Telecommunication companies are steadily rolling out 5G services across the country and installing devices needed to power a faster data infrastructure.
However, several protesters gathered in front of an AT&T store in downtown Burbank Wednesday to tell companies to pump the brakes and consider the possible health impacts that 5G devices could have on the public.
Rola Masri, research director for the nonprofit California Brain Tumor Assn., said 5G wireless devices have not been tested for safety, and the Federal Communications Commission is making it easy for telecommunication companies to install their equipment.
A consultant for Burbank previously said the 5G devices are smaller and use less energy than previous equipment, which results in more devices having to be installed to cover a given area.
The additional wireless devices, which could be installed near homes, raise concerns, according to Masri and other protesters.
Additionally, they took issue with a recent FCC ruling that prohibits state and local governments from impeding on the implementation of 5G devices.
“We need to protect our children, and we haven’t been doing that at all,” Masri said. “These industry lobby groups have spent millions of dollars lobbying to get these bills passed, and the FCC is industry-captured.”
Masri, a La Crescenta resident, said she is proactive when it comes to limiting the use of wireless devices by her family.
All of the computers in her home access the internet via ethernet cables, and their cellphones are put on airplane mode and placed in other rooms whenever possible.
“We do know that there is some need for [wireless and cellular services], but we limit it,” Masri said. “There should be a way to limit this. If we put a man on the moon, we can figure this out, too.”
Also attending the rally was La Crescenta resident Ted Baumgart, who wore a sign that read “NO 5G” around his neck and held two other signs with a similar message.
He, too, has hard-wired all of his technology devices to the internet and thinks telecommunication devices can result in cancer or other illnesses.
Instead of focusing on increasing internet data speeds, Baumgart said telecommunication companies should be concerned about the well-being of their customers and the public.
“I’m not against the progress, but we need a better quality of life,” he said. “Do I want [5G devices] without medical studies? No. We need to slow down.”