In March, the White House released its $2 trillion infrastructure investment plan, that President Biden called "a once-in-a-generation investment in America.”

The American Jobs Plan, as it is known, is an ambitious program designed to update everything from the nation's interstate highways and ports to public housing and utilities. It calls for $45 billion to ensure no family is forced to drink water from a lead pipe, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), can slow development and cause learning, behavior, and hearing problems in children as well as kidney and brain damage.

Environmental Health Trust Founder and President Devra Davis and EHT Advisory Board Scientific Members Paul Ben Ishai, Anthony B. Miller, Alvaro Augusto de Salles, and Claudio Fernández Rodríguez, and EHT Executive Director Theodora Scarato have written President Biden and members of his administration to urge them to develop a sustainable wired, not wireless, broadband infrastructure.

"The administration should focus on infrastructure that includes wired networks up to and inside of buildings and evaluate economic opportunities to ensure environmentally sustainable infrastructure. ... This much-needed improved access need not and should not depend on wireless networks but instead focus on economical wired fiber-optic cable that goes to and through the premises," they wrote.

The authors, who have published peer-reviewed research on the issue of wireless radiation, added that other costs associated with the 5G rollout — in particular, environmental and health costs — are prohibitive in the long run because of the effects on the climate and public safety. 

"The unfettered proliferation of new wireless networks including 5G and 4G antenna densification constitutes a major global contributor to greenhouse gases and hazardous e-waste. Rather than advance climate objectives, 5G instead constitutes an unmitigated disaster for our climate because of the vast surge in energy demand that will take place. ... Numerous reports have documented the exponentially increased use of energy by 5G and 4G densification and the Internet of Things. Streaming with wireless results in higher greenhouse gas emissions compared to safer, faster, and more secure corded/wired fiber-optic connections.

"While there may be improvements in energy efficiency for new devices individually, these gains are completely lost in the increases in total demand that will take place with the proliferation of games, videos, other streaming services, and the continued generation of highly addictive apps," the scientists wrote in their seven-page letter to the president.

More excerpts from the letter:

  • "We call for a full halt to the more than 1 million new 5G network antennas and associated cell towers — some slated for neighborhoods and areas of pristine wilderness in our National Parks — and the concomitant destruction of hundreds of thousands of trees and wildlife habitats."

  • "We urge you to include a full life-cycle assessment of the potential impact of wireless antenna densification on climate policy that takes into account growing evidence of substantially increased greenhouse gas emissions if 5G were to be implemented, as well as emissions and pollution analysis related to the extraction, production, transportation, and disposal of materials in the full life cycle of wireless technologies."

  • "The EPA should develop safety limits based on the scientific research ... (and) an interdisciplinary committee at the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) (should) review the science underlying 5G and wireless networks, identify major data gaps and uncertainties, and set priorities for research on health and safety. This review must systematically consider the full lifetime costs and benefits of 5G and other telecom technologies now on the drawing board and evaluate immediate and long-term climate impacts."

As the Biden administration works with Congress to enact the American Jobs Plan, it is up to we, the public, to demand that policy- and lawmakers hold telecom companies accountable for the safety of their products.

We must also demand that the U.S. federal government follow its own rules! The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ushered in unprecedented and untested commercial expansion of 5G and 4G cellular technology without serious deliberation on the effects of this new technology on humans and the environment. Its lack of serious, systematic deliberation on the science is demonstrated by its unchecked rejection of the need to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Our historic legal appeal, EHT et al. v. FCC, documents numerous violations of these federal laws and demonstrates how the FCC did not provide evidence of having undergone a “hard-look” or systematic assessment of the scientific evidence on the FCC’s own record when it decided in 2019 to keep its outdated 1996 wireless radiation limits. 

Unlike other countries that provide robust resources to the public on how to decrease wireless exposure, U.S. agencies downplay the issue of health effects and provide minimal information on how families can reduce exposures. The CDC hired an industry consultant to draft numerous website pages on the health effects of non-ionizing radiation. The EPA scrubbed its website of content on potential health risks of wireless radiation.

To build an infrastructure worthy of a great nation, we must insist that the administration address the issue of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation exposure with as much zeal as it does lead pipes and drinking water.

The harmful physical, social, and emotional effects of screens and the exposure to radiofrequency radiation in schools, public buildings, offices, hospitals, and worksites is rising with the deployment of 5G and 4G densification.

To borrow President Biden's own words, we can not have "a plan that tinkers around the edges" when it comes to public and environmental health.
Environmental Health Trust is a nonprofit 501(c)3 that relies on your donations to develop the scientific studies and create educational resources that inform public and environmental health policy.

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