Cell Phone Towers

Mobile telecommunication infrasturcture installations are a growing concern for many individuals and communities. We must learn how to effectively object to the placement of such infrastructure, take back community autonomy and demand an instant review of current exposure guidlines; the health of the public depends on it.

Invisble, Harmful Electrosmog Pollution

The Emissions

Cell phone towers and small cell installation emit microwave radio-frequency radiation and large electro-magnetic fields.

Amongst other precautionary measures recommended as a result of the Australian Senate Inquiry (2001) into electromagnetic radiation, it was recommended that the exposure level of 200 microwatts per square centimeter be adopted in Australia to ensure the safety of the public. This was not approved and subsequently, since that time Australians have continued to endure higher exposure levels (currently this is 1000 microwatts per square centimeter) when compared to other countries that have significantly lower exposure limits.


The Low-Impact Determination Act

As, as long as telecommunication antennae and associated infrastructure comply with the Iow impact Determination act – that is, the new antennae are placed on existing poles, towers or buildings and are not within a World Heritage Site or an area identified to be of significance to Aboriginal persons or Torres Strait Islanders, the installations CANNOT be contested by local Councils, who consider their hands tied.

No approval from State Government or a local council is required for installing Iow impact facilities defined as such in the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018, unless they are being installed on State Government or local council owned infrastructure.

As these low impact facilities are covered by the Federal legislation, no State Legislation is applicable. A local council therefore has no ability to prevent the installation of these Iow impact facilities unless they are to be installed on facilities within an environmentally significant area such as a World Heritage Site or an area identified to be of significance to Aboriginal persons or Torres Strait Islanders.

The Determination identifies that Iow impact facilities can be installed on existing structures such as buildings, poles or towers, whether they are on public or private land. However, where the pole, tower or building is privately owned, then a separate agreement (e.g. Iease agreement) has to be entered into with the private owner of the aforementioned infrastructure before they can be installed. This “Lease” agreement, which allows Telcos to negotiate directly with income starved Landowners, sets a VERY Dangerous Precedent. Not only does it BREACH an EXISTING Council/Community responsibility regarding the HEALTH of its constituents it temps INCOME STARVED landowners to install all kinds of dangerous antenna in their land without warning of the potential health risks.

The “Grounds for Objection” are often limited to Visual Amenity alone; there is failure to even MENTION the Public Health Act (sec 37.) and the health effects these technologies will have on the community. The Telecommunications Act further limits communities and local Council’s to only consider the effect of these installation on the land. Policy SHOULD ALSO BE OBLIGED to refer to AND be accountable to PUBLIC HEALTH Regulations.


Local Authorities & Regulators

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) are the Australian Government’s primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety. They claim to “protect the Australian people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation through understanding risks, best practice regulation, research, policy, services, partnerships and engaging with the community.”

YET the safety standards that ARPANSA wishes to maintain are severely outdated and fail to reflect the growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating harm. Set in 2002, the Australian safety standard does not adequately protect the public from cumulative exposure and the levels of radiation that have increased exponentially over the last two decades.

The Australian ARPANSA standard is based on the outdated ICNIRP International EMF human exposure Guideline (1998), which was only ever based on short term and immediate health effects from thermal health effects (heating of tissue). People have more daily exposure than 5-10 years ago.

In July 2018 – ICNIRP commenced a review of its guidelines. The outcomes have not been published yet. In October 2018, the TU held the IMT-2020 (5G) workshop regarding the assessments of human exposure to the radiofrequency electromagnetic field and the review of the ICNIRP guideline was discussed.

The workshop notes stated that:  It was noted that adoption of lower EMF exposure limits is likely to stifle innovation and deployment of networks and may impact on proven social, security and economic benefits that the technology provides to the community.”

Based on the above statement, a realistic public safety standard would have a major impact on economic benefits for higher processing capacity. If public safety is not the primary consideration, and if economic benefits has more weighting, then full transparency on this issue must be clearly stated. Public interest information would then include disclosure of risk assessment criteria and the rationale when establishing human exposure safety limits.

ICNIRP only provide guidance on human exposure limits, however, are not responsible on whether a technology is safe or not. This is the responsibility of governments and industry to ensure public safety before implementation of mobile technology based on microwaves and mmWaves. Setting an Australian safety standard based on an international guideline that is so far removed from scrutiny must effectively satisfy applicability, safety and probity requirements.

ARPANSA cannot give medical advice and while they do acknowledge those with Electro-Hypersensitivty, they do not factor such illnesses into public exposure policy, instead they refer affected individuals ……. “to seek medical advice from a qualified medical specialist.”

The disclaimer on their website: “This website is not a substitute for independent professional advice specific to your personal circumstances. Nothing contained in this site is intended to be used as medical advice and, in particular, it should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease in individual cases, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health practitioner’s professional advice. ARPANSA does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.”

Community Autonomy

The committee chair of the Australian Senate Inquiry (2001) into Electromagnetic Radiation suggested that the government review the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination Act 1997, and “as a precautionary measure, amend it to enable community groups to have greater input into the siting of antenna towers and require their installation to go through normal local government planning processes“. 

Once again the government ignored these recommendations and has since valued the pursuits of profit driven telecommunications industries over the wishes of the general public. 

It is time for Australian’s to take back their community autonomy, lobby members of government to protect the health their consitutents and fight current legislation that alows Telco’s to install radiation emitting infrastructure without public consent. 

Those Most Vulnerable

Those working, living, studying or spending significant periods of time within a 500  metre radius of the nearest cell tower or small cell installation are most vulnerable to the harmful effects.

Full body low level RF radiation exposures, for significant periods of time can also have a serious cumulative effect on the developing body of a child.

From 2015-2017 the 3rd leading cause of death in Australian children between the ages of 1-14 was brain cancer while the 5th leading cause of death was Leukemia, both of which are linked to EMR exposure. 

Clearly, we, as a community, need to take greater precaution when exposing children to W.H.O-admitted carcinogens, such as wireless RF emissions.

Children today have an unprecedented exposure that is higher than that experienced any generation before them and they have been shown to absorb more radiation than adults. It is imperative that our leaders protect the quality of life experienced by the next generation and those that follow.

There is evidence that genetic damage caused by exposure within current guidelines may not only damage the exposed child, but also their offspring.

The Health Effects

The World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use.

Extremely low-frequency magnetic fields are also classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) based on studies that have linked 300-400nT with doubling the chance of childhood leukemia. IARC Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation

Well known researchers, Dr. Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg published a thorough examination of the NTP study results in the October 2018 issue of The International Journal of Oncology. They stated , “We conclude that there is clear evidence that RF radiation is a human carcinogen, causing glioma and vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma). There is some evidence of an increased risk of developing thyroid cancer, and clear evidence that RF radiation is a multi‑site carcinogen. Based on the Preamble to the IARC Monographs, RF radiation should be classified as carcinogenic to humans, Group 1.”  Their 2018 article “Comments on the US National Toxicology Program technical reports...” is here https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/ijo.2018.4606

A recent study conducted in 2019 found that students attending schools close in proximity to cell phone towers, with high RF-EMF exposures, had delayed fine and gross motor skills, spatial working memory and attention difficulties compared to the students with limited exposure (Meo 2019).

Another study conducted in 2007 by Abdel-Rassoul et al, published in Neurotoxicology, found that the prevalence of neuropsychiatric complaints,  such as headaches (23.5%), memory changes (28.2%), dizziness (18.8%), tremors (9.4%), depressive symptoms (21.7%), and sleep disturbance (23.5%) were significantly higher among those in close proximity to cell phone base stations as opposed to the control group: (10%), (5%), (5%), (0%), (8.8%) and (10%), respectively (P<0.05) ( Abdel-Rassoul et al, 2007)

Useful Links

Simply living close to a cell tower will pose threats to human health. Governments need to take measures to reduce exposures from cell tower emissions. Cell towers should not be near schools, hospitals or people’s homes. Public health agencies need to educate the public on how to reduce exposure from all sources of wireless radiofrequency radiation- be it from cell towers or cell phones or Wi-Fi in schools.

Dr. David Carpenter – former Dean of the School of Public Health and the University of Albany.

Objecting To An Installation


Collect Emitter Details from RFNSA.com.au

Search for existing or proposed mobile telecommunication tower locations RFNSA.com.au. Determine the proximity to your home, work and/or school; the type of technology (5G, 4G, small cell); the emission levels and community consultation periods. Identify the Telco, the installer, local council and the landowner.


List Down Any Health Effects

Obtain a report from your GP. Ascertain whether or not the EMR emissions or proposed emissions are or could pose a risk of harm to your health. If risk of harm to health is advised, then request that the medical practitioner advise on recommendations as to what needs to be done to remedy the situation. Contact SEEN for assistance with this process.


Send An Objection Letter To Council

Send your objective notice to each councilor/aldermen within the Council.  Build a relationship, try to meet with them to explain your situation.


Rally Your Neighbours

Get your neighbours involved. Develop petitions, assist others in writing in objection letters and educate the community at large of their right to safe no to being irradiated at home, work or school. Consider hosting a community meeting. SEEN can assist with this process.


Send Letter to Editor of Local Media / Newspaper

Ensure your voice is heard and empower others to speak up. Be sure to cite scientific literature and discuss our right to object to radiation emitting infrastructure. For assistance, contact SEEN.


Get Legal Advice

Advice should include your legal position, legal options, legal remedies, chance of success and pitfalls etc.

The advice may include opinion as to remedy concerning laws that apply the precautionary principle. The precautionary principle is an integral component in State or Federal policy and is usually found embedded in the majority of State and Federal legislation. The precautionary principle as a rule should be actioned when an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause-and-effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.

Health risks associated with EMR though not fully established scientifically at present would still require precautionary measures to be taken by emitter and governmental decision makers.


Measure The Emissions

Contact a building biologist to conduct a report as to the level of EMR emissions in your home, workplace and/or school. Take photos of the installation before and afterwards for evidence. It would be useful to document the radiation emission levels before and after new installations and/or upgrades to 5G. Consider buying an EMF Meter of your own.


Send An Objection Letter To The Telco

Make your objections known to the Telco. In the objection notice state that you ‘do not consent to be irradiated with their EMR emissions  and that you have established a reasonable belief and fear and/or apprehension that the emissions pose a risk of harm to health and a risk of damage to your property.  Send by registered mail.


Compile Evidence

Keep original copies of ALL notices or letters received from Telco and local council. Compile all relevet documentation, including the emission reports on the RFNSA website and the emission reports provided by you, or your building biologist.


Follow The Broomhall 22 Step Plan

MAN MADE NON IONIZING ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION STEPS TO PREPARE EVIDENCE FOR LITIGATION and POTENTIAL REMEDIES © Raymond J Broomhall is a legal strategy developed by Barrister Raymond Broomhall to help individuals prepare for litigation. Please refer to SEENs “Legal Preparation Checklist”, a data collection tool based on Broomhall’s 22-step legal strategy and contact SEEN for more information.

Related Resources:

  • Council & Community Checklist
  • EMR Legal Preparation Checklist
  • InfoSheet: A guide for GP Appointments
  • GP Pro-forma
  • GP Info-Pack
  • Lawyer Info-Pack
  • EHS Checklist

    *Some resources are available to SEEN Members only.

Safe EMF Education Network

Helping communities make informed decisions & access technology safely



Adelaide, South Australia

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