Cancer couple fearful of plans for a local 5G tower
ROCKHAMPTON couple Robyn and John Ferguson are both battling cancer and the last thing they needed was another reason to be fearful landing in their letter box.
A few weeks ago they received a leaflet in the mail from an unknown source warning them about the roll out of 5G communications technology in this region, making claims about the harm caused by the radiation emitted from the towers, saying that 26,000 scientists had signed a petition opposing the use of 5G technology.
The Fergusons have lived at their Forbes Ave property for the past 25 years and in the past five, Ms Ferguson has battled Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and her husband has also suffered from a rare form of Leukaemia.
On the hill at the end of their street, 500m from their house, sits a water reservoir, telecommunications arrays and a tower.
While she hadn't personally been up to have a look, Ms Ferguson said her husband told her the tower was "a couple of meters from the water tank and we've always had concerns about that".
Given the communication tower's proximity to the tank, she feared a weather event could bring down parts of the telecommunications infrastructure and that the 5G antenna could potentially contaminate the drinking water through holes or any damage the sealed tank sustained.
"With the concerns all around the world with these (5G) towers, and the fact that it exceeds five times the recommended guidelines, it's higher than it should be according to the Senate Inquiry," Ms Ferguson said.
"There are a number of councils in Australia that are calling for moratorium (on the 5G roll-out). But no one is looking at the fact that it is so close to the water tower."
Ms Ferguson called for the tower to be relocated away from residents to an area free from the access and drainage issues plaguing her street.
She contacted Rockhampton Regional Council to protest the rollout and was told telcos didn't need to consult with anyone before changing existing towers across to 5G.
Rockhampton Regional Council referred inquiries on the issue to the telecommunication providers, given it was their planned works and they were responsible for the tower's safety under legislation.
When The Morning Bulletin visited the site, the tower was observed to be about 10m away from the reservoir with a number of telecommunication antennas affixed to the side of the reservoir.
Telstra's state media manager Danita Goodwin said the tower carried the TV for SBS and ABC along with Optus's 3G and 4G antennae.
She confirmed Telstra owned the 3G and 4G antennae attached to the tank.
After approvals were granted, Telstra planned to add two cream-coloured 5G boxes to this existing infrastructure later this year.
"The base station is compliant and is designed and built in accordance with Australian Standards," Ms Goodwin said.
"Telstra 5G coverage was launched in Rockhampton in November last year, and is already operating in Kawana, Koongal and Norman Gardens. Rockhampton was one of the first eight Queensland cities to have Telstra 5G coverage."
The community would notified about any changes to mobile base stations in accordance with the Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment Code and residents could subscribe to receive information on proposed changes to base stations in their area.
"We rely on the expert advice of Australian and international health authorities .. for overall assessments relating to health and safety," she said.
Telstra's testing found 5G technology produced electromagnetic energy levels at around 1000 times below the safety limits, at levels similar to 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi.
There is no evidence to suggest 5G has an effect on drinking water and Australia's Chief Medical Officer Dr Brendan Murphy recently confirmed the safety of 5G in an official public statement.
"I'd like to reassure the community that 5G technology is safe," Dr Murphy said.
"There is no evidence telecommunication technologies, such as 5G, cause adverse health impacts.
"This position is supported by health authorities in Australia and around the world.
"Mobile phone networks and other wireless telecommunications emit low-powered radio waves also known as radiofrequency EME. This is different to ionising radiation associated with nuclear energy or use in medicine."
He said the radio waves to which the general public was exposed from telecommunications were not hazardous to human health.
To ensure the public remains protected, he said limits were established to protect people from exposure to radio waves with the limits set well below the levels where there is evidence of some biological effects such as tissue heating.
"Under the Australian Communications and Media Authority's regulatory framework, all telecommunications, including new 5G technology, have to comply with the exposure limits."
In order to further improve understanding about this issue, the Australian Government recently announced an investment of $9 million over four years to assure the public of the safety of telecommunications networks, including new 5G mobile networks.
New initiatives under the Enhanced EME Program will include more targeted scientific research and public information to address community concerns.
Highly regarded scientific educator Dr Karl Kruszelnicki has published an article explaining 5G issue in simple terms.
For more information on 5G, visit here.