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Parent Category: Health

Statement by a Body of Doctors on the

Placement of an O2 Mobile Phone Mast in Cambridge Rd Crosby.


Statement

On the basis of currently available information, the long-term biological effects of mast emissions are unknown. We note the presence of biologically vulnerable young children in nearby houses and schools. We feel it is therefore potentially medically unsafe for O2 to transmit radiation from the mast being erected in Cambridge Rd, Crosby. Because this is an avoidable potential risk, we advocate that the mast is removed.

The following Doctors endorse this statement: (Thereunder are 25 doctors' names, including two professors.)

Introduction
This statement is the independent and collective view of a body of local Doctors. It relates specifically to the ongoing work by O2 who are erecting a mobile phone mast in Cambridge Rd, Crosby. By logical extension these views would apply to any similarly placed masts.

Mobile phones are an increasing part of life. They are popular and useful. We are not against this technology. People who use a mobile phone do so by personal choice as indeed the authors of this statement do. With regard to base stations and masts however, locals (especially children) do not have a choice about usage. Therefore those who live or go to school near to a mast are not able to give their informed 'consent' to accepting any potential health risks that may occur.

Mandate
Doctors have an ethical responsibility to ensure the health of the local population is not inappropriately compromised. This body of Doctors is specifically concerned about this site as our patients, our children, our friends and our colleagues are affected. We feel able and justified in making this statement due to our independent ability to scientifically evaluate current information. We also have many years of experience in understanding the aetiology (origin) and pathology (disease process) of human illness. We are not constrained by any legal, political or financial matters (which Councils, Phone companies and Politicians may be).

The ethics of 'risk'
Risk is part of life. From a medical ethics point of view there are 2 important points relating to this mast issue. Firstly there is the issue of consent to a potential risk. Doctors work under an accepted principle that a risk should only be taken with the agreement of that person. Secondly, there is a general principle that a potential toxin (harmful agent, such as a drug, radiation, or other vector) is properly evaluated before being unleashed on the general public. In relation to this particular mast both of these principles would appear to be broken on the basis of information available (as outlined below).

Current Facts
The Stewart Report (2000) has, so far, been the largest report into potential health problems of masts. This report clearly states there is an unknown potential for health risks and recommends a precautionary approach (endorsed by the BMA 2001)

Both the BMA and the Stewart Report confirm that children absorb considerably more radiation into the head. If this fact is added to the consequences of longer lifetime exposure then the BMA state that children are more vulnerable to the effects of radiation.

Current safety guidelines (NRPB and ICNIRP) relate only to the thermal ('microwave heating') effects of the radiation. As this type of radiation will only raise the body temperature by tiny fractions of a degree Celsius they are unlikely to be significant. The potential for non-thermal or biological effects has not yet been fully evaluated hence the precautionary approach has been recommended .The results of ongoing multimillion pound research across the UK and Internationally will not be known for some time.2

A review appeared in The Lancet (Hyland GJ, 2000) outlining potential biological mechanisms for the development of neurological disease, cancers, immune system compromise and cognitive function from this radiation.

In the case of this specific mast in Cambridge Rd the close proximity of a large local population of children and the presence of several local schools is noted. According to the BMA model of mast emissions2 the highest intensity of radiation will be at ground level between approximately 160 and 260m from the mast. It is noted that 3 schools are within this area, all with significant numbers of the most biologically vulnerable under 12 age group (Streatham House, Valewood Primary School and Atherton House). The Stewart Report clearly recommends that the beam of maximum intensity should not fall on any part of school grounds without agreement from schools or parents.

Anecdotally, Sir William Stewart (the author of the Stewart Report) has been quoted in the media as saying masts should not be near to schools and that he would not allow his grandchildren to use a mobile phone for health reasons. Also, several precedents exist regarding the location of masts.

Statement

On the basis of currently available information, the long-term biological effects of mast emissions are unknown. We note the presence of biologically vulnerable young children in nearby houses and schools. We feel it is therefore potentially medically unsafe for O2 to transmit radiation from the mast being erected in Cambridge Rd, Crosby. Because this is an avoidable potential risk, we advocate that the mast is removed.

Sources of Information

1 The Stewart Report 2000 http://www.iegmp.org.uk

2 Mobile Phones and Health, an interim report 2001 (available from BMA library or website)

3 Hyland GJ . Physics and Biology of mobile telephony. The Lancet 2000;356:1833-36.

4 Media quotes available from http://www.mastsanity.org

Local, National and International Precedents regarding placements of mobile phone masts (available on website http://www.mastsanity.org )