18
Sep
2006

Brain tumour cluster in video cameramen at BBC Pebble Mill

17/9/06 From the on the wires

THE BBC was at the centre of a cancer scare last night after six cameramen who worked at the Pebble Mill studios were found to have brain tumours.

Experts fear that radiation from video camera viewfinders may have caused the six men, who had been employed at the Birmingham centre, to develop tumours.

Worried bosses fired off an urgent memo requesting the names of other staff suffering from similar complaints, even if they were no longer working for the corporation.

Equipment

The memo, sent out by health and safety official John Howcroft, read: "Around six ex-cameramen have developed brain tumours. "This number seems too high to be a coincidence and preliminary discussions are focusing on radiation from viewfinders as a possible cause. "We need to determine how widespread this problem is. "If any of you are aware of camera operators with the condition, could you send me all the information you have at the earliest opportunity." The six workers all worked at the now defunct Pebble Mill TV complex. The corporation has since moved into Birmingham's new Mailbox shopping mall site.

But further inquiries have been ordered because identical camera equipment has been used for years at other BBC studios across the country.

High levels of radiation emitted from powerful electronics can damage the brain but a TV camera viewfinder normally emits only low, safe levels.

One radiation expert said last night: "There is a link between exposure to radiation and tumours but the levels emitted by a TV camera would, in normal circumstances, be too low. "If cameras are linked to these cases then something has gone seriously wrong." Radiation can cause tumours by disrupting the genetic make-up of biological cells, making them more susceptible to aggressive cancers.

A BBC spokesman last night played down any possible links between electronic equipment and cancer. "We have found no link between camera equipment and the incidence of brain tumours but we are asking any concerned staff to come forward," he said. Mr Howcroft declined to comment on his department's memo.

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Brain tumour cluster in BBC video cameramen

From Yasmin Skelt:
(Sept 2006)

THE BBC was at the centre of a cancer scare last night after six cameramen who worked at the Pebble Mill studios were found to have brain tumours. Experts fear that radiation from video camera viewfinders may have caused the six men, who had been employed at the Birmingham centre, to develop tumours.

Worried bosses fired off an urgent memo requesting the names of other staff suffering from similar complaints, even if they were no longer working for the corporation. The memo, sent out by health and safety official John Howcroft, read: “Around six ex-cameramen have developed brain tumours. This number seems too high to be a coincidence and preliminary discussions are focusing on radiation from viewfinders as a possible cause. We need to determine how widespread this problem is. If any of you are aware of camera operators with the condition, could you send me all the information you have at the earliest opportunity.”

The six workers all worked at the now defunct Pebble Mill TV complex. The corporation has since moved into Birmingham’s new Mailbox shopping mall site.

And from the Scotsman:

//news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=1377192006

Mon 18 Sep 2006

Inquiry into BBC cluster of brain tumours

HEALTH and safety officials are investigating a cluster of brain tumours among cameramen who worked at the Pebble Mill studios in Birmingham. The cases sparked fears that radiation from video camera viewfinders may be linked to the tumours. However, the BBC played down the concerns, saying it had investigated and found no link between equipment and brain-tumour risk. Last week, John Howcroft, a health and safety official for the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union, sent a memo to staff about the brain tumour cases at the old studios. It read: “This number seems too high to be a coincidence and preliminary discussions are focusing on radiation from viewfinders as a possible cause.”

Comments

1. Robert, Kirriemuir / 3:53pm 18 Sep 2006 Observation like this does not surprise me. I purchase one of those TFT monitors and discovered that it was rapidly affecting my eyesight when I could feel the strain on my eyes accompanied by dullish headaches and double vision. On changing back to the CRT model those problems dispersed. Whether the problem was due to the TFT technology or the make of the one I possessed I am unable to say but, of course, I am wondering how many others are affected and what affect this technology is having on viewers.

2. Douglas, Bathgate / 12:46am 19 Sep 2006 If the powers that be won’t acknowledge the clusters of cancers around electricity pylons and sub stations I’m afraid the camera ops are on a hiding to nothing.


Source: //www.emfacts.com/weblog/index.php?p=565

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