Skip to main content
Mobile phone safety

Around 95% of adults in the UK own or use a mobile phone, and they're an essential part of many people's lives. There have been concerns that the radio waves they produce and receive might be unsafe.

These radio waves are a type of low-energy, non-ionising electromagnetic radiation, a class of radiation that also includes visible light, ultraviolet (UV), and infrared radiation.

Concerns have been expressed that prolonged or frequent exposure to radio waves might increase a person's risk of health problems such as cancer.

But most current research suggests it's unlikely that radio waves from mobile phones or base stations increase the risk of any health problems.

The researchers acknowledge this evidence is based on use of mobile phones over the last 20 years, and there's still some uncertainty about possible health effects from using a phone for longer than this.

Find out more about the risks of mobile phone use

What research has been done into their safety?

Since the 1990s, there's been a huge amount of scientific research into the potential health effects of mobile phone use.

Large reviews of published research have concluded that overall the evidence does not suggest that radio waves from mobile phones cause health problems.

This includes research by:

But further research is still needed to check that there are no health impacts from long-term exposures (using a mobile phone for more than 20 years).

Read more about this research in frequently asked questions about mobile phone safety.

Mobile phones and driving

Using a mobile phone while driving is considered the biggest health risk posed by mobile phones.

It can increase your changes of having an accident, and it's illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving or riding a motorbike.

The Department for Transport recommends the following guidelines for the safe use of mobile phones in cars:

Find out more about using mobile phones when driving and the law

Reducing exposure to mobile phones

If you have concerns, there are various measures you can take to lower your exposure to radio waves produced by mobile phones.

For example: