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What You Need To Know About 5G


Millions of small cells are to be built near our homes in the name of 5G.

 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that hundreds of thousands of these wireless antennas will be built in our rights-of-way, directly in front of our homes. 

Communities are being told that it is necessary to build “small cell” towers in neighborhoods in order to offer 5G, a new technology that will connect the Internet of Things (IoT). 

At the local, state, and federal levels, new legislation, and new zoning aim to streamline the installation of these 5G “small cell” antennas in public rights-of-way.


US cities and entire countries are voting to halt 5G

300 Cities in Italy have passed resolutions to halt 5G until safety research has been completed.  Entire countries like France, Switzerland, and Nigeria are having a national conversation on the safety of 5G and they are launching major investigations to research the issue of safety. 

In the United States, cities such as Petaluma, Mill ValleyMonterey in California, and Doylestown in Pennsylvania have voted and passed policies to halt 5G or restrict the rollout into neighborhoods. 

Los Altos California voted to prohibit the installation of small cells on public utility easements in residential neighborhoods and established a 500-foot setback from a small cell to schools. After the Mayor said the 5G small cells would be an “aesthetic disaster” Palm Beach and other coastal communities got entirely carved out of legislation streamlining the 5G antennas.

5G “small” cell antennas are not “small.” 

“Small” cells is an industry word. It means a shorter cell tower close to homes and schools. Each “facility” will have transmitting wireless antennas and often ugly bulky equipment. 

The FCC has estimated over 800,000 new “small” cells to be installed throughout the USA.

Millions are planned worldwide. Antennas will be placed on:

  • Street lights 
  • Trashcans 
  • Utility poles 
  • Bus stops  


5G will use new “beamforming” antenna designs that create multiple streams of signal from each fixture.


  • They increase electromagnetic radiation near homes.
  • They have refrigerator-sized (and larger) equipment cabinets.
  • Property values drop after a cell tower is built near homes.
  • Taller and wider poles are needed for the antennas.
  • Some pieces of equipment can weigh hundreds of pounds.     



Insurance authorities classify 5G as “High Risk.”

It is standard practice for insurance coverage to exclude health damages from wireless and electromagnetic radiation. The Insurance authority Swiss Re released a white paper classifying 5G as a “high” emerging risk cautioning that “potential claims for health impairments may come with a long latency.” If insurance companies won’t take the risk why should we? 

Legal experts are starting to request that localities get insurance to cover health damages and before rolling out 5G in neighborhoods. 

The radiation from these small cell antennas is not small.

Wireless antennas emit microwaves — non-ionizing radiofrequency radiation — and so these “small” cells essentially function as short cell towers.

Each installation can have over a thousand antennas that are transmitting simultaneously. 

5G will use new “beamforming” antenna designs that create multiple streams of signal from each fixture. 

Examples of how small cells are not small include:  

  • They increase electromagnetic radiation near homes.
  • They have refrigerator-sized (and larger) equipment cabinets.
  • Property values drop after a cell tower is built near homes.
  • Taller and wider poles are needed for the antennas.
  • Fixtures weigh hundreds of pounds.



Multiple government reports caution that 5G beam-forming radiation is not easy to measure. 

Imagine increasing an environmental exposure without knowing how to measure it.  The European Parliament report “5G Deployment State of Play in Europe, USA, and Asia” reviews how  “Significant concern is emerging over the possible impact on health and safety arising from potentially much higher exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation arising from 5G. Increased exposure may result not only from the use of much higher frequencies in 5G but also from the potential for the aggregation of different signals, their dynamic nature, and the complex interference effects that may result, especially in dense urban areas.” “The problem is that currently, it is not possible to accurately simulate or measure 5G emissions in the real world.”

Small cell installations are not the size of pizza boxes.

Each so-called “small” cell installation has antennas on the top and electronics cabinets at the bottom. The electronics are housed in metal boxes – called “street furniture” by industry to make it sound warm and cozy. These cabinets can be larger than a refrigerator, so large people could fit into them. In addition, there will be various radio units, a smart meter, and potentially unseemly wires.   

Most neighborhood light poles are not strong enough to hold the 5G equipment so they will be replaced by much taller wider poles with antennas and 6 ft buzzing boxes. This is called “hardening” the poles, but basically it means the poles will be much wider and thicker metal.  In Montgomery County as an example, the slim 14 ft light poles will be replaced with hefty 24 ft towers with 300-pound antennas and 6 ft buzzing boxes.


5G will add an extra layer  — not replace — our current wireless technology.

5G will utilize current 3G and 4G wireless frequencies already in use and also add even more radiation. Higher frequency — submillimeter and millimeter waves — will be used in 5G in order to transmit data at superfast speeds. 

Community authority is being overruled at every level.

Communities are being stripped of their right to make decisions about this new technology. ”Streamlining” means almost automatic approval. Public notice and public hearings are being eliminated. Even if every homeowner on the block opposes the antennas on their street, the opposition will be disregarded with new regulations moving forward at the federal and state level.  

Mayors, city officials, and public officials are joining to call to halt the federal move to “streamline” the small cells rollout.


Statement by CEO of U.S. Conference of Mayors 

“The U.S. Conference of Mayors strongly opposes recent proposals by the Federal Communications Commission to grant communications service providers subsidized access to local public property and to dictate how local governments manage their own local rights-of-ways and public property.  This unprecedented federal intrusion into local (and state) government property rights will have substantial adverse impacts on cities and their taxpayers, including reduced funding for essential local government services, as well as an increased risk of right-of-way and other public safety hazards.”



Scientists worldwide are calling to halt 5G.

Scientists from all over the world have issued a declaration called the 5G Appealcalling for a moratorium on the increase of 5G cell antennas citing human health effects and impacts on wildlife.  

“We 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…RF-EMF has been proven to be harmful for humans and the environment.”

In addition to the 5G Appeal, scientific groups are issuing appeals and writing letters warning of the health and environmental impacts of 5G. 

Environmental authorities are cautioning on environmental impacts.

The European Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental, and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) issued a statement identifying emerging issues ( including 5G, E-cigarette, and chronic diseases.) They prioritized 5G impact as “high.”

The SCHEER statement Potential effects on wildlife of increases in electromagnetic radiation states,

“On the horizon, a new generation of even shorter high-frequency 5G wavelengths is being proposed to power the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT promises us convenient and easy lifestyles with a massive 5G interconnected telecommunications network. However, the expansion of broadband with shorter wavelength radio frequency radiation highlights the concern that health and safety issues remain unknown. Controversy continues with regard to harm from current 2G, 3G, and 4G wireless technologies. 5G technologies are far less studied for human or environmental effects” (Russell, 2018).” and concludes, “5G networks will soon be rolled out for mobile phone and smart device users. How exposure to electromagnetic fields could affect humans remains a controversial area, and studies have not yielded clear evidence of the impact on mammals, birds, or insects. The lack of clear evidence to inform the development of exposure guidelines to 5G technology leaves open the possibility of unintended biological consequences.”

Government officials are asking for proof of safety. 

Officials have written to the FCC asking for proof of safety and received “inadequate” responses.

In December of 2019, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and U.S. Representative Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Brendan Carr seeking answers regarding potential health risks posed by new 5G wireless technology. They have been joined by members of Congress from around the country. 

See letters from Congress to the FCC on 5G here. 


Cellular radiation negatively impacts birds and bees 

Published research finds the frequencies impact wildlife. For example, studies have found that the radiation can alter bird navigation and disturb honeybee colonies. Research also shows impacts on trees and plants.  


Cumulative daily radiation exposure to wireless radiation is associated with serious health effects. 

5G and 4G cell towers near our homes means constant exposure day and night. You cannot turn a cell tower off.

The public is unaware that peer-reviewed, published science indicates that exposures to wireless radiation can cause cancer,  alter brain development, and damage sperm. Cell tower radiation is also associated with headaches, hormone changes, memory problems, and sleep problems.

A review paper on 5G published in Environmental Research concludes that the current scientific evidence supports the conclusion that mobile phone and wireless radiofrequency radiation (RFR) is cancer-causing. Most people are also unaware that wireless technology was never tested for long-term safety decades ago when the technology was first introduced. Children are more vulnerable to this radiation and that the accumulated scientific evidence shows harmful effects.

Letter by Lennart Hardell MD & Colleagues

“There is a substantial body of evidence that this technology is harmful to humans and the environment. The 5G millimeter wave is known to heat the eyes, skin, and testes… Of particular concern are the most vulnerable among us — the unborn, children, the infirm, the elderly, and the disabled. It is also expected that populations of bees and birds will drastically decline.” 

Read more published research studies here.

Over 250 Scientists

“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.” 

Read the International EMF Scientific Appeal now signed by more than 250 scientists. 


Antennas near homes decrease property values.

Studies show property values drop up to 20% on homes near cell towers. Would you buy a home with a mini cell tower in the yard? 

Read about decreased property value from cell towers near homes. 

Experts state that 5G small cell wireless streaming bills do not make financial sense.  

The California Department of Finance rejected California’s 5G small cell wireless  infrastructure bill S. 649 stating that “Finance opposes this bill… this bill goes too far by usurping city and county zoning authority for infrastructure development, and it potentially imposes reimbursable, state-mandated costs on cities and counties.” 

Microwave antennas in front yards present several worker and public safety issues.

Unions have already filed comments that workers were injured, unaware they were working near transmitting antennas. How will HVAC workers, window washers, and tree cutters be protected? The heavy large equipment cabinets mounted on poles along our sidewalks also present new hazards. Cars run into utility poles, often, what then? 

Read more on cell tower health and safety issues.

Fiber is the solution and the safe alternative.

Worldwide, many regions are investing in wired fiber optic connections which are safer, faster, more reliable, provide greater capacity, and are more cyber-secure. Read“Re-Inventing Wires: The Future of Landlines and Networks,” by the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy


Wireless companies warn investors of risks but neglect to inform consumers and neighbors living near towers. 

Crown Castle (a company building small cell infrastructure throughout the USA) has a statement in their 2016 10-K Annual Report that says:

“If radio frequency emissions from wireless handsets or equipment on our wireless infrastructure are demonstrated to cause negative health effects, potential future claims could adversely affect our operations, costs, or revenues… We currently do not maintain any significant insurance with respect to these matters.” 

Read the warnings from Wireless companies.  

Image from Clegg 2020

Many countries have more protective cell tower radiation limits compared to the USA. 

Countries such as China, India, Poland, Russia, Italy, and Switzerland have far more protective and stricter radiation limits than do we in the United States. According to industry reports, these countries’ more protective radiation limits will not allow the full deployment of 5G because the increased 5G radiation would exceed these governments allowable levels of radiation. The Report “The impact of RF-EMF exposure limits stricter than the ICNIRP or IEEE guidelines on 4G and 5G mobile network deployment” reviews how 5G deployment is “constrained” by these countries’ limits. In addition, these stricter exposure limits are also considered problematic for the full rollout of 4G LTE.  as detailed in a GSMA report.  


No one is monitoring radiation exposures from these cell installations and many cell towers are in violation of the radiation limits. 

Although several countries have regular monitoring of wireless radiation limits, the US does not.  The Wall Street Journal did an investigative report in 2014 examining over 5,000 cell antennas sites and found that 1 in 10 sites violated the rules during safety audits for carriers and local municipalities “underscoring a safety lapse,” yet the FCC has issued just two citations to cell carriers since 1996 because “the FCC says it lacks resources to monitor each antenna.” A CBS Atlanta investigation also found radiation excesses up to 400 percent of the limit close up to the antennas on rooftop posing serious health risks especially to any worker coming on the roof.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics is one of many medical organizations calling to reduce children’s exposure. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), our largest organization of children’s doctors, has repeatedly written to the US  government that current regulations on cellular radiation are outdated and non-protective for children and pregnant women. They recommend parents learn how to reduce children’s cell phone radiation exposure. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics webpage on Cell Towers states: 

“An Egyptian study confirmed concerns that living nearby mobile phone base stations increased the risk of developing: 

  • Headaches 
  • Memory problems 
  • Dizziness 
  • Depression 
  • Sleep problems” 

Firefighters fought hard to oppose 5G small cells in California and got their stations exempt from forced installations

The International Association of Firefighters has officially opposed cell towers on their stations since 2004 after a study found neurological damage in firefighters with antennas on their station. 

In 2017, when 5G “small cells were coming to California via a 5G streamlining bill (SB649), firefighter organizations came out in strong opposition to the bill and cited the many peer-reviewed studies. They requested that 5G towers not be installed on firehouses. They were successful and SB649 was amended to exempt their stations from the deployment due to their health concerns.  Read more about firefighters here. 

5G’s higher frequencies are absorbed into the skin. 

Physicists found that the higher millimeter frequencies intended for 5G use are preferentially absorbed into the sweat duct at much higher rates than other organ tissues. Read two published studies “The Modeling of the Absorbance of the Sub-THz Radiation by Human Skin.” The human skin as a sub-THz receiver – Does 5G pose a danger to it or not? Paul Ben-Ishai, PhD Lecture. 


5G’s higher frequencies are used as weapons. 

Millimeter frequencies – used in 5G applications- have the capacity to cause a severe burning sensation in the skin at very high levels.  Millimeter waves are used by the U.S. Department of Defense in crowd control guns called “Active Denial Systems.”  

The frequencies are able to cause this burning sensation due to the way they are highly absorbed into the sweat gland. Although 5G will use much lower intensities of millimeter waves then are used by the military, scientists are cautioning that the special issues with the skin absorption require a safety evaluation and can pose serious unintended biological impacts.


Cell tower radiation is linked to damage in human blood. 

A published study compared people living close and far from cell antennas and found people living closer to cellular antennas had changes in blood that predicts cancer development (Zothansiama et al, 2017Research on cell towers and cell tower radiation has found a myriad of health and environmental issues. Safety is not assured. 



Contact local, state, and federal elected officials in person. 

Share this information with your friends, family, and community. 

Ask for government policy that reduces RFR exposure to the public. 

Citizens in all states must organize and take action to halt legislation that increases cell antennas in neighborhoods.  

5G Crisis is an organization with tools are resources to help communities advocate for change.

Please take a look at the 5G Crisis website for a toolkit on 5G.




Link to Protective City Ordinances that Attempt to Control the 5G Rollout and protect the public.

Link to International Action to Halt 5G


MORE INFORMATION on the human and environmental impact of 5G

Physicians for Safe Technology 

My Street My Choice: Critical information and links to help residents fight 5G Small Cells. 


  • Link to 5G Frequencies Are Absorbed Into the Skin 
  • Link to review study that states radiofrequency is a human carcinogen. 
  • Link to 5G Frequencies Are Used As Weapons
  • Link to Landmark US National Toxicology Program (NTP) Study Finds “Clear Evidence of Cancer” and DNA Damage 
  • Link to Cell Tower Radiation is Linked To Damage in Human Blood 
  • Link to Published Scientific Review on 5G Finds Adverse Effects 
  • Link to Cellular Radiation Negatively Impacts Birds 
  • Link to Cellular Radiation Negatively Impacts Bees


  • Link to Overview of Cell Tower Health Effects
  • Link to Research on Cell Towers and Health Effects
  • Link to Bees, Butterflies, and Wildlife
  • Link to Impact of Cell Towers on Property Values
  • Link to American Academy of Pediatrics on Cell Towers
  • Link to Letters from Doctors on Small Cell 5G in Neighborhoods
  • Link to Firefighters Oppose Cell Towers on Fire Stations
  • Link to Insurance White Papers on Impact of Wireless on Health
  • Link to Cell Towers at Schools
  • Link to Cell Tower Companies Warn Shareholders of Risk but not People Living Near Their Towers or Using Their Products
  • Link to Insurance Company Exclude Electromagnetic Fields as a Standard
  • Link to Study Found Damage in Human Blood
  • Link to FCC Limits are Non-Protective
  • Link to 5G Technology
  • Link to Cell Tower Worker Safety Issues



  • Link to Research on 5G and Cell Tower Radiation 
  • Link to A 5G Wireless Future: Will it give us a smart nation or contribute to an unhealthy one?” Santa Clara Medical Association Bulletin, Cindy Russell MD, 2017 
  • Link to Letters by Scientists in Opposition To 5G Research on Cell Tower Radiation, 2017 
  • Link to Biological Effects from Exposure to Electromagnetic Radiation Emitted by Cell Tower Base Stations and Other Antenna  Arrays, Levitt and Lai, 2010 
  • Link to Radiofrequency radiation injures trees around mobile phone base stations, Waldmann-Selsam et al., 2016 
  • Link to Department of Interior Letter on the Impact of Cell Towers on Migratory Birds, Willie R. Taylor Director, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance, 2014 
  • Link to Anthropogenic radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as an emerging threat to wildlife orientation, Balmori, 2015 
  • Link to Briefing Memorandum On The Impacts from Thermal and Non-thermal Non-ionizing Radiation to Birds and Other Wildlife, Manville, 2016 
  • Link to Database of Worldwide International Policy To Reduce EMF 
  • Link to Youtube Scientific Videos on 5G

More Resources from Physicians for Safe Technology


“This is a unique situation in the history of the human kind when the whole human population will be exposed to man-made devices emitting non-ionizing radiation that was insufficiently tested before deployment. What is and what will be the responsibility of the scientists, decision-makers and industry leaders who permit deployment of insufficiently tested technology that will affect us all? The answer is simple – no responsibility… because if any health problems will show up in the future, these will most likely take tens of years of time to manifest and, by then the persons that currently enable deployment of insufficiently tested radiation-emitting 5G technology will be retired or the proverbial ‘six feet under.’”

-Dr. Darius Leszczynski, July 18th, 2018 in Assumption of Safety for 5G by Government Agencies, No Science.