Feeds

Kids, cancer and mobile phones

28 June 1999

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Website security in corporate America

It was five years ago today... It's (sort of) official: mobile phones fry your brain and, what's more, they are particularly fond of unstabilised children's brains:

Kids, cancer and mobile phones

By Lucy Sherriff
Published Monday 28th June 1999 16:00 GMT

Concerns have been raised over the safety of mobile phone masts as education minister David Blunkett orders an "urgent" inquiry into the siting of the masts in schools. Mobile phone companies pay up to £10,000 to schools which allow the masts to be set up on their premises. More than 500 schools in the UK have taken advantage of the cash injection, so far.

But this is not the familiar "mobile phones fries your brains and gives you cancer" bandwagon. Dr Hyland, a physicist at Warwick University, who raised the alarm is not concerned with the heating effect of the microwaves, but the possibility of resonance between the external radiation from the masts, and the brain's own frequencies.

"Living organisms are all a bit like radio receivers, and you can get resonance between external radiation and living things if the radiation matches natural frequencies," he said. "The microwaves from base stations are transmitted in pulses and it is the frequency of these slower pulses that is in the range of alpha brain waves. These brain waves are not stabilised in children and there could be an unexpected adverse effect." Dr Hyland stressed that there was no evidence to support his concerns.

But he also pointed to the lack of any risk assessment of the effect of microwave pulses on children. Without such quantification "(masts should not be sited anywhere near schools," he said. The National Radiological Protection Board, which is responsible for reviewing all scientific literature on radiation, said the mast sites do not represent a threat to health. In official statements the board only addressed the heating effect of microwaves, and no one could be reached for further comment on the issues raised by Dr Hyland. "The radio waves produced by the transmitters are sufficiently weak that the exposure would only exceed recommended levels if a person were to approach to within a few meters directly in front of the antennae."

The board also pointed out that radio waves do not have enough energy to damage cell DNA, so we really don't need to worry about developing brain tumours. The board does say that there is still a need for further research into other concerns over the safety of microwave radiation.


The debate rages on. In 1999, Dr Hyland admitted that there was "no evidence to support his concerns", but some continue to warn against the terror of brain-grilling radiation. Despite industry studies which appear to suggest that your kiddie will not succumb to microwave death, parents continue to vociferously oppose the siting of mobile phone masts near schools. The mobile phone companies have become adept at "hiding" masts by sticking them in church towers and disguising them as trees.

David Blunkett, in the meantime, has successfully disguised himself as the UK's home secretary. His "urgent" enquiry must have impressed Big Tone at No.10. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.