Expert warns Irish mobile phone masts unsafe

09/02/06

Expert warns Irish mobile phone masts unsafe By Dan Buckley and Tom Prendeville ONE of the world's leading experts in mobile phone technology has warned that the radiation output from Irish phone masts is at least 100 times too high for safety.

His warning comes as new research reveals that long-term use of mobile phones poses an increased risk of brain cancer.

According to Dr David Aldridge, a scientist who has worked developing microwave technology for the US Government, the international 'safety' limits which Ireland adheres to are out of date and totally flawed.

"What is happening is that the external signals (from mobile phones) are swamping the body's natural internal signals," he said.

This can lead to cancers and a whole range of other serious medical disorders, particularly among children, he said.

"Expose a cell to microwaves from a mast or phone and it interferes with the cell repair process. In the case of young children, the rate of cells dividing in half to form new ones is so fast that you end up with a vast number of what we call mis-repairs."

According to Dr Aldridge, the current international safety standards are over 50 years old and obsolete.

Meanwhile, a new study into the risks associated with using mobile phones has found an increased risk of brain tumours in people who have used them for 10 years or more.

The study, by German researchers, found an increased risk of glioma, an often deadly brain cancer, in people who had used mobile phones for over a decade.

However, a similar study in Britain appears to contradict these findings and concludes that there is no proof that long-term mobile phone use can cause glioma.

Both studies are part of the 13-nation Interphone Study, an effort sanctioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to assess possible health risks from the radiation emitted by mobile phones.

The German study, conducted by Joachim Schuz and colleagues at the University of Mainz, compared a group of 749 brain tumour patients with 1,494 similar people who had not used mobile phones and found a doubling of the risk of glioma after 10 years of use.

They said the number of people in the study who had used the phones for 10 years was small and the findings need to be confirmed by other studies.

This same 10-year threshold has previously been reported for acoustic neuroma, a benign tumour of the acoustic nerve, by two Swedish teams.

"This result is very difficult to interpret," said Dr Schuz.

"I can only say that it's still an open question whether there is a tumour risk for more than 10 years of use."

The British researchers found no overall increased risk in people who used mobile phones.

Although it revealed a significantly increased risk for tumours that developed on the same side of the head where patients said they most often held the phone, lead researcher Patricia McKinney, an epidemiologist at the Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics, said that the finding probably was due to many patients not accurately recalling which ear they had used most.

The Swedish study, conducted by researchers at the Karolinska Institute, found an increased risk for a non-cancerous brain tumour called acoustic neuroma after 10 years of mobile phone use.

Mobile phones: Do's and don'ts

Keep mobile phone conversations short.

Consider using a text message or picture message as an alternative.

Choose a handset with a lower SAR rating, which means it emits less radiation.

Don't hold the phone to your head when you can use a hands-free kit.

Consider using a phone with an external aerial.

Limit the amount of time that children use mobile phones.

© Irish Examiner, 2005, Thomas Crosbie Media, TCH

//www.irishexaminer.com/pport/web/Full_Story/did-sglh7v6ouLIgMsgDQQ5wn3uAIg.asp


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