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Daily Express Scoops EMF Story

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Posted:
28 February 2000

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 11:32:29 -0600 (CST)
From: "Roy L. Beavers" <rbeavers@llion.org>
To: emfguru <rbeavers@llion.org>
Subject: Daily Express scoops big EMF story in U.K.
(Pegg)..

.........Ahhh yes!!!  "Well done" to our brethren in the U.K......!!! We need a Sir William Stewart in the U.S......!!!

"In fact the Government's decision to appoint independent-minded men like Sir William Stewart rather than allowing the NRPB to run the show appears to mean we will get a report with teeth....." (FROM ARTICLE BELOW)

More interesting observations about the NRPB below.....

Thanks to Hazel Pegg for sending the following, her address:
haznut@globalnet.co.uk

Cheerio......

Roy Beavers (EMFguru)
roy@emfguru.com

It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness

People are more important than profits!!


 from London, the DAILY EXPRESS
28/2/00

CURB ON MOBILE PHONE DANGERS




by KATHY MORAN
 

Tough new safety laws on mobile phones will be demanded by a hard-hitting Government report, The Express can reveal.

The amount of radiation handsets emit will be reduced up to tenfold because of growing fears it presents a serious health risk. And the rules governing the installation of masts will be tightened. The controversial recommendations come as phone companies are planning a further 100,000 masts, some only 300 yards apart.

A committee of experts has heard a huge amount of evidence from scientists and at public meetings up and down the country that the masts and mobiles are ruining lives and damaging people's health. Members are convinced that the wide powers given to mobile phone firms to bypass planning controls are causing misery and stress as well as a potential risk from radiation exposure.

Although mounting evidence suggests that masts can be a danger to health, current planning regulations do not allow   objections on such grounds. Angry campaigners have described how masts have been put up just yards from their homes at night to prevent them from protesting or attempting to intervene.

In Solihull, West Midlands, police provided an escort for contractors to install a mast at 4am because of fears of a protest and similar incidents have occurred recently in Northern Ireland.

Some mothers are keeping their children away from school because masts have been installed near playgrounds and on classroom roofs.

The new rules will mean an end to companies riding roughshod over the wishes of councils and communities who are often dismayed to find there is little they can do to prevent the siting of masts next to schools, hospitals, in  residential areas and parks.

Trudy Clarkson, whose husband Neil was diagnosed with a brain tumour after a mast was put up 20 yards from their home, welcomed the news last night. "I believe these masts are a menace and a health risk" she said. "People are being brushed aside for the sake of profit and it is about time someone put a stop to it."

The committee, chaired by Sir William Stewart, was formed by Health Minister Tessa Jowell last April in response to growing public concern about mobile phone safety.

The 6 billion (U.K. pound) industry has already attracted 24 million users and phone companies estimate more than half the population will be on the network by Christmas. The new generation WAP phones, which will allow access to the Internet, will hugely increase demand, especially from children.

Next week the Government will open the bidding for one of five "second generation" mobile phone licences which will see new companies entering the market - an auction expected to raise more than 2 billion (U.K. pound) and significantly increase demand for masts.

Planning officers are frequently confused about the grounds on which they can legitimately object to a proposed mast and how much notice they should be given under the mobile firms' permitted development rights.

These rights were granted in 1984 to help the fledgling companies establish networks by limiting the grounds for refusal of a mast application and setting early deadlines for decisions. And there is no right to refuse permission for new short-range "microcells" in urban areas, which are often put up on lampposts less than five feet from people's bedrooms.

Under the committee's proposed guidelines, councils would be encouraged to follow the precautionary  principle which recommends that  planners should take into account the possibility of a risk to health. Oxfordshire has already declared a moratorium on new masts near schools.

The Government will be under intense pressure to accept the committee's recommendations. Liberal Democrat Phil Willis, who invited international experts to a seminar at the Commons last year to inform fellow MPs of the potential risks, said: "I'm delighted. This is what I have been  campaigning for for three years.

"These permitted development rights have simply been a way to put masts in inappropriate locations without elected representatives and the public being allowed to voice their concerns." Labour's Howard Stoate, who proposed an Early Day Motion on planning issues which was signed by 160 MPs, said: "If the health fears turn out to be groundless I'll be delighted but until then we should adopt the precautionary principle and site masts away from schools and residential areas."

The laxity of British guidelines on radiation exposure - among the highest in the world - has been another constantly recurring theme throughout the inquiry and people have told the committee they feel they are being used as human guinea pigs.

The guidelines set by the National Radiological Protection Board in 1993 allow phones to emit power up to 10 times greater and an electric field three times stronger than that recommended by ICNIRP, the international standards body recognised by the World Health Organisation.

Limits in eastern Europe, which has been at the forefront of developing such technology for military purposes, are even lower. Health fears have been heightened by the number of under-18s using phones, around one fifth of the total number of users.

Children under 12 are especially at risk because their brains are still developing and their skulls provide less protection, allowing them to absorb up to four times as much radiation from a handset as adults.

The committee is expected to propose the adoption of ICNIRP standards but more significantly it will also call for guidelines to cover so-called athermal effects. A growing number of studies indicate mobile radiation may have a biological effect at exposure levels way below that which would cause heating.

Some committee members have also been very concerned by the stance of the NRPB, the Government-funded body which is supposed to provide the public with independent advice. The NRPB does not accept that mobiles or masts could be a potential health risk.

Yet published research has linked radio frequency radiation from masts and mobile handsets to memory loss, DNA damage and a weakening of the immune system and the blood-brain barrier which protects the brain from toxic substances.

Evidence from users and those living near masts who complained of dizzy spells, headaches, skin irritations and fatigue was backed up by a survey of 11,000 mobile phone owners in Sweden in 1998.

Solicitor Alan Meyer, who has provided legal advice for more than 50 campaign groups, said: "The NRPB in justifying its guidelines relies on the fact that it can only make recommendations based on 'conclusive scientific proof'. Sadly, as we have seen in the case of BSE, asbestosis and miners suffering from emphysema, such proof often comes too late."

Sources indicate that the committee has been listening. One scientist said: "A lot of people were convinced that the committee was just a Government ploy to distract attention from the fact that it is about to sell off more licences to mobile phone companies.

"In fact the Government's decision to appoint independent-minded men like Sir William Stewart rather than allowing the NRPB to run the show appears to mean we will get a report with teeth.

"People can see which way the committee is thinking and there is already a lot of frantic work going on in some quarters to refute its conclusions before it has even officially presented them."


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