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How safe is microwave technology?

Oregon is facing an unprecedented environmental challenge: wireless technology. Our cellphones, towers, “smart” meters, security systems, routers, etc. expose us to microwave radiation that is billions of times stronger than that which occurs in nature.

The wireless industry assures us this technology is safe, but is it? FCC safety standards set back in 1996 claim there are no biological or harmful effects from microwave radiation below thermal heating of tissue, but thousands of newer worldwide scientific studies refute this claim. The recent $25 million National Toxicology Program, and the later Ramazzini study, state unequivocally that microwave radiation causes cancer at levels much lower than the standards set by the FCC. Other studies of low-level microwave reveal DNA breakage, blood cell clumping, sperm cell death, disruption of the blood/brain barrier and increased inflammation. Symptoms can include headache, insomnia, irritability, heart arrhythmias, tinnitus, fatigue, rashes and vertigo, as part of a long list.

The FCC has set microwave radiation safety standards that are 100 times higher than other countries, such as China and Switzerland. Why the 100-fold difference? Critically, there are no clinical trials or studies regarding exposure to multiple levels of microwave radiation from multiple sources, particularly over time. A Cornet Microwave Meter (a hand-held measuring device) reveals that it is now common here in the Rogue Valley to be exposed to levels 10 times higher than what is permitted in China, especially in downtown areas of our cities. Exactly how harmful is long-term exposure to microwaves? The bottom line is that no one really knows yet, which means we are the experiment!

In 2015, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University published an article entitled, “Captured Agency: How the FCC is Dominated By The Industries It Presumably Regulates.” This article describes the ongoing revolving door between the wireless industry and government. Sadly, here in Oregon the Public Utilities Commission continues to repeat outdated FCC guidelines, while ignoring thousands of current studies bringing these guidelines into serious question.

The wireless industry has taken extraordinary measures to convince us that its devices are safe; see The Nation magazine article, “How the Wireless Industry Convinced Us That Microwave Is Safe.” The wireless industry is second only to the pharmaceutical industry in terms of spending lobbying/campaign dollars to influence legislators. They have also used their financial clout to convince environmental groups that microwave radiation is “green” energy, but with so many unanswered questions, this claim is highly uncertain.

They also succeeded in placing a draconian passage in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Section 704, which decrees that states and communities cannot reject anything wireless because of health concerns! If wireless technology is so safe, why is there a need for such a proviso? And why do insurance companies refuse to offer insurance against microwave health claims?

As questionable as all this is, an even more questionable scenario looms over us, literally: the already approved plan to launch 2,000 satellites that will beam 5G microwave radiation over every square inch of planet Earth. The potential for “unintended consequences” is staggering and completely violates the precautionary principle: “Do not proceed without due caution!” Alarmed scientists in multiple countries have signed an international appeal to halt this presumptuous plan, but so far the wireless industry has prevailed.

In December, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called on the FCC to halt the rollout of 5G and prove the technology is safe, before investing billions of dollars in infrastructure and possibly damaging life on earth forever. To date, the FCC has rejected his concerns, just as they and the Oregon PUC continue to reject citizen concerns.

A local group, freedom2sayno2smartmeters.org in the Rogue Valley continues to apprise us of this situation, but, frankly, it is a steep, uphill battle, given the overwhelming resources of the wireless industry.

With so many unknowns, conflicting scientific studies, and numerous anecdotal claims of harm, the wireless industry must be compelled to prove their technology is safe before going any further. Profiteering must not displace sensible caution or disparage health concerns. A “yellow light” is flashing, and we need to heed it.

Tom Clunie lives in Ashland.