Hassan Popat meets his rescuerA cell phone mast emitting large amounts of radiation has caused 14 people living within a mile of it to die of cancer. 4 people living in a cul-de-sac yard from the site also died. Over the span of 7 years, 20 residents have developed tumours.

A campaign for the removal of the mast has been started by those who believe that it is causing cancer. The matter is still being investigated by The Health Protection Agency. For fear of damaging the health of their children, parents have stopped taking their children to parks where masts are erected.

In 1995, the mast was set up on an abandoned water tower on the High Acres estate in Kingswinford, West Midlands. However, the campaigners state that the main issue arose in 2001, when a large number of antennae and dishes were installed. Tests were carried out on mast by the experts from the communications watchdog Ofcom, who discovered that this mast was emitting the highest amount of radiation in England.

Even with such high levels of radiation, it fell under the safety guidelines of the UK. One of the members of the protest group against the mast, a 52 year old Wendy Baggott, who lives within 200 yards of the mast, said “It feel like a threatening presence looming all over the neighbourhood. Over the last seven years there have been 14 cancer deaths in the area. Four of those happened in this road. The wellbeing of the whole community is being affected.”

“It is a massive concern to us that there is a children’s play area so near to it. Parents and grandparents around here won’t let their children go there because they are terrified they could get cancer,” says the NHS clinical auditor, who is now retired and her husband Clive has developed skin cancer twice.

Michael Morris, 57, developed brain tumour and died in 2003. “There have been so many people in the neighbourhood who have died of these cancers. Michael used to take the dogs out for walks up there by the tower and I wonder if it might have been that. When these masts came I think it was when he started to go downhill,” says Pamela, 61, Michaels’s widow.

Betty Genner, 68, who died of ovarian cancer in 2003 was among the 14 deaths caused by the cell towers. 2 years later, Dorothy Day, aged 69, also died of cancer. Another woman, who could not survive a brain tumour, died 6 months ago. The deceased lived close to the mast.

Irrespective of all the deaths caused by cell phone masts, the Government claims that they pose no danger to the health of the masses. However, it is believed by many that such radiation is capable of changing the cell composition, making them vulnerable to cancer.

A spokesman of Ofcom stated, “This is the highest level of exposure that we have recorded in England this year. The tower recorded levels 5000 times below the safe exposure limit. It was not an excessive level of radiation. Other results around the country have been found to be around similar levels and this is well within the safety limit.”

The Health Protection Agency’s spokesperson said, “No concerns have been raised by general practitioners or other local health services in the area about any greater than expected numbers or unusual cases of any serious illnesses. Further contact is being made with local general practices to confirm that they do not have any specific concerns.”

“The government keeps refusing to believe there is a problem. China and Russia realize this and keep their limits at a sixtieth of what we have got. We are being told nothing about the health effects, agencies that should be helping the British public are not helping. Why are we putting up with it?” says Yasmin Skelt, a member of the Mast Sanity pressure group that campaigns against the rising number of cell phone masts.

Briefing:

  • The radiation emitted by cell phones is ten times more than what a microwave oven emits.
  • Radio waves from phone towers can penetrate almost an inch into body tissue.
  • Cell phones emit radiation that is stronger than that emitted by a mast.
  • In 2000, a study backed by the government reported that link between masts and sickness inconclusive.
  • A total of 51,000 masts are present in UK.