Some Vernon residents are concerned a newly constructed cellular tower is 5G-capable, despite reassurance from authorities that the technology is safe.
The tower, located off Highway 6 near the old Far West factory outlet, is not a fifth generation of wireless technology, according to the City of Vernon. The tower belongs to Freedom Mobile and Rogers and will be used for LTE 3-4G mobile telecommunication.
“The City of Vernon has not received any applications to date related to 5G towers,” said Christy Poirier, Vernon’s communications manager.
The tower is on property zoned light industrial, which permits such structures.
Freedom Mobile and Rogers conducted a period of public consultation prior to construction, as required by Industry Canada’s Procedures.
It was constructed in early spring 2020 following Freedom’s launch in Vernon last summer.
It is not the only tower to go up, as networks require several towers in an area, and while this tower is not 5G, most new infrastructure is equipped to handle 5G.
But some residents think the tower was put up quietly, with no public information and they are convinced it is a 5G tower.
“It is intimidating,” said Brad Weston, who is concerned about possible health effects, especially for children.
Weston is a custodian with the Vernon School District and recently noticed the tower from the maintenance office.
After Weston conducted his own online research, he became worried about the effects such towers may have.
“I can no longer deny the hidden dangers of this technology, specifically 5G,” he said in a letter sent to Vernon and Lumby politicians and CUPE representatives.
Weston is requesting a leave of absence from the school district, as he is refusing to work in unsafe conditions, citing the proximity of the tower to the maintenance office.
According to Weston, 5G makes people sick.
“The EMF frequencies from this technology damage human cells and DNA. This is scientifically proven and well known. The question to answer then is why are we allowing it to be rolled out? What is the real purpose for it?”
In regards to the safety of 5G, School District Superintendent Joe Rogers says the district follows the recommendations of Health Canada, the Provincial Health Office and Interior Health.
“The safety of our students and staff is our first priority.”
The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association also defends the use of 5G, adding that there is much misinformation circulating on social media.
“Mobile communications, including 5G, uses low-energy radio frequency (RF) energy, similar that used by televisions, radios and baby monitors,” a CWTA spokesperson told the Morning Star. “The radio frequencies used by 5G are not new and have been used for years in other types of wireless applications.
“The potential health effects of RF energy from mobile communications have been studied for decades, and according to national and international governments and agencies, such as the World Health Organization, the American Cancer Society, and many others, there is no substantiated scientific evidence of harmful health effects from RF technologies used within national and international safety standards.”
Even at that, the CWTA also states that Vernon isn’t likely to be on 5G yet and currently only has LTE networks. The Association stated that 5G is only starting to be deployed in a limited fashion in a few cities in Canada.
CWTA has prepared a short background document that sets out the facts on the issue of 5G and safety – it can be found here.
Click here for CWTA’s list of international government and health agency statements and resources on the issue.