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Sustainable TamAlmonte's Letter Re: Potential Regulations for 5G Technology in Marin County

The following Sustainable TamAlmonte letter was sent to the Marin County Board of Supervisors, Brian Crawford (Director of the Marin County Community Development Agency) , and Marin County Senior Planner Immanuel Bereket with regard to consideration of amendments to the Marin County Telecommunications Facilities Policy Plan to regulate 5G Small Cell Wireless Facilities.


**Please CLICK HERE to read the complete letter and view the Addenda on pages 9 to 18 of the letter.


DATE: February 4, 2019

FROM: Sustainable TamAlmonte, 215 Julia Ave., Mill Valley, CA 94941

TO: Marin County Board of Supervisors; Brian Crawford, Director, Marin County Community Development Agency; and Immanuel Bereket, Senior Planner, Marin County Community Development Agency - 3501 Civic Center, Rm 329 and Rm 308, San Rafael, CA 94903

Re: Consideration of amendments to the Marin County Telecommunications Facilities Policy Plan to regulate Small Cell Wireless Facilities

Dear Marin County Board of Supervisors, Director Brian Crawford, and Senior Planner Immanuel Bereket,

Thank you for considering amendments to the Marin County Telecommunications Facilities Policy Plan (TFPP) to better regulate Small Cell Wireless Facilities. We are very concerned about the potentially serious adverse health and environmental effects associated with exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic microwave radiation (RF-EMR) emitted by Small Cell Wireless Facilities for 5G technology. We are also concerned that deployment of 5G Small Cell Facilities could lead to: 1) Degradation of Marin County’s traditional residential character; 2) Decreased property values; and 3) Increased Fire Risk.

We strongly urge you to limit the placement of these risky antennae to the greatest degree possible and direct Staff to develop amendments to the TFPP regarding Small Cell Facilities that are highly protective and stronger than those discussed in the Staff Report.

I. OUR CONCERNS

A. CANCER AND OTHER HEALTH EFFECTS

1. Excerpt from the article by Merinda Teller, MPH, PHD entitled; “Microwave Radiation Coming To A Lampost Near You”[1] (**See the link to the article in the below footnote):

“The rapid proliferation of all these sources of electromagnetic radiation—cell towers, cell phones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi, smart meters and so on—is exacting a high price on our health. There are now thousands of scientific studies documenting myriad adverse bioeffects of microwave radiation, in particular. These biological effects include cancer, DNA damage, cardiovascular problems, increased stress hormones, sleeping disorders, depression, headaches, irritability and impaired fertility.[2]

Studies assessing cancer and wireless radiation are particularly disturbing. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the microwave radiation from all wireless devices as a possible human carcinogen in 2011. In 2016, the U.S. National Toxicology Program released results of the world’s largest, gold-standard study on wireless health risks (conducted on rats, which are the preferred animal model for studies of carcinogenicity in humans), finding cancer in 5.5 percent of the exposed group and no cancer in the control group.[3]

Other recent studies highlight strong evidence of a relationship between brain cancers and long-term cell phone use; increased incidence of at least ten other cancers concurrent with the promulgation of wireless technologies, including invasive breast cancers in young women carrying cell phones against their breast; and tumor promotion in response to very low levels of exposure to wireless radiation.[4]

5G technology will likely turn this serious health risk into a public health crisis. Ubiquitous deployment of small cell antennas will unleash unnatural and round-the-clock millimeter microwave radiation that is far more potent than anything previously experienced from the electromagnetic spectrum. In fact, the U.S. military uses millimeter waves—which travel only a short distance—as a non-lethal weapon for crowd control because the waves affect the surface of the body and cause a burning sensation of the skin at higher levels of power. The lower-powered but chronic exposure that most of us will experience outside of our homes, schools and businesses is expected to cause very serious health effects, including higher rates of skin cancer, cataracts, cardiac irregularities and fetal abnormalities.[5] Moreover, millimeter wave radiation has effects on microbes and may prompt increased antibiotic resistance.[6]

2. Firefighters exposed to cell tower radiation tested positive for abnormal brain function

Cell towers can no longer be placed in proximity to fire stations. A study showed that all the firemen tested had abnormal brain function after exposure to the cell tower radiation, even at low levels. Firefighters’ symptoms included problems with memory, intermittent confusion, and weakness. Please view the KPIX news broadcast that reports this by following the below link.

Link to the news broadcast:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=61h_vuBujw0

3. Manifesto entitled “5G Appeal” (September, 2017) (**See the link to the manifesto in the below footnote):

In the manifesto entitled “5G Appeal” [7], 180 esteemed scientists and doctors from 35 countries appeal to the European Union and recommend a moratorium on the roll-out of the fifth generation (5G) for telecommunication until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry.

Excerpt from “5G Appeal”:

“More than 230 scientists from 41 countries have expressed their “serious concerns” regarding the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to EMF generated by electric and wireless devices already before the additional 5G roll-out. They refer to the fact that “numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines”. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plants and animals.”

B. DEGRADATION OF THE TRADITIONAL RESIDENTIAL CHARACTER OF SAN RAFAEL NEIGHBORHOODS

Wireless carriers have the right, under Section 6409(a) of the “Middle-Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act”, to expand their equipment and expand it an unlimited number of times, thereby potentially creating a huge unattractive industrial mess. (**See photo in Addendum I on page 9 of this letter.)

C. DECREASED PROPERTY VALUES

The article entitled; “The Impact of Cell Phone Towers on House Prices in Residential Neighborhoods”, which was published in The Appraisal Journal in 2005, found that buyers would pay as much as 20 percent less for a property near a cell tower or antenna.[8]

According to the results from a survey conducted in June 2014 by the National Institute for Science, Law, and Public Policy (NISLAPP) in Washington D.C., 94% of the survey respondents reported that cell towers and antennae in a neighborhood or on a building would impact interest in a property and the price they would be willing to pay for it.79% said under no circumstances would they ever purchase or rent a property within a few blocks of a cell tower or an antenna. [9]

D. INCREASED FIRE RISK

The heavy and bulky “Small Cell Facilities” could overload telephone poles, leading to increased fire risk. For example, Edison and four telecommunication companies were fined for overloading utility poles with antennas and equipment, which caused the poles to collapse and spark the 2007 Malibu Canyon wildfire. [10]

II. FIBER OPTIC CABLE IS A BETTER OPTION

Instead of potentially harmful Small Cell Facilities for 5G technology, we suggest you support the installation of fiber optic cable to provide the best coverage in all Unincorporated Marin neighborhoods.

Wired networks, both optical fiber and copper, are a much better option than the potentially harmful 5G wireless networks. A report by the National Institute for Science, Law, and Public Policy in Washington D.C. titled; “Re-Inventing Wires; The Future of Landlines and Networks” [11] [12] noted that “Corporations invariably seek the cheapest, quickest, and most profitable path, which has led to the current emphasis on wireless… However, the mistaken upcoming 5G frenzy, with its millions of small cell antennas destined to clutter all neighborhoods and public right-of-ways, is dangerous, wasteful, and unnecessary.” Fiber optic cable is faster, more secure, more reliable, more energy efficient, more cost effective, healthier and safer than wireless networks.

III. LEGAL RECOMMENDATIONS FROM BEST, BEST, & KRIEGERT (BB&K) ATTORNEYS AT LAW

We recommend you follow the advice given in BB&K's legal alert entitled; "New FCC Shot Clocks and Other Rules Preempting Local Authority Over Wireless Take Today (January 14, 2019)" [13] (**See the link to the BB&K article in the below footnote.)

Excerpts from BB&K’s legal alert:

“The order(s) may eventually be overturned. We believe there are substantial questions as to whether the FCC small cell order is valid and lawful, and we are representing numerous jurisdictions challenging it and the August moratoria order. We are not recommending that you incorporate the FCC standards into local law per se. If you do so, then you will be bound by your own requirements, even if the FCC order is vacated. Therefore, we think it is useful to develop regulations that provide you with maximum flexibility to make substantive determinations that you would be comfortable making — even if the FCC had not changed its rules — while still complying with procedural requirements, such as shot clocks that, if not complied with, may result in a loss of rights. If you are faced with a situation where you feel compelled to grant an application because of the FCC rules, you may wish to make the permit conditional, so that it terminates if the FCC rule is overturned.” [14]

Some Portions of the FCC Small Cell Order Do Not Go Into Effect Until April 15: It is important to note that, though applicants may tell you otherwise, the portion of the FCC small cell order that requires aesthetic standards for “small wireless facilities” (as defined by the FCC) to be reasonable, no more burdensome than on other infrastructure, and objective and published in advance, does not go into effect until April 15.” [15]

We wish to emphasize that if you incorporate FCC standards into local law, then you will be bound by your own requirements, even if the FCC order is vacated. Therefore, except for complying with procedural requirements, such as shot clocks, we recommend that you make the most protective amendments possible to Marin County’s telecommunications ordinance, including those listed in the following section.

IV. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AMENDMENTS TO THE MARIN COUNTY TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES POLICY PLAN (TFPP) RE: SMALL CELL WIRELESS FACILITIES

We recommend you make the following amendments to the Marin County TFPP:

A. PROHIBIT WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES IN ALL RESIDENTIAL ZONING DISTRICTS:

The County Telecommunications Facilities Policy Plan (TFPP) allows wireless communications facilities within residential neighborhoods if no other suitable location area is available (TFPP Policy LU 1.4). This is unacceptable. Instead, prohibit 5G Small Cell Facilities in all residential zoning districts, like the Mill Valley Urgency Ordinance regarding Telecommunications Wireless Facilities.

B. ESTABLISH A MINIMUM DISTANCE OF 1500 FEET (or at least 500 feet) BETWEEN A SMALL CELL FACILITY AND A RESIDENCE:

Ideally, since research studies on cell tower radiation and health have shown that the safe distance between humans and any single antenna is 1500 feet [16] (**See ADDENDUM II, Pgs. 10 to 18, of this letter), establish a minimum distance of 1500 feet between a Small Cell Facility and any existing or approved residence. If you deem this requirement to be too restrictive, then, at minimum, follow the Petaluma Municipal Code 14.44.095 “Small Cell Facilities” [17] and require each small cell to be at least 500 feet away from any existing or approved residence.

C. ESTABLISH A MINIMUM DISTANCE OF 3000 FEET BETWEEN SMALL CELL FACILITIES:

The Staff Report suggests a minimum distance of 500 feet between Small Cell Facilities. This is insufficient. Instead, require a minimum distance of 3000 feet between small cell antennas. Public statements by Verizon executives (CEO Lowell McAdam and Field Engineer Jason L.) prove that telecommunication corporations do not need to install Small Cell Facilities near residences in order to provide coverage for 5G technology.Instead, the 4G and 5G Wireless Telecommunications can be placed 3000 feet away on Macro Towers.

**Please follow the below link to view the YouTube video of Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam and Field Engineer Jason L. as they demonstrate the 3000-foot radius of a single 5G antenna:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=FwAsr1pC13Q

Any resident who is standing between two antennae positioned 3000 feet apart will be in the path of both. Therefore, any positioning of antennae closer than 3000 feet apart will radiate at double the FCC standards in any location between the two antennas. Moreover, as already stated, research studies have shown that the safe distance between a human and any single antenna is 1500 feet. [18]

D. ESTABLISH AN UPPER LIMIT OF 150 µW/m² FOR RADIO FREQUENCY (RF) ELECTROMAGNETIC MICROWAVE RADIATION (RF-EMR) PUBLIC EXPOSURES:

Require that the permittee install only equipment that has no chance of outputting peak RF-EMR exposures any higher than 150 µW/m² anywhere people live (metered as peak RF-EMR exposures outside on the ground or outside of the highest windows of any building within a 3000- foot radius of any antenna).

E. NOTIFY RESIDENCES & BUSINESSES WITHIN 3000 FEET OF A PROPOSED SMALL CELL FACILITY:

Since Small Cell Facilities can emit microwave radiation for 3000 feet, notify all residences and businesses located within a 3000-foot radius of a proposed Small Cell Facility at the beginning of the permit process.

F. REQUIRE PERMITTEES OF SMALL CELL FACILITIES TO FUND ANNUAL MONITORING:

Similar to the Mill Valley Telecommunications Wireless Facilities Urgency Ordinance, require the permittee of a Small Cell Facility to pay for a contractor, chosen by the County, to provide annual test results that demonstrate whether or not the facility complies with current regulations. The County would have the right to turn off antennas that exceed the stated compliance levels.

G. DEVELOP CRITERIA FOR REVIEWING & RECERTIFYING SMALL CELL APPLICATIONS ANNUALLY:

Similar to Montgomery County, Maryland as described in the article entitled; “Strong Opposition to 5G Halts Small Cell Bill in Montgomery County Maryland & Verizon Drops Applications in Burlington” [19] (**See the link to the article in the below footnote), develop criteria for reviewing small cell applications which include an annual recertification of equipment installations, with a fee assessed to the telecommunications vendor to pay for town employee time to oversee the recertification process.

H. REQUIRE SMALL CELL FACILITIES TO BE ADA COMPLIANT:

Require 5G Small Cell Antennas to be ADA compliant for residents with Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EHS). Include the provision that any noncompliant Small Cell Facility must be removed.

The article by Center for Electrosmog Prevention (CEP) entitled; “Recognition of the Electromagnetic Sensitivity as a Disability Under the ADA” [20] demonstrates that the Federal Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board recognizes Electromagnetic Sensitivity as a disability under the ADA. (**See the link to the article in the below footnote.)

Excerpt from the CEP article:

“The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) is the Federal agency devoted to the accessibility for people with disabilities. As stated in the Background for the Access Board’s ‘Final Rule Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities; Recreation Facilities’ that was published in September 2002:

‘The Board recognizes that multiple chemical sensitivities and electromagnetic sensitivities may be considered disabilities under the ADA if they so severely impair the neurological, respiratory or other functions of an individual that it substantially limits one or more of the individual’s major life activities. The Board plans to closely examine the needs of this population, and undertake activities that address accessibility issues for these individuals.’ ”

I. REVIEW THE POLICY FROM BURLINGTON, MA TO UPDATE THE APPLICATION & RE-CERTIFICATION PROCESS FOR SMALL CELL WIRELESS FACILITIES:

Study the “Town of Burlington Policy Applications for Small Cell Wireless Installations” (**See below link) and update Marin County’s application and re-certification process for small cell wireless installations with more comprehensive and detailed procedures and language.

CLICK HERE TO READ the “Town of Burlington Policy Applications for Small Cell Wireless Installations”:

J. REVIEW THE CITY OF MILL VALLEY TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES URGENCY ORDINANCE FOR IDEAS ON DESIGN GUIDELINES & CONCEALMENT OF SMALL CELL FACILITIES:

Please review the “Urgency Ordinance of the City of Mill Valley Amending Title 20 of the Mill Valley Municipal Code to Establish Regulations for Wireless Telecommunications Facilities” and incorporate their design guidelines for wireless facilities into the Marin County TFPP. Such guidelines would limit the size and visual intrusiveness of the facilities. Design requirements would include visual screening, camouflage, concealment, limiting size, ect.

Examples taken from Mill Valley’s Urgency Ordinance:

“Aside from the antenna itself, no additional equipment may be visible. All cables, including, but not limited to, electrical and utility cables, shall be run within the interior of the telecommunications tower and shall be camouflaged or hidden to the fullest extent feasible without jeopardizing the physical integrity of the tower.”

“Where feasible, as new technology becomes available, the permittee shall:

(a) place above-ground wireless telecommunications facilities below ground, including, but not limited to, accessory equipment that has been mounted to a telecommunications tower or mounted on the ground; and

(b) replace larger, more visually intrusive facilities with smaller, less visually intrusive facilities, after receiving all necessary permits and approvals required pursuant to the Mill Valley Municipal Code.”

V. CONCLUSION

We strongly urge you to direct Staff to develop amendments for the Marin County Telecommunications Facilities Policy Plan and include Small Cell Wireless Facilities regulations that limit the placement of these potentially harmful antennae to the greatest degree possible and incorporate the above recommendations. Stronger regulations for Small Cell Wireless Facilities could protect Unincorporated Marin’s neighborhood character, property values, and public health and safety. We further recommend that you encourage installation of wired networks with fiber optic cable.

Thank you in advance for your conscientious consideration.

Very truly yours,

/s/

Sharon Rushton, Chairperson,

Sustainable TamAlmonte



[1] Teller, M. Microwave Radiation Coming To A Lampost Near You. Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2017. https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/environ...

[2] Environmental Health Trust. Top experimental and epidemiological studies on wireless radiation. https://ehtrust.org/science/top-experimental-epidemiological-studies/

[3] Environmental Health Trust. Myths and facts about the National Toxicology Program cell phone radiation cancer study: correcting the misinformation. https://ehtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/NTP_Myth_Fact.pdf

[4] Environmental Health Trust. Top experimental and epidemiological studies on wireless radiation. https://ehtrust.org/science/top-experimental-epidemiological-studies/

[5] Russell C. A 5G wireless future: will it give us a smart nation or contribute to an unhealthy one? The Bulletin, Jan/Feb 2017.

[6] Moskowitz JM. 5G wireless technology: millimeter wave health effects. 7 Aug 2017. http://www.saferemr.com/2017/08/5g-wireless-technology-millimeter-wave.html

[7] 5G Appeal. 2017.https://ehtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/Scientist-5G-appeal-2017.pdf

[8] Bond S. Wang K.The Impact of Cell Phone Towers on House Prices in Residential Neighborhoods. The Appraisal Journal, Summer 2005.http://electromagnetichealth.org/wp-content/upload...

[9] Electromagnetic Health. EMF Real Estate Survey Results: “Neighborhood Cell Tower & Antennas – Do They Impact a Property’s Desirability?”.2014. http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-h...

[10] Holland G., Rojas R. $99 million in fines urged over power poles that spark fire. LA Times. October 23, 2011.http://articles.latimes.com/2011/oct/23/local/la-m...

[11] Wireless Networks Are Not As Fast, Secure, Reliable or Energy-Efficient as Wired Systems, Says New Report. Business Wire, January 2018. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180126005137/en/Wireless-Networks-Fast-Secure- Reliable-Energy-Efficient-Wired

[12] Schoechle, T. PhD. Reinventing Wires: The Future of Landlines and Networks. National Institute for Science, Law, & Public Policy, Washington DC, 2018.

http://electromagnetichealth.org/wp- content/uploads/2018/05/Wires.pdf

[13] Best Best & Krieger LLP. New FCC Shot Clocks and Other Rules Preempting Local Authority Over Wireless Take Effect Today.BB&K Website, Jan. 14, 2019.

https://www.bbklaw.com/news-events/insights/2019/l...

[14] Best Best & Krieger LLP. New FCC Shot Clocks and Other Rules Preempting Local Authority Over Wireless Take Effect Today.BB&K Website, Jan. 14, 2019.https://www.bbklaw.com/news-events/insights/2019/l...

[15] Best Best & Krieger LLP. New FCC Shot Clocks and Other Rules Preempting Local Authority Over Wireless Take Effect Today.BB&K Website, Jan. 14, 2019.https://www.bbklaw.com/news-events/insights/2019/l...

[16] Environmental Health Trust. Compilation Of Research Studies On Cell Tower Radiation And Health. https://ehtrust.org/science/cell-towers-and-cell-a...

[17] Petaluma Municipal Code Chapter 14.44 Telecommunications Facility and Antenna Criteria – Code 14.44.095 Small Cell Facilities. Passed November 19, 2018.http://scientists4wiredtech.com/petaluma/petaluma-...

[18] Environmental Health Trust. Compilation Of Research Studies On Cell Tower Radiation And Health. https://ehtrust.org/science/cell-towers-and-cell-a...

[19] Environmental Health Trust. Strong Opposition to 5G Halts Small Cell Bill In Montgomery County Maryland & Verizon Drops Applications in Burlington.https://ehtrust.org/strong-opposition-to-5g-halts-...

[20] Center for Electrosmog Prevention. Recognition of the Electromagnetic Sensitivity as a Disability Under the ADA.

http://www.electrosmogprevention.org/smart-meter-r...