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A petition set up to block the introduction of 5G mobile phone technology has attracted more than 3,000 signatures.

Camilla MacPherson, of Bermuda Advocates for Safe Technology, said that there were sound scientific reasons to be wary of the dangers of wireless radiation.

Ms MacPherson added: “People who want to discuss the health implications of electromagnetic frequencies are often branded as people with tin foil hats.

“But we have had overwhelming support from the community.”

The petition has been signed by 3,200 people, alongside 32 letters of objection to 5G technology, on the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda's website.

The petition said: “Our mission is to educate and inform our community and policymakers about the dangers of exposure to unsafe levels of wireless radiation.

“We call on our government and regulatory agencies to make a firm commitment to our health and our children's health and deny small cell and 5G applications and to create a more protective policy for wireless radiation in our community.”

The campaign group said it was worried by some scientific studies that suggested electromagnetic radiation could make chronic illnesses worse and cause some cancers, such as glioblastomas of the brain.

Ms MacPherson said: “A lot of people have contacted us to express their concern about the issues or feel that towers in their neighbourhoods contributed to their cancer.”

The 5G technology — dubbed the network of the “near future” by supporters — is said to provide quicker downloads and better network reliability.

But the 5G infrastructure has a more limited range than the earlier 4G network and needs more cell towers.

Opponents argued that more cell towers would expose the public to more electromagnetic radiation.

The RA is still in the preliminary report phase of the public-consultation process for integrated communications operating licences.

The Bermuda petition organisers appealed to people with comments or responses to the preliminary report and order to submit them to the RA before the July 20 deadline.

They questioned why Horizon Communications was verified as a qualified applicant for an ICOL in May, when its business proposal was centred around 5G technology.

Ms MacPherson said: “I think it is putting the cart before the horse.”

She questioned if it represented a change in the RA's decision to hold off on 5G, announced earlier this year.

But Charmaine Burgess, the director of communications and stakeholder engagement at the authority, said there was no alteration in its stance, which it confirmed in April.

She added: “Our process is to first carry out a detailed radio frequency study, which will be conducted in the coming months.”

Ms Burgess highlighted the public's opportunity to review and comment on the potential grant of multiple licences.

She said: “Therefore, I can confirm that Horizon Communications has not been granted an ICOL licence.”

Gilbert “Artie” Darrell, the founder of Horizon Communications, said: “Unfortunately, with the pending review of 5G in Bermuda by the RA, it would be premature for me to comment.”

The introduction of 5G has sparked worldwide health and safety fears.

Ayesha Peets Talbot, a doctor and director of Ocean Rock Wellness in Paget, said she had seen at least one patient who believed she had suffered harm from electromagnetic radiation.

The patient lived next to a wireless communications company, with equipment 20 to 30ft from her bedroom window.

Dr Peets Talbot said: “She stayed there for years. A few years ago she started to develop multiple cancers. She is in her forties.

“Her cancers were coming on so rapidly she was confusing a lot of the doctors.”

She said the patient's history suggested it was hard to ignore the radiation exposure she had been subjected to.

Dr Peets Talbot added that Bermuda had to do more to ensure people were protected before it introduced 5G technology.

She said: “I have three young children. I really do think about their EMF exposure. I make sure I turn off the wi-fi at night.

“I make sure they have EMF protection when they are using their tablets and mobile devices. I make sure they sit far away from a flatscreen.”

She also questioned the potential impact on Bermuda's sensitive ecosystem.

Dr Peets Talbot said: “We are not against technological advancement, but feel safe technology is smart technology. Ootherwise, it's not really advancing us.

“Some people think you are either all for it or against it, which is not at all the case. We do not wish to turn back the digital clock.”

Switzerland, one of the world's leaders in the introduction of 5G, in February imposed an open-ended ban on the use of its new network.

An independent panel advised the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2010 that mobile phone and other wireless radio frequency radiation should be classified as a “possible human carcinogen”, based on evidence from studies carried out up to that date.

For more information about the RA preliminary report visit www.ra.bm/documents/2020-04-03-invitation-to-comment-on-proposed-change-of-control-2/?wpdmdl=14681 & ind=1586353520977. The public can submit comments and responses, electronically at www.ra.bm/submit-a-response-form/. To contact Bast, e-mail bastinbermuda@gmail.com. It's petition is at www.change.org/p/bermuda-government-we-are-concerned-about-the-growing-body-of-scientific-research-showing-adverse-health

Mast concern: campaigners say some studies suggest electromagnetic radiation could make chronic illnesses worse
BAST is giving away this bumper sticker to protest 5G technology in Bermuda (Photograph supplied)
For safe technology: Ayesha Peets Talbot (File photograph)

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Published July 13, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated July 13, 2020 at 12:33 pm)

Petition to block 5G gathers 3,200 signatures

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