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The Laz Word....from Larry Neild

Mobile phones are ringing, but is that just alarm bells from the masts? Armed with a special ray-gun, Larry takes to the streets. Should we be afraid?

Published on July 23rd 2008.


The Laz Word....from Larry Neild

LIKE a kid with a new toy, I ventured onto the mean streets of Liverpool this week in search of “electrosmog”. It’s tasteless, it’s invisible, but it’s there all the same, and, according to some, it’s potentially deadly. The results are terrifying, and I’m wondering whether to emigrate to Sark, or the planet Mars.

A hot debate has been going on for years about the safety of mobile phone masts. Local councils are banned from taking into account potential fears over health because the Government takes the view there’s no evidence to prove they are potentially hazardous, so therefore they must be safe.

Along Smithdown Road, close to the junction with Greenbank Road, my ray gun didn’t like what it was detecting: the noise was incredible. There’s
a mast outside Tesco Express

More of these masts are appearing along our boulevards and high streets to cope with the fact more and more of us use mobile phones and wi-fi.

These masts and installations don’t make a noise and they don’t hum or glow. They are just there, like a silent enemy at the gate – according, of course, to which side of the fence you are on.

In my view, it will take at least a generation to establish whether these masts are a danger to humans. Will we then see an increase, maybe an epidemic, in brain tumours? I hope not.

I wouldn’t live within half a mile of a high voltage power line. Now it is impossible for me and you to avoid living within a few hundred metres of a mobile phone mast.

This week I went out in what is aspiring to be Britain’s most e-friendly city, with a device known as an electrosmog detector. It reacts to the microwaves coming from phone masts, cordless phone systems and wi-fi networks.

Positioned on the car’s dashboard I headed into electrosmogland, not knowing what to expect.

The detector purrs gently, then as I approach Liverpool Cricket Ground along Aigburth Road it kicks off. There are two masts outside the ground. The detector, if the instructions are to be believed, detects microwave frequencies.

Heading along Rose Lane off it goes again. It gets louder, but I’m puzzled as I cannot spot a phone mast anywhere.

Then I gaze at the tower of Mossley Hill Parish Church. It is shrouded with mobile phone systems on each corner. Hmm, is God aware of this?

Along Smithdown Road, close to the junction with Greenbank Road, my ray gun didn’t like what it was detecting: the noise was incredible. There’s a mast outside Tesco Express.

Nothing prepared me for the reaction as I drove along Gainsborough Road towards the junction with Lawrence Road. My new toy went berserk!

Across Merseyside, there are around 800 masts and base stations. I cannot say whether the microwaves they emit are harmful. I can’t even say the noise that comes from my detector is generated by any of the masts.

What I know is from now on there are some routes I will avoid, and parts of some parks I will skip, to give the electrosmog a wide berth.

I wonder whether we are all in denial about any potential effects of this modern day method of communicating? When Madame Curie worked with radium and mobile X-rays she was convinced it was perfectly safe. Indeed some early X-ray machines were seaside novelities, allowing people to peek into their own bodies. Madam Curie paid the price for her work with radioactive materials.

Are mobile phones going to be the ‘radium’ of the 21st century?

According to Healthy House, a company that sells or hires out the electrosmog devices, a list of debilitating health problems are potentially associated with wireless microwaves, ranging from depression and headaches to epilepsy and cancer. They aren't alone in their thinking, either.

Mobile phones are, I guess, here to stay, but as Madame Curie found out with radiation, could there be a price to pay for being upwardly mobile?

*Larry Neild presents The Commons Touch on CityTalk 105.9 each Sunday at noon.

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26 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Rex MirkinJuly 21st 2008.

No I shall present the case for the defence. And may I say to Mr Jack Lemon Airport, that no, my clients do not have anything better to do. And that sir is their right under Magna Charlton.

toriblareJuly 21st 2008.

Does the last comment from admins mean you have given The Proff a regular slot?I feel so proud of him, I still think he should be the Elected Mayor of Liverpool.

DigJuly 21st 2008.

Thanks prof. I wondered who the little fat man was peering thru the letterbox as Vasily conducted The Flower Duet. Linda Daniels and Pete Price supplying the vocals with aplomb I might add. As for Vasily getting his gander up at Joe Riley. Last night it was roles reversed. I looked out the window and Joe appeared to have his gander up and was stroking it in a loving way. I might have to apply for an ASBO as since I've had The RLPO and Vasily performing in my house he's been outside every night stroking his gander. That other bloke must have misheard The Proclaimers as so far I have only counted 548 masts in Liverpool City Centre and 12 of those were from tall ships that got lost and ended up going through Liverpool One Bus Station.

Prof ChucklebuttyJuly 21st 2008.

Dig, I would keep quiet about having Vasily Pourkenco round at your house, you'll have that adoring fan of his, Joe Riley coming round and falling asleep on the sofa after 10 minutes. You don't want him snoring his head off in the middle of Nessun Dorma Vasily would think it was a deliberate insult and he's a bugger when his gander is up. But anyway i must say, we have come a long way since the cuban missile crisis that we now have a Russian newsreader in our homes. I suppose once the public accepted Huw Edwards it was only a matter of time.If that other chap is right about 800 masts, (unless he's misheard The Proclaimers) we could make a spectacular macrami picture for Capital of Custard. Anyone got any string?

Catch_22July 21st 2008.

Oh my word, can Larry Nield actually be this Stupid?You’ve gone out with a dubious health gadget whose manufacturers are hyping a made up bizarre condition called electro-hypersensitivity in order sell dodgy gadgets which claim that radio-waves and mains power are making us ill. Is this the same Larry Neild that signs off his piece telling us about his radio show? Would that be a radio show he records from a radio studio which is full of electronic gadgetry and radio transmitters all there to ensure we can be bored to tears from the likes of Larry and such intellectual heavy weights as Margi Clarke, Pete Price and Trisha? Much of hypocrite are we Larry? It should be noted that neither Larry nor the manufacturers have any evidence of health risks? Not that that stops a tired old hack rolling out the usual ‘we can never be 100% sure line’ justBy simply saying the ‘Jurys out or we’re not sure’, not quantifying that in anyway, not prefacing it with an allusion to the amount or quality of science thats been done which has found no risk you're no different to those that try and convince us that there are significant scientific concerns or flaws with, climate change, MMR vaccines and evolution.

secret squirrelJuly 21st 2008.

I may be wrong but I have not heard of people being consulted when these masts are erected. I have family members who live near the cricket ground and they have never mentioned any such consultation - what is the procedure for putting them up - or are they just allowed to? Does anyone know what restrictions if any the government places on them?

AnonymousJuly 21st 2008.

Those people who are that electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones is dangerous may be comforted by the fact that there are so many mast in Liverpool. The further your mobile phone is from its nearest mast, the more energy it pumps out (down your lughole) in the form of electromagnetic radiation in order to maintain the signal. 800 masts in the centre of Liverpool might seem like a lot but as I don't spend any of the time with my head pushed up against one, I shan't let it bother me.

DigJuly 21st 2008.

Tall ships masts inspired and more likely?! High praise from the master of mirth himself. I am honoured. I am speechless. Which is why I tend to communicate with the written word on a p.c. screen! Thank you Liverpool Confidential for allowing me access to communicate with the outside world and The Prof of course. One day I hope my Japanese slave masters will take the tape off my mouth and release me. Actually my master just said I can go at 7 tonight....

Rusty SpikeJuly 21st 2008.

Pah...the next thing is catch_22 - who sounds like a rum or is that wry (?) character - will be telling us there's no such thing as flying saucers or fairies. Why, only a month or so back the good citizens of Wrexham - and we are talking here, matey, of people who eat their crusts and the rind on bacon - were bewitched by lights in the sky one dark night. Even the cops stopped their gallivanting and taking photos of motorists speeding whilst eating cheese baps, all agog at the display of the bobby dazzlers in the heavens, if you'll pardon the ghastly pun.What the eminent Mr Neil has cleverly declined to note, and I presume its to prevent mass panic, is that the plethora of phone masts are actually directional guidances for alien space ships. The monsters are gathering dear catch_22 (and by the way who still reverts to an underscore dash when its clearly very non-U) and its time we prepared. Watch the appalling Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds for tips. It may even be that those lads and lasses at Apple are in on this caper, and I don't mean Sir Macca's Mob but the whizzos behind the Apple phone and ipod thingies - my goodness are we not surely in the New Age of Enlightenment and aren't ipods fab - although its a mystery how they work, or for that matter electricity. This flim flam about the truth is just what the Andromeda Strain crew want, if you ask me.Basically, we've had it. And phone masts are the thin edge of the wedge, as that fellow Barry Bucknall would no doubt have confirmed if he was still in this dimension. He is, of course, advising the Venusians in the 7th aura about louvre windows, them not having any B & Q's yet.Keep spying Mr Neild, and maybe haul in Margi Clarke to help out, she is a Kirby girl after all.

Mrs ChucklebuttyJuly 21st 2008.

My dear husband forgot to add that in the recent draft report from the Health & Safety Executive, the trial run of stencilled footprints at ATMs has resulted in a 30% decrease in the number of people randomely shoving their cashcards into letterboxes, the mouths of yawning children and the back of the neck of the person in front. We are very pleased with these encouraging results.

Flat eartherJuly 21st 2008.

I always knew I would be better off sticking to my old line-line and wind-up gramophone. You can't trust this new fangled wireless things. Bring back valve radios I say before we all fall over the edge of the earth.

Hello MotoJuly 21st 2008.

Welcome to today's edition of the Surreal Times.

OystercatcherJuly 21st 2008.

And Jason Harborow!

The Confidential TeamJuly 21st 2008.

May we take this opportunity to defend ourselves?

John Lennon AirportJuly 21st 2008.

Haven't you lot got anything better to do?

catch_22July 21st 2008.

2000 Steward report and 2004 follow-up both found no evidence, no serious study as far as I’m aware has found any evidence. WHO doesn’t state that mobiles are dangerous with the exception of idiots that drive using them. They state there is no increased cancer or other health risk. I for one would expect to base my view on the availability of hard scientific research, that has been properly peer reviewed. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen with mobile phones though, just like it didn’t with the whole MMR thing because we’re becoming increasingly distrustful of scientific research in part because politicians and journalists are never called to account when they talk bilge regarding science. One just has to look at yesterdays stories about channel 4s climate change polemic. My ire isn’t particularly caused by Larrys highlighting of the mobile mast issue (in my view they should have to go through the planning process) but the way in which he has gone out with a spurious piece of equipment that isn’t made or sold by a reputable scientific instrument maker and which conflates several entirely different things i.e. microwave transmitters, wireless routers, radio transmitters and mains electricity to frighten consumers in order to sell their product. He doesn’t have to explain the equipment point out its tolerances or even link to the makers site and he does all this in an article which signs off with an advert for a radio show, which the pushers of this electromagnetic smog nonsense contend makes us ill. And he doesn’t even have to issue a health warning pointing out that sh*tytalk sorry citytalk have no sunk so low in their quest to get someone to listen that their giving airtime to David Ike.

WappingJuly 21st 2008.

And if we let locomotives haul passengers faster than a horse can gallop they will die!And ships made of iron will sink.

OystercatcherJuly 21st 2008.

I have to say I agree with the Margi Clark, Pete Price and Trisha bit. However, you are an idiot, Catch 22 (perhaps as a result of using a mobile phone too much) if you think that there have been no studies to show that mobile phone radiation is not damaging, including strong research carried out by The World Health Organisation which doesn't like 'em either. It is very possible indeed, and has been said by far more knowledgeable people than you, the mobile phones are the new cigarettes in terms of the impact they may have on our health. How can you be so damned sure, Catch 22? I would like to know.

OrangemanJuly 21st 2008.

After all the concern over possible damage to health from using mobile phones, scientists have found a potential benefit from radiation.Their work has been carried out on mice, but it suggests mobiles might protect against Alzheimer's.Florida scientists found that phone radiation actually protected the memories of mice programmed to get Alzheimer's disease.They are now testing more frequencies to see if they can get better results.The study by the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Centre is published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

AdminsJuly 21st 2008.

Funny you should say that....

Prof ChucklebuttyJuly 21st 2008.

Dig, steady on old chap I am sure neither of us would wish to imply that any interest shown in Vasilly Pertbottom is anything other than artistic admiration. no matter how rousing the piece. I think you may have mistaken gander for a baton. I too have been known to conduct the orchestra standing in front of my gramaphone belting out a De Sousa March or Poet and Peasant. mind you at 3.00 am in the morning, this has often resulted in Mrs C storming in and breaking me out of my fantasy by wrensching my prized 78 from under the needle and smashing it over my head. This is why as my collection of 78s decreases, that I may move to CD players. CDs are less easily brought down onto the skull with force and slow eject allows time for a quick exit.No doubt harry will be round to measure the glare off them in sunlight warning of how they will eventually burn-out our retinas.By the way the Tall ships masts was both inspired and more likely.

MattJuly 21st 2008.

My work is done.

DigJuly 21st 2008.

I get a sneaky feeling that Admins doesn't actually work for the Confidential team but wants us to think he/she does. Whenever the Confidential team post a comment it is usually named 'The Confidential Team' and not 'Admins'. Maybe I'll be proven wrong. Admins will probably confuse us all now by posting a comment from 'The Confidential Team' defending him/herself....

AngieJuly 21st 2008.

Blimey!

DigJuly 21st 2008.

I did pop my nose in The Old P.O. on Weds 9th but it was deserted so turned around and started my crawl in O'Neills instead. This time I could be anywhere. Where I go tomorrow probably depends on the severity of hangover after tonight.

DigJuly 21st 2008.

I take it all back Prof. We still have a man in the corner of our living room with a cardboard box over his head. He reads the daily papers, plays the banjo (it is a big tv box) and every Friday we watch him for 90 minutes commentate on an imaginary game of football. I think we may be the 1st family in the world to have 'Visual Radio' on our television. It is patented and I will be going on Dragons Den to try to market my 'Man in cardboard box reading papers playing banjo and visual radiogram'. The ace up my sleeve is the optional instrument. Depending on the size of box purchased he could play anything from the harmonica to double bass. My house is rather large so we have a cinema screen size box with the RLPO inside playing for me every night after Vasily has read my choice of daily paper. Last night he read The Sport so that was an intresting fusion of comedy, sport and raunchy news as read by a classically trained Russian musician. BBC keep your hands off.

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