Opinion: Is 5G worth the potential risk

Many of us who live in the Tahoe basin have experienced the all too common “dead zone,” while out and about. Having cell service that is spotty can be frustrating as a local, especially while navigating all of the tourists during peak season who contribute to the clogging of the cellular artery.

Wireless carriers such as Verizon and AT&T are preparing to roll out their latest technology, which promises to upgrade the current 4G network to 5G. This enhancement, while speeding up connectivity, will also cause an increase in small cell towers in our neighborhoods and public places.

Will it be worth it?

In Brussels, Belgium, the seat of the European Union, they have halted the rollout of 5G.

Céline Fremault, minister of the government of the Brussels-Capital region, responsible for housing, quality of life, environment and energy spoke up for the people of her country.

“I cannot welcome such technology if radiation standards, which must protect the citizen, are not respected,” Fremault said. “The people of Brussels are not guinea pigs whose health I can sell at a profit. We cannot leave anything to doubt.”

In California the cities of Mill Valley, and most recently Grass Valley, have both filed ordinances to block the implementation of this technology, citing the need for more input and more research on the effects of long-term exposure to the potential radiation associated with 5G.

Nevada City Vice Mayor Reinette Senum, an environmental activist, feels incensed about the ultimate costs of 5G.

“5G is a completely different other band of frequencies.” Senum said. “It is a millimeter wave that doesn’t travel as far as previous wireless networks did, but nevertheless is much stronger.”

Senum explained that the ordinances will not stop the implementation long-term, but will pause the process temporarily until more permanent ones can be put into place.

“5G is being pushed on cities and counties,” Senum said. “It could expand massive surveillance on the public, causes breaks in DNA, which has been proven by peer-reviewed studies, could cause cancer, and uses a huge amount of energy versus fiber optics.”

Currently, in Incline Village, there is also a controversy brewing with concerns around the implementation of a proposed cell tower that has been in the works since 2018.

While this tower may not be one of the small 5G cell towers, Incline’s residents are no stranger to a protest, when it comes to the potential health dangers associated with radiation from wireless networks.

Previously, in 2012, the Incline community stopped AT&T from installing a 4G cell tower after residents were disgruntled over the proposed tower’s proximity to Incline High, citing health concerns as the main reason.

The fact that the 5G signal will not travel as far, means that there will need to be more towers.

More towers, and more potential radiation.

The most unsettling aspect of this, is that there has not been sufficient research done on this technology and the long-term effects it may have on people, animals and plants.

With the Earth and her inhabitants already in such a vulnerable state with climate change, it seems 5G might be the last thing we need.

Are we guinea pigs? Currently there is no data on the potential health risks associated with 5G technology.

The cell companies under current regulations can put their towers wherever they deem appropriate, in some cases without our consent. You might wake up one day with one attached to the utility pole right outside your front door.

As a mother and citizen of this country, it is my right to stand up for the safety of my family.

The power should lie with the people regarding 5G installation. We must have a clear voice in the equation of corporate profit versus public health.

If you are moved to, contact your city council, and/or planning commission department in your community, and help to put an ordinance in place to arrest this development.

Before we connect to 5G, let’s do the research.

In the words of Franklin Roosevelt, “The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.”

Emily Tessmer is a Sierra Nevada College junior.