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Call For Probe Into Mast Suicide Links
Wales Online
Journalist: Kerry-Lynne Doyle
June 26, 2008

A radiation expert who believes mobile phone masts can trigger suicide is demanding an investigation in Bridgend.

Roger Coghill has found out all 22 of the young people found hanging in the borough since January last year lived closer than average to mobile phone masts.

Mr Coghill, who sits on a Government advisory committee on mobile phone radiation, also found a greater intensity of masts near victims’ homes.

He has been researching the effects of mobile phone and power line radiation for more than 25 years.

Mr Coghill’s research suggests radiation from masts can trigger depression and suicide among young people.

He is calling for an investigation comparing mobile phone radiation in Bridgend and the South Wales valleys to that found in flatter land in England.

Mr Coghill is also willing to visit Bridgend to discuss his findings about the young deaths.

“I found they were much more likely to be close to a mast site than the average population,” he said.

“That’s not sufficient in itself. We need a comparative study done because of the crucial evidence, not only from past studies but also the present situation in Bridgend.

“Being in a valley shadows a mast and you need twice as many masts.

“I want the Secretary of State for Wales, Paul Murphy MP, to fund a study. I’m calling for a full investigation.”

Wales Office Minister and Ogmore AM Huw Irranca-Davies said: “A multi-agency group has been set up in the Bridgend area to look at all the factors relating to these incidents.

“This group is looking at all the issues that have been raised over the last few months and I am sure they will consider Mr Roger Coghill's comments as part of this.

“The UK Government is continuing to monitor new technologies and consider any potential risks they may have.

“A working group has been established to consider the SAGE report on electromagnetic fields and the Health Protection Agency advice on its recommendations.

“However, the current advice from the Health Protection Agency indicates there is no general risk to the health of people living near base stations.”

Mr Coghill also wants the Welsh Assembly Government to use more stringent guidelines on radiation.

But the Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Tony Jewell said: “The Welsh Assembly Government and other UK Health Departments receive advice on radiation hazards from the Health Protection Agency.

“The balance of evidence indicates that there is no general risk to the health of people living near base stations, on the basis that typical exposures to the public is extremely low.

“We acknowledge that new technologies need to be monitored for any potential harmful effects and that is why the UK Government has set up a working group.”

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