by Tiffany Windsor
A topic that has been on my radar for the past year or so is 5G. Technically speaking, 5G is the next generation of broadband connection. There has been great concern in the news sources that I follow, that we should be concerned about the radiation associated with 5G technology.
Over the years, you have been using 2G, 3G and 4G but now, once again, things are speeding up! I’ve been gathering information for months and months and it’s really difficult to keep up with all the news and speculation regarding this next generation of wireless because there is a lot of marketing and rebuttals going on. I’m really sensitive to electromagnetic frequencies as are many others - for instance I tried to switch to a different cellphone manufacturer a few years back and it gave me such a bad headache when I used it, that I had to return it and go back to my prior service. I also recently purchased a blocking cover for my mobile phone and had to return it because it gave me odd pressure in my head and heart flutters. WTF??
What brought this topic of 5G back to mind for me is that in the March 14th issue of my local Thousand Oaks Acorn newspaper, the front page headline was “Expert predicts wave of wireless to hit Thousand Oaks.” The sub headline reads “Rules leave little room for public oversight.” What this article revealed for me is that the FCC has taken control of and limited or removed public feedback in our local communities.
Our Thousand Oaks City Council found that the only way to meet new FCC rules that require 5G applications be processed within two to three months was to go forward by handling without public notice, hearings or appeals and they passed an urgency ordinance because otherwise they couldn’t meet the FCC’s rules of the 2-3 month processing of applications. (In the past the approval process could take 8 - 9 months, due to public hearings and feedback.)
The 5G technology apparently promises to bring speeds that are 10 - 100 times faster than current cellular capabilities. Sounds good. Right? Not necessarily. Because 5G technology uses smaller towers, it needs more of them because their radius for each is about 300 - 500 feet instead of the miles covered by 4G towers. That means in my town of about 40 square miles, it states in this article that the city’s four wireless carriers would require between 4,000 - 5,000 new cell sites. I wonder how many are going to end up on my street.
While the regulations limit antennas to a maximum of 3 cubic feet in size, there’s no limit on the number of antennas at any one streetlight or public right of way structure. Placing these macro sites so close together is apparently the only way to keep the ultra-high frequencies of 5g safe enough to use, because if the signal gain was increased enough to allow for long-distances at those frequencies some serious health issues would occur. Communication over these radio bands isn't something new, so all the pitfalls are well known and the right precautions have been taken. We hope.
Awhile back, ehtrust.org shared that Verizon and Sprint have announced “test cities” for 5G which include Sacramento, Washington DC, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami and New York. A first glance at US government websites such as the CDC and EPA, the information shared could lead you to believe that this radiation is safe. Yet over 240 scientists and doctors from 41 nations who have published research in the field have appealed to the United Nations calling for urgent action to reduce these ever growing wireless exposures and they wrote the FCC for a moratorium on the roll-out of 5G citing the serious risks to human health and the environment. Published peer reviewed science already indicates that the current wireless technologies of 2G, 3G and 4G – in use today with our cell phones, computers and wearable tech – creates radiofrequency exposures which poses a serious health risk to humans, animals and the environment. Scientists are cautioning that before rolling out 5G, research on human health effects urgently needs to be done first, to ensure the public and environment are protected.
However, instead of prudent public health measures to ensure the public’s safety, governments such as the United States are quickly rolling out 5G networks in neighborhoods and are enacting various state and federal regulations to “streamline” and fasttrack the rollout. These regulations will end the ability of communities to halt and be a part of the decision making process in this massive 5G infrastructure buildout. That’s exactly what is happening in my town.
Wireless company documents clearly state that 5G will increase the levels of RF radiation in the vicinity of the antennas. Many countries such as China, India, Poland, Russia, Italy and Switzerland have far more protective and stricter radiation limits which will not allow the deployment of 5G as the increased 5G radiation would exceed their limits. These countries are creating roadblocks to the 5G rollout even though the broadband industry has launched large scale efforts to try to loosen the radiation limits. Obviously the wireless companies with the FCC’s support are silencing community feedback. And who decides what amount of radiation is healthy? What about those macro boxes that are possibly going to end up in front of our homes. With their small broadcast radius of 300 - 500 feet, they’re certainly going to be in your neighborhoods.
In my social media feed this last week, I read that a Belgian government minister has announced that Brussels is halting its 5G plans due to health effects. This government minister identified that a 5G pilot project is not compatible with Belgian radiation safety standards, and stated that she does not intend to make an exception.
In my home state of California, I found so far, only that the Marin County town of Mill Valley voted in early September 2018 to ban new sites in residential-zoned areas—not because they might be ugly, but because of fears over their electromagnetic fields.
In an article by theverge.com this last week, the writer headed to Chicago to test out Verizon’s announcement of the launch of their 5g. The writer reported that “coverage is so extremely sparse that, for right now, I’d caution anyone against buying and paying Verizon an extra $10 every month to receive 5G. He further wrote, “ It feels frustratingly random in Chicago. It’s centered around city attractions and high-density areas, but it’s inconsistent even at that. 5G is there for one block and gone the next. You’ll hit the 5G lottery on one street corner and then go several without the same luck. What kind of scavenger hunt is this? Perhaps he doesn’t know how many macro sites it will take to cover the city? And does he understand the risks that might come with the full launch?
Also, check out this great post at ehtrust.org where doctors testified at a Teton county commissioners hearing!! Along with addressing the concerns to humans from their personal experience, these doctors shared that 5G towers in particular have been shown to confuse wildlife’s ability to migrate and navigate. Bee populations wither in the vicinity of these towers as they interfere with the structures in the bees that allows them to navigate.
So, OK, I’m one person, in one small town who is concerned about the reports on 5g’s effects on our health, but this week, as we all start reading entire cities and countries banning this technology, I start to realize that we may not be hearing the entire story regarding the health risks. I’m sure this isn’t the last time I’ll be bringing up this topic.
Interested in digging in deeper to the political discussion on 5G? Watch this video at Edge of Wonder.