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Mobile phone mast protesters vow to fight on
Wales Created: 23 Jul 2008
HUNDREDS of objectors to a planned phone mast have vowed to protest against a decision to site it in a Cardiff suburb.

A meeting to discuss the protests will be held at Bethany Baptist Church, Rhiwbina, after Cardiff council gave permission for O2 to erect a phone mast in nearby Heol Llanishen Fach.

More than 400 people had objected to the mast, including Jane McCarthy, 54, of Heol Llanishen Fach.

“When you read about the damage incurred by people who have lived in the shadows of these masts you realise how bad they are,” said Jane. Ward councillor Jayne Cowan had supported the residents in their failed attempt to fight the mast.

She said: “I know how strongly residents feel about this and I’m committed to continuing to support them in any way I can.”

All are welcome to attend the protest meeting at Bethany Baptist Church from 7.30pm on Friday, August 8.
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Source: South Wales Echo, Katie Norman, 23 Jul 2008

Parents’ phone mast plan alarm
Wales Created: 23 Jul 2008
PARENTS fear their children’s health could be put at risk if a 12,5-metre mobile phone mast is built next to a primary school.

Mobile phone company O2 – which says there is no evidence of any risk to health – has submitted a planning application for the “telecommunications installation” close to Christ the King Roman Catholic Primary School, in Llanishen, Cardiff.

Almost 450 parents, residents and parishioners have signed a petition objecting to the plans.

But under new rules, providing the equipment conforms to current guidance, Cardiff council cannot object to the mast being erected because it has prior approval, only to its siting and design.

The mast would be erected on the footpath at Mill Road, in Llanishen, near to the primary school, which has 205 pupils, aged four to 11.

Paul Mahoney, whose six-year-old grand-daughter Alessia goes to the school, said: “The footpath is designed as a pedestrian entrance to the school so it will be in a position where children will have to walk past it twice or even four times a day.”

The 54-year-old solicitor, whose three-year-old grand-daughter Daniella attends a nursery close to the proposed mast, added: “We don’t know what the effects of radiation or what is accumulated – we may be able to withstand it as adults but children are now exposed almost from birth.”

The 448-name petition has been signed by parents of children at Christ the King Roman Catholic Primary School, local Llanishen residents and parishioners of Christ the King Church, which serves both Llanishen and Lisvane. It argues that “there are good and compelling reasons to hold ... that the installation of equipment at the location will have an adverse and possibly dangerous effect on the health of children who attend the school”.

Kate Congdon, 40, a mum-of-four, whose four-year-old daughter will be starting Christ the King school’s reception class in September, said: “There must be better places to put a mast than outside a primary school. We don’t know what effect it will have on the children and if we don’t know what damage it will do, the last place it should be put is outside a school.”

And Joanne Melhuish, 23, whose five-year-old son starts at the primary school in the autumn, added: “It’s not just that they are unhealthy, but we already have one nearby.”

Angela Johnson, a spokeswoman for O2, said: “We are not the experts and have to rely on the World Health Organisation and Health Protection Agency which say there is no evidence of any risk to health. Health fears are not a planning issue because the Government has said that local planners are not in a position to discuss the health and safety of masts.”

She added that the planned mast would be a “very low-power, two-way radio transmitter providing additional coverage in the area”.
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Source: South Wales Echo, Madeleine Brindley, 23 Jul 2008

Mobile phone mast plan refused
Wales Created: 10 Jul 2008
A mobile phone mast in Maryport has been refused by planners because of its visual impact and perceived health risks.
The application by the telecommunications firm O2 was for a 2.2m pole, with three antennas inside, to be erected at the Masonic Hall on the High Street.

The Allerdale Council development panel had received six letters of objection from residents.

They said they were worried about public health implications, the devaluation of nearby properties, radiation risks, impact on the conservation area because it would detract from the character of the building and said that the network signal was already adequate.

Officers recommended refusal because there was not enough evidence to justify the need for the pole.

Malcolm Newby, who lives near the proposed pole, was speaking at the panel on behalf of other residents.

He said: "I haven't received any communication about this application. The mast will be three-and-a-half metres above the ridge of the building.

"My grandchild's bedroom is 15 metres from the mast. Would you like it on your doorstep? I have used O2 and never had a problem getting a signal. It's a totally inappropriate application."

Councillor Peter Kendall said: "There is an O2 mast less than 250 yards away. If there is already a mast there, there is no need for another one."

Officers recommended refusal because the equipment would be detrimental to the character and setting of the conservation area. They said there was no evidence of a health and safety risk, but it could be turned down because of the fear of such a risk.
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Source: Chester Standard, 10 Jul 2008

Call for probe into mast suicide links
Wales Created: 26 Jun 2008
A RADIATION expert who believes mobile phone masts can trigger suicide is demanding an investigation in Bridgend.

Roger Coghill has found out all 22 of the young people found hanging in the borough since January last year lived closer than average to mobile phone masts.

Mr Coghill, who sits on a Government advisory committee on mobile phone radiation, also found a greater intensity of masts near victims’ homes.

He has been researching the effects of mobile phone and power line radiation for more than 25 years.

Mr Coghill’s research suggests radiation from masts can trigger depression and suicide among young people.

He is calling for an investigation comparing mobile phone radiation in Bridgend and the South Wales valleys to that found in flatter land in England.

Mr Coghill is also willing to visit Bridgend to discuss his findings about the young deaths.

“I found they were much more likely to be close to a mast site than the average population,” he said.

“That’s not sufficient in itself. We need a comparative study done because of the crucial evidence, not only from past studies but also the present situation in Bridgend.

“Being in a valley shadows a mast and you need twice as many masts.

“I want the Secretary of State for Wales, Paul Murphy MP, to fund a study. I’m calling for a full investigation.”

Wales Office Minister and Ogmore AM Huw Irranca-Davies said: “A multi-agency group has been set up in the Bridgend area to look at all the factors relating to these incidents.

“This group is looking at all the issues that have been raised over the last few months and I am sure they will consider Mr Roger Coghill's comments as part of this.

“The UK Government is continuing to monitor new technologies and consider any potential risks they may have.

“A working group has been established to consider the SAGE report on electromagnetic fields and the Health Protection Agency advice on its recommendations.

“However, the current advice from the Health Protection Agency indicates there is no general risk to the health of people living near base stations.”

Mr Coghill also wants the Welsh Assembly Government to use more stringent guidelines on radiation.

But the Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Tony Jewell said: “The Welsh Assembly Government and other UK Health Departments receive advice on radiation hazards from the Health Protection Agency.

“The balance of evidence indicates that there is no general risk to the health of people living near base stations, on the basis that typical exposures to the public is extremely low.

“We acknowledge that new technologies need to be monitored for any potential harmful effects and that is why the UK Government has set up a working group.”
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Source: Glamorgan Gazette, Kerry-Lynne Doyle, 26 Jun 2008

Fresh fears over mobile phone risk to kids’ health
Wales Created: 10 May 2008
NEW research has triggered fresh fears for the long-term health of children and teenagers who use mobile phones today.

The study warns that the risks are little lower than those alcohol and tobacco pose to youngsters’ health and could also last a lifetime.

It suggests mobile phone use exposes youngsters to the risk of early memory loss and sleep problems, then brain tumours in their 20s followed by the early onset of dementia in their 50s.

Welsh experts claim this latest evidence should force the Government to update and strengthen its warnings on phone use.

They are calling for the issue of new official guidelines urging children to avoid health risks by making their calls shorter than 20 minutes – the time limit when they claim brain damage may start.

Roger Coghill, a Pontypool-based expert on mobile phones and an adviser on the subject to the Department of Health, said: “This latest report joins many thousands of others worldwide that have confirmed mobile phones and their electro-magnetic field definitely has an adverse effect on the brain.

“Yet despite the research I’m not for banning mobiles for children. I live in the real world and know this would be impossible. What youngsters should know is not to make long calls. The longer the phone call goes on the more damage is done and this will be irreversible.”

Recent UK studies have suggested that up to one in 10 children under the age of 16 spends 45 minutes a day talking on mobile phones and it is estimated that up to 90% of under-16s now own a mobile phone.

This latest research was done in Moscow and follows similar alarming reports from scientists in France and Sweden. The Russian study claims the health hazards likely to be faced by young mobile phone users in the future are:

Memory disruption;

Decline in attention spans;

Diminished learning ability;

Increased irritability;

Sleep problem; and,

Increased stress.

It claims this can be followed by 20 to 25-year-olds getting brain tumours and then Alzheimer’s and depression, and 50 to 60-years-olds developing other brain degeneration problems. In their report the Moscow scientists warn these risks are not much lower than the risk to children’s health from tobacco or alcohol.

It states: “We appeal to society to pay closest attention to this coming threat and to take adequate measures in order to prevent negative consequences to the future generation’s health.”

The Department of Health currently recommends that children under 16 should be “discouraged” from using mobile phones for “non-essential calls”.

Responding to the Russian report a spokesman for the Government’s Health Protection Agency, which deals with radiation issues, said: “A review in 2005 by the National Radiological Protection Board concluded there is no hard evidence at present that the health of the public, in general is being affected adversely by the use of mobile phone technologies but uncertainties remain and a continued precautionary approach to their use is recommended.

“A report of the UK mobile telecommunications and health research programmes last year stated that mobile phones have not been found to be associated with any adverse health effects according recent and large UK investigation.”
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Source: Western Mail, Gregory Tindle, 02 May 2008

Radiation fear on mobiles
Wales Created: 4 Feb 2008
FRESH fears about the safety of mobile phones have surfaced after France warned children not to use them to make long calls.

In the first explicit advice of its kind in the Western world, the French government said children should not spend more than six minutes talking on a mobile phone. An accompanying television broadcast demonstrated how far radiation from the phones is able to penetrate into the brain.

This unprecedented move has prompted Welsh experts to now call for the international guidelines on mobile phone exposure to be revised downward.

An emergency conference by Coghill Research Laboratories, of Pontypool, last year presented evidence from scientists around the world that excessive long-term mobile phone use could result in brain tumours and other disturbances of the body’s vital processes.

Studies have suggested that up to one in 10 children under the age of 16 spends 45 minutes a day talking on mobile phones and it is estimated that up to 90% of under 16s own a mobile phone.

But despite such widespread use, there are few official guidelines about their use among children – research into safety is being carried out, although there is no date for its publication.

The Department of Health currently states that children under-16 should be “discouraged” from using mobile phones for “non-essential calls”.

Mobile phone expert Sir William Stewart, who published one of the earliest reports into mobile phone safety, warned in 2005 that children under eight should not use mobile phones and he urged parents to limit their children’s use of mobile phones. But his report said there was still no proof that mobile phones were unsafe.

The French Ministry of Health, Youth and Sports said in a statement, “As the hypothesis of a risk cannot be entirely excluded, precaution is justified. One should use a mobile phone with good judgment, avoid calling when reception is poor or during high-speed travel and finally, keep the telephone away from sensitive areas of the body by using a hands-free kit.”

And Michele Froment-Vedrine, the president of France’s AFSSET – an independent but state-funded environmental and safety watchdog group – said, “Since [children] aren’t capable of limiting their use of the telephone, parents should not buy them mobile phones.”

Concern has been mounting about the safety of mobile phones and fears that radiation can cause brain tumours. Roger Coghill, a biologist specialising in bio-electromagnetics, has long advised limiting mobile phone calls to five minutes. He said, “It is encouraging to hear that the French at least have at last taken on board the message of many world- class scientists. I only hope that the UK Health Protection Agency will now concede the urgent need to protect our younger population at least from these invisible but insidious radiations, and follow the example set by France, China, Russia and Israel.”

Research published last month by the Karolinska Institute, in Sweden, and Wayne State University and MIT, in the US, suggested that using a mobile phone late at night resulted in sleep disturbance.

Researcher Professor Bengt Arnetz said, “The study strongly suggests that mobile phone use is associated with specific changes in the areas of the brain responsible for activating and co-ordinating the stress system.”

Alasdair Philips, director of Powerwatch, which researches the effects of electromagnetic fields on health, said, “The evidence is getting stronger that we should treat these things in a precautionary way.”

A spokesman for the Health Protection Agency said, “We review the scientific evidence regularly and give advice when appropriate. It’s an international subject and we will take account of any international developments.”
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Source: ic Wales, Madeleine Brindley, 02 Feb 2008

Boffin’s wave claim after suicide spate
Wales Created: 1 Feb 2008
MOBILE phones and wireless internet could be behind Bridgend’s growing suicide rate, according to a microwave expert.

Barrie Trower said he is “99 per cent sure” Bridgend’s 13 suspected suicides are a result of waves from mobile phones, wi-fi and pagers.

Mr Trower, a scientific adviser to the Radiation Research Trust, said he is convinced the deaths are related to an illness caused by the waves after investigating five suicide “clusters” across the UK and Ireland.

He is contacting Bridgend Local Health Board and Bridgend County Borough Council to ask them to discuss the issue with him.

Mr Trower is willing to visit Bridgend to speak about the problem.

“I am 99 per cent sure,” said Mr Trower, who contributed to the BBC Panorama programme WiFi: A Warning Signal. “I think I can link them all together and I think it’s a viable reason to look into. We know the suicide rates are rising. The increase in suicides does match the speed of low level microwaves. It’s happening in every country in the world, not just Bridgend.”

Mr Trower has been researching the effects of microwaves since the 1960s and addressed the Welsh Assembly on the issue two years ago.

He has investigated links between 182 suicides and electrosensitivity, a condition thought to affect three per cent of the population.

Last year, he wrote the Trower Report for the Police Federation, in which he said waves from the new police radio system could create “anxiety leading to suicide”.

According to his research, the symptoms of electrosensitivity include depression, lack of concentration, personality changes and suicidal tendencies.

He says young people are particularly susceptible as their immune system is not wholly developed.

“It’s the young who get it first,” he said. “The younger you are, your skull is thinner than an adult’s so the waves can go through and your immune system is not fully developed. The suicide rate is leaping up all over the place and it happens to cluster in areas.”

A spokesman for Bridgend LHB said: “The local health board has not had any formal discussions with Barrie Trower concerning his research into microwave sensitivity. Therefore, we are unable to comment on the research and its findings at this time.”

A BCBC spokesman said: “Mr Trower is welcome to write to the Bridgend Local Services Board to express his concerns on this national matter.”

l Bridgend “suicide capital” – pages 14-15
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Source: Glamorgan Gazette, Kerry-Lynne Doyle, 31 Jan 2008

Government accused of wi-fi deceptions
Wales Created: 16 Oct 2007
A LEADING radiation expert has accused government scientists of “deliberately deceiving” the public about the safety of wireless internet networks.

Biologist Roger Coghill claims that a new Health Protection Agency (HPA) research programme into wireless local area networks will not address the real areas of concern.

The safety of wi-fi has been repeatedly questioned by a growing number of parents and experts after it has been linked to cancer and a condition called electro-sensitivity.

Independent scientists have also said that wi-fi should not be used in schools because of the risk of constant exposure to such radiation.

Carmarthenshire Council has expressed its concerns about the safety of wi-fi and has called for a code of practice to be drawn up.

And the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) has demanded an inquiry into the health implications of the current programme to install wi-fi networks in thousands of schools.

Philip Parkin, the organisation’s general secretary, said the drive to set up classroom wireless networks should be halted until the dangers are known.

The HPA last week launched a systematic programme of research WLANs and their use, which will include measurements of exposures from the wi-fi network.

Professor Pat Troop, HPA chief executive, said, “There is no scientific evidence to date that wi-fi and wlans adversely affect the health of the general population.

“The signals are very low power, typically 0.1 watt (100 milliwatts) in both the computer and the router (access point) and the results so far show exposures are well within guidelines.

“Given this, there is no particular reason why schools and others should not continue to use wi-fi or other wireless networks.

“However there has not been extensive research into what people’s exposures actually are to this new technology and that is why we are initiating this new programme of research and analysis. We have good scientific reasons to expect the results to be reassuring and we will publish our findings.”

But Mr Coghill, of Pontypool-based Coghill Research Laboratories, who has developed a powerful antioxidant to combat the damaging affects of wi-fi radiation, said, “We just don’t have enough research in place to know what the safe exposure level really is and that’s the result of the downright deception of the public by the HPA and power utilities.

“This is misdirected research using people with a negative opinion which will then be flogged out to the media with spin-doctored press releases.

“The way forward is to accept there is a problem with electromagnetic energy and to deal with it effectively by educating the public and children to use these convenient devices in as safe a way as possible and develop stratagems to neutralise their effects.”

wi-fi is becoming increasingly widely used in homes, schools, offices and throughout the general working and public environments – Wales has the highest number of wi-fi hotspots per million people in the UK, Germany, the USA or Japan, according to a report by Ofcom.

The concerns about the safety arise from the fact people absorb the radiation emitted by WiFi transmitters. A Panorama investigation found the readings of the signal strength at a distance of 50cm from a wi-fi enabled laptop were three times higher than the highest reading from a mobile phone mast.

Even higher readings than these would be found where children are seated close to the transmitters.

The research into wi-fI follows precautionary advice issued by England’s chief medical officer and the HPA discouraging the non-essential use of mobile phones by children.

Judith Davies, whose 16-year-old daughter is at school in Carmarthenshire, said, “The HPA has said it intends to compare the measurements it finds to international guideline recommendations.

“However, it needs to be realised that these guidelines only cover short-term heating effects and not the long-term effects from these low levels of microwave radiation which so many scientists are concerned about.

“These guidelines say they exclude potential long-term effects of exposure, such as an increased risk of cancer. Such a comparison has no relevance.

“Many scientific studies exist, using levels well below these guidelines, which give clear indications of such radiation causing adverse health effects.”
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Source: icWales, Madeleine Brindley, 16 Oct 2007

Concerns prompt action over wi-fi
Wales Created: 15 Sep 2007
THE first code of practice by a council in Wales relating to the use of wireless broadband in schools could be sanctioned on Monday as parents say they must be informed if a school is using technology which is “irradiating” children.

Wireless broadband, or wi-fi, enables computer users to access the internet without being connected to a cable and is estimated to be in use in more than half of primary schools and two thirds of secondary schools in the UK.

It has been described by the Department for Education and Skills as a “magical” system but scientists have increasingly said it emits radiation similar to that of a mobile phone mast, which has been linked to cancer and brain damage.

And the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) said last month that the lack of a proper inquiry into the technology meant “the nation’s children are being treated as guinea pigs in a large-scale experiment”.

Carmarthenshire County Council became the first Welsh authority, and the second in the UK, to officially agree to look into the effects of wi-fi in July, after Haringey Council in London decided no new systems should be installed in schools and existing ones should be discontinued pending “full consultation with parents and staff”.

The councils’ moves followed a call in May by Sir William Stewart, chairman of the Health Protection Agency, for a review of the use of wi-fi in classrooms, which is yet to materialise.

Virtually no studies have been carried out into wi-fi’s effects on pupils.

The Stewart Report into mobile phones in 2000 said, “We conclude it is not possible at present to say that exposure to radio frequency radiation, even at levels below guidelines, is totally without potential adverse health effects.

“Children may be more vulnerable because of their developing nervous systems, the greater absorption of energy in the tissues of the head and a longer lifetime of exposure.”

A Panorama investigation in May claimed wi-fi gave off three times as much signal radiation as mobile phone masts while Professor Olle Johansson, of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, said earlier this year there were “thousands” of articles in scientific literature demonstrating “adverse health effects”.

Last year, Ysgol Pantycelyn in Llandovery agreed to switch off its wireless network after parents raised concerns and Plaid MP Adam Price said wi-fi should be banned from Wales’ classrooms.

In England, parents at Prebendal School in Chichester lobbied the headteacher to remove the wireless network and Stowe School in Buckinghamshire also removed part of its network after a teacher became ill.

Carmarthenshire, where wi-fi has been introduced to nine schools (less than 1% of the county’s schools), is operating within national guidelines and the council insists there is no consistent evidence to show the technology damages health.

It will recommend on Monday, however, that a code of practice is drawn up.

But the concern among parents and teachers is that guidelines have not been well enough researched.

“My real concern is that until there is a full inquiry based on both existing evidence and on newly-commissioned research, the nation’s children are being treated as guinea pigs,” said PAT general secretary Philip Larkin last month. “I have been made aware of an accumulation of evidence which suggests the non-thermal, pulsing effects of electromagnetic radiation could have a damaging effect upon the developing nervous systems of children.”

Former teacher Judith Davies, 60, whose daughter Laura, 16, attends Ysgol Pantycelyn in Carmarthenshire, said she had hoped for a moratorium on wi-fi in schools until firm scientific conclusions had been reached.

“Schoolchildren should not be irradiated in this way without their parents’ knowledge or consent while such uncertainty and scientific concerns persist,” the member of HESE UK (Human Ecological Social Economic UK, described as “a loose union of scientists and scientific institutions with different fields of specialisation as well as informed laymen”) and charity Electrosensitivity UK said.

“Surely it is totally unacceptable for such young children to be exposed to microwave radiation.”
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Source: icWales, Steffan Rhys, 15 Sep 2007

Mast victory for residents who stood up to club
Wales Created: 29 May 2007
A FIGHT to keep a mobile phone mast from being put up in a rugby ground has been won.
Plans to erect the T-Mobile mast in the grounds of Glamorgan Wanderers Rugby Club, Ely, Cardiff, were shelved after its board of trustees opposed them.
Residents living near the ground in Stirling Road, Ely, were horrified by the prospect of having to live next to the 20.5-metre-high mast and organised a petition against it, collecting 168 names.
They were concerned it could put people’s health at risk and would be a blot on the landscape.
Representatives also voiced their concerns to club officials, who finally relented after its trustees’ meeting.

Derek Patterson, club secretary, said the club withdrew its support in response to opposition from residents.
He said: “There was a lot of concern expressed by the local residents.
“At the end of the day we decided in the interests of keeping good relations with the neighbours that we wouldn’t go ahead with it.
“It’s important to us to keep good relations. We didn’t want to antagonise anybody.”
Keith Bratcher, 56, a lorry driver of St Fagans Court, led the campaign.
He said: “It goes to show that if enough people stand up to be counted, the big boys can be taken down.
“They can’t ride roughshod over everybody.
“It hasn’t been proved that these masts are safe, but it would have altered the skyline completely.
“Nobody is entitled to a view but I’ve had mine for 25 years.
“It’s a wonderful achievement but I’m still keeping a close eye on the situation.”
Retired police officer Trevor Tibbles, 72, whose house is next to the club, said it was good news their concerns had been listened to.
“I’m highly delighted,” he said.
“It’s nice to see that somebody has listened.
“Sometimes you can protest as much as you like but it doesn’t change anything.
“We heard that the Glamorgan Wanderers trustees had put their foot down and said ‘no’. It wouldn’t have been in their best interests to alienate the people.”
A spokeswoman for Cardiff council confirmed that the plans to put up the mast at Glamorgan Wanderers RFC were withdrawn by T-Mobile before a planning committee meeting on Wednesday.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: South Wales Echo, Lisa Jones, 28 Mar 2007

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