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Concern on mobile phone risks
Malta Created: 30 Jun 2010
The majority of Maltese are worried about the potential health hazards of radiation from mobile phones and antennae while nearly four in 10 say they do not trust the Malta Communications Authority to do a good job protecting them.

EU citizens were surveyed to gauge their concerns about exposure to electromagnetic fields.

The results of the local survey show that the majority of respondents do not really understand the risks at play, however mobile phones and antennae are the devices that most concern them.

A total of 57 per cent of the 500 Maltese respondents said they were concerned about the effects of radiation from mobile phones and antennae, with 31 per cent qualifying that they were "very concerned".

But this still does not compare to the scepticism seen in Europe, where in some countries as many as 70 per cent said they were concerned about the possible effects of radiation.

Asked whether they felt informed about the potential health hazards, 82 per cent of Maltese respondents said they did not feel informed and complained that they had not received any information on the subject.

They were then asked whether they felt Malta's regulator was doing a good job at informing and protecting them effectively, with 39 per cent saying it was not. However, the majority did not express an opinion on this question while only 18 per cent said they were satisfied with the MCA's work.

While the survey focuses on the concerns regarding mobile phone technology, there are other potential hazards, such as high tension power lines and wireless computer networks, which many seem to be oblivious about.

There are also many home appliances, such as computers, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, cookers and heaters which emit an electromagnetic field.

The potential effects of electromagnetic fields on human health vary widely depending on the frequency and intensity of the fields, however details are still scarce as studies on this potential health hazard are still inconclusive.

In fact, the potential health effects of the very low frequency radiation surrounding power lines, mobile antennae and electrical devices are still the subject of ongoing research.

In workplace environments, where electromagnetic field exposures can be up to 10,000 times greater than the average, the US has issued some cautionary advisories but still stresses that the data is currently too limited to draw good conclusions.
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Source: Times of Malta, Ivan Camilleri / Brussels, 26 Jun 2010

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