An Electronic Silent Spring – July, 2017

An Electronic Silent Spring – July, 2017 Newsletter from Katie Singer

An Electronic Silent Spring

July, 2017 Newsletter from Katie Singer

US State Bills Streamlining Wireless Small Cells on Public Right-of-Ways  

“Small cells” (which, including batteries, may actually be the size of a fridge) on public right-of-ways are designed to support 5G (fifth generation) mobile technology and the Internet of Things (machine-to-machine communication).

Environmental Health Trust has compiled lists of US states with bills that support local control of wireless facilities on public right-of-ways (i.e. utilitiy poles) and states with bills that pre-empt local authority and allow telecom corporations to place antennas near homes with zero or minimal community input. Please read these lists and get informed about your own state legislative actions.

In California, SB649 has been amended to allow the installation of large cell towers (not just small cells) without local review. One activist writes that “It’s clear from the direction of this bill that the intent is not about 5G wireless deployment, but rather local deregulation of the entire telecommunications industry.” Talking Points for Your Assemblyman gives reasons why they should vote against SB649. These notes might be relevant to communities around the country.

Hear Gerald Mitchell, one of Yahoo Finance’s Top Marketing Minds, speak to the California State Assembly about his opposition to SB649–and small cells in his neighborhood. (He’s got a lemon-sized brain tumor and does not want more EMR exposure.)

Dr. Jerrold T. Bushberg, a health and medical physics consultant, prepared a report, “At What Distance Does a Small Cell Mounted at 26′ height produce greater than the BioInitiative 2007 recommendation of 0.1 microwatt/cm2 (green highlight)? Or ten times higher at 1.0 microwatt/cm2 (yellow highlight)? Cindy Sage, coeditor of the BioInitiative Reports, compiled a summary of Bushberg’s report

John P. Thomas, MSPH (Master of Science in Public Health), wrote about 5G antennas and smart meters’ impacts on health and privacy for Health Impact News.

Dr. Joel Moskowitz has compiled editorials from major newspapers that oppose 5G “small cell” antenna bills.

For more on 5G and the IoT, see my introductory piece. Kate Kheel culls articles related to 5G and the IoT at

Sharon Noble ( reports:

In Ohio the telecoms snuck a bill allowing microcells onto a bill outlawing puppy mills. Such action and combining of unrelated bills is illegal in Ohio, so now the battle begins to change it. If these things are so safe and desirable, why the subterfuge?

Wooster was one of more than 40 cities and villages that joined together in a suit in Summit County opposing Senate Bill 331. Among other things, the part of SB 331 that riled cities so much was language that minimized their abilities to regulate small cellphone towers.

In Wooster, public officials have denounced the telecommunications portion of the law as just the latest piece in the list of recent laws eroding home-rule authority for cities.”

AT&T has reneged on its promise to wait ’til 2020 to begin dismantling PSTN landlines

In California, some AT&T customers are now receiving a change in service notice: unless the customer cancels service with them within 30 days, you automatically agree to allow AT&T to install new network equipment on your property, and to pay all of the electric charges for this new equipment. Wireless Action has posted a consumer alert that clarifies the law.

In Illinois, an AARP lobbyist has voiced concern about the need to maintain landlines.

Legal assessments

Section 704 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act (TCA) states: “No state or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction or modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions.”

According to court rulings regarding Section 704, the word “environment” includes health. Further, the TCA trumps the Americans with Disabilities Act. And since telecommunications cross state lines, federal law trumps state laws.

With President Trump’s appointment of corporate-interest supporter Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the likelihood that Trump will appoint at least one more justice (since Ginsburg, Kennedy and Breyer are each over 80), Vince Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Law, advises that for the next twenty years, progressives will need to select legal battles very carefully.

In a June interview on Democracy Now!, Warren explained:

  1. If a lower court rules against a corporation’s agenda, the corporation will pursue the case in higher courts.
  2. Given the Supreme Court’s current makeup, it’s likely that rulings would favor corporations–not human/health or environmental rights.

Vince Warren suggests that if a lower court rules in favor of a corporate position, we might decline to challenge this ruling, since appellate and Supreme Court rulings would affect larger populations.

Janet Newton, president of the EMR Policy Institute, says, “Our best chance now for progressive policies is to elect progressive senators and representatives to the next Congress.”

Get ready for school 

Around the world, some parents and teachers want Wi-Fi, routers, mobile phones, Chromebooks, iPads and Google out of classrooms.

Essentially, anyone aware of the health hazards, addictive nature, security and privacy risks and inadequate emergency preparedness of mobile technologies becomes a teacher needing patience, tolerance and an arsenal of references. Here are some resources:

Inviting Discussion About Safer Tech Use in SchoolsKatie Singer’s paper summarizes problems and solutions regarding screen-time addiction, EMR exposure, emergency preparedness, medical implants, critical thinking skills, privacy and security.
What Parents Need to Know About Safe Technology, a two-page flyer from EH Trust.
High School Non-Confidential: How School-Loaned Computers May Be Peering Into Your Home, a June, 2017 paper from the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island.
* Americans with Disabilities Act Title II Evaluation of Electromagnetic Sensitivities (EHS) & Accommodations, a letter from medical writer Susan Foster to Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Michelle King, presents an excellent overview about EHS and why every school system needs policies that address it.
* Dr. Roxana Marachi tracks connections between charter schools, public tax dollars being spent on computer hardware and software (including for kindergartenders), and the loss of public schools mandated to serve all children.

10 detrimental health effects of wireless devices

Juhanna Harju, a Finish writer and nutrition expert, has written an excellent introduction to technology’s adverse effects.

Katie Singer speaks at Oregon bookstores    

* July 30, Sunday, 3pm at Tsunami Books in Eugene. Given that the Internet is the largest thing humanity has built, it requires electricity, rare minerals and water. Is the Internet sustainable? How/do we limit use of these resources and mobile growth?
* August 1, Tuesday, 5:30 pm at TreeHouse Books in Ashland. Wise Up! to safer tech habits at home and school: a talk for youth, parents and teachers.

Please contribute! to keep this newsletter (and other projects) going.

Katie Singer is currently working on a series of educational cartoons about e-tech hazards and solutions. (Did you see the recent cartoon about smart meters’ fire hazards?) She also seeks funds to hire a videographer to record and edit her talk about the Internet’s sustainability. Thanks for your consideration: every contribution matters.

Thanks to everyone who aims to use electronics as safely as possible, reduces their energy use and EMR emissions.

To healthier ecosystems and safer communities,
Katie Singer


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