Natural Resources Defense Council Includes Health Risks as a Reason to Care About 5G Installation

By B.N. Frank

Just because cell phone and wireless WiFi technology seems to be everywhere doesn’t mean exposure to it is safe for humans, animals, or nature.  In fact – decades of research has proven that exposure is biologically and environmentally harmful.  Outdated laws and guidelines protect wireless technology – not science.  It’s that simple.

Unfortunately, the installation of 5G small cell wireless technology is currently being forced in the U.S. and around the world – even though the Telecom Industry can’t even say it’s safe5G is risky for many reasons.  It’s also not necessary and people everywhere are fighting it.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is supposed to regulate the Telecom Industry and protect the public from harmful technology.  For many years already, the agency has been doing the exact oppositeRight now they are being investigated for collusion regarding 5G. 

Thanks to everyone who is fighting to stop the installation of harmful technology including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).  Here are excerpts from their latest efforts in regard to 5G:

3) The next generation of wireless technology—5G—is dramatically different from previous versions. Telecommunication is possible through use of the electromagnetic spectrum.

6) In March 2018, the FCC eliminated environmental and historical review for siting certain cell towers and other wireless facilities (FCC Order 18-30). Despite the license needed to provide wireless services, the FCC determined that there was no federal role in the construction of facilities needed to provide these services. In addition to NRDC, 19 tribes have challenged the FCC’s action along with the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral argument in the case on March 15, 2019.

7) In Order 18-30, the FCC restricted fees tribes charge Sprint and other telecom companies for reviewing the impacts on historic and cultural resources.

8 ) In September 2018, the FCC restricted fees cities charge Sprint and other telecom companies for siting towers and other wireless infrastructure in their communities. (FCC Order 18-133).  Several lawsuits challenging the FCC’s action have been consolidated before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  (Case No. 19-70146)

9) In addition to restricting fees that cities can charge for building new wireless networks, Order 18-133 limited the time allowed for review of the proposed construction. The FCC imposed a so-called “shot clock” on cities and towns. If the local government has not acted within as few as 60 days on a construction permit, the project is deemed approved.

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10) While the FCC has limited the review by others, the Commission at the same time has refused to update its own health and environmental standards. The Commission’s standards date from the 1990’s. In 2012, the General Accountability Office found that the existing standards may not reflect current knowledge and recommended that the FCC formally reassess its standards. The FCC’s standards address only one aspect of potential harm from electromagnetic radiation—heat. The current standards do not address other ways in which exposure to increasing electromagnetic radiation from wireless communications can harm human health, as well as the natural systems around us on which all life depends.

The U.S. National Toxicology Program conducted rodent studies to help clarify the potential health hazards of radio frequency radiation (RFR). According to my NRDC colleague, Dr. Jennifer Sass, the results (which have been subjected to expert peer review and public comment) show that long-term high exposures to RFR used by 2G and 3G cell phones are associated with an elevated risk of cancer, particularly in heart and brain cells (NTP 2018). This is consistent with the previous hazard assessment of the World Health Organization’s cancer experts, which concluded that there was a possible link (Group 2B) to brain cancer in people with RFR exposures (IARC 2011). Both government agencies warn that the public should take pragmatic steps to reduce exposures (IARC Director, May 2011; NTP Fact Sheet, Nov 2018).


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