Scientists and medical doctors raise concerns about 5G deployment in Australia and New Zealand

A letter published in Radiation Protection in Australasia, the journal of the Australasian Radiation Protection Society, asserts that Australia and New Zealand are rushing ahead with 5G without addressing safety concerns.

Ten Australian and New Zealand scientists and medical doctors have authored the letter, entitled Serious Safety Concerns about 5G Wireless Deployment in Australia and New Zealand.

The writers point out that 5G carrier waves are higher frequency wavelengths that have been hitherto used in limited applications such as radar and non-lethal weapons; 5G involves extremely complex modulation patterns that form novel exposures; 5G beam formation characteristics can produce hotspots of high unknown intensities, and that millions of additional transmitters will greatly increase human exposure.

The authors of the letter urge the Australasian Radiation Protection Society (ARPS) to take an active role in the investigation of non-thermal and chronic effects that are not being addressed in current guidelines.  The writers state that they find it ‘intriguing’ that the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has made a health risks assessment about 5G in a public information sheet without involving medical expertise.  It is pointed out that health risk evaluation in New Zealand of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) has also been undertaken without medical expertise.

Statements attributed to Dr Ken Karipidis, Assistant Director of ARPANSA’s Assessment and Advice Section, in an article advising Australian doctors about 5G health concerns, also come under scrutiny.  The authors request ARPANSA to provide details of its research that found this to be more of ‘a psychological issue than a cause of genuine harm’ as claimed by Dr Karipidis. Similarly, the writers have requested that ARPANSA produce scientific evidence from peer-reviewed literature that supports its claim in Misinformation about Australia’s 5G network that thorough testing of security screening units at airports, police radar guns, and remote sensors used in medicine has been conducted and found to have no negative impacts on human health.  Investigation by the scientists and medical professionals who have authored the letter has found, on the contrary, concerning evidence.

A statement by Australia’s Chief Medical Officer (now Secretary of the Department of Health), Prof Brendan Murphy, wherein he declared that 5G is safe, is also called into question.  The authors request that the Department of Health supply ‘the list of studies that provide the scientific evidence for this claim of the safety of 5G’.

The absence of medical witnesses called upon to Australia’s recent parliamentary inquiry into 5G, along with the government’s announcement (in an extraordinary move prior to the completion of the inquiry) that it would allocate $9 million to ‘educate the public on 5G’, are also noted in the letter.

The authors conclude that there is strong media censorship on the issue of 5G safety in Australia and New Zealand.  They go on to say that:

The gagged situation in our region is a major blow to the evidence-based approach to health management, and science in general.  As informed scientists and clinicians, we urge an open discussion on the safety of 5G in order to protect public health.  Planetary electromagnetic pollution is already excessive and it is impacting on the health and wellbeing of life on Earth.  Therefore, the plan to deploy 30,000 satellites in space and millions of 5G transmitters on Earth without any formal health or environmental assessments is both reckless and negligent’.

To read the letter in full, go here.

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European Greens’ report calls for a new, public and fully independent non-ionising radiation advisory council

A 98-page investigative report, financed by the European Parliament’s Greens/European Free Alliance political group, concludes that the European Commission and national governments should stop funding the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).  The report points out that a closed group of like-minded scientists has turned ICNIRP into a “self-indulgent science club, with a lack of bio-medical expertise, as well as a lack of scientific expertise in specific risk assessments”.

In the foreword to the report, titled The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection: Conflicts of interest, corporate capture and the push for 5G, the two members of the European Parliament who commissioned the report, Michèle Rivasi (Europe Écologie) and Dr Klaus Buchner (Ökologisch-Demokratische Partei), write that:

“This report deals with an issue of which the importance cannot be overrated: the possible health effects of Radiofrequency Radiation (RfR) or electro magnetic fields (EMF); It deals more specifically with how the scientific debate has been hijacked by corporate interests from the Telecom industry.”

The members of the European Parliament go on to state that:

“We very much agree with the title and content of the latest publication on Microwave News, which reads “The Lies Must Stop, Disband ICNIRP – Facts Matter, Now More Than Ever”. There are two major casualties in this polarised debate: the truth and public health. Both are too important not to protect with all that we have. That is what we consider as our responsibility as elected politicians.”

SSMA asks, when might Australia’s politicians also take on board these sentiments and make the effort to look beyond the lies and half-truths purveyed by ICNIRP?  The health of our citizens is also being risked by blind acceptance of ICNIRP’s recommendations in the formulation of our own radiofrequency standard.  And, likewise, when will our politicians call for a halt to Australian funding of ICNIRP’s dubious activities and the establishment of a new, public and fully independent non-ionising radiation advisory council?

To read the report, go to:

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Living with electromagnetic hypersensitivity in a COVID-19 impacted world

A member of SSMA shared the following story with us:

“I became electro-sensitive about four years ago after a smart meter, unbeknownst to me, was installed on an outside wall, directly behind where my head was in bed.

A week later I started experiencing symptoms including ringing in my ears, nausea, headaches, dizziness, irritability, brain-fog, flashing lights before my eyes and a debilitating buzzing feeling throughout my body.

A month later I was so ill I could hardly get through a birthday party without experiencing these worsening symptoms as well as others that made life very difficult such as uncontrolled urination.  Two months later and I could not get out of bed to go to work.  Three months later, with my hair falling out in clumps, I was sleeping outside in the back yard in a tent; it was the only place that seemed to give me some sort of respite from whatever was making me sick.

In utter desperation, I bought a small minivan and left Melbourne, my husband, our home, pets, verdant food-garden and my career in academia, and commenced a solitary existence; camping in state and national parks, as far away from phone towers as I could find.  The longer I stayed away from places with wireless radiation, the better I felt.  Gradually my health improved, enabling me to make brief forays back to Melbourne to see my family, shop and do ‘normal’ things.  Retreating to the forest to sleep in my van at nights allowed my body to recover from whatever radiation insults it had received during the day.

Whilst on my peripatetic wanderings, I would communicate with friends and family by typing my sms messages, hitting send, then after taking the phone off flight mode and turning on the wireless function, walking away to let it update.  Local libraries provided me with a lifeline, being my main means of sending/receiving emails. They also provided me with a never-ending supply of books, reading being one of the few activities available to me.  Living as a virtual recluse in the forest, even the inane chit-chat that came with dropping in at libraries was valued.

Being based in a van, especially in Victoria’s cold winters, proved challenging.  I began house-sitting for friends, and friends of friends, to obtain some respite.  Even so, potential jobs had to be thoroughly researched before I could commit to a house-sit.  Factors such as whether the WiFi could be turned off, and the distance from the bedroom to the smart meter, were of crucial importance.

Things were looking good in February 2020.  I had been living in my van on a friend’s property on the outskirts of a small country town, caretaking and looking after the animals, whilst the owner was at work in Melbourne during the week.  I had a solid bank of house-sits lined up for five months, which would take me through central Victoria’s chilly winter.  Little did I know that COVID-19 would soon bring these plans to a grinding halt.

Just after Victoria’s Labour day long weekend in early March, in a matter of days, every one of my house-sits was cancelled.  Nobody was going to be departing for their courses, workshops or holidays.

Quite a few of my house-sit friends were very kind, and offered to have me stay with them, even though they were not going away.  “You can still stay in the spare room” they said, “it would be lovely to have you anyway” I was told.  This was so kind of them, and I nearly cried at their compassion.  But alas, after thinking about it, I realised it would not be workable.

I explained to them what I would do in the past, after being left in charge of the house.  The first step was to go around and switch off all wireless signal-emitting devices; computers, TVs, air conditioning units, cordless phones, the lot.  The next step was to go around and turn off and unplug nearly everything from electrical sockets; lamps, digital clocks, stereo systems, until only essentials such as the fridge and the washing machine were left on.  The final step, for whichever bedroom I was in, was to move the bed into the middle of the room, away from wall sockets.  Sometimes even all these precautions were not enough and I would end up spending nights out in my van.  But at least I had a warm and dry place to inhabit during the day.

Clearly, if I were to insist on these measures, there was no way that my house-sit friends would be able to live a normal life, with me as a houseguest!

However, the situation quickly became even worse.  I was in the nearby library, talking to the librarian, who assured me that she had not had any word of libraries being closed down.  I was going to get some books but decided I would do it the next day.  I left the library at 3pm; by 5pm the doors were shut and a notice was up, stating that the library was closed for the foreseeable future.  My lifeline had vanished, overnight.  Ready access to emails was gone.  The books that I was looking forward to reading were unobtainable.  There was nowhere to retreat to and read when it got unbearably cold and wet during winter.

I began to pack my things to ‘go bush’ again, thinking that I might be able to escape the cold which was about to descend in April by travelling north, to warmer climes.  I was too late.  State borders had already started closing.  National and state parks, even caravan parks, were now off-limits, and people would be up for steep fines if found travelling too far from ‘home’.

The people who owned the land that I had been caretaking earlier in the year kindly offered me the use of a caravan on their property.  This I gladly accepted only to find out, with the first downpour, that it was far from watertight.  Two months later, moss was beginning to grow inside the caravan walls.  I realised that this was also not a healthy place to be, even if only to read a book on a cold day.  Finally, a neighbour offered to rent me her Airbnb granny flat.  Serendipitously, it is a one-room steel-clad unit with a corrugated iron roof.  Wireless signals do not seem to penetrate it.  Even so I have had to move the bed into the middle of the small room and switch off all the power points at night.

Hibernating in the flat has been a godsend, not only from this very wet Victorian winter, but also to steer clear of the COVIDSafe app.  With so many more phones now Bluetooth-activated, the radiation from someone’s device in the supermarket, even from two metres away, can mean that I end up with a splitting headache.  But at least people don’t look at me as if I am crazy when I move away from them, as they assume that I am simply socially distancing!

Government-mandated isolation can be especially lonely for people with electro-sensitivities and lack of access to safe technology.  Friends and family have been organising Zoom and Skype conferences to catch up; they wonder why I don’t attend.

As bad as the shutdown was, the easing of restrictions has also not been good for me.  Although things are re-opening and most people are starting to get back to normal, none of my housesitting has resumed as overseas travel is still out.  And now my landlady is signalling that she will soon wish to put her flat back on the Airbnb market; she can make more money via Airbnb than what I can pay in monthly rent.  In the meantime, national and state parks are opening up – but only for those who have a caravan or camper van with an onsite toilet and shower.  My little van has neither.

So again, I am stuck in a grey area, not able to go anywhere, and perhaps with nowhere to stay, and with radiation increasing by the day….”

9 June 2020
Victoria, Australia

The writer has asked to stay anonymous as she is hopeful that at some point in the future she will be able to establish a base which affords sufficient safety for her to resume her career, and does not wish to suffer from the stigma of being labelled as a person with disability.

Do you have a story to tell about living with EHS in our new COVID-19 impacted world?  If so, why not share your story with us using the Contact Us page.  Unless you state otherwise, your name, email address and personal details will be kept confidential.  If you have previously shared your story, we would love to hear from you, to find out how you are going now.

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Barrister Ray Broomhall announces new NO5G political party!

Ray Broomhall, President of NO5G Inc., writes: 

Dear friends and colleagues,

Exciting news!

We have registered an association and put mechanisms in place to form the first sole NO5G political party in the world, right here in Australia.

On behalf of our committee, I invite you to join us by becoming a member.


The objective of NO5G Inc. is to promote legislative schemes, laws and policies to regulate 5G and associated technology and to establish a moratorium on 5G until such technologies are proven safe to human health, flora, fauna and property. To achieve the said objective, it will do so by recruiting membership, registering a new political party, and nominating and endorsing candidates for elected public office in Commonwealth, State and Territory parliaments, and Local Government bodies in all Australian jurisdictions.

550 members required to form party

To form our new political party, we need your support. We need 550 people to become members of our registered association called NO5G Inc. Before joining us, the 550 people will need to check that they are enrolled on the Australian Electoral Roll. You can check if you are currently enrolled by …

To read the announcement in full, go to:

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Australian 5G inquiry report ignores the science

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts’ report, entitled The next gen future: Inquiry into the deployment, adoption and application of 5G in Australia, was presented to Parliament on 12 May 2020.

The chair of the Committee, Hon Dr David Gillespie MP, enthusiastically opined in his address to Parliament (Hansard, pp. 44-45) that “This report is an excellent report”, going on to say that “It establishes that 5G is coming and it’s going to revolutionise so many parts of industry”.  Dr Gillespie asserted that 5G is safe technology, dismissing “the concerns by some people in the community” as having “been influenced by misinformation about the technology”.

As foreshadowed by the Australian Government’s decision in December 2019 to establish a new community information campaign on 5G, the Committee’s report fails to give any credence – whatsoever – to concerns voiced by the majority of the inquiry participants about the wisdom of hurtling down a path that clearly offers no assurances of safety.

Instead the report’s recommendations focus on facilitating an early uptake of 5G technology.

Recommendations 10 and 11 reflect the Committee’s blinkered view that “Better communication of 5G mobile technology is essential to help dispel some of the myths that exist around 5G”.  The report contends that “The communication of the reality of 5G has been neglected, however, allowing fears over health and safety, the technology involved and the application of 5G to take hold. Misinformation has filled the vacuum and public confidence in 5G has been shaken”.

ARPANSA is called upon to implement a mechanism to consult with members of the community in regard to safe levels of electromagnetic radiation.  The Committee also recommends that the Australian Government work closely with the ACMA to develop a campaign that can respond to concerns about 5G.

Recommendation 14 calls on the Australian Government to work with carriers to develop campaigns to boost industry awareness about the advantages of 5G to businesses to help realise the benefits quickly.  The Committee stipulates that the campaign should also lift 5G awareness within local government.

The Committee acknowledged that it accepted a “large number of submissions which solely addressed concerns over how the deployment of 5G may affect human health”. However, it stated that, “As the Committee is not a health committee, it was limited in its ability to investigate this issue fully”.  Nevertheless, the report claims that, “The Committee sought to inform itself about this issue…”.

The assertion by the Committee that it sought to inform itself about potential health risks stretches credulity, as illustrated in SSMA’s posts entitled Inquiry into 5G in Australia: Misinformation by whom? and Federal Government announces $9 million splurge to ‘build public confidence’ in 5G safety.

Sadly, it appears that the government has been blindsided, yet again, by industry interests.

SSMA website followers who are residents or citizens of Australia may wish to sign an e-petition to the House of Representatives calling for the House to suspend further implementation of the 5G network and an inquiry into its potential health risks. The petition asks that the number of Australians opposed to the deployment of 5G be taken into consideration.

The petition can be accessed at:

The closing date for signatures is 10 June 2020.

Note that after signing the petition an email with a link will be sent to you.  The link must be clicked within eight hours in order for your signature to be valid.

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Open letter of complaint to The Guardian: Safety of 5G is NOT proven!

The EM Radiation Research Trust, an independent UK charitable trust, has lambasted The Guardian for falsely claiming that 5G is completely safe.

In an open letter to The Guardian and to the UK’s largest independent regulator of newspapers and magazines, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), EM Radiation Research Trust alleges that The Guardian has failed to provide responsible, balanced and accurate reporting in its articles on 5G.  EM Radiation Research Trust has called on IPSO to investigate the breaches.

EM Radiation Research Trust writes that ‘It is highly irresponsible to provide a one-sided biased opinion’ and points out The Guardian’s error in relying on assurances of safety from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).  EM Radiation Research Trust’s letter states:

‘In truth, the ICNIRP guidelines are deeply flawed and obsolete. The guidelines are set by a small, non-governmental organization of invitation-only, unelected private members who set guidelines for thermal heating for short term acute exposures only. We feel the last part of the sentence bears repeating for emphasis: ICNIRP sets guidelines for thermal heating for short term, acute exposures only. That means ICNIRP is only concerned whether or not 5G causes burns, heatstroke, or shocks.’

However, as pointed out in the letter, ‘when the general public thinks about health concerns from a phone mast/cell tower, they are not thinking shocks and heatstroke. The general public’s concern related to RF radiation have to do with cancer, immune suppression, neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, birth defects and infertility. When a Guardian reader finds reassurance in Alex Hern’s [the journalist’s] words that the evidence that 5G is safe is “overwhelming”, it might also be advisable that The Guardian mention ICNIRP’s timeframe for testing.

‘ICNIRP’s latest paper published May 2020 repeatedly highlights the fact that 6 minutes is the normal time frame to a small area of the body, plus a 30-minute window for whole-body exposure in assessing any health effects associated with thermal effects to the flesh area of the body. The Guardian is, therefore, supporting safety claims for everyone exposed to 5G based on the fact that the public will not feel any heating effects during a 6 minute exposure. The public will be exposed to this form of radiation 24/7 for a lifetime, not 6 minutes. The ICNIRP standards are woefully inadequate in offering any form of protection in the real world, real-life settings for public long term exposure and especially children.’

To read the full letter, go to

In Australia, the Australian Press Council is the principal body with responsibility for responding to complaints from the public about content in Australian newspapers, magazines and associated digital outlets.  The Council’s Standards of Practice require publications to take reasonable steps to ensure that factual material is accurate and not misleading, and presented with reasonable fairness and balance.

In addition, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) can investigate journalists who are members of its organisation for breaches of MEAA’s Journalist Code of Ethics.

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ACNEM Online Global Conference: Environmental and Viral Disruptors

The Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM), based in Melbourne, Australia, is hosting an 8-week online conference during May and June 2020. The conference kicks off on May 4 investigating COVID-19 around the world and what environmental medicine looks like in 2020.

The education sessions are aimed at individuals seeking wellbeing in addition to medical professionals, health policy makers and educators.  Conference experts will explore optimising immune function and the personal environment as well as looking at environmental causes of illness including EMFs (weeks 5 and 6) and impacts of the global environment on human health.

Dr David O. Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the State University of New York at Albany’s School of Public Health and author of more than 450 peer-reviewed studies will be presenting ‘The Big Picture of Environmental Medicine’, ‘Electromagnetic Disruption: What’s the Issue?’ and ‘Environmental Influences in Chronic Illness’ in addition to participating in a panel discussion on the 5G rollout and its implications.  Other conference presenters include Nicole Bijlsma, Dr Priyanka Bandara, Dr Julie McCredden and Dr Don Maisch.

The $295 cost provides participants with livestreamed presentations, recordings and weekly live Q&A sessions, and includes a 3-month pass to access all content.

If your own medical practitioner needs to further their knowledge on the effects of EMFs, perhaps it would be worthwhile pointing them to the ACNEM 2020 online conference?

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France is right: Kids at home during pandemic shouldn’t use mobile phones for hours – Dr Devra Davis

In these worrying times when a new highly contagious virus has ended life as we once knew it, we increasingly rely on mobile phones to allow us some sense of connection to those we care about. But, asks Dr. Devra Davis, just how safe are these now-ubiquitous, essential devices and the networks on which they rely?

Across the United States, children are being asked to use phones for school in ways that would be illegal in France and Israel, where phones are not permitted to be used for educational purposes.

Last summer a Chicago Tribune investigation showed that when phones are tested directly next to the body, some of the most popular devices released up to five times more radiation than the FCC’s [US Federal Communications Commission] two-decade-old limits would allow.

Why does this matter? Every single millimetre off the body results in 15% less exposure.  In fact, when the agency responsible for phone testing for the government of France, (yes they have an actual agency that tests hundreds of devices), examined phones close to the body, radiation levels were found to be four to 11 times more than FCC obsolete standards allow.

The test results of the Chicago Tribune, the law firm of Fegan ScottCBC Broadcasting, and the government of France leave no doubt that phones exceed radiation limits when tested the way we use phones – in body contact positions. Had the FCC tested phones close to the body, most phones would have exceeded allowable limits.

In sharp contrast to the FCC’s stale position, the government of France is calling for phones to be tested with zero spacing between the phone and the body. Moreover, France recommends the public reduce cell phone radiation exposure, especially for children and pregnant women. In fact, the European Union strengthened compliance tests in 2016, limiting the phone/body test distance to no more than 5 mm (whereas the US allows up to 25 mm).

Over a dozen smartphone models have now been withdrawn from the market due to excessive radiation levels. These actions were spurred by the dedication of Dr. Marc Arazi and the organization Phonegate who pressured the government of France to release cell phone test data showing excessive radiation when phones tested at body contact.

Since 2010, the French have insisted that all phones sold include labelled radiation levels and wired headsets. Along with Belgium, manufacturers in France are banned from marketing or advertising phones for young children. Cyprus and France have also removed Wi-Fi from kindergartens, restricted Wi-Fi in classrooms, and banned phones in schools.

While we must remain on guard to slow viral transmission through social distancing, we also must stay equally vigilant about reducing exposures to our children to radiation never tested for their young bodies and brains. Rather than accept false assurances that all is fine with dousing youngsters in these unprecedented wireless exposures, we must make efforts to help them and take time out from screens to save their young eyes and ears, make sure tablets remain on tables and not on young bodies, and also ensure that devices are used on airplane mode whenever possible.

We can’t default to the wireless babysitters seductively lurking within these devices. Now more than ever we should connect with our children without electronics and enjoy the moments we have with them.

Dr. Devra Davis, founder of, served in the Clinton administration from 1994-1999 and was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change team awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Abridged from article published by EU Reporter.

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Inquiry into 5G in Australia: Misinformation by whom?

Australia’s parliamentary inquiry into 5G, which was announced in September 2019 with submissions due at the beginning of November 2019, continues to trundle on.

Over 500 of the responses have now been published on the parliamentary website.  An overwhelming majority of these have raised concerns about the deployment of 5G technology.

The parliamentary committee charged with undertaking this inquiry held public hearings in Queensland and the ACT last year, followed by hearings in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney in February.  According to Parliament’s webpage on public hearings, witnesses are called to a hearing so that the committee “can hear from people who have experience or expertise that is relevant to the committee’s inquiry”.

Given that the lion’s share of submissions highlighted evidence of potential harm as a result of the rollout of 5G, and the authors of the submissions included a number of highly credentialled members of the public, why has the committee chosen to instead hear, in the main, from 5G proponents?

Analysis of time allocated at hearings shows that telecommunications companies and other supporters of 5G have been granted a staggering 91% of timeslots.  To add insult to injury, witnesses who have refused to jump on the 5G bandwagon were shunted into giving evidence at public hearings located in cities other than their own, even when there was a nearby hearing scheduled.  This is grossly unfair – obviously being able to present in person beats having to participate by teleconference.

Although the volume of submissions meant that some submitters waited a number of months for their submissions to be published on the parliamentary website, to the committee’s credit, it is also evident that late responses were accepted.  Steve Weller, author of submission 530, and current executive team member of the Oceania Radiofrequency Scientific Advisory Association, used this opportunity to rebut pro-industry spin contained in earlier responses.

Preposterous claims, such as that made in Vodafone Hutchison’s submission, which states that “Australia has some of the most comprehensive and stringent radio frequency safety and electromagnetic energy (EME) compliance requirements in the developed world” are called out in an appendix to the submission.

Surely the millions being spent by the government to build public confidence in the safety of telecommunications and 5G, and to address ‘misinformation’ about electromagnetic emissions, would be better spent confronting the reality that wireless technologies are harmful to health?

The engineers responsible for a paper entitled “Electromagnetic Radiation due to Cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies: How safe are we?”, which has been accepted for publication in a future issue of IEEE Access, a scientific journal published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, contend that “Both individuals and governments must be aware of the fact that the current population has already been exposed to dangerous levels of radiation and the resulting adverse health effects may surface in people at any time”.  The point is made that “Without thorough research and well-designed safety measures in place, wide-spread deployment of 5G networks could prove to be dangerous” (SSMA emphasis).

Scientists have been sounding urgent warnings regarding ubiquitous and increasing exposure to electromagnetic fields for decades.  Medical practitioners are coming face to face with the consequences.  Engineers are now recognising that wireless technologies must be avoided as much as possible and urging us to instead favour “new and innovative wired solutions which provide the same level of user-friendliness”.

In light of this groundswell of awareness, how much longer can the Australian Government continue to aid and abet wireless industry interests?

 Stop Smart Meters Australia’s submission to the inquiry into 5G can be viewed here.

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German Federal Office for Radiation Protection calls for more research on influence of electromagnetic fields on plants and animals

Further to an international workshop on environmental effects of electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields on flora and fauna, Germany’s Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) says that “there is still a considerable need for research”.

The workshop, which was organised by the BfS, took place in Munich at the beginning of November 2019.

The BfS’s press release says the findings of the workshop are particularly important in light of the ongoing expansion of electricity grids and the introduction of 5G.  Although the BfS reported “Overall, the studies presented in the workshop support the current state of knowledge that there is no evidence of harmful effects on plants or animals caused by high-frequency electromagnetic fields below the applicable limit values”, it added that “there are isolated indications that radiofrequency fields may influence insects.  In a field study, for example, changes in the frequency and biodiversity of pollinators near base stations were observed”.

The BfS went on to say “it is conceivable that the higher frequencies that may be used in a few years’ time could increase the energy absorption of insects”.  Plants could also be affected.  Although the BfS cautions that the results here were partly contradictory, it reported “under laboratory conditions, high-frequency fields can trigger a stress reaction and influence growth” (SSMA emphases).

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) had a representative at the international workshop.  Dr Ken Karipidis, ARPANSA’s Assistant Director of Assessment and Advice, attended.

Dr Karipidis, however, appears to have come back with a somewhat different take-home message.  ARPANSA’s write-up of the workshop says  “Studies that have been conducted in the natural environment generally report little or no evidence of impact on plants or animals”.  No coverage is given to the studies that do show effects.

As pointed out by Attorney-at-law Christian Jensen in this post, research that shows effects is “inherently of much greater significance than examinations which have been incapable of identifying a damage or risk thereof, since the latter group does not in itself exclude the possibility that there exist real damage or risks”.

SSMA wonders if Dr Karipidis attended the international workshop session titled “Radiofrequency radiation injures trees around mobile phone base stations“, presented by Dr Cornelia Waldmann-Selsam.  The paper of the same title found “a high level of damage to trees in the vicinity of phone masts”.  Two pictorial examples from the study are available here.  An overview of the data from the study is available here.

ARPANSA’s report on the workshop concludes that “ARPANSA will continue to evaluate relevant research as it becomes available, working with international counterparts to ensure ongoing review of scientific evidence related to radiation and both public and environmental health”.  This statement is hardly reassuring, given its past performance.

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