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One In 20 People ‘May Have A Mobile Phone Illness’
Sunday Times
January 30, 2005

Up to 5% of the population may be suffering ill health as a result of radiation from mobile phones and masts, according to a group of Irish doctors fighting for official acceptance of the problem.

The Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association (IDEA) is urging the government to adopt a cautious approach to the technology, and to ensure that people who claim to have related illnesses are monitored. In a study to be released this week, the doctors will say they have identified 16 people whom they believe have been adversely affected by radiation. The medical report concludes that “seemingly sensitive individuals” suffer “devastating effects” from exposure to electromagnetic radiation. According to the IDEA’s co-founders Philip Michael and Elizabeth Cullen, more people are reporting severe health effects linked to radiation.

The survey outlines symptoms that include fatigue, confusion, tingling, temperature changes, dizziness and difficulty sleeping . It estimates that between 1% and 5% of the population could be sensitive to radiation and experience illness as a result. The IDEA says further research is necessary. It wants special screens for the 16 people in the study, to see if their conditions improve when radiation is blocked.

The association’s claims will be strongly refuted by the industry and government. The Department of Communications said recently that there was no valid scientific research to suggest that the use of mobile phones could be bad for children. Their comments followed advice by a leading British expert that their use by pre-teens should be limited. The government has also said that tests on mobile-phone base stations in the country found that none exceeded internationally recognised guidelines on radiation levels. Mobile-phone operators also dismiss claims that radiation from masts or phones could be harmful.

Vodafone said: “There is no evidence of any impact on human health when exposure levels are below internationally recognised guidelines”.

Despite these reassurances there are growing numbers of people reporting symptoms, like Dubliners Helen McCrory of Clontarf and Enda Dalton of Raheny. McCrory blames nearby mobile phone masts for her illness and said she can’t leave her house because “masts are everywhere now”. “I can’t sleep, my head pounds, my skin burns and I get a painful pumping sensation from head to toe. It has got so bad that I feel suicidal,” she said.

Dalton claims he has suffered from radiation since 1985 and has installed a screened room in his house to get relief. “There are loads of people like me who are sensitive to radiation and our symptoms are real. We need the entire system shut down until a thorough investigation is carried out. We know the radiation is below recommended guidelines, but these guidelines are not correct because we still suffer,” he said.

John Ryan, a farmer in Tipperary, claims he has suffered illness since allowing a Vodafone mast to be installed on his land. He has offered to return the money he received to have the mast taken down but Vodafone wants him to pay extra. The mast has been shown to adhere to safe radiation levels but Ryan is adamant that it gives him headaches and dizzy spells. Vodafone does not accept that the mast is responsible for Ryan’s symptoms.

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