|Betreff: Very Important - ECOLOG: Phone cancer report 'buried'|
|Von: Martin Weatherall
|Datum: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 23:54:08 -0500|
T-Mobile employed German expert Dr Peter Neitzke to research health risks caused by the equipment.
But the mobile phone giant - which has 17-million British customers - ignored his findings and used conclusions from other scientists who said masts posed no significant threat.
The controversial move has been blasted by activists and MPs. They said the company's handling of the report was typical as the under-fire industry strived to keep discussion of the health threat off the agenda.
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German expert Dr Peter Neitzke claims masts like this can cause cancer
Andy Street has been fighting applications for mobile phone masts near schools and houses in Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich.
Mr Street said: “These findings should have been published straightaway rather than brushed under the carpet. We always have to fight mobile phone mast applications. Even if we win one battle we then have to fight against the companies appealing against it.
“We always thought they were a risk to health and that the companies knew more about the dangers than they were letting on. But for a phone company to ignore its own findings is highly irresponsible."
He stressed: "With these phone companies it always seems to be pounds before people. I would call on the city council to ban phone mast applications until this report has been fully published and is available to planners.” Mr Street was backed by Norwich North MP Ian Gibson.
The veteran Labour MP said: “The council putting a stop on allowing any more mast applications sounds like a very sensible, precautionary measure. It’s extremely interesting that research has come through, some saying 'Yes' it is harmful and some saying' No', it’s not.
“It seems to be all about how experiments are designed, and the way people look at the situation. But certainly it’s a long way from being proven that it is safe. I think it’s better to err on the side of caution.”
In January 2005 Sir William Stewart, chairman of the National Radiological Protection Board, published an independent report calling for a precautionary approach to masts near homes and schools. He acted as an investigation that month revealed one in five primary schools in Norwich was within the threshold experts claim could put youngsters at risk.
In 2002 it emerged that a cluster of cancer victims had been living in the shadow of a mobile phone mast in St William's Way, Thorpe St Andrew.
At least six people developed tumours which they feared might have been associated with the huge antenna.
The Ecolog study, drawn up in 2000 and updated three years later, was unknown to British campaigners until it was leaked to the Human Ecological Social Economic Project (HESE), which examines the effect of electromagnetic fields on health.
Ecolog’s report stated: “Given the results of the present epidemiological studies, it can be concluded that electromagnetic fields with frequencies in the mobile telecommunications range do play a role in the development of cancer.
“This is particularly notable for tumours of the central nervous system.” Campaigner and Norwich city councillor Bert Bremner is gearing up to fight the eighth application for a phone mast in the University ward area in four years.
He said: “Anything that shows that mobile phones are a problem is of concern to us. It’s like the tobacco companies hiding the dangers of tobacco.
"Everything comes out eventually so I’m surprised that they didn’t just publish the report and be damned.”
Graham Barker has fought masts in Taverham, Norwich, for years. He said: “The whole point of the campaign to put masts on hold was until we knew of the risks.
"Now there is some credible evidence there are risks. We should not be putting these masts up while the dangers are still not known. There is no doubt a moratorium should be urgently adhered to.”
Steve Morphew, Norwich City Council leader, said: “What we want is some clear guidance what we are allowed to do. At present planners are not allowed to take account of health concerns, so until the law changes there’s not much else we can do.
“I would very much welcome advice from the government about the policy.” David Bradford, chairman of the council’s planning committee, which decides whether phone masts can be built in the city, said: “If there is any evidence that mobile phone masts can be dangerous then it should be produced and people should be allowed to make up their own minds about it.
“We would be very interested in seeing this report which should be made widely available.” The Ecolog Institute, which has been researching mobile phone technology since 1992, was paid by T-Mobile to gather evidence on its dangers.
But Dr Peter Neitzke, one of the authors of the report, has accused T-Mobile of diluting the findings by commissioning other studies from which it knew “no critical results or recommendations were to be expected”.
Guidance from the Health Protection Agency states that, while there is no conclusive evidence phones or masts jeopardise health, the technology has been in existence for only a relatively short time.
It recommends that caution should be exercised in siting masts and using phones a lot, particularly where children are affected. A Department of Health spokesman said: “The Mobile Phones and Health 2004, concludes that there is no hard evidence at present that the health of the public is being affected by the use of mobile phone technologies.
“Our health advice remains the same. We continue to advise a precautionary approach to mobile phone use in under-16s.
“The Government takes concerns about possible health effects from mobile phones and mobile phone base stations seriously.
"And that is why the Government, jointly with industry, commissioned a £7.4 million research programme to increase the understanding of the possible health effects of mobile phones - a recommendation of the Stewart report.” Mr Neitzke said that once T-Mobile realised the likely outcome of his study it commissioned further research.
The phone company said: “It was the aim of T-Mobile to engage four different institutes with the same questions to guarantee an independent and objective discussion. All the institutes and people involved are well known and respected experts.”
Mike Dolan, executive director of the Mobile Operators’ Association, said: “The review was undertaken in 2000 and formed part of a larger risk communication study undertaken by another German university, Julich MUT, involving Ecolog and three other scientific review panels."