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07 December 2019

United States: 5G Coming to Your Neighborhood?

5G Coming to Your Neighborhood?
by Sharon Buccinonrdc.org (Natural Resources Defense Council), 6 December 2019

Here's What You Need to Know

The next generation of wireless technology—5G—is dramatically different from previous versions. The 5G technology will enable more data to be carried more quickly, but in many places relies on low waves of the electromagnetic spectrum. As a result, its signal does not travel as far requiring the construction of thousands of new cells to repeat the wireless signals to make 5G work. As companies like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint construct these new small cell wireless facilities in communities across the country, citizens are organizing to ensure this infrastructure is built in a way that protects their health and quality of life. As communities face a flood of applications for this new wireless infrastructure, many want to know what laws and regulations govern 5G. Here’s some information that may help. 
 
Q: Who is responsible for setting health standards for new cell towers and other wireless infrastructure?

A: The Federal Communications Commission is responsible for setting health standards for radio frequency emissions. As long as proposed wireless service facilities comply with the FCC’s radio frequency standards, federal law prohibits state and local governments from regulating them based on “the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions.” 47 USC § 332(c)(7)(iv).

Q: What are the current FCC standards and are they adequate?

A: The FCC has set limits for radio frequency emissions, with specific limits for occupational exposure and general population exposure. These limits are found in the FCC’s regulations at 47 C.F.R. § 1.1301.

Unfortunately, the FCC has not updated its guidelines since 1996. Based on 30-year-old studies, today’s FCC limits were designed to protect only against the gross effects of heat or burning of human tissue. Since then, extensive research has raised concerns about other serious health effects. The FCC initiated a review of its limits in 2013, but had not completed it until early this week. On December 4, the FCC issued an order ending its inquiry into the adequacy of its radio frequency exposure limits without changing the limits.

Continue reading:
https://www.nrdc.org/experts/sharon-buccino/5g-coming-your-neighborhood

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