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Indybay Feature
The 5G Juggernaut: Coming Soon to a Utility Pole Outside Your Home
by jenny miller
Saturday Jan 4th, 2020 10:13 AM
Telecommunications companies are planning to blanket towns throughout the U.S. with huge numbers of close-proximity “small” cell towers, in order to implement 5G, which stands for 5th generation wireless. Many people assume that 5G stands for 5Ghz, the number they see on their internet connection. This 5G is something entirely different, and will have almost unimaginably devastating impacts on our health and environment.
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If the 5G (5th generation wireless) rollout has started in your community, you may already be aware of some of the downsides, since you will have started noticing large, ugly, radiation-emitting structures appearing on utility poles throughout residential and commercial areas, maybe even outside your house.

The frequencies of the new 5G antennas will be much, much stronger than the current 4G (4G operates at 6Ghz or less, while 5G begins at 24 Ghz and can go up to 100, or even 300, Ghz). The new "small cells," will be located everywhere that people live, work and play.

Thousands of studies have found harm to health and the environment from wireless radiation (see https://www.greenmedinfo.health/anti-therapeutic-action/electromagnetic-fields and and http://www.bioinitiative.org), and these dangerous effects will be magnified tremendously with 5G. An industry spokesperson admitted to Congress that there are no studies showing the safety of 5G radiation, and they do not plan to do any.

The term small cells may sound innocuous, but the reality is quite different. The wireless antennas will emit microwaves and basically function as cell towers. Each installation can have over 1000 antennas that are transmitting simultaneously and 24/7. (See https://www.cellphonetaskforce.org/5g-from-blankets-to-bullets/)

5G will not only utilize 3G and 4G wireless frequencies already in use, but also add higher frequency submillimeter and millimeter waves As described by Joel Moskowitz of Berkeley’s School of Public Health, writing in the Scientific American, over 250 scientists and medical doctors from around the world issued a declaration calling for an immediate moratorium on the rollout of 5G cell antennas, citing human health effects, and impacts to wildlife. (https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/we-have-no-reason-to-believe-5g-is-safe/)

Peer reviewed, published science indicates that exposures to wireless radiation increases rates of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, male infertility, memory loss and Alzheimers. (See Sarah Benson’s review of the studies here https://biocircuitry.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/2014-Joining-the-Dots-now.pdf . Of particular note are the cancer clusters that have been found to occur in people living close to cell towers, which Benson describes beginning on p. 9.) The ubiquitous new small cells will have the same 4G technology that have been found to be associated with these greatly increased rates of cancer, with the added bonus of the ultra-high frequency 5G technology. The evidence of harmful health impacts was given a big boost recently with the release of a $30-million dollar study, conducted by the National Toxicology Program of NIH, which found “clear evidence” of a link between wireless radiation from cell phones/wireless devices and cancer. https://microwavenews.com/news-center/ntp-final-rf-report

Contrary to popular belief, 5G will do nothing to bring high speed internet to under-served communities. For some, it will provide even faster download speeds and connect the Internet of Things, such as driverless cars. This radiation harms various forms of wildlife, and will provide much more surveillance of our personal lives. (https://www.dundee.ac.uk/news/2018/5g-study-raises-security-concerns-for-next-generation-of-mobile-communication.php) More about immense 5G surveillance and cyber security issues here: https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-communications/the-terrifying-potential-of-the-5g-network

Because 5G is somewhat blocked by buildings and trees, the quality of connections will not be great and the speeds will slow down when many people are using it. 5G even prevents accurate weather prediction, which is so essential in these days of increasingly devastating climate events. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/11/22/global-g-deal-poses-significant-threat-weather-forecast-accuracy-experts-warn/?fbclid=IwAR1M_DdlYXhZkRYinNRchdPVfWUuR7hCFV5dRbxBqPsdbp1QCLssr9YLFS4)

At the federal level, the FCC is trying to strip communities of the right to have any oversight of these installations and no moratoriums are allowed. Hundreds of cities and government entities are suing the FCC to have this undemocratic order overturned (San Jose et al vs. FCC)--a case which will be heard in 2020 in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals In the meantime, community activists are pressuring their local governments to pass protective ordinances insofar as the law permits. Cities can’t ban 5G but they can require setbacks from residences, schools, facilities for the elderly, etc.

Although an FCC order tried to eliminate NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) reviews for the installations, a recent court decision, Keetoowah vs. FCC, struck down that part of the FCC order. Thanks to an intervenor brief filed by the National Resources Defense Council and a courageous individual named Ed Myers, the decision applies to all small cells in the U.S., not just those on tribal lands. Activists in some cities are now demanding that their local government reject all telecom applications as incomplete if there is no NEPA review for each proposed installation.

Generally the telecoms have never done meaningful NEPA reviews, simply lumping all small cells into the NEPA description of “categorical exemption,” although in a few cases, Environmental Assessments are done. In all cases these so-called “reviews” have found that there is no significant environmental impact, ignoring the large number of studies which show extremely harmful impacts of wireless radiation on trees, birds, bees, and endangered species (https://mdsafetech.org/environmental-and-wildlife-effects/). As a side note, if these ubiquitous towers wipe out bees and other pollinators, they will also destroy most of our food supply, which depends on these insects. However, activists are hoping that the rollout can be slowed down long enough for the cities' case to be heard in the 9th District Court of Appeals, since many legal observers anticipate that court decision will vacate the FCC’s attempt to decimate local control of 5G.

Studies show property values drop up to 20% on homes near cell towers. If the telecoms are successful, there will be several ugly installations on each block, because they claim that the cell towers have to be much closer to customers’ homes, since 5G technology does not travel as far as 4G. In some localities, cities are attempting to ramp down neighborhood outrage by saying these hideous installations will be disguised by decorative facades. For the people most affected by close proximity cells--those who have very severe reactions when exposed to high levels of wireless radiation--decorative facades are actually worse than having to look at the technological clutter. Once they are hidden, no one will be able to protect themselves or their children by trying to stay away from the small cells and the massive amount of radiation they emit. Even without the decorative facades, many people have negative symptoms resulting from wireless radiation, but have no idea that these symptoms (e.g. head pains, nose bleeds, insomnia, brain fog, heart pain and irregularities, blocked or ringing ears) could be related to a nearby 4G/5G installation.

Wireless antennas present major worker and public safety issues: Fire fighters are very familiar with the severe neurological damage caused by having cell towers on fire stations. They got stations exempted in two pieces of California legislation regarding placement of cell antennas (AB 57 and SB 649). If they’re not safe for fire fighters, who are among the strongest and healthiest members of our society, how can they be safe for all the rest of us? Utility workers will be the most heavily impacted of all (see https://ehtrust.org/cell-tower-worker-accident-health-safety-issues/) and there are news reports that over 200,000 utility workers annually experience severe adverse health effects from exposure to high levels of cell tower radiation.

The heavy large equipment cabinets mounted on poles present extreme fire hazards. Cars run into utility poles, wind storms knock them down. Even before 5G, overloaded poles were the cause of a huge fire in Malibu in 2007. Even more terrifying, the cabinets have power back-up on the ground, large receptacles that contain propane or lithium batteries,which are well known fire hazards. Some cities in fire-prone California have figured out it would be a good idea to get rid of these ticking time bombs. and are eliminating the back up power boxes from the installations. Unfortunately, in most cities they will still be utilized.

To make this scenario even more 1984ish, many telecoms are placing smart meters on the small cell equipment to measure the power usage. Smart meters have a long established history of causing fires. To give just a few examples, the city of Portland had to remove 40,000 smart meters on people’s houses due to fire hazards. In the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, hundreds of thousands of smart meters were removed due to the risk of fire. A former employee of a California utility testified at a CPUC hearing in Santa Rosa in 2015 that he observed that when someone’s electric service had been turned off and then was re-started, there was a power surge which sometimes resulted in a fire caused by the smart meter malfunction. When he brought this problem to his superiors’ attention, they fired him. This whistle blower was also interviewed in the excellent documentary “Take Back Your Power, which is now available for free viewing at. https://takebackyourpower.net/?fbclid=IwAR244iL8gjSEigqI4h1v508ZT72e12JFXVL69VQeJZOcdoDR-kbF5_XVqwE

For a very thorough analysis of why smart meters present such a huge fire risk, see this report summary https://smartmeterharm.org/2019/07/23/fires-and-electrical-problems-from-smart-meters-and-digital-utility-meters/

What can people do to oppose this onslaught against our human rights and democratic decision-making? One way is to share this information with your friends and neighbors, so they will keep the pressure on your local, state, and federal officials, to abolish the rules that prevent intelligent local oversight of telecom installations--which in the case of 5G would mean banning all 5G close proximity cells. Get on the mailing list of groups like Environmental Health Trust and 5GCrisis, so you can be kept informed about new developments and organizing efforts that are happening around the country.

You can lobby Congressional representatives to support HB 530 (Eshoo) and S. 2012 (Feinstein), the bills that would overturn the FCC’s regulations which deprive local governments the right to regulate 5G. You can also urge them to oppose HR 7236, which would severely limit the liability of telecoms for injuries caused by exposure to radiation from their equipment, as long as the equipment meets the FCC’s safety guidelines—hopelessly outdated guidelines established decades ago, before much of the scientific evidence of harm had been produced. (One can’t help but note the extreme irony of the telecoms wanting to be protected from lawsuits as long as they are following the FCC safety guidelines. Could it be that the companies are aware of just how useless those safety guidelines are, and don’t want to have to pay out for the immense number of 5G lawsuits that are sure to be arriving at their doorsteps?)

Above all, we need to re-think our ever increasing addiction and dependence on wireless gadgetry. Cell phones generally stop working in a local emergency, so we need corded landlines, preferably copper wired, to be able to get out safely. Even in non-emergencies, corded connections provide clearer communication, and you will have the added benefit of not running the risk of giving yourself or your family cancer. Many states, such as California, allow you to opt out of having wireless electricity and gas meters (aka “smart meters”) for a small monthly fee. You should always insist on getting a purely mechanical analog meter as replacement, since those are the ones that do not emit harmful RF radiation. (In some cases the utilities try to give people who opt out analog meters that are very high in a different type of harmful radiation, LF, so be sure to note any unusual symptoms after the analog is installed. If you notice a problem, contact a building biologist, or you can do your own test for both RF and LF radiation with a relatively inexpensive meter, such as one made by Cornet.)

Gadgetry addiction is especially harmful to children, since they are exposed to wireless radiation at home and at school, and the impacts are worse for them, since they have thinner skulls, and their brains are not fully developed. Studies have found that children are happier, learn more and have better social skills if they engage in the usual childhood outdoor play, as opposed to sitting immobile, glued to their glowing electronic toys. Young people are so accustomed to be surrounded by wireless tech, that some are even surprised to find out that high-speed corded internet connections, like DSL and ethernet, exist.

In conclusion, are we prepared to give up the beauty of the natural world, our children’s health, our right to privacy-- just to have the latest wireless gadget, or to have a driverless car? Even if you do feel the benefits of an all-wireless all-the-time environment outweighs the risks to you and/or your family, by using these connections you are contributing to immensely harmful impacts to your neighbors, your town, and to the future of the planet. As long as there is ever-increasing customer demand, the telecoms will keep trying their utmost to find ways to outmaneuver government regulators. On the other hand, what if the telecoms invited everyone to their glorious 5G extravaganza-- and nobody came?
(If you live or work in Berkeley, and would like to connect with the stop 5G group Wireless Radiation Education and Defense, you can contact them at 5GFreeBerkeley [at] gmail.com. There are stop 5G groups in numerous other towns and cities throughout California and the U.S. You can find contact info for most of these groups at https://www.5gcrisis.com/join-a-group.)



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