Letters to the Editor

Bill would turn North Carolina’s neighborhood utility poles into cell towers – Clair Viadro

Most utility poles in our state will become mini-cell towers if North Carolina legislators have their way.

House Bill 310 would place fifth-generation mobile systems (known as 5G facilities) within feet of bedroom windows, schools, daycare centers, nursing homes, and more, while stripping municipal governments (and citizens) of any power to say no. HB 310 is sponsored by Rep. Jason Saine, who has turned a blind eye to constituents’ and experts’ objections. Rep. Saine receives substantial financial support from the telecommunications industry.

House Bill 310 would allow 5G facilities to be spaced approximately every two to 10 homes, hanging in one or more clusters on utility or light poles. Measurements of these cell towers have found high levels of microwave radiation on the sidewalk below them – levels higher than those that researchers have linked to ruptures in the blood-brain barrier, free radical formation, DNA damage, cancer and tumors, and heart rhythm disturbances.

Three highly respected international experts wrote to the N.C. General Assembly to voice their concerns and urge defeat of HB 310, warning of the serious health hazards posed by 24/7 exposure to 5G facilities – particularly for our children and most vulnerable citizens. The 5G facilities’ impacts on agriculture – a key component of the North Carolina economy – also will be costly. International scientists have expressed alarm about the documented effects of microwave radiation on bees, other pollinators, and plants. Thus far, the majority of our legislators have chosen to ignore the large body of scientific evidence documenting these serious health and environmental risks.

HB 310 will effectively constitute eminent domain, eliminating citizens’ right to decline cell tower placement in their front yards as well as trampling on local municipalities’ rights. Although 32 House Democrats and one Republican urged further study of 5G facilities, the House rushed the bill along to the Senate on June 1. Industry-beholden senators now hope to push HB 310 through its final stages before the public finds out. If you don’t want cell towers next to your home and office, take action before it’s too late.

Claire Viadro, MPH, PhD, is a parent and public health professional who resides in Orange County.