Mobile mast health fears

06 April 2005

A MOTHER who lost her son to leukaemia claims her surviving children's health has deteriorated since a new mobile mast went up.

Angela Shields, of Footbury Hill Road, Orpington, says she and her autistic son have suffered from headaches since three O2 phone masts were put up at Orpington BT phone exchange.

But staff at the phone firm deny this is due to the new installation.

Mrs Shields said: "The masts went up one weekend and a couple of days later my son came to me holding his head and said 'headache'.

"I was shocked because he is autistic and doesn't speak. I didn't even know he knew the word!"

The mother-of-two says she has headaches most mornings and her teenage daughter's migraines have got worse.

She is now planning to test radiation levels in and around her home.

"It just seems strange that all this started since the mast went up. If the [radiation] levels are high I can say it's due to the mast."

Mrs Shields is considering using radiation-deflecting nickel paint on the outside of her house and protective coating on the windows.

Her son Michael contracted an aggressive form of leukaemia when the family were living in Beckenham near the Crystal Palace tower.

He died 16 months later, a month before his fourth birthday. A neighbour's son, who often stayed in the adjacent bedroom, also contracted leukaemia around the same time.

This spurred Mrs Shields to move to a new area without mobile phone masts.

She added: "I moved here because there weren't any masts and I never dreamt this would happen.

"As BT has sold all its roof space I feel we are fighting a battle for the whole country and maybe that's why O2 hasn't backed down because if it did it would have to do it for them all."

Community relations manager for O2, James Stevenson, said the masts were only running in a testing mode and were being switched on and off every few days.

He added: "We sympathise with her if she is getting headaches but I do not think this is due to our installation.

"It is in testing mode and all the scientific information we have is telling us that the emissions cause no problem at all for anybody."

Residents fought against the O2 masts for four-and-a-half years but they finally went up a month ago.

Campaigners are continuing to fight to have them removed. A public meeting is planned for 7.30pm on April 13 at the Goodmeade Centre, Orpington.


Copyright © 2005 Archant Regional. All rights reserved

Informant: Sylvie


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