10
Feb
2006

MOBILE FIRMS ARE LIABLE IN ANY GARDA PHONE MAST CASES

Am sending the two reports below along to you for posting.

Best,

Imelda, Cork


THE IRISH TIMES, FRI, FEB 10, 06

"MOBILE FIRMS ARE LIABLE IN ANY GARDA PHONE MAST CASES

[by] Martin Wall

Mobile phone companies using masts on Garda [police] stations or other public buildings will have to meet the costs of any compensation claims taken against the State by persons who allege that their health has been damaged by electro-magnetic radiation. The Dail Committee of Public Accounts was told yesterday by chairman of the Office of Public Works Sean Benton that under an agreement with the State the mobile phone companies had to indemnify the Government against any future claims. He said the companies also had to comply with existing health and safety directives and to meet any future measures that may be put in place. There are mobile phone massts on about 120 Garda stations. The Government first entered into an agreement with Esat Digifone (now O2) in 1997. However, last year the Office of Public Works (OPW) put in place a new deal to allow various mobile phone companies to place masts on Garda stations and other public buildings. Socialist Party deputy Joe Higgins said the long-term effect of radiation generated by mobile phone masts was not yet known. He expressed concern that if dangers to health emerged in the future as a result of such masts that not only would public employees have been put at potential risk but also the State could be exposed to largescale liability for damages. Secretary general of the Department of Justice Sean Aylward said that under the agreement with O2, gardai received just over 1,000 mobile phones. He said that the first 450 phones, as well as call and rental charges, were provided free. However, the remainder has to be paid for by the State. The cost of calls and other charges are deducted from the rental payments for the masts due to the OPW from the phone compnay. Mr Aylward said mobile phones were provided to all personnel of superintendent rank and upwards."



IRISH EXAMINER, THURSDAY, 09.02.06

Expert warns Irish mobile phone masts unsafe

By Dan Buckley and Tom Prendeville ONE of the world's leading experts in mobile phone technology has warned that the radiation output from Irish phone masts is at least 100 times too high for safety.

His warning comes as new research reveals that long-term use of mobile phones poses an increased risk of brain cancer.

According to Dr David Aldridge, a scientist who has worked developing microwave technology for the US Government, the international 'safety' limits which Ireland adheres to are out of date and totally flawed.

"What is happening is that the external signals (from mobile phones) are swamping the body's natural internal signals," he said.

This can lead to cancers and a whole range of other serious medical disorders, particularly among children, he said.

"Expose a cell to microwaves from a mast or phone and it interferes with the cell repair process. In the case of young children, the rate of cells dividing in half to form new ones is so fast that you end up with a vast number of what we call mis-repairs."

According to Dr Aldridge, the current international safety standards are over 50 years old and obsolete.

Meanwhile, a new study into the risks associated with using mobile phones has found an increased risk of brain tumours in people who have used them for 10 years or more.

The study, by German researchers, found an increased risk of glioma, an often deadly brain cancer, in people who had used mobile phones for over a decade.

However, a similar study in Britain appears to contradict these findings and concludes that there is no proof that long-term mobile phone use can cause glioma.

Both studies are part of the 13-nation Interphone Study, an effort sanctioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to assess possible health risks from the radiation emitted by mobile phones.

The German study, conducted by Joachim Schuz and colleagues at the University of Mainz, compared a group of 749 brain tumour patients with 1,494 similar people who had not used mobile phones and found a doubling of the risk of glioma after 10 years of use.

They said the number of people in the study who had used the phones for 10 years was small and the findings need to be confirmed by other studies.

This same 10-year threshold has previously been reported for acoustic neuroma, a benign tumour of the acoustic nerve, by two Swedish teams.

"This result is very difficult to interpret," said Dr Schuz.

"I can only say that it's still an open question whether there is a tumour risk for more than 10 years of use."

The British researchers found no overall increased risk in people who used mobile phones.

Although it revealed a significantly increased risk for tumours that developed on the same side of the head where patients said they most often held the phone, lead researcher Patricia McKinney, an epidemiologist at the Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics, said that the finding probably was due to many patients not accurately recalling which ear they had used most.

The Swedish study, conducted by researchers at the Karolinska Institute, found an increased risk for a non-cancerous brain tumour called acoustic neuroma after 10 years of mobile phone use.

Mobile phones: Do's and don'ts

Keep mobile phone conversations short.

Consider using a text message or picture message as an alternative.

Choose a handset with a lower SAR rating, which means it emits less radiation.

Don't hold the phone to your head when you can use a hands-free kit.

Consider using a phone with an external aerial.

Limit the amount of time that children use mobile phones.
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