“We don’t want to be experimented on!”
North Shore resident Naomi Cook is leading a quickly growing group of lower North Shore residents in campaigning to stop the rollout of the 5G network across the area due to health and environmental concerns.
Mobile phone networks and other wireless telecommunications sources emit low-level radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic energy (EME). 5G signifies ‘fifth generation’ wireless technology, which uses a new millimetre wave technology operating at a higher frequency. The upside is faster downloads. However, for effective 5G coverage, many more mini phone towers will need to be installed around every 100-500m on lamp posts around the community.
Optus recently announced locations for its early proposed or active 5G antennae on the lower North Shore, including in Mosman, North Sydney, North Ryde, Hornsby and Macquarie Park.
But Ms Cook and a growing number of residents are concerned that Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), which is tasked with protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation, doesn’t acknowledge any non-heating effects nor take into account research papers showing non-heating health and environmental effects.
“There is an escalating movement of Australians and global citizens calling for an immediate halt to 5G rollout which hasn’t been independently safety tested,” Ms Cook, a qualified registered nurse, tells North Shore Living.
“Being a different frequency to 4G, it is therefore ‘not the same thing’ and biological implications cannot be inferred from one thing to another without proof. To infer biological results from 5G to 4G is the same as assuming ibuprofen will have the same effects as paracetamol.
“Proof is needed over assumptions and it is not the role of the general public to be providing or seeking proof – as with pharmaceuticals, the onus is on those creating the products for general ‘consumption’ to demonstrate their safety.
“We are calling for an immediate halt or moratorium of 5G rollout until independent, non-industry funded, long-term clinical trials demonstrate its absolute safety.
“We don’t want to be experimented on!”
While mobile network operators are responsible for determining when and where they deploy their network infrastructure, ARPANSA sets the safety limits for exposure to EME from mobile phone towers, and 5G will operate below the maximum level set to ensure there are no heating effects from the technology.
ARPANSA safety limits are significantly higher than other countries, set at 1,000 µW (microwatts) per cm2, up to 300GHz. This was set against a Senate Committee recommendation of 200 µW/cm2 in 2001. Meanwhile, countries including China, Russia, Bulgaria and Poland have set the limit at 10 µW/cm2, and parts of Austria have set the safety limit even lower at .0001 µW/cm2.
Concern is such that the Belgian city of Brussels were amongst the first to halt 5G, with its Belgian Environment Minister, Céline Fremault, stating in April, “The people of Brussels are not guinea pigs whose health I can sell at a profit.”
In April, more than 209 scientists and doctors from 41 European countries launched the 5G Appeal calling for a moratorium on the roll out of 5G until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by independent studies.
However, federal government laws trump both state and local government rules on where towers can be positioned, so Ms Cook and other community members are lobbying local MPs to help them, and are set to meet Paul Fletcher, the minister of Communications and Cybersafety, in the coming weeks.
“5G is a can of worms with regards to our safety standards,” adds mum of two Ms Cook. “Our community is angry and will not stop until our concerns are listened to and until we have seen appropriate action taken to keep us safe.”
A spokesperson for ARPANSA tells Peninsula Living it will continue to review new research to provide advice, saying, “ARPANSA disagrees with the conclusion of the 5G Appeal that radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from telecommunications sources have been proven to be harmful for humans and the environment.
“Our advice is consistent with that of other international health authorities such as the World Health Organisation. Many studies have been conducted on whether exposure to radiofrequency energy from mobile telephony, including 5G, affects human health.
“The assessment of all of the evidence is that low-level radiofrequency exposure from mobile telephony and other sources has not been proven to affect human health.”
For up-to-date information on where the phone masts will be, visit the Radio Frequency National Site Archive at rfnsa.com.au