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NO suspects identified in any mindless attacks on phone masts in recent years
United Kingdom Created: 12 Oct 2021
NO suspects have been identified in any attacks in recent years on 5G and other phone masts in Bradford, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

Over 50 per cent of attacks between the start of 2019 and the middle of this year in West Yorkshire happened in Bradford, including four in one month alone.

Major concerns have previously been raised about attacks on 5G masts in the city, with Three taking the step of writing to MPs and the Council last year over the issue.

Peter Gilson, Director of Radio Access Networks at Three, told the Telegraph & Argus: “Clearly from a financial aspect, it’s a problem.That’s secondary from my perspective. The most important part is the health and safety of the people of Bradford.

“When you burn down a mast, it’s not specific to 5G, it’s one of our masts, what happens is you’ve got a large piece of metal there.

“Firstly it’s up in flames, it’s been attacked and damaged, which creates the problem of, potentially, some parts of the metal being loose and falling either during the attack and hurting somebody who’s actually involved in the attack, or later on, a passer-by walking past can get smacked on the head.

“The risk of death is there.”

West Yorkshire Police insisted all attacks are taken “very seriously” and said work is ongoing around crime prevention solutions.

Data from the force shows that between January 2019 and July this year, there was a total of 29 attacks, be it arson or criminal damage, on telecommunication masts in the county.

Just one of those happened in 2019, with a surge to 19 in 2020 and the first attack of that year happening in March.

In the height of the coronavirus pandemic, UK mobile network providers warned against the spread of “baseless” conspiracy theories linking coronavirus to 5G.

Nine attacks were recorded in 2021 between February and the end of July.

And of the 29 crimes recorded by West Yorkshire Police in the period the data covers, 16 happened in Bradford.

Others were recorded in Halifax, Huddersfield, Pontefract, Featherstone, Dewsbury and Leeds.

In May 2020, a mast was attacked in the Wibsey area where a fire was lit at the bottom which then spread further up and caused “significant damage”.

There was then an incident in the BD8 area of the city in June last year, where a screw driver was used to damage the door of the mast. The data then shows a spate later in the year.

In September, there were four arson attacks on masts in Bradford alone, with three of those in the BD3 area of the city.

In one, the suspects are said to have attacked the rear box of a 5G tower, prised it open and place panels of wood inside before setting it on fire and making off from the scene.

Yobs then unleashed another arson attack the following month in the BD8 area.

There was then another in November in the BD5 area, plus two criminal damage incidents in the BD4 area.

December then saw another arson attack in Bradford, where a rag was torched and then thrown inside the bottom of a 5G mast, forcing witnesses to attempt to extinguish the flames by pouring water on the fire.

There was then a further four criminal damage incidents and two arson attacks in 2021 in the period the data covers.

Mindless vandals struck again last month, when a 5G mast on Trinity Road, Little Horton, was torched in a late-night attack.

Detective Chief Inspector Fiona Gaffney, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “The deliberate damage to these types of masts can be very dangerous – for nearby residents and those committing the serious offences.

“Attacks can also pose a significant risk to the road network and we treat these incidents very seriously.”

She added: “We ensure that every attack is promptly and thoroughly investigated and we are working with our key partners in industry to explore crime prevention solutions.

“Work also remains ongoing in the community to prevent attacks and ensure robust action is taken against those responsible when attacks do occur.

“I would appeal directly to anyone with information about any such attacks to contract police.”
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Source: Telegraph and Argus, Felicity Macnamara, 04 Oct 2021

Plans for tall 5G mobile phone mast "taller than trees" and near homes in Sheffield rejected
United Kingdom Created: 12 Oct 2021
A mobile network company is appealing after its plans to erect a 5G mast on a busy junction were refused.

Cornerstone, which provides coverage for Vodafone and Telefonica, wanted to erect a 17.5m high pole with six antennas and two equipment cabinets on a grass verge on Ecclesall Road South, near the junction with Brincliffe Edge Road.

But planning officers were unhappy as the site is within a busy built-up area and the mast would be towards the bottom of a rising hillside and next to a bus stop.

Officers refused the plans using delegated powers. They said: “The proposed mast is significantly taller than the limited surrounding street furniture, and around 5.5 metres taller than the surrounding street trees.

“It is located in a prominent position and would be viewed from some substantial distances.

“The monopole is inappropriate due to its height and siting. The importance attached by the Government to the provision of a high-quality telecommunications network is acknowledged, however in this instance it does not outweigh the negative implications.”

Cornerstone said the way people use phones and other technology has changed over the past 30 years and base stations must be located where the local demand exists.

It said: “5G uses higher frequency radio signals that have a shorter range and will require more base station sites than the existing networks.

“Wherever possible, existing installations will be used to accommodate the necessary infrastructure.

“In certain cases the upgrade of service will require a dual pole solution for sites which currently have a single pole design.

“Due to the technology required for 5G service, the antenna height in many cases must be greater than that for previous generation technology.

“It is very important to note that mobiles can only work with a network of base stations in place where people want to use their phones or other wireless devices. Without base stations, the technology we rely on simply won’t work.”

A planning inspector will now make the final decision.
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Source: The Star, Lucy Ashton, 05 Oct 2021

5G Mobile phone mast proposal thrown out after councillors heard (traffic) safety fears
United Kingdom Created: 12 Oct 2021
CK Hutchison Networks (UK) Ltd, made an application to erect a 15-metre high pole on the junction of Ashtree Lane and Hookergate Lane, in High Spen, but it was voted down by the committee on Wednesday evening.

A report to the committee stated that the scheme would provide 5G signal and coverage for the 3 mobile phone network.

However, the authority received five objections raising fears about traffic, the impact on the street scene, saying the technology would be an "eyesore" and "intrusive".

These were backed up by ward councillor Marilyn Charlton who attended the meeting to speak against the plans.

Coun Charlton raised fears for the safety of pedestrians, pointing out that it would be on the only footpath.

She said: "It is far too close to Ashfeild Court and High Spen Court, which is just 3.5m from where the mast is.

"It is just a small country lane and High Spen Court, which is not occupied yet, is opposite.

"Regarding the path; this is the only path on Ashtree Lane. Ashtree Lane is recently being used as a rat run because we have got a 20 mile per hour at Barlow and 20 miles per hour at Rowlands Gill and quite a bit of travel is going up and down Ashtree Lane which is very small.

"What you couldn't see from the designs that have been put up is this is a very dangerous junction.

"It's a four way junction. If you come out in your car you have to creep out there.

"The idea of people trying to avoid this mast and these cabinets and cars trying to creep out at the same time and people coming along on their route to and from school I don't think its a good idea."

Coun Charlton is not a member of the planning committee and has no voting rights.

Three expressions of support for the proposals were also sent to the authority, with backers saying that mobile signal is poor in the area and that the mast is needed to "modernise" it.

The planning committee unanimously voted against the application.
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Source: Chronicle Live, Herbert Soden, 08 Oct 2021

How 5G rollout became such a long, hard slog
United Kingdom Created: 10 Sep 2021
Traverse the leafy neighborhoods of southwest London and the 5G connection flickers on and off like a faulty streetlight. Thankfully, for the zone's commuters and smartphone zombies, there is still no application that depends on 5G connectivity. And 4G is everywhere.

That technology spread rapidly across the UK after it was first switched on by EE in October 2012. When Ofcom, the UK regulator, got around to publishing its communications market update for June 2014, it celebrated the fact that more than 70% of homes were covered by a 4G network. There have been no such plaudits about 5G.

Launched in mid-2019, the latest generation of mobile technology gave Ofcom nothing to cheer in the latest May report. "We are still in the early stages of 5G rollout, so we will not be reporting on 5G coverage in this update," said Ofcom. "We continue to work with mobile operators to establish how best to evaluate and report on 5G coverage."

The few figures that have been squeezed out of service providers highlight the gap between 4G and 5G. In July, BT, EE's owner, revealed that it covers just 40% of the UK population with 5G more than two years after launch. Its 4G network, at the equivalent stage of rollout, was available to more than 80% of people. Nor can most consumers expect a 5G service to arrive soon. BT's target is to reach only half the population by 2023.

Rivals are even further behind. Vodafone is not disclosing the percentage but says it is "a bit less" than BT's. Three, the smallest of the UK operators, says it has made 5G available to 30% of the "outdoor" population. Virgin Media O2 is not for sharing details.

The stunted development of 5G is not just a UK phenomenon. By April this year, 5G services running over important "mid-band" spectrum were available to fewer than 10% of people living in European Union countries plus the UK, according to Ericsson, a vendor of 5G equipment. And in lower-band airwaves, 5G is no better than 4G.

Heavy lifting

The equipment looks partly to blame. The relatively lightweight network boxes that came with 4G were often easy to hoist into position. Streets did not have to be shut down, nor masts reinforced. EE, which re-farmed 1800MHz spectrum, was able to rely on the same antennas it had deployed for older services, according to an industry source close to the matter. "It was a doddle," he says.

By contrast, the radio units that Vodafone initially bought for its 5G rollout each weighed about 60 kilograms, says Ker Anderson, Vodafone UK's head of radio and performance. "Big, lumpy heavy objects require steel work and quite a lot of plant on site to install in a safe manner," he told reporters at a media roundtable last week. The physical process of upgrading has been "a lot more work than with 4G."

Fortunately, the 5G boxes are getting lighter. The units Vodafone now buys from Ericsson weigh less than 30 kilograms each, says Anderson, and can be installed more easily. Those could speed up the rollout of more advanced 5G networks for all operators. Until now, BT says it has had to fall back on less capable 5G units, incorporating fewer transmitters and receivers, to overcome the city planning obstacles it has occasionally faced with heavier gear.

Harder to fix is a shortage of mobile sites. The grid of European masts is adequate for services that operate in spectrum up to and including the 2.6GHz band, previously awarded for 2G, 3G and 4G technologies. But the distances between sites may be too great for the mid-band frequencies in and around 3.5GHz, licensed for use with 5G. Signals will not travel as far in higher ranges, fading at the cell edge like runners in need of refreshment.

This largely explains why mid-band 5G is far more pervasive in Asian markets that already had a very dense mobile network grid. The outstanding example is South Korea, where mid-band 5G services now cover more than 90% of the population, says Ericsson. For every 10,000 people, South Korea currently has more than 57 sites, while Germany and France have fewer than ten.

Building new sites today would be costly, and hardly any European operators have announced plans for such "densification." To overcome signal propagation challenges, they are relying on a technology called dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS), which splits lower-band spectrum between 4G and 5G. Even Germany's Deutsche Telekom, one of the few European operators constructing hundreds of new sites each year, looks heavily dependent on DSS. Only 2,400 of its 55,000 5G antennas currently use mid-band spectrum, it said last week.

DSS has come in for heavy criticism from Nick Read, Vodafone Group's CEO. "Some operators are taking DSS, which is effectively giving you a 5G symbol but 4G performance," he told analysts on a call in November. Yet Vodafone UK appears to have gone down the same path. Gabriel Brown, a London-based Heavy Reading analyst who has been monitoring 5G rollouts, tweeted in June that he rarely encounters a Vodafone service that operates in 3.5GHz spectrum.

"The DSS you are seeing is a precursor," said Anderson last week. "That is just about getting more footprint out there. That is not necessarily the end game for us." But it remains unclear whether operators can provide blanket mid-band coverage without adding sites. France's Orange believes it can avoid much 5G densification by using more efficient technology. Ericsson is unconvinced.

Demand gap

Service providers are in no apparent hurry while there is no compelling reason for consumers to upgrade. "I don't think 5G to consumers, in terms of the magnitude of the step from 3G to 4G that we had, is even close," said Anderson. "You can get 100 Mbit/s, whereas on 4G you got 30 Mbit/s, but – in reality – what does that mean for a consumer?"

He is not the only technology executive who questions 5G's immediate appeal. "3G and HSPA [a high-speed version of 3G] was a poor substitute for 4G and 5G," said Neil McRae, BT's chief network architect, in July. "Moving from 4G to 5G is not that kind of packet-based improvement and we've done that piece of it."

The metrics bear this out. Of Vodafone's roughly 17 million mobile customers, only about 3 million have a 5G SIM card and plan, and not all of those have a 5G-compatible device. BT has stopped providing details of total customer numbers but says only about 4 million are "5G-ready." At about the same stage of its 4G rollout, EE had nearly 8 million customers.

The 5G launch has not provided any revenue uplift, either. Vodafone UK's average revenue per user (ARPU) has fallen from £14.10 per month before the 5G launch to £13.70. For contract customers, BT's ARPU has dropped from £20.70 to £18 over a similar period. Competition has whittled down prices.

No doubt, the coronavirus pandemic and a UK government-mandated swap-out of Huawei kit have also had an impact. In Vodafone's case, the controversial Chinese vendor is making way for new suppliers of open RAN, an immature technology that appears to have slowed Vodafone down. One problem is a lack of open RAN support for 3G, a technology still in widespread use among Vodafone customers. A need to maintain 3G for several years is "holding us back from introducing open RAN," said Anderson last week.

With revenues under pressure, finance departments are reluctant to commit additional funds to 5G rollout. And there is no shortage of other projects consuming attention. Anderson reels off a list that includes mobile edge computing, investment in optical transport and the launch of standalone 5G, a new variant. BT is spending billions on the rollout of full-fiber networks to UK homes. Under pressure from rivals and regulators, it aims to cover 25 million homes by the mid-2020s.

A 5G problem in waiting?

It all explains why cutbacks and efficiency have become telco priorities. Besides selling assets, shutting down older platforms (such as 3G) and automating processes, operators are spinning off towers and sharing infrastructure. BT aims to reduce annual costs by £2 billion ($2.8 billion). Vodafone slashed operating expenses by 7.5% in its last fiscal year.

Few denizens of southwest London and other European cities will care about spotty 5G coverage. Most would not even notice the yoyoing between 4G and 5G that inevitably occurs. Not, that is, unless a mobile application arrives that is simply too advanced to run on any 4G network. If that day comes, the 5G gulf between South Korea and Europe will suddenly be a much bigger deal.

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Source: Light Reading, Iain Morris, 09 Sep 2021

Why pigeons mean peril for satellite broadband
United Kingdom Created: 30 Aug 2021
"It's actually been very good but I noticed a series of outages - some a second, some longer," says Prof Alan Woodward.

The University of Surrey cyber-security expert is talking about his new satellite broadband service from space entrepreneur Elon Musk's Starlink company.

The outages, he thinks, may be caused by a lot of "pesky pigeons", which "have taken a fancy to sitting on the dish".

That small grey dish sits on the kitchen roof. To the curious pigeon, it might conceivably look like a modern bird bath rather short on water.

It is one earthbound end of the Starlink satellite internet system.

Living in a place where he "can only dream" of a fibre broadband connection, Prof Woodward says he's pleased to be one of the beta testers of the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband system,

Mr Musk recently announced that he has shipped 100,000 of the terminals.

The little dish receives and sends signals to passing satellites, part of a constellation of 1,700 which are hurtling overhead at a height of about 340 miles (550km). They travel fast enough to orbit the Earth every 90 minutes or so.

Tens of thousands more are planned, but Gwynne Shotwell, president of aerospace company SpaceX which operates Starlink, has admitted new launches are being affected by shortages of chips and liquid oxygen fuel.

Treating Covid-19 patients has increased demand for commercial oxygen - leaving less for fuel.
Major outage

Prof Woodward is still investigating the root cause of the glitches, though an expert told the BBC a "pigeon sitting on a Starlink antenna would certainly degrade its performance".

Pigeons have not been the only problem, however, as this week, a major outage hit Starlink users around the world. The connection, Prof Woodward said, "just completely disappeared".

The service, still officially in beta, seems to have been down for about an hour for many users - and Starlink has not explained why.

Starlink is one of a number of firms hoping to provide satellite internet services.

Amazon's Project Kuiper plans to launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites
Telesat, a Canadian company, says it will put 298 satellites in orbit
The EU has plans for a mega-constellation
China has also announced plans for its own network

And then there's OneWeb, part-owned by the UK taxpayer, which, like Starlink, already has hardware in space.

The firm launched 34 satellites this week, meaning there are now 288 of the 150kg objects in space.

OneWeb's focus is on providing internet to businesses, maritime users and government. However, a deal with BT means it will probably also supply consumer broadband to rural areas, including portable 5G cells which customers could hire "on demand".

Many people in remote areas may end up receiving broadband via satellite, whether or not they realise it.

"The technology may be invisible to the end user," says Mike Thompson, director for technical development for consultants Access Partnership.

"The provider may run a satellite link in a town where fibre is unavailable, for example, and use it to feed the local broadband pipe."
How much?

All of this comes at a cost.

"The price is on the high side. It's about £500 to get the equipment as a beta tester, and then £89 per month," Prof Woodward tells me.

The pain of buying new tech only to see the price fall and new versions emerge will be a familiar one to many early adopters.

Ms Shotwell revealed this week that by the end of the year, new dish models would be half the price.

However, at least Prof Woodward has found Starlink easy to use.

"I popped it on the kitchen roof primarily because it was the only flat roof and easy to get to. Starlink provide an app that shows if there are obstructions so you can choose the best spot, which saved hours of fiddling around."

After connecting it to the router, he said, the dish "juggled around for a minute or so. Then I had fast internet".

The speeds are averaging about 150-200 megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds and 10-20Mbps upload. There were short dropouts, but nothing that would have interrupted, for example, streaming television, Prof Woodward said.

"That knocks anything else I can obtain here into a cocked hat," he said.

In February, Mr Musk tweeted that Starlink hoped to double its offered top speeds to 300Mbps.

But the kind of service that users will experience via LEO satellites will depend on many factors.

One, experts say, will be how many other dishes are nearby. Starlink currently limits the number of users per coverage area.

Prof Michael Fitch, from the University of Surrey says not very many users can have the top speed at the same time in a given area.

"The average bit-rate that individual users experience will reduce as the number of nearby users increases, since the system has a finite capacity that it can provide over any given area"

The amount of reduction will depend on a number of things including "how well the system can move capacity from one area to another", he says.

Regulator Ofcom recently raised concerns about interference between satellite systems potentially causing dropouts, but Prof Fitch says it is "unlikely to be serious".

Others take a different view.

"In general, a slow but reliable internet connection is more useful than a fast but intermittent one," says Mr Thompson. "Interactive applications (like video conferencing) require a continuous connection."

Crowded skies

LEO is an increasingly busy place, and astronomers have already complained about the trails of satellites spoiling their observations.

But others worry about collisions.

"We are already beginning to see a large number of near misses in orbit involving Starlink," says Prof Hugh Lewis of University of Southampton,

He warns that stopping collisions between so many satellite constellations "may soon go beyond what humans or simple algorithms can safely manage".

He says more advanced technological solutions may be needed to keep spacecraft safe.

How many satellites end up orbiting earth will in part depend on demand for their broadband services.

For Prof Woodward, Starlink was an expensive but pleasantly surprising new purchase.

After a couple of days of use, he said: "I was dubious about how good it would be considering it's receiving signals from objects hurtling past you in low earth orbit.

"But the whole experience has left me feeling optimistic."

Whether he will continue to feel that way may depend on how the technology develops, and of course pigeons.
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Source: BBC, Chris Vallance, 29 Aug 2021

Controversial Three 5G mast plan turned down
United Kingdom Created: 15 Aug 2021
Plans for a 5G mobile phone mast that saw a village up in arms has been refused.

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) has said the planned mast at the junction of Cromer Road and Pauls Lane in Overstrand cannot go ahead.

The decision was greeted with relief by parish council chairman Bruce Stratton, who said: "It's good news that NNDC have taken the view of the public and had the good sense to refuse it.

"We have to accept that everywhere in the UK will have 5G because that's a government dictate, and as a parish council I don't think we're opposed to having 5G in the village - if we don't have it we would fall behind the times.

"But the location for this was totally wrong. Phone companies have to consider the views of Overstrand and choose locations that aren't disruptive."

The mast would have been 60ft (18 metres) tall and sited next to the Belfry Centre for music and arts and the Belfry Primary School. The application to erect the mast was put in by WHP Telecoms and it would been used by the Three network.

Objections centred around the visual impact the mast would have had, and the possible risk to traffic because the structure would have cut some views of the nearby road.

Mr Stratton said a parish council meeting in July where the mast was discussed was "probably the biggest one we've ever had" with 70-80 people gathered both inside and outside the meeting room to oppose the plans.

At the meeting, one resident said that a lollipop lady had recently been struck by a car on the junction, adding: "Kids are already taking their life into their own hands on that road."

Another resident, Derek Johnston, 62 said: "There's a lot of cars that come out there - it's already a restricted view and this is going to make it even worse. The main concerns are for the school, and the safety and visual impact.

An NNDC officer report on the application says: "Details of the siting and appearance of the development have been submitted, which are considered unacceptable in this instance.

"As a result, this application is refused and planning permission would be required."
Will mast saga drag on?

Angie Fitch-Tillett, NNDC ward councillor for Poppyland, which includes Overstrand, said she was delighted with the decision to turn the plans down.

Mrs Fitch-Tillett, who also campaigned against the mast, said: "Obviously I'm very happy with the officers' decision. I think it's the right one.

"I'm concerned that it will go to appeal, but we will keep our fingers crossed".

5G technology allows for faster internet speeds by using high frequency waves, but they need more transmitter masts to operate than previous telecommunications technology.

Earlier this year the government announced plans to increase the maximum allowable height for masts on public land from 20m to 25m for existing masts, and 30m for new ones.

But stricter rules were to come in for protected areas such as national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Meanwhile, the government has said it wanted to extend 4G technology to 95pc of the UK by 2025.
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Source: North Norfolk News, Stuart Anderson, 14 Aug 2021

"Excessive" 5G phone mast near Ayrshire school rejected by planners
United Kingdom Created: 9 Aug 2021
Three - one of the UK's biggest mobile phone companies - denied in bid for 18-metre structure.

Planners have knocked back a proposal to erect a 5G mast across from an Ayrshire school and nursery.

Three - one of the UK's biggest mobile phone companies - wanted to place the 18-metre structure — almost 60ft — near Irvine's Castlepark Primary school and early years centre.

They said there was a need to upgrade capacity and coverage for 5G services in a "highly constrained cell search area."

Plans submitted to North Ayrshire Council showed that the phone mast would be taller than nearby trees, streetlights and buildings at Castlepark Circle, just before the junction at Carron Place.

And a planning report stated that would be 'excessive' as the application by CK Hutchison Networks (UK) Limited was refused.

The report noted: "The proposed mast would not benefit from any screening and would be highly visible in the surrounding area.

"The scale of the proposed mast would be excessive in terms of height with regards to its surroundings.

"The design of the mast and associated infrastructure would be utilitarian in appearance.

"While such infrastructure is common in residential areas, the excessive scale of the proposed mast would result in it having a significant, and potentially detrimental impact on the character and visual appearance of the surrounding area."

Just one letter of objection was received, arguing that the proposed development would be an eyesore and raising concerns about the potential health impacts of 5G.

But in response, North Ayrshire planners stated: "There is no evidence of any negative health side effects associated with wireless technologies."

One resident supported the plans, arguing that "people want a good mobile signal and the proposed development will be beneficial to the area."

Planners also said: "North Ayrshire Council supports the roll out of 5G, however, there is a requirement to assess whether the siting and design of telecommunications infrastructure would require prior approval."
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Source: Daily Record, Eric McGowan, 08 Aug 2021

Proof of EHS beyond all reasonable doubt
United Kingdom Created: 6 Aug 2021
Leszczynski’s review [1] included two important conclusions. Firstly, the need for the WHO, ICNIRP, ICES and governmental organisations to revise their denial of the link between EHS and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) because the data is of insufficient quality for proof of the lack of causality. Secondly, instead of studying a nocebo effect, research should focus on finding “suitable biochemical and biophysical markers” for symptoms in each EHS individual.

However, the review also stated that “So far, scientists were unable to find causality link between symptoms experienced by sensitive persons and the exposures to EMF”. This comprehensive assertion does not seem to reflect all the scientific evidence.

The criteria for proof, here onwards defined as beyond all reasonable doubt, differ between causality for an environmental intolerance (EI), such as EHS, and causality for a bacterial or viral disease. For the latter, there is usually a cellular organism or virion. For an EI, there can be several triggers and pathways affecting many organs, tissues and cells. EI can also be caused by genetics and viruses.

Proof of causality for an EI necessarily depends, as for any cause, on sequential temporality. This temporal sequence is usually evident in a repeatable physiological symptom(s) or change(s) often measurable by an objective marker(s). However, each individual may react differently to a given environmental stimulus. Scientific proof of health causality usually also requires a known mechanism. In the case of an electromagnetic EI such as sunburn or skin cancer from sunshine, individual differences have long been known, while a mechanism in the form of a genetic defect in DNA repair was discovered in 1968.

For EHS, another electromagnetic EI, differences in individuals’ symptoms from man-made EMFs have been known since 1733. In 2008 the first genetic variant associated with EMF sensitivity was discovered, the XRCC1 Ex9+16A allele, a DNA repair polymorphism, linked with childhood leukaemia near substations and powerlines [2]. In 2014 it was reported that people with EHS were 9.7 times more likely to have GSTM1 + GSTT1 null genotypes [3], indicating a susceptibility to oxidative stress. This genetic variation can also increase the risk of multiple sclerosis, some cancers, Alzheimer’s and asthma, each sometimes associated with EHS. Such genetic variants seem more common at higher than lower latitudes and in women than men, with others associated with higher levels of mercury. EHS symptoms are also associated with some demyelinating neurodegenerative conditions.

A causal link between electrosensitive symptoms and EMF exposures has also been proved for other mechanistic pathways in addition to genetic. Calcium flux through membrane depolarisation was discovered in 1974, involving the radical pair mechanism at ELF up to MHz, as in modulated cell phone signals. Unmodulated GHz radiofrequency can generate oxidative stress and may act through ferritin, calcium spikes or water modification, but further proof is needed. Other pathways include cryptochromes [4]. Such EMF sensitivity occurs in 100% of people subliminally, and in 30% consciously [5]. Hypersensitivity is associated with the 1.2% severely disabled by EMFs.

Scientific proof also partly depends on repeatability, as in provocation tests, either subliminal or conscious. Such tests were first applied to EHS in the 1980s by Dr Cyril Smith, who originated the term ‘Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity’, and Dr Jean Munro. Following near-quantum and non-linear insights by Professor Herbert Frölich, they first identified the specific frequencies to which an individual was sensitive. They then reproduced the EMF exposure, proving that positive provocation tests of screened subjects could be repeated accurately. Similar tests were used in 1991 at the Environmental Health Center, Texas, by Dr William Rea, who held the world’s first professorship in environmental medicine at the University of Surrey in 1988. These achieved 100% success by screening for specific frequencies and rejecting 84% of subjects without consistent responses [6]. Dr Magda Havas and Professor Andrew Marino confirmed this through similar diagnostic protocols. High accuracy in blinded provocation tests was also recorded for individuals in studies without screening, as at Essex University in 2007, but their individual data were not published and therefore lost in averaging. Some unscreened studies hypothesised without evidence a different condition, namely a nocebo effect or electrophobia, known since 1903, but inapplicable to unaware adults, some of whom suffer physiological EHS.

Further proof of EMF causality for EHS symptoms includes the 20% of subjects known since 1998 to suffer electrosensitivity symptoms during Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Likewise, walking fast through magnetic fields near MRI scanners can induce electric currents causing specific EHS symptoms, with a small hypersensitive subset. Similarly, some people are sensitive to geomagnetic disturbances and thunderstorms [7].

Clinical evidence also contributes to proof of EHS. Specific EHS symptoms were identified from 1932 in Eastern Europe and the USSR, usually among people occupationally exposed, such as radar, radio or electricity workers. As EHS spread into the general population with the use of cell phones, Wi-Fi and smart metres, specialist EHS centres assessed greater numbers, such as Professor Dominique Belpomme’s in Paris. In 2015 he published the first comprehensive study of objective molecular biomarkers including cerebral blood perfusion scans, showing that EHS is a multi-systemic EI like chemical sensitivity. In 2021 Belpomme led 32 international experts requesting that the WHO acknowledges EHS as a distinct neuropathological disorder and includes it in its International Classification of Diseases [8]. In 2017 Dr Gunnar Heuser published evidence from fMRI scans of brain effects [9]. Similar scans helped convince a 2020 government report that the U.S. diplomats in Cuba were harmed by radiofrequency weapons.

In the 1930s, sufficient proof that adverse health symptoms were caused by non-thermal EMF exposure led to the first radiofrequency guidelines being non-thermal. Non-thermal effects of radiofrequency were shown as primary, with heating secondary. In 1953 sensitivity symptoms were shown to include cancers among radar workers and, from 2004, among people living nearer a cell phone tower compared with those further away, while in 1979 increased leukaemia was found among people living near powerlines. The IARC recognised non-thermal effects by classifying radiofrequency EMFs from cell phones as a 2B carcinogen in 2011. This led to courts from 2012 fining employers, and compensating EHS employees severely affected by non-thermal EMFs.

The scientific proof of the causal link between symptoms and EMF exposures has also been accepted since the 1990s by insurers. They refuse to underwrite EMF risks except as high category like asbestos, another carcinogen. Following Sweden in 2000, like the WHO in 2005, some countries specifically recognise EHS as functionally disabling and requiring accommodation under equality legislation. In 2020 a Dutch appeal judge recognised a person with EHS as an interested party in siting a cell phone tower.

Finally, two of the review’s three “essential, but still unanswered” questions – the EMF levels tolerated without conscious adverse effects and the counter-measures to protect people with EHS – were answered in some respects by the EUROPAEM EMF Guideline 2016 [10], subsequently adapted for the International Guidelines on Non-Ionising Radiation of 2018. Typically, public health levels to prevent harm are set 10 to 50 times below the lowest experimentally proven health effects to accommodate exceptionally hypersensitive individuals. However, some non-thermal guidelines include the duration of EMF exposure to facilitate greater flexibility, while also protecting sleep locations and those proven as the most sensitive groups in society.

Research funding: None declared.

Author contributions: Author has accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

Competing interests: Author states no conflict of interest.

Informed consent: Not applicable.

Ethical approval: The comments expressed here do not involve new research on humans or animals.

References

1. Leszczynski, D. Review of the scientific evidence on the individual sensitivity to electromagnetic fields (EHS). Rev Environ Health 2021 Jul 6. https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2021-0038 [Epub ahead of print].

2. Yang, Y, Jin, X, Yan, C, Tian, Y, Tang, J, Shen, X. Case-only study of interactions between DNA repair genes (hMLH1, APEX1, MGMT, XRCC1 and XPD) and low-frequency electromagnetic fields in childhood acute leukemia. Leuk Lymphoma 2008;49:2344–50. https://doi.org/10.1080/10428190802441347.

3. De Luca, C, Thai, JC, Raskovic, D, Cesareo, E, Caccamo, D, Trukhanov, A, et al.. Metabolic and genetic screening of electromagnetic hypersensitive subjects as a feasible tool for diagnostics and intervention. Mediat Inflamm 2014;2014:924184. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/924184.

4. Sherrard, RM, Morellini, N, Jourdan, N, El-Esawi, M, Arthaut, L-D, Niessner, C, et al.. Low-intensity electromagnetic fields induce human cryptochrome to modulate intracellular reactive oxygen species. PLoS Biol 2018;16:e2006229. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2006229.

5. Bevington, M. The prevalence of people with restricted access to work in manmade electromagnetic environments. J Environ Health Sci 2019;5:1–12. https://doi.org/10.15436/2378-6841.19.2402.

6. Rea, WJ, Pan, Y, Fenyves, EJ, Sujisawa, I, Suyama, H, Samadi, N, et al.. Electromagnetic field sensitivity. J Bioelectr 1991;10:241–56. https://doi.org/10.3109/15368379109031410.

7. Panagopoulos, DJ, Balmori, A. On the biophysical mechanism of sensing atmospheric discharges by living organisms. Sci Total Environ 2017;599–600:2026–34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.05.089.

8. Belpomme, D, Carlo, GL, Irigaray, P, Carpenter, DO, Hardell, L, Kundi, M, et al.. The critical importance of molecular biomarkers and imaging in the study of electrohypersensitivity. A Scientific Consensus International Report. Int J Mol Sci 2021;22:7321. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22147321.

9. Heuser, G, Heuser, SA. Functional brain MRI in patients complaining of electrohypersensitivity after long term exposure to electromagnetic fields. Rev Environ Health 2017;32:291–9. https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2017-0014.

10. Belyaev, I, Dean, A, Eger, H, Hubmann, G, Jandrisovits, R, Kern, M, et al.. EUROPAEM EMF Guideline 2016 for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related health problems and illnesses. Rev Environ Health 2016;31:363–97. https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2016-0011.


Received: 2021-07-13
Accepted: 2021-07-20
Published Online: 2021-08-02

© 2021 Michael Bevington,

published by De Gruyter, Berlin/Boston

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
From the journal Reviews on Environmental Health
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Source: Reviews on Environmental Health, Michael Bevington, 02 Aug 2021

Controversial phone mast plan is thrown out at Appleton
United Kingdom Created: 6 Aug 2021
PLANNING chiefs at Warrington have thrown out proposals for a mobile phone mast in Longwood Road, Dudlow’s Green Appleton.

The proposal by CK Hutchison Networks was for a 20m mast with a wraparound cabinet and associated ancillary work.
The borough council’s development management committee rejected the scheme after hearing there had been 28 objections from members of the public, an objection from Appleton Parish Council and also from local borough councillors.

Officers had also recommended the scheme be refused.

They said the siting and appearance of the mast would be acceptable but that it would be detrimental to highway safety because it could obscure the view of pedestrians using a nearby crossing.

There were also concerns over the impact on nearby protected trees.
Members of the public also objected because of the proximity of houses, overbearing impact because of land levels and harm to the character of the area.

The applicants claimed there was a need to upgrade their network to improve coverage and capacity, mosty notably in relation to 5G services.

They said the site was chosen to avoid interference with other networks.
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Source: Warrington Worldwide, David Skentelbery, 05 Aug 2021

"Good news" claim after bid to build Hartlepool 5G phone mast is rejected again
United Kingdom Created: 30 Jul 2021
Council chiefs have said it is "good news" that an appeal against their decision to refuse a 20-metre tall 5G phone mast has been dismissed.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee heard last month that an appeal had been submitted over a decision from officers to reject plans for the mast in the town’s Lynn Street.

The proposals, submitted by Hutchison UK, stated the mast would have improved 5G mobile phone services in the area for network Three users.

Yet Daniel James, council planning team leader, told the committee’s latest meeting: “The application was refused under delegated powers, owing to the impact on the sighting and appearance of the area.

“Quite positively the inspector dismissed the appeal and supported the officers decision, which was good news.”

Planning Inspectorate report author Chris Baxter concluded: “The proposal would be an obtrusive feature that would have a harmful effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

“It would appear as an unusual feature that dominates the street scene.

“From the evidence before me, I am not convinced that alternative options including other sites or redesign of the proposal have been fully explored.”

The application is one of several rejected bids for 5G masts across town.

In response to the appeal over the Lynn Street plans being dismissed, a Three spokesperson stressed they believed they had chosen the most suitable location to serve Hartlepool neighbourhoods.

They said: “5G rollout is vital for residents and business of Hartlepool.

“We want to offer the local area a great network experience and our planners determined that a new site was required to deliver it.”
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Source: Hartlepool Mail, Nic Marko, 29 Jul 2021

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