Health fears over rollout of 5G technology

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Campaigners have called for a more rigorous look at 5G mobile technology in Brighton and Hove.

They presented a petition with more than 2,200 signatures at a Brighton and Hove City Council meeting on Thursday (October 24).

And they asked for a halt to the spread of 5G technology across Brighton and Hove.

Gill Foote, who presented the petition, asked about guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

These are followed by Public Health England (PHE)and councils across the country but Mrs Foote said that the guildeline levels were not safe.

She said: “Our council has a duty of care to all who live in the city. Surely you are not just a planning authority.

“So we the signatories are now putting the onus on our council to determine what weight to put on PHE’s guidelines.

“It is your responsibility to carry out due diligence and to fulfil your obligations to protect us from risk and harm. Again how can this be done with this untested technology?”

She said that electro-magnetic fields are classified as a pollutant and insurance companies in general would not cover the health risks from wifi or electro-magnetic fields.

The council was urged to adopt a precautionary approach and asked to set up a scrutiny panel for 5G.

To enthusiastic applause from the public gallery, she added: “Government minister Celine Fremault from Brussels who took heed and adopted the precautionary principle (as have many others now), over severe human health risks stated: ‘The people of Brussels are not guinea-pigs whose health I can sell for a profit.’

“Are Brighton Council going to allow us to be guinea-pigs?”

Fellow campaigner Irina Blosse also advocated the precautionary principle. She argued that the safe standards were not set up for children.

She said: “They were not set up for children at all. They took American soldiers, measured their skulls, made a model of it based on a completely adult person’s biology, the size of an adult brain.

“The whole of our campaign is because the guidelines are set up for an American soldier’s skill and the thermal affect only.”

Mrs Blosse said that she was concerned about an ICNIRP disclaimer on its website that said that it was “not responsible for third party damage”, and guidelines are only for information purposes.

She added: “They do not take any responsibility for any damage that is being done to our children. As a mother, I am concerned.”

Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, Labour councillor Clare Moonan responded to both the petition and the public question.

She said she understood people are worried about the introduction of 5G technology and the council follows advice from Public Health England.

Public Health England has told the council current exposure of the general public to radio waves is well within the international health related guideline levels.

Counillor Moonan said: “They say when 5G is added into the existing network the overall exposure to radio waves is expected to remain low.

“As such there should be no consequence to public health.

“The ability of councils to influence the roll out of mobile technology is limited by central government regulations and we are unable to adopt a policy to halt the roll out of 5G.

“If those regulations change then our actions can change.”

Green councillor Martin Osborne asked for a report on the issue to be provided for consideration at the next available meeting of Health and Wellbeing Board. This was seconded by fellow Green councillor Steph Powell.

He said: “This is an opportunity for officers to look at the situation objectively from their neutral point of view and produce something that is available for the public but also as an informative document that members of this council can use to make further decisions on the matter should they be required.

“This is not to pass judgement on the matter but to call for more information.”

Conservative councillor Samer Bagaeen told the council in his Hove Park ward planned 5G masts were refused as he described them as an “ugly piece of kit”.

He contacted the former chief executive of Brighton and Sussex Universities Hospital Trust, and founding chief executive of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie.

Councillor Bagaeen said to initial heckles from the public gallery: “He basically says there is no convincing evidence that exposures below those guidelines will result in adverse health affects on the general population, which is something you know already.

“He goes on to say mobile use in general is not safe. Public Health England maintains precautionary advice in relation to all mobile phone use, whether that is biological effects through apparently harmful exposure levels within the international guidelines and also the limited information we have.”

After researching into tracking studies based on people’s mobile phone use, Councillor Bagaeen said whatever handset you use the effects on your health are the same.

He also recommended people respond to a government consultation titled Proposed Reforms to Permitted Development Rights to Support the Deployment of 5G and Extend Mobile Coverage which has a deadline of Monday 4 November.

To comment visit the consultation website

The report into the 5G issue will go before the next available Health and Wellbeing Board in the new year.