5g cell tower

Cell towers may soon be equipped with 5G technology. (Carl Lender/Flickr)

As I found my seat at a Eugene City Council Meeting, I noticed community members with large pins that read, “NO 5G.”

5G, the newest and fastest type of cellular network to date, will usher in the most modern advancements in technology, connecting bluetooth devices, drones and self driving cars. This new network will propel us into the next decade and open the door to increased connectivity, coupled with the greatest speed and quality. 

University of Oregon Professor Dejing Dou, who specializes in artificial intelligence and data mining, suggested that just like all networks, 3G, 4G and 5G are susceptible to hacking. “It can make hackers transfer data quicker. But it cannot help hackers break the password,” he said.  

However, these “NO 5G” advocates have other ideas. Throughout the evening, well-prepared speakers expressed their outrage and disappointment over the ugly 5G boxes that were recently installed near their homes and parks. They argued that the city has not done its job in protecting residents from potential health risks of the new network. 

“I came home from a 2 day vacation and I found all these trucks in front of my house… for 5G. It is right across from Washington Park where there is a nursery school, splash park, kids sports and a number of other things,” a Eugene resident said before the city council, about a 5G pole being installed outside of her house. 

Joel Moskowitz, who studies public health as a professor at University of California Berkeley, proposed that we take a greater amount of time to research and understand the risks of 5G before the infrastructure is rolled out. A coalition of scientists concluded in an international appeal which argues that Electric and Magnetic Fields, which make up the 5G network, increase the risk of cancer, cellular stress and neurological disorders. Effects go beyond humans, as evidence shows plant and animal life are also harmed by EMF.

Moskowitz urges readers to reference the 5G Appeal, which has more than 250 signatures from scientists and doctors, recommending that more testing be done regarding how the network affects living beings before it is installed.  

Victor Odlivak, a resident of Eugene, has been attending City Council meetings and work sessions along with other members of Families for Safe Technology to advocate against the installation of 5G.

 “5G has not been safely tested or proven safe,” Odlivak said. The group has compiled a significant amount of evidence from researchers showing that the 5G network poses significant health risks. This has led many of them to work adamantly — resisting the installation.

These “NO 5G” Eugene residents are looking for transparency from their City Council. They are fearful that network companies and cities can make decisions about 5G without residents’ discretion. Given the warning signals from researchers and medical professionals regarding health risks from exposure to high frequency networks, Eugene residents are rightfully distressed by the swift installation of the 5G network in residential neighborhoods. 

Over the past 20 years, we have seen technology advance at an unprecedented rate. The effects on culture, health and well-being are often unknown because the research is ongoing. It is vital to take concerns of safety seriously to prevent tragedies in the future. The public has a right to know the consequences that might come with the 5G network.