Connecticut Senator Blumenthal and California Assemblywoman Eshoo have formally asked the FCC to provide scientific documentation about the safety of 5th Generation Internet connectivity, as the roll out of this new technology begins. Their December 3, 2018 letter refers to a Senate Commerce Committee field hearing, held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, titled “Race to 5G, A View from the Field” on October 12, 2018.
The Question of 5G Safety Was Raised at FCC Meeting
At the end of the meeting the Honorable Mayor Paul TenHaken asked the FCC about the health ramifications of 5G, small cell deployment and millimeter wave technology. Mayor TenHaken noted the lack of documented studies as this technology is so new. He requested the FCC provide studies which show that this technology is safe for his constituents and taxpayers prior to placing 5G cell towers in close proximity to libraries, schools and homes.
FCC Commissioner Carr responded that FCC experts in health and safety keep up with the latest science and have determined that 5G is safe. He went on to state that “Federal law actually says that state and local governments can’t take RF [radiofrequency] concerns into account given how much work has gone into this issue at the federal level.”
Concern about cybersecurity was also brought up at the meeting by another member of the committee. Mayor TenHaken concluded that this information is necessary to proceed forward with 5G to have a “clear conscience and the right answers”
Congress Members Ask for Proof of 5G Safety
Congress members Blumenthal and Eshoo then wrote a pointed letter to FCC Commissioner Carr asking for proof of safety, noting that “the current regulations were adopted in 1996 and have not been updated for next generation equipment and devices” and “The FCC’s Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) limits do not apply to devices operating above 6 GHz.” 5G frequencies will be from 6 GHz to 100 GHz and above. They highlight that the FCC has acknowledged that “The SAR probe calibration, measurement accuracy, tissue dialectric parameters and other SAR measurement procedures required for testing recent generation wireless devices need further examination.” A response was requested by Dec 17, 2018.
Blake Levitt Targets FCC at Blumenthal Press Conference
At a press conference convened by Senator Blumenthal and Eshoo on Dec 3, 2018, Blake Levitt, a highly respected medical and science journalist and Communications Director with The Berkshire – Litchfield Environmental Council concisely summarized the issues. She has looked at the environmental effects of radiofrequency technology for many decades and published a seminal book, “Electromagnetic Fields”, a virtual bible of information. She notes that the FCC has been described to act more like an industry cheerleader than a regulator by Norm Alster in Harvard’s Center for Ethics paper “FCC Captured Agency” .
The Colossal Elephant in the Room: Safety
Despite the proposed and imagined uses for 5G the “elephant in the room”, she states, is the lack of evidence for 5G safety. She notes that a lot of the older research is classified, as short millimeter wave technology has been used by the military for non-lethal weapons and most of the spectrum has been reserved for the military. The dense network of 5G antennas on every street and every 3 to 5 houses poses a risk to humans and wildlife as the signaling is complex using beam forming and phased array technology. 5G does not penetrate deeply through the body as current wireless technologies but does penetrate the skin. Ms. Levitt underscores that thin skinned amphibians and insects will be most affected by this technology with potentially disastrous results. She warns that it is not the power density or tissue absorption but the signaling characteristics that are harmful with damage even at low power levels. In addition, she emphasizes that there are inadequate protective regulations for chronic human exposures for current wireless frequencies and no oversight for wildlife or the environment. She concludes that “The FCC is completely unprepared, unable and possibly unwilling to oversee 5G for safety, even at it barrels toward us.”
The FCC Reveals Their “5G FAST Plan”
This request for scientific safety information for 5G occurs just as the FCC has passed new rules to fast track 5G deployment. Ushered in by FCC Chairman and former Verizon attorney, Ajit Pai, the FCC has quietly adopted a sweeping set of new rules which fundamentally shifts the framework of communications expansion. The Facilitate America’s Superiority in 5G Technology or “The 5G Fast Plan” https://www.fcc.gov/5G speeds next generation technology by
- Speeding Up Federal Review of Small Cells – https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-acts-speed-deployment-next-gen-wireless-infrastructure
- Speeding Up State and Local Review of Small Cells: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-353927A1.pdf
See PST Cell Towers and City Ordinances for policy updates
- Letter from Congress members Blumenthal and Eshoo- Blumenthal Eshoo to FCC Carr 5G Safety Dec 2018
- Bumenthal Presses FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr to Disclose Evidence of ‘5G Safety’ https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181203006017/en/Blumenthal-Presses-FCC-Commissioner-Brendan-Carr-Disclose
- Press Conference Video : U.S. Sen. Blumenthal Briefing on Concerns with Possible Health Risks Posed by 5G Wireless Technology http://ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=15794&jump=0:00:01
- Blake Levitt Remarks at Blumenthal Press conference in Connecticut Dec 3, 2018. http://electromagnetichealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Blumenthals-FCC-Letter-Press-conference.pdf
- Video of Conference–The Race to 5G: A View from the Field. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Sioux Falls, South Dakota to discuss barriers to broadband deployment. The meeting was chaired by Denator John thune )R-S.D.) Video Oct 12, 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo8_ORtBpFM
Related 5G articles
- County To Sue FCC Over Radio Frequency Emission Standards for Small Cell Antennas. Nov 15, 2018. Bethesda Magazine. https://bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-beat/government/county-to-sue-fcc-over-radio-frequency-emission-standards-for-small-cell-antennas/
- Cities prepare for 5G small-cell wireless, amid worries about local control and tight timelines. Dec 1, 2018. MLT News. Mount LakeTerrace. https://mltnews.com/cities-prepare-for-5g-small-cell-wireless-amid-worries-about-local-control-and-tight-timelines/
- More than a dozen cities are challenging the FCC over how to deploy 5G cell sites.Oct 25, 2018. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/10/25/cities-are-challenging-fcc-with-court-fight-over-cell-sites/?utm_term=.d0c0413ff6c1