still maintain that these facilities are responsible for various symptoms and illnesses that they suffer. I sympathise with those people. The overwhelming weight of evidence is that facilities such as mobile phones are not responsible for their condition. Focused research is continuing and my Department will monitor this area closely.
Ireland also participates in the relevant bodies that monitor and set guidelines for limiting exposure to electromagnetic energy from such installations to levels many times lower than the experimental levels at which no adverse health effects result — this is known as the “precautionary principle”. These bodies continuously review the relevant research already referred to, and periodically meet to decide whether or not the guidelines continue to be appropriate in the light of the most up-to-date reports. These guidelines are utilised as operating limits in the licences issued to the operators of telecommunications facilities, and measurements carried out on behalf of ComReg, the telecommunications regulator, have shown total compliance with the limits. I am, therefore, advised that there is no reason for me to act in terms of requiring mobile phones to carry a health warning.
|Last Updated: 04/11/2010 10:15:24||Page of 160|