PHONE MASTS - A
|Mobile phone masts - eyesore or potential health
It is not surprising that a 60
foot metal tower should cause anger amongst local residents forced
to live with the eyesore, but is there more at risk than just spoiling
the view? Inside Out investigates claims that phone masts are a danger.
Fifteen years since the birth of the mobile phone there
are over 35,000 masts and base stations in Britain.
With three out of four people owning a mobile and the
rapid advancements in phone technology - this figure could be set to double.
There have always been objections to the erecting of
phone masts, not least because of their unsightly bulk.
Many residents living, quite literally, in the shadow
of a mast, are far more concerned with the risk they say it poses to their
Health under threat
O'Connor believes her ill health was caused by a nearby phone mast|
Wishaw resident, Eileen O'Connor, claims that the mast,
erected in the village over a decade ago, brought with it a variety of
health complaints from many local residents ranging from nosebleeds to
But for Eileen, it was worse - breast cancer.
"I have gone through so many emotions," explains
Eileen. "It's complete shock and anger that this has been allowed
Although there is no statistical evidence to support
the claim of a cancer cluster in Wishaw, Eileen firmly believes that the
two are linked and set up local campaign group SCRAM - Sutton Coldfield
Residents Against Masts.
SCRAM is not the only group making a stand against phone
masts emit pulsing microwaves|
Alasdair Philips of the campaign group "Powerwatch"
has invented a device to detect mast emissions by converting microwaves
Alasdair insists that pulsing microwaves constantly bombarding
the body are responsible for complaints of ill health.
"It's like a pneumatic drill going outside your
house," he explains.
"You can't hear it but your body cells are being
impacted by this pulsing microwave radiation."
Campaigners claim that the pulsing waves from the masts
interfere with electrical signals in the body, damaging the immune system.
Testing, testing ...
The Department of Health and the Mobile Operators Association
insist that British masts conform to international safety standards.
In fact Ofcom found they were using just a tiny fraction
of thier permitted output.
But these safety standards focus largely on measuring
thermal emissions - whether the microwaves heat up whatever they come
into contact with.
Molecular toxicologist Dr David de Pomerai is researching
the alternative effects of the masts by exposing microscopic worms to
|"Research is going on abroad and
they have all come to the same conclusion - there is no evidence
|Michael Clark of the National
Radiological Protection Board|
Like the 23 other research projects in the UK, Dr de
Pomerai and his team have so far been unable to find any evidence to connect
cancer or any other illness with proximity to phone masts.
Despite the lack of evidence proving any link between
phone masts and ill health, the residents of Wishaw finally get what they
have been fighting for.
The mast's removal comes not from the tireless campaigning
of SCRAM however, but a group of vandals who pull down the 60 foot mast
under the cover of darkness.
"It was a shock when the mast came down, because
we had been campaigning for two years
Pursuing legal angles and
suddenly the mast was gone," explains Eileen.
pulled down the 60 foot mast in Wishaw|
Similar acts of vandalism have occurred throughout the
Acts of vandalism against masts are not only illegal,
but according to the Mobile Operators Association, they cost the consumer
tens of thousands of pounds and reduce mobile coverage.
With the Wishaw mast's untimely removal, Eileen O'Connor
believes she has all the proof she needs.
"Straight away people started reporting that their
headaches had stopped, the dizziness stopped, rashes cleared up,"
Despite the health improvements reported in Wishaw, and
reports of cancer clusters and ill health in many other communities living
with a mast, there is still no evidence of a direct link.
But whilst research into these claims continues to grow,
so does the number of masts.