Keene, NH Seeks to Establish Small Cell Ordinance Amidst EME Concerns

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Residents’ concerns about the potential health risks related to 5G technology were heard this week at a public hearing held by the town of Keene, NH. This is the third attempt by City Council’s planning, licenses and development committee to finalize an ordinance that establishes guidelines for the installation of 5G small cells.

Without an existing ordinance in place for handling small cell applications, Keene City Council members are challenged with complying with federal regulations while establishing local guidelines for site location, design, and aesthetic standards for installations in public rights-of-way. The Keene Sentinel reported that “an alternative would be the telecommunications ordinance, which the N.H. Municipal Association has urged against using as a stand-in for small cells because of the technical and legal complexities.”  

Among the concerns raised by residents and city officials is the unknown risk of high-frequency electromagnetic emissions (EME). According to The Keene Sentinel, Councilor Terry M. Clark voiced concerns over electromagnetic fields, particularly due to the close proximity of small cells.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection have both researched and developed radiofrequency exposure guidelines and have concluded that small cell emissions are within a safe range. In 2019, New Hampshire became the first U.S. state to commission a study on the health effects of 5G. 

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