Sunday Mail Sep 25 2005
One in 20 Scots are victims of radio waves from police masts # Fury as 1000 new pylons are erected all over Scotland
By Julia Hunt
ONE in 20 Scots is at risk from a crippling illness triggered by electromagnetic waves from new police radio masts. Victims of electrosensitivity suffer nausea, headaches, nose bleeds, loss of feeling in arms and legs and chest pains.
One victim compared it to being a human aerial.
Professor Olle Johansson, of the department of neuroscience at Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, said: "Once proper investigations have been carried out I'd expect to see between three to five per cent of people in Scotland and the rest of the UK diagnosed as electrosensitive."
The new £2.5billion police communication system Tetra - Terrestrial Trunked Radio - has been introduced throughout the UK. More than 1000 masts have been erected in Scotland. They pulse at 17.6Hz - above the 16Hz frequency the Government's Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones warns might affect brain activity. Experts say radio waves at this frequency can cause calcium to leak from the brain, causing damage to the nervous and immune systems. If the masts are under 15 metres they don't need planning permission.
The Sunday Mail spoke to three victims of the illness last week.
# Former nurse Catherine Fraser, 78, of Old Kilpatrick, near Glasgow, claims her home vibrates due to the masts near it. # Georgie Hyslop, 63, of Largs, Ayrshire, says she travelled 14,000 miles to escape the affects of electromagnetic fields.
# Website designer Mark Bannerman, 40, of Pittenweem, Fife, has been unable to switch on his computer since a Tetra mast was built near his home.
Electrosensitivity is a heightened reaction to electrical energy when exposed to electromagnetic fields such as microwave radiation from mobile phones, radio waves from phone and Tetra masts and energy from pylons.
It has been identified as a major problem in a report to be published next month by the Government-backed Health Protection Agency.
Rod Read, chairman of Electrosensitivity UK, said: "We are being exposed to so much electric emissions that certain people are reaching saturation point
Computer makes my face burn
WEBSITE designer Mark Bannerman has been unable to go near a computer since a Tetra mast was put up in his village.
Mark, 40, began suffering nasal burning, extreme migraines, heart palpitations and dizziness last November.
It was months before he realised his symptoms had begun at the same time the Tetra mast in Pittenweem, Fife, was switched on. He said: "Each time I go near a computer now my face burns up, just like I've got sunburn. I get sinus and neck pain and feel really ill.
"It seems ludicrous the masts are going up all over when we have no idea what effect they will have on the population.
"Fife is now covered in Tetra masts, as is the rest of Scotland, so there's nowhere you can move to escape them
My head felt ready to explode
FORMER nurse Catherine Fraser has always had acute hearing. For years, she thought it was a blessing - but it soon became a curse.
When she moved to Old Kilpatrick, near Glasgow, she began picking up electric signals inside her home.
The 78-year-old said: "I started hearing a strange humming sound and felt the floor vibrating.
"This carried on every night, getting worse in the early hours. It was impossible to sleep.
"I had burning sensations in my legs and my head felt like it was going to explode.
"I had various people check it out. I even called the police one night and two officers came.
"They felt strange tingling sensations in their legs and pressure in their heads."
Catherine believes the hum came from electromagnetic fields caused by nearby phone masts. She suspects these had a significant effect in her house because it had a lot of metal in the walls.
She said: "My life has been hell since 1997. Unless you feel something for yourself you can't believe what it's like.
"I couldn't stand it any longer and was forced out of my home to stay in B&Bs.
"Since Tetra has been rolled out, there are masts all over the country. I believe there is a link between the transmissions from these masts and people's health.
"It's just a question of being able to scientifically prove it.
"But if the HPA are prepared to recognise electrosensitivity it will only be a matter of time
I feel ill just picking up the phone
GEORGIE HYSLOP, 63, fled her home in Largs, Ayrshire, five years ago and has travelled 14,000 miles to escape electromagnetic fields.
She claims to have been affected by what locals call the 'Largs Hum' - an unexplained low frequency noise.
Georgie, a former radar operator, was given a metal spinal implant to repair an injured back after a skiing accident.
But the implant turns her into a human aerial whenever she is near a mast or pylon.
She gets headaches, nausea, nose bleeds, loss of feeling in her arms and legs, pains in her chest and a burning sensation on her face.
She said: "I was forced out of my home as it was surrounded by phone masts and once a Tetra mast was installed it became unbearable. My spinal column stimulator makes me like an aerial, so I'm affected by anything which transmits electricity. Tetra masts are the worst.
"Mobile phones and cordless phones make my face burn up, just like sunburn, for days.
"As a Royal Air Force radar operator I must have been exposed to radio waves at such doses my body can't cope with any amount now.
"I spent four years working with radar and now I can't even use a telephone without feeling ill