By David Johnson
November 8, 2006
Families living within feet of a phone mast say it is to blame for 27 deaths and illnesses in their streets in the past 13 years.
Now residents are spending hundreds of pounds trying to protect themselves from radiation.
They are lining their lofts with tin foil, putting up metal mesh curtains and installing specialist windows.
They want the 82-foot Orange-owned antenna in Shooters Hill, Stoke-on-Trent - which collects and distributes signals from other masts - to be torn down.
They say the microwaves from the mast are potentially lethal.
Mother-of-two Karen Owens, pictured, aged 40, who lives 300 feet from the mast, has just had a mastectomy after contracting cancer.
She said: "Since I was diagnosed it has always been in the back of my mind that it could be connected to the mast."
Protesters have recorded brain haemorrhages, tumours and cancers in the area, as well as strokes, irregular heartbeats, epilepsy, high blood pressure and sleeplessness.
Some medical experts believe these conditions could be linked to certain types of microwave radiation.
Chris Cornes has used about 50 rolls of tin foil to line her loft and bed headboard after monitoring equipment showed one side of her home has much more microwave radiation than the other.
Mrs Cornes, whose husband died from cancer four years ago, said: "We only use the lounge at the opposite end of the house.
"When you hear that meter giving out all that noise because of the microwaves it is detecting, what would you do?
"When you sit on my grass you also get all the rays, so we have to avoid that as well. I think it's disgusting we have to live like this. The mast should come down."
Jean Hopkins, who lives in Cherrywood Grove, was suffering from headaches until spending £1,000 on precautions.
Mrs Hopkins said: "We've lined the loft with 40 or 50 rolls of aluminum foil.
"Initially we put it over the windows at the back because we thought it was the only way of stopping the radiation.
"We then bought these special metal mesh curtains which cost about £40 a square metre and we have those up at all six of the back windows. They are drawn all the time."
Mrs Hopkins added: "I'm not a hypochondriac and I don't make things up. Residents shouldn't have to live like this. It destroys your quality of life."
Pensioner Alfred Oakes, who lives close to the mast on Sandon Road, believes his skin cancer could be connected to waves from the mast. He said: "I think the mast should be taken down."
Informant: Phil Watts
Please send letters to the Sentinel news paper, front page news today about yet another cancer cluster around a phone mast; please see report in the e-mail below. MP Rob Flello is calling for research; he is also a member of the Science and Technology Committee for the UK Government.
Trustee - EM Radiation Research Trust
For anybody else wanting to email a letter the email address is: email@example.com