As the deployment of the 5G is catching on, in various places so is catching up a worry about potential health effects of this technology. How meaningful it can be to the 5G deployment remains unclear but the recent news from Brussels (Belgium), Geneva (Switzerland) and Rome (Italy) indicate that some of the arguments presented by the people worrying about the 5G radiation health effects may bring a moratorium on deployment of the 5G and requests to assess the impact on health.

Recently, I received link to the news story in Australia where citizens of the Blue Mountains region called for moratorium on 5G deployment.

According to the news in the ‘Blue Mountains Gazette’, the council of the Blue Mountains region has unanimously agreed with the Mayor Mark Greenhill proposal to write to Federal Minister for Communications Bridget McKenzie, Opposition Communications Minister Michelle Rowland, as well as MP for Macquarie Susan Templeman, about the issue of “significant community concern [with the health impact of the 5G]”.

At the council meeting opinions were expressed that the lack of research on 5G and health precludes unequivocal support for this technology:

“…Greens Cr Kerry Brown said: “I’m not a scientist [but] I don’t want to be a guinea pig,” adding that “even tobacco and asbestos” were once deemed “wonder products”.

“I don’t think this product should be rolled out until we know the impacts,” she added.…”

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The author of the story in the ‘Blue Mountains Gazette’, B.C. Lewis, referred also to the opinions and writings of Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman of the Sydney University:

“…“The blindingly obvious core problem with mobile phone alarmists central claim is that there has been no increase in brain cancer incidence in Australia since mandatory cancer registry records began being kept in 1982. Similar results have been reported for England, the USA, the Nordic countries and New Zealand.

“The most elementary test of the hypothesis that mobile phone and other electronic appliances like WiFi may give you brain cancer has repeatedly fallen at the first and most obvious hurdle. If they cause brain cancer, where are all the bodies?…”

However, the story is not so simple and obvious as Professor Chapman presents it. I have written about the Chapman’s study referred in the ‘Blue Mountains Gazette’ story. It seems that Professor Chapman oversimplifies and trivializes and, when asked for an explanation of scientific methodology used in his study, simply avoids to answer the question (Professor Simon Chapman responds…).

Finally, the journalist B.C. Lewis provided a link to a science blog post published by Professor Chapman in ‘The Conversation’. B.C. Lewis referred to ‘The Conversation’ as

“…an independent media outlet with articles written by academics…”

This opinion of “academic independence” might be used to reassure readers that the posts in ‘The Conversation’ are reliable and represents the totality of opinions. However, it might not always be so, especially in areas of science where the very ambivalent scientific data (or lack of it) is being used to justify safety of the very profitable technology, as it is in the wireless technology arena.

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I have published once in ‘The Conversation’. My story “Do mobile phones give you brain cancer?” has got nearly 42.000 reads. I was “lucky” as seen below.

In summary, what is being published in ‘The Conversation’ depends on what scientists suggest and what editors (non-experts) consider as important or interesting.

First, scientist can submit a pitch, presenting in brief what the story will be about and why it is important to be published by ‘The Conversation’. Then, editors at ‘The Conversation’ review the pitch and decide whether it is interesting/important enough to continue discussion with the author scientist. There are submitted numerous pitches and only a small part can be accepted. Once the pitch is accepted, the scientist writes the story of a certain length, submits it and editors edit it for clarity and length, as necessary. Once this is done, the author approves the final version and it is published.

However, not any scientist can publish in ‘The Conversation’. The scientists from the academic institutions paying fees to ‘The Conversation’ are given a very strong preference. Scientists from non-paying institutions have to have an exceptional story…

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As it happened to me, my story submitted to ‘The Conversation’ was interesting enough to be published, as exception of the rule, because the University of Helsinki did not belong to sponsors of ‘The Conversation’. After this first story I have submitted few pitches to ‘The Conversation’ but there was no interest anymore and the refusal answer was simply that I am not form a paying academic institution.

So, for example my responses to the writings by Professor Simon Chapman or Professor Rodney Croft were not considered because of this non-paying-academic-institution technicality.

Therefore, scientists like Chapman or Croft have an upper-hand and can present and disseminate their opinions on ‘The Conversation’ whereas scientists from non-paying (non-sponsoring) academic institutions, responding to their opinions and presenting different scientific view can be easily refused based on technicality

Thus, while the individual blogs by individual scientists, or their groups, are scientifically independent, the whole lot of science blogs published on certain topic by ‘The Conversation’ does not represent the diversity of the scientific opinions… it presents science that might be skewed in certain direction. This is what the readers of ‘The Conversation’ should be aware of.

For those unfamiliar with ‘The Conversation’, publications in this science-news-medium are in a very high regard in Australia.

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place – Dariusz Leszczynski