20
Feb
2005

Expert’s mobile phone health fears

They’re as dangerous as driving blindfold, professor claims

Expert’s mobile phone health fears

by Arlene Kelly and Campbell Gunn

WESTERN governments are putting millions of lives at risk by allowing the continued and unlimited use of mobile phones, according to a leading expert. Professor Olle Johansson, a world-renowned expert on the impact of electromagnetic fields and microwave radiation, says the Scottish Executive should suspend the construction of all masts and launch an immediate investigation into the long-term health effects.

Experiment

Kath Fraser claims living near a mobile phone mast has made her life hell on earth.

Prof Johansson says, “Mobile phones are the biggest full-scale human experiment ever carried out. Using one is like driving blindfolded 200km per hour up the Alps. Hopefully everything will turn out safely, but no-one really knows. “Everyone is at risk, 24 hours a day, whether they are at home, at work or in their leisure time. “In areas where phone masts are commonplace, evidence of health defects, skin conditions, allergies and cancer clusters is extremely worrying.”

Prof Johansson, a neuroscientist from the government-funded Karolinska Institute in Sweden, with more than 20 years’ experience, was the first to study human sensitivity to mobiles, when adverse reactions were first reported in the mid-90s. He’ll visit Scotland this week to brief MSPs on the potential risks associated with exposure to mobile phones and masts.

He will also be appearing as an expert witness before the Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee and will be making appearances at public meetings in Aberdeenshire and Perth. He says, “People who are electrosensitive, together with those in African and poorer countries, who are not high consumers of such products, will have no long-term regular exposure and will come out of this situation best.

“People should not dream of having a mobile. Around 3G base stations especially, there is evidence of alterations in the brain, increased blood pressure, nausea, dizziness, headaches, infertility and accelerated tumour growths.”

Controversial

Prof Johansson also warns that governments must face up to their responsibilities by funding independent research, instead of avoiding a public health issue they know to be highly controversial. “The commercial and telecommunications companies are not responsible for this problem because their role is to gain profit. They are not doing anything illegal, only following flawed government safety guidelines.

“In my opinion the only safety level, both biologically and medically, is zero. I hope Scotland will see independent Government-based research. But it’s not an issue governments want to address.” Kath Fraser, a former nurse, from Old Kilpatrick, near Glasgow, claims she became electrosensitive after living near a mobile phone mast. She says, “It is hell on earth. I perspire profusely, suffer from sleep deprivation, dizziness, a burning sensation in my legs and hair loss. I even moved house to get away from the microwaves. “People think you are making it up and some doctors even recommend you see a psychiatrist, but it’s happening more and more and everyone can’t be wrong. Hopefully with the help of Professor Johansson we will be able to prove it.”

The Petitions Committee will also hear from Caroline Paterson, of the group Stirling Before Pylons. She will call on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Executive to acknowledge the potential health hazards associated with long-term exposure to high-voltage transmission wires.

Green MSP Mark Ruskell says the problem lies with the planning authorities who can’t take possible health issues into consideration when making a planning decision. “We need to make sure these technologies are safe before they’re rolled out,” he adds.

A Scottish Executive spokesman says, “The evidence to date suggests that exposure to radiation below international guidelines does not cause adverse health effects to the general population. We will continue to monitor emerging research in this area.

“The National Radiological Protection Board’s 2004 report on Mobile Phones and Health notes that there is no scientific basis for establishing minimal distances between base stations and areas of public occupancy.”

A spokeswoman for mmO2 Airwave, the company involved in the construction of the majority of masts, says, “We take the matter of health and safety very seriously. But there is overwhelming evidence that there is no cause for concern. “However, we are not complacent and rigidly follow health and safety guidelines. We regularly look at and review any new information or studies available.”

//www.dcthomson.co.uk/mags/post/news4.htm

Informant: Andy

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