Several Carmel residents spoke in opposition to the continued rollout of small cell towers to support 5G technology, echoing concerns raised by the Carmel Cable and Telecommunication Commission at the Oct. 7 city council meeting.
Winston Long, chairman of the commission, presented the findings of a task force he assembled to study the issue. He asked the city to halt installation of the small cell towers until the health effects of 5G technology can be further analyzed. He pointed to a 2018 National Toxicology Program study that found “clear evidence” of tumors in the hearts of male rats exposed to high levels of radio frequency radiation used in 2G and 3G phones. He is concerned that 5G technology – which wasn’t part of the study – could be even more dangerous.
Other Carmel residents cited the same study and similar concerns.
“The exposure has been involuntary, and additionally there has been no way to get more information to object or consent to the installation of a small cell, which raises great concern, especially if one of these towers is placed in a yard or easement where children routinely play,” said Megan Leivant, a physician who lives in Carmel.
Carl Butler, an attorney who has lived in Carmel for 15 years, said he found it disturbing that homeowners are not required to be notified when a small cell tower is being installed nearby.
“Carmel residents are left with little ability to understand what these structures are or what they do,” he said. “They have no effective administrative process by which to submit inquiries, file complaints or otherwise seek recourse.”
Long encouraged the city to join a class action lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission, which manages federal laws regarding small cell towers.
Small cell towers may be installed in Carmel with approval from the Board of Public Works. As of mid-June, small cell towers had been installed near Ditch Road and Ridgegate Lane and 96th Street near Cloister Drive East and West to improve existing networks, but 5G service was not available. Current has requested but not received updated information from the city.
The council did not take action on the matter.