MAST SANITY NEWSLETTER JUNE/JULY 2008

NEWS

Professor Colin Blakemore has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Health Protection Agency's Electromagnetic Fields Discussion Group. Read their press release here. He's a busy bloke, Prof Blakemore, holding neuroscience professorships at Oxford and Warwick universities and also chairing the Food Standard Agency's General Advisory Committee on Science. In that position earlier this year he shared the stage with Mast Sanity's frequent detractor Ben Goldacre. He was formerly Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, and in December the Independent reported he'd been denied a knighthood due to outspoken support for animal testing.

The Mobile Telecommunications and Health Programme has launched a study to determine whether or not mobile phone use is linked to brain cancer and degenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Imperial College will handle the British research and collaborate with European colleagues. The study is funded by government and the mobile phone industry, but through third parties to ensure the research remain untainted by vested interests. Download the MTHR press release as a pdf file here, or read the report in the Independent.

The Union of Concerned Scientists in the USA has initiated a campaign to restore scientific integrity to federal policy making. 15,000 scientists have signed up to date. An article in Natural News details the extent of political interference and other pressures to have scientific results co-ordinate with pre-determined outcomes. There are obvious parallels with what anti-mast campaigners feel occurs worldwide. On a related matter, Amazon US now lists a book by David Michaels revealing the extent to which commercial considerations over-ride public health concerns.

LEGISLATION

The Corporate Manslaughter Act entered UK law on April 6th. Some anti-mast campaigners have hailed the legislation as a step forward, and in some respects it is. It appears, though, that it won't be of any use in the case of masts until a definitive link between radiation and illness is accepted by the courts. Even then the operator following the currently lax official guidelines should provide legal protection.

REPORTS & STUDIES

The 2007 Bio-Initiative Report continues to influence. The US Breast Cancer Fund has been convinced to issue a warning about Electro-Magnetic Fields citing the report, and if you've still not signed the related petition calling for a more responsible public health policy on non-ionizing radiation, please follow the link.

A 1996 study commissioned and suppressed by IBM showed a correlation between length of service in their San Jose research facility. A report on this and the findings published in International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, Vol 13, No 3 (2007) can be downloaded as a pdf file from the Mobil-Funk newsletter group.

At the end of April Channel 4's respected investigative programme Dispatches looked into the accountability of the mobile phone companies and their relationship with the government. The programme can be reviewed in segments here.

If your French is good enough, check the 66 Minutes programme aired on France 5. It questions the safety of mobile phones and wi-fi systems.

The rifts between various scientists involved with the still unpublished global Interphone study have been made public in this Herald Tribune article. Some are now convinced their is a connection between regular cellphone use and brain tumors, while others interpret the data differently. For those wanting more detail, Microwave News has been running updates all year.

 CAMPAIGNS

Orange are once again riding roughshod over the precautionary principle with regard to children with their plans to appeal a decision not to let them place a mast next to the playing fields of Oakview School in Loughton.

After a long campaign 02 and Vodaphone were ordered to remove a overbearing mast in Gateshead last year, yet to the astonishment of residents have now made a planning application to restore it.

The Health Protection Agency is investigating the number of deaths from cancer and survived tumors within the vicinity of a mast near Dudley. Ofcom measurements revealed a higher level of radiation than any other UK mast, but still within recommended guidelines.

Police in Bicton Heath near Shrewsbury have angered locals with plans to install a 12 metre mast 500 metres from a primary school and two special needs schools. A parish council meeting is being held on July 8th.

 VICTORIES

Congratulations to Bishop's Stortford councillors for ignoring the craven advice from their planning department and rejecting a fourth 02 application for a roundabout mast. 02 also lost out in Pevensey Bay, Sussex, and Kenilworth, where both appeals to the planning inspectorate were turned down on the basis of visual impact on the area. There's an extra level of satisfaction in Kenilworth as 02 refused to consider alternative sites suggested by Councillors.

 INCOMPETENT LOCAL AUTHORITIES NAMED AND SHAMED

There's a continuing and depressing roll call of local authority planning departments allegedly still not aware that there is a 56 day deadline for replying to mast applications before deemed consent. It's noted that disciplinary action was actually taken in the case of Wirral's planning department, but the consequences of their ineptitude rumble on. Forest Heath councillors are attempting to rectify the errors of their planning department by encouraging a local school to raise a petition against an 02 mast erected under deemed consent.

  OVERSEAS NEWS

Parents of pupils at the Dubai British School are seeking a meeting with the country's ruler in their campaign to have a phone mast removed from next to their childrens' playground.

A viral campaign has been started in Ireland to raise awareness of the link between mobile phones and brain tumors. A copy of the poster can be found here. EMFields in the UK produce a range of stickers on the same theme.

It's not strictly to do with masts, but coltan is a mineral essential to cellphones, and a large percentage of it is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo under appalling conditions. If you weren't aware of this, it's worth reading the article in environmental magazine Bear Deluxe, which is accompanied by a fine Arcimboldo style illustration.

There is growing concern about cancer clusters in Australia. Five cases in fifteen years at a Queensland fire station defies statistics, and a Brisbane government building is also being tested after six staff were diagnosed with cancer in a four year period. ABC television studios throughout the country are also to be tested after their Brisbane facility was moved following an unusually high incidence of breast cancer. In Adelaide a hospital building has been host to breast cancer cases that are double the statistical probability.

Good news from India, where mobile phone masts are now banned from school and hospital premises. Furthermore any masts erected in residential areas now have to be approved by Residents Welfare Committees. On the other hand, should they give permission, there is only an exclusion area of three metres from any building.

Following the story in the last newsletter about wi-fi being removed from libraries in Paris, the Progressive Librarian's Guild in the USA has issued a strong statement. 

SNIPPETS

Stop-radiation.com has been started as a resource page on EMF by Enrico Grani, who believes radiation to have been the cause of his brain tumor.

Dr George Carlo has circulated a letter condemning Bio-Pro's manipulation of Safe Wireless Initiative by submitting fabricated data to the project, and continuing to use his image on YouTube videos. He regrets taking the data at face value and his subsequent association with Bio-Pro, severed over a year ago.

So secretive are the mobile phone operators, that they refused to reveal to their dealers how much they contribute to OFCOM! Mobile Business Magazine discovered that in 2006-2007, between them 02, 3, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin and Vodafone gave 10,82,784 towards OFCOM's running costs.

A viral marketing campaign on You Tube shows folk creating popcorn with ringing mobile phones. After a month of discussion the footage was revealed as ads for stereo headphones.

This quarter it's nice to be able to report only a single greedy church ignoring the wishes of its parishioners in their rush to take money from the phone companies. Step forward St Mary the Virgin church in Ilford.

  VOLUNTEERS

Mast Sanity is staffed entirely by volunteers. Without them, we'd not be able to offer the advice, information and comfort to campaigns across the country. If you've been helped in the past and have some time to spare, or just feel you'd like to help out, please contact your local Mast Sanity co-ordinator.

  This newsletter has been compiled and edited by Frank Plowright. If you have any comments or corrections please e-mail to  newsletter@mastsanity.org  

If this newsletter has been forwarded to you and you wish to subscribe, please follow this link. A link to unsubscribe appears at the bottom of the page. If you are able to donate to help Mast Sanity's ongoing campaign you can now do so by Paypal here. Should you require advice the Mast Sanity Helpline is open on Tuesday to Friday between 1pm and 8pm on 08704 322 377. All calls are charged at a local rate.

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