FAQs

Below are some of the questions most commonly asked by those companies we approach to join the Register. Of course, if your query is not answered below then please contact us at rf.register@bham.ac.uk

Why does the Register exist? ...

1999 the Minister of Public Health asked the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) to set up an independent expert group to examine the possible effects on health of mobile phone telecommunication technologies. The group under the chairmanship of Sir William Stewart published its report in May 2000. The report recommended the establishment of a register of occupationally exposed workers to facilitate studies into cancer incidence, mortality and other potential harmful effects. This would help determine whether such workers have any higher incidence than would normally be expected in the general population.

Why can we not keep our own internal register? ...

The IEGMP report of 2000 recommended that a single register be established - collecting and storing the data in a consistent and uniform way facilitattes the robust exploration of any health effects envisaged by the Stewart report.

How will the Register differentiate between the range of jobs and exposures found across the RF industry? ...

The Register aims to create a record of those occupationally exposed to RF.  Within this cohort there will necessarily be a diverse range of job titles and exposures for the purposes of the initial follow-up study these job titles will be placed into one of three exposure categories high, medium and low based on existing knowledge of the exposure regimes encountered within the various work environments. 

What are the benefits of participation? ...

There has been speculation that long-term RF exposure might cause adverse health effects, both occupationally and in the general public. This is the first Register of its kind yet established to investigate whether there are any effects of long-term occupational RF exposure. The participation of as many eligible individuals as possible is essential if we are to ensure meaningful analysis of any health effects.  

If there is no formal requirement why should we participate? ...

There is no formal requirement for companies to promote the Register amongst their workforce. We do hope however that senior managers and health and safety advisors will see the benefit in recommending to their employees they enrol. Ultimately offering another demonstration to their workforce of how seriously they take their occupational health. 

Why are the IAHR involved and what will they do with the data? ...

The IAHR were invited by the HSE and the Register Steering Group to tender a proposal for the administration of the Register. The tender was successful and the IAHR have fulfilled the role since 2002. Primarily their work has involved the identification and recruitment of individuals to the Register and organizing and formatting the central database. The IAHR and the University also assume responsibility for the secure storage of the data and its use in the initial follow-up study. 

A guide to the Universities data protection policy can be found by clicking here. 

What data will the Register need? ...

The information that will be securely held for each individual consists of:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Home address or first three characters of the postcode
  • Job title
  • Length of time in current post (years)
  • Total number of years employed in jobs involving RF exposure
  • Details of any known high exposure incidents experienced

Will the Register have access to my medical records? ...

NO! The Register will not have access to any of your medical records.

Who owns the data and the database? ...

The data submitted to the register by an individual remains the property of that individual as such it can be accessed at any time. 

Will the information be kept confidential? ...

YES! All the information provided to the IAHR is entirely confidential to the study. It will be dealt with in the strictest confidence by the Research Team, held in a secure database and not passed on to any third party other than those involved in the subsequent analysis of data.

Will the findings be relevant, as past studies have indicated that occupational exposure is below the ICNIRP guidelines? ...

The purpose of establishing this register is to investigate whether there are any harmful effects of RF radiation at the levels experienced occupationally. The ICNIRP guidelines are designed to limit heating to acceptable levels. Any future study should be capable of investigating and hopefully providing reassurance in relation to, non-thermal effects as well as thermal effects.