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Connecticut State Senator Richard Blumenthal has called on the Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission to provide documentation confirming statements regarding ‘5g safety’.

On December 3rd, Connecticut State Senator Richard Blumenthal and California Representative Anna Eshoo held a press conference asking the Federal Communications Commission to provide evidence that 5G technology is safe. The conference was a response to statements made by FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, Esq.

The rollout of 5G, or 5th Generation Cellular technology, is expected to herald the beginning of Smart Cities, where driverless cars, pollution sensors, cell phones, traffic lights, and thousands of other devices interact in what is known as “The Internet of Things”. However, there have been a number of health and privacy concerns raised by opponents of the rapidly advancing 5g technology expansion.

“We write with interest regarding your recent remarks on the safety of 5G technologies during a Senate Commerce Committee field hearing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota,” Blumenthal’s letter to Carr states. “During this hearing, the Mayor of Sioux Falls, the Honorable Paul TenHaken, asked about ‘the health ramifications of 5G and small cell deployment.'”

Blumenthal goes on to describe how Carr, speaking on behalf of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stated that current federal law states that local and state governments can not take radiofrequency (RF) concerns into account. Carr also claimed the FCC and other “expert health agencies in Washington” were “very much up to speed on these issues” and they have determined that the technology is safe.

Unfortunately, Carr is correct. As TCRN reported in October, the FCC approved a rule that limits the role of local authorities regarding the build of 5G networks, specifically the amount city officials can charge telecommunication companies. Regarding the FCC Commissioner’s statements that the FCC and other experts are up to speed, Senator Blumental’s letter notes “most of our current regulations regarding radiofrequency safety were adopted in 1996 and have not yet been updated for next generation equipment and devices”.

Blumenthal also notes the recently reported results of the “most expensive study to date on the link between radiofrequency radiation and cancer” from the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP). “As you know, this study found evidence of cancerous heart tumors, as well as some evidence of cancerous brain tumors, in male rats exposed to exposed to high levels of radiofrequency radiation like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones,” Blumental wrote.

“To ensure we communicate accurate information to our constituents-many of whom have concerns similar to Mayor TenHaken’s-we respectfully request vou provide to our offices the 5G safety determination from FCC and relevant health agencies that you referred to during the field hearing. Please also include current citations for the studies informing that safety determination.”
– Connecticut Senator Richard Blumental

Blumenthal and Eshoo gave Carr a Dec. 17 deadline to comply with their request for information.

Also speaking at the conference was B. Blake Levitt, Communications Director with The Berkshire – Litchfield Environmental Council. Levitt stated that the FCC was acting as an industry cheerleader more than regulator regarding the 5g rollout. “This is especially true today with 5G where there are serious safety concerns and potentially misleading information coming from FCC” Levitt stated. “Senator Blumenthal’s questions to FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr pull back the curtain on that.”

Levitt noted that 5G uses high frequency millimeter wave bands never licensed by FCC before for civilian use. “That spectrum has mostly been reserved for military applications in their non – lethal weapons program for crowd control etc.,” Levitt said. Further, “the signaling characteristics of 5G are incredibly complex, using what’s called phased array and beam forming technology. Such characteristics are known to have hazardous impacts to humans as well as other species. MMW ’s couple maximally with skin tissue. Thin- skinned amphibians are at special risk.”

Senator Blumenthal’s press conference came just days after the House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass the SMART IoT Act. The bill now heads to the Senate. The legislation tasks the Department of Commerce with studying the current internet-of-things industry in the United States. The bill defines IoT technology as devices that connect to the internet “either directly or indirectly through a network,” can communicate to an individual and have a computer that can handle data.

It appears the roll out of 5g technology is unstoppable. Most of the public is unware that 5g technology is already rolling out in Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and other major cities. Verizon even recently launched “5g Experience Labs” to promote the speed and entertainment value of the technology. No mention of the health or privacy concerns. For those who have concerns about this technology now might be an appropriate time to start visiting city council, calling and emailing city, state, and federal officials, and generally, educating yourself about this technology. It’s only a matter of time until we are all living in a smart city of the future – whether we like it or not.