back to article Orange dismantles Bristol Tower of Doom

Orange has agreed to remove a mobile-phone base station from the top of a block which has become known as the "Tower of Doom", thanks to the high incidence of cancer amongst the elderly residents. So far, seven people in Berkeley House in Staple Hill, Bristol, have contracted cancer, with three dying. Never ones to let …

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  1. Nick

    Perhaps

    Orange, Vodaphone, O2 and T-Mobile should all join together and remove (or turn off) the cells which cover the 'tower of doom'. Then we can all look forward to the local papers reporting about how bad mobile reception is in that area.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Evidence

    "Never ones to let scientific evidence get in the way of uninformed opinion, the local residents have identified the mobile-phone base stations on top of their building as the cause of their problems."

    There is no evidence that radio masts of GSM network can cause anything but a good reception when you live under or close to one.

    But it does impact my buying motivation towards houses or appartements. I would never buy a house or app near one. Just in case they do find something wrong with radio antenna's.

    DDT was also considered healthy, Asbestos, sigarets, Laser printers, ...

  3. Neil

    By this logic...

    when the mast has gone, and the elderly have died, it can be proved that the mast was, in fact, keeping them alive.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nimbys

    Simple answer. Remove all mobile phone masts from Bristol. And anywahere elee people complain about them. In fact same as WiFi in schools. Don't replace it with anything, just remove them...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here Comes The Rain

    That last paragraph... wouldn't constitute Incitement to Religious Hatred now, would it? :-P

  6. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    Alternative explanation?

    Is it possible that the 'high' incidence of cancer amongst the elderly is somehow due to the fact that they are, in fact, elderly and therefore their cellular repair mechanisms are getting a little worn out?

    If my memory serves me correctly, isn't most of the radiation from mobile phone masts directed outwards, rather than downwards, what with them being constructed from directional antennae?

  7. Simon Woodworth

    Idiots

    Most of the energy from a mobile mast is radiated outwards, not downwards. So if you want to dodge all those "harmful" mobile 'phone signals, being right under the antennae is not a bad place to be.

  8. oxo

    Future not too bright

    So on the heels of yesterdays story of the Orange MarketingTwatDepartment associating their company with smoking, now they do this brainless thing.

    Obviously not a cool outfit to be associated with.

  9. andy gibson

    Safe?

    If mobile phone masts are so safe why are there loads of radiation warning signs around them?

  10. Grahame

    Happenned in my street

    Orange erected a mast in my street, about 20m from me.

    3 people within 50m have since had cancer.

    Also The British Heart Foundation and Siemens in separate moves have removed all literature and references in publications to effects on pace makers from phone masts.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lies, damn lies and statistics

    As far as I'm aware, there has been no definitive, unquestionable, beyond-any-doubt ruling - when one study shows a positive result, another comes along and 'proves' the contrary.

    To my mind, that means we really don't know.

    Put it this way - would YOU be happy to have YOUR 1yr old daughter grow up to 18 living under such a mast? Are you THAT sure its safe? Thought not.

  12. Chris Hughes

    Sillyness

    It never fails to amaze me how we should never underestimate the collective stupidity of a large number of people when they get together.

    My girlfriend lives in Staple Hill and I have an honours degree in computer networks, as such im directly exposed to the mindless, delusional propaganda and brainwashing which has been going on among these residents.

    It has been driving me insane! I half expect to get brain cancer from all the clawing at my face and pulling of my hair in despair, at the collective stupidity which has gone on around this community over mobile phone masts and 802.11x despite any voice of reason!

    Staple Hill: I cant be ar*ed any more, I give up and I pity you.

  13. Hywel Thomas

    Gnyaarrnngg!

    So high incidences of cancer in elderly people in a dodgy old tower block. First port of call is to blame the mobile masts. Have they actually looked for any other causes ? Say the materials used in construction that may now be decaying and leaching carginogens left right and centre ?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title

    Why didn't they try convince the coffin dodgers that the mast would have helped them get better reception on the shopping channel, radio 2, 4, their hearing aids etc.

    They were bound to go for that....

  15. Neil

    re: Evidence

    The righteous moral outrage of the residents says more than real evidence ever could.

    Also, check yer facts on DDT. We'd have far less of a malaria problem worldwide now if people based that backlash on real science.

  16. bob rayner

    Yes, there's a problem. How can we fix it?

    I would suggest complaining to any media that distorted the situation, and/or giving feedback here: http://www.southglos.gov.uk/LocalDemocracy/LocalDemocComplaints/MakingAComplaint

    It's all very well whipping up a little righteous outrage at NIMBYs who are either stupid or scientifically illiterate - but we probably won't influence many people if we keep it in the Register's comments, where most readers will just nod in agreement.

    So, where are the most inaccurate media reports, and who should we contact to complain?

  17. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Re: Rain

    Nowadays, just about anything can constitute "Incitement to Religious Hatred" - including the fact that I just mentioned it.

  18. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    Uninformed oppinions...

    ... definately count more than scientific evidence or reason and logic. Do you think it was reason and logic which started witch hunts, crusades etc.? No, it was the huge wealth of stupid people on the planet.

    And now things are getting worse, all thanks to democracy. Everyone thinks they have a right to have a say in how things are done. Especialy those who haven't got 2 brain cells to rub together. So some elderly people die, and they start looking for someone to blame. Could it have anything to do with the fact that they are elderly and their bodies cannot repair themselves anymore? No, that can't be it, that's only been happenning for as long as life has existed on this plannet. It must be the evil mobile phone mast. It's new, so it can't be trusted! KILL IT!! BURN IT!!! And KILL ALL THE NON-BELEIVERS, TO SAVE THEIR SOULS!!!!!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've not heard of this Tower Of Doom.

    Although I work in that part of Bristol, I've never heard anything bad about it. Nor have I heard of the tower of Doom. Maybe all the tower blocks in Bristol could be called Tower Of Doom though.

    It's just the knee jerk Meedja reaction and flavour of the month. A couple of miles away there's a ruddy great big multipurpose antenna that dominates the sky line - why can't existing masts be used to house the mobile and wi-fi infrastructure?

  20. Dave Murray

    Turn 'em Off

    Personally I'd turn off all the masts in the area for a year and see how the locals like having no mobile service. I bet within 6 months there's be petitions asking for new masts to be erected and the cancer rate would neither increase or decrease.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Building owner

    The networks dont own the world, and whoever owns the building and takes the money from the networks to keep the masts there.

  22. Ron Eve

    Poison

    It's not always possible to determine the long term effects on the environment by the introduction of man-made products. Very often the benefits outweigh the risks. DDT is, in fact, a case in point. This report should enlighten a few people.

    http://www.acsh.org/healthissues/newsID.442/healthissue_detail.asp

    I think cigarettes have always been viewed with suspicion and regrettably asbestos-related cancers took decades to appear. (Of course the asbestos companies didn't help their case by refuting the connection initially). As for laser printers... or maybe you mean the carbon toner inside....

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Religious Hatred

    Is hating religions religious hatred? :o)

  24. N1AK

    Get some frickin perspective

    "Put it this way - would YOU be happy to have YOUR 1yr old daughter grow up to 18 living under such a mast? Are you THAT sure its safe? Thought not."

    YES, the amount of radiation absorbed by living close to a mobile phone antenna is many orders of magnitude less than that of using a mobile phone. If mobile phone signals cause cancer, the PHONE is hundreds of times more dangerous than the mast.

    Would you ban your child from having a mobile phone, because they will absorb more radiation from that in a year, than they will masts in their entire life.

    IF phone signals do cause cancer (which they almost certainly don't) then the masts are the least of our worries.

  25. Lloyd

    Okay

    So how about T-Mobile sticking a 15 metre mobile mast at the bottom of my 80ft garden then? Try selling your house with one of those stuck there!

    You can't oppose them unless they're in your primary view and you get no compensation for it reducing your house price by £30k either, all in all it's improved my life enormously.

  26. Colin Guthrie

    Meow

    OK, so building has mobile phone mast and some people get cancer. By that logic and reasoning I would ban them all from having cats.....

  27. Simon Painter

    @andy gibson

    They have radiation warning signs because they radiate, fool. I used to have an alarm clock with a radiation warning symbol on it however that does not mean I have to wear an NBC suit to go to bed.

    Remember we live in a society where the mop buckets have to have wet floor signs on them because people are too stupid to realise that a mop and bucket means a wet floor is pretty likely.

    Also why my microwave manual tells me not to use it for drying pets.

  28. Guy

    How to tell if their a Witch

    Have you learned nothing from drunken Monty Python marathons?

    You don't determine a witch by ducking them in ponds, you weigh them to see if their the same weight as a duck.

    'She turned me into a newt' ..... 'I got better'

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's basically an issue of disease prevalence

    People are living longer due to better healthcare.

    The longer people live, the higher the likelihood of their ultimate cause of death being cancer (assuming they haven't already whipped themselves into a frenzy over the latest scare story on the Jeremy Kyle show and had a heart attack first.)

    It frankly makes no difference whether an oldie dies in a cave in Western Siberia, or kicks the bucket in their comfy chair in their tower block apartment (covered with phone masts for good measure) - if they have equal access to healthcare, food etc, and are of the same age and genetic profile, they both stand a similar chance of dying of cancer.

    Though arguably the healthcare in Western Siberia would probably be better than that provided to the tower block resident.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    joined up effort?

    I thought vodafone and orange were joining up their infrastructure, so why are orange bothering to move the mast?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/08/orange_vodafone_network/

  31. Rob

    The likelihood is...

    ... that these residents used to work in an environment which used have some nasties like asbestos etc.

    My uncle used to work on the railways as an engineer when he was younger, place is full of asbestos. Died about a year back from cancer which manifested itself about 2 years before that.

    So not always linked to your immediate surroundings. Wonder what jobs the unfortunate souls who have got cancer used to be?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't believe...

    ...that El Reg missed the opportunities afforded by having this story written by someone called "Bill Ray"

  33. heystoopid

    Cluster incidence

    Cluster incidents , similar to this have has happened in many places in many buildings throughout this world of ours , where mobile phone towers have been erected.(Hint , why are high powered Airport Microwave Radar Transmitters are deliberately angled above the surrounding horizon on high towers with the absolute minimum power lobes sweeping ground level, and all terminal buildings and near by tall buildings where possible).

    Many authorities routinely and deliberately use the word average to hide these incidents within the general population figures rather then face the music!

    I recall in one such place , a relatively huge cluster spike of all forms of radiation induced cancers was in a place called Hanford , Washington State , which from 1943 produced all the material for a large number of first generation Nuclear Weapons , with non closed cycle direct river water cooling of the first generation Nuclear Reactors with the material created and processed initially on site and the pollutants diluted in waste cooling water which was released back into the river. Los Alamos was only the final assembly point and first testing point , as all the key ingredients came from places like Hanford! America it seems has accumulated at least some 8 million tonnes of nuclear waste and the stockpile is continuing to grow on a daily basis.

    Several interesting books were written about a severe cluster of Radium poisoning of a group of female employees who painted the radium dots on clock dials and wrist watches in the period 1910 to 1935 in a place called Orange , New Jersey , like the "Radium Girls " to name but one of the many books written on the subject. sadly , the very first factory employee died in 1922 , and was the first of the many subsequent deaths from Radium poisoning, with many of these women being buried in lead lined coffins for obvious reasons!

    We routinely use the word average , to hide all cluster spikes against the general population figures . where as a discerning mathematicians , actually uses bell curves by specific regions and towns to highlight trouble spots., because averages reveal very little information as to the true story of what is going on in any particular area!

    So In the United States , numerous hot spots surrounding poorly maintained nuclear waste dumps like that in Hanford , Washington State or Nevada where unrestrained atmospheric testing took place between 1945 to 1963 , resulting in a huge cluster spike in long term residents of Los Vegas , including a large number of Hollywood films stars making assorted films like Westerns or for TV , which were often done on location in Nevada at the same time the US Military were playing with the Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    Deliberately manipulated figures , are design to hide the truth in plain sight!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like they actually have a very low cancer rate there...

    Statistics show that on a national basis 1/3 of all people will get some form of cancer during their lifetime...

    If these are all old people close to the end of their lifespan, and they haven't had cancer yet, based on the statistics 1/3 of the block should have cancer!

    If only a few have... then wow... must be a really safe place to live!

  35. Ross Fleming

    DDT comparisons? Seriously??

    I'm well aware of the ridiculous DDT notion, but I'm not convinced it's a good comparison. The argument boils down to "if" DDT turns out to be a definite carcinogen, it would still pale in comparison to the millions of malaria related deaths it prevented.

    However, I think you'd struggle to show that wi-fi/mobile masts saved millions of lives a year (ignoring the indirect argument of being able to alert the emergency services).

    Disclaimer - I'm not saying wifi is harmful or harmless. In fact I'm staying out of that one. I'd rather stick up for/criticise the iphone than get involved in that one.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Towers may actually protect from cancer

    "As far as I'm aware, there has been no definitive, unquestionable, beyond-any-doubt ruling - when one study shows a positive result, another comes along and 'proves' the contrary."

    There aren't ANY studies that show a positive result. All the studies of mobile phone masts are negative, no one has ever come up with evidence that they cause any harm.

    The best that anyone has proven is that a mobile phone (not a mast, but a phone) warms the brain slightly, but that in itself isn't necessarily harmful.

    If you're worried about radiation, a phone right next to your head is far more dangerous than a mast on top of your building. What's more, the further you live from the mast, the more radiation your phone will pump out so its signal can get through.

    It may actually be safer to live nearer phone masts than further away, because they allow your phone to operate with lower levels of radiation.

  37. This post has been deleted by its author

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Age?

    The youngest person to get cancer was 63 (according to the Daily Mail, that bastion of truth and level headedness). The oldest was 89. I'd love to see what the other people died of. Radiation induced old age? Radiation induced heart attack? Radiation pushed them down the stairs?

  39. david wilson

    Radar

    >>"(Hint , why are high powered Airport Microwave Radar Transmitters are deliberately angled above the surrounding horizon on high towers with the absolute minimum power lobes sweeping ground level, and all terminal buildings and near by tall buildings where possible)."

    Because, hopefully, the sky is where the planes are?

    Because airport radar transmitters are seriously powerful, in the hundreds of kilowatts to megawatt range, rather than maybe tens of watts for a cell transmitter?

    Because the less ground gets hit, the less reflected-back noise needs filtering out?

    I wouldn't want to sit in front of a lighthouse beam, or dry my hair with a hot-air-gun, but that doesn't mean that light bulbs or hairdryers are necessarily going to kill me, just that I have a limited ability to cope with energy.

    >>"We routinely use the word average , to hide all cluster spikes against the general population figures . where as a discerning mathematicians , actually uses bell curves by specific regions and towns to highlight trouble spots., because averages reveal very little information as to the true story of what is going on in any particular area!"

    A discerning mathematician would understand that there will be some geographical clustering occurring even if some property is randomly spread.

    A discerning epidemiologist would wonder what the cancer incidence was before a claimed cause actually existed, and what the expected figure might be from national averages - merely knowing what it is in some unspecified time after the claimed cause arrives doesn't actually provide useful information. Even then, a deviation from the average can easily be just the result of random chance.

    A discerning medic might ask what the cancers were. If one was lung cancer in a lifelong smoker, and another was cancer in someone with a serious family history, that might be rather less concerning than 3 rare and less explicable cancers happening.

    A discerning engineer might measure signal strengths in various places in the building, as well as in various places around the town, and make some conclusions from that. If a cancer had arisen in someone living low down in the building where any transmitter output would have been attenuated to below average city levels by passing through N floors, *that* couldn't easily be attributed to the rooftop transmitter.

    A discerning neurotic would hear "3 cancers" and then demand the removal of the transmitter without bothering to look any further. They probably already 'just knew' they were dangerous even before they heard any anecdotal evidence.

  40. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Re: Cluster incidence

    @!heystoopid:

    "...why are high powered Airport Microwave Radar Transmitters are deliberately angled above the surrounding horizon on high towers ..."

    Ummm... I'm just guessing here, but maybe it's because they're HIGH power...?

    I'm hoping that you will agree that the output of a 100W (max) cell-phone tower is significantly lower than that of a 500KW air-traffic control radar.

    The other minor detail about radar is that it's supposed to be looking UP AT THE SKY. Both ATC and local approach-control radars become much less useful if they're full of ground-clutter reflections and, if you avoid pointing them at the ground, you have less of a problem there, now don't you?

    As to the "Radium Girls"; it's true that, in its early days, radioactiity was claimed to have health benefits (e.g.; health tonics with radium salts in solution, etc.) but my understanding is that the death rates of the Radium Girls was frequently due to their practice of licking the tips of their paintbrushes to get a nice point on them, thus ingesting minute amounts of radium, rather than merely because they were in its presence. Should they have been slapped upside the head and told never to do that again the first time it happened? Doubtless. But I believe that this is irrelevant because:

    I believe that your main error, regarding your conflation of radio-mast radiation and nuclear radiation (and I'm sure that someone here will correct me if I'm wrong), is that the main risk from nuclear radiation is in the emission of alpha-particles (heliom nuclei stripped of their electrons - heavier and much more reactive than electrons) and gamma radiation (much higher frequency and energy than radio-band emissions). Radio-spectrum energy is electronic in nature, not nuclear, so the bulk of your post really has nothing to do with any actual or potential risks from cellular masts.

    So, in the end, while all of your facts may be accurate, you appear to have managed to contribute nothing of actual value to this particular debate.

  41. Morely Dotes

    @ andy gibson

    "If mobile phone masts are so safe why are there loads of radiation warning signs around them?"

    Because unscrupulous lawyers (sorry for the redundant phrase) will convince stupid/ignorant/greedy people to sue the owner/operator of the tower if they don't have signs posted all about warning people not to stand nearby, climb the tower and then jump off, or take the tower internally, you twat.

    This comment is entirely my own opinion, and in no way does it imply that _El_Reg_ endorses my statement, nor that _El_Reg_ thigks "andy gibson" is a twat, even though he can't find the "Shift" key nor employ critical thinking skills.

  42. Morely Dotes

    It's RADAR, idiot!

    "why are high powered Airport Microwave Radar Transmitters are deliberately angled above the surrounding horizon on high towers with the absolute minimum power lobes sweeping ground level"

    Because, you moron, microwave radiation at the power levels used for RADAR can cook unprotected flesh. Or perhaps you thought the magin ingredient in a *MICROWAVE* oven was phlogiston?

    Dear Flying Spaghetti Monster in Heaven, please, please, PLEASE accelerate the rate of Darwinism in the human species!

  43. SPiT

    Epidemiology

    It is important to understand the theory of epidemiology to understand the background and the effects of some of the suggestions.

    Firstly, the massive amount of epidemiological research on mobile phone mast safety has been unable to find any concrete evidence of any effect. This doesn’t indicate that their safety is unknown, it actually indicates that if there is any effect then it must be less than X (where X is a very low risk) otherwise they would have found it. This doesn’t prove masts cannot cause illness it just says the rate must be at most very very low.

    Secondly, the suggestion (and practise) of removing the mast is quite dangerous. It is highly likely that the cancer cluster has no cause and is just a random fluctuation. If this is the case then the future cancer rate is likely to fall to the national average and all the locals will pat themselves on the back and say what a good job they got rid of the mast. As long as the exposure to masts is reduced as a result of clusters this will help to reinforce people’s view that they cause problems.

    In case you are interested there is an identical effect with speed cameras. The rules require a certain level of historical accidents to authorise the placing of cameras. This means that cameras placement is strongly biased towards being co-located with chance clusters of accidents. In following years the local authorities claim that the cameras have reduced the accident rate. When you correct the analysis to allow for the short-term accident rate influencing camera placement you discover that they have no discernible effect.

    The important rule here is that any information used for making a decision about experimental conditions (ie location of a mast) cannot then be used in the analysis of the consequences. The people in Bristol have now made sure that their cancer cluster cannot be used to support their argument.

    A Rational Human Being

  44. Dillon Pyron

    Electromagnetic radiation causes cancer

    My wife got a mobile in December of 2004. In January of 2006 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. A clear connection.

    Idiots confuse causality all the time. In Texas, the lege recently passed a law allowing municipalities to install red light cameras. And people whined that this would increase the incidence of rear end collisions. The cameras wouldn't cause it (dolts!). The tail gating and speeding would cause it, just like those same factors result in more intersection collisions due to people running red lights.

    Causality, it's not just for breakfast, anymore.

  45. Michael

    Family Jewels

    Forget the masts what about the little mobile in your trouser pocket right next to the family jewels. :-)

  46. El Regular

    Not that I'd advocate genocide but,

    Kill em all..

  47. Phil

    Got much to much to worry about than this crap

    For instance, do I go out in the sun more to help prevent myself from getting prostrate cancer, or do I stay in to prevent getting skin cancer.

    I've come to the conclusion that everything gives you cancer so you might as well forget about it and enjoy life while you have it.

  48. heystoopid

    In reply

    In reply , well it looks like I will have to change the standard physics definition of Electro Magnetic Wave Theory for some.

    Sadly, they did not explain why normally sane people in government positions of authority did such insane criminal and evil tests on the innocent resident population in Hanford all in the name of science.

    Documentation exists as to cancer induced in users of various types of Police Radar Speed Guns with the business end pointed at the motorist , nor the sudden widespread adaptation of external remote camera units by all police forces and the hand gun has become a rarity ! Further recorded incidents of well above standard deviation rates of numerous Radio Transmitter technicians working on low powered units across the frequency spectrum as well!

    Another similar incident to the above event was actually recorded in a floor just below an overloaded active cell tower , on the top floor of a building in Melbourne , Australia and affecting a small number of staff members in close proximity to the cell transmitter at an advanced school called R.M.I.T. , and you should have seen the authorities double take and the amount of total B.S. that emerged from their collective mouths and reverse blame game game finger pointing , it was truly a sight to behold !

    Here is an interesting conundrum , back in the late nineteenth century it was noted a startling co-incidence between an early onset aggressive form of lung cancer and blue fibre asbestos ! Yet suprisingly that particular evil item was used as universal building product and boiler cladding and a spray on fire retardant for nearly one hundred years after that observation was discarded by the profiteers chasing the fast buck! Life is full of cruel ironies!

    I would not be unsurprised that within less than a decade from now , of an EM radiation induced brain tumor spike from a popular mobile phone add on device , now being flogged worse then a dead horse will arise !

    Such is life indeed.

  49. Tony Reeves

    Re: Electromagnetic radiation causes cancer

    "My wife got a mobile in December of 2004. In January of 2006 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. A clear connection."

    And another one, I started working at a site near a cell phone tower in August 2005, in September 2006 I was diagnosed with colon cancer.

    However my surgeon told me the tumor would have started 4 to 5 years ago, and 7 years ago I moved from a city with intense cell phone coverage to a country location with poor cell phone and switched from having my cell phone on 24/7 to only having it on 8/4. So maybe my tumor was triggered by a reduction on RF which had been killing all the bad stuff. Seems more logical than some of the other "rational" information presented.

  50. Rich

    Inverse square law

    The reason there's a warning sign is that if you climb up the mast when it's live and stand in front of a transmitting antenna, you might be exposed to an unacceptable level of RF energy.

    The energy level decreases with the square of your distance from the site, so it's quite safe to be *outside* the area marked by signs.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about other radiation sources?

    We had people bellyaching about cell repeaters on street lights. On the one hand you've got maybe a watt of lowish frequency (i.e. energy) radiation coming from the repeater, on the other you've got 10 or 100 watts of much higher energy radiation from the streetlamp itself. Guess which one they complain about?

    Access points are the same. You've got a very low power emitter parked on the ceiling next to a large flourscent fitting. Obviously the problems the invisible 'radiation' coming from the access point.

    I suspect the problem in England isn't technical, its something to do with it being a lot easier to get an 'A' level in journalism than it is in Physics.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bristol, Town of doom

    Yes, that's right.

  53. marsh

    Frequency of Idiots

    Wavelength and power has a lot to do with how something radiated affects the body. Most of the comments posted here are just as ignorant of the facts about this and that as the locals in Bristol.

    At Citizens Band Radio Frequencies if you touch the antenna with your finger you can get a slight burning feeling.

    At Microwave Cooker frequencies it will cook your finger.

    Early mobile Phones would warm your ear if you talked for long enough.

    I’m not saying the antenna has caused cancer but you people that mock those that are; need to read up on your chosen subjects before spouting off.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speed cameras

    I'm sure speed cameras are the real cause of cancer in most of these cases. Clearly they should be removed.

    Pass it on...

  55. fred

    Trick of Stats

    tower block in Staple Hill, Bristol is statistically much more likely to concentrate a demographic displaying a 'heavy-tailed' distribution of people who are old, poor, fat, lacking in exercise, lacking in education, are smokers, or who are likely at some point in their lives to have worked in some of the more dangerous factories in Bristol at a time when health and safety/dangerous substances exposure controls simply didn't exist. These are all huge risk factors for cancer. It shouldn't be a suprise that these clusters occur, they were known about well before the mobile 'phone revolution.

    Add into the mix the fact the residents of said tower blocks will quite probably be unemployed or retired, and of the surly, snotty, weasel-eyed stock that has a latent mistrust of any large commercial concern, they will probably be much more willing to really make a noise.

    How many telco cancer clusters do you hear reported around masts sited in nice, well behaved villages in the 'shires with a village pond and pretty thatched cottages?

  56. Pete

    to the point!

    Try taking a quality navigating compass to work; if it's a question of realising the amount of various forms of electromagnetic radiation we're exposed to, introduce your compass to the office photocopier (along with the smell of toner!); the kettle; your PC screen; the CCTV monitors, all manner of stuff. Also, isn't radiation used for the treatment of cancer? Discuss.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So many ... resonances here for me. :)

    Oh dear, a telecom engineer in an HV electricity industry, and a Pagan to boot. I feel triply blessed by this story! LOL

    Inverse square law, structural absorption and the rest tends to make me think living in tower blocks (lived in Bristol for thirty years; never heard of the Tower of Doom...) influences ill health far more than mobile antenna.

    Blight, and economic factors of course mean I'm not a fan either, mind you.

    /|\ bish

  58. Lloyd

    So

    No one has a response to my earlier comment then?

    Try losing £30k off the price of your house when T-mobile plonk a 15m mast at the bottom of your garden and there's no way to reclaim costs? Anyone? No?

  59. Torcuill Torrance

    Get the Carlops Witches to Take the Masts down

    http://farshores.org/witchmas.htm

    In Carlops some witches dismantled the cell phone masts over health concerns. Maybe they simply need to ask them nicely?

  60. Marco

    Re: So

    Try peeing on the mast, maybe it'll just crumble from your radioactive urine.

  61. Paul

    RE: Frequency of Idiots

    "I’m not saying the antenna has caused cancer but you people that mock those that are; need to read up on your chosen subjects before spouting off."

    Reading through the comments it seems to me that alot of the people do know what they are talking about. They certanly know more that I do, but the what do I know. I only spent one term of my degree studying Radio and Optical Telecoms.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A little bit of knowledge is a bad thing

    So much crap being spouted here. To many people with a little bit of knowledge that is rolled out to support their prejudices. Cellular base station RF transmission and its effects are complex, comparing to nuclear power plants or CB radios or microwaves or Radar is totally misguided. Those who mention statistics and demographics are right on the money.

    The bottom line of all this is that there is no proven link between masts and heath risks. It is *impossible* to prove that there is *no* risk. The handset is orders of magnitude more relevant in terms of incident radiation compared to a mast. It is a personal choice to use a handset...

    I have been designing base station equipment for 15 years and would have absolutely no problems with living underneath one or for my kids to do so. I do limit their use of cordless telephones and cellular handsets. Cordless handsets you use at home are far worse than cellular by the way...

    Oh and Lloyd, you have my sympathy, the problem isn't the mast its the morons who worry about it. Now get over it...

  63. Luke Wells

    Try losing £30k off the price of your house......

    Lloyd.... desperate for a reply?

    Tried a hacksaw?

    Now if only every house had a mobile phone transmitter in the garden, then housing would become much more affordable.

    Seriously though, if you have genuinly lost £30k in the value of your home due to them putting up a mast, and I assume that you objected to it before it was installed and then ignored you, then sue them.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good for Vodafone

    I am glad that Vodafone are leaving their mast there, because I think it is a complete pile of twaddle, I live in a house full of wireless equipment, that is supposed to fry my brain, and I went to University in Bristol, and I am alive (for now), so the residents should stop complaining, and start using their free texts and minutes.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The cheese did it!

    All the elderly residents ate cheese, so ban cheese, it's giving us all cancer!!!!

  66. Dave Machin

    RADAR

    "why are high powered Airport Microwave Radar Transmitters are deliberately angled above the surrounding horizon on high towers with the absolute minimum power lobes sweeping ground level, and all terminal buildings and near by tall buildings where possible)."

    That would be because they want to track things IN THE AIR, rather than things on the ground.

  67. Lloyd

    Mast

    Yep, objected to it, got up a petition, was invited to a council meeting to put our pov across, they ignored it, I've never seen 30 pensioners form a lynchmob before but the guy from T-mobile couldn't get out of there into his beemer quick enough. I can't sue them, I'd have to sue the council for letting them put the mast up, ther'e only been 1 case of that sort ever brought against a local authority and quelle suprise it was thrown out by the judge. So, as a last resort I may contemplate the "unofficial" route of removing it via the dark of night.

  68. david wilson

    House value

    >>"Try losing £30k off the price of your house when T-mobile plonk a 15m mast at the bottom of your garden and there's no way to reclaim costs? Anyone? No?"

    You could lose a slice of the price of your house when someone builds a factory next to it, or your house ends up downwind of a turkey farm, or new road is built or an airport extended just far enough away that you don't get compensation.

    All *kinds* of things can suck.

  69. David Pearce

    RF Engineering was a dangerous occupation

    Not so long ago transmitters had plenty of asbestos, cadmium plating, other heavy metals, toxic paints and weedkiller etc

    RF engineers were exposed to beryllium, solder and flux, arklone and many other known toxic chemicals. They also smoked and drank far to much, living on junk food. It's a miracle that there are any left.

  70. dodge

    @So (Lloyd) and your 30k quid housing squid

    So if Orange stuck a mast in your garden, lots of ingorant RF-fearing luddites would want to pay less for your house. Maybe it's because radio masts are big and ugly*? Maybe it's because people have a fear of the unkown, exacerbated by rampant disinformation from tin-foil hat wearing brigades?

    And this has what, exactly, to do with the issue of an existing mast being taken off a building because some tumerous wrinklies are tilting at windmills?

    But Orange would probably pay you several thousand pounds per year to have the mast there, so that'll make up for your lower sale-price.

    * PS there's a South African mobile phone mast manufacturer that's genius at disguising them as trees. You can choose from portly pine tree or perky palm. See www.envirocom.co.za

  71. fred

    muppet.

    Pete, you muppet:

    "Try taking a quality navigating compass to work; if it's a question of realising the amount of various forms of electromagnetic radiation we're exposed to, introduce your compass to the office photocopier (along with the smell of toner!); the kettle; your PC screen; the CCTV monitors, all manner of stuff. Also, isn't radiation used for the treatment of cancer? Discuss.

    "

    Your pocket compass would be affected my NEAR FIELDS, not RADIATED ENERGY. ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION IS NOT THE SAME AS AN ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More Mast-debation

    "Put it this way - would YOU be happy to have YOUR 1yr old daughter grow up to 18 living under such a mast? Are you THAT sure its safe? Thought not."

    Better under it than opposite.

    Anyway, GSM/UMTS will be proved to be a hoax, and as such won't last 17 years.

    Gimme a couple of beancans and a piece of string. Better to be a Living Luddite than a Dead Ignoramus, I suuppose.

    I thought only intelligent, well-informed folks read this site???

    -Andy (GSM Specialist for the last 13 years)

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Lloyd

    Sympathy, Lloyd.

    BUT

    Do you know how much that ½" antenna cable costs per metre?

    (LOTS!)

    And how they'd have to replace ALL of them (I'm assuming it's a 3+3+3 i.e. maybe 9 cables) from the BTS to the antenna if they're damaged?

    (20m?)

    And how much damage a small knife nick in the plastic sheath would cause in a couple of weeks of inclement weather?

    (Enough)

    And how much electrical danger one would risk from cutting said insulation

    (None whatsoever - 50W/47dBm @2.2GHz - max - aint gonna do anything but tickle. I know...I play with it daily)

    And how pissed they'd be doing it every few weeks...

    Get batteries for yer torch, Lloyd. Have a nice evening ;-)

    (Not suggesting anything, of course...That'd be illegal)

    (BOFM - Bastard.Operator.From.Mobile)

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cause & effect

    The mobile phones don't get cancer.

    The masts don't get cancer.

    The people do get cancer.

    Ergo, the people are the problem.

    So, ban the people.

  75. Lloyd

    Yep you can

    "You could lose a slice of the price of your house when someone builds a factory next to it, or your house ends up downwind of a turkey farm, or new road is built or an airport extended just far enough away that you don't get compensation."

    I'm not debating that. The difference is that current government legislation means that you can only object if the mast is in your primary view (they're not an eyesore if they're round the side or out the back apparently). The case with a factory, turkey farm, etc, is that you have the right to object as they require planning permission, mobile masts under 15m don't need planning permission.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UMTS Macrocells

    What concerns me is the deployment of UMTS Macrocells in residential areas. We have one less than 100m from our home which is running at present 27.9dBW and is licensed to run at up to 32dBW. I'd be surprised if you'd get 3dB losses in the transmission line. Given the expense of transmission equipment an running costs of the bases, I'd expect the operatiors to minimise feeder losses, but I have no experience at these frequencies, so can't be sure of this figure. Gain figures for base UMTS antennas seem to be of the region of 17dBi - the base station close to us currently has six, so I'd estimate a maximum gain for the array to be 32dBi, (3dB increase in gain per antenna). Assuming a 3dB loss in the feeder and 3dB for the phasing arrays; lets say an input of 26dBW to the antennas with an overall antenna system gain of 32dBi , I'd estimate the Effective Radiated Power to be close on 384kW. If we reduce the feeder losses to 3dB, then the ERP is getting close to 770kW at 2.1GHz. Given that the antennas are 20m above ground level, there will be very little shading effect at the distance that we are away from the antennas; especially given that the site is on top of a hill and the arrays are angled to give a low angle of radiation to service the locl motorway.

    The site was and is operating as a GSM800 macrocell which I checked, understood and had no issue with when we bought the house, but services running at these power levels at 2.1GHz does cause me some concern.

  77. Andrew Somerville

    UMTS macrocells

    I'm afraid the poster has got his power sums completely wrong. I'm assuming he is getting his 27.9dBW figure from Ofcom's Sitefinder. This quotes power outputs in EIRPs (effective isotropic radiated powers), so is the figure AFTER all the antenna gains and cable losses. So the actual effective power in the main lobe is 617 Watts not 770 kilowatts.

    In any case, his antenna gains are way out of whack. Firstly are the six antennas all part of the same array or are they covering separate sectors? Secondly are they transmit or receive antennas - receive antennas obviously don't count towards transmit gain? Thirdly, although 2 antennas will give an increase in gain of 3dB, you need to have 4 antennas to get 6dB and 6 would give 8dB - not 15dB.

  78. Richard

    Re UMTS macrocells

    Yes, I was going from the Sitefinder and assumed that the power figure was from the PA rather than actual radiated power into an isotrope. And I did slip up a little on my antenna gain calculations..Thanks for the correction.

    Cheers

    Richard

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Lloyd

    Sympathy, Lloyd.

    BUT

    Do you know how much that ½" antenna cable costs per metre?

    (LOTS!)

    And how they'd have to replace ALL of them (I'm assuming it's a 3+3+3 i.e. maybe 9 cables) from the BTS to the antenna if they're damaged?

    (20m?)

    And how much damage a small knife nick in the plastic sheath would cause in a couple of weeks of inclement weather?

    (Enough)

    And how much electrical danger one would risk from cutting said insulation

    (None whatsoever - 50W/47dBm @2.2GHz - max - aint gonna do anything but tickle. I know...I play with it daily)

    And how pissed they'd be doing it every few weeks...

    Get batteries for yer torch, Lloyd. Have a nice evening ;-)

    (Not suggesting anything, of course...That'd be illegal)

    (BOFM - Bastard.Operator.From.Mobile)

  80. david wilson

    To the would-be vandalism inciter

    How long do you reckon it'd be before the phone company either started armouring the cables or enclosing them in some ducting, or put up a ***-off ugly fence around the installation, or slapped a camera or two on it?

    "There's a surveillance camera at the bottom of my garden" isn't exactly the best way to boost a house's value, I'd guess.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The actual story

    The actual staory has been publisehd on Orange intranet pages as below. Why is it that the mast campaigners only worry about mobile phone masts and not all the other things like taxi aerials, broadcast, police, fire ambulance etc etc all of which are normally higher power than mobile....? What about all that electromagnetic radiation coming from lightbulbs everywhere! Lets go back to semaphore before we all keel over!

    21 August 2007

    Over the last couple of weeks there have been a number of media reports suggesting the existence of "cancer clusters” surrounding phone masts. The reports refer to two sites, Berkeley House in Bristol and Ash Grove water tower in Gainsborough.

    National coverage has focused on Bristol, suggesting Orange has made the decision to relocate the phone mast because of residents' concerns.

    Actually what’s happened is that Orange was served a 'notice to quit', a legal notice terminating the lease back in 2004 and, as the site couldn’t be upgraded to 3G, Orange began searching for an alternative site.

    An alternative site has now been found that will secure coverage in the medium to long term and give us the opportunity to upgrade to 3G.

    There are no plans to move the mast in Gainsborough. The site not only operates within the stringent international safety guidelines but also supports national planning policy which encourages mobile companies to share sites.

    So how does Orange keep communities informed about masts and health? Orange has a specialist national team who, in addition to consulting with stakeholders where new or upgraded sites are planned, provide information and work with local communities if there are concerns about a particular site and of course we’re involved in and take guidance from ongoing research.

    There have been over 500 independent audits which show that emission levels are typically small fractions of the industry guidelines, as well as over 30 independent expert review reports. The Stewart Report published in 2000 was clear that there was no scientific basis for there to be any kind of exclusion zone around schools and residential areas. This has also been confirmed by the government’s independent health advisors.

    Of course this concern isn’t unique to the UK and in 2006 the World Health Organisation published a fact sheet that concluded: “Considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak FR (radio frequency) [they mean RF] signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects.”

    More information on base stations and mobile phones can be found in a leaflet, published by the Department of Health, and available in every store or email site.information@orange-ftgroup.com.

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