A precautionary tale: the British response to cell phone EMF

Burgess, Adam (2003) A precautionary tale: the British response to cell phone EMF. Technology and Society Magazine, IEEE, 21 (4). pp. 14-16. ISSN 0278-0097. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1109/MTAS.2003.1166561) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/MTAS.2003.1166561

Abstract

The UK led the campaign for precautionary responses to cell phone EMF. The experience which informed this approach was BSE, a disease that originated and had greatest impact in the UK. Unsurprisingly, British politicians have responded even more directly than the EU to the cell phone issue, seeking to prove that they have "learnt their lesson." The highly selective lesson was that seeking to reassure the public about a relatively small risk is disastrous - which it certainly was for the Conservative government at the time. It is now deemed necessary to advertise prominently even the smallest possible risk. This is the rationale behind the recently established Food Standards Agency, which was vigorously promoting the purely theoretical risk of BSE infection through sheep in 2001, for example. Other factors particular to British society have fostered an alarmist response to cell phone EMF at odds with that of other European countries such as Holland. The UK has a media that openly campaigns rather than objectively reports on issues particularly issues related to consumer health. It is now common for newspapers to almost arbitrarily choose a health concern that they then make their own. More importantly the UK government is highly sensitive to the media's promptings, which it interprets as the most accurate and irresistible measure of public feeling.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: N. Gregory
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2014 23:14 UTC
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2014 23:14 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/43478 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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