ENCINITAS — People in communities across the globe are mobilizing against 5G wireless technology, which they say is a threat to public health, the environment and our privacy.
On Jan. 25, residents in Encinitas and Carlsbad rallied in solidarity with people throughout the country and worldwide on what anti-5G groups called 5G Global Protest Day. According to the website stop5ginternational.org, there were 265 events in 36 countries that registered to take part in the collective rallies.
“There’s a massive groundswell of people all over the world who are just very sincerely alarmed and distressed and disturbed — whatever word could most explain complete panic — about the infrastructure … every 300 to 500 feet a pole with a box on it that has what’s called 5G small cells,” said protestor Karen Rich, an environmental health researcher who started the Stop 5G Carlsbad group. “It’s a military-grade technology, it emits military-grade frequencies, so we’re talking about a kind of frequency that has never been emitted around a civilian public before, and huge amounts of it.”
Rich said that in contrast to 4G technology, which is patented as a communication technology with patents held by communication companies, 5G technology is patented as an electronic weapon and the patents are held by defense contractors.
What’s more, she says, is that the Federal Communications Commission’s health and safety guidelines for exposure to wireless radiation have not been revised since 1996.
“That’s 24 years (ago),” Rich said, adding that not many people even had cell phones at that time. “In that time our exposure level has multiplied many millions and millions of times, because think of 1996, that was pre-text. Whatever cell towers that they were bouncing frequencies off of were few and far between. We’re in a very, very different world right now as far as the amount of wireless that is around us and the amount of cell towers that are sending out frequencies.”
Protestors Marie Dardarian and Dietmar Rothe, who are part of the Stop 5G Encinitas group, said in a joint email that they feel the deployment of 5G is “entirely unnecessary” and that “our health and our freedoms of choice are under attack.”
“Present 3G and 4G communication systems in place, although unhealthy, are quite sufficient for all our communication needs,” they wrote in an email Jan. 29. “Untested 5G technology is a global danger to all life on the planet. We do not want 60,000 new global satellites putting unhealthy radiation onto every square inch of terrain.”
They say an urgent issue is that the FCC’s maximum human exposure limits to microwave and millimeter waves are unrealistic and obsolete. They say thousands of scientific studies have shown that the FCC levels are set 100 to 10,000 times too high for long-term human exposures.
Rich, who said she’s recovering from wireless radiation poisoning, aka electromagnetic field hypersensitivity, after previously living in a “smart” house for 10 years, said it’s not just health concerns, but privacy concerns, too.
“I think these 5G small cells are a trojan horse so once they’ve got the poles up, then comes the facial recognition cameras, then comes the internet of things, then there’s the smart grid, and then the AI (Artificial Intelligence) for the driverless cars,” she said. “They’re just rushing all of this in and I don’t think we’re ready.”
In August the Encinitas City Council adopted its new “urgency” ordinance to comply with an FCC ruling to regulate 5G cell towers. After the community protested, the council amended the ordinance at its Oct. 30 meeting to exclude cell towers from going up in residential areas, parks and high-risk fire hazard areas and that they cannot be installed within 500 feet of a daycare center, school or a home that is not in a residential zone.
At that meeting the council said it would consider further amendments at a future meeting. No further changes to the ordinance are currently scheduled for discussion.
A definitive link between the exposure of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields in 5G technology to any particular illness or health concern remains unknown as more research needs to be conducted.
The benefits of 5G include faster downloads, lower latency — which is less delay/lag when requesting data from the network — and the ability to connect many more devices at once.
Rich, along with Dardarian and Rothe, all said they’d like to see their cities put a moratorium on the 5G deployment until some of the major issues are addressed or resolved.
“At the very least for our city councils to say you know what, let’s just put a pause on this until we’re absolutely positive that these levels of exposure are safe, especially to children, especially to elderly people, especially to immune-compromised people with cancer,” Rich said.
The next global protest to stop 5G is scheduled for April 25. In addition to the protests, an online appeal against 5G infrastructure has been signed by nearly 197,000 people and organizations from 204 nations and territories as of Jan. 30.