Posted by Kate Kheel, Nov. 4th, 2017 

Letter from Ronald N. Kostoff, Ph.D. to the Montgomery County Council on November 1, 2017

Dear Montgomery County Council Members,

I have been informed that Montgomery County is considering approval of the installation of small cell towers throughout the County, including up and down residential streets, starting with Potomac, MD and Germantown, MD.  I would like to offer my perspective on this proposal.

Over the past decade, I have been performing studies on causes and treatments of chronic diseases.  Much of the focus has emphasized identifying the causes of these diseases, and their specific impacts.  The most comprehensive of the studies was a book titled Pervasive Causes of Disease,

and identified ~800 contributing factors that impacted more than a threshold number of the ~4000 diseases examined.

One of the specific factors I have been examining in detail is non-ionizing radiation.  Earlier this year, I published an invited book chapter on the health impacts of non-ionizing radiation combined with other stimuli, both toxic and non-toxic.  This chapter is attached.

For non-ionizing radiation in the power frequency band (~60Hz) and radiofrequency bands heavily used today (900 Mhz-cell phones and 2.45Ghz-WiFi), the biomedical literature is clear.  Heavy exposure of humans to this radiation for extended periods of time can be lethal, and exposure of test animals to non-ionizing radiation in isolation can be lethal.

As my book chapter shows, when non-ionizing radiation at the above frequencies is combined with other toxic stimuli, there is a strong synergy that results.  In some cases (depending on intensity, frequency, and duration), neither partner to the combination will exhibit effects when used in isolation, but will exhibit highly toxic effects when used in combination.  In most cases, the adverse effects of the combination will be much more highly toxic than the adverse effects of each partner used in isolation.  Thus, non-ionizing radiation in the above frequency bands is not only toxic/lethal in its own right, but it serves as a promoter/enabler/enhancer of the intrinsic toxicity of other stimuli.

For 5G, the proposed frequency band (~3Ghz-30Ghz, and higher) is in the millimeter-wave range, and has had little safety testing done, even in isolation.  There has been no long-term testing, and no testing on these frequencies in combination with other stimuli, which is the real-world condition.

Long-term testing on humans is required for two reasons.  First, latency periods for serious diseases can be measured in decades, in many cases.  For smoking, latency periods between initiation of smoking and lung cancer is between two and three decades, and for other types of cancers, latency times between onset of cause and eventual cancer can range up to five decades.  Latency periods for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, can be five decades or more, considering the advanced ages at which they occur.  Alarmingly, Hardell has found that even after the relatively short period of a decade of ‘heavy’ cell phone use (~30 min/day), certain types of brain cancers for adults doubled, and for adults who started using cell phones as teenagers, these brain cancer rates quintupled!  One can only imagine the results after two or three decades of ‘heavy’ cell phone use.

Second, animal tests are not adequate.  Animals are different from human beings biologically, and animal tests are usually performed under very controlled conditions, where the non-ionizing radiation is applied either in isolation or with one other toxic stimulus.  Humans experience myriad toxic stimuli in parallel over their lifetime, as I have shown in my book, and the complex combinations of toxic stimuli bear little resemblance to the pristine test conditions applicable to animals.  Allowing 5G cell towers to be constructed with essentially no safety testing having been performed would be the height of irresponsibility!

The usual excuse for inaction on opposition to cell tower construction of any type, including 5G, is the statement from the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that health reasons can not be used as a basis to halt tower construction.  This, in my view, is an abdication of responsibility of elected officials.

Suppose the Federal government passed a law stating that herbicides could be sprayed over populated areas by contractors, and these sprayings could not be opposed for health reasons.  If a local company wanted to initiate daily sprayings of Agent Orange over Montgomery County, would the members of the County Council allow it, despite what the law stated?  Would the residents allow it, despite what the law stated?  I suspect there would be an armed insurrection to block the spraying.  Yet, cell tower developers are proposing to ‘spray’ a highly toxic substance (non-ionizing radiation in RF bands) over Montgomery County, and the decision-makers act as if they have no options.

At some point in this one-sided battle between the wireless technology vendors and the defenseless public, someone has to take a stand.  Let Montgomery County at this time serve as the Waterloo for the 5G onslaught!

Dr. Ronald N. Kostoff


[Ronald N. Kostoff, Ph.D. is a Research Affiliate in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  The book chapter that is referenced in his message above was co-authored with Clifford G.Y. Lau and appears in Microwave Effects on DNA and Proteins, edited by C.D. Geddes and published in 2017.