A heavy dose of reality

On the much publicised, but little evidence of, risks surrounding mobile phone masts, provided by Professor Anthony Barker, honorary Lecturer at the Department of Medical Physics of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, speaking today at a conference at the University of Ulster, as the Press Association report notes – “There is no reason to expect mobile phone signals – which are essentially low-powered radio transmissions – to be bad for health. For over 80 years we have accepted wireless transmissions as part of our everyday life. We have big TV and broadcast radio transmitters all around us. Then, when someone proposes putting up a base station – which is also a radio transmitter – we all suddenly become concerned.”

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  • Pete –

    This reminds me of a true story I once heard from a friend who worked for a mobile company in the early days.

    The company had applied to erect a mast in a particular rural area, and the plan had met many objections. A public meeting was called and the company sent a representative to try to allay the fears of the anti-mast brigade in the locality.

    During the meeting, the guy from the mobile company couldn’t get a word in, as every time he opened his mouth, he was shouted down by one particularly vocal objector from the floor.

    When the meeting was over, and as he prepared to leave, the mobile company representative was confronted by his tormentor, brandishing a mobile handset.

    “D’ya know something else?” asked the heckler. “Your coverage around here is fuckin’ shite!”

  • Indeed, Gerry. Complaints about the quality of the signal are more frequent than the targetted complaints about mast-sitings.

    I’d also suggest that the recent furore over roaming charges gives another good indication of the reality for the majority of people.

  • How appropriate that this press release quoting professor Barker’s “phone masts are safe” comment appears in the media on the same day the private members ‘phone masts planning control bill’ is being debated in parliament?

    Prof. Barker stated that people are ‘misinformed’ about the proof the phone masts are dangerous.
    He mentions nothing about where the ‘proof’ is that the masts are safe though does he?

    It seems the only people ‘misinformed’ on the subject is professor barker since he obviously hasn’t read the National radiological protection board’s 2004 report which clearly states the potential health risks from microwave radiation.

    The professor states that his comments are based on technology over 30 years old? not very convincing since the NRPB in 2004 stated “technologies are continuing to develop at a pace which is outstripping analyses of any potential impact on health”. The professors comments are ludicrous considering the new pulsed microwave technology is only a few years old as stated by the NRPB.

    The new third generation technology uses bi-directional ‘pulsed Microwaves’ which have a very different effect on the human body than unidirectional radio waves in the lower frequency spectrum.

    There have been hundreds of studies over the last few years on electro-magnetic radiation from mobile phone masts, and every single one cannot rule out that a risk to human health exists, particularly if the human subject is chronically exposed to the microwaves in close proximity to the source (as with the new third generation phone masts).

    The professor cannot back up his argument with one single scientific reference that phone masts are safe, so the article wouldn’t convince anyone except perhaps his attendant audience.

    It’s time the professor stepped out of his time-machine and brought himself up to date with new scientific studies that indicate more research is needed and that until then we should all adopt a precautionary approach by siting new microwave antennas away from schools, hospitals and homes.

    Finally, I suggest professor Barker removes his blinkers and reads what the Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association (IDEA) think about Electro-magnetic radiation as that from masts by visiting the website below…
    http://www.ideaireland.org/emr.htm

  • The new third generation technology uses bi-directional ‘pulsed Microwaves’ which have a very different effect on the human body than unidirectional radio waves in the lower frequency spectrum.

    So…if the old ones were “unidirectional”, how come you can talk as well as listen? Both GSM and UMTS (as it’s usually implemented) use frequency-division duplexing to let you talk and listen at the same time – so did the analogue systems (at vastly higher power levels).

    I’m afraid you don’t know how much you don’t know.

  • TAFKABO

    There have been hundreds of studies over the last few years on electro-magnetic radiation from mobile phone masts, and every single one cannot rule out that a risk to human health exists,

    Hmmm, in other words, none of them proved a risk to health.

  • Tracer

    So the mobile operators have us believe that international guidelines support the claim that the mobile phone industry is squeaky-clean as to health effects? Rather than bandy words, let’s look at what those International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines actually say.

    “These guidelines are based on short-term immediate effects such as . . . shocks and burns . . . elevated tissue temperatures . . . In the case of potential long-term effects of exposure, such as increased risk of cancer, ICNIRP concluded that available data are insufficient for setting exposure restrictions”.

    Note that the guidelines don’t say ‘no evidence of long-term non-thermal health effects’, but ‘insufficient data on which to base a safety threshold for such effects – so these guidelines don’t cover them’. Exactly what the phone and mast health lobby keeps saying, and the Government keeps ignoring.

    Of the six studies to date on phone masts, every one has shown significant ill-health effects. A recent four-year EU-backed study by 12 partners in seven countries repeatedly showed irrefutable evidence of phone emissions, at levels within ICNIRP guidelines, causing double-strand DNA breaks of the sort that lead to cancer.

    Details of these studies, and many more, can be seen on the website http://www.starweave.com

    The mobile operators would also have us believe that the NRPB, advisers to Government, are independent.

    We’ve heard from Government advisers before – on asbestos, BSE and the like. Anyone who dares to publicly advise the Government that this particular multi-billion pound cash cow is a health hazard may well find their services no longer required.