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Residents of Sheffield, Mass., want ban on 5G WiFi until health concerns addressed

Jan 09, 2023 12:30 am

Heather Bellow reports for The Berkshire Eagle that a group of residents and activists in Sheffield, Mass., are attempting to block 5G wireless systems from being installed in town until research determines that emissions from the technology is safe for people, animals, and the environment. Critics say existing federal safety standards are outdated and do not apply to the higher fifth-generation levels of radio frequency radiation. The town, however, might not legally be able to stop what the federal government allows the telecommunications industry to do. However, lawyers who fight cell towers and antennae, say that well-written local codes can stop installations. The Sheffield-based Scientific Alliance for Education, or S.A.F.E., presented a petition to the Select Board on January 3, requesting a moratorium on millimeter wave 5G small cell technology be put before voters at the annual town meeting in May. The petition asked for the pause until the Federal Communications Commission updates its limits for radiation exposure based on the results of specific research on 5G radiation “from scientists independent from industry.” S.A.F.E. Vice President Kathryn Levin told the board that potential liability to towns looms “if someone gets sick.” Just look at what happened in Pittsfield over a cell tower that 17 residents say has harmed them, she said. However, Sheffield might not have a say in the matter, said Town Administrator Rhonda LaBombard. The federal government will not allow the town to regulate telecommunications infrastructure “based on environmental issues or the effects of radiofrequency,” she added. Some Berkshire officials agree with FCC officials and aren’t convinced that 5G is or will be a problem. Great Barrington’s Planning Board is not yet addressing 5G in its zoning laws. “I am not aware of scientific literature from NIH, WHO, or other reputable sources that provide actual evidence of health risks from 5G,” said Chair Brandee Nelson. Read the full story in The Berkshire Eagle.

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