Concerns About the Safety of 5G Technology

Earlier this month Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, pressed the Federal Communications Commision for evidence of the safety of the upcoming generation of digital communication and cellphone technology, 5G, which is set to roll out nationally by 2020.


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Camilla Rees and Tim Schoechle of National Institute for Science Law and Public Policy have been researcing wireless technology and its impact on public health.  

Schoechle says that despite 4G technology not being fully rolled out right now, the industry is anxious to roll out 5G as they need to sell new phones.  “They need to sell a new generation of bay station equipment. They try to do that every 10 years, they come up with a new generatio of technology, whether it’s needed or not, they come up with it because they need to sell more phones.”

The NISLPP says it looks to the IEEE for guidance on safety standards on 5G, however Schoechle says the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Enginners hasn’t completed anything comprehensive yet “just bits of pieces of that because it’s a very complex system.”

5G technology operates at a higher frequency than 3G and 4G and that is why the NISLPP is urging more research into the impact of 5G before it is rolled out.  “It’s unknown territory, it’s not known what its characteristics are, its propogation characteristics and its effect on biological systems.”

Camilla Rees says that in addition to the biological impacts of this type of technology, she is also concerned about antenna densification. “Where these antennas are going to be on utility poles, street signs, lamp posts, municipal infrastructure, very close to homes. They’re estimating about every 3 to 8 utility poles will have these antennas beaming into second floor windows.”

Rees says that 20 states, including Colorado, have introduced legislation that forces local governments to allow telephone companies to erect antennas on municipal infrastructure for a low cost. “It’s going to be hard to escape it.”

The National Institute for Science Law and Public Policy has published a paper Re-Inventing Wires: The Future of Landlines and Networks which highlights their concerns about the roll out of wireless technology and advocates for alternatives such as municipal fiber optic networks.

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