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Elk Grove Residents Warned About Possible Health Hazards of 5G

Elk Grove Residents Warned About Possible Health Hazards of 5G

(left to right) Mayor Steve Ly, Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, Mark Graham, Eric Windheim (holding RF detector and copy of the graphic)

There may be adverse health effects from the use of 5G wireless technology, but not enough research has been done to verify that it’s safe, according to health experts.

“We’re now in this race to 5G but what’s the hurry?” asked Cindy Russell, executive director of Physicians for Safe Technology.  “We don’t have any evidence of its safety.”

Russell was one of three speakers at the “5G, EMF  (electromagnetic fields) and Your Health” symposium held Tuesday in the Elk Grove City Council chambers.  About 50 people attended the event, which was organized by Elk Grove resident Mark Graham, a longtime critic of cell phone towers. He also founded a group, Keep Cell Antennas Away From Our Elk Grove Homes, which works on keeping 4G and 5G cell antennas out of neighborhoods and away from parks and schools.

Mark Graham, organizer of the symposium

Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly and Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli moderated the question and answer period.

“Many of you are certainly concerned (about this topic) and I think that’s very valid, regardless of whatever direction the city council does take with this,” said Ly in his introductory remarks.

“Mark and many of the neighborhood associations have asked us to do this to provide more information, and there’s nothing really wrong with that.”

The tone of the evening was set when Graham showed a short video from the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Technology Committee hearing held on Feb. 7 of this year. The hearing dealt with the future of 5G in the US.

In the clip, US. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, asked representatives from the wireless industry how much money they were spending on independent research into the biological impact of 5G technology.

“I believe that Americans deserve to know what the health effects are,” he said.

Both  Brad Gillen, vice president of Cellular Telecommunication Industry Association, and  Steve Berry, President of Competitive Carriers Association said there weren’t any industry-backed research being done.

“There’s no research ongoing,” Blumenthal said in response. “We’re kind of flying blind here about health and safety.”

Eric Windheim, electromagnetic radiation specialist

Technical Details of 5G

Eric Windheim, a certified electromagnetic radiation specialist, explained some of the technical differences of 5G versus the existing cellular technologies at the event Tuesday.

His company, Windheim EMF Solutions, performs electromagnetic field assessments of homes and businesses and helps clients mitigate the effects from exposure to wireless radio frequency radiation (as well as other types of fields – electric, magnetic and dirty electricity).

“Cellular frequencies – we start out with 2G – they’re measured in megahertz,”  he said.

“That’s millions of cycles per second, where standard electricity is 60 cycles per second. There are all these vibrations that allow the transfer of energy and information. As we went from 2G to 3G to 4G, you can see we’re going at higher frequencies that allows you to transfer information faster but it doesn’t go as far.”

Accompanying his remarks is a slide that shows that the various frequencies that 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G run on. The first three types – 2G, 3G, and 4G – have deep penetration with slower data transfer. For 2G, it can be at 800, 850 or 1,900 MHz.  3G’s range is a 850, 1,700, 1,900 and 2,100 MHz. When you get up to 4G,  the frequencies can vary widely: 600, 700, 850, 1,700, 1,900, 2,100, 2,300, 2,500, 3,500 and 5,200 MHz. But when you get up to 5G – it’s a huge jump. Verizon offers the service at 28,000 MHz, while AT&T’s is even faster: 39,000 MHz.   Windheim describes 5G as poor penetration with extremely fast data transfer.

So what does that mean? More cell towers.

“It used to be macro towers – look, Daddy, there’s a cell tower – but now there’s more small cells,”  he said, adding that a 5G cell is about the size of a fishing tackle box.

“When we move to 5G, with the shorter frequencies, shorter wavelength than the higher frequencies, we’re going to need cells every  300  (to 600) feet  on lamp poles.”

Windheim showed a slide that tracks the proliferation of cell towers.  In 1996, with 2G, there were 17,000 antennas in the US.  With 3G in 2006, there were 195,613 antennas. The advent of 4G in 2016 gave rise to 210,000 plus towers.

With 5G, Windheim estimates that there will be more than 13 million antennas by 2025 in the US.

“If we need millions and millions of new cell towers, we’re going to have one in front of your house, or your neighbor will,” he said.

And that can pose a problem since people’s health can be affected by the radio frequency radiation (RFR) generated by the 5G signal.

“The beam will be directed at the user,” Windheim said. “It’s good for transmitting data and you’re not really at risk unless you’re in the beam – kind of like a prison break where the prisoners are running away and the (one) unfortunately guy that’s (caught) in the spotlight – he’s getting all the attention.”

But that doesn’t mean that non-users of 5G would be unaffected.

‘If you’re near somebody who’s got a 5G handheld device, watch out, there’s going to be collateral damage if you’re between them and the tower, or on the other side of the tower – you’re going to be in the line of fire,” he said.

Windheim said a 5G cell got installed about 200 feet away from his home recently, and he did a reading.

“I got no noise whatsoever,” he said. “So, fortunately, the ambient radiation (from the tower) is not too much….It’s quite surprising unless you’re in the beam, there’s  very, very, very small amount of radiation – I’ll just want to stay out of the line of fire.”

Many people find they suffer from what used to be called “microwave disease,” now dubbed electrohypersensitivity (EHS) as a result of prolonged exposure to RFR.

“So, studies around the world show there’s sleep disturbances, discomfort, headaches, difficulty concentrating, memory loss – they’re all here,” Windheim said.

He then produced a slide that showed a direct correlation between distance from a cell tower and the intensity and frequency of the type of symptoms experienced by people living nearby.

Graph showing correlation between distance, frequency, and health effects

“You’ll see that proximity equals pain, suffering, injury,” Windheim said. “The closer you are, the more intense the symptoms, the closer you are, the more frequent the symptoms. There’s a direct relationship between proximity to an antenna and the intensity and the amount of pain and suffering that people get.”

Windheim said, “according to the Institute of Electric and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) which sets the standards for safe usage of various types of technology, including wireless services, the only health problems that might be caused by 5G is overheating of human skin.”

“The IEEE, in the paper they wrote, said that we’re going to have to reduce the power levels or people’s skins going to overheat when they’re holding a 5G phone,” he said. “They’re admitting that this 5G radiation only penetrates in a very shallow distance and that’s where it deposits all of its energy – heat into skin.”

When Windheim looked at Verizon’s figures for maximum exposure of RFR to people on the sidewalk, from the cell tower, it was supposedly at 6.5 percent of the FCC’s general public exposure limit.

He pointed out that in all the international studies of harm being caused by cell towers to human health, there were no reports of heating problems.

“That’s what the FCC says has to happen first and these are far below FCC limits,” he said. “But I have people –the whole family – driven out of a bedroom at 4 percent of the FCC limit, so something’s disconnected there.”


Photo of Linda Russell, who participated in the symposium via speakerphone

Health Effects of Wireless RFR

Russell, a plastic surgeon based in Mountain View, CA did not attend the symposium but participated by speakerphone. Graham served as tech support in showing slides that were part of her presentation, in which she cited a number of specific studies. She was interested in researching health effects from cell towers after she learned that there was a plan to put one near her daughter’s middle school.

“Parents were researching this  – it might not be a bad idea, it may not a good idea,” she said of her initial view of the proposed cell tower.

What she and other parents found in their research was alarming. One of the studies she cited was done in 2008, by  Ayoub Meo in Saudi Arabia. “He looked at two different schools that had nearby cell towers – one had a higher (radiation) level by a factor of 10 – and did a two-year project and measured their cognitive ability,” Russell said.

“The students who were at the school with the higher cell tower levels had cognitive decline that was measurable, and he did the study twice, the second time taking into account other sources of RFR, such as cell phone use.

“Of course, none of these studies reported exposures that were above the accepted international guidelines which suggest that the current (guidelines) may be inadequate in protecting our health.,” she said.

Russell discovered that in eight out of 10 international studies, done in Spain, Austria, Japan, India, Egypt, and Brazil, showed an increase in neurological symptoms in residents living within 1,200 to 1,500 feet from the base station of cell service.  The symptoms varied, depending on the distance, but included insomnia, heart palpitations, dizziness, poor concentration, and fatigue.

“Cell towers are fundamentally harmful to biological processes, both at low power and at high power,” she said.

“What I found in all this research is that radio frequencies are a biologic and environmental toxin and similar to other chemicals, you can’t feel it, hear it, or see it. You have damage on the cellular level and the effects are broad and affect all living organisms.”

What’s worse: the damage is cumulative.

“It’s not a one-hit phenomenon, a two-hit, five-hit or ten-hit phenomenon – your repair genes get overwhelmed by the toxins, and pretty soon, you develop cancer,” she said. “The other important thing is that these chemical and large radiation (emitters) were introduced and commercialized without any testing, really.”

She cited a 2017 blood study done by Zothansiama in India that showed how wireless RFR can affect the body down to the cellular level.

“He looked at DNA and lipid damage in residents who live near cell towers and he found not only DNA and lip damage but also reduction in our own internal anti-oxidants that provide protection from pollutants,” Russell said.

One of the more striking examples of how cell towers can affect the brain was revealed in a 2004 study of firefighters in the Los Angeles area.

“When they started in 2000, they put cell towers near fire stations because they were first responders,” she said.

Within a week of the cell tower being placed, firefighters began having symptoms of microwave illness – headaches, extreme fatigue, insomnia, unexplained anger and loss of impulse control. The most extreme was profound memory loss.

“They had firefighters who lived and worked in the city they grew up in and they got lost in a 911 call,” Russell said. “They forgot how to use CPR.”

As the result, the International Association of Fire Fighters co-sponsored a bill – AB57 – that would exempt fire stations from having cell towers near them because they may prevent firefighters from performing at “optimal cognitive and physical capacity at all times,” she said.

So, how does RFR act as a neurotoxin?

“Our nervous system is bio-electric,” said Russell. “We have nerve cells that develop impulses that travel along the fibers and neurotransmitters are released. They signal across the nerves and they stimulate a long, electric signal. That’s how our body works – through all these chemical and electrical signals and all at extremely low levels, tiny, tiny levels.”

She mentioned that there had been a number of studies that show that wireless radiation from cell phones and other devices can cause neural inflammation and loss of brain cells, particularly in the area of the hippocampus, where serves as the memory center.

Research has also shown that RFR disrupts the blood-brain barrier, which makes the brain more porous to toxins.

“This perhaps could explain the toxicity of wireless radiation along with chemical toxins,” she said. “They together create a decrease in transmitter levels, so that could perhaps explain some of the depression and other psychological impacts.  It  also disturbs the nervous system signaling required to regulate the body’s response to disease.”

Children are more vulnerable to toxic exposure and wireless radiation should be considered as another toxic exposure, Russell asserted.

“This type of radiation penetrates deeper in the brains of children because their skulls are thinner, and children have a higher content of water in the brain,” she said, adding that radiation is more easily absorbed through water.

“You cannot cook rice in a microwave oven (by itself) – you have to add water to it. Our bodies are 50 percent water and the brain is higher – it’s 70 percent.”

She cited one study that showed that radiation absorption in children was two to five times higher than in adults, and the radiation penetrates much deeper in the brain of children.  A slide that depicted contrasting “heat maps” of an adult brain versus a child’s brain was shown to the crowd.

“So, we have not done a very good job at protecting children from a lot of toxic exposure, include wireless devices,” she said. “We have to realize that they can be dangerous.”

In fact,  everyday exposure to wireless RFR can affect reproductive health.  Russell said that in a recent (2017) study done by Kaiser researcher De-kun Li, he found there was a disturbing link between RFR exposure and miscarriages.

He put devices on 913 pregnant women in the San Francisco Bay Area, which tracked electromagnetic non-ionizing radiation from everyday objects – such as cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, wifi routes – that they would be exposed to during their pregnancy.

“It was an extremely well-done study and he found in the highest exposure group, there was a three-fold increase in the miscarriage rate, and all were within the current guidelines,” Russell said.

“What’s interesting is that when this came out – it was reported in the New York Times and a lot of other places, there wasn’t any negative response in the industry. They couldn’t argue it, they couldn’t dismiss it, and that’s really remarkable because industry can create uncertainty about any study, and they didn’t even touch this one.”

Russell said that so far, the research has shown both short term and long term effects from RFR since they cause cellular harm, which leads to human disease.

Some of the short term acute effects are cardio-palpitations, electrohypersensitivity, DNA damage, miscarriage, neurological impairment, and sperm damage.

Long term chronic effects include cancer, infertility, Alzheimer’s Disease, autism, and intergenerational epigenetic DNA changes.

Russell said she is really concerned about the last item – “You can pass on these changes in your DNA to the next generation, and that’s stuff is really scary,” she said.

As a result of some of the findings of the research, several groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Austrian Medical Association, the California Medical Association, and even the US Government Accountability Office, have called for the re-evaluation of the current FCC standards for RFR exposure. Some of these entities have also developed their own guideline for cell phone use.

Russell noted that the California Department of Health  came  with a simple message in the Guidelines on Cell Phone Radiation in 2017: “Reduce your exposure.”

And all of these studies have been done with much slower wireless speeds – 2G, 3G, and 4G. 5G is relatively new and there has not been a lot of independent research done on the health effects.

“We know that 5G, unlike 4G, will penetrate the outer layer of skin,” she said. That means that exposure to 5G RFR may cause eye damage and skin damage.

Russell said she has also seen some research that indicates that bacterial resistance may be a factor, and based on research that dates back to 1970, high-speed kinds of radiation can also trigger widespread metabolic disturbances by coming into contact with skin. She ended her presentation with a paraphrased quote from Martin Pall, professor emeritus of biochemistry and basic medical science at Washington State University, who has done extensive research into the effects of RFR:

“He stated that ‘rolling out 5G is totally insane and in doing so without a single biological test of safety is bound to be one of the stupidest idea that anyone has had in the history of the world’ so I’m challenging anyone to argue that statement after doing the research,” she said.

Eric Windheim and Christopher Davis during the Question and Answer period

The Wireless Industry View

Christopher Davis, professor of electrical and computer engineering with the University of Maryland, didn’t give a  presentation with PowerPoint slides as Windheim and Russell did.  He had been asked by Verizon to attend the forum Tuesday and represent the cell phone industry. Before he joined the panel for the question and answer period, Mayor Ly asked if he had a formal presentation.

Davis’ answer was interesting: “I don’t have a full presentation but I have lots of comments to make. I’ll keep them fairly short.”

Ly agreed to let Davis speak since no one else was representing the wireless industry. Davis introduced himself and said he had been involved in doing research and studies on whether radio frequency and electromagnetic fields have any effects on humans at a low level.

“I have been doing this for 40 years and I’m afraid you have been told a very one-sided story about those risks of RF,” he said. “I just want to point out a few inaccuracies that I heard.”

He noted that he is a member of IEEE which sets up the standards for RF exposure for wireless devices. He disputed the argument that both Windhelm and Russell made that the regulators ignored studies that showed health effects from RFR.

“There have been multiple international bodies that have constantly reviewed thousands of papers in the literature,” he said. “They looked at all the studies – not just the studies that claim to see an effect, but they also looked at studies that failed to see an effect, and they have come to a balanced conclusion that the safety standards that currently exist do protect humans against adverse health effects.”

Davis said that some of the early tests on the effects of strong radio frequencies on health was done by the Department of Defense when officials became concerned about the health effects from the use of radar.

The first tests were conducted on animals (he didn’t say what kind). “They exposed animals to various levels of radio frequencies and they kept increasing the levels until they saw something happen. What they saw was at a certain level, the animals showed behavioral changes, and it was clear they were beginning to feel the warmth by absorbing the radio fields.”

Davis claimed that based on that information, the researcher determined that humans should not be occupationally exposed – as in actually working on radio antennas and cell towers,  to anything more than one-tenth of what affected animals.

“For the general public, the safety standards added additional factor of five, so the current exposure safety limits are 50 times below the levels that showed any effect in animals,” he said.

Davis said that other countries, such as Canada, the European Union, and New Zealand, have agreed that the current safety standards provide good protects.

“If we find conclusive evidence there are risks below the standard, we would evaluate what the standard should be, but they haven’t done that because there is no consensus among scientists who really looked at this issue that there is serious risk involved,” he said.

Davis also disputed the characterization of cell towers as being dangerous.

“Cell towers are one of the weakest source of RF that we’re exposed to,” he said. “Just to put in perspective, if you stand looking up at the base station cell tower, the radiation you get is actually about the same – although a different wavelength – as the level of light you would get reflected from the planet Venus. It’s a very, very tiny level.”

He said that recently, people have been concerned about smart electricity meters. “It turns out that the smart electricity meters are so weak, you would need extraordinarily sophisticated equipment to even measure how much power they’re putting out,” he said.

Davis also challenged the findings of the studies which Russell cited in her presentation.

“Every health effect you heard about in the last half hour, there are countless studies that have tried to see the same thing and they failed to see it,” he said. “The various studies that report on memory, behavior, and sleep – those are mostly anecdotal reports of people who were interviewed. They’re not what you call double-blind studies, where you actually expose people or you don’t expose them, to see if they actually experience the effect or not.”

As for the claim that some people are sensitive to an electromagnetic field, or having EHS, he said that the World Health Organization has said that there was no medical evidence that such a condition is actually caused by electromagnetic fields.

“It’s been characterized as what you call a ‘placebo effect’ – people see the technology and they heard that it’s potentially harmful, so they develop symptoms,” he said.

Davis said there have been double-blind experiments done on people who claim to be sensitive to these fields. He said that such propagation experiments have been done on thousands of people.

“They (the researchers) ask them: can you tell if you have been exposed or not? What they find is many of these people who thought they were being exposed (said they were) but in fact, they’re not. They cannot detect the fields,” he said.

“There’s no conclusive evidence that in properly controlled experimental studies, they actually experience the symptoms as a result of the field. They think it’s caused by the field, so they develop symptoms. But the evidence is not that they’re caused by electromagnetic fields.”

Davis actually drew “boos” from the audience when he compared the modern day critics of wireless RFR to the historical Luddites, who were 19th-century English textile workers who destroyed machines because they were afraid that the machines would replace them.

“Let’s face it, if you don’t want 5G cell tower outside your house, don’t have one,” he said. “If you want the technology, you have to have the infrastructure. You may not believe me, but I have to tell you that the exposures from 5G is very, very small and they are way, way below the safety standards. And I believe the international safety organizations are keeping an eye on this, but please don’t panic.”

Question and Answer

The last half hour of the symposium was devoted to answering questions from the audience. Blank index cards had been left on every seat in the council chamber.  Graham had urged residents to write down their questions on the cards, and pass the cards to Ly or Nottoli, who would read off the questions. Members of the panel – Windhelm, Russell and Davis – would then respond.

The first question had to do with the introduction of 5G in Sacramento, earlier this year. Sacramento was one of 11 cities in the US (and the only one in California) where Verizon chose to roll out 5G service.

“Why did Sacramento residents not have a say in installing the 5G cell towers?” read Nottoli, who decided to respond.

“I’m familiar with the City of Sacramento,” he said. “I  know that that obviously the mayor and various members of the (Sacramento) city council had expressed the desire to have the 5G network as part of the thriving, growing part of downtown Sacramento.  But I’m not familiar with the process they use there.”

Nottoli also said there was a question about a bill before the state legislature that would remove local land use authority on determining the placement of 5G towers.

“There was a  big push that they were going to use all the infrastructure, and that would include all of us in the city of Elk Grove and in the unincorporated areas as well to install these (5G cell towers) and do it by right – there wouldn’t be any county say,” he said. “I’m not an expert on this, but I’m certainly encouraged by the presentations this evening. I do believe that local governing bodies should have a say so on behalf of the residents that reside in their jurisdiction.”

Ly said he would combine several questions into one since there was a limit on time. He posed the next question: “Can RF interfere with sleep and cause headaches?”

Davis was the first to respond.

“Some years ago, there were many studies conducted on the effects of electromagnetic fields on melatonin, and at sufficiently high levels, at low frequencies, there were effects on melatonin,” he said. “To my knowledge, no changes in the melatonin were seen at very high frequencies – you’re talking now at 4G or 5G. This was a low-frequency effect and again, it’s somewhat controversial.”

Davis also noted that since the government had decided some time ago that there was nothing to worry about from high radio frequencies, so they did not pursue any research in this area. At one time, the National Institute of Health had funded such research but not anymore.

Russell disagreed with Davis’ characterization of people with EHS as being psychosomatic.

“There are studies that are positive and have shown to be provocation studies – they are not a lot but they are there,” she said.

Russell said she also knew individuals who are electrosensitive.

“One of the doctors on our board – he’s a physician who became electrosensitive after carbon monoxide poisoning,” she said. “He wrote a wonderful article about his experience and what happened to him, and he does not want to be electro-sensitive. He has to figure this out on his own double-blind study.”

Russell has met others who are electro-sensitive who don’t want to be that way. “They want to use their devices (but can’t) because they are extremely sensitive,” she said.

Russell mentioned that Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former prime minister of Norway who also served as Director General of the World Health Organization from 1998 – 2003 was probably the most famous person who was known to have EHS.

“She became electrosensitive after a microwave incident,” she said. “She can tell if someone had their cell phone on in the room. People would try (to mute it) but she would feel it – she knew right away.”

Russell also disputed the assertion that Davis made that smart meters generate so little radiation that they can hardly be detected.

“The other issue is that the pulse makes the poison, not the average,” she said. “You can state that the smart meters have a low kind of pulse. If you average, you can hardly measure it. But it’s the pulse that affects the electrical membrane and that’s how the effects occurred. The toxicity effect on the cell is the pulse and that’s what needs to be measured – it’s like a punch in your tummy. That’s the problem and unfortunately, the industry averages it.”

Windheim gave an example of an EMF assessment he did two years ago in Vallejo.  He said that he got a call from a very disturbed parent who asked him to figure out what was wrong with his (the client’s) son.

“He’s been kicked out of school and forced to see a behavioral psychologist – he’s not acting normal,” recalled Windheim. “I get into the house, and (the boy) is playing with his Xbox, his PlayStation – all these radiation devices.”

There was also a smart meter right outside the boy’s bedroom, and he was getting wifi directly under his bed.  Windheim said he suggested the family cut off the wifi in the boy’s bedroom, shielded the smart meter, and not have the boy use the Xbox and PlayStation.

Months later, Windheim follows up with the family and learns that after following up on his suggestions, the boy’s back in school and doing fine.

“His testimony is on my website,” he added.

The next questions dealt with studies on 5G safety.

“This is a real good question: have there been any long term studies in 5G technology?” said Ly. “The premise for this is once upon a time, we were told smoking was ok, and plastics – they were all safe, too.”

Windhelm referred to a paper that he cited on his slide on the IEEE.

“They’re very concerned about 5G handheld device because at current power density level, a maximum exposure limit, they realized that it was going to overheat skin in the hand that’s holding the phone, so they’re trying to work out ways to rearrange the antenna, and they also have to make sure that nothing transmits toward the tower,” he said. “They do recognize it can transmit toward your face if the tower is behind you. But other than that, all I see is caution and warning in that paper. There is no long-term health study.”

Davis didn’t address the question about 5G research. But he questioned the findings of some of the studies with older technology.

“We live in a wireless world and probably everyone in the planet has at least one cell phone, and that’s been the primary concern of people – that the largest exposure that anyone can get from a phone in your ear,” he said. “It turns out worldwide, there hasn’t been any increase in brain tumors and you expect to see a huge increase in brain tumors because of so many cell phone users.”

Davis also said that he had checked on another claim of adverse health effects from EMF. “If you looked at countries with the highest amount of cell phone use, they actually have the lowest amount of autism, which again, seems to contradict the fact that exposure to electromagnetic fields causes autism,” he said. “There’s a lot of these contradictions out there. I’m not saying you shouldn’t continue to be concerned, but I would say, don’t go overboard in worrying about something that has been supported by historic evidence.”

Russell said she had written a paper on 5G technology but didn’t find any long term studies.

“I looked the literature up and it gave me more concern just looking at the 5G wave and millimeter technology, so from my standpoint, no,” she said.

However, she noted that there has been a  rise of brain tumors developing in England, and in terms of childhood cancers, the top two are brain tumors and testicular cancer but those are from more recent studies.

“I think our children have exposure from cradle to grave basically,” she said. “I think this is the real issue we’re really ignoring, so I think it’s really important to study this more before you roll it out.”

Ly read out another question: who makes the cell towers?

That question drew some rather interesting responses.

Windheim threw out the names of Samsung, Nokia and said that someone can find out who the manufacturer of a cell tower by asking for RF complaint reports from the local planning department.

Davis said that he found that most people who oppose cell towers don’t do it because of health concerns but because they’re ugly. He said that the wireless industry has responded by disguising the towers as trees and other things.

“I have a wonderful slide that shows a cactus – a big saguaro cactus except there’s a man on a cherry picker opening an access door in the cactus because it’s a cell tower disguised as a cactus,” he said.

Russell wasn’t concerned so much about who makes the cell towers as how many there will be with 5G.

“I think if there was not this huge expansion of cell towers, I’m not sure that people would be concerned with it because some people would have symptoms, some people would move away, and some people would figure how to deal with it,” she said. “But with this 5G expansion, there will be nowhere that people can hide, and it’s going to be in space. It’s going to be everywhere, and if you’re looking at the research, and you understand toxins and how they can affect the body, then you would be very, very, very concerned with this.”

Nottoli decided to get in two more questions before ending the event. One person wanted to know at what percent of the FCC limit do headaches and insomnia begins to occur.

Windheim said he’s not aware that the FCC has established a level at which headaches and insomnia occurs.   With his clients, he has seen people affected by as low as one-quarter of one percent of the limit – such as removing a cell phone from underneath a pillow – to 4.6 percent of the FCC limit, in a recent case where RFR from a cell tower was coming through a window of a Sacramento home.

Russell said that in terms of percentage of radiation levels, that still needs to be worked out. Davis said the main reason there hasn’t been a lot of research done on the health effects of 5G and at what level they occur is that scientists don’t want to use human subjects, so most experiments are done on a cellular level, in in vitro experiments.

“It turns out in vitro experiments, where you experiment on cells in a petri dish – it is really difficult with these high frequency radiation because they don’t penetrate the whole petri dish in an uniform way,” he said. “It gives rise to all kinds of weird convection currents that change the conditions in the petri dish so you don’t have the equivalent control to see if there’s actually been an effect or not.”

The last question of the night, which was read by Nottoli, was asking if there was a way that Elk Grove could control where 5G cell towers can be located and whether the city can place limits on how 5G can be used, such as eavesdropping on conversations, deploying facial recognition in public spaces.

Davis noted that wireless companies are getting better in providing security through heavy encryption.

“The genie is out of the bottle,” he said. “If you don’t want this technology because of the advances it provides to business. I think you need to be cautious about (balancing) what really benefits society against what might be overly serious concerns about something that people really should not be worrying about very much.”

Windheim said he hasn’t received any complaints about 5G yet, even though there is a 5G cell 200 feet away from his home. So far, most of the people who are calling him are bothered by the 4G cells that are 50 feet away from their bedroom windows.

Russell had the last response of the night.

“We’re already seeing harm from 4G, and now we’re going to add on a whole another layer of 5G frequencies,” she said. “We have no idea if this mesh of all these frequencies, even if they think the pulse is infrequent, could have a large effect.”

Ly said that he has asked Graham to help him compile a list of all the questions from the residents, and have all the panelists respond with written answers.

“I want my colleagues on the council to know what the members of the panel are saying and that the providers  – AT&T and Verizon – are players that needed to be educated as to the different perspectives and what Elk Grove constituents are concerned about,” he said.

A table in the lobby with informational fliers on 5G, EMF, and health effects

Residents’ Reaction To The Symposium

Not all the people who attended the symposium were from Elk Grove. Kim Gluzzard, 62, of Sacramento, said she is electrosensitive, and wanted to learn more about 5G. “It’s such an important subject,” she said while chatting with others outside the City Council building.

She was a bit frustrated with Davis, who constantly “cast doubt” on the findings of research showing health effects from RFR but did not provide the source for his claims.

“I liked that Dr. Russell gave specific information,” she said, noting that the physician had referred to a number of specific studies in her presentation.

Oscar Caro, 67, of Elk Grove said he wasn’t too surprised by what he heard Tuesday night.

“I think there’s a real concern about the health impact on the people here,” he said.

He also didn’t care for Davis’ comments.

“It just confuses things and he didn’t offer specifics,” Caro said. “He lies by omission and he was sidestepping all the issues.”

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About The Author

Tillie Fong

Tillie is a recovering news junkie and real life Lady Bird. She is a former staff writer for Rocky Mountain News in Colorado, and former on-call reporter for The Sacramento Bee.

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