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telephone masts and associated health risk

(39 Posts)
bubbly Tue 15-Mar-05 12:31:01

Have just found out there will be a moblie phone mast near ds nursery and that will mean near my home too. What does this mean from a health point of view? Where should i go for info on this does anyone know? I have called the council but they havent come up wiht anything useful.

bubbly Tue 15-Mar-05 12:43:29

anyone help wiht this??

bubbly Tue 15-Mar-05 15:22:49

I'm going to bump this once to see if anyone has anything to say. I've surfed around a bit and there seems to be a split between the 'definitley dangerous' and 'potentially but not definitley' camps. I will keep reading. If anyone knows anything for sure do post I would love to know. In an urban environment presumably one can hardly avoid being in range of a tower somewhere. I suppose liliting the number may help?? I just dont know.

Still I'm enjoying posting to myself

Toothache Tue 15-Mar-05 15:25:20

Bubbly - I don't really know that much about it. I don't think it would bother me though. Surely if there was any health risk then they wouldn't be allowed to erect one next to a Nursery!?

See.... now you're not posting to yourself!

moondog Tue 15-Mar-05 15:28:16

This has caused a big dingdong in my parents' village. They have what is known as a 'Tetra' mask. Try that in Google. The local pressure group has masses of info. I could find out for you if you're really interested.

Must say, I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but the incidence of brain tumours in that place seems weirdly high....

bubbly Tue 15-Mar-05 15:44:52

Thanks you guys good to know I am not living in vacuum.
I am interested moondog. I'm not about to start a campaign (did it say somewhere in my post all mouth no action???)but if it has a health implication then it would apply to my whole family and the masses of families around here too. I dont agree that if there was a health implication they would not be allowed to do it. My afternoon of surfing has come up with some interesting stats too see and bbc news and some really whackos as well, when you get to page 10 of the google search you know you've gone too far!

I put in a search for mobile phone masts and got all sorts of info but nothing really comes down on one side or another of the debate.

The incidence of cancer and number of funerals in my parents village is very high not because they live on radio active rock but because it is an area that attracts retirees and the average age of the population is well over 60........I used to be convinced it was something in the air there and spent ages trying to persuade my parents to move.

moondog Tue 15-Mar-05 15:48:10

bubbly, I'll CAT you after I've next seen the campaign coordinator ok?
LOL (if that's not too tasteless) about mortality rate in your parents' place! Definitely not the case in my parents' village.

bubbly Tue 15-Mar-05 16:11:27

That would be lovely - thank you.

The village is one of those wasteland in the winter full of holiday cottages and then packed full in the summer and at weekends. A classic case of locals forced out of the property market. A truly beautiful place run by the blue rinse brigade. You know they call us 'the children' when we go down 'oh I see you have the children visiting!' and we're old enough to be grnadparents ourselves... Bit weird.

Prettybird Tue 15-Mar-05 16:42:46

I work in the telecoms industry (but not in this area) and I know when I talked to one of the senior engineers, he said that the danger of emissions was far greater from the mobile phone iteself, which is right up against your skull, then from any of the masts. (He went into some of the theory as to why he thought that mobile phones could be dangerous - and let's say I have minimised use ever since!)

He said that the emissions from a mast decrease exponenitally as you move away fom it and that the instruments used to measure the emmissions have to be set to ultra sensitive - and that if you put the same instruments anywhere near a TV set, they would blow!

I may have misremembered some of the conversation - it was about 7 or 8 years ago, when I first moved into the telecomms industry.

But I am sure the general principles are still the same.

Pinotmum Tue 15-Mar-05 16:59:46

We've just had one installed in a field a short way from out house. It is placed in the West Ham Juniors Training field, near a college and several schools and playgroups/nurseries. We had no consultation on this and no recourse. However, I personally don't think there is a high risk but will follow this thread with interest.

bubbly Tue 15-Mar-05 19:07:24

The nursery gave me a flyer about it when I went to pick ds up this pm and it said Meeting!! 8th MArch which of course is no bloody good if they give it to me on the 15th now is it. However there is a contact number so I shall ring it.

I'll be back

moondog Tue 15-Mar-05 21:50:43

That's intersting pb. I don't have a mobile (well, there is one kicking about that dh forced me to get in case of an emergency when we're in Turkey that I've used..ooh..three times.)
Really can't work out how people cope with the non stop hassle. Email and regular post is more than enough for me!

meysey Tue 15-Mar-05 23:30:07

try these excellent sites



meysey Tue 15-Mar-05 23:36:54

basically masts and mobiles fry your brains, especially young brains, and this has been proven by government scientists in other countries. even our own scientists are getting worried.

mast emissions may decrease as you move away, but if you live close by or are at school nearby then you are getting a continuous dose. government guidelines say masts should not be close to schools as a precaution, but this is widely ignored by mobile phone companies who bully councils into submission or exploit legal loopholes

pooka Wed 16-Mar-05 08:19:08

Sorry - this is very long!
You should be aware that most mobile phone masts don't actually need planning permission from the Council. What companies have to apply for instead is "Approval of siting and appearance" which is sought under a 56 day consultation rather than full planning permission. The Council has to take into account their own planning policies in their local plan as well as government guidance in the form of PPG8, which specifically states that so long as the installation compies with the ICNIRP thresholds on emissions (and the companies submit a compliance certificate with the consultation), then the council cannot consider the impact on health. The reasoning being that planning authorities are not experts on radiation. So this leaves the Council with the power only to disapprove siting and appearance (i.e. the mast would look bulky, would be sited in the green belt etc). In addition, the Council has to take into account the need for the mast in that location i.e. have all other, better alternative sites been discounted because of landowner refusal, highways safety grounds, impacticability etc.
My local council seems, more often than not, to disapprove siting and appearance of masts because of the political hot potatoes that they are. For example, if there is any possibility that approval will be given by officers, the Councillors call the consultations into committee and they refuse them. The problem with this approach though is that the companies then have the right to appeal to a planning inspector, who has to use the same policy framework in reaching a decision, and very often, they are allowed on appeal unless their siting and appearance is unacceptable (i.e. in the green belt and with inadequate research on site sharing, alternative sites etc).
Another inadequacy of the current system, which has been around for many many years now (in terms of whether sites need planning permission), is that in order to site share, extra height is needed on the mast to provide signal clearance. Extra height, though, means planning permission will be required rather than a consultation, and that dissuades many operators from sharing good, safer sites and so you end up with lots of shorter masts.

bubbly Wed 16-Mar-05 09:55:03

Pooka that is fascinating - thank you. some of the arguments you provide against have more to do with aesthetics than health. Which is understandable as they are hideous. But I read on one website that mobiles are more dangerous yet becuase they are small and neat we are not frightened of them and yet masts look ugly big and threatening and so we perceive them to be MORE dangerous. They obviously need a better PR agent.

Meysey where does the information come from about fried brains. I am having trouble finding information to support that although my gut reaction is to feel that they must do some damage and for that reason dont let my kids ever use the mobiles that dh and I are attached to.

The best website i have found so far is tetrawatch . I have dipped so far but will read in more detail later and see what it turfs up. No response form the contact number.

bubbly Wed 16-Mar-05 09:57:07

Oh Meysey sorry bit slow this morning. Am reading your web links now.

pinkmama Wed 16-Mar-05 10:00:50

OOh, a post rather close to home (in more ways than one) bubbly. I found out last week that the old police box up the road from my house has been sold to T Mobile who plan to erect mast. As far as I know a friend and others are mounting a campaign. Feel slightly hypocritical as my mobile is currently sat besdie me (but hey, I'm on vodaphone who cares about T mobiles coverage ). Basically the spot is at the junction of 5 roads, it is highly populated area, with 6 schools in the vicinity. I don't know how close they have to be to be a health risk. It is also a conservation area. Let us know how you get on with the nursery mast. I will let you know if I hear anythign that would be useful.

ks Wed 16-Mar-05 10:11:15

Message withdrawn

pooka Wed 16-Mar-05 15:52:09

Basically, my advice would be to object to the COuncil re: consultations and planning applications on all grounds you think are applicable, including concerns over health, but bear in mind that they will concentrate on aesthetics. And the companies are pretty canny now at trying to disguise them so they really are indistinguishable from street lights, trees, church steeples, chimneys etc. If a mast is in a conservation area or the green belt your case is stronger. Equally, if there'd be a proliferation of street furniture, you could make the case for there being excess clutter on the street - detrimental to visual amenity.
Re: the health impacts. I think it's so hard, because there is no evidence that masts affect health, but I understand people being concerned that maybe in 10 years time there could be evidence.
However, there is evidence that prolonged use of phone handsets themselves can result in "heating" and this is why I can't stand seeing people with mobiles clamped to their head. Used to get pretty narked when people rang me (I'm a town planner, dealing with lots of applications for masts) from a mobile - seemed pretty NIMBYish insofar as if you have a phone, there has to be a base station somewhere that your signal is coming from.

sibyl Wed 16-Mar-05 18:39:19

Sorry to be depressing but it's a hopeless battle. We (our very vocal and mobilised local residents association) fought a long hard campaign against phone masts on the office building at the end of our street, about 100 feet from my kids' bedroom. We used all the arguments given in this thread.
The council agreed and turned Vodafone down (this happened twice). All this took a couple of years.
So, having done their duty, Vodafone just went to the Dept of Environment and got immediate permission. We weren't told - they erected the masts overnight (they come and do in in the early hours - one day they weren't there, the next they were).
Since then I have cast my eyes up everywhere I goin London. There are masts by my kids' nursery, by DD's school, everywhere you look.
Am now completely defeatist about it and in urban areas like mine there seem to be masts every 50 yards. And those are the ones you CAN see. Lots are hidden away.
What can you do? The council may well be sympathetic but they are irrelevant if the decision is automatically overturned by a central government body.
Try not to think about it too much. I rationalise it thus: we don't want to move and even if we did, an evil tetra mast might then appear disguised as a tree on our idyllic country lane.... (as happened to a recently-departed-London-friend recently).

ks Wed 16-Mar-05 18:43:30

Message withdrawn

zebra Wed 16-Mar-05 19:09:52

My understanding is that 1 year's exposure to a mobile phone mast from 200 yrds away is the same as one hour talking on a hand-held mobile phone. How many of you have spoken for at least 1 hour on your mobile in the last year?

So, I use the phone very sparingly & don't give a toss about the masts.

We have a Tetra mast in town... Ihaven't looked into it but I'm not worrying either. DH is a bit more concerned.

Whizzz Wed 16-Mar-05 19:22:25

Basically - research has been done but the masts / phones haven't been around long enough for conclusive evidence one way or another.

"In aggregate the research published since the IEGMP report does not give cause for concern. The weight of evidence now available does not suggest that there are adverse health effects from exposures to RF fields below guideline levels, but the published research on RF exposures and health has limitations, and mobile phones have only been in widespread use for a relatively short time. The possibility therefore remains open that there could be health effects from exposure to RF fields below guideline levels; hence continued research is needed."
More research was recommended
if you really want to read the jargon

bubbly Wed 16-Mar-05 21:24:29

Well I tracked down the campaign against this today and had a long conversation with one of the participants. Apparently their main struggle at the moment is with the owner of the land who will be leasing the site to T Mobile and is refusing to budge on the issue as long as he gets his 15k a year.
It has been an interesting day. There are 6 schools who would be affected by the mast in the area so should be quite a big response

I'm intrigued by all the different responses and most people seem not too bothered . The girl I spoke to today related the whole thing to asbestos. Now we really know the long term health implications of that people are shocked and outraged that its use was alowed.

Things I have found out today that worried are things like the increase in mouth and throat cancer in teenagers (coincidentally most of these are found at regular 6 month dental check ups and dealt with fast but there is concern added by the new govt recommendations to allow for the shortage of dentists that we should only go for a check up every 2 years.....)also there is supported evidence of cancer clusters around masts.

For those not bothered by the potential health risks you might be interested to know that property within .5 km of a mast has devalued and is now part of estate agent criteria for what is a saleable property. So it could hurt your pocket if not your health

Sadly however there is it seems now real evidence of health implications (and this is reported not confirmed) but Stewart the author of an independent report on the health risks of mobile phones was never allowed to conclude his report and now says that there are health consequences.

The Stewart Report says that base stations sited within or near school grounds, should not have a beam of greatest intensity that falls on any part of the school grounds or buildings without agreement from the school and parents.

If there is no risk then why? In Australia a researcher employed to look into the risks and bankrolled by a mobile phone company was 'let go' coz they didnt like what he was coming up wiht.

I'm a great conspiracy theorist so should n't get too sucked in by that but After today i will not be letting my kids use the mobile again.

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