Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Blake Levitt (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — (Updated) U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said 5G technology offers the tremendous promise of higher speed and reliability, but there are no studies of the “health hazards associated with the radio frequency,” of the new technology.

“We need to know whether the radio frequencies can cause cancer,” Blumenthal said.

He said there are studies of the 2G and 3G technologies of tumors and cancers in lab rats when they are exposed to the radio frequencies.

He said this has nothing to do with the aesthetic effects of additional cell towers or the inconvenience of transmitters in neighborhoods, close to schools and workplaces. He said it simply has not been studied.

He said the last study of the 2G and 3G technology, involving rats, was released on Nov. 1 by the National Toxicology Program. That study began in 1999 and found cancerous heart tumors, as well as some evidence of brain and adrenal gland tumors, in male rats exposed to high levels of RF radiation.

The $30 million study took more than 10 years to complete and is the most comprehensive assessment, to date, of health effects in animals exposed to RFR with modulations used in 2G and 3G cell phones. 2G and 3G networks were standard when the studies were designed and are still used for phone calls and texting.

The study does not apply to 4G and 5G technologies.

“I know of no reliable studies — classified or otherwise that have been done about 5G technology,” Blumenthal said. “There may have been studies by the military but so far as I know they failed to meet the specifications that are required in terms of the numbers of animals or other ways of measuring that would be required.”

So there’s still a question about whether 5G is safe, Blumenthal said.

He said that’s where the Federal Communications Commission needs to step in and take action on this very new technology.

Speaking at a Senate Commerce Committee field hearing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said “Federal law actually says that state and local governments can’t take [radiofrequency] concerns into account given how much work has gone into this issue at the federal level … Both at the FCC and other expert health agencies in Washington, they stay very much up to speed on these issues and have reached the determination that these are safe.”

In a letter to Carr, Blumenthal said then the FCC should provide the information about the 5G safety determination it cited at the hearing.

The FCC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

CTIA, the industry group which represents the U.S. wireless communication carriers, said “Following numerous scientific studies conducted over several decades, the FCC, the FDA, the World Health Organization, the American Cancer Society and numerous other international and U.S. organizations and health experts continue to say that the scientific evidence shows no known health risk to humans due to the RF energy emitted by antennas and cellphones.The evidence includes analysis of official federal brain tumor statistics showing that since the introduction of cellphones in the mid-1980s, the rate of brain tumors in the United States has decreased.”

Blumenthal said these radio frequencies that would be part of a 5G network don’t travel very far and they follow the person and the device, unlike 2G and 3G radio frequencies which are spread out.

Blake Levitt of the Berkshire-Litchfield Environmental Council said the “signaling characteristics of 5G are incredibly complex using phased array and beam-forming technology.”

She said thin skinned amphibians and insects are at particular risk from this new technology and they won’t be part of any consideration, but are important to the ecosystem and the food chain.

“5G is not like anything that we have going now,” Levitt said. “5G actually has the theoretical ability even at very low densities to punch irreparable holes in the food chain.”

David Weidlich, president of the Communication Workers of America, said the AT&T workers they represent have RF monitors when they work at the cell towers. However, these microtowers could go on individual telephone poles where “there is no consistent safety mechanism for RF,” he said.