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Press Releases

Mast Sanity press office is open during the working week to deal with all press and media enquiries. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

The Mast Sanity Press Office can be contacted by e-mail only, currently.

 

 

Our press officers are volunteers but try to respond immediately and certainly within an hour. If a response hasn't been received within an hour and the matter is urgent please call our advice line. PLEASE only do this if the enquiry is urgent. It would help us if you state your deadline for requiring the information. We also provide spokespeople and are regularly asked for a representative to appear on news programmes. Mast Sanity has also worked with producers and researchers on a number of TV and radio programmes and documentaries. We issue regular press releases and these can be accessed via the link below.

 

Our press officers have access to our data base of campaigns and can provide contact details of campaigns willing to speak to the press and many other contacts and sources. Health, technical, planning and environmental information can also be provided. For background information on the issues our health section provides links to many research studies. Papers by scientists Gerard Hyland , Barrie Trower and Neil Cherry provide good background information.

 

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In addition check out our newsfeeds for an indication of the number of regional stories there are. This IS the single biggest issue concerning more people in more areas than anything else. Something has to give soon. Most politicians whether local, national or European will admit that they get more correspondence about mobile phone and TETRA masts than any other issue

Mast Sanity will be trying to correct the imbalance in information made available to the conference delegates at Central Hall, Westminster on Wednesday 10th to Friday 12th October. [5]

< Read About Hand Held Learning 2007 here >

< Read Mast Sanity's Diary at Hand Held Learning 2007 here

This conference has been called to promote the use of 'handheld' gadgets in the classroom - the majority of which are 'wireless'.

Just as with other wireless/mobile gadgets (mobile phones, masts, and Wi-fi, etc) these handheld gadgets also use microwave technology, emitting microwave radiation all the time that they are being used and, indeed, to an extent whilst they are not being actively used too.

The organisers have called in Dr Repacholi to tell the delegates that continued use and promotion of Wi-fi and other hand held microwave radiation emitting devices are safe for children.[5]

We need to set the record straight

  • Wi-fi has never been pre-market safety tested, nor were mobile phones or other wireless devices.

  • Independent Scientific studies have consistently shown health effects from microwave emissions well below currently allowed levels[1,2,3,4]

  • Dr Repacholi worked for the World Health Organisation (WHO) EMF Project which received funds from industry.[6]

  • Dr George Carlo and Roger Coghill were not invited to speak, despite answering the conference’s call for papers in good time. Both scientists are well known for their opposition to devices using microwave technology, due to very clear health risks, shown in research and through studies

  • The Department of Education warns that children should only use mobiles in emergencies.[7]

  • Sir William Stewart reiterated that they (the Stewart Committee) had found evidence for genetic damage and cancer at exposures below the guidelines[8] and he is now calling for an enquiry into Wi-Fi in schools[8].

  • The Department of Education guidelines state that a school should not be in the main beam of a Mobile Phone Mast.[7]

  • Teachers in UK schools have already collapsed from exposure to Wi-fi[9]

Mast Sanity Spokesperson Yasmin Skelt says “Why then is it OK to put these devices in schools, exposure from which has been shown to be equal or more than that from the main beam from a Mobile Phone Mast?[8]”

“Mast Sanity is also writing to Conference's sponsors, including 'The Guardian' to ask them to honestly look at the research evidence and withdraw their sponsorship from this industry group who are promoting microwave emitting devices to children.”

“It is a disgrace that the Department for children, schools and families and BECTA are sponsoring this event especially when BECTA engineers testing this equipment developed headaches. That report was buried.[10]”

END.

The results of the Industry and Government funded Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR) have now been published.

As with the MTHR's recent 'Essex Study' the Press Release claims more than the report or the studies it represents can support.

( See Powerwatch's full analysis here . )

With the help of experts we have now examined the Essex study and can see that the conclusion made in their Press Release[3] and widely reported in the media is NOT supported by the data that they present.

In short, Essex University have MISREPRESENTED - 'SPUN' - their Press Release regarding the data and results contained in their study - presumably to please their Industry and Governmental pay masters.

The Essex University Study was initiated by the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR)[2] and was funded half by the Mobile Phone Industry and half by the Government. The Mobile Phone Industry generates an estimated £1 Billion every month, a significant proportion of which is taken by the UK Government in tax revenue. This fact makes the Study very much open to undue 'influence'.

In summary, there are now many people who claim that exposure to emissions from Mobile Phone Masts and similar make them ill - even seriously ill. These claims were being investigated by the Study:

The Essex Study[4] was looking at whether reactions of two different groups i.e. Electrosensitives (ES) and non-ES (controls) differed in the way they coped with and perceived Mobile Phone Mast signals 2G/GSM, 3G/UMTS and Sham (no signal). The study was structured to try to show that there was no significant difference between the responses of ES to those three signal types and the responses of the control group to the same signals - this is known as a "null hypothesis". If the hypothesis proved true then that would effectively show that the ES were no more aware of which exposure was which than the controls were.

The hypothesis was, however, actually proved false[1] in the study, particularly for UMTS/3G, yet reported as true in their Press Release. I.e. Electrosensitive people are more aware of, and sensitive to, Mobile Phone Mast exposures than other people, as they claim to be - completely opposite to what was publicised and reported.

The basis of the study appears to have been altered in the later stages - an unwise and unsound course of action - when it was realised by researchers that the computer randomised UMTS/3G signals were given to nearly half of the Electrosensitive volunteers in the first session. Using a subjective, and frankly lame, excuse that Electrosensitive people must have been more nervous in the long first session, the stronger reactions to the UMTS/3G signals are summarily dismissed. The 12 Electrosensitive volunteers eliminated (in the words of several who withdrew) some, if not all, were made ill by the effects of the exposure to the Mobile Phone Mast signals were likely to be the most sensitive. The removal of the 20% most sensitive Electrosensitive volunteers was always going to invalidate the study, produce a near negative result and match the "null hypothesis".

These are quotes from 4 Electrosensitive volunteers who took part in the study - 2 were excluded from the final results because they had to withdraw from the study because its EMF tests made them too ill to continue, and 2 were included in the final results:-

Brian Stein (excluded): "FACT I used a mobile phone for 15 years. 14 years not a problem, no issues. 15th year. Severe pain in my head and ear, only when I put the mobile to my head. Why is my pain, psychosomatic?"

"When you become hypersensitive to something, it is not confusing, it is not a case of I don't feel well, I wonder what it is, can it be microwaves!!! It's use a [mobile] phone for 5 minutes- pain in ear and head. Don't use the phone - no pain. Use the phone- pain. Don't use the phone - no pain. After you have done this experiment on yourself a few hundred times, it becomes more than a coincidence. ...Believe me it is not confusing."

"I signed up for the test at Essex University and attended the first of three sessions to prove this condition."

"THE RESULT : I have been made permanently worse; I had to pull out of the remaining tests. Although double blind I knew that the mast was on. How, I bled internally for two weeks. That is what happens to me when I get too close to a mast for too long. Bleeding internally, can this be psychosomatic I ask myself? Perhaps my gut has decided to join in on this misinformation? Maybe my gut is in league with my brain in deluding me?"

"The [Essex] tests have been devised so that the people who are best able to prove this condition are precluded. People find it inconvenient to be more thorough. Don't ask the obvious questions, simply dismiss it and trust the scientists investigating this, sponsored by the mobile phone industry. No reason to be concerned."

Volunteer 2 (included): "[Prof.] Elaine Fox said only four people got all six tests correct, I got five as during the first three five minute tests on session one, I stated "not sure" after the first five minutes, which was marked as NO, but on session two three and four I got it 100% right and actually identified the type of signal, so are the Essex numbers meaningful?"

Volunteer 3 (excluded): "I dropped out of the first experiment. They did do a double blind study at the end 5 mins with mast off, 5 mins with GSM, and 5 mins with UMTS [3G]. I was able to tell when the mast was off."

"The biggest inadequacy of the experiment was that it only looked at the short term immediate effects."

Silvia Wilson (included): "It is very sad to hear how the Essex results were manipulated. [Prof.] Elaine Fox is not telling the truth, [in the study] she says ´the evidence is really not found´ [the quote "evidence that ... symptoms are indeed caused by rf-emf exposure is yet to be established." P7 of study] what evidence is she talking about? they found evidence on me and surely on many others EHS [electrosensitive volunteers] , it is so frustrating to realise that they just used us, and gave us so much pain, not only the physical pain when we were under their testing ! And prolong our suffering and keep the profits of the government and industry going."

"I was also shocked to read Dr. James Rubin comments, he is so inexperienced on matters of EMFs and also too young to understand this very complex subject, his own [King's College][6] study was not appropriate to find whether people are affected or not with mobile signals. I am disappointed at the BBC for asking his opinion - he is not an independent scientist."

Don Maisch[7], an independent scientist in the EMF research field, had this to say: "In my opinion the Essex study, though well intentioned, was far too crude in its methodology to find anything significant. I think where the majority of EHS people are hiding is in that growing body of people being treated for symptoms of CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / M.E.] - and that is where the research should look."

Mast Sanity Spokesperson Yasmin Skelt says: "I am shocked by how the results have been interpreted by the Media - even Professor Fox says people in trains get a headache and they just think it is a mobile phone causing it. Now that is way over interpreting the Essex study. The laboratory and questionnaire may be well designed (better than Rubin's non-shielded lab) but the execution of the study and analysis of a very small group of volunteers would suggest that after 5 or 20 minutes some people could not identify certain types of signal. Nothing more. And that analysis was done very badly. What should happen is that those 12 volunteers who dropped out should be investigated further - without damaging them further of course."

"A couple of interesting analogies were suggested to me: A study is done on disability. It is held on an upper floor of a building with stairs and no lift. All the people appearing for testing can walk, therefore the study concludes that severe disability does not exist. Another study is done on lung cancer. People show no obvious ill effect after 1 hour of smoking cigarettes, therefore the study concludes that there is no link between smoking and cancer. Both of these conclusions are obviously nonsense, as are the Essex Study's publicised conclusions. It is science in its poorest form."

"Professor Fox should come clean and apologise for the spin applied to this study in its Press Release and for the anguish caused to genuine ES sufferers not only in the UK but throughout the World"

"And major media organisations such as the BBC[5] - already less trusted by the British Public than ever - should be more careful in quoting word-for-word from Press Releases without first scrutinising the data contained within the studies they claim to represent, or the credentials of those 'Scientists' that they choose to quote"

END.



The results of the Industry and Government funded Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR) is to be published on Wednesday 12th September at the Wellcome Trust in conjunction with the Science Media Centre.

We do not expect the MTHR report to be representative of real research carried out into relevant areas of the Mobile Phone Mast / Health issue. The MTHR studies have largely avoided the research areas where actual health effects from microwave emissions would be seen. The Electrical Engineering bias of the MTHR is apparent in the studies they have commissioned. Humans are biological organisms not machines or computers. Biologists and Biophysicists would carry out more useful studies.

The MTHR's recent release of the University of Essex study into electrosensitivity, which was carried out from a psychological viewpoint, proved hugely controversial, with accusations of misrepresentation and spin to present findings required by Government and the Industry, who funded the study. According to the published results electrosensitivity has no connection with phone masts.

Mast Sanity stringently contests the validity of the study, and the results, noting participants who could not complete the tests due to illness (at least partially from the microwave exposure given to them as part of the study) were eliminated. Studying the complete publication rather than just the press release, reveals that the information publicising the study is at odds with the actual findings.

Given the disingenuous press release, the tone of the subsequent reports has been predictably biased, generally writing off electrosensitivity as the product of a psychological problem rooted in a belief that the technology was harmful.

Unfortunately, we expect no better from the rest of the MTHR reports. We would strongly suggest that the results of the MTHR report be discounted, due to the conflict of interest of most of its members[1], who are also part of the very bodies that would be adversely affected by any critical findings, and of its funding, which comes from Industry and Government. The British Public and Press would be better served by looking at the Independent and more representative "Bioinitiative" report[2], by an international working group of Independent scientists, researchers and public health policy professionals (The BioInitiative Working Group) which was released on 31st August this year. They document serious scientific concerns about current limits regulating how much electromagnetic field (EMF) is allowable from power lines, mobile phones, mobile phone masts, wi-fi and many other sources of EMF exposure in daily life.

Mast Sanity Spokesperson Yasmin Skelt says “Why do we listen to industry-funded research reports from the likes of the MTHR? In all other aspects of our lives we would ignore reports that come from the interested party. If an Alternative Therapy group reported on the success of its therapy, it would be immediately dismissed as untrustworthy because of its bias. This happened recently. The Tobacco Companies told us that smoking was safe . So why are we prepared to listen to researchers using Mobile Phone Industry money on research chosen by the industry itself? It is ludicrous and dangerous.”

The Bioinitiative report documents scientific evidence raising worries about childhood leukaemia (from power lines and other electrical exposures), brain tumours and acoustic neuromas (from cell and cordless phones) and Alzheimer’s disease. There is evidence that EMFs, such as from Mobile Phone Masts, is a risk factor for both childhood and adult cancers. Public health expert and co-editor of the Report Dr. David Carpenter, Director, Institute for Health and the Environment at the University of Albany, New York says “this report stands as a wake-up call that long-term exposure to some kinds of EMF may cause serious health effects. Good public health planning is needed now to prevent cancers and neurological diseases linked to exposure to power lines and other sources of EMF [such as Mobile Phone Masts 'Cell Towers']. We need to educate people and our decision makers that “business as usual” is unacceptable.”

The crux of the Bioinitiative report is that the existing ICNIRP guidelines followed by the UK and other countries for their microwave emission limits is far too high. It confirms the position of the Benevento Resolution[3] and the late Dr. Neil Cherry[4] who said “the ICNIRP guideline exposure level is set many orders of magnitude too high to accomplish this [protection of public health]. This [view] has been intransigently maintained in the face of compelling laboratory and epidemiological evidence of adverse health effects that would have had a chemical declared carcinogenic, neuropathogenic, cardiogenic and teratogenic for humans many years ago.”

The MTHR – containing many ICNIRP members - will attempt to reiterate the current status-quo, we believe.

Mast Sanity Spokesperson Yasmin Skelt says "We see the publication of the MTHR report at this time as a cynical attempt to contradict the BioInitiative Report and its calls for much lower microwave emission limits. It will serve as nothing more than an attempt by the Mobile Phone Industry and other Wireless pedlars to target young children, the sick and the elderly as the adult and teenage markets reach saturation point. Mast Sanity believe that vulnerable groups in particular and the Public in general should be protected from microwave emissions and unsafe mobile/wireless devices which should carry clear warning labels like cigarettes now do. The Swedish and German precautionary approaches are much more enlightened than that for the UK."

Mast Sanity AGAIN reiterate their call on the Government to stop ignoring and dismissing the health issues and start acting to protect public health. The UK should adopt the Precautionary Principle and halt the roll-out and proliferation of microwave transmitters of all types. If the Brown Government is serious about protecting public health then they will readily do this, accept our recent request for urgent talks and take action. Too many lives have been blighted or completely ruined already.

END.

As predicted the Psychology Department of University of Essex has concluded that electrosensitivity is purely in the mind. We question why psychologrists are doing this research at all since physical
changes to the skin and heart rates have been found in other research. Presumably the psychologists 'believe' this is all in the mind and this is what they set out to 'prove'.
Their conclusion was made possible by eliminating 12 of the most sensitive electrosentive volunteers who had become too ill to continue the study. Even a child can see that by eliminating 12 of the original 56 electrosensitive volunteers - over 20% of the group - that the study integrity has been completely breached.
Interestingly, the official Press Release does not mention this fact. The Press launch took place at the notorious Science Media Centre which is funded by various industry groups including Vodafone and the Mobile Operators Association.
One participant in the study questions Professor Fox's assertion that only four people got all six test correct. He said "I got five [out of six] as during the first three five minute tests on session one, I stated 'not sure' after the first five minutes, which was marked as NO, but on session two, three and four I got it 100% right and actually identified the type of signal, so are the Essex [study] numbers meaningful?"

The BBC quote Dr. Rubin - the psychologist and author of at least one other similarly flawed study - to give the thumbs up. His agenda is somewhat transparent where he states that "This should be reassuring news for anyone who is concerned about the possible short-term health effects of masts". We don't think Dr. Rubin is qualified to comment on the Essex study as he didn't even use a shielded room for his own experiments at King's College and the so called 'sham' (zero) exposure was not a zero signal as people have been led to believe.
The Essex University study was initiated by the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR ) and was funded half by the Mobile Phone Industry and half by the Government.
The Mobile Phone Industry generates an estimated £1 Billion every month, a significant proportion of which is taken by the UK Government in tax revenue. (To put this into scale 2 months would generate enough money to put right all the flood damage in the UK so far this summer!).

Mast Sanity Spokesperson Yasmin Skelt says "All in all the Media release of this study has been an exercise in spin and propaganda and a poor one for science."

"It is the long term health effects where people are forced to live near real Mobile Phone Masts that count and this study in no way covers those."

The News Release for the study is here .
The Study can be found (abstract here ) in full here .

See the BBC's account here .

Read Powerwatch's comments here .
Essex Study Conclusions Open To Serious Question - Analysis by Dr Grahame Blackwell here .