Concerns about 5G technology draw a crowd of skeptics in Stamford
STAMFORD — A movement that started on the fringes is picking up steam in Connecticut, drawing a crowd of almost 150 to the public library in Stamford Wednesday night to hear about the alleged adverse affects of 5G technology.
Organized by the only state representative to vote against accelerating 5G wireless facilities in Connecticut, David Michel, D-Stamford, the forum — titled “What You Should Know About 5G” — featured three different guest speakers. Each of them railed against the widespread deployment of wireless technologies.
One attendee at Wednesday’s forum compared 5G to vaccines, and suggested both are harmful to human health, drawing more applause than almost any other comment of the night.
The speakers may have convinced at least one former skeptic with voting power to change her mind.
“I regret that in the last days of session we didn’t ask more questions,” said state Rep. Anne Hughes, D-Easton, a close friend of Michel’s who attended the forum in Stamford. “We’ve got no business rushing into this. What are the downsides of slowing it down?”
5G wireless internet is expected to be 100 times faster than the current fourth-generation technology and has been touted by Gov. Ned Lamont as critical for economic and workforce development.
When state representatives voted in June on House Bill 7152, Michel was the only member who opposed it. The law established a council on 5G technology, charged with developing guidelines and reviewing requests from carriers for installing “wireless service facilities.” It also called for making highways and public rights-of-way available for the new technology.
Speakers at the Stamford forum included Frank Clegg, the former president of Microsoft Canada; Patti Wood, founder of the nonprofit Grassroots Environmental Education; and Devra Davis, an epidemiologist who is founder of the Environmental Health Trust. They all argue that not enough independent research has been done on the subject.
Proponents of 5G similarly say there’s no peer reviewed clear scientific evidence that 5G is harmful to human health.
Earlier this month, Lamont announced a partnership with AT&T that will upgrade internet access on Metro-North commuter trains between New Haven and Greenwich to the industry standard of 4G and create the infrastructure for the eventual transition to next-generation, high-speed 5G. The event, at the Norwalk train station, drew a handful of protesters with similar health and environmental concerns.
In December, the Federal Communications Commission concluded a six-year inquiry into whether its radio frequency standards should be updated — and voted unanimously to maintain its existing standards for radio frequency exposure limits. That cleared the way for 5G.
“We’ve spent the last four months analyzing recommendations and reports from experts across the state and the country in order to come up with the best, most responsible policies for the state,” said Nick Simmons, Lamont’s manager of strategic initiatives who is overseeing the administration’s policy approach to 5G. “We take any type of health concern very, very, very seriously and would never rush into deployment if we weren’t 100 percent confident in the research that’s already out there that says the exposure limits set by the FDA are safe.”
Michel, who is from France, made the point that some European nations are moving more cautiously into 5G technology.
email@example.com; 203-842-2563; @kaitlynkrasselt