As we all use wireless technologies and they have been an integral part of our lives, we don’t stop to think : Are they safe? Who creates the standards for all the products and services, such as our cell phones, wireless internet connection, our routers and telecommunication antennas and towers?
The answer is Federal Communcation Commision (FCC). It is FCC’s responsibility to set safety exposure limits for wireless radiation, all the frequencies, including high low spectrum and microwaves. As it stands now, our country has the highest exposure level standards in the world, with Russia, China and India, Israel and others leading the way with safer standards. So, in the US, it is very easy for the telecommunication industry to be within the standards since the limits are set so high. Countries around the world have guidelines to protect their citizens and many cities across our country are pushing for stronger protections.
On August 13, 2021 the Federal Court of Appeals in DC, remanded the FCC to re-evaluate their justification for not changing their 25 year old exposure guidelines on wireless radiation exposure in the light of the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence and testimony from people affected by radiation exposure. The Court found the FCC failed to address the following issues:
impacts of long term wireless exposure ,impacts to children, the testimony of people injured by wireless radiation, impacts to wildlife and the environment ,impacts to the developing brain and reproduction.
This court decision was the result of a lawsuit brought against the FCC by several organizations including the Environmental Health Trust.
For an in depth summary, see: ehtrust.org/in-historic-decision-federal-court-finds-fcc-failed-to-explain-why-it-ignored-scientific-evidence-showing-harm-from-wireless-radiation/
How is it a concern of us in Culver City? There are four 5G small cell installations being proposed for Fox Hills, if installed, they will be directly across the street from residential units and close by 2 schools. Eight permits have already been approved in Culver City. As the most densely populated and probably the most diverse community in Culver City, these installations are a reason for great worry as many people of all ages and ethnicities will be impacted. As the permit applications for installation of 5G small cells antennas were being reviewed by the Public Works Department of Culver City, the historical FCC ruling came through. Can our city do anything? Yes and no. Although by FCC’s own regulations, radiation emissions cannot be grounds for denial, the city can still have some authority over location of these installations.
The telecommunication industry has a strong hold on government officials with their seemingly bottomless pit of money. They use their big pockets to contribute to campaigns of both the Democratic and Republican parties and use to sponsor legislation promoting deregulation and decreasing control local municipalities have on over wireless installations. Presently there are two bills promoting telecommunication industry’s agenda in the California legislature, (AB537 and SB 556), which stand a good chance of being signed by the governor if passed by both the State Senate and State Assembly. Most of all, the big telecoms have us, as we have become quite attached to all our technological devices that enhance our lives in countless ways. Imagine if we did not have Zoom during the pandemic?
As we continue to be bombarded with ads about the latest technologies to purchase, what continues to be lacking are strong governmental regulatory protections and public education about minimizing our risks from Radio Frequencies and Electro-Magnetic Radiation exposure. The tide is turning as many US cities and organizations are pushing back demanding stricter ordinances, public outreach and forming state commissions to independently evaluate the safety of technological advances. Sure, it is an uphill battle, but if each one of us stops to think whether the speed with which untested technology is being deployed is worth the risk, given that the FCC has been remanded by the US Court of Appeals to address their 25 year old guidelines. It seems it to be more logical to make sure we have great technology WITH safety assurances.
Due to outreach from residents in Fox Hills, Culver City’s Public Works Department is conducting a Community Meeting on September 8th @ 7pm. There will be a presentation and an opportunity to ask questions. To register go to culvercity.org/agendas.
There are many resources to access and below is a list of some to become more informed about this issue.
Culvercityforsafetech.org (petition has links to resources)
Judi Sherman, Fox Hills resident
Kay Love, Fox Hills resident