The telecommunications providers want us to believe there is an international competition to win the 5G technology race. However, the real race is whether these companies can install their 5G antennas close to our homes and schools, and nearly everywhere else, before the public wakes up to the potential harm of 5G antenna emissions to human health.

The 5G (fifth-generation) cellular technology promises more data, faster than the 3G and 4G currently used by many of our electronic wireless devices such as smartphones; 5G equipment of all sizes will generate and use higher radio frequencies, as well as those already used for the other Gs.

Providers claim 5G is necessary for the internet of things, which is shorthand for the interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, letting them send and receive data. “Everything wireless” is the motto of the CTIA, an organization that represents the wireless communications industry in the U.S.

With full rollout, there could be millions of so-called “small cell” network coverage antennas installed across Canada, and maybe thousands in Winnipeg. These will be in addition to the macro towers we have now. In some parts of Mission, B.C., 5G small cell antennas have been installed on utility poles near every two to three homes.

In Winnipeg, if these antenna installations were on new towers, public consultation would be required.

But most, if not all, 5G antennas will be exempt from consultation. The Winnipeg Antenna Systems Policy allows the exemption of “antennas on buildings, water towers, lamp posts, etc… provided the height above ground of the non-tower structure… is not increased by more than 25 per cent.” This loophole is possible because of a federal Innovation, Science and Economic Development policy.

In short, 5G could arrive at your doorstep soon. A Manitoba Hydro spokesperson says the utility is in “discussions with two providers.” A spokesperson for the mayor’s office says the city has a multi-departmental working group preparing a report about “implementing and permitting” small cell technology.

The 5G rollout has been halted in Brussels, Belgium, and parts of Italy and Switzerland until adverse health and environmental consequences can be more fully investigated. There have been protest demonstrations in Canada and the U.S.

Why? Because scientists and medical doctors, independent of industry influence, are speaking out.

More than 240 scientists and doctors from more than 40 countries, leaders in radio-frequency/microwave radiation and electromagnetic field (EMF) research, launched The 5G Appeal, calling for the European Commission to halt the deployment of 5G. Previously, scientists who specialize in non-ionizing radiation launched the International EMF Scientist Appeal that states today’s “safety guidelines” from health authorities, including Canada, are outdated because only excessive heating (thermal effects) was considered.

Our safety standards for 5G are based on a Health Canada guideline document, Safety Code 6, deeming thermal effects to be the only established harmful effects caused by radio frequencies emitted from our wireless devices. However, it is indisputable thousands of studies indicate adverse biological effects. More than 30 peer-reviewed studies show DNA damage, and three reviews and meta-analyses show sperm damage from emission levels Health Canada claims are safe.

Both Swedish cancer epidemiologist Dr. Lennart Hardell and Dr. Anthony Miller — a Canadian medical doctor, epidemiologist and former adviser to the World Health Organization — have published in peer-reviewed journals that there is adequate evidence that radio-frequency radiation should be classified as a known human carcinogen, which is the same category as tobacco smoking and asbestos.

There are safer alternatives to wireless 5G. In his report “Reinventing Wires: The Future of Landlines and Networks,” Dr. Timothy Schoechle of the National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy in Washington, D.C., describes alternatives to wireless connections, namely fibre-optic cables to and through the premises, with speeds 100 times faster than wireless.

Safety testing on long-term exposure to 5G radiation does not exist. Evidence abounds of harms from 2G, 3G and 4G radiation.

Shouldn’t we be reducing those emissions, not adding more of them as 5G exposures 24/7/365 — and without our fully informed consent?

We urgently need our elected representatives, at all levels, to fully engage the public (e.g. by holding full public consultations) before legal commitments are made for installation of 5G small cell antennas.

Margaret Friesen lives in Winnipeg and is a retired federal government research biologist and science advisor of Canadians for Safe Technology, a national, not-for-profit, volunteer-based coalition of parents, citizens and experts.

Frank Clegg is a former president of Microsoft Canada and founding CEO of Canadians for Safe Technology.