We do not conduct or commission our own research on exposure to radio frequency. Instead, we monitor national and international studies and help to fund the main independent research programmes.
We agree with our industry peers and experts that clear scientific evidence can only come from a wide-ranging body of study. We will continue to support major independent studies with clearly stated and relevant objectives.
Our financial commitment last year exceeded £700,000 and in total it is well in excess of £1 million. We communicate with the Department of Health and the Department of Trade and Industry in the UK, Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz (Federal Radiation Protection Agency) in Germany, and a range of world trade bodies, health authorities and the World Health Organisation to ensure that the research addresses appropriate health concerns.We expect significant research findings to be presented in the next two years. Current research includes studies within:
- the UK Mobile Telecommunications Health Research (MTHR) programme of 29 studies, a £7.36 million joint Government/Industry funded independent programme over six years;
- a UK Home Office study into TETRA, the technology used by Airwave, our secure network for the emergency services, including assessment of the Specific Absorption Rates (SAR) to the head;
- the joint funded German Government/industry research programme - Deutches Mobilfunk Forschungsgemeinschaft;
- findings from the 'Interphone' research into the long-term use of mobile phones and whether there is any link to head and neck tumours. In 2006, we anticipate the results of the analysis by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC);
- the World Health Organisation is expected to publish a health risk assessment on RF in 2007.
O2 has agreed to help fund a second five-year phase of the UK MTHR research programme.