The City of Boise, Ada County should follow the State of New Hampshire recommendations before proceeding with its 5G Small Cell Deployment

The State of New Hampshire was put into the same predicament that the City of Boise, Ada County and ACHD is facing right now. After hearing testimony of potential health risks and the political ramifications of small cell antennae being deployed on the public rights-of-way throughout New Hampshire, agreed that a Commission be formed to take a deeper look at this evolving technology.

House Bill 522 established “a Commission to study the environmental and health effects of evolving 5G technology.” The Commission that was convened as a result of this legislation is comprised of thirteen members with backgrounds that include physics, engineering electromagnetics, epidemiology, biostatistics, occupational health, toxicology, medicine, public health policy, business, and law. The Commission also has representation from the telecommunications industry. The Commission began its work on September 16, 2019 and submitted this report on November 1, 2020. (5G Final Report)

To become acquainted with the issues relevant to 5G radiation exposure and health, the Commission heard from ten recognized experts in the fields of physics, epidemiology, toxicology, and public policy. All but the presenter representing the Telecommunications Industry acknowledged the large body of peer- reviewed research that shows that the type of RF-radiation generated by wireless devices can have a deleterious effect on humans, especially children, as well as animals, insects, and vegetation.

5G is moving forward because of its potential benefits and because of assurances by federal regulatory agencies that 5G technology is not harmful. However, those assurances have themselves come into question because of the thousands of peer-reviewed studies documenting deleterious health effects associated with cellphone radiation exposure. Most of the federal regulatory agencies’ radiation exposure limits were established in the mid-1990s before the studies were carried out, so they did not take those studies into account when setting exposure limits. In addition, the initial exposure limits were developed at a time before wireless devices, and the radiation associated with them, became ubiquitous. Not only are wireless devices far more prevalent than in the past, but these radiating devices are typically carried in direct, or near direct, contact with peoples’ bodies. Further, the total radiation exposure for individuals is compounded by the radiation from nearby sources, including others’ devices, cell towers, wireless routers, Bluetooth devices, etc. Because of the large number of radiating devices in today’s environments, exposure for people is many times greater than when radiation thresholds were established, and the nature of today’s radiation (high- data-rate signals) has been shown to be more harmful than the lower-data-rate signals that were prevalent before.

The significant disconnect between the regulatory agencies’ pronouncements that cellphone radiation is safe and the findings of thousands of scientific studies was one of the major issues that the Commission sought to address. The Commission is not alone in wrestling with this issue as many others (see Appendix E) have challenged the radiation thresholds specified. It is to be noted that the only country with higher radiation thresholds than the U.S. is Japan (see Appendix F), and a large number of independent scientists have concluded that the thresholds for Japan and the U.S. are unsafe.

A likely explanation as to why regulatory agencies have opted to ignore the body of scientific evidence demonstrating the negative impact of cellphone radiation is that those agencies are “captured” (see Harvard University publication entitled, “Captured Agency: How the Federal Communications Commission Is Dominated by the Industries It Presumably Regulates” linked in Appendix G). This report documents how the leadership roles in some agencies (the FCC in particular) are filled by individuals with strong industry ties and hence are more focused on industry interests than the health of citizens. As is shown in other sections of this report, federal legislation uses policy set by the regulatory agencies to wrest control of wireless facility placement from individuals, cities, and states. Consequently, some of the Commission’s recommendations call for a reassessment of the makeup and policies of federal regulatory agencies.

Current policies in place by federal regulatory agencies (such as section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996) are tailored to prevent local objections to cell tower siting that are based upon health or environmental concerns, and this leaves citizens with little legal recourse regarding equipment placement.

Industry projects that over 800,000 small cell towers5 will be necessary to implement 5G. Many are being erected in the public rights-of-way in New Hampshire neighborhoods and mounted on new poles, streetlights, and utility poles directly in front of homes. However, because of the rules currently in place, individuals and municipalities cannot use health or environmental concerns as a reason to object.

The majority of the Commission has endorsed the 15 recommendations presented in this report. These recommendations are not in prioritized order, and each should be given equal consideration. The objective of those recommendations is to bring about greater awareness of cell phone, wireless and 5G radiation health effects and to provide guidance to officials on steps and policies that can reduce public exposure. We also recommend partnering with our federal delegation to facilitate the reevaluation of radiation exposure guidelines and policies by federal agencies (i.e., the FCC, FDA, NASA, NOAA, FAA, EPA, etc.) to protect people, wildlife, and the environment from harmful levels of radiation.

Here’s a video of Kent Chamberlin Presentation the Commission’s finding to the Tri-City Board of Health.

COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS

The Commission has heard from many experts on both sides of the argument concerning the health and environmental effects of 5G and RF-radiation in general; reviewed countless study reports; attempted to get direct answers to our specific questions from the FCC and other federal agencies to no avail; has become aware of a number of lawsuits against the FCC for not accounting for biological effects in the setting of their standards; is still not certain why the standards for acceptable RF-radiation are set so much higher in the United States than other industrialized nations; is concerned that the modulation of frequencies and the combined effect of “the soup” of RF-waves surrounding us today, which will likely increase with time; is aware that there is much research showing potential health risks and understands that much more research is required; is cognizant that our country historically has been beset by examples of products being declared safe only later to be proven unsafe; and is very aware that the World Health Organization and the whole insurance industry are hedging their bets against RF-radiation because of potential harm. Given these considerations, the majority of the Commission yields to the precautionary principle in formulating many of these recommendations. These recommendations cover a broad range of topics. One topic given much consideration had to do with liability from potential harm caused by small cell antennae placed on the public rights-of- way. A majority of the Commission could not agree upon a recommendation surrounding this topic.

RECOMMENDATION 1- Propose a resolution of the House to the US Congress and Executive Branch to require the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to commission an independent review of the current radiofrequency (RF) standards of the electromagnetic radiation in the 300MHz to 300GHz microwave spectrum as well as a health study to assess and recommend mitigation for the health risks associated with the use of cellular communications and data transmittal. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was adopted before the health risks and biological effects of RF-radiation to the human body were fully known to the scientific community as well as the public. The majority of the Commission believes that the FCC has not exercised due diligence in its mission to manage the electromagnetic environment by not setting exposure limits that protect against health effects. They have failed to support technical means and investigations aimed at reducing human exposures to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in telecommunications systems and optimize wireless modulations to reduce biological and health impacts. Commissioned research should study the health effects and should be conducted by an independent research organization with standards which have been mutually agreed to by all the stakeholders. The FCC shall then ensure that the findings and recommendations are adequately disseminated to the public.

RECOMMENDATION 2- Require that the most appropriate agency (agencies) of the State of New Hampshire include links on its (their) website(s) that contain information and warnings about RF-radiation from all sources, but specifically from 5G small cells deployed on public rights-of-way as well as showing the proper use of cell phones to minimize exposure to RF-radiation, with adequate funding granted by the Legislature. In addition, public service announcements on radio, television, print media, and internet should periodically appear, warning of the health risks associated with radiation exposure. Of significant importance are warnings concerning the newborn and young as well as pregnant women. Even without further study, there is evidence that the public should be warned of the potential dangers of RF-radiation and be told simple steps to lessen the risks of unnecessary exposure. Appendix H shows an example of a simple RF-radiation warning.

The website must provide an option for visitors to register their opinions about current FCC exposure guidelines. In particular, this registry should provide a convenient and formal mechanism for New Hampshire municipalities and residents to weigh in concerning the 1996 Telecommunications Act Section 704 that disallows using radiation-related health concerns as a reason to challenge cell phone tower siting. The primary use for the data collected on this registry will be to gauge the level of interest about RF-radiation exposure on the part of New Hampshire citizens.

RECOMMENDATION 3- Require every pole or other structure in the public rights- of-way that holds a 5G antenna be labeled indicating RF-radiation being emitted above. This label should be at eye level and legible from nine feet away. In the view of the Commission, the State of New Hampshire has the right to warn the public of potential harm of 5G antennae deployed in the public rights-of-way. Large cell towers all currently have fencing around them at their base to protect the public. This will not be the case with small cell towers or any pole with an antenna on top in the public right-of-way. These public rights-of-way are the jurisdiction of our municipalities and not of the Federal Government. The Telecommunication Act of 1996 did not contemplate antennae being placed on the public rights-of way of municipalities. Thus, the State of New Hampshire has the right to warn the public by requiring the owners of these antennae to inform the public of potential harm from RF-radiation. See Appendix I for an example symbol.

RECOMMENDATION 4- Schools and public libraries should migrate from RF wireless connections for computers, laptops, pads, and other devices, to hard- wired or optical connections within a five-year period starting when funding becomes available. There is strong evidence that the younger the child the more susceptible they are to the negative impacts of RF-radiation. Hard-wired connections or optical wireless do not subject children to RF-radiation. The Commission is aware that school districts and public libraries have invested much in wireless infrastructure and that a movement to radiation-less connections would require additional investment of resources.

New optical networking solutions for the classroom and office spaces (such as LiFi) offer faster, healthier, and more secure connections than RF-based WiFi. This technology utilizes visible light, which organisms can withstand without any harm at far higher intensity levels (such as direct sunlight) than is required for data transmission. Such optical data transmission using visible light offers gigabit speed, as well as plug-and-play replacement of current RF WiFi routers. The optical wireless system can be incorporated in an upgrade to cost-efficient LED room lighting which can save schools and public libraries significant energy dollars.

The hard-wiring and/or optical projects should be completed within five years from when the federal funding (e.g., through the FCC’s E-Rate program for telecommunications and IT in schools and public libraries) is procured.

RECOMMENDATION 5- Signal strength measurements must be collected at all wireless facilities as part of the commissioning process and as mandated by state or municipal ordinances. Measurements are also to be collected when changes are made to the system that might affect its radiation, such as changes in the software controlling it. Signal strength is to be assessed under worst-case conditions in regions surrounding the tower that either are occupied or are accessible to the public, and the results of the data collection effort is to be made available to the public via a website. In the event that the measured power for a wireless facility exceeds radiation thresholds, the municipality is empowered to immediately have the facility taken offline. The measurements are to be carried out by an independent contractor and the cost of the measurements will be borne by the site installer. It is recognized that theoretical calculations show that existing FCC guidelines will be met by standard cell tower configurations. However, there are cases where the radiation from towers can be focused by buildings, terrain, and beamforming antennas, causing signal levels to be considerably higher than would be expected in theoretical calculations unless those effects are taken into account. Collecting field measurements provide the only valid approach for determining whether exposure guidelines have been met. It is to be noted that some municipalities (e.g., the town of Burlington, MA [1]) have ordinances requiring measurements at cell towers.

Federal law and NH law grant to municipalities the power to enact zoning rules regulating the placement of personal wireless service facilities within the geographic boundaries of the municipalities. Municipalities should be proactive in this area and, through the exercise of zoning power, establish where, how, and a process for compliance with existing FCC guidelines for signal strength in the surrounding coverage area. Municipalities should establish a hierarchy of siting values and compliance acknowledgements so that the siting most favored by the municipality is the easiest siting for the wireless applicant to obtain and, conversely, the siting which is least desirable should be the most difficult siting for the applicant to obtain. The zoning ordinance should lay out the compliance requirement as part of the zoning approval.

[1] Burlington, MA zoning Bylaw Wireless Facilities section 8.4.6.2 – “Annual RF emissions monitoring is required for all sites by an independent RF engineer to be hired with Planning Board approval and at the applicant’s expense. Test results will be submitted to the Town as soon as available, and not later than the close of the calendar year. Annual testing of electromagnetic emission shall be required to ensure continual compliance with the FCC regulations.” Recommendation 6- Establish new protocols for performing signal strength measurements in areas around wireless facilities to better evaluate signal characteristics known to be deleterious to human health as has been documented through peer-reviewed research efforts. Those new protocols are to take into account the impulsive nature of high-data-rate radiation that a growing body of evidence shows as having a significantly greater negative impact on human health than does continuous radiation. The protocols will also enable the summative effects of multiple radiation sources to be measured. Contemporary approaches to performing signal level measurements do not provide a means to evaluate signal impulsiveness or the contribution of multiple radiation sources because of equipment limitations. The measurement protocols proposed will employ wideband equipment that is currently available but is not typically used to measure compliance with radiation safety limits. References that address the deleterious effects of impulsive radiation on organisms are given in Appendix J. The development of the proposed protocols should be funded by the appropriate federal agency (e.g., NSF, NIH, FCC, etc.) and should be facilitated by New Hampshire’s federal delegation.

RECOMMENDATION 7- Require that any new wireless antennae located on a state or municipal right-of-way or on private property be set back from residences, businesses, and schools. This should be enforceable by the municipality during the permitting process unless the owners of residences, businesses, or school districts waive this restriction. Local public rights-of-way are under the jurisdiction of municipalities, and the Commission feels that municipalities should uphold the rights of individuals impacted by antennae. The Commission also supports the right of property owners to manage decisions on non-essential devices being placed in front of their property.

The Commission believes that it is important to prioritize citizen safety, particularly as 5G is an upgrade, rather than the provision of wireless service to unserved areas. Additional rationale for this recommendation is shown in Appendix K.

RECOMMENDATION 8- Upgrade the educational offerings by the NH Office of Professional Licensure and Certification (OPLC) for home inspectors to include RF intensity measurements. Home inspectors currently operate as private contractors who may be hired by citizens or enterprises to measure such things as radon, to collect water quality samples, or search for mold or insect damage. Home inspectors routinely supply test results to both their clients and government entities.

The majority of the Commission believes the public has the right to discover, on a voluntary basis, the RF power intensity related to radio frequencies at a property which they will be purchasing or renting before the transaction is closed. Also, the proprietors of publicly accessible venues may wish to reassure the public about the RF power intensity within their establishments, by posting the data collected by a state-approved inspector. In addition, such testing should be paid for by the party requesting it and the testing itself should be performed by a professional who owns or rents the test equipment and has met the state requirements for training of home inspectors regarding RF measurements.

The majority of the Commission proposes that home inspectors be offered training by NH OPLC on how to measure on-site peak and 24-hour average RF intensities. Measurements of frequencies and intensities will be performed using low-cost equipment (such as GQ-390 meters). [Description of existing home inspector training offered for radon, mold, etc. may be seen at https://oplc.nh.gov/home-inspectors/index.htm]

RECOMMENDATION 9- The State of New Hampshire should begin an effort to measure RF intensities within frequency ranges throughout the state, with the aim of developing and refining a continually updated map of RF exposure levels across the state using data submitted by state-trained home inspectors. The data should be collected in such a way as to identify geographic areas of notably high RF exposure, places where RF signal for wireless communication is inadequate (dead spots), and places where RF is unusually low (white spots) sought by people who wish to minimize their RF exposure. One possible use of this data will be buyers/renters of property or the public, in general, using benchmark values to make comparisons and make their own decisions based on their comfort level with RF exposure. After a while, an extensive New Hampshire RF database will exist to provide useful maps and data for future public health investigations. Appendix L outlines in more detail the technical aspects of this recommendation. RECOMMENDATION 10- Strongly recommend all new cell phones and all other wireless devices sold come equipped with updated software that can stop the phone from radiating when positioned against the body. The Commission has been made aware that cell phones contain proximity sensors that will allow a cell phone to only radiate signals when a certain distance from the body, for example, held in the fingers or placed on a table. This does not change the functionality of the device, only the way it is used, specifically not held against the head or body. Implementation is a software update in the cell phone, as these phones already have a proximity detector to turn off the screen and soft keys when an obstacle is present. With this change, the screen and the RF circuit are automatically turned off. This removes the problems of brain cancers (glioblastomas and acoustic neuromas) and the issue of SAR limits for the industry. See Appendix M for more detailed references to the science behind this recommendation. Cell phones should come set with this inhibition, with instructions in the manual on how to disable it. There should be a soft button on the unit to easily re-enable the radiation inhibition, for example if the unit is handed to a child. In all cases, it should be easier to enable the restriction than to disable it. Cellular phones marketed specifically for children should stop radiating when positioned against the body under all circumstances. The installation of such proximity sensors is also encouraged in laptops and tablets.

RECOMMENDATION 11- Promote and adopt a statewide position that would strongly encourage moving forward with the deployment of fiber optic cable connectivity, internal wired connections, and optical wireless to serve all commercial and public properties statewide. The majority of the Commission believes that fiber optic transmission is the infrastructure of the future. When compared, RF wireless transmission lacks fiber optic characteristics: speed, security, and signal reliability while avoiding biological effects on humans and the environment.

The State should encourage partnerships between towns to make this happen and encourage our federal delegation to support grant money to assist with such deployments when it comes to funding fiber optic cable deployment, especially in rural locations.

RECOMMENDATION 12- Further basic science studies are needed in conjunction with the medical community outlining the characteristics of expressed clinical symptoms related to radio frequency radiation exposure. Further studies are just beginning to explore the quantum mechanical mechanisms which are the fundamental basis for understanding the biological changes occurring during the interaction of radio frequency radiation and molecules. These mechanisms can affect cells, tissues, and whole organs, as well as accumulate over time.

The majority of the Commission feels the medical community is in the ideal position to clarify the clinical presentation of symptoms precipitated by the exposure to radio frequency radiation consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which identifies such a disability. The medical community can also help delineate appropriate protections and protocols for affected individuals.

All of these endeavors (basic science, clinical assessment, epidemiological studies) must be completely independent and outside of commercial influence.

RECOMMENDATION 13- Recommend the use of exposure warning signs to be posted in commercial and public buildings. In addition, encourage commercial and public buildings, especially healthcare facilities, to establish RF-radiation free zones where employees and visitors can seek refuge from the effects of wireless RF emissions. Many NH citizens report sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation emitted from devices used in the delivery of in-building cellular and fixed wireless services. A majority of the Commission suggests that owners of commercial and public buildings, especially healthcare facilities, voluntarily place signage at entrances concerning RF-levels and RF-free zones within these structures so those entering the building are aware.

RECOMMENDATION 14- The State of New Hampshire should engage agencies with appropriate scientific expertise, including ecological knowledge, to develop RF-radiation safety limits that will protect the trees, plants, birds, insects, and pollinators. The majority of the Commission understands that current federal safety limits were made with the intention of only protecting humans from short term effects, but not protecting flora or fauna from harm. The State of New Hampshire needs to ensure our natural environment and wildlife are protected by effective safety standards. Tree limbs, birds, and pollinators will be closer than humans to 5G cell antennae and associated 4G densified infrastructure. In fact, the wireless radiation from cell antennae is very high in a plume surrounding the antennae. It could exceed FCC limits for several feet in this area, yet this is the exact area where leaves of trees, birds, and pollinators live. Thus, they may have higher exposures being in direct line of sight of wireless RF beams. When pollinators are impacted so are all forms of vegetation that depend on them for reproduction. Research on this issue is shown in Appendix N.

RECOMMENDATION 15- The State of New Hampshire should engage our Federal Delegation to legislate that under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) the FCC do an environmental impact statement as to the effect on New Hampshire and the country as a whole from the expansion of RF wireless technologies. Concern comes from the FCC projection that there will be numerous low orbit satellites and 5G small cell antennae, plus many additional macro towers required for these networks to function. The majority of the Commission is concerned that any new large-scale project that will densify antennae networks to this extent truly requires an environmental impact study. The NEPA statute requires that the agency consider environmental concerns in its decision-making process. NH should be provided documentation of such considerations. Until there is Federal action, NH should take the initiative to protect its environment.

5G Final Report

 

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