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Tuesday, 29 January, 2002, 18:06 GMT
New inquiry probes mast safety
Protest outside St Mary's School , Essex
There have been many protests over phone masts
A multi-million pound police radio network could be in jeopardy, if a public inquiry in Gloucestershire, decides the masts for the system pose a health risk.

The inquiry - which will decide whether a mast in Stroud can be erected - is being seen as a test case, which could have implications for thousands of other communities.

Campaigners argue the frequency the system operates on could lead to brain damage.

It was called after Stroud councillors blocked the building of a mast on health grounds.

Brainwave frequencies

The company Airwave mm02 said the Tetra mast, favoured by the emergency services, gave off only a fraction of permitted emissions.

But scientists said the system used a frequency that should be avoided, because it was almost identical to brainwave frequencies.

Lynne Edmunds of the campaign group, Mast Action, said: "No studies have ever been done on the Tetra system for its effect on humans.

"But there have been hundreds of studies internationally that point to the possibility of health danger.


As far as we're concerned, there is no adverse health risk

Charles St George
"That is why the Police Federation has asked for answers to a list of questions compiled by an expert and they say if these answers from the Home Office are not satisfactory, they could instruct members to boycott Tetra."

But Tetra officials insist the system is safe. Charles St George of the company said: "As far as we're concerned, there is no adverse health risk and that is a position that we stand by."

Professor Sir William Stewart, who led an investigation into the health effects of mobile phone technology, has said the network operated on a frequency which 'should be avoided if at all possible'.

His comments will raise fresh fears about the dangers of the masts.

Experts, whose work has been reviewed by Sir William, have warned that the new masts and the handsets given to users could damage the brain and cause symptoms similar to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

See also:

05 Sep 01 | Education
Protest over mobile phone mast
13 Aug 01 | Education
Mobile phone mast 'threatens school'
03 Apr 01 | UK Politics
MPs urge action over mobile masts
08 Dec 00 | Health
7m for mobile health research
30 Jun 00 | Health
Phone mast fears dismissed
15 Aug 00 | Scotland
Victory for phone mast protesters
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