Sunday June 22,2008
By Lucy Johnston
THE spate of deaths among young people in Britain’s suicide capital could be linked to radio waves from dozens of mobile phone transmitter masts near the victims’ homes.
Dr Roger Coghill, who sits on a Government advisory committee on mobile radiation, has discovered that all 22 youngsters who have killed themselves in Bridgend, South Wales, over the past 18 months lived far closer than average to a mast.
UK papers - Sunday June 22
Famagusta Gazette - Ayia Napa, Famagusta, Cyprus
JUN.08 The series of suicides in Bridgend could be linked to mobile phone masts, the Sunday Express reports. The paper quotes a researcher who says there is ...
The Bad Science forum: Roger Coghiill response
Seems there’s a large discussion building up and more in our favour than normal!!
Here below are the references to 16 peer review published studies investigating EMF in relation to depressive illness and suicide that someone asked for. By the way, I think one commentator meant the Sunday Express not the Daily Mail as the origin of the Bridgend article about which this thread is concerned.
Suicide and depression
View of ICNIRP
Right of reply to an ad hominem attack is presumably acceptable, though I see that several comments about Ben Goldacre's philipic of 28 June have been removed without reason. Clearly the Sunday Express front page article reporting my suggestion that the Bridgend district suicides might be linked to RF/MW eposure touched a raw nerve, with towards 200 comments. Goldacre hasn't done a good job, however, having omitted a good deal, and the points below will identify his lacunae. In response to his request for more information I replied that the release I put out was in February, and that since no media had taken up the suggestion for four months, during which time five more cases had appeared, the data needed reexamination. I invited Goldacre to collaborate with me in validating the data, collected from Ofcom's Sitefinder and the actual addresses of the original 17 cases, but he did not respond. I pointed pout that I had never claimed to be a doctor, and this misappellation was entirely due to the Sunday Express.
The gist of my suggestion was that a much fuller investigation should be carried out, comparing the district with other regions where the terrain is flat (e.g. East Anglia, where suicides are among the lowest in UK, whereas those in Wales and Scotland, with hilly regions, are among the highest). Goldacre failed to mention this.
I pointed out that there have now been 15 peer reviewed studies investigating EMF exposure and depressive illness and suicide, of which 13 showed a positive association. Goldacre omitted this small fact from his article. He also failed to mention that the Welsh Secretary had only a few weeks earlier expressed concern about the above average suicide levels in Wales.
In April 2005 Bridgend Council proudly announced that their town would be the first in the UK to have a public Wi Fi system, and if it proved successful this would be extended to Porthcawl and Maesteg. All three towns since then have suffered from juvenile suicides.
Goldacre has abdicated his responsibility as a serious journalist by not reporting accurately, by omitting important facts, by declining an invitation to check my figures, and this is not the first occasion. One wonders why since 2003 he has been attacking the idea that RF radiation is a possible health hazard, against increasing evidence that there is a problem. Could it be that around that time Liz Forgan of BBC Radio took up her position, I believe as Chairman, on the Scott Trust which owns the Guardian?
Most of the remaining ad hominem remarks in Goildacre's article are not related to the Bridgend suicides (as one might expect in any ad hominem attack) and I will deal with these in a separate post. Meanwhile please could some of your readers ask alongside myself that this suggestion, that RF radiation from Wi Fi and cellphone masts is able to cause depressive illness and suicide in young people, is properly investigated?
If this suggestion is as important as I believe, then the Welsh Assembly Government should be looking into it. I never set out to produce a publishable document, and anyone with a few spare hours could check these distances.
From Mast Sanity/Mast Network
Suicides "Link to phone masts"
Phone Masts linked to suicide
Ben Goldacre And The Bridgend Suicides