13
Apr
2005

Health chiefs probe phone-mast cancer link claims

A RESIDENTIAL tower block that houses three communications masts is being investigated by health chiefs concerned about the number of cancer cases among residents.

In the last 18 months, seven residents of Liscard House, Wallasey, have died from cancer, another four are being treated for cancer-related illnesses and four people have had strokes.

A questionnaire is to be sent to every flat in Liscard House asking tenants to disclose all sickness suffered in the last two years.

Birkenhead and Wallasey Primary Care Trust will then take the data away and use it to help determine if the introduction of masts has had an averse affect on residents' health.

At present, there are 111 residents living in the 86-flat, council-run block in Mill Lane, Wallasey. The playground of St Alban's Catholic Primary School is just four hundred yards away.

Two of the masts that sit on top of the block belong to mobile phone operators Vodafone and Orange. The third is an Airwaves mast, which provides communications for the emergency services.

One resident has been diagnosed as suffering from a serious blood disorder, another recently had a pacemaker fitted, and a further resident had a bowel operation just last week.

Concerned about the numbers of people falling seriously ill, Bill Morrow, chairman of the Liscard House Residents' Association, wrote to the PCT asking them to investigate. "The Vodafone mast has been there for several years now but about two years ago they replaced it with a new, larger one with a bigger base station," said Mr Morrow.

"We know there is no concrete proof that these masts can cause any harm, but people are understandably very concerned that it's only matter of time before that proof is found.

"People getting ill is a fact of life, we know that. But there seems to be a lot of people getting ill with similar problems here in Liscard House and that's either a huge coincidence or a problem that needs looking at.

"We asked the PCT to look into it and they've told us they will give all the residents a questionnaire to fill in to see if there are any patterns emerging."

It's thought the questionnaire may help to map out any clusters of illnesses that may be associated with radiation from the masts.

Liscard Labour councillor Dave Hawkins told the Globe: "Liscard House recently had a second batch of masts installed. I objected to that installation but unfortunately the planning inspectorate overturned the decision of the council's planning committee.

"We have been calling for greater investigation into phone mast safety for quite some time. Until clear guarantees can be given regarding health we need to proceed with planning applications with great care, particularly in built-up residential areas."

http://www.thisiswirral.co.uk/wirral/birkenhead/news/BIRKENHEAD_NEWS17.html



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