This is Bristol
BY KIRSTY PUGH K. PUGH
11:00 - 09 June 2005
Bristol Zoo has unveiled plans to allow a mobile phone mast to be installed in its grounds. Bradley Stoke-based mobile firm Orange wants to put the transmitter on top of a building near the zoo's reptile house, near the Northcote Road entrance.
The zoo says it will consider comments from neighbours before making a final decision.
But some visitors the Evening Post spoke to about the plans questioned the zoo's suitability as a site for a mast. Despite assurance from the industry that the masts are safe, doubts remain over their potential health effects.
Preliminary drawings posted outside the zoo show that the transmitter would be located on top of a building not used to house animals, behind cladding to minimise the visual impact the tall structure may have. Zoo spokeswoman Heather Holve, said: "We can confirm that we have been contacted by Orange about putting a mobile phone transmitter within our walls.
"We have sent out letters to all the local residents and have posted copies of the plans outside the zoo.
"Things are still at a very early stage at the moment, and depending on the views and opinions of local people the zoo will consider renting space to Orange ."
Orange spokesman, Richard Bryman, said: "In an arrangement with the zoo, a full planning application will be submitted to Bristol city council's planning department in the near future.
"The transmitter site has been proposed because Orange has identified a weakness in the local network coverage.
"The proposed site will increase coverage within the zoo and the surrounding areas. All calls made on mobile phones are routed through transmitters, which are designed to be very low powered and have a very short range.
"If they are too far away from where people live and work then they are of little use."
When the Post spoke to visitors at the zoo, Sarah Ubhi, a 34-year-old mother of two from St Andrews, said: "I would protest about it if it came down to it, as I don't think it is suitable, especially when there are children around.
"There are also the animals to consider - we don't know how it would harm them having to live there the whole time."
Catherine Wilson, aged 28, from Bishopston, said she might reconsider her zoo membership if the plans go ahead.
She said: "The zoo is a lovely place to visit, and this would not be good for the environment.
"If there is any potential risk then it should be avoided especially as there are children and young families involved.
"When the decision is made I will have to think about whether to renew my membership."
Before I posted this story, I wrote a letter to the local paper in Bristol urging all animal lovers to protest and fight the planning application. I just hope they print it. I have also emailed the zoo.
In a message dated 09/06/2005 17:52:15 GMT Standard Time, Mastsanity.org writes:
Can I encourage each and everyone of us to send a quick email to Bristol Zoo advising them of the dangers of allowing Orange to erect a mobile phone mast within the Zoo's grounds.
I have sent one this evening and reference adverse effects in animals as shown by Prof Semm and Dr Alfonso Balmori Martinez.
Their email address is email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org .
Thanks for providing the email addresses for Bristol Zoo, I have sent the following message to them.
Dear Bristol Zoo
I was shocked to read that you are considering allowing a phone mast on your premises. Please do not allow any phone masts in or near your zoo - for the sake of the animals and the visitors health and safety.
The reports below are just a tiny sample of the mounting evidence of adverse health problems related to mast and phone emissions. It is so important to provide sanctuaries that are free from radiation emissions in this increasingly polluted world.
Please do not alienate those of us who are electrosensitive and those who wear hearing aids and other sensitive medical aids which are known to be affected by masts.
Animals may be even more sensitive than humans to pulsing microwave radiation emissions, please do not risk their health.
Scientists serious about 'electricity sickness' claims
Reports by Nic Fleming, Health Correspondent
Scientists and health advisers are taking the claims of people who say electricity makes them ill seriously for the first time.
The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) is carrying out a review of existing scientific studies into "electromagnetic hypersensitivity" (EHS).
Brian Stein suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity
Click here for his story:
Two studies into the condition, funded with £750,000 from the Department of Health and the telecommunications industry, are already under way.
Sir William Stewart, the government's adviser on radiation, has called for more research into the issue.
Some researchers believe a proportion of the population suffers ill health, with symptoms including fatigue, severe headaches and skin problems, because of exposure to electromagnetic fields.
Other scientists say there is no evidence.
The Swedish government, which recognised EHS as a physical impairment in 2000, calculates that 3.1 per cent of its population – 200,000 people – suffer from the condition. A recent warning by Sir William, head of the NRPB and the Health Protection Agency, that parents should limit their children's use of mobile phones received widespread publicity.
However, his suggestion that another section of the population, as well as the young, could have extra sensitivity to exposure to either radio frequency fields from mobiles or electromagnetic fields in general did not.
The NRPB has commissioned Dr Neil Irvine, of the Health Protection Agency, to carry out a review of existing scientific literature on EHS.
His report, focusing on symptoms, prognosis and treatment, will be published in the summer.
The Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research programme, funded by the Government and the telecommunications industry, is spending £8.6 million on 29 studies, two of which will investigate EHS.
A team at King's College, London, is looking at whether mobile phones cause symptoms such as headaches, nausea and fatigue in those who claim to be hypersensitive and those who do not.
Researchers at the University of Essex are exposing two groups of volunteers to signals from a mobile mast to test if cognitive functions such as attention span and memory are affected. //www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;sessionid=E0CMT53CZW1TXQFIQMFSM5OAVCBQ0JVC?xml=/news/2004/12/13/nmast13.xml
Half will be people who say they suffer EHS.
Dr David Dowson, a former GP who is now a complementary medicine specialist based in Bath, said he had seen around 10 patients he believed to be suffering from EHS. "I think the condition is increasing in prevalence, because we are living in a more electrically polluted environment."
Olle Johansson, associate professor of neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, has been studying EHS for 20 years.
He has shown in experiments that there is an increase in the number of mast cells near the surface of skin when exposed to electromagnetic fields, a similar reaction to that when it is exposed to radioactive material.
He said: "If you put a radio near a source of EMFs you will get interference. The human brain has an electric field so if you put sources of EMFs nearby, it is not surprising that you get interference, interaction with systems and damage to cells and molecules.''
Others say the condition is in the mind.
13 December 2004: Volunteers tested on phone mast 'dangers'
7 April 2004[Connected]: Radiation rules made stricter 'as precaution'
© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2005
Informant: Sarah Benson
Researches Find Mobile Phones Can 'Excite' Antigens
From Judy Tidwell
If you have noticed an increase in skin rashes or allergic reactions to dust mites and pollen, your cell phone may be to blame. In what researchers called surprising results, a study indicates radiation emitted by mobile phones may increase allergic reactions.
Dr. Hajime Kimata from Unitika Hospital, Kyoto, Japan believes microwaves emitted by mobile handsets can 'excite' antigens - substances which cause allergic reactions - in the bloodstreams of people who already suffer from allergies.
Dr. Kimata tested 52 people who had a history of allergies. They all watched a one-hour video -- half of them while talking on their mobile phones and the other half with their phones turned off.
"When we did blood tests we found that the mobile phones had raised the levels of certain chemicals in the blood which provoke allergic reactions such as eczema, hay fever and asthma," Kimata said. "We were surprised but we carried out a properly controlled study. One group of patients had their phones turned on and receiving for an hour while they watched a video. The second group watched the same video while having their phones turned off so they couldn't receive calls. There was a significant increase in allergy levels which seemed to be linked to the use of mobile phones."
Further testing indicated that the group using mobile phones also had greater skin reactions when exposed to house dust mites or pollen from cedar trees.
Previous testing of mobile phones has resulted in contradictory claims concerning their affect on the health of their users. In a British study two years ago, researchers could find no evidence that mobile phones cause any risks to health, but recommended caution in using handsets, especially for children.
Earlier this year, researchers in Sweden claimed that mobile phones could damage key brain cells and trigger the early onset of Alzheimer's disease. Radiation from mobile phone handsets appeared to damage areas of the brain associated with learning, memory and movement in laboratory rats.
Informant: Robert Riedlinger
A response from Bristol Zoo
Dear Mr Kearney
Thank you for your email with attached papers. I will forward these to the relevant Zoo staff involved in this proposal.
Just to clarify. We have been approached by agents for Orange to provide space for a mobile phone transmitter site. The agents are currently conducting a pre-planning consultation period and have alerted the Zoo’s neighbours to this proposal. During this period any comments or enquiries about this proposal should be directed to:
Council and Community Liaison Officer (Orange)
Birmingham Business Park
PR and Marketing Manager
Bristol Zoo Gardens
Dir. 0117 974 7308
Bristol Zoo Gardens maintains and defends biodiversity through breeding endangered species, conserving threatened species and habitats and promoting a wider understanding of the natural world.
Sent: 10 June 2005 10:37
To: Jo Gipps
Cc: Heather Holve
Subject: FW: FAO Director General and Heather Hoave
Sent: 09 June 2005 18:20
To: email@example.com; Groups
Subject: FAO Director General and Heather Hoave
I write to express my overwhelming concern in relation to an article appearing within the Evening Post concerning proposals to erect a mobile phone mast within the grounds of Bristol Zoo. Can I strongly suggest that in order to ensure that as an organisation concerned with the health and well being of animals and in particular those animals within your care that you only agree to such a course of action once you are in full possession of all relevant facts.
I suggest that the provision of factual and unbiased information by mobile phone operators such as Orange is unlikely and remind you of the multi million pound annual turnover of these companies who rely on persuading land owners such as you to accept their base stations with typical tie in contracts for ten years.
Using the analogy that once ink has been put to paper the buck rests with you, can I ask if you are aware of the research papers written by acclaimed scientists that SHOW DIRECT ADVERSE EFFECTS IN ANIMALS FROM PULSED MICROWAVE RADIATION AS EMITTED BY MOBILE PHONE BASE STATIONS.
Early studies of adverse effects in animals include Löscher & Käs (1998), which recorded recorded reduced milk yields, emaciation, spontaneous abortions, abnormal behaviour patterns, conjunctivitis, heart failure and stillbirths in cattle when kept close to a base station. When cattle were moved away from the base station their condition and milk yields improved. The severe symptoms reappeared when the cattle were moved back to their original field beside the base station. The symptoms only appeared when microwave transmitters were added to an existing television transmitter. Löscher and Käs also report the profound affects experienced by the farmer and his family since the microwave transmitters were installed. Löscher postulates that the effects are connected to changes in melatonin levels. Abelin (1999) looked at adult sheep disturbance with RF exposure at Schwarzenburg, Switzerland. Alpeter et al (1995) tested bovine salitary melatonin at the same location. Turning the transmitter off revealed significant rises in bovine melatonin and human sleep quality. The biological effect of proximity to a base station is reinforced by a study of fecindicity in mice near an ‘antenna park’ Magras and Xenos (1997) which states ‘RF power densities between 168 nW/cm2 were measured. Twelve pairs of mice divided in two groups, were placed in locations of different power densities and were repeatedly mated five times. One hundred eighteen newborns were collected. They were measured, weighed and examined macro and microscopically. A progressive decrease in the number of newborns per dam was observed which ended in irreversible infertility’.
Whilst aware that in 2002 English Nature commissioned a review of this subject, additional research papers have been written after this date and include studies by Professor Semm in August 2002, who was previously employed by Deutsche Telecom and Dr Alfonso Balmori Martinez whose papers include ‘The effects of Microwaves on the trees and other plants’, recently published in the peer reviewed journal ‘Ecosistemas’ (Spain) and ‘The effects of microwave radiation on the wildlife’ which includes for research carried out in the United Kingdom., published in March 2004, December 2003 and February 2003. English Nature accepting the limitations of the original study have in December 2004 asked the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to examine the additional reports of adverse effects.
I can also advise that DEFRA in their letter to me dated 10/09/04 agree 'there are some areas of uncertainty that might warrant some further consideration and discussion with the industry' and p rovide the following transcript taken from a letter to me dated 14/07/04 from the Director General of the RSPCA Jackie Bollard
‘I am copying this letter to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (the government department that responded to the Stewart Report) as an official register of our concern on the matter . This issue is not one with which the RSPCA has had much previous dealings but the Society would certainly be concerned by any evidence showing that animals might be suffering as a result of these masts (for example through impaired neurological functioning, increased abnormal behaviour, adverse effects on reproductive ability and success or reduced quality or length of life). I do acknowledge your concern and also importantly note that the Stewart Report made very little mention of any potential impact of these masts on the health or welfare of farm or wild animals living nearby, choosing to focus nearly exclusively on the perceived or potential consequences on human safety. As the use of mobile phones and the associated erection of telecommunications masts on such a large scale has only been a relatively recent phenomenon, it is true that any long-term effects on people or animals may be difficult to assess or estimate. For this reason and because much of the research undertaken seems to lead to inconclusive findings, an impact on animal health and well being may no be beyond the realms of possibility. As such, this is a matter of concern and I would agree that the issue requires further examination'.
I have also taken the liberty of attaching some of these and suggest these warrant your EARLY READING. I can also upon request put you in direct contact with the Authors of these papers.
I would be grateful if you could acknowledge receipt of this email to prevent me troubling you further.
Re the animals, why does this appear to be a matter for Orange at all? Are they going to consult with the hippos? Surely it is simply a matter for the zoo. Neighbours are a separate matter, but I would have thought the zoo would have more concern for its own residents.
Further info on the Bristol Zoo mast proposal. Sandi's objection letter was published in the Bristol Evening Post yesterday (mine was published on Monday). I also had an objection letter published in the Western Daily Press yesterday. For some reason these letters have not appeared in the mast "News Now" stories.
Probably because they are letters or the system picks it up as an animal story! It just goes to show that no technology can replace human workers effectively!
FYI I sent this off on 11th June. I have just received a reply. Don't know how to get it on to this email, so will have to do another one now. It's another good result! Best Jen
Dear Ms Holve,
I write with regard to the proposed Orange mast at Bristol Zoo.
It would appear from emails on the Mast Sanity list that the Zoo is a most worthy and dedicated organisation with ethical and humane priorities concerning the animals in its care. I quote, "Bristol Zoo Gardens maintains and defends biodiversity through breeding endangered species, conserving threatened species and habitats and promoting a wider understanding of the natural world."
There is now a huge raft of scientific evidence worldwide, proving long term harm to humans and animals from electro-magnetic radiation (mobile phone masts) at levels far below the so-called ICNIRP 'safety' guidelines. These guidelines were not arrived at by doctors, epidemiologists or scientists, but by technicians who were calculating the immediate heating (thermal) effects of the radiation. By their own admission, the guidelines cannot claim to protect against long term exposure, which is now known to have serious biological risks, including damage to DNA that can be passed on through future generations. As a Zoo wishing to protect and breed endangered species, the proximity of a mast could have untold repurcussions.
The Operator (Orange) will not disclose this information. Indeed, no Telecom Operators are willing to admit the dangers, and go out of their way to mislead and misinform people with whom they wish to do business ie prospective landlords. Their line is always - "We operate well below the safety guidelines, so there is no need for concern."
You should also be aware that permitting one Operator will almost definitely force you into accepting more, because of the Government Planning Policy of mast and site sharing. Whatever they tell you, once you have signed the contract you will effectively have no say or control over the development either in upgrading or on the number of dishes, side lobes etc.
If the health, safety and well-being of the animals in your care is important to you, I beg you to turn down whatever tempting financial offer Orange may have made to you. Some things are beyond price - and the integrity and success of the vital work you do, should not be jeopardised by profit. Doubtless they will remind you of what useful things can be done with the money their mast will provide. It will be of little use, however, if your precious animals no longer thrive or survive. And please remember, the Operators are not serving your interests, they are serving their own. Against them, you will be powerless. If your animals, or your employees become ill, you will not be able to ask them to leave. A number of landlords have fallen into the trap of thinking that they can renegotiate their contract midway. In practice this is virtually impossible.
It is just as important to consider that your employees may be equally at risk, though human illness such as cancer and leukaemia may take longer to surface. As the controversy rages on this subject and the media coverage increases, there may at some point even be an impact on visitor numbers. For instance, as a parent, I would not allow my child to come into close proximity to a mast. This is why so many schools are now fighting against them, and why so many parents are now withdrawing their children from schools that have them on site.
Please, for all our sakes, because these animals are entrusted into your care, refuse Orange and other Operators who may approach you - and if you really want to help - make the reasons for your refusal known to the Press. You will have the gratitude, support and respect of us all.
Yours very sincerely,
Jennifer Godschall Johnson