Duncan Oklahoma has an environmental provision: “Telecommunications facilities shall not be permitted in any wetland, floodplain, or wilderness or wildlife area and disturbance to wetland buffer areas shall be minimized. A telecommunications facility shall not be permitted in any area where it would threaten endangered species or critical habitats. Telecommunications facilities shall not be permitted where they would significantly change surface area, contribute significantly to deforestation or create significant water diversions.”
A landmark three part 2021 research review on effects to wildlife published in Reviews on Environmental Health by U.S experts including former U.S. Fish and Wildlife senior biologist Albert Manville states current science should trigger urgent regulatory action citing more than 1,200 scientific references which found adverse biological effects to wildlife from even very low intensities of non ionizing radiation with findings of impacts to orientation and migration, reproduction, mating, nest, den building and survivorship (Levitt et al., 2021a, Levitt et al., 2021b, Levitt et al., 2021c).
What are examples of setbacks in other communities for 5G “small” cell tower installations?
- Los Altos, CA prohibits installation of small cells on public utility easements in residential neighborhoods and requires a 500 ft setback from schools.
- Petaluma, CA , the distance a “small” cell tower can be placed from a residential home is 500 feet.
- Mason, Ohio: No small cells in residential areas or within 100 feet of property used for residential use; Small cells must be 2000 feet apart (unless colocated); Small cells are between 20-30 ft high (may be able to exceed 30 ft if colocated); Every attempt shall be made to locate small cells on existing structures; if not available, within public right of way; All related equipment should be underground or wholly contained so not visible
Fact: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not performed a research review for over thirty years and is not monitoring or researching the issue.
As the EPA stated to Theodora Scarato, Executive Director of Environmental Health Trust in a 2020 letter, “EPA’s last review was in the 1984 document Biological Effects of Radiofrequency Radiation. The EPA does not currently have a funded mandate for radiofrequency matters.”
The EPA was defunded from researching the issue just as it was poised to develop RF safety standards for human exposure in 1996. Thus, the US does not have federally developed safety standards based on U.S. agency expert research to determine a safe level. Instead the US has RF exposure guidelines promulgated by the FCC which set limits in 1996 based on limits created by industry dominated/tied groups.
The EPA used to measure RF and non-ionizing EMF levels. The last Report was a 1986 Report on Environmental Exposure Levels. The FCC also had programs taking RF measurements from cell antennas but the field offices were shuttered. In sharp contrast to the USA, many other countries have RF measuring projects with RF radiation levels posted on public websites including: France , Spain, Austria, Greece, Turkey, India, Israel, Gibraltar, Brussels Belgium, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Tunisia, Malta, Brazil, Bahrain, Monaco, French Polynesia, Bhuton, Senegal. France even has 5G monitoring stations.
Some communities are starting to address this lack of accountability. For example, see the Copake NY code: Pretesting and post testing by RF engineer and annual monitoring of RF emissions by the independent RF engineer using actual field measurements like in Copake New York. Davis, Burbank and Berkeley also have testing requirements in their ordinances. An RF engineer performs measurements and the OWNER of the wireless facility pays for this.
EPA scientists have long tried to address the inadequacies of FCC’s limits. EPA expert staff signed onto letters in 1999 and 2003 to the RF limit setting group leadership requesting answers to identified shortcomings in their recommended human exposure limits.
In 2019, the EPA website pages on cell phones, cell tower and EMFs were rewritten (scrubbed) and now parrot FCC verbiage and link to the FCC as the authority, despite the fact that the EPA has done no recent research, nor developed any opinion on safety. When the FCC asked the EPA to comment on the need to update or change FCC’s 1996 limits in their 2013 Inquiry, the EPA responded with a one paragraph letter offering no opinion.
Do some communities have school setbacks for cell towers?
Yes. Here are some examples.
- San Diego CA: 300 feet for schools “SCWs in the right-of-way shall not be located within 300 feet of schools, child care centers, hospitals, religious facilities, fire stations, or sheriff stations unless the applicant demonstrates that compliance with this requirement would be technically infeasible.”
Walnut City CA: “Telecommunication towers and antennas shall not be located within 1,500 feet of any school (nursery, elementary, junior high, and high school), trail, park or outdoor recreation area, sporting venues, and residential zones.”To see the code online go to Code at https://qcode.us/codes/walnut/, Click on “Title 6: Planning and Zoning” Click on “Chapter 6.88 ANTENNAS AND COMMUNICATION FACILITIES”, Click on “6.88.060 Design standards, See Item
- Santa Fe New Mexican, Report says wireless radiation may harm wildlife, Scott Wyland
- Research Suggests Cell-Tower Radiation Harms Wildlife, Public Health News Service, Suzanne Potter
- “What Will 5G Mean for the Environment?” By Clair Curran of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
- “Is Wireless Technology an Environmental Health Risk?” Society of Environmental Journalists Journal
- The Coming 5G Revolution: How Will It Affect the Environment? By Renee Cho, Columbia Climate School, Columbia University New York
- “Electricity consumption from China’s digital sector on track to increase 289% by 2035” Greenpeace
- Opinion: Allowing Unfettered Access to Build Cell Towers in the Name of 5G Is Bad Policy for Climate Policy in Maryland Matters, by Theodora Scarato
- “Australia Fires And Technology’s Climate Vampire: Why The Environmental Impact Of 5G Expansion Could Be Massive” by Devra Davis in International Business Times
- “How Green is 5G?” Envirotech Magazine, by Sally Beare
- Marion Edey Social Justice, Climate, Trees, Birds and Bees: Reasons Why Montgomery County Should Not Vote To Open The Floodgates To Cell Towers in Our Neighborhoods!. Montgomery Sentinel July 26, 2021
Harvard Investigative Report
Investigate Europe’s Two Part Investigation on 5G
The Center for Public Integrity Investigations