Cellphone mast raises concerns

2012-10-22 00:00

A CELLPHONE tower being erected on the premises of the Curry’s Post Primary School near Howick has residents up in arms, in fear of the safety of the pupils and those in the community.

Resident Graeme Joffe, who lives about 100 metres from the site at which the mast is being erected, said he was concerned about the safety of the pupils, the community and his wife, who is “electromagnetically-sensitive”.

“As a community, we have been holding meetings and we are very worried about the situation and the impact the erection of the mast can have on the health of the people in the community,” Joffe said.

His wife, Laura, who has had a bone tumour removed, said that she was seriously concerned about her health.

“We moved from Johannesburg because of the high levels of radiation where we lived. We moved here for a better quality of life and now if this tower is erected we will be forced to move again,” she said.

Tracey-Lee Dorny, who launched the Electromagnetic Radiation Research of South Africa, visited the community and held presentations highlighting the effects the mast could have on those nearby.

“With the tower being built so close to the school, our studies suggest that the pupils could experience nausea, a lack of concentration, itchy skin and possibly problems with their internal organs. I, myself, was forced to leave my home in Fourways, Johannesburg, for 18 months until the tower near our home was removed because my family and I experienced severe vomiting, as well as our plants and pets being affected,” she said.

In a statement to The Witness, network provider Cell C said they followed the prescribed limits and precautions as specified by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

“Cell C tests its base stations to comply with international standards with regards to radiation,” it reads.

It said that research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) said there are no established health risks from radio signals.

“The WHO states that considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing or conclusive scientific evidence that the weak radio signals from base stations cause adverse health effects.”

The school principal Patrick Ndlovu was not available for comment.

Chairperson of the Curry’s Post Educational Trust, Stewart Johnstone, said that they were relying on Cell C to comply with regulations regarding health and safety if the mast was erected.

• kyle.venktess@witness.co.za

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