Labour candidates said she doesn’t know if 5G is safe

Last night there was a candidate’s debate in Auckland Central. I’ve been sent a transcript of the Q+A for a question on .

Audience Member:  Given that the proposed higher frequencies for 5G have had very little testing for, thank you, [mic given] – i’l start again, given that the proposed frequencies for 5G have had very little safety testing for humans, for insects [inaudible] … should we be rolling out this untested technology in Auckland city centre?

The question is based on a false premise. There has been massives of safety testing of the frequencies used for 5G. To quote the PMCSA:

Radiation that has frequencies higher than that of visible light, like the ultraviolet radiation rays in sunlight, and X-rays, can damage the cells in our bodies, potentially causing cancer if exposure is high. These types of waves are called ‘ionising radiation’, which reflects their ability to break the chemical bonds in molecules, which can damage cells. So exposure to sunlight is linked with skin cancer for those who spend a lot of time in the sun without protection.

In contrast, the radio waves used for 5G have frequencies that are ten thousand times too low to damage molecules (so are called ‘non-ionising’). The only fully documented way 5G radio waves can cause harm is through their heating effect and this can only happen at very high intensities.

Radio waves can heat our body if we are over-exposed to them. However, these effects can only occur when exposed directly to a very powerful source so that the heat builds up enough to damage tissue before it dissipates. 5G sources are simply not powerful enough to cause damage in this way.

As the thermal effects of radio waves are well-understood, the limits at which they can potentially begin to cause harm are clearly defined. NZ has set its own standards, which are much lower than this limit (about 50 times lower). This means that there is a large safety margin built into our standard.

So we do know the frequencies are non-ionising and the level of 5G waves is at less than 2% of the level which could cause harm from heating.

So how did the candidates answer the question?

Emma:  I’m very supportive of 5G.  I think it’s fantastic technology that will help revolutionise some of our industries and help our America’s cup guys win the cup next year [inaduable] other things like science and technology for a number of advanced medical operations.  I’m really excited about what the opportunities are for us as a country.  We invested in ultra-fast broadband network for New Zealand.  We got through Covid because we had that technology and I’m excited for what’s to come.

Excellent response. Ignores the misinformation about 5Gb being unsafe and talks up its huge benefits.

Vernon: Our future in New Zealanders is embracing technology and innovation, not going the opposite direction.  My understanding, and I’m sure I’m going to regret saying this, but my understanding of concerns around broadcast frequency is not so much to do with the frequency but the power of the broadcast.  So if it’s actually lower power and there are going to be more of these cells then the concern is that actually it’s quite the opposite.  You know.  You’re not actually being exposed to as much of that particular electro-magnetic radiation the way it works.  But look, the way forward is to embrace technology and innovation and not to run away from it.

Also an excellent response. Actually quotes the science about it being the power of the broadcast.

Chloe:  I guess, I guess just in addition to tautoko to these two points I would also add there has been understandably been a history of fear of change and there is often at times like this, particularly over the last decade or two, there has been a lot of information that ends up being shared on social media and on the internet [inaudible] and that in my role, if I have the privilege of representing all of you, I think it is really important to walk through that with you so that there is isn’t this on-going division which has led to some people, for example, marching during lockdowns which is not particularly constructive to all of our public heaths.

A third excellent response backing up the previous two and specifically saying we need to counter misinforation.

Helen:  I’m … [inaudible] It’s going to surprise you.  I don’t know.  It’s not that I am um I … I … I actually take the point of these people.  One of the things you get out of politicians is that they pretend they know more than they do.  I am, I am an employment lawyer.  I have been reading and listening but I don’t know an answer to that question but it doesn’t mean I am actually supportive of you, sir, in that way because I am simply outside of the boundaries of my knowledge and I have to go with what the scientists and the people who do know are telling me in that area but I will read the material that I have been sent.  Thank you.

The Labour candidate said she doesn’t know 5G is safe because she’s only a lawyer!!

When someone presents a conspiracy theory to you, you don’t respond by saying you don’t know.

I’m not a physicist but I’m happy to say that 5G is safe, as I can read and comprehend.

I’m not a chemist but I’m happy to say fluoridation in NZ is safe, as I can read anc comprehend.

I’m not a rocket scientist but I’m happy to say the moon landing wasn’t faked.

I’m not a historian but I’m happy to say the holocaust actually happened.

I’m not a microbiologist but I’m happy to say 5G doesn’t cause Covid-19

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