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5G opponents urged to lodge final objections to technology

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Eugene Dean, chairman of environmental charity Greenrock (File photograph)
Radio mast, 5G, mobile phone network, cell tower (Photograph by F Muhammad/Pixabay)

Environmental group Greenrock has called on the community to have its final say on the deployment of 5G technology in Bermuda in the face of uncertainty over its safety.

The Regulatory Authority announced on Monday night that the moratorium imposed on the wireless technology last year is likely to be lifted.

Feedback on a report by the RA’s advisory panel, available on the website www.ra.bm, was requested ahead of midnight on March 8 and the RA will make its final decision on March 18.

Eugene Dean, chairman of Greenrock, asked: “Do we potentially sacrifice the health of our people and the environment in the favour of industry and economic gain, or do we risk stifling business development and potential growth in our economy to ensure that our people and the environment are safe?

“Most times we tend to look at these things as black and white or what can also be referred to as win-lose scenarios. The key here is to find balance, to understand the concerns of all stakeholders and develop creative, innovative and at times out of the box solutions that address them all.

“With the recommendations before us there is clearly more work to be done and according to the RA we have until March 8 to submit our final thoughts.

“Therefore, rather than getting offended or upset, let’s use the time we have to collaborate, deepen our understanding and make thoughtful submissions that meet our needs collectively and, in that light, move our country forward sustainably.”

He said that the RA had a “social responsibility” to protect the public and that those protections should only be relaxed if further scientific findings emerge that provide “sound evidence” that no harm will result.

He also maintained that the RA’s advisory panel lacked diversity of expertise including that from the medical profession.

The panel was made up of chairman Glenn Blakeney, Dr Carika Weldon and three international scientists – Dr Rodney Croft of Australia, Dr Jeffrey Herd of the US and Dr Raafat Mansour of Canada. Dr Weldon left the panel in December and was not an author of the final report.

The advisory panel’s report addressed concerns raised by Bermuda Advocates for Safe Technology, a community advocate group founded in 2018 made up of teachers, healthcare professionals, business professionals and environmentalists. Mr Dean is also a member of BAST.

Its mission is to educate the community and policymakers on the dangers of exposure to unsafe levels of radiation from the technology.

David Wingate, a naturalist and conservationist, has also opposed 5G deployment.

The RA panel’s report found that radiation safety science “does not support the view that 5G will be harmful to people” or to the island’s flora and fauna.

The report found that “exposure of the community to radiation from 5G antennas is predicted to be considerably lower than the levels recommended as safe” under international guidelines.

It recommended the RA “lift the moratorium on 5G roll-out” but advised the RA to build “strong channels of communication” to address public concerns.

The report added: “The science underpinning the relationship between 5G and health is particularly complex, requiring detailed knowledge of a range of different scientific disciplines, including exposure assessment, biological, medical and public health science.”

The panel also recommended tracking 5G exposure levels in the field – and for the RA to “consider initiating a periodic independent assessment to review and identify any new developments in the scientific consensus”.

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Published February 11, 2021 at 8:46 am (Updated February 11, 2021 at 8:46 am)

5G opponents urged to lodge final objections to technology

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