§ Mr. Watson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has evaluated on the impact of electro-magnetic fields on the dielectric properties of cells, in relation to mobile phones. 
§ Miss Melanie Johnson
The Government established the independent expert group on mobile phones (IEGMP) under the chairmanship of Sir William Stewart and the IEGMP report on mobile phones and health was published in May 2000. That report considered both thermal and non-thermal mechanisms of interaction of electromagnetic fields from mobile phones and evaluated a wide range of biological effects including cellular effects.
A further review of health effects was carried out by an independent advisory group on non-ionising radiation (AGNIR), entitled "Health Effects from Radiofrequency (RF) Electromagnetic Fields", this is available at www.nrpb.org. This report was issued in 546W January 2004 and provided an updated review of the biological effects including cellular effects and interaction mechanisms, noting thatAlthough there has been a wide range of diverse exposures and models investigated, no consistent pattern has emerged from the cellular studies of RF exposure. The balance of the findings on carcinogenesis is that there is little evidence and no known mechanism to support a direct or indirect effect of RF radiation on this process. Positive findings are not confirmed by other independent studies; apparently similar experiments fail to confirm each other and may even show contradictory results.
The AGNIR will continue to review the scientific literature both national and international that is relevant to the issue of mobile telephony and health.
Further research is being undertaken by the mobile telecommunications and health research (MTHR) programme with funding of £7.4 million. This was set up to investigate areas of scientific uncertainty highlighted by the IEGMP report and areas identified as important by the MTHR programme management committee. A range of research projects have been funded by MTHR including studies on cells, brain physiology and the fundamental dielectric properties of biological tissues. A number of these projects are scheduled for completion over the next year.