The small town of Ripon in San Joaquin County, California, a farming community in the state’s Central Valley, finds itself among an increasing number of towns and municipalities that do not want 5G technology in their communities, or that are asserting their power to limit its deployment. 5G is the new super-fast cellular infrastructure on which the “smart city,” a part of the Internet of Things (IoT), will run. All of the communities involved cite the dangers to people of the heightened levels of EMF radiation emitted by 5G technology as the reason for their opposition.

According to Alex Aliferis, who is heading up the effort to have it banned in Ripon, the town’s citizens have already seen unusual occurrences of cancer in four of its schoolchildren following the installation of earlier equipment at one of its schools. Parents in Ripon reacted by keeping their children home from school until the equipment was finally removed. Firefighters in one jurisdiction succeeded in having a 5G station removed from their firehouse when several of their colleagues strangely turned up with cancer shortly after its installation. A 5G installation in Crescent Beach, British Columbia, was also scrapped due to local opposition.

As compared with the current 4G network, which runs on microwaves, 5G runs on a shorter EM wavelength known as millimeter waves (mmW). Not only is it more powerful than 4G, thus allowing it to run the IoT, but because of its shorter wavelength, it requires larger numbers of far more powerful “small cell” EM transmitters spaced much more closely together (every 2-10 houses) than did its 4G predecessor. The big telecommunications conglomerates are installing them against people’s consent on utility poles right next to schools and private residences, and even just outside people’s bedroom windows.

The scientific literature on the dangers to humans in close proximity to the considerably higher levels of shortwave EMF radiation emitted by 5G transmitters is undetermined, but the initial data from experiments on rats with exposure to earlier versions of the technology are not optimistic.

Despite anecdotal evidence of harm, and the lack of credible scientific evidence to the contrary, the big telecommunications conglomerates are in such a hurry to deploy the 5G infrastructures, and their lobbies so powerful, that the FCC has issued a unilateral edict stripping away the rights of elected local towns and municipalities in the United States to legislate mandatory offsets for or restrictions on 5G equipment in their local jurisdictions, or to reject the technology altogether. They are specifically disallowed from considering public health and safety objections when faced with permit applications from the telecommunications conglomerates for equipment installation, as if the health of human beings was inconsequential compared to the benefits to the system of expanding the Technium in this manner.

Local city councils are being told they must simply do as they are told and issue the permits without question, and that they must do so on an accelerated, “streamlined” timescale. Town councils that delay more than 60-90 days in issuing them are penalized, and the 5G equipment is installed over their objections. This abuse of power by an unelected federal agency loyal only to the big telecommunications conglomerates, some of whose former CEOs today sit atop this same agency, has the consequence of turning elected local governments into mere rubber stamp operations with regard to what would once have been considered their most important duties toward the people who were once thought of as their citizens.

A paltry two members of Congress, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Congressman Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18, from Silicon Valley), wrote critically in a December 2018 letter to FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr that the FCC itself had acknowledged in its own 2015 directive that “[t]he SAR [specific radiation absorption rate into human tissues -ed.] probe calibration, measurement accuracy, tissue dielectric parameters and other SAR measurement procedures required for testing recent generation wireless devices need further examination.” Blumenthal and Eshoo added that the FCC had yet to act on that directive to update its rules to account for changes in the technology. It appears that the main priority in the FCC is at present “to get out of the way” of technological innovation, or rather to force through its acceleration, even at the cost of stripping away the rights of citizens to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and of usurping the authority of local town and city councils to protect the publics who duly elected them.

Several town councils have defied the FCC edict and passed or are considering ordinances banning or restricting 5G from residential neighborhoods and schools in their jurisdictions, including the posh San Francisco Bay Area towns of Mill Valley, Fairfax, Ross, San Anselmo, Sebastapol, and Monterey, as well as the city of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and others. A number of other towns and cities, including Sioux Falls, South Dakota, San Rafael, California, and Portland, Oregon, are not convinced as to the safety of the 5G technology and are looking for answers. A coalition of citizens groups, known as the Americans for Responsible Technology, has emerged in jurisdictions spanning 25 US states and Canada. It issued the following statement opposing both the rush to 5G and the FCC’s coercive stampede over local elected authorities with regard to the installation of this industrial-scale technology so close to their homes and schools, which reads in part:


“We believe in local control over the deployment of technology in our neighborhoods…. We reject the rush to roll out 5G technology across America. This effort is based on outdated science. It is unwarranted and dangerous, eviscerates local control and places the interests of a single industry ahead of those of the American people.”


In the same vein, a branch of the Sierra Club in California passed a resolution in February 2019 urging its own national organization to formally oppose the deployment of 5G and small cell technology “without local input and environmental review.” It also urged its parent organization to specifically oppose “the FCC’s recent promulgation of a rule that waives environmental review, and limits local control, of the deployment of 5G wireless technology and small cell box installations.”

This technology will be coming to many more American towns and cities in the coming year or two, with only the welfare of the machines and organizational conglomerates of the Technium in mind. It will arrive without any regard for the well-being of humans on the receiving end of these federal edicts, which are demonstrations of untrustworthiness befitting not the United States of America but a heavily corrupted system with little to no regard for human life, not even for that of its own people.

Human lives matter. Humanity belongs before technology in the order of priorities. Towns and municipalities, composed of real people, should continue to insist on having the final say as to whether or not this part of the Technium should be granted entry into their communities, and if so, under what conditions. The economic magic for a few and technological magic to distract the many, as promised by the advent of the IoT should not be consecrated at the expense of human life and quality of life, health, and safety.


Works Cited:

[1] William J. Broad, “Study of cellphone risks finds ‘some evidence’ of link to cancer, at least in male rats,” New York Times, November 1, 2018,

[2] National Toxicology Program, “Cell Phone Radio Frequency Radiation Studies,” November 2018,

[3] Letter from Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Anna Eshoo to FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, December 3, 2018,

[4] Federal Communications Commission, Office of Engineering and Technology Laboratory Division, “SAR Measurement Requirements for 100 MHz to 6 GHz,” August 7, 2015,

[5] Statement of the Americans for Responsible Technology Coalition, undated, Retrieved on April 17, 2019.

[6] Resolution of the Sierra Club California Conservation Committee on 5G Technology, February 9, 2019,


Towns and cities fighting FCC to restrict 5G technology