Safety Concerns about Pylons and Phone Masts

For a long time now there has been concern raised over the safety of electricity pylons and mobile phone masts but until now there hasn’t been enough substantiated evidence to force a change.

However new evidence could ensure that a new government review will be carried out.

What’s The Difference Between Pylons And Phone Masts?

Pylons are the tall, metal, triangular structures which carry electricity along suspended cables. You will see them ‘marching’ across the countryside and clustering around power stations.

It is thought that approximately 150,000 people live in the 165 foot ‘danger area’ of pylons in the UK

Phone masts are tall towers or structures situated high up on buildings with antennas which transmit and receive mobile telephone signals.

There are nearly 50,000 masts in the UK and the figure could climb as more and more people use mobile phones.

Why Might They Affect Health?

Electricity pylons and phone masts are believed to be able to affect health due to the creation of a strong electromagnetic field. The electric, magnetic, and microwave impulses which are being emitted can’t be seen, heard, or felt but should you be within close range, one researcher described it as being akin to having a pneumatic drill bombarding your body all the time.

Anecdotal Evidence

Anecdotal evidence from people who have lived for any length of time within close proximity to pylons and phone masts not only find that they are ugly, unsightly and annoying, but also that they might experience an increased number of headaches, skin rashes, nosebleeds, lapses in concentration, and memory loss.

Others who have developed cancers feel certain that the cause has been due to the pylon or phone mast and studies of areas where there are a lot of phone masts, have shown increased incidences of cancer in these places as well as more cases of such health problems as high blood pressure and brain haemorrhages.

Empirical Evidence

However, although many research studies have been carried out looking at the links between ill health and the situation and/or proximity of pylons and phone masts, it has not been conclusive – and definite causal links have not been proven.

Precautionary Advice

To date, although unproven, because there is a possibility of adverse health reactions to pylons and phone masts, the government has advised taking precautionary action and banned phone companies from erecting masts near schools for instance but they have not so far curbed erection or taken measures to protect citizens.

However new research causing fresh concern, has meant that the government may now have to review its stance.

Cancer And Phone Masts

A recent study into abnormal clusters of cancer in an area of the Midlands where there were several phone masts situated, pointed to a link between the angle of the radiation beam coming from the masts’ antennae and the pattern of illness in the local area. One study reported a patch of 31 cancers around just one street whereas 50% of the staff at a school in sight of a mast, experienced health problems, with 25% developing cancer.


Forgetfulness, memory lapse, and confusion have all been effects talked about by people who live near pylons but a recent Swiss report carried out by doctors at Bern University says that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease could be doubled by living close to high-voltage cables. This is the piece of work which could now spur the government to look at new ways of dealing with pylons.

There are more than 14,000 miles of high voltage electricity cables running from power stations business premises and homes in the UK. Long-term exposure to them heightens the likelihood of all kinds of senile dementia but there are risks of developing other diseases as well.