Brain tumour spate shuts uni school

By Adam Morton and David Rood
May 12, 2006 - 11:08AM
Page 2 of 2

"We value the health and safety of our staff and students very highly. The incidence of illness is disturbing and we shall continue to check for any possible cause connected to the building," Mr Somogyi said.

But RMIT union branch president Jeanette Pierce said the university agreed to shut the two floors only after being pressured by the union. "I'm a bit mystified that the university wasn't planning to vacate and that we had to make the point that they needed to vacate those two floors," she said.

There are more than 160 mobile phone towers in central Melbourne alone. A Telstra spokeswoman said last night the company had two towers at the Tivoli site, but both met health and safety standards and were tested regularly.

"An enormous amount of medical research has been conducted without any substantiated evidence of a link between mobile phone technology and adverse health effects, including cancer," she said.

RMIT management emailed all staff and students late yesterday and said health check-ups and counselling would be made available. About 600 staff work in the building.

Mr McGowan said shutting the two floors should be just the first step. "We think they should be testing all staff who have worked on those levels and not just for tumours. We need to understand what are the health risks that people are suffering," he said.

A help line for students and family members is available on 1800 155 945.

Tanya Stoianoff, the executive director of the Mobile Carriers Forum, which represents mobile phone companies, said there was no credible scientific evidence of health effects from living or working near a mobile phone base station.

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