Opinion: Wireless technology poses risks

Patrick Colbeck
View Comments

As an aerospace engineer, I have worked on high-tech programs such as the International Space Station and virtual reality training systems for the Department of Defense. 

As a state senator, though, I have a responsibility to also look out for the best interests of our citizens.  It is in this light that I believe it is time to go beyond looking at the benefits of high tech devices and start to give serious consideration to the risks they pose to the health and welfare of our citizens.

In this Monday, May 22, 2017, photo, Nick Blase climbs a cellular phone tower to perform maintenance in High Ridge, Mo. Blase is a United States Army Reserve veteran who now works for True North Management Services, a company that builds and manages cellphone networks and has a program to train and hire veterans like Blase.

Wireless technologies such as smart meters, cell phones, Wi-Fi and so-called “small cell” 5G deployments merit particular scrutiny.  Each of these technologies emits wireless radiation that has been demonstrated to have adverse health impacts such as cancer, cardiovascular impairment, infertility, and much more.  These health impacts have been proven to be fact not fiction.  Furthermore, there are significant risks to personal data privacy and national security that need to be addressed.

I bring these concerns to you in the spirit of a mining canary not Chicken Little.  Mining canaries were used to provide early warning of dangerous gas concentrations in mining operations.  To put my concerns about wireless radiation into perspective, would you willingly move your family next to a cell tower?  If not, please ask yourself “why?” 

Sen. Patrick Colbeck

The pending 5G networks will put the equivalent of a cell tower every 2-10 homes without any recourse for you or your community to object. The deployment of these networks in our neighborhoods will greatly increase our exposure to wireless radiation.  It is possible to provide our citizens with access to the “Internet of Things” in a safe manner, but first we need to admit there is an issue with safety. 

On Tuesday, we explored both the benefits and risks of wireless technology at a special forum open to the public in Lansing. The forum featured experts in the fields of telecommunications, medicine and policy including the former president of Microsoft in Canada, Frank Clegg, and retired senior toxicologist at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, Dr. Ron Melnick.  It is my hope that this forum will be the start a sincere discussion of both the benefits and the risks of wireless technology.

Let’s pursue advanced technology, but let’s do so in a manner that is safe for our communities.

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton Township, represents the 7th Senate District. 


View Comments