Health Advocates Worry 5G Will Create Toxic Brew


natoaSome health advocates are fearful of the FCC’s 5G deployment push.

Inside Towers has reported some local governments are dragging their feet in approving applications to site small cells and DAS on utility and light poles. The wireless industry is “losing patience” with “obstructionist” municipalities, according to the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors.

NATOA represents local governments in administrative rulings, judicial decisions, and technology issues impacting the interests of local governments. Many of its advocacy efforts involve emerging issues regarding broadband planning and wireless zoning.

The Wheeler Commission has been especially focused on broadband deployment; this July the Commission adopted rules for wireless broadband above 24 GHz, making the U.S. the first country to make this spectrum available for 5G mmWave technology. The Report & Order opens up frequencies for new flexible uses that will include mobility, internet access, point-to-point as well as satellite use, according to Telecom Engine.

But Ed Friedman, spokesperson for the Maine Coalition to Stop Smart Meters, likens technologies like DAS to “Dangerous and Stupid.” Friedman tells O’Dwyers: “DAS brings high density antenna networks emitting permeating and polluting radiofrequency radiation, a likely human carcinogen, to a room near you.”

However the 1996 Telecom Act says that “No state or local government may regulate the placement, construction or modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of environmental effects of radio frequency emissions.” Healthcare advocates want to have that portion of the law overturned, according to O’Dwyers.

Former FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, who now leads the Wireless Infrastructure Association, is clear: “You can’t deny wireless service under the Telecom Act.”

“We don’t see a need for broad federal preemption of what has traditionally been the regulatory purview of local communities,” says NATOA Immediate Past President Tony Perez. Most cities have cooperated with the wireless industry, according to Perez, who says what’s really needed is a “frank, open dialogue” on the benefits of 5G.

Ecologist Lynn Wycherley compares the effects of wireless microwaves on people “comparable to, if not worse, than those associated with cigarette smoking,” in an article published by The Ecologist that criticizes the U.K.’s digital economy bill. Anthropogenic radiation has “skyrocketed” with the advent of radar, cell phones and “dense WiFi networks,” states Wycherly, according to O’Dwyers. “Device-crowded spaces, such as our peak commuter trains and all-wireless classrooms, may be creating a subtly toxic environment.”  Several scientists cited geneticist Dr. Mae-Wah Ho’s paper “Drowning in a Sea of Microwaves” which called pollution from wireless technologies a “pressing issue of our times.”

November 7, 2016

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