Action urged on radiation risks
Worried Kingsford residents have turned to Randwick City Council for help after telecommunications company TPG began installing small cell base stations near homes and schools.
They object to a lack of community consultation from the telco as well as the possible adverse health impacts – especially on children – of long term exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF).
Concerned Winburn Ave resident Paul Sampson said he was concerned with both the installation process and the potential health impacts of long term exposure to RF-EMF.
Mr Sampson, who lives directly opposite the first small cell station that has been installed on Winburn Ave, questions the need for the station.
“From my point of view this is our home. If I had a choice, I’d prefer it not to be there,” Mr Sampson said.
“I can live without my cellular signal being quite so strong.”
Telcos such as Telstra and Optus currently use larger, high-powered cell towers to broadcast their signals over long distances. These cell towers are generally placed away from homes and schools.
Small cell base stations are placed much closer together than traditional cell towers and can be put on street lights, utility poles and the sides of buildings.
Winburn Ave resident Peita-Maree Pyne said many countries around the world had begun to take a more careful approach to the base stations.
“Countries such as Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Russia, China, Belgium and many more are applying the precautionary principle to reduce the risk to the community – especially children,” Ms Pyne told the council at their meeting last month.
“When 5G comes out the radiations are going to increase even further and as TPG’s network continues to increase… they can’t control the amount of radiation that residents are going to get exposed to.”
The council resolved to submit a motion to the Local Government NSW annual conference calling for representation on the Electromagnetic Energy Reference Group “to advocate for local communities on issues relating EME and human health”.
A TPG spokesperson issued a statement that “safety in this area is tightly regulated, and TPG has to, and do, operate within standards and limits set by government authorities. We make sure that we enhance service and connectivity for the community in a way that is safe and lawful”.