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British, French and US stations in Cyprus ‘not harmful’

Communications Minister Marios Demetriades has moved to ease concerns that the foreign satellite and radar stations in Cyprus are a health risk to the general public, despite not being able to get full readings from within the actual compounds of some SBA stations.

There have been concerns from members of the public that the stations in Cyprus – which belong to Britain, France and the US – emit harmful electromagnetic radiation. Green Party Leader George Perdikis had put the matter to House for discussion.

But in a letter to MPs, Demetriades said that although the stations in question are in Electromagnetic fields (EMFs), a health study has shown that they do not pose any kind of risk.

The minister goes on to say that according to the readings, the radiation levels at the stations are within the EU standards despite saying that some of the readings needed to be taken from areas outside of the Sovereign Base Area (SBA) perimetre where there was strict access into a station.

The readings taken from distance were taken from areas where members of the public could access.

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According to the report, Department of Electronic Communications was not granted access to the radar station within the SBA and had to take the readings from an area close to the station but within the jurisdiction of the Republic of Cyprus, some 1.5km away.

The electric and magnetic forces in EMFs are caused by electromagnetic radiation. There are two main categories of EMFs: Higher-frequency EMFs, which include x-rays and gamma rays. These EMFs are in the ionising radiation part of the electromagnetic spectrum and can damage DNA or cells directly.

While the most acute exposures to harmful levels of electromagnetic radiation are immediately realised as burns, the health effects due to chronic or occupational exposure may not manifest effects for months or years.

  • Akrotiri Aerial Farm. The EMF levels are a thousand times lower than the permitted limit of the Cyprus Republic.
  • British Forces Broadcasting Service. Readings were taken on Ladies Mile beach with the biggest reading measuring 41% – two times less than the allowed limit.
  • Ayios Nikolaos Station. This unit is a British Armed Forces run electronic intelligence gathering station and a number of dishes are situated there. The EMF levels are a thousand times lower than the permitted limit of the Cyprus Republic.
  • Mount Olympus Radar Station. Operated by RAF Troodos, the site acts as a listening post for radio signals from the near Middle East, although this has never been officially confirmed by the British government. The EMF levels are a thousand times lower than the permitted limit of the Cyprus Republic.
  • Cape Greco Transmitters. The masts of antennas are operated by the French and the Americans for Trans World Radio (a multinational evangelical Christian media distributor) and transmits to the Middle East. The EMF levels are a thousand times lower than the permitted limit of the Cyprus Republic.
  • American Radio Station. Situated in the Makedonitissa area of Nicosia, the satellites emit zero EMF levels.

A number of epidemiological studies suggest small increases in risk of childhood leukemia with exposure to low frequency magnetic fields in the home. However, scientists have not generally concluded that these results indicate a cause-effect relation between exposure to the fields and disease (as opposed to artifacts in the study or effects unrelated to field exposure).

In part, this conclusion has been reached because animal and laboratory studies fail to demonstrate any reproducible effects that are consistent with the hypothesis that fields cause or promote cancer.

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