5G cellular health concerns subject of South Glengarry public forum

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

WILLIAMSTOWN – A community forum is being held this afternoon (Tuesday, Aug. 6) over the future 5G cellular service in South Glengarry.

The meeting this afternoon will hear from Dr. Magda Havas of Trent University. She specializes in low frequency electromagnetic energy and its health effects.

Organizer Kathleen Szirtes says she’s not opposed to the infrastructure but there are concerns about “informed consent.” She describes herself as a “well informed yet sensitive individual” who moved back to Martintown to run her business.

“We’re not against faster WiFi or driver-less cars, it’s all good, but there are safety concerns,” Szirtes told Cornwall Newswatch. “We are not given enough information and we’re not consenting to this and yet we are being delivered these services. A cell phone tower has at least a several kilometer radius of emission and there are people are living beside this that don’t know.”

The clinical social worker says she’s been “a slave to the screen for years” and reached a tipping point where she is now sensitive to the electromagnetic field.

Szirtes says her clients with traumatic brain injuries experience it too. “I haven’t met a client yet, who has some form of concussive PTSD or brain injury, who doesn’t have an issue being in spaces that have…WiFi essentially,” she said.

She’s also concerned about the mass number of antennas for the 5G system and what it will do to property values.

Szirtes says there are “legal impacts for the community” if the public isn’t involved in the 5G roll out, such as tower placement.

“I want the faster cell service but I want it to be safe. They can do better is my bottom line. C’mon, we have people going to the moon. They can spend the money and make radiation-safe modems. This is not very hard. It may cost a bit more money,” she said.

The meeting is at the Char-Lan Recreation Center from 2-4 p.m.