As a private citizen, I have been fortunate to participate for a few weeks in the North Carolina General Assembly, trying to make representatives and senators of both parties aware of several issues that will harm the public both inside and outside of their homes and schools. My experience at the General Assembly has shown me that now, more than ever, elected officials of both parties are often ignoring their constituents.
House Bill 310 will allow fifth generation mobile systems, known as 5G facilities, to be placed within feet of single-family homes and on multifamily homes, schools, day care centers, recreation centers and more. These facilities can cause adverse health effects ranging from cancer to debilitating headaches to insomnia, infertility and more. According to three international experts who wrote to the General Assembly to voice their concerns and urge the defeat of this bill, the adverse health effects from 5G facilities will almost certainly be worse than those of cell phones. Yet the House largely rejected their expertise and risked public health by promoting the telecommunications industry and 5G technology in such a way that everyone must accept it. Nobody can say no if the Senate approves it.
The telecommunications industry is a significant financial contributor to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jason Saine. Thirty-two House Democrats and one Republican tried to require a study of 5G before approving the bill, giving them time to research and understand what the experts are telling them. But all other Republicans and some Democrats rejected this. I suspect it is not often that international experts volunteer their time to alert North Carolina lawmakers to serious health hazards, but in this case they did. Hopefully, the Senate will listen and stop this bill.
Dr. David Carpenter of the University of Albany, affiliated with the World Health Organization, wrote to the General Assembly: “There is already strong evidence that the existing 3G and 4G wireless facilities are associated with increased risks of human disease. The 5G facilities, operating at a much higher frequency, have not yet been systematically researched with regard to their effects on human health. However, because they are of higher frequency, and especially because the generators (basically mini-cell towers) are to be placed very near to every building that will be served, there is every reason to expect that they will be more harmful than existing technology.”
Dr. Olle Johansson, associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Intitute, which awards the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, alerted the General Assembly to his concerns, which are similar to Carpenter’s, and finished by saying: “From a public health point-of-view no more research is needed, the proof in the form of thousands and thousands of peer review-based scientific publications is overwhelming – now society must dare to protect and to serve. Children can never be allowed to be victims of flimsy pedagogic tools, victims of absent adult responsibility, or to be exposed to a WHO-classified possible carcinogen. Our actions must solely aim for their needs, not for commercial greed.”
Ronald Powell, a Harvard Ph.D.-trained physicist who worked in the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, echoed his colleagues’ concerns in his letter to the General Assembly: “5G would irradiate everyone, including the most vulnerable to harm from radio frequency radiation: pregnant women, unborn children, young children, teenagers, men of reproductive age, the elderly, the disabled, and the chronically ill.”
I met with about 40 representatives and their aides multiple times over the course of a week to raise the alarm. I testified at one House committee meeting, where I was allowed only two minutes to speak and then watched as committee members congratulated themselves for involving all the stakeholders. I was appalled because no citizen stakeholders were involved.
I complained about the lack of citizen involvement in a meeting with another representative, and he said that citizens didn’t need to be involved because he and his colleagues would take care of us. The “care” amounted to one representative who is a financial consultant urging his colleagues to support the bill because he undertook five minutes of internet research and found wireless technology to be safe. Five minutes from a financial consultant versus the findings of Carpenter, Johansson and Powell.
I will return to the General Assembly this week to try and convince the Senate to reject House Bill 310 because it is a threat to all North Carolinians. This is a nonpartisan issue, and now that experts have weighed in, hopefully the Senate will stand up for us and defeat this bill so that we are safe in our homes, schools and the places in which we play.
Now is the time to make your voice heard and meet with your state senators and representatives about whatever is on your mind. You can access their contact information at www.ncleg.net.
Laura Combs is a private North Carolina citizen and believes citizens must hold elected officials to the highest standards of science, facts and rationality.