Brain tumour cases prompt uni building closure

Brain tumour cases prompt uni building closure

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) has launched a second health and safety investigation in just five years, after seven staff members from the University’s Bourke Street campus were diagnosed with brain tumours. Five of the cases are not malignant. The top floors of the Tivoli building are set to be closed. All the staff involved have worked on those floors of the business faculty for up to 10 years. Workers on the floors, who include administration staff and lecturers, have been relocated while the investigation takes place. RMIT spokesman Steve Somogyi says some telecommunications transmitters have raised concerns. “However they have been there for quite some time, so they were there when the original investigation in 2001 was conducted, so we do not rule in or rule out any conclusions at this stage until the experts who are doing their studies give us their report,” he said. It is believed there is a mobile phone transmitter on the roof of the building. Tertiary Education Union state secretary Matt McGowan says at least five of the cases are not malignant, and there is no concern for students at this stage. “The majority of the staff who’ve been impacted have been there for 10 years, and this has come up after something like 10 years worth of service,” he said. “So we don’t believe it’s something that would impact on students, who are in and out of the building once every now and then.”

As for the phone tower cancer fears at the Melbourne Australia RMIT building I have to suggest that it is premature to point the blame at the cell phone towers on top of the RMIT building. The TV aerial shots of the building roof show the antennas mounted on a very tall and substantial equipment building immediately above the top floor where the majority of people with brain tumours worked. As my understanding is that the microwave transmissions go out horizontally and not directly down it is unlikely the cell phone antenna emissions have any significant role in possible EMR exposures to the people in the floor below.

Besides the equipment to power the antennas the equipment building would most likely house the air-conditioning equipment, elevator lift motors (generating transients) and possibly a building electrical sub-station, as well as lots of electrical cabling in the ceiling of the top floor.

So people working on the top floor underneath the equipment building are very likely getting a good dose of ELF "dirty electricity" with high voltage transients, harmonics, and RF all riding on the 50 Hz power supply. So perhaps this is more of a headache for the power utility guys than the Telcos!

As far as an ELF connection with brain tumours there is the 1994 study By Theriault et al, from McGill University. The initial analysis of the data collected from three electric utilities found that workers who had the greatest exposures to magnetic fields had twelve times the expected rate of astrocytomas, a type of brain tumour, based on a small number of cases.

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".

From Charles Claessens:

"Christian Bornkessel did some measurements in Germany and found that beneath (also inside houses and under) mobile phone masts, there was substantial HF radiation, and in the order of the Swiss immision values." Download the report at:

And from Jean-Pierre Lentin:

"This a the familiar "misconception" (or blatant lie) propagated by the cell phone operators. In my experience as a science writer specialising in bio-electromagnetics, I've been told many times by certified experts (sometimes working for the phone companies - but recently retired) that every time they had to measure emissions from cell phone relays on the floor below (supposedly the "safest place"), exposition was much higher than predicted by calculations. The causes are unclear - under-estimation of secondary lobe, reflections by metallic structures or other synergistic effects, but the fact is clear : the floor below is definitely not a safe place !"