Cell phone towers are a familiar site around the state. They have brought the convenience of cell phones and other wireless devices to most regions of the state.
But these, so called “macro towers” are not efficient for the next generation of wireless service commonly called “5G” technology.
The faster downloads and connectivity of autonomous cars and smart appliances will require “mini cells” much closer to the ground, potentially as close to your home and the sidewalk as the nearest utility pole (more than 230 have been already installed). It could take thousands of mini cells to bring “5G” service to everyone. But is this closer-to-the-ground higher-frequency technology safe?
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“There is actually quite a bit of research on this. It’s just all classified because it’s been…the millimeter waves have mostly been used for military applications,” said Blake Levitt of the Berkshire-Litchfield Environmental Council.
Communications workers on the macro towers have “RF Monitors” that measure the amount of electromagnetic radiation, or radio waves, to make sure it is safe when they are working. David Weidlich is President of Local 12978 of the Communications Workers of America and said, “We really need to study how the RF may impact a person working on the telephone pole where they’re adding
all these additional towers.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal noted that radio frequency safety regulations have not been updated since 1996 and that a study of 2G and 3G radiation found evidence of cancers in tests on rats. He wants the FCC to review the risks for the new 5G technology, and added, “The stark, simple fact is the health hazards are unknown and unstudied.”
Jilane Rodgers Petrie of the cell phone industry trade association “Cellular Telecommunication Industry Association” issued a statement in response, saying;
“The safety of cellphone consumers is important to CTIA and the wireless industry. We follow the guidance of the experts when it comes to antennas and health effects. Following numerous scientific studies conducted over several decades, the FCC, the FDA, the World Health Organization, the American Cancer Society and numerous other international and U.S. organizations and health experts continue to say that the scientific evidence shows no known health risk to humans due to the RF energy emitted by antennas and cellphones. The evidence includes analysis of official federal brain tumor statistics showing that since the introduction of cellphones in the mid-1980s, the rate of brain tumors in the United States has decreased.”