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Phone Towers Of Terror
The Courier Mail
Journalist: Lachlan Heywood
September 20, 2006

The endless roll-out of mobile phone towers has been recognised by the Federal Government as a legitimate health fear.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan yesterday warned the health of people working or living near mobile phone towers should not be overlooked in the rush by telcos to roll out new networks.

In an address to the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, Senator Coonan highlighted cases of brain tumours among several RMIT staff in Melbourne who worked underneath two mobile phone towers.

"In this environment of rapid change, it is inevitable that some individuals and communities will have concerns about the roll-out of mobile phone and wireless broadband towers," Senator Coonan said.

Despite public concern about radiation and loss of visual amenity, the number of mobile towers in Brisbane has doubled to more than 600 in recent years.

Statewide, there are more than 13,000, with many located on the top of churches, creches and sporting clubs.

Senator Coonan said it was vital the concerns of the community were taken into account.

"This means balancing the needs of nearly 19 million mobile phone users in Australia with concerns residents may have about living near a base station," she said.

"These were highlighted earlier this year by the case of the four people diagnosed with brain tumours after working in a building occupied by the RMIT."

Senator Coonan said audits of base stations were being undertaken to ensure compliance with the Government's "exposure regulations".

But Labor's communications spokesman Stephen Conroy said legal loopholes were allowing large mobile phone towers to be installed without adequate consultation.

Senator Conroy said a Labor government would undertake a "thorough scientific analysis" to determine the most appropriate exclusion zone distance for mobile phone towers.

Overseas studies have linked electro-magnetic radiation to memory loss, infertility, leukemia and eye cancer.

Research in Australia is continuing.

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