As the telecom industry rushes to roll out 5G for smart cities and the “internet of things”, experts are sounding the alarm. 5G infrastructure will require a massive density of cell towers called “small-cell towers”. These will be mounted on lamp posts or utility poles every few houses apart with the goal of covering all neighbourhoods.1
In order to expand the infrastructure for 5G, industry is demanding policy makers loosen current health guidelines for electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Canada’s are already some of the least protective standards in the world. And while one might think there are rigorous safety tests for new technologies, there have been zero pre-market safety tests on 5G technology.
There is cause for concern. Over 180 scientists and doctors are appealing to the EU for a moratorium on 5G until “potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry”.2
One of the most recent studies on cell phone radiation – the most expensive to date – has changed the conversation around cell safety. In the $25M National Toxicology Program study, scientists were not expecting to find evidence of harm. What they found instead was “clear evidence” of carcinogenicity, verified by a rigorous peer review panel.3
The Bioinitiative Report 2012 summarizes 1000’s of studies showing biological harm from EMR and urges new precautionary measures be taken by policy makers.3 At least 244 experts have appealed to the UN and WHO for more protective standards for EMR and wireless technology in the face of increasing evidence of harm.5
We are electromagnetic beings; the electromagnetic soup in which we are living results in exposures to human-made radiation a quintillion times (1018 X) greater than we experienced just 10 years ago.6
The development of the internet of things and 5G will massively increase this again. Our bodies did not evolve in this kind of environment. These exposures can cause oxidative stress and production of free radicals, hormone disruption, DNA damage and excess calcium flooding our cells – some of the known harmful effects.7 People in our community have already become ill suffering from a condition called electrohypersensitivity (EHS). People with EHS can experience rashes, headaches, sleep disturbances, nausea, tinnitus, heart arrhythmias, anxiety, behaviour problems, and many other symptoms.8
Kingstonians are not helpless as we wait for policy to catch up with science. There are communities which are mobilizing to halt the 5G rollout. Through an “urgency ordinance” the City Council of Mill Valley (near San Francisco) voted unanimously this month to effectively block deployments of 5G wireless towers in the City’s residential areas after receiving letters of concern from 1% of the population.9 Additionally, the US Conference of Mayors has announced they will sue the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) if they eliminate local control over 5G small cell tower and infrastructure installation.10
Safer alternatives are being proposed by “Connected Communities” (connected-communities.ca) that include delivering high speed fibre-optic internet to communities and provide more secure, community-owned services. Let’s get in the driver’s seat, slow down, and proceed only with safe technology.
Will the City of Kingston, who announced their “smart-city” pilot project with zero public consultation, choose to consult residents and engage in a meaningful discourse about 5G? Our health might depend on it.
Andrea Loken is a community activist writing for Kingstonians for Safe Technology (K4ST), a local advocacy group for safe technology.
Note: Our gratitude to Vicki Schmolka for publishing this article in the “Vicki New Times” delivered to doors in the municipality of Kingston for the election.
1 Shortly after this article was written the writer of the the original article, John Dvorak at PC Magazine was fired. Here is a link to an interview about his firing that he did with documentary film maker, Josh del Sol. There is a link to the original article on the page. https://takebackyourpower.net/is-5g-the-asbestos-of-the-21st-century/
7 Pall, Martin. “Wi-Fi Is an Important Threat to Human Health.” NeuroImage, Academic Press, 21 Mar. 2018, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935118300355?via%3Dihub.
Environmental Health Trust (www.ehtrust.org)
Canadians for Safe Technology (www.c4st.org)
Cellular Task Force (www.cellphonetaskforce.org)
Physicians for Safe Technology (www.mdsafetech.org)
Scientists For Wired Tech (scientists4wiredtech.com)
Wireless Information Network (www.win19.org)