Azara Blog: Another study into mobile phone technology

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Date published: 2005/04/05

The BBC says:

New research is to be carried out into mobile phone technology, and the location and use of mobile phone masts, the government has announced.

A study will examine whether the number of cell phone "relay stations" can be reduced by firms having to share them.

Ministers are already reviewing the planning procedure for the masts.

The announcement follows several reports suggesting the masts may represent a health risk and a number of protests in areas where they are built.

In January scientists from the National Radiological Protection Board warned that young people were at greatest risk from the potentially-harmful health effects of mobile phone emissions.

Professor Sir William Stewart, who headed the study, said children under eight should not use mobile telephones at all.

The board also said more research could be done into mobile phone masts and suggested the location of the masts could be subject to independent review.
Other studies have highlighted the possible dangers of using mobile telephones.

A study by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden published last year concluded that long-term mobile phone users had nearly double the risk of getting a tumour on a nerve connecting the ear to the brain.

EU-funded research has found mobile phone radiation could damage DNA cells.

It is a bit ridiculous that most phone masts (those up to 15m in height) can be placed without proper planning procedure. This is because the government used to run the only company (now called BT) putting up phone masts and we can't possibly have rules and regulations restricting what the government can do. But now that "evil" corporations are doing this we obviously need controls.

On the other hand, it is also ridiculous the amount of attention received by the health faddists, who believe each and every illness is due to some government and/or scientific and/or corporate conspiracy. (They are aided and abetted by the so-called environmentalists who believe that any technology less than 100 or 200 years old is just too risky.) Believe it or not most people in the country use mobile phones, and so the masts have to go somewhere, in fact almost everywhere given that the whole point is that the phones are mobile. As usual, people just want them to not go in their backyard.

On some of the specific points, companies already share masts where they can because it costs less. And the Karolinska Institute study says nothing about the health risks of phone masts, only of holding a phone to your ear for hours on end (it is not comfortable and it would not be surprising if it eventually causes problems). It is typical of the BBC to try and conflate two issues to try and make it look like some unrelated second effect somehow confirms the main point of the article.

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