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03/01/2001 - EMF News - including Lancet mobile phone papers

The DTLR planning Minister, Nick Raynsford, announced the result of the Mobile Phone Mast consultation to update planning guidance PPG8 on Friday 16th March 2001. This seems like hog-wash to us. They have extended the public consultation period to 56 days for almost all base-stations, but not changed the Prior Approval route for masts of 15m and under. So, great, we can "jaw, jaw" about the issue for longer, but don't have any extra powers to control where masts go. We believe that Most Local Planning Authorities who responded asked, as we did, for Full Planning Permission to be required for all masts. This change has not been made. We will be asking for all Consultation Responses to be posted to the DETR internet site so that we can read for ourselves what consultees asked for and compare these requests with what the Government has done.

The worst aspect is the DETR re-statement that compliance with ICNIRP (Intl Commission for Non-ionising radiation) levels is all the Stewart Report (IEGMP) asked for and that "if mast applications come with a Statement that their emissions will comply with ICNIRP then local planning authorities should consider health questions no further." This removes all sensible siting powers regarding public exposure to microwaves away from local authorities, as the maximum signals from almost all masts are some 500 fold lower than the ICNIRP levels already. Stewart said "as low as possible....." and that should have been in this new guidance. This is discussed elsewhere on this web site when this ICNIRP position was first discussed.

The Federation of Electronic Industries have issued the "Ten Commitments" of good practice. This also includes "all masts should comply with ICNIRP", so it looks as if they and the Govt have got together and agreed this in return for the £22.5bn they paid for their 3G licences. The silly thing is none of their masts need to put such high levels of microwaves into local communities, and virtually none actually do.

The Lancet 2000; Vol 356 - it is well worth obtaining and reading these scientific papers:
Commentar: Mobile phones and the illusory pursuit of safety - Philip P Dendy; pp 1782-83
"Two papers in today's Lancet address the controversial subject of safety of mobile telephones. Ken Rothman considers the issue from an epidemiological viewpoint, whereas G J Hyland seeks a possible mechanism for harmful effects. Readers will make up their own minds....". This is an interesting and pertinent article that is worth reading.

Physics and biology of mobile telephony - G J Hyland PhD; pp 1833-36
Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK; and International Institute of Biophysics, Neuss-Holzheim, Germany.
"Although safety guidelines--to which mobile telephones and their base-stations conform--do protect against excessive microwave heating, there is evidence that the low intensity, pulsed radiation currently used can exert subtle non-thermal influences. If these influences entail adverse health consequences, current guidelines would be inadequate. This review focuses on this possibility." An excellent and stimulating paper. It is still amazingly difficult to get professionals to think about non-thermal informational interference with life processes. Odd really, as that is how we see, hear, etc. The effects may just have biological rather than resulting in adverse health consequences, but we just do not know at present.

Epidemiological evidence on health risks of cellular telephones - Kenneth J Rothman DrPH; pp 1837-40
Epidemiology Research Institute, One Newton Executive Park, Newton Lower Falls, MA 02462-1450, USA
"It is too soon for a verdict on the health risks from cellular telephones, especially in view of changing technology. ... Based on the epidemiological evidence available now, the main public-health concern is clearly motor vehicle collisions, a behavioural effect rather than an effect of radio-frequency exposure as such. Neither the several studies of occupational exposure to radiofrequencies nor the few of cellular telephone users offer any clear evidence of an association with brain tumours or other malignancies. ..."