Cellular Phone:
Halsey Meyer Higgins Document re Cell Masts (Towers)


16 October 1999

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 23:19:01 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Roy L. Beavers" <rbeavers@llion.org>
To: emfguru <rbeavers@llion.org>
Subject: Halsey Meyer Higgins document re cell masts (towers)....

Hi everybody:

......I am in receipt of another excellent document prepared by a solicitors office in the U.K.  It is full of good information and some argument about the cell mast (towers) EMF problem as it is seen in the U.K.....

I wonder why the same thorough approach is not being taken in the U.K. with regard to the power lines health hazards??  The evidence to be martialed in that situation is even stronger then the case made below for "prudent" action to minimize the public risks from cell phone towers....

Also, take note of the following comment in the conclusion:  "Currently prudence advocates that reliance on the NRPB Guidelines is no longer sufficient."   Amen and Amen.....

The NRPB, of course, is confined to a definition which was framed to favor the protection of industry ... rather than the people:  requiring that the NRPB recommendations be based on "conclusive" scientific information.  That formulation establishes what we call in the U.S. a "stacked deck."  The very word "conclusive" establishes a (legal?) barrier AGAINST 'prudent protection' of the public -- which manifestly should be the highest priority ... in the U.S. or the U.K......

Cheerio......(Many thanks to the person who sent this to us.  She wishes to be unknown....)

Roy Beavers (EMFguru)......



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1.      More than a year ago at Dublin Castle on 6th March 1998, the Irish Minister of Public Enterprise, Mrs Mary ORourke, stated this is an issue which will grow and grow and will not go away. Subsequent events have proved her correct in that Public concern worldwide is growing and not diminishing as the Public grows more conversant with possible effects from mobile phone usage.

2.      The issue breaks down into two different parts, firstly the safety of using mobiles themselves and secondly and perhaps long-term more importantly, the question of living close to a ground based Telecommunications Mast and Base Station.

3.      On the issue of mobiles themselves, it is of course the users choice as to whether they have a mobile in the first place and then secondly how much they choose to use it. However that choice or consent is entitled to be a properly informed choice or consent. Recent disclosures seem to show that prolonged use of a mobile may not be that safe despite assurances made by the Industry over the last ten years to that effect. On 24th May, Dr George Carlo of the Industrys established WTR in America stated that the Industrys continuing statements that there was no conclusive evidence against mobiles was not a realistic position to take.

4.      The main public concern however does not relate to the use of the mobile phones themselves where there is that choice. The problem as perceived by large sections of the public and particularly communities whose privacy has been invaded by the erection of a Mast and Ground Base Station is whether long-term chronic exposure to the low intensity radiation from such facilities is indeed now safe. Bearing in mind that the assurances about the safety of the mobiles themselves when used close to the brain seem now to be somewhat suspect, the question arises as to whether similar assurances relating to the safety of living close to a Ground Based Station and Mast are also realistic. The problem is that such research as has been carried out relates to the mobiles themselves. Little or no published research has been carried out relating to chronic long-term exposure month after month, year after year to living close to a Telecoms Mast.

5.      The only indicators, which might tend to provide some evidence relate to other types of masts, i.e. TV Masts, short-wave radio Masts and radar installations. There the North Sydney Australia study showed a significant statistical increase in cancer cases within the triangle of those three Masts in North Sydney. Here the Sutton Coldfield BBC Mast study showed increased radiation levels around the Mast and its near vicinity. In Switzerland, the Schwarzenberg short-wave Mast was thought to be having adverse health effects on the local community for years. When a study was carried out in the mid 1990s by the University of Beme, it was found that the emissions from that mast did have an effect on the people in the vicinity.

This was discovered because during the period of the study there was a significant drop in the symptoms in many people over a three day period within that prolonged study. It was then discovered, which was not known at the time, that the transmitter had failed for those three days and there were no short-wave transmissions.  The Swiss government has now closed the Mast down.   Incidentally, the Swiss health and environmental officials have proposed strict rules for public exposures from new sources of radio frequency and microwave radiation.  If the ordinance is adopted, which appears likely, Switzerland will have the most stringent exposure levels in the world - based on the precautionary principle - guideline levels much lower than those recommended by the NRPB.

There is also the evidence of the Soviets irradiation of the US Embassy in Moscow, which produced serious adverse health effects.

There is the Skrunda study in Finland with regard to populations living many kilometres behind the radar installation and those living a similar distance in front of the radar installation. There the health conditions of those living in front of that installation were found to be markedly different, and this has been put down to the effect of the radar transmissions.

Finally there was recently a study funded by the Bavarian State Government in Germany following reported adverse health effects in dairy cattle only after a Telecoms Mast had been erected. It was discovered after a period that the cause of the significant drop in the yield of that herd of cattle and Extraordinary Behaviour Disorders in some of the cows related to the microwave transmissions from that Mast. When the cattle was moved away from its vicinity after a period the milk yield and the behaviour of that herd was totally restored to normal.

However when the cattle were returned to the mast environs their symptoms returned. This was not an isolated incident - see Loscher and Kas of Universities of Hannover Veterinary School and University of the German Army in Munich 1998.

6.      None of these situations appears to relate to thermal heating of any kind. These effects could not be ascribed to thermal heating because the distances involved are far too great. However, they may relate to biological effects from low intensity microwave radiation over prolonged periods. However, the research has not been carried out into cumulative effects. It is necessary to ask why? Perhaps in the light of the Industrys approach over the years to the mobiles themselves, the answer may be fairly obvious?

In the absence of conclusive evidence that mobiles themselves and mobile networks are safe - something the scientists agreed they can not prove without substantial additional properly structured research - it is necessary now to use common sense and prudent avoidance. The European Treaties relating to the Environment described common sense as the Precautionary Principle and preventative action  -see Article 130r.

7. What does prudent avoidance, preventative action, precautionary approach mean in practice? No-one wants to prevent the advance of telecommunications. It is a great new boon to living when used sensibly. However, common sense needs to prevail over the economics of the Industrys proliferation.  There is no need these days to place Telecommunications Masts and Base Stations too close to permanently occupied residences and childrens schools. The only reason that Masts are placed too close, i.e. the near side rather than the far side of a farmers field is because it is cheaper.  Cheaper because it is nearer the electricity supply, cheaper because it is easier for maintenance and access from an adjoining road or track.

However, the requirements are not that spot specific and there is absolutely no reason why a properly erected and located Mast should be closer than a minimum of 200 to 250 metres from any inhabited property, using a ground based Mast and Ground Based Station. Unfortunately the Industry ignores the obvious because it is easier and cheaper, and usually regrettably there is no-one to take them on or to challenge their planning application with the Planning Authorities.

8    Recently groups all over the United Kingdom, including Scotland and Northern Ireland have been successful in showing planning authorities that there is a better way to interpret the outmoded Telecommunications Legislation (1984) the outmoded planning circulars and the general ignorance of the fact that European Union Treaties advocated the Precautionary Principle (1993 Maastricht) to safeguard the public's health. Governments are there to be wise and knowledgeable. Governments are not there to be led by the Industry in pursuit of progress and financial gain at the expense of the public at large. Governments are there to be able to interpret properly scientific guidance or advice.

This proliferation of' Network Masts may turn out to be the next BSE for ignoring the warnings and acting without any common sense or prudent avoidance.

9       Reverting to the mobiles themselves, it is not common sense to put a mobile against your     head for four or five hours a day at the incidence of your employer. In law, almost certainly that Employer is not providing a safe system of work. Equally, under the Consumer Protection Act it seems probable now that the manufacturers ought to display some form of health warning on their products to protect themselves from product liability claims - and of course the users to whom then sell the huge number of phones from internal danger to enable such consumers to make an informed choice or consent. Possibly, in due course, it will be shown scientifically that living in too close proximity to a Mast is damaging to health, and possibly then there will under provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 be legal remedies available, which allow people to seek compensation from the mobile phone network providers, and also against those who allow the Masts to be on their land.

This may include eventually even some Local Education Authorities who seem to be prepared to allow Masts to be erected regardless of possible risks to the children on school property for whom they are in loco parentis in return for an annual rental. This aspect is currently now under investigation by the Secretary of the State for Education following the meeting of the House of Commons Select Committee in June 1999 with Representatives of NRPB as mentioned below.


10      Currently parallel with the separate establishment of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh which now has responsibility for the majority of issues affecting people living in Scotland over one third of all Scottish Local Planning Authorities have now adopted or publicly committed themselves to adopting Precautionary Policies as a direct result of what they perceive to be inadequate official advice from Government Departments.

11.     Local Authorities in Scotland have decided that there are too many unanswered questions to risk exposing the Public needlessly to levels of microwave radiation which could or may in time prove to be harmful to their health. By choosing to keep transmitter masts away from schools and residential areas local authorities are not doing anything radical, but merely following the Precautionary Approach advocated in the European Treaties, accepted by the UK Government in 1993 at Maastricht.

England and Wales

12      Similarly the influential Local Government Association (LGA) has now advised its member local authorities to adopt the Precautionary Approach on the basis that the decision making process of the Governments Advisory Body the NRPB, based upon waiting for `conclusive scientific evidence' before acting, is potentially flawed. On 12th August 1999 the Local Government Association accused the Government of `dithering' over the potential danger of cancer and radiation from mobile phone masts.

The LGA Planning Executive Chairman Stated "The Government must stop dithering and give councils some clear guidance to the threat posed by Radiation and the planning powers to keep the Public Safe - especially vulnerable children and the elderly rather than wait two or three years until the research is finished".

These statements were made in August 1999 after the Government issued on 23rd July 1999 letters to the LGA and Members of Parliament which failed to help authorities make the right planning decisions or offer them guidance on where masts can be safely erected.

13    All this has come about after the senior representatives of the NRPB gave their evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee in June 1999 explaining firstly that the NRPB under its statutory legislation could only base its guidance and advice on `conclusive scientific evidence' as required by its Act of Parliament. and that accordingly until essential research had been carried out in their opinion the only "conclusive scientific proof" related to the properties of thermal heating on which their 1993 Safety Guidelines remained solely based.

Secondly however the representatives of the NRPB made it clear that until the freshly commissioned research produced some `conclusive scientific proof' that there were other effects apart from thermal heating, it was up to Politicians and Planners to exercise their `own' judgment.

14    On 1 st September 1 999 Belfast City Council ratified the 1 8th August 1999 Decision of its Development Committee that `no Transmitter Masts should be permitted on any Council Property' , due firstly to the unknown risks from such masts and secondly because of `substantial public concern.

Similarly Wyre Borough Council in Lancashire recently decided that the proposed site for a mast and base station was unsuitable given its proximity to a nearby primary school and houses which were 1 90 metres and 40 metres away respectively" This refusal was based on public fears about possible health risks posed by microwave radiation. This follows the 1998 Court of Appeal decision finding that `genuine public fear and concern is a material planning consideration, even if that fear is irrational and not based upon evidence - see Newport BC v Secretary of State for Wales (1998) JPL 377.


The answer for the time being is Prudent Avoidance and Common Sense, at least until properly structured research has been concluded, and then independently assessed. The answer is not to listen only to the Industry, who have tended to ensure that the Industry Commissioned research proves their point on safety. Currently prudence advocates that reliance on the NRPB Guidelines is no longer sufficient.

Many independent University researchers who have produced adverse results have had their research funds curtailed, or taken away which stifles further investigation of adverse effects shown by earlier research. Governments are elected to be aware of what is going on, and to protect the public at large when uncertainties exist, and prudent avoidance should currently prevail over commercial interests until the further essential research has been completed and "independently" assessed.

Revised 10th September 1999


HALSEY MEYER HIGGINS:Tim RobertsNormal Tim Roberts


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