Opinion: Radiation - are you out there? Understanding knowns and unknowns of 5G

Tara Somerville, Taos
Posted 5/9/19

I was part of a group in front of Cid's Food Market giving out information on the dangers of 5G technology, an infrastructure that promises to power fast internet, self-driving cars and smart …

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Opinion: Radiation - are you out there? Understanding knowns and unknowns of 5G


I was part of a group in front of Cid's Food Market giving out information on the dangers of 5G technology, an infrastructure that promises to power fast internet, self-driving cars and smart appliances.

A friend of someone in the group walked up, asked what she was up to and what the concern was about 5G. She explained that there was mounting research on diseases being caused by wireless radiation. He said, "Radiation? Seems like people are more concerned about gluten than radiation."

We were grateful for the insightful comic relief.

"I'm trying to get it," a friend who related to the gluten comment told me the next day when I handed her a petition to sign. "But you can't see radiation like you can see a bottle of Roundup, read about its chemistry and instantly know that it's harmful to life. Is radiation really out there? Is it really affecting me?" she said, gesturing to the invisible rays.

Then she read the cover page of the petition and within a few seconds was like, "Oh, I get it, where do I sign?" I asked what nabbed her so quickly. It was: "World Health Organization has classified Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields as Class 2B carcinogenic to humans."

Hundreds of peer-reviewed (written by and reviewed by experts) studies link wireless radiation to several types of cancer, DNA damage, anxiety and depression, among other ailments, with heightened risks for children.

5G requires a large number of towers dotting the landscape, spaced just a few hundred feet or less apart, emitting a very high frequency: approximately 24-300 GHz. The frequency emitted by current towers is 1-5 GHz. So whatever dangers 1-4G pose are expected to be heightened and disease incubation periods shortened.

On June 11, Taos County Commissioners will vote on whether to change the land use regulations, section 4.10, that regulate size, safety requirements and proximity to structures of cell towers. Commissioners plan to change the ordinance and loosen or eliminate safety restrictions to make 5G installation possible. Because they plan to change an existing law, this meeting is also a public hearing to which you are invited.

The exact changes to the law are available at the county planning department.

Taos Alliance for Public Health and Safety is calling for a moratorium on 5G in Taos until it can be proven safe, and for county commissioners to vote "no" on changes to land use regulations.

From what I've gathered, wireless companies are not insured if anyone gets sick from radiation from these "small-cell" towers. The property owner - whether an individual, city or county - may be liable and responsible for any sickness or injury resulting from the towers.

At a February 7 hearing, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut asked wireless industry executives whether 5G equipment has been tested for safety. Executives stated that $0 have been allocated for safety testing. Zero dollars.

Despite this enlightening testimony, the Federal Communications Commission, which is charged with ensuring "public safety and homeland security" with regard to communication, among other responsibilities, mandated their rapid rollout plan. FCC regulations, which are currently under congressional investigation for possible illegal collusion with wireless companies, eliminate municipalities' rights to object to towers on the basis of health. They also force municipalities to accept a set price for leasing public property for 5G towers, which is markedly lower than the usual amount.

At least 22 cities and counties are suing the FCC to overturn these intrusive regulations. The case has recently gone to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the ninth circuit.

Moreover, a recent New Yorker magazine article on how vulnerable 5G technology is to hacking and cyber-security issues demonstrates another level the FCC is failing on - clearly not looking out for our safety by mandating that this technology invade our backyards.

And since no health studies have been done on 5G itself, these studies can only happen now - on the residents of cities and towns where it's being implemented.

If you'd rather not be part of this human experiment, join us on June 11 when we ask that Taos have a moratorium on 5G until it's proven safe. And until then, share your concerns and build relationships with your county commissioners who are available via phone and email. They may tell you, "There are no current plans for 5G installation in Taos." They may be correct.

But once the land use regulations are changed, permits can be granted without public input. June 11 may be the last chance we have to voice our opinions on this.

Tara Somerville is a singer-songwriter and has been a music teacher at Taos Charter School and Taos Youth Music School for the past nine years. She regularly plays the traditional tunes of Northern New Mexico at Taos Retirement Village, in honor of Jenny Vincent.


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