Call for ban on mobile phone masts near schools

Here is some really good news for us as published in today's THE IRISH TIMES.

Best,
Imelda, Cork.


THE IRISH TIMES, APRIL 9, 2007

Call for ban on mobile phone masts near schools

Seán Flynn

Irish National Teachers' Organisation president Denis Bohane addressing the annual congress in the Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork, yesterday. Photograph: Daragh Mac Sweeney/ProvisionMobile phone companies which built masts close to schools "without concern for pupils or teachers" were strongly criticised by the INTO president last night.

Denis Bohane demanded new rules which would ban the siting of phone masts near schools.

He also challenged retailers to prove that school uniforms were not made using child labour.

Speaking during the opening session of the union's annual conference in Cork the INTO president said that an independent agency was required to measure the effects of radiation from phone masts.

"Taking data from the companies themselves is like asking Jaws if it is safe to go back in the water," he said. "The unconstrained ability of mobile phone operators to put phone masts near schools is the height of irresponsibility and places children at an unquantifiable risk.

"We are demanding an end to this unregulated practice and calling for regulation forbidding the construction of masts near schools."

There was strong evidence, he said, of the health risks associated with exposure to electric and magnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation. "Recent studies show that people within 300 metres of mobile phone base stations suffer fatigue, headaches, concentration difficulties, depression, memory loss, visual and hearing disruptions, irritability, skin problems and dizziness."

In his address he also challenged clothing retailers to demonstrate that school uniforms were not being made through the use of child labour in the developing world.

He said that questions were being asked about how retailers could produce ever-cheaper school uniforms.

"Every year there is a big fuss about the high cost of school uniforms, but there is no focus on the fact that in some shops children can be dressed to go back to school for practically nothing. How can these be produced at such low costs?"

Mr Bohane challenged parents to stop and think before they bought back-to-school clothes. He added: "If child labour is being used to produce school uniforms here, then Irish people are effectively denying children in poorer countries an education."

© 2007 The Irish Times



IRISH NAT. TEACHERS CALL FOR MOBILE PHONE MAST BAN NEAR SCHOOLS FOR HEALTH REASONS

Additional to the Irish Times report I send you yesterday ("Call for ban on mobile phone masts near schools") is this related short report by journalist Katherine Donnelly which features in Tuesday's IRISH INDEPENDENT.

While THE IRISH TIMES report focused exclusively on president Denis Bohane's address, the IRISH INDEPENDENT gives the valuable additional information that the union that represents the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) is taking serious steps against masts being placed near schools. And the INTO includes all national school teachers in Northern Ireland as well as the Republic. I will transcribe the relevant paragraphs below.


IRISH INDEPENDENT

TUESDAY, 10 APRIL, 2007 (page 7, print ed.)

"TEACHERS WANT BAN ON PHONE MASTS"

[by] Katherine Donnelly

Primary teachers are demanding a ban on the erection of mobile phone masts in the vicinity of their schools. Children's health is being put at risk by unregulated capitalism, the opening session of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) heard last night. The union, which has 29,000 members in the Republic, is demanding regulations to prevent the siting of masts near schools. It also wants an independent agency to measure the effects of radiation from the masts. INTO president Denis Bohane told the conference that there was strong evidence around the world of health risks associated with exposure to electric and magnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation. He said relying on information from the mobile phone companies themselves was like "asking jaws if it safe to go back into the water." Mr Bohane said recent studies showed that people within 300m of mobile phone base stations suffered fatigue, headaches, concentration difficulties, depression, memory loss, visual and hearing disruptions, irritability, skin problems and dizziness. While data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) was being used by providers to claim that these masts are safe, this was out of date and even when it was collected in 2000 the health effects were not fully researched. "Because children's bodies are developing and research is not complete on the long term health effecs we should be even more cautious in allowing masts to be erected where children spend considerable amounts of time."

--------

Irish Teachers Call for Ban on Mobile Masts near Schools
//www.cellular-news.com/story/23081.php



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