Sufferers blame phone mast
By Tony Dennis: Montag 23 April 2007, 10:31
THOSE WHO ardently believe that mobile phone masts are linked to a high incidence of cancer appear to have found a showcase in Coleshill, Warwickshire.
According to a report in The Sunday Times, Margaret Hines-Randle and 30 of her neighbours in Coleshill are either suffering with cancer or have already died from it.
Residents collated data on their illnesses and sent it to Dr John Walker, a member of the Electromagnetic Radiation Research Trust who studies instances of cancer around mobile phone masts.
He told the paper, "The masts typically throw out microwaves in three directions, and where the beams hit the ground is where you will usually find the cluster of cancers or disease."
In a single street - Castle Drive, and part of adjacent roads - 31 cases of cancer were found (including Hines-Randle). That's equivalent to one in every second person living in the immediate area.
"Coleshill has the largest single cluster I have yet seen," claimed Dr Walker. "This may be explained by the fact that Castle Drive is sited at the point where the beams from two masts converge, one of them at [St Edward’s] school and another on the other side of the town."
Having enlisted the help of their local MP, the residents have succeeded in getting mobile network operator, O2, to agree to tear down the mast sited next to the school.
It is 15 years old and was probably due for replacement anyway. The fact that phone masts don't radiate directly underneath their physical location appears to have been overlooked.
The British government has adopted guidelines issued by the International Commission on Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) which state that base stations should not emit more than 10 watts per square metre - depending on the frequency used.
While most masts give out only a minute fraction of this amount, campaigners still feel the level is too high. Some experts have said current levels should be reduced more than a thousandfold.
Plus they point to cities such as Salzburg in Austria where levels have been set way below those imposed in the UK.
Even if there is no proven link between phone masts and cancer, the mobile phone industry has to wake up to the fact that most people believe there is one. µ
More on this story ... Sunday Times
© 2007 VNU Business Publications Ltd.
Re: Anti-mast campaigners showcase Coleshill cancers
I am still concerned about the claim in this report about the wrong fact, near the end of the article, that - 'The fact that phone masts don't radiate directly underneath their physical location appears to have been overlooked.'
I know for a fact, using my ACOM, that at Budleigh Salterton and at Beare Hamlet near Killerton, Devon, the phone masts there do radiate directly underneath their physical location.
I was worried about that too. There are known to be side lobes - beams of radiation that radiate in directions other than the main beam. I wondered if it was just more blatant lies form the industry trying to obscure any facts it can. I couldn't tell from the context whether it was an industry claim though. I agree - It can definitely be shown that masts do indeed radiate directly below them.
Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2007 13:52:33 EDT
Once again your "science correspondent" has proven how little he actually knows about the subject of mobile phone technology. His contribution to this story was nothing more than a PR exercise for the mobile industry - but we have come to expect nothing more.
If any of your team care to look, there is ample scientific evidence of a link between the pulsed microwave technology and ill health - including many studies of wildlife being adversely affected by mast emissions - storks worrying themselves to death, no doubt!
The flippant and cynical attitude of your "science correspondent" was also completely out of step with the view expressed by the Coleshill residents. I would imagine they are now feeling very let down by the BBC news team - and rightly so.
Cllr Sylvia Wright
This exchange of e-mails following yesterday's Midlands Today report on the removal of the Coleshill mast. The "Science Correspondent" was more like a MOA spokesman - stating that PCT's would be the first people to notice a cancer cluster and would act accordingly (deny it??).
Many thanks for your email and I am sorry you are unhappy with the contribution by our Science and Environment Correspondent. We know very well that any item about masts will always be emotive but we do have a duty to report all angles to these very complex stories.
In David's defence, he does have a PhD in physics which means he is in the useful position of understanding both the science of mobile phones and their masts and also understanding statistics and things such as cancer clusters.
It's part of his job to stay across all the latest research into mobile phones/phone masts and health. All he can do is report those scientifically-meaningful studies and experiments and what they say. He does not apologise for the mobile phone industry - he simply reports the facts as they currently stand.
When it comes to cancer clusters, as he said, they can be very hard to get to grips with. Statistics is a dull and complex science. From the information he had about this survey, it was clear it simply wasn't focused enough on the right information to be meaningful. More than that, as he said, PCTs record the incidence and location of cancers and can plot that information. They have experts who know what to look for. No-one has said there is a cluster in this area.
Part of the role of a BBC correspondent is to explain a situation clearly and succinctly based on the current evidence - and use his or her expertise to form a considered opinion. As I say, David is in a very strong position in that he is able review and interpret huge amounts of data and research and present that in an understandable way.
I hope that answers your points but please feel free to contact me again if you wish to discuss this further.
Chas Watkin, Editor, BBC Midlands Today.
Dear Mr Watkin
Thank you for your e-mail in response to my comments. I appreciate that you have to present a balanced view of any subject - and do not doubt that your Science Correspondent has many qualifications. However, I do wonder that - with his extensive knowledge and exhaustive reviews of the relevant studies - no mention has been made at all by the BBC of the T Mobile "buried" ECOLOG report, which has been the subject of many recent newspaper articles. This surely should have warranted some place in your reporting of the Coleshill issue - coming just days after the revelations.
This is, as you say, a very emotive subject - and I would have expected a more serious approach to it - the final comments that 02 would be getting "two bright shiny new masts" (forgive me if that is the wrong wording) were a little unnecessary. There are hundreds of communities throughout the country in a similar situation to Coleshill and I believe your news presenters and journalists owe those viewers a little respect.
There are several studies which have concluded that there are health risks from the pulsed microwave mast emissions (see attached sheet) - perhaps you would like to pass this on to your Science Correspondent for future reference. There have also been thousands of studies linking the pulsed frequencies used in mobile phone technology to adverse effects in laboratory specimens - but little funding has been invested in epidemiological studies of communities living near phone masts. I suspect it is also the case that there is little desire to do so as these studies rely on Government and Industry funding, and since confirmation of adverse effects from this technology will be a bombshell of enormous proportions.
Many thanks for coming back to me. I will indeed pass that on to David Gregory. It is no doubt a story we will be revisiting many times in future.
From Mast Sanity/Mast Network