16
Jul
2004

MOBILE PHONE MASTS AND DANGERS TO HEALTH

I'm transcribing below Dr. Don MacAuley of MAIM (Mast Action in Meath; earlier ref. to MAIM archived 19/11/02 at Citizens Initiative Omega) published response yesterday in THE IRISH TIMES to last Monday's letter written by Bob Hanna, Ireland's Dep. of Communications Chief Technical Adviser. Unlike Mr. Hanna's earlier letter in defense of the safety of Irish telecommunications however Dr. MacAuley's was not given the lead position in THE IRISH TIMES Letters section. A small point, but strategically a pointed one, so it niggles!

Best, Imelda, Cork.


THE IRISH TIMES, Thursday, July 15, 2004

"MOBILE PHONE MASTS AND DANGERS TO HEALTH

Madam, - Department of Communications Chief Technical Adviser Bob Hanna's honourable defence of the mobile phone industry (July 13th) omits several important points. Most obviously, he fails to mention an immense competing interest.

The Government, Mr. Hanna's employer, recently sold off 3G mobile phone licences, earning the Exchequer an estimated [euros]400 million since 2002. Moreover, there is growing concern among the medical and scientific community that microwave radiation is linked to serious health damage.

The Freiburg Appeal endorsed by over 1,000 doctors in Germany declared that emissions from mobile phones and masts were linked to a "dramatic rise in severe and chronic diseases", including learning, concentration and behavioural disorders, brain-degenerative diseases and cancer.

But Mr. Hanna, who is responsible for the implementation of the current emission guidelines (ICNIRP), continues to reassure us. However, these are the same guidelines that the Salzburg Resolution recommended should be 9,000 times lower than at present. The Salzburg Resolution was written by scientists from 10 countries in June 2000.

He also referes to a World Health Organisation (WHO) expert committee when the head of the WHO, Gro Harlem Brundland, recently cautioned parents about their children's use of mobile phones. The director general went on to declare that she does not own a phone and has banned the use of them in her office.

Mobile phone technology is a very new science and there is conflicting evidence to its safety. Surely we should be erring on the side of caution when there are so many reports of damage to health.

Last month, an eminent Australian neurosurgeon confirmed a 21 per cent increase in brain tumours in children. Dr. Charlie Teo is concerned about the influence of mobile phone radiation on these statistics.

In addition, Russia has banned the use of mobile phones among under-16s. Mr Hanna may be technically correct when he says there is no definitive proof of harm from non-ionising radiation but this is certainly not proof of safety.
And the Government has 400 million good reasons not to adopt the precautionary principle regarding phones and masts. With the State's plan to generate another [euros]100 million from leasing public buildings for more transmitters, it is difficult to see how Government experts can look at the science independently or objectively.

Unfortunately, like the tobacco industry, it appears that only injured people testifying in court will provide definitive proof that mobile phones and masts are damaging our health. - Yours, etc.,

Dr DON MacAULEY
Church Hill, Navan, Co. Meath."
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