Phone mast volunteers required

Researchers at the University of Essex are seeking volunteers to take part in tests that will establish whether mobile phone masts affect health.

Researchers studying whether mobile phone masts affect health need your help. The team from the University of Essex is conducting the largest ever study into the impact of emissions from the masts, both conventional and third generation (3G), on health.

The researchers from the Department of Psychology are now starting their testing programme on 132 ‘control’ volunteers, who have not reported any symptoms or sensitivity to the electromagnetic fields emitted by masts. They want to hear from members of the public aged 35 to 60 who are willing to be tested on four separate occasions.

Principal investigator Professor Elaine Fox said: ‘There is widespread public concern about the emissions from mobile phone masts, but there is a shortage of hard evidence based on large-scale studies.

‘Our testing programme sets out to establish conclusively what symptoms are suffered, and how common the occurrence of electromagnetic hypersensitivity is in the general population. To obtain this vital evidence, we need volunteers who are prepared to give their time to be tested under controlled conditions.’

Testing of electromagnetic hypersensitivity sufferers has already begun, although more volunteers in this group are also needed. Professor Fox said: ‘We recognise how difficult it is for hypersensitivity sufferers to submit themselves to our testing programme. However, the results could aid medical recognition of the condition to the benefit of future sufferers.’

Volunteers will be tested in the specially designed, electrically screened, Electromagnetics and Health (EMH) laboratory at the University of Essex in Colchester. Each of the four sessions, spaced at least one week apart, lasts approximately two hours. Testing takes place over the next 12 months.

To volunteer, or for further information, please contact the research team on 1206 873784, e-mail, or click here.

The two-year £328,000 research project is being funded by the Government and industry under the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme.

The research team has already surveyed 20,000 people in Essex and Suffolk to find out what proportion reported sensitivity to electromagnetic fields, and to establish key symptoms of this sensitivity. The results of this phase of the project are due to be published in the autumn.