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A Chicken in Every Pot and a Cell Tower on Every Garage

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5G cells being proposed to blanket CA
5G cells being proposed to blanket CA
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In 1928, when Herbert Hoover was running for President, the slogan of the Republican National Committee was "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage." Times have changed. Many millennials are turning to vegetarianism, and cars are not the necessary status symbol for them that they were for previous generations. However there is one thing that all age groups can agree on in 2017. We need wireless connectivity, the more the better. Smart meters, smart phones, wireless printers, smart refrigerators, smart toothbrushes, smart bras, smart condoms, smart diapers, smart dolls, smart watches, driverless cars, a whole universe of wirelessly connected objects to make our lives effortless and allegedly less wasteful of natural resources. What could go wrong?

As the federal government and states across the U.S. rush to consider bills to speed up the installation of so-called 5G wireless infrastructure, and remove any local government oversight or interference, so that the telecom industry can keep up with (and expand) the voracious public appetite for the Internet of Things, I take a look at one such piece of legislation, California's SB 649. The bill, authored by Hueso and Quirk, is called Wireless Telecommunications Facilities, or, for short (some would say the more accurately titled), WTF. It has been speeding through the state legislature with only a few murmurs of dissent or abstention. Having passed the California senate, and all assembly committees, it has only to be voted on by the entire assembly (expected to happen on Sept. 11 or 13th) and signed by the governor, and Californians can rest assured that they will not be deprived of their need for an ever-increasing number of wireless accoutrements.

SB 649 provides for a new generation of cell towers, ultra-powerful small cells, that use a different wireless spectrum. This spectrum does not travel long distances, so these cell towers have to be placed close together, on every available space, utility poles, street lamps, and other government-owned structures, or possibly in your front yard. The bill gives the telecom industry carte blanche to install 50,000 of these cell towers throughout residential areas in CA. Although called "small cells," they can weigh up to 300 lbs. The aesthetics could be pretty ugly, since in addition to the quasi small cells, they would allow equipment as large as a refrigerator to keep them powered at all times. (The authors of the bill have thoughtfully removed specially designated scenic areas from the provisions of the bill. If you don't live in such an area, you shouldn't really be that concerned about "aesthetics".)

The cell towers would be placed approximately every two to ten houses. If a parent is concerned about having this equipment emitting mega-doses of radiation and electro-magnetic fields outside their child's bedroom, there will be nothing they can do about it. All oversight and regulation by local governments has been removed. Small wonder that 290 California cities, 47 counties, and a large number of municipal organizations are opposed to the bill, along with dozens of community and social-justice organizations.

The wireless industry would like us to believe that "the jury's still out" on whether wireless radiation has harmful health impacts. This despite the fact that literally thousands of studies have shown just how very harmful it is, starting with the very high death rates for people living near cell towers. Sarah Benson's article provides an in depth review with documentation: click here. Since the time when her article was published in 2009, there have been hundreds of additional studies indicating harmful wireless health impacts (for a total of more than 5000) which can be seen at Possibly more accessible for the lay person, the website also has extensive information about health and other detrimental impacts.

Just because a young child playing with an iPhone or video game is not experiencing immediate health effects, studies have shown that this population is the one that is most vulnerable, due to children's thinner skulls. It takes ten to twenty years for brain cancers to develop from constant exposure to wireless radiation, and when these chidren become young adults, and possibly develop brain tumors, their doctor may or may not make the connection to their childhood fascination with wireless gadgets. Doctors have less difficulty diagnosing the cause for the increasing amounts of breast cancer in young women, cancers discovered to be in the exact shape and size of the cell phone the young women carry in their bras.

The legislature has already implicitly recognized the severe harm caused by living or working near a cell tower for long periods. They provided exemptions in this bill for firefighters, which was prompted by widespread reports of neurological deterioration in firefighters when cell towers were installed on or near their stations. For example, a study by a neurotoxicologist (organized by medical writer Susan Foster) covered a group of firefighters who had lived and slept near a cell tower for five years. Foster writes, "A 2004 SPECT brain scan study of firefighters in Central California found brain abnormalities in all the men tested, as well as delayed reaction time, lack of impulse control and cognitive impairment. All... had suffered from sleep disturbances, headaches, lack of focus and memory loss." Some firefighters became so confused they could not find their way around the town where they had grown up. (Source

If this bill goes through, utility workers will be similarly exposed to intense round-the-clock wireless radiation, since the bill provides for the widespread establishment of powerful mini-cell towers on utility poles and other structures where utility workers perform their jobs. When they go home at night, they will be exposed again to the cell tower located in their immediate neighborhood.

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Jenny Miller is a writer, activist, and freelance editor, living in California. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Z Magazine, Utne Reader, Science for the People, and Terrain. Online her articles can be found at (more...)

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