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06/10/2005 - Storks lose the plot near phone masts

It appears that adverse health effects near phone masts are not just restricted to humans. A study carried out in Valladolid (Spain) in the last two years on nesting storks found some alarming effects on those with nests near to (less than 200m) the phone mast(s). Not only were reproduction levels far lower, but also behaviour was both less co-ordinated and more aggressive.

Summary of results:

Total productivity (number of young per couple, including nests with 0 chicks) for nests within 200m of the antenna was 0.86 (0.7 - 1.02), whereas productivity for nests further than 300m away was 1.6 (1.46 - 1.74). Both were statistically significant, with a p value of 0.001.

A large part of the difference here appears to be due to the likelihood of the couples in the nests near the mast not having any chicks: 40% of those within 200m had no chicks, whereas in the nests greater than 300m away only 3.3% did not have chicks!

Odd behaviour was also noted in the storks, happening much more frequently the closer the nests were to the masts. The behaviour includes:

  • The couple frequently fight over the sticks.
  • The sticks fall to the ground when trying to build the nest.
  • The couple don't advance the construction of the nest.
  • The most affected nests never get built.
  • Frequent death of young chicks in their early stages.
  • The storks sit passively in front of the phone masts (and don't do anything at all).

Powerwatch CommentsContrary to a popular industry and WHO point of view regarding humans at least, these effects are not going to be psychosomatic (tongue-in-cheek report on this issue from the respected scientist Grahame Blackwell can be found here). These are clear effects that are both statistically significant, replicated (in other reports sited in the study text), and clearly unhealthy. This study may not involve human subjects, but the obvious point still remains: We simply do not understand the subtle biological effects mobile phone base stations are having on living organisms.

Original study in full - Study in full

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