14 die of cancer in seven years living
next to phone mast with highest radiation
levels in UK
By Rebecca Camber
Fourteen people living within a mile of a
mobile phone mast that emits one of the
highest levels of radiation in the country
have died of cancer.
Four of the deaths have been in a
cul-de-sac yards from the site.
A further 20 residents have developed
tumors in the last seven years, although
they have survived.
Wendy Baggott, pictured with campaigners at
the tower, says 'it's a threatening
Those living in the shadow of the mast
have begun a campaign for its removal,
claiming that it has caused a cancer
hotspot. The Health Protection Agency is
Worried parents are refusing to take
their children to the playing fields where
the mast is sited for fear of damaging their
The mast was erected in 1995 on a disused
water tower on the High Acres estate in
Kingswinford, near Dudley, West Midlands.
mast, attached to a water tower, casts a
shadow over Bartic Avenue in Kingswinford,
But campaigners claim health problems
started among the 700 residents of the
estate when more antennae and dishes were
added in 2001.
It serves four mobile phone operators.
Experts from the communications watchdog
Ofcom, who carried out tests on the mast,
say it has the highest radiation level of
any phone mast site surveyed in England this
Victim? Betty Genner,
who died of ovarian cancer in January 2003,
with her husband John
However, the radiation was still within
UK safety guidelines.
Wendy Baggott, 52, who leads a protest
group against the mast, which is only 200
yards from her home, said: 'It feels like a
threatening presence looming all over the
'Over the last seven years there have
been 14 cancer deaths in the area. Four of
those happened in this road. The wellbeing
of the whole community is being affected.'
The retired NHS clinical auditor, whose
husband Clive has twice contracted skin
cancer, said: 'It is a massive concern to us
that there is a children's play area so near
'Parents and grandparents around here
won't let their children go there because
they are terrified they could get cancer.'
Happier times: Dorothy
Day, who died from Eaton Lambert syndrome in
2005, with husband Leonard
One resident, Michael
Morris, died from a brain tumor in 2003
His widow Pamela, 61,
said: 'There have been so many people in
the neighbourhood who have died of these
'Michael used to take
the dogs for walks up there by the tower
and I wonder if it might have been that.
When these masts came I
think it was when he started to go
The 14 deaths have
included Betty Genner, who was killed by
ovarian cancer in 2003 aged 68, and
Dorothy Day, 69, who died two years
later from cancer.
Six months ago another
woman succumbed to a brain tumor. All of
them lived within a mile of the mast.
Morris, who died of a brain tumour in
2003, with wife Pamela
The Government insists mobile phone
masts pose no threat to the public.
But some campaigners believe the
radiation from masts could be powerful
enough to change the composition of body
cells, making them more susceptible to
An Ofcom spokesman said: 'This is the
highest level of exposure that we have
recorded in England this year.
'The tower recorded levels 5,000
times below the safe exposure limit. It
was not an excessive level of radiation.
'Other results around the country
have been found to be around similar
levels and this is well within the
A spokesman for Dudley Metropolitan
Council said checks carried out on the
mast showed the equipment was working
A spokesman for the Health Protection
Agency said: 'No concerns have been
raised by general practitioners or other
local health services in the area about
any greater than expected numbers or
unusual cases of any serious illnesses.
'Further contact is being made with
local general practices to confirm that
they do not have any specific concerns.'
But Yasmin Skelt, from pressure group
Mast Sanity, which campaigns against the
spread of mobile phone masts, said: "The
Government keeps refusing to believe
there is a problem. China and Russia
realise this and keep their limits at a
sixtieth of what we have got.
"We are being told nothing about the
health effects, agencies that should be
helping the British public are not
helping. Why are we putting up with it?"
- Mobile phone masts emit almost
ten times as much radiation as a
- Radio waves from the masts
penetrate more than an inch into the
- The radiation emitted by a
mobile phone held against the head
is far more powerful than that
produced by a mast
- In 2000, a report backed by the
Government concluded there was no
definite link between masts and ill
- There are 51,000 phone masts in
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