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Finsbury Park scientist questions safety of Arsenal Tavern mobile phone masts

PUBLISHED: 10:19 09 January 2012 | UPDATED: 17:29 11 January 2012

Guillamme Thoreton, Kathrina Herrmann and John Thoreton, three, outside The Arsenal Tavern, which has two mobile phone mast on the roof.

Guillamme Thoreton, Kathrina Herrmann and John Thoreton, three, outside The Arsenal Tavern, which has two mobile phone mast on the roof.

Archant

A scientist, worried about the cancer risk to his son - who sleeps yards from mobile phone masts in Finsbury Park - has questioned a survey used to prove their safety.

Guillaume Thoreton, 40, is worried about the health risk to three-year old John who sleeps in a loft conversion eight metres away from three masts on top of the Arsenal Tavern in Blackstock Road.

The World Health Organisation concluded last May that mobiles should be rated as “possibly carcinogenic” because of a possible link with a type of brain cancer - glioma.

“After saying for years and years there was no risk but still there was some precautionary principle, now they have recognised there is a link,” said Mr Thoreton who worked in telecommunications in France.

“Not enough studies have been made on children or mobile phone mast proximity in the long term in order to conclude that there is no heath hazard,” he added.

“The argument is that the masts aren’t as dangerous as the handsets but I think that’s not completely true - the masts are pointing towards the lofts and the beams are there all the time.

“It’s permanently raining - not like a mobile which you may use for five minutes.”

Following Mr Thoreton’s complaints, Cornerstone - the company which manages the shared network infrastructure of mobile operators O2 and Vodafone in the UK - commissioned an independent company, RFI Global, to compile a report.

“The survey demonstrated that exposures within Mr Thoreton’s property, from the O2 base station, are at least 250 times below the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines,” said Dr Rob Matthews, electromagnetic field (EMF) and media manager at Cornerstone.

“To put this into context, EMF emissions close to some household electrical items, such as fridges and hoovers, may be higher as fractions of the guidelines than those recorded from the O2 site,” he added.

But Mr Thoreton disputes the survey’s results, which he claims is riddled with inaccuracies.

“It is not indicative of the signal throughout the day and the year, as it was only completed over a period of six minutes at each location at one point in time,” he said.

“I would like to know how they set up these antennae to know they are safe, the regulations don’t talk about distance.”

Hackney Council is investigating a potential planning breach at the site.

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