Union wants audit over tumours

12th May, 2006

AM - RMIT launches investigation into cause of staff brain tumours http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2006/s1636831.htm

Five members of staff at RMIT University in Melbourne have been diagnosed with brain tumours in the last month.

Two other staff members have developed brain tumours in recent years and the university.


Union wants audit over tumours

May 12, 2006

THE academics' union has demanded a health audit of at least 1,000 university workers and the closure of the top two floors of a building at the centre of a brain tumour scare.

Seven RMIT University staff members working in the building in central Melbourne have been diagnosed with brain tumours over the past seven years. National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) Victorian secretary Matthew McGowan said five of the tumours had been diagnosed in the past month alone. Of the seven tumours, two are malignant.

Concerns have been raised over a possible link between two mobile phone towers on the building's roof and staff members becoming ill.

"We want a full audit of all of the health issues in the building to see whether or not there are any other illnesses that haven't been picked up," Mr McGowan said.

"They ought to be exploring the health situation of basically anyone who has worked in that building for the last 10 years.

"I would be surprised if it's less than 1,000."

The union has called for the top two floors of the building, floors 16 and 17, to be closed.

Mr McGowan criticised the university for not closing the two floors after the union received reports today of some workers remaining on the 16th level.

"They have invited staff to go home if they wish but they haven't actually closed them," he said.

"We're very disappointed. We were led to believe that they had closed those two departments ... and that hasn't occurred."

Mr McGowan said the union was not claiming the cause of the tumours was "necessarily" the mobile phone towers.

"What we are saying is there is a coincidence here. The coincidence is strong enough that it deserves serious attention."

Meanwhile lawyer Andrew Dimsey, who is advising the union, warned that the workers suffering the tumours could bring a class action against the university but only "if it could be established that their illnesses were caused by workplace radiation exposure".

"The most likely avenues for legal redress are workers compensation claims and potentially common-law negligence claims," he said.

"However, that would really depend on the scientific evidence being in place."

A case also could be brought against Telstra which owns the phone towers it was shown the towers caused the tumours.

Dr Bruce Hocking, an occupational health medicine expert, described the incidence of seven brain tumours in the one workplace over seven years as "highly unusual".

The normal incidence of brain tumours was one per 10,000 people annually, he said.

The building should be investigated for possible causes including the air-conditioning and any dangerous material left behind from research activities.

It was an "open question" as to whether mobile phone towers could cause brain tumours, especially if they had not been installed properly, he said.

"We need to keep an open mind in this particular situation dependent on what we find about the mobile phone towers," he said.

An RMIT spokeswoman said there no workers remained on the 17th floor but some had chosen to continue working on the 16th floor.

Results for preliminary testing for electromagnetic radiation around the building conducted today by RMIT were not available.


This report was published at dailytelegraph.news.com.au

Copyright 2004 News Limited. All times AEST (GMT+10).

The World Today - Health experts investigate RMIT cancer scare http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2006/s1637123.htm
Occupational health experts are investigating the cause of a serious cancer scare at RMIT University in Melbourne Seven of the Universitys staff who all work in one university building have recent...

Informant: Eileen O'Connor


Important comments on the RMIT cell tower case

Following a message I sent out on the bioelectromagnetics list on the RMIT building controversy, several comments were posted that are quite relevant to the case and dispute the understanding that being directly underneath a cellphone antenna facility means the RF/MW levels are minimal. As one technician said to me just yesterday: “If you have a cell phone antenna on the roof of a building, the safest place to be is below”.

Don Maisch

Read further under:



Cancer Clusters in Vicinity to Cell-Phone Transmitter Stations

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