If you have visited Vodafone NZ’s website lately you may have noticed that it has a whole page [1] designed to convince its customers that 5G is a safe technology.

Under the headline “Is 5G safe to use?” the company claims that “5G is designed to be fully compliant with existing international EMF exposure guidelines. This means it has been safeguarded against all established health hazards for everyone, including children.”

It sounds good doesn’t it?  Who wouldn’t want 5G if it’s even safe enough for children?  

There’s one big problem with Vodafone touting 5G on the basis that it is “fully compliant” with “EMF exposure guidelines” and that is that is that the EMF exposure guidelines” used in New Zealand are designed only to prevent thermal  injury (burns) and electric shocks not the many health problems that have been linked to exposure to levels of microwave radiation allowable under the applicable New Zealand standard (NZS 2772.1:1999)   

Another problem is that the 5G system proposed for NZ would not just use microwave radiation (for which there is already a large amount of research showing adverse biological and health effects) but would also incorporate millimetre waves, which are not well researched.

An article “5G and The Internet of Things: A Real Need for Speed or a Predictable Dilemma?” on the website of Physicians for Safe Technology warns readers that  “There has been no premarket testing for health or environmental harm.” [Emphasis added]

WHO’s claims about mobile phones

The company goes on to quote from the WHO website that states: “A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.”

The statement on WHO’s website is misleading because there is research showing adverse health effects attributable to mobile phone use, such as this study that reported higher incidence of brain tumour (glioma) in longer term cell phone users.

Of even more concern is the fact that it does not seem to be necessary to actually hold a cell phone (or cordless phone) to your head in order to increase your risk of cancer. Just living close to cellular phone infrastructure may be enough to increase your cancer risk, according to some studies, such as this one.

(By the way, there is a comprehensive critique of the WHO page from which Vodafone excerpted the quote at this link: http://www.es-uk.info/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/03.9-Critque-of-WHOs-defence-of-Mobile-Phones.pdf )

MoH claims about 5G

Vodafone’s website also refers the reader to Ministry of Health information on 5G. 

While most people would assume that the NZ Ministry of Health should be an accurate and unbiased source of information about 5G, in practice this does not seem to be the case. 

One of the reasons for this is that the Ministry of Health’s own source of advice on EMF and health is a committee  (the Interagency Committee on the Health Effects of Non-Ionising Fields) which was set up to specifically allow for participation by people in the telecommunications and electricity industry.  Most people would consider it to be bad practice to include industry employees or consultants as members of a committee convened to give advice on health effects given that they have such obvious conflicts of interest but the Ministry of Health (and the current Minister of Health) seem to be perfectly happy with this sad state of affairs.

(You can read a critique of the Ministry of Health’s so-called fact sheet on 5G at the following link: https://wirelesslimit.wordpress.com/2019/09/24/nz-ministry-of-health-factsheet-on-5g-protects-industry-not-health/ )

ICNIRP and NZ Standards

New Zealand has pathetically lax standards for the type of radiation produced by cellular phone towers and other wireless infrastructure – such as the “small cells” planned to be used in 5G. These standards ultimately derive from recommendations made by ICNIRP.

ICNIRP is a non governmental organisation (NGO) that includes members who have links to the telecommunications industry. A few of the shortcomings of the basis on which ICNIRP makes its recommendations have been pointed out in a recent article in the Lancet: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(18)30221-3/fulltext

(A nice little cartoon that has useful information about ICNIRP and a similar organisation may be found at this link: https://5g.org.nz/2019/01/25/a-short-cartoon-that-gives-the-lowdown-on-5g/ )

Consumer magazine article promotes 5G

Vodafone’s website also refers readers to an article in Consumer magazine called “Why 5G Isn’t a Health Hazard” which basically says that 5G is great because it will allow faster internet and driverless cars – without pointing out that urban street trees may need to be substantially trimmed or may simply be cut down to allow for the operation of 5G networks and driverless cars. The article also gives the impression that 5G is safe for people.

There’s a critique of the Consumer article on 5G at the link below: https://wirelesslimit.wordpress.com/2019/08/27/consumer-nz-magazine-fails-to-inform-readers-about-5g-despite-overwhelming-scientific-evidence/

Many doctors and scientists oppose 5G

Of course Vodafone doesn’t bother to mention on its page that literally thousands of doctors and scientists are so concerned about the roll out of 5G without proper pre-market safety testing that they have signed international appeals on this issue, such as this one: https://www.5gspaceappeal.org/the-appeal/

Vodafone’s 5G information page does not once mention the “C” word

Vodafone NZ doesn’t once mention the word “cancer” or “carcinogen” (cancer-causing agent) on its 5G and health page even though microwave radiation was classified as a possible carcinogen (Group 2B) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2011. (More recent research had led to calls for this form of radiation to be reclassified as a probable or proven carcinogen.)

New Zealand has the second highest age-standardised cancer rate in the world. One thing we do not need as a nation is even more of our people developing cancer through unnecessary exposure to potentially carcinogenic radiation.

Vodafone makes a lot of money out of services that use wireless radiation

Vodafone* hopes to make a lot of money from 5G – and Vodafone is also marketing 4G-based wireless broadband internet and wireless home phone systems.

It is likely to want to build more cell phone towers in order to provide these services plus it plans to “upgrade” many more sites to be able to deploy 5G before other NZ companies. https://www.broadbandcompare.co.nz/n/nz-first-5g-network-announced

Naturally the company wants you to think that cell phones, cell phone towers, 5G etc. are safe.

The company does not want to have to deal with opposition from local residents who do not want cell phone towers in their neighbourhood because of the potential health risks documented in recent studies such as DNA damage and increased risk of diabetes.

Vodafone stands to lose a lot of money if people wake up to the vast amount of research that shows that the form of radiation used in these wireless communications systems can have adverse health effects – and choose safe hardwired alternatives instead.

You can protect your health by choosing hardwired communications whenever possible.

[1] https://www.vodafone.co.nz/our-networks/5g-safe-technology/

*To be fair, Vodafone is not the only company that want to market 5G in NZ; Spark and 2Degrees want to do this, too and that is why all three of these companies are the subject of a recently launched boycott.

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