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Cell tower near elementary school sparks concern

Posted at 1:50 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 20:23:22-05

LAKESIDE, Calif. (KGTV) -- 5G technology is the latest and greatest in wireless communication, but just how safe is it?

A new cell phone tower near Lakeview Elementary School has parents concerned.

“This just showed up overnight, There had been no explanation about it at all,” said Maria Tomasello.

She and other parents say a county ordinance states the tower should be at least 300 feet from the school, but they were told this particular site was approved before the new rule.

Parents are worried about the safety of the technology. “People might say that it hasn’t been studied enough and it’s safe, but why would we want to take that chance and expose our children and our staff.”

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The group says they’ve reached out to lawmakers and AT&T, but haven’t received the answers they want.

10News reached out to AT&T. The company said the tower in question is actually using 4G technology and there are no current plans for 5G at the site.

Still, parents and many other concerned citizens have raised the question about the safety of 5G.

Although parents are concerned, experts in the field say there’s nothing to worry about.

“Let’s look at scientific studies done and not rely on anything people are putting out there about 5G,” said UCSD professor Sujit Dey.

Dey is the director of the Center for Wireless Communications. He cautions people to be careful about where they get their information.

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Professor Dey says the main difference between 5G and 4G is the size and frequency of the electromagnetic wavelength.

5G uses a high frequency millimeter wave which is faster but doesn’t travel as far and can be blocked by things like buildings.

That means 5G requires a greater number of smaller towers every few blocks.

Dey says the bottom line is there is still more to learn, but he believes the technology is safe and may prove even safer that what we’ve been using.

“Much safer actually than these big towers would have been,” Dey added.

Parents held a rally over the tower at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.