New Maffra 5G tower in the works
The proposal to upgrade an Optus tower in Maffra to accommodate 5G has sparked health and safety concerns among a local consortium calling itself Sale Common Law Group.
Following a recent community consultation at Maffra’s Anglican Church about Optus’ proposed 5G tower, Sale Common Law Group members expressed concerns about constructing a second 5G tower in the town.
While the group claims Optus’ search for public submissions regarding the 5G tower is “purely a PR exercise and is totally disingenuous,” its primary concern is the level of the Electromagnetic Radiation Density (ERD).
ERD is how electromagnetic fields are measured.
All radio communications, including radio, television broadcasting, satellite communications, previous generations of mobile networks and 5G, use radio waves to transfer information between base stations and connected devices.
Radio waves are a form of electromagnetic field transmitted from devices and received by antennas.
Concerns exist that 5G leads to adverse health effects, because 5G uses a band of radio waves, ranging from 24.25 GHz to 52.6 GHz.
While it has been proven that ionising radiation at high enough doses is associated with an increase in cancer, electromagnetic radiation starts to ionise and becomes dangerous at about three million GHz, nowhere close to 5G’s EMR.
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) says, “contrary to some claims; there are no established health effects from the radio waves that the 5G network uses”.
Sale Common Law Group says Optus should provide an affidavit stating it has used only employed independent assessments on the risks of 5G.
When approached about the concerns, an Optus spokesperson said, “all Optus facilities comply with strict electromagnetic energy (EME) regulations and limits set by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Food and Drug Administration have declared 5G safe.
Christopher Collins, PhD, a professor of radiology at New York University, says for 5G, “the electromagnetic waves have a higher frequency, which allows it to carry more information”.
“It also has a smaller wavelength and does not penetrate the body as far as lower-frequency energy.”
Sale Common Law Group expressed concerns 5G radiation weakens the immune system, making it easier to contract COVID-19, or that it directly causes the virus.
A spokesperson from the WHO emphasised that “viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks”.
“COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks,” the spokesperson said.
“COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose.”
Optus and Telstra comply with the ARPNSA’s strict electromagnetic energy regulations and limits, and the WHO concludes that “studies to date provide no indication that environmental exposure to RF fields, such as from base stations, increases the risk of cancer or any other disease”.
You can find more information about 5G, EMR and Optus’ and Telstra’s compliance with national standards at https://www.telstra.com.au/consumer-advice/eme/5g-and-eme or https://www.optus.com.au/for-you/5g/eme.