Health fears debunked in mast debate

Research released this week has found that people who believe that proximity to mobile phone base stations has adverse effects on their health have no one but themselves to blame.

The Environmental Health Perspectives study, carried out by researchers at the University of Essex in the UK and supported by the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, was a double blind, randomised provocation investigation into whether short term exposure to base station signals increased symptoms in individuals who report electrosensitivity.

Predictably enough, participants in the study were not able to tell whether the base station was switched on or off when exposed to it. However, those claiming to be electrosensitive did report symptoms when they thought the base station was on, even if it wasn’t. They also reported increased discomfort when exposed to a UMTS/3G base station, regardless of whether it was on or not.

Out of the participants, two of the 44 individuals claiming to be electrosensitive correctly judged if a base station was on or off in six tests, as did five out of 114 control participants who had never reported symptoms of electrosensitivity.

Interestingly though, the symptoms experienced by those claiming to be electrosensitive were real, demonstrating the power of belief in something individuals think can harm them.

This response adds weight to the argument that ill health related to electrosensitivity is a psychological problem and is not caused by exposure to mobile phone masts or other electronic devices.

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