8
Mrz
2005

Phone masts a risk to ‘millions of lives’

Prof Olle Johansson of the Karolinska Institute, Sweden (one of the top research institutes in the world on EMF health effects) speaking to a Scottish newspaper yesterday, after recently speaking at meetings and briefing the Scottish Parliament about mast health hazards.

Dr Grahame Blackwell


Phone masts a risk to ‘millions of lives’

by Michael Alexander

A WORLD-RENOWNED expert on the impact of electromagnetic fields and microwave radiation has warned that western governments are putting millions of lives at risk by allowing the continued and unlimited use of mobile phones.

In an exclusive interview with The Courier from Stockholm yesterday, Professor Olle Johansson said the Scottish Executive should suspend construction of all masts and launch an immediate investigation into the long-term health effects.

While he claimed the whole population was at risk through constant exposure to mast emissions—regardless of mobile phone ownership—Professor Johansson said the latest research suggested children in particular were more vulnerable to early nerve cell damage.

Professor Johansson made the comment after being made aware of the latest campaign against mobile phone masts at St Andrews. Lending his support to north-east Fife campaigners who had “every right” to be concerned, he said, “The basic scientific issue is not primarily about the exact siting of base stations, it is about whether it is all right to irradiate the whole population with microwaves, and likewise. This is, of course, a full-scale human experiment, with you and me and the St Andrews kids in it.”

Professor Johansson, a neuroscientist from the government-funded Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, has more than 20 years’ experience. He was the first to study human sensitivity to mobiles, when adverse reactions were reported in the mid-1990s.

Last week he visited Scotland to brief MSPs on the potential risks associated with exposure to mobile phones and masts. He also appeared as an expert witness before the Parliament’s public petitions committee and at meetings in Aberdeenshire and Perth.

Professor Johansson said yesterday it was “worrying” that so many observations are made all over the world connecting health problems with telecom base station systems. If these proved wrong then many observations and scientific studies would have to be wrong.

“One of the latter is a recent paper by me and my co-worker demonstrating that 1997 was a very curious year in Sweden in that a large number of health- related measures suddenly started to indicate a fast degradation in the health of the Swedish population. Several health characteristics and diseases seem to correlate with the Swedish introduction of the GSM 1800 MHz system both in time and place.

“A new paper, just published a few days ago, also shows acute effects of pulsed microwaves. Nerve cell damage was seen after 30 minutes of six W/kg microwave exposure consisting of 1.25 GHz radiation delivered as 5.9 microsecond pulses with a repetition frequency of 10 Hz. The authors concluded that the microwave exposure used changed neuronal ultrastructure in ways that depended on microwave frequency and neuron metabolic status.

“The area chosen for study is of great importance for movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and others. Naturally, the results could have an enormous impact on the health of children, since they could be much more vulnerable to early nerve cell damage.”

Professor Johansson said governments should face up to their responsibilities and fund independent research.

He said the profit-making phone companies were not responsible for the problem as they only followed “flawed” government guidelines. In his view, the only safe level both biologically and medically was zero.

As reported by The Courier last week, the latest protest against mobile phone technology has seen the chairman of a north-east Fife community council warn that thousands of pupils and hundreds of residents could have their health put at increased risk if an application for a third generation (3G) mobile phone mast to be built off Grange Road on the outskirts of St Andrews were approved.

Gordon Ball, chairman of Cameron Community Council, has written to the head teachers of Madras College and Langlands Primary in St Andrews, advising them of plans for a “potentially dangerous” 12.5-metre 3G mobile phone mast in a field several hundred yards to the rear of Madras’s Kilrymont Road building.

The concerns come as debate continues nationwide about the possible health effects of TETRA police communication masts and mobile phone masts. Both technologies have been linked with alterations in the brain, increased blood pressure, nausea, dizziness, headaches, infertility and accelerated tumour growths. With reports sporadic and technology still in its infancy, however, scientific opinion has been divided.

The Scottish Executive has said that evidence suggests exposure to radiation below international guidelines “does not cause adverse health effects to the general population.”

It says it will continue monitoring research in this area, but has also said, “The National Radiological Protection Board’s 2004 report on mobile phones and health notes that there is no scientific basis for establishing minimal distances between base stations and areas of public occupancy.”

Phone companies have also said they take health and safety very seriously but say there is overwhelming evidence that there is no cause for concern—although they say research continues to be monitored.

Last week Fife Council planning officials said it was guided by the Scottish Executive and its own development plan policies when it came to the siting and design of mobile phone masts. While the decision would rest with councillors, in the St Andrews Grange case, there appeared to be no health and safety reason why the mast should not be allowed.

© All copyright D C Thomson & Co Ltd., 2004


Article in today's paper
http://www.thecourier.co.uk/output/2005/03/08/newsstory6887018t0.asp
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