Cancer risk for Leixlip children
by Sarah Egan
THE children of Leixlip are at a huge risk of developing brain tumours and leukemia if the garda telecommunications mast in Leixlip is commissioned, according to Professor Olle Johansson from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
Professor Johansson explained to the concerned residents, who gathered for the public meeting in St Mary's GAA Club in Leixlip on Tuesday night (31st March), that scientists began to worry about the effects of mobile telecommunications as early as the 1980s.
The Karolinska Institute is one of Europe's leading medical institutions and has for many years been carrying out tests on the effects of microwaves.
Prof Johansson informed the crowd that after only 45 minutes exposure to rats resulted in retarded learning and mice that had been exposed to the radiation became irreversibly infertile after five generations.
A test on children showed that after only one minute exposure to microwaves from mobile phones resulted in changes in brain waves in the child for up to one hour after the exposure.
The meeting was chaired by Ryevale Lawns' resident, John Weigel, who through much research discovered that children are 75% more absorbent of these microwaves than adults and with five schools in the vicinity of the mast the community should be worried about it.
Mr Weigel, who lives directly behind the mast, described how he is severely affected by the microwaves and is always immediately aware if he is the vicinity of a mast.
As he lives so close to the mast the microwaves will be coming directly into his house.
The Honorary Secretary of the Irish Electromagnetic Radiation Victims Network, Con Colbert, backed up a lot of the information given by Professor Johansson and explained how we are surrounded by electricity all of the time with everything from lights to television screens and they all affect us.
One experiment showed that if a subject sat with their back to a television or computer screen for a certain length of lime the make up of their skin changed.
However, there was opposition to the idea that the mast would cause health problems in Leixlip from both Bernard Durkan, TD (FGJ and Cllr Kevin O'Con-nor (FF).
Both politicians made the point that while the professor's reports looked at the effects of microwaves, it was more focused on mobile phone exposure rather than mast exposure and that masts emit less radiation than mobile phones.
"There are at least five masts in Leixlip," said CUr 0'Connor.
"We have to think about the other five as well and see if they have caused illnesses,"
There were also several guest speakers at the meeting from around the country who told their own stories of exposure to microwaves from masts, including a Tipperary Farmer, John Ryan.
Mr Ryan had allowed Vodafone to place a mast on his farm in 2003 and immediately he felt the side effects, becoming shaky and unable to sleep.
"I asked them to take it down but they wouldn't," he said.
"They told me commercial interest was more important to them than my health."
He also began to collapse on a regular basis but after spending time in hospital away from the farm he would make a full recovery each time and as soon as he would return to the farm he would collapse again.
His grandson was also severely affected by the mast and would become agitated and get nose bleeds that would last up to two hours.
"If you have a problem like this there's no-one to go to," added Mr Ryan.
"I went to everyone, all of the Ministers and Deputy Durkan even came to the farm but all he told us was to stop looking at the mast."
The mast was removed in 2007 but the effects are still being felt. While the mast was there Mr Ryan's cattle, which were regarded as the best breeders, began to produce malformed calves, and since the mas I was removed he has been told that the DNA of the cattle has changed, meaning that the cows are not carrying the calves to full term.
"All they'll tell you is that they're working to the World Health Organisation's guidelines," he explained.
And this is exactly what Colin Cunningham from Vilicom, the company responsible for the mast at the garda station, told the meeting.
While Mr Cunningham had no presentation prepared for the meeting, because of short notice, he did affirm that the mast is in adherence to the WHO guidelines.
However, while Prof Johansson was describing the tests that were conducted he pointed out that they were carried out at a fraction of the exposure of the recommended guidelines of the WHO, in some cases thousands of times less, and still they caused side effects.
Pauline Keeley, from Better Environment and Safer Telecommunications (BEST), described how, through her community involvement over the past 20 years, she has witnessed the affects of masts on people first hand.
She explained that at one time on a street of 82 houses in Dublin near a mast there were 37 deaths from cancer.
She also described a case where eight students and a teacher from one class in a school in Dublin lost all of their hair and it turned out that it was only the ones sitting in a particular area in the classroom near the mast that had lost their hair.
Helen McCrory, from Clontarf, described her experience of moving into an apartment in the city centre and immediately feeling unwell.
It got to a stage where she had to sleep in a B&B for over a year until she found a new house away from the mast.
Unfortunately a few months later a mast was put up on the pub beside her home and now she is in the same situation again.
She was told to put tin foil up on her windows at night to stop the radiation coming in but on doing this she found that in the morning the radiation had melted holes in the tin foil.
All of these stories illustrated what could potentially happened to residents living close to the mast in Leixlip and the residents are going to continue their fight against the commissioning of the mast or at least to insist that some sort of protection is implemented on the mast to stop the waves from penetrating people's houses and bodies.
It was felt by the majority of the speakers that the telecommunications companies are more concerned about commercialisation than people's health.
Leixlip meeting told 'no safe level of radiation'
By HENRY BAURESS
A SWEDISH expert on electromagnetic radiation coming from mobile phone masts and similar type equipment named in Leixlip this week that there is no safe distance when it comes to health dangers from increasing amount of gadgets we use close to our bodies.
Professor Olle Johansson, a neuroscientist at the Karoliiiska Institute Stockholm, Sweden, who addressed the meeting organised in Leixlip GAA, is a world-leading authority1 in the field of EMF radiation and health effects.
He was invited by campaigners concerned over the effects of the masts located at the new Garda station in Leixlip.
In an interview with the Leader on Monday, he said medical researchers were first alerted to the potential effects of this radiation, including the powerful waves from mobile phones, by people who suffered electromagnetic hypersensitivity in the early 1970s.
"We started to experiment and work on the effects of radiation on our human biological systems," he said.
The key issues for him is whether it is safe to expose you and, in particular, your child to radiation around the clock.
What is a safe level, the Leader asked. "The safety level is only zero. You must stop it," he said.
"We arc talking about toys. These things are not necessities," he added, point to the powerful signals coming from mobile phones in particular.
The Swedish expert told the Leader that he has come under pressure for his views.
But he also says that change is a matter for our elected politicians. "People will have to make their own informed choices as they do with driving, poor or health) food. Life is a compromise," he said.
He also pointed out that on September 4 last the European Parliament voted 522 to 16 in favour of the lowering of the exposure guidelines based on biology rather than on more technical measures used in the past.
Professor Johansson told the Leader that there arc alternative frequency window's which can be used but very little research has been done on these alternatives.
"Perhaps the telecoms companies have a solution but I don't see that popping up," he said.
He says that companies know the problems with electromagnetic radiation, and significantly, so also do the insurance companies. Their policies will not include payments for damage from such activity. They have learned from the tobacco scandal. "For them it is not a matter of "if" there will be problems down the road, but a mailer of "when" and why should they not protect themselves," he said.
Professor Johansson added that the mobile phone companies do not do anything illegal. There merely ask Governments if il is alright to expose people to these levels of radiation and Governments say alright.
In the past two years a lot of health protection agencies, which used to say there is no risk from Ibis equipment, are now changing their advice and suggesting filters be used on some equipment. Consumers don't see the link, he says. "We are the guinea pigs," he said.
Professor Johnansson said all the evidence is pointing lo risk particularly on children and exposure lo mobile phones will affect fertility. "It is very bad for the future," he said.
His visit is to highlight concerns
about the future health, especially that of children and schools, living close to the new mast at Leixlip Gar-da station.
There have been calls for the mast and the equipment to be located further away from (his residential area.
Last year, representatives of Vili-com, which is involved with the OPW addressed Leixlip Town Councillors but surprising did so in private even though Town Council meetings are normally held in public.
It did a study at a time, last November, when there were just three antannae on the Card a mast. The study, by Villicom, showed all measurements of electromagnetic field strengths to be well below guidelines for the public in this case.
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