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New lab to study mobile mast risks

Essex uni health project

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A new electromagnetics and health laboratory will open today at the University of Essex. The lab will house a system, designed by Cellular Design Services (CDS), that will be used to study the effects of mobile phone masts on human health.

The Department of Health awarded Sussex-based CDS a £100,000 contract to design and implement a system to simulate the possible effects of cellular telephone base stations, including new 3G masts, on individuals who appear to display hypersensitivity symptoms when exposed to electromagnetic fields. The syptoms displayed include breathing difficulties, skin rashes, dizziness, fatigue and headaches.

Professor Simon Saunders, CTO at CDS, said, "Our role has been to develop a system to be housed in a specially designed room which will expose the participants in the research project, under minutely controlled conditions, with second and third generation (GSM and UMTS) electromagnetic fields (and with 'nothing' to provide the control data) as might be experienced in the environs of a base station."

The study is part of a £328,000, two-year research project being undertaken by the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex funded by the Department of Health-administered Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme.

George Hooker of the Department of Health said, "I believe that this research project will prove to be significant not only in the UK but also on the world stage. It is much larger in terms of the number of individuals participating than any previous study and, with the benefit of hindsight, we are able to overcome some of the difficulties faced by other researchers."

The research project is due to be completed in December 2005. ®

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