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Should mobile phone masts be sited near schools

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  • Category: School

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In the past few years an increasing number of mobile phone masts and bases have been set up in the UK in densely populated areas, some very close to schools. This has been causing much worry and media coverage recently, because the effects of the radiation from these masts may cause brain damage. It has been particularly reported because children are still growing, so potential threats to their health and well being are taken very seriously.

Research from the Australian Health Research Institute (3) indicates that because of billions of times more radiation emitted by mobile phone masts (and other devices) “will make almost one-third of world population (about two billions) patient of ear, eye and brain cancer beside other major body disorders like heart ailments, impotency, migraine, epilepsy.” They have also reported that the tissues of children are tender, and so much more likely to be affected by anything wireless, and so should be discouraged from using a mobile phone.

Mobile phone radiation has also been linked to suicides, says evidence from Dr Roger Coghill, who sits on a Government advisory committee on mobile radiation. He has found that all 22 young people that have committed suicide who live in Bridgend in South Wales lived closer than normal to mobile phone masts. The proximity of masts has been linked to depression.

Dr Coghill said: “There is a body of research that has over the years pointed to the fact that exposure to mobile radiation can lead to depression. There is evidence of higher suicide rates where people live near any electrical equipment that gives off radio or electrical waves.” A report has already identified mobile phones having an effect on sleep patterns.

Dr Coghill added: “What seems to be happening is that the electrical energy is having an effect on the chemistry of the brain, depleting serotonin levels. We know that in depression serotonin levels are low and that a standard treatment for depression is to give drugs to boost serotonin levels. As they begin to work, the patient’s depression lifts.” Quote from source 1, “The Government’s Health Protection Agency insisted that fields from mobile masts – even modern powerful masts – were well within international agreed safety limits. “There is no evidence that masts do you harm. The levels of radio waves are very low.””

This is perhaps not such a reliable source because it is taken from a newspaper. It is likely to be biased because it will just be telling people what they want to hear.

The Mobile Operators association gives strong evidence against the fact that mobile phone radiation is harmful, stating, “Studies have not shown any consistent link between cellular telephone use and cancer, but scientists feel that additional research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn.” On their website, they have links to many reports by scientific organisations, the most recent being September 2008. It has been carried out by the USA National Cancer Institute. Here are their key points, taken from source 5:

Key Points

* Cellular telephones emit radiofrequency (RF) energy, which is another name for radio waves.

* Exposure to high levels of RF energy can heat body tissue, but RF energy exposures from cellular telephones are too low to cause significant tissue heating.

* Concerns have been raised that RF energy from cellular telephones may pose a cancer risk to users.

* Researchers are studying tumours of the brain and central nervous system (CNS) and other sites of the head and neck because cellular telephones are held next to the head when used .

* Studies have not shown any consistent link between cellular telephone use and cancer, but scientists feel that additional research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn.

This is a reliable source because it is an official report, carried out by a reputable organisation. It is unlikely to be biased because the organisation would have no gain from being so. It does not entirely dismiss the idea of potential damage to the brain, but is also quite logical in reasoning that this is probably not so.

It think that mobile phone masts should avoid being situated too near to schools, as there is a risk of damage to the brain tissue, although this may be very small. It is unlikely that the damage caused by proximity to a telephone mast will be great, and will still affect children from using a mobile phone. I think that young children should avoid using mobile phones, to remove the risk of severe brain damage, which can happen from overuse of mobile phones. Situating mobile masts near schools may be convenient, but it is not safe.

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