Building Biology Resource Centre

Surf Coast Times - Telephone Tower Erected in Torquay


The following article was submitted by Raphael Siket to the Surf Coast Times and was published under letters to the editor. It details the potential effects of the telephone tower recently erected in the town of Torquay.




My name is Raphael Siket and I am the director of ecolibria which is a company that specialises in measuring and shielding against the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emitted by telephone towers. The telephone tower erected on the roof at 12 Gilbert Street with no regard to objections by residents is unfortunately common place. I am helping to shield a number of homes in Hawthorn where protests were held against the erection of a telephone tower in that area. Petitions were signed and Channel 7, 9 and ABC provided media coverage on the issue. However the tower was suddenly erected with complete disregard to all of the concerned residents.

Every frequency range and power output utilised by different telephone towers have there own specific standard. The standards for allowable power outputs from the various types of telephone towers are so high, that it is almost impossible to be exposed to a level of EMR that will be greater than the so called “Safe Australian Standard”. For example the telephone tower in Hawthorn that was recently erected had a standard of 4,6 Watts/m2. The European Building Biology standard for pulsed signals is 5 microwatts/m2. There are 1 million microwatts in 1 watt. Therefore Australian standards allow people to be exposed to 4,6 million microwatts/m2 and Building Biologists have found that biological affects may occur at 5 microwatts /m2?

What is important to understand at this point is that the standards are not based on biological affects but rather on thermal affects. This means that the concern lies with how much your body tissue heats up (thermal) and not on possible affects to your DNA, hormones, blood, cells etc. (biological). Doctors in Germany for example have found patients complaining of headaches, lack of concentration, short term memory loss, ringing in the ears, unexplained tingling in various parts of the body, insomnia and nights sweats when exposed to an EMR level of 10 microwatts/m2 or more. Long term exposure has controversially been linked to the possible development of tumours and various types of cancer.

Specialised curtaining material, window film and paint are used to shield against EMR from telephone towers. In Sweden electrical sensitivity is an acknowledged and recognised condition. For anyone who is diagnosed with electrically sensitivity, (currently around 5% of the population and rising dramatically) the local council will pay for shielding of that persons home. In Australia there is unfortunately no such thing and I believe we are far from anything like this being introduced.

I am a resident of Torquay and in my particular area there is very little EMR from phone towers (generally below 1 microwatt/m2) affecting the home. However residents, staff and shop owners that are spending long periods of time in close proximity to Gilbert Street will undoubtedly be exposed too much greater levels of EMR. It is a battle to fight government and telecom companies due to the enormous vested interests in the industry but the more informed people are the greater the chance of getting the authorities to listen. Only recently have the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the UK come out and said that we need to employ precautionary principles in the area of Electromagnetic Fields related to ELF’s (extra low frequencies)..

Thanks for taking the time to become a little more informed in this field.

    SURF COAST TIMES – August 2007 – Raphael Siket