'Cancer link' mobile mast testing begins

Concern over a cluster of cancer cases has led a London council to pay an expert team to measure emission levels near two mobile phone masts

Experts from the National Radiological Protection Board are conducting tests around two mobile phone masts in London on Thursday, following concerns that the transmitters may be responsible for a cluster of cancer cases in the area.

As previously reported by ZDNet UK News, residents of Carnarvon Road, a street near Epping Forest in north-east London, persuaded their local councillors to spend £3,250 on the checks. Five of the seven houses nearest to the mobile transmitters are home to a person with cancer.

The NRPB scientists will test whether levels of exposure to non-ionising radiation are within international safely guidelines. They will also consider whether any other local transmitters are exceeding safety guidelines.

According to the Radiocommunications Agency, two mobile phone masts are situated on buildings on Carnarvon Road. Its Sitefinder Internet utility -- a record of every mobile phone mast in the UK -- lists one Orange mast and one One2One mast. Both are reported to be operating within their maximum licensed power.

The Stewart Inquiry, an independent, government-backed study into mobile phone safety, concluded in 2000 that there is no general risk to the health of people living near base stations, on the basis that exposures are expected to be well within guidelines.

The inquiry warned, though, there can be "indirect adverse effects on their well-being in some cases." In other words, anxiety over mobile phone masts could affect the health of some people.

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