Environmental Impact

Research shows that trees, plants, pollinators and wildlife are harmed by wireless radiation

(From The Environmental Health Trust)

Fact: ICNIRP and FCC limits were not developed to protect our flora or fauna. Wireless radiation “safety” limits for trees, plants, birds and bees simply do not exist. No US agency with expertise in science, biology or safety has ever acted to review research and set safety limits for birds, bees, trees and wildlife.

The Department of Interior wrote a letter in 2014 detailing several published studies showing impacts of wireless radiofrequency radiation (RFR) to birds stated that, “There is a growing level of anecdotal evidence linking effects of non-thermal, non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation from communication towers on nesting and roosting wild birds and other wildlife…. And “However, the electromagnetic radiation standards used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continue to be based on thermal heating, a criterion now nearly 30 years out of date and inapplicable today. “ and “third-party peer-reviewed studies need to be conducted in the U.S. to begin examining the effects from radiation on migratory birds and other trust species.”

“Study results have documented nest and site abandonment, plumage deterioration, locomotion problems, reduced survivorship, and death (e.g., Balmori 2005, Balmori and Hallberg 2007, and Everaert and Bauwens 2007). Nesting migratory birds and their offspring have apparently been affected by the radiation from cellular phone towers in the 900 and 1800 MHz frequency ranges- 915 MHz is the standard cellular phone frequency used in the United States.”

“In laboratory studies, T. Litovitz (personal communication) and DiCarloet al. (2002) raised concerns about impacts of low-level, non-thermal electromagnetic radiation from the standard 915 MHz cell phone frequency on domestic chicken embryos- with some lethal results (Manville 2009, 2013a). Radiation at extremely low levels (0.0001 the level emitted by the average digital cellular telephone) caused heart attacks and the deaths of some chicken embryos subjected to hypoxic conditions in the laboratory while controls subjected to hypoxia were unaffected (DiCarlo et al. 2002).” –Department of Interior, 2014

Albert Manville, former senior biologist of the US Fish and Wildlife Service wrote “A BRIEFING MEMORANDUM: What We Know, Can Infer, and Don’t Yet Know about Impacts from Thermal and Non-thermal Non-ionizing Radiation to Birds and Other Wildlife” published in Wildlife and Habitat Conservation Solutions, 2014 on the impacts of RFR to birds and bees. India dropped their RF limits by 1/10th after a research review documented the majority of research studies found adverse effects to wildlife, birds and bees.

Regarding bees and pollinators, the study “Exposure of Insects to Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields from 2 to 120 GHz” published in Scientific Reports found insects (including the Western honeybee) can absorb the higher frequencies that will be used in the 4G/5G rollout with absorbed power increases up to 370%. The researchers warn, “This could lead to changes in insect behaviour, physiology, and morphology over time….” Research also has found impacts to bees from wireless frequencies including inducing artificial worker piping (Favre, 2011), disrupting navigation abilities ( Sainudeen, 2011; Kimmel et al., 2007) reducing colony strength (Harst et al., 2006) impacts to honey bee physiology (2011).

Research on trees has found trees are harmed by RFR. A 9 year field study Waldmann-Selsam, C., et al 2016, found significant impacts to trees near cell antennas and an investigation of 700 trees found damage starts on the side of the tree with highest RF. A review on impacts to plants entitled “Weak radiofrequency radiation exposure from mobile phone radiation on plants” concluded, “a substantial amount of the studies on RF-EMFs from mobile phones show physiological and/or morphological effects.” A study on aspen seedings found ambient RF in a Colorado setting were high enough to cause necrotic lesions on the leaves, decrease leader length and leaf area, and suppress fall anthocyanin production (Haggarty, 2010).

Several literature reviews warn that non ionizing EMFs are an “emerging threat” to wildlife (Balmori 2015, Curachi 2013) .

Click here to see EHTs list of scientific citation on impacts to birds bees and trees.

12 Climate Groups Calling For Climate and Social Justice Statement on 5G Cell Tower ZTA 19-07 – Letter to Montgomery County Council

12 Climate Groups Calling For Climate and Social Justice Statement on 5G Cell Tower ZTA 19-07 – Letter to Montgomery County Council

Dear County Councilmembers,

Our organizations recently became aware of the potential climate implications of the Zoning Text Amendment – ZTA 19-07 – Telecommunications Towers – Limited Use.

We are concerned that the increase in the number of 4G and 5G small cell towers in neighborhoods could result in an increase in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in Montgomery County, as well as a significant reduction in the tree canopy throughout the county. These impacts would prevent the County from achieving our goals identified in the Emergency Climate Mobilization Resolution No. 18-974 to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2027 and by 100% by 2035. Additionally, we are concerned that these same climate impacts will disproportionately worsen the negative effects on communities of color, people of low income and other vulnerable households in the County. See the list of studies and reports identifying these outcomes and concerns.

Section G-8 of the County’s Climate Action Plan, which is entitled Evaluate and Update County Planning, Policy, and Operations Activities to Reduce Greenhouse Gases states that “Climate-related contracts should require equity-enhancing measures that proactively engage and improve the socioeconomic conditions of communities disproportionately impacted by systemic inequities such as low income, race, and/or immigration status, and communities considered most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This action also includes establishment of a climate impact statement to evaluate all pending bills, budgets, plans and land use decisions.” 

As a result, before any vote on ZTA 19-07 takes place, we ask the County Council to provide both a climate impact statement and a racial equity and social justice statement on the implications of this proposed ZTA.

Additionally, we ask that you support County Executive Marc Elrich’s proposal on June 29, 2021 to convene a working group comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders, including industry, residents, municipalities and homeowner/tenant associations, non-profit organizations and executive and council staff for a limited time, perhaps 75 – 90 days, to allow for the opportunity for a more complete discussion of the issues after which their recommendations can be presented to the Council.

We appreciate your consideration of these requests. We look forward to hearing from you very soon. 

Best regards,

350.org MoCo
Bethesda Green
Biodiversity for a Livable Climate
Cedar Lane Ecosystems Study Group
Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church Environmental Justice Ministry 
Give a Shift
Glen Echo Heights Mobilization
Montgomery Countryside Alliance
One Montgomery Green
Takoma Park Mobilization Environment Committee (TPMEC)
TAME Coalition (Transit Alternatives to Mid-County Highway Extended)
The Climate Mobilization, Montgomery County Chapter

Did you know that the wireless infrastructure consumes three times as much energy as wired technologies?

(From Americans for Responsible Technology)

The build-out of new wireless networks will exacerbate existing energy and safety problems.  According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), wireless infrastructure consumes three times as much energy as wired technologies. A massive build-out of 5G will significantly increase demand for power, resulting in greater greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.  

Environmental Harm Fact Sheets from mocosafeg.org

View more MoCoSafeG.com fact sheets

Montgomery County Maryland Sierra Club

The Montgomery County Maryland Sierra Club wrote several letters to the County Council on ZTA- 19-07 (5G Cell Towers) expressing concern about the energy use implications which would allow more wireless antenna installations in the County.

“As stated in the letter we submitted on May 15, 2018, regarding ZTA 18-11, we would like to reiterate that we oppose this ZTA and urge you not to pass it in its current form today. This amendment will enable a huge expansion in the construction and use of cellular communications towers, to facilitate a transition away from wired networks to a wireless network of mobile broadband services called 5G. While this new technology may expand cell service, unfortunately, it also will likely result in dramatically increased energy consumption, and therefore much higher greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the carbon footprint of the county.”

Read the 2019 Montgomery County Maryland Sierra Club Letter.
Read the 2018 Montgomery County Maryland Sierra Club Letter.

Ben Levi, Joe Sandri, Arthur Firstenberg and Julian Gresser discuss the growing problem of 5G satellites in space and what can be done. Presented by Americans for Responsible Technology. For more information, please visit 5GCrisis.com.