5G Towers are Popping Up. Latest Developments.

Here are recent developments at the federal, state and local level regarding the “performance or usage of 5G in the U.S.

Federal developments

A lawsuit by the Environmental Health Trust against the FCC continues in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Brief is at Environmental Health Trust v. FCC, No. 20-1025 (D.C. Cir. July 29, 2020).  Please review pages 20-32 of the Brief which includes a summary of three major peer-reviewed scientific studies and reports and 30 scientific, medical and health appeals from health and environmental associations comprised of thousands of doctors who say these radio frequency (RF) emissions lead to cancer, reproductive problems, neurological effects, prenatal and perinatal complications through teenage years, and radiation sickness.

Also, the GAO recently published a report – 5G Wireless, Capabilities and Challenges for an Evolving Network. The GAO was tasked to assess 5G technologies and their implications, and interviewed government officials, industry representatives and researchers about the performance and usage of 5G networks. A few highlights:

Key challenges to the performance or usage of 5G in the U.S. …

  • availability and efficient use of spectrum
  • security of 5G networks
  • concerns over data privacy
  • concerns over possible health effects (page 26)

Privacy – Privacy advocates have expressed concerns about the use and storage of vast amounts of data without consent, including location data, which could compromise user privacy and lead to issues including identify theft, discrimination, and other harm. (page 38)

Possible health effects – The deployment of 5G technology … may exacerbate existing public concerns that RF energy exposure [radiation] may cause cancer or otherwise endanger human health. (pages 40-41)

High-band 5G frequencies – no studies have been carried out on the long-term health effects of high-band 5G frequencies …. According to [a National Cancer Institute] scientist, even after high-band 5G technology has been put into use in the coming years, the long-term health effects on people, if any, may not be known for many years later because some health outcomes could take decades to develop. … A National Institutes of Health scientist noted that the 5G frequencies are still not clearly defined, making it difficult to understand the impact on human exposure. (page 42)

Active antennas with beamforming … no research has been conducted to characterize long-term exposure to the multiple active antennas with beamforming that are a feature of 5G. It is unknown how the signals from these antennas may affect human health in the long-term. (page 42)

Certain high-risk populations, cancer, and non-cancer outcomes … further research was needed to characterize exposure to RF energy in juveniles, young children, and pregnant women and fetuses in observational studies. (page 42)

… Further research was also needed for non-cancer outcomes, such as developmental and behavioral outcomes. (page 42)

High-band research … Research into high-band technology could also help close the knowledge gaps and increase understanding of any possible health effects, including the effects of long-term exposure to high-band RF energy; characterizing exposure to highly directional beams and multiple antennas; and characterizing high-band exposure for high-risk populations, including pregnant women, and young children. (page 51)

State developments

In New Hampshire, a 5G Commission, the New Hampshire Commission to Study The Environmental and Health Effects of Evolving 5G Technology, released their Final Report on public health and 5G technology. A majority of the 5G Commission voted to support 15 recommendation which include: reduce public exposure to wireless devices and replace Wi-Fi with wired networks – in schools and libraries, ensure cell network infrastructure antenna setbacks from schools and homes; measure levels of cell network radiation; establish wireless radiation limits to protect tress and insects; establish more sophisticated measurement protocols to include high data rates; require software changes to reduce radiation exposure into the body; establish wireless radiation-free zones; and more (pages 9-17).

The Report referred to the FCC as a “captured agency with undue influence” by the wireless industry, citing Harvard Press Book Captured Agency: How the Federal Communications Commission is Dominated by the Industries it Presumably Regulates, which compares wireless industry tactics to the tobacco industry. It recommends U.S. federal agencies coordinate “to protect people, wildlife, and the environment from harmful levels of radiation.” (page 8)

The current Governor of New Hampshire is Chris Sununu, the son of John Sununu who was George G.W. Bush’s Chief of Staff. Governor Sununu graduated from MIT with a degree in environmental engineering specializing in finding solutions for toxic waste sites. So, the right person is in the right place at the right time. This is not about where on the political spectrum someone falls … it’s about the health and safety of all Americans as well as the rest of the world.

Local developments

In Florida, the Coconut Creek City Commission passed a resolution about 5G. It calls on Congress to fund a study to further investigate the effects of RF radiation from 5G through numerous federal agencies. Included with the resolution is a letter to the FCC about the duty of cities to educate the public and ensure the FCC’s safety standards are complied with.

“… it is time to narrow the focus and unify all stakeholders upon one common goal, the most important issue of all, and that is, unquestioningly, the health and safety of human life and future generations in the United States …

Coconut Creek attorney Eve Lewis is a member of the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Board. Coconut Creek Mayor Sandra Welch has been very diligent in asserting the viewpoints of her constituents to the FCC about RF radiation and health effects, attempted changes to federal statute interpretations sought by wireless industry lobbyists, and other matters. A copy of the Resolution can be viewed at https://ehtrust.org/coconut-creek-florida-commission-passes-resolution-on-health-and-environmental-effects-of-wireless-radiofrequency/. The Environmental Health Trust is an excellent web-site loaded with terrific information. 

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