The government should step in and help counter misconceptions about the safety of 5G, Telstra says.
In a submission to an inquiry into 5G held by the House of Representatives’ Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts, the telco said that the level of misinformation “purported to be based on scientific and medical evidence” that was circulating about the health impact of the wireless technology is “on a scale we have not seen with the rollout of previous generations of mobile technology.”
The parliamentary inquiry itself has been flooded with submissions calling for the government to step in ban the use of 5G over health and environmental concerns, with claims that the technology can cause everything from cancer to obesity.
Although Australia has seen some small protests by anti-5G campaigners, local regulators including the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) have found no evidence of detrimental health impacts from 5G.
Earlier this year revealed details of its tests to showing that 5G infrastructure produced electromagnetic energy (EME) levels well within safety limits and at a similar level to 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi. “5G EME levels in public areas ranged from 0.0003 to 0.025 %” of ARPANSA public limits, a flyer (PDF) produced by the telco states.
Despite this, Telstra said that 5G’s opponents frequently claim that the technology has not been tested.
“While only a small percentage of the community is engaging, the misinformation is gaining traction and the fears being raised need to be quickly and respectfully addressed,” Telstra’s submission states.
The telco said it had also seen a lack of “awareness and understanding of EME health related issues among some medical practitioners which is hampering their ability to properly advise patients and the wider community.”
Telstra noted that “not surprisingly” some members of the public lack confidence in “industry messaging” and as a result called for a “broad-based government led communications campaign” to educate the public about the “independent global and peer-reviewed research” on the safety of 5G.
The company also called for a program of EME information/training for the medical community.