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Rationality cut off in mobile phone row

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7012.1046a (Published 21 October 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1046

Australia has the highest number of mobile phones per head on earth, with two million of the 18 million population hooked to the network, and 20% of all calls now being made on mobiles. But amid this communications revolution, Australia's main telecommunications provider, Telstra, has just been worked over by a small group of residents concerned about the possibility of cancer from electromagnetic radiation from the antennae.

The residents—mostly parents—objected to a high bank of transmitters mounted next to a kindergarten, a Girl Guide hall, a playgroup, a youth club, and a baby health centre in suburban Sydney. With their cherubic toddlers carrying placards, the group chained themselves to Telstra's fence, called in the media, and became the latest players in the timeless saga of little (virtuous) people …

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