Letter to California Governor Jerry Brown In Opposition To California SB 649 Small Cell Wireless Facilities
From Devra Davis PhD, MPH, The Environmental Health Trust
Read the letter that Dr. Devra Davis wrote to the Honorable Governor Brown in opposition to SB 649. Over 150 cities were in opposition to this California Bill that would strip local authority from local authority and community participation in small cell and wireless transmitting facilities placement.In addition, EHT has compiled video clips from the testimony presented to the California Assembly below the letter.
The Honorable Jerry Brown
Governor, State of California
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
September 17, 2017
RE: SB 649 (Hueso) – Small Cell Wireless Facilities — OPPOSE
Honorable Governor Brown,
As a nonprofit research and policy organization dedicated to identifying and reducing environmental health
hazards, Environmental Health Trust (EHT) writes to advise you of serious scientific grounds to veto SB 649 as
advanced by Senator Hueso. I have personally served as an expert advisor to the California Department of
Public Health as well as the city of San Francisco and Berkeley governments on matters relevant to this bill.
You are globally recognized as a champion of the environment and public health. I remain deeply grateful to
you for your forward thinking on climate change and toxics policies which provide moral and political
leadership at a time when it is sorely lacking. As someone who has been a presidential appointee confirmed by
the US Senate, I fully understand the challenges that you face politically. You have provided leadership on the
right side of history in too many ways to enumerate.
EHT has a longstanding history of research and policy advice to state, local and national governments regarding
strategies to reduce disease and promote health by avoiding environmental health hazards. Our organization
opposes the broad scale installation of untested wireless antennas and associated electrical equipment close to
humans and through critical wildlife habitat and corridors.
The assumption that all wireless technology is safe has been shown through recent studies to be incorrect. EHT
strongly opposes the widespread installation of 5G antennas and towers and believes that the state should move
forward on its commitment to support the installation of fiber optic cables buried in the ground to every
business, home, school, and hospital in California. We urge the state not to ignore this evidence of harm from
Specific design standards must first be funded and created for 5G facilities for the more than thirty thousand
expected new radiating 5G cell antennas to be constructed on city and county utility light poles and in the right
of ways in close proximity to city and county workers, children, residents and visitors. Both federal and local
zoning controls are absolutely needed to assure that cellular equipment are installed to avoid significant and
serious safety threats of electrical shock, fire, and radio frequency (RF) microwave radiation exposures, as well
as chronic impacts on public health and the environment.
Now the challenge before you is one of the most momentous you will have ever faced. The telecom industry is a
global multi-trillion dollar phenomenon. They have provided massive amounts of political support throughout
the political spectrum. Despite this, the weight of science has inexorably demonstrated that the experiment they have been conducting on ourselves and our progeny is without merit and has already exacted a serious toll for
SB 649 will pave the way for widespread introduction of 5G microwave wireless radiation frequency (RF) that
has never been tested for its impact of public health or the environment. Other RF microwave radiation such as
that used by cellphones and other wireless devices has been classified as a ‘possible carcinogen’ by the
International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2011 and more recently dubbed a ‘probable carcinogen,’ by
expert researchers looking at newer information in 2015.1,2,3 In addition, this bill could result in the loss of
hundreds of millions of dollars in local revenue, as the San Francisco Chronicle noted today.
By ignoring growing scientific evidence of harm, the bill effectively will ensure the widespread exposures of
millions of Californians to an agent that growing numbers of scientists and nations consider a serious health
threat. Recently, studies have found that the frequencies which will be used in 5G and other future technologies
can have harmful effects4, as Dr. Cindy Russell, Vice President of Community Health for the Santa Clara
Medical Association noted.5 As articulated in their state Constitution, California cities and counties have a duty
to protect the health and safety of their residents.
State and local authority and duty should not be overridden by any preemptive policies such as SB 649 which
disregards scientific evidence on this matter as outlined below. Regarding potential health risks from RF a
number of corporations advise their shareholders that they face serious risks from RF. For instance, Crown
Castle’s 2016 10-K ANNUAL REPORT , states that,
“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. The potential connection between radio frequency emissions and
certain negative health effects, including some forms of cancer, has been the subject of substantial
study by the scientific community in recent years. We cannot guarantee that claims relating to radio
frequency emissions will not arise in the future or that the results of such studies will not be adverse
to us…If a connection between radio frequency emissions and possible negative health effects were
established, our operations, costs, or revenues may be materially and adversely affected. We
currently do not maintain any significant insurance with respect to these matters.”
Most wireless companies from AT&T to Nokia to T Mobile to Verizon Wireless have issued similar
warnings to their shareholders.
Regarding public health impacts, recently released research findings from the premiere test program of the
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) add to the body of scientific evidence
indicating that RF microwave radiation can be harmful. The 10 year $25 million NIEHS National Toxicology
Program’s Studies of the Toxicology and Carcinogenicity Cell Phone Radiation reports that RF produced
increases rates of highly malignant very rare tumors: gliomas of the brain and schwannomas of the heart.
These experimental findings are consistent with human studies showing increased rates of gliomas and
acoustic neuromas (schwann cells) among humans exposed to cell phone radiation. In addition to increased
cancers, the NTP study also reported that prenatally exposed animals produced offspring with lower birth
weight and evidence of direct genetic damage.