Town officials have put the brakes on installing 5G networks in Easton to study if the technology is safe for human health and the environment.

In a resolution dated May 7, town officials voted to call upon “all telecommunications companies and public utilities operating in Easton,  to cease the build-out of so-called “5G” wireless infrastructure until such technologies have been proven safe to human health and the environment through independent research and testing.”

Selectman Robert Lessler, who voted for the moratorium, said he received several emails from Easton residents concerned about health risks the new technology might pose.

“The science is decidedly mixed, and we don’t have the time or expertise to make a sound decision whether we should approve the technology or adopt a permanent ban, so we will take the time to dive into the available literature and become better educated on the potential risks,” Lessler said.

The town’s moratorium extends through Dec. 31.  

5G is designed to deliver faster internet service than the current 3G and 4G technology to connect virtually everyone and everything, including machines, objects, and devices via transmitters and “small cells” antennas often mounted on utility poles running along public streets and neighborhoods, near homes and schools.

Dan Pflug, one of several Easton residents who wrote to town leaders concerned about the health risks of 5G, applauded Easton’s decision to take a pause.

“Until we have assurance that the technology is safe we definitely don’t want it on our town, “ he said.

Pflug fears for his 5-year-old daughter’s health if 5G rolls out in Easton because her bedroom looks out at a utility pole in front of his home could be a spot where a 5G antenna is installed.

Gov. Ned Lamont, a proponent of the technology, sees the 5G as a vehicle for economic growth to support virtual and augmented reality apps and driverless cars. Last year, AT&T announced its plan to bring 5G mobile to Fairfield County. But groups like Stop5GCT , who are concerned about the potential link between 5G’s radiofrequency and cancer, are pressuring town leaders to either pause or ban the technology..

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said the technology needs to be studied to determine if it is safe.

At a Feb. 7, 2019 Senate Commerce hearing he stated that wireless industry executives were “flying blind … as far as health and safety is concerned,” after industry representations conceded they had not researched the safety of 5G technology and potential links between radiofrequency and cancer.

First Selectman  David Bindelglass said that while he’s skeptical about the science that claims 5G is unsafe, he admits he doesn’t know enough about the issue and is willing to find out more during the moratorium.  

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