Cancer expert alarmed by TETRA

Cancer scientist fights plan for new mast (Tetra) on his doorstep.

Mail on Sunday Nov 16, 2003

A LEADING cancer expert is so alarmed about the potential health hazards of a new generation of mobile phone masts that he is battling to prevent one being put up outside his home.

Professor Sir David Lane of the Cancer Research charity, who is tipped to win a Nobel prize for his work on cancer genes, has written to his local council saying that not enough research has been done into the dangers of the new Terrestrial Trunked Radio (Tetra) system.

And he added: 'This type of transmitter may constitute a health hazard to the occupants of neighbouring houses.'

The professor's comments will embarrass the Government which insists the system is safe and has given the go-ahead for communications company O2 to roll out nearly 3,500 of its Airwave transmitters using Tetra technology.

His intervention will also boost protesters who claim that Tetra is linked to skin rashes, epilepsy, leukemia, bone and breast cancer.

Sir David, professor of molecular oncology at Dundee University, became alarmed after telecoms company NTL applied for planning permission to erect the Tetra aerial on an existing base station near his home in Balmullo, Fife. Tetra will provide a nationwide digital radio system for emergency services.

Sir David makes his health objections in a letter to Fife Council. He also claims the aerial will spoil an area of natural beauty and reduce the value of local properties. The letter is co-signed by his wife Birgitte, herself a medical professor.

Campaigners believe that Tetra's pulsed microwave radiation signals at a frequency of 17.6Hz, a level similar to brain waves, cause calcium to leak from the brain, damaging the nervous system.

The independent Stewart Report into mobile technology recommended that pulsing at around 16Hz should be avoided.

Sir David appeared to backtrack after his views were publicised in a local newspaper. In a letter to its editor he stressed: 'The excellent Stewart Report makes it clear that the current body of scientific evidence does not indicate any significant risk.' He refused to comment further.

Lisa Oldham, director of pressure group Mast Sanity, said: 'People try to make opponents sound like hysterical house-wives but we're not and we need more professionals like Sir David to get involved.'

NTL denied that Tetra posed a threat, adding: 'The total radio-frequency emissions for our sites are well within international guidelines.'

The Home Office said: 'We take safety seriously and would not endanger health by introducing dangerous equipment.'


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