Gateway

Gig Harbor committee to study safety of 5G. Many in the city oppose the new technology

Some people in Gig Harbor have concerns about the implementation of new 5G technology in the city.
Some people in Gig Harbor have concerns about the implementation of new 5G technology in the city. Kate Talerico

A group of Gig Harbor residents has formed to ask: Is 5G technology dangerous?

Lita Dawn Stanton, Lynn Stevenson and Guy Hoppen are three members of an ad hoc committee formed in March with the unanimous agreement of the mayor and City Council. The goal of the group is to educate the public on 5G technology.

Committee members said what started off as seven members is slowly growing.

Committee members are concerned about 5G technology entering the city. It is a new technology wireless providers are insisting will bring enhanced communications, jobs and economic boost.

On Feb. 25 the City Council and mayor opposed 5G coming to Gig Harbor. The city’s power to stop it is limited, as the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) requires that jurisdiction across the country adapt their regulations to allow 5G.

That meant city government only could focus on the aesthetics of the small cell towers necessary to implement the technology.

At the moment there is no exact date on when 5G will be implemented in the city.

“Under Gig Harbor’s current code (approved in January), thousands of small cell towers can be placed every two to 10 homes in residential neighborhoods to enable 5G broadcasting all day, every day, 24/7 with no ‘off’ switch. Exposure to these microwaves will become virtually inescapable,” the committee said in a statement.

“The FCC has tied the hands of our local leaders (the Mayor and City Councilmembers) by threatening legal recourse if they oppose or obstruct permit requests from the telecom industry.”

Verizon media relations worker Heidi Flato said citizens have nothing to worry about.

“5G works the same way garage door openers, TVs, baby monitors and every past generation of wireless have all worked — with radio frequency (RF) waves,” Flato said in an email to the Gateway. “5G uses a dense network of ‘small cell’ antennas about the size of a backpack. Designed to blend into the environment, these 5G antennas hide in plain sight on things you never notice — like utility poles and street lamps.

“All Verizon facilities, including small cells that Verizon is deploying to provide 5G service, are required to comply with FCC safety standards.”

Flato said 5G provides lower latency, higher capacity and higher output for experiences like responsive gaming, video chat and movie streaming.

The committee said their goal is to have community members become more informed on the technology.

“We want to inspire our community to demand proof that 5G is safe before a single small cell tower is constructed in our neighborhoods,” according the committee’s statement. “We want people to call, text, email and write letters to the newspaper demanding that our state and federal representatives mandate additional scientific studies before putting our residents and environments at risk.”

The committee point out that at a February meeting of the U.S. Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-New York, expressed concerns about the health effects of 5G.

“I believe that Americans deserve to know what the health effects are,” Blumenthal said. “So there really is no research ongoing. We’re kind of flying blind here, as far as health and safety is concerned.”

The committee said instead of requiring more research, the FCC endorsed pending legislation that would “limit the liability of telecom corporations for injury caused by exposure to radiation emitted by telecom equipment.”

The committee created a website in order to raise more awareness: www.5gigharbor.com.

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