RMA only breached closer than 5.5m to a 5G access point
The Ministry of Health's reply to our letter of July 4 ignores most of the points we make and concentrates on saying “With regard to the data presented by your correspondents, the graph showing SAR appears to be based on a misunderstanding of the relevant limits.” And indeed, page 43 of the thesis referred to in our letter shows that the ICNIRP guidelines on which NZ's SAR limits are based are slightly higher than the FCC's — our (ICNIRP's) limit is 2W/kg, while America's (FCC's) is only 1.6W/kg. Thus, moving the blue line in the SAR graph up to 2W/kg shows that NZ's Resource Management Act will only be breached closer than 5.5m to a 5G access point, not 6m.
We invite the MoH to tell your readers (a) the distances from the cellsites at which their “actual measurements near operating 5G cellsites” were made, and (b) whether or not these measurements were made within the directed beam of radiation from the antenna to a device actively communicating with the antenna. 5G uses beam-forming technology.
If the answer to (b) is no, such measurements would be as meaningless as measurements of machine gun power made from behind the gun.
The NZ MoH says “The New Zealand exposure standard's limits are recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)”.
ICNIRP is a small, self-selected NGO based in Germany. It and its parent organisation the World Health Organisation choose to ignore or dismiss the now vast volume of evidence disproving their claim that microwaves are harmless at intensities too low to heat tissue. We don't have to follow them.
It is time for New Zealand to uphold the proud tradition of independence that made us nuclear-free. We need to reject the biased testimony of the 20-odd “experts” in the world who agree with ICNIRP and listen to the hundreds of doctors and scientists who collectively have published thousands of research papers on the many biological harms caused by sub-thermal microwaves.
Susan Pockett (MSc, PhD) and Robin Kelly (FRNZCGP).
Response from NZ Ministry of Health
There is a variety of ongoing research into the possible health effects of radiofrequency fields. Many reviews of the research in this area have been published over the past few years. These reviews conclude that, overall, the results show that exposures which comply with current limits do not cause health effects.
Reviews of the research on radiofrequency fields and health carried out by national and international health and scientific bodies can be found on the Ministry of Health website (health.govt.nz) by searching “research non-ionising radiation”.
The Ministry welcomes further research in this area.
The data presented in the document your correspondents supplied with their previous letter refers to exposures from a 5G transmitter operating at 28GHz, and the upper graph claimed to show specific absorption rate (SAR) data and compared this with the FCC limit. However, neither the FCC nor ICNIRP applies limits in terms of SAR at frequencies of 28GHz so this graph, purporting to show that 5G exposures are far higher than from 4G transmitters, and exceeding the FCC limits at distances up to 6m from the transmitter, has no meaning.
We stand by our statement that “exposures to 5G signals are similar to, or lower than, those from existing cellsites”. This is supported by the second graph in the document.
Research in this area is complex and we are also keen to clarify another basic misunderstanding from this document. The claim (page 40) that “it is noteworthy to mention that FCC or ICNIRP do not have an exposure guideline for SAR in terms of far-field based on a belief that SAR is not effective to be considered in a far-field scenario” is incorrect. At the frequencies where SAR limits are specified by ICNIRP and the FCC they apply in both the near and far-field regions, and in fact form the fundamental exposure limits for both organisations in both regions.
The measurements made near operating cellsites in New Zealand were recorded at distances ranging from 30 to 130 metres from the sites. Most were made at or near locations accessible to the public close to the sites, where the highest exposures would be expected. Certainly, exposures within a few metres of these sites would have exceeded the public limits, as is the case with almost all sites, whatever technology they use. (The exception is low-power sites, such as so-called “small cells”, that are designed to cover more limited areas and for which the exposures are correspondingly lower.)
As stated previously, regulations under the Resource Management Act would not permit cellsites that produce exposures in public areas that exceed the public limits.
Ministry of Health Spokesperson
Footnote from Ed: The Gisborne Herald has been advised that this is primarily a response to the letter above, however, the MoH also had Mary Redmayne’s column made available to it for response.