cell phone tower fires

This is why there have been so many cell phone tower fires in Canada lately

Quebec police arrested and charged two people yesterday in connection with at least two fires set to cell phone towers within the province in recent days, and they're now investigating whether those fires have anything to do with rampant 5G wireless technology conspiracy theories. 

Five other fires have been started in the same area — just north of Montreal — since May 1, and police are also looking into whether or not the same two people are responsible for them. 

The fires are reminiscent of dozens of similar incidents that have taken place across the U.K. and in several other European countries in recent months, many of which have been linked to the same 5G conspiracy theory.

"The attacks were fueled by the same cause, government officials said: an internet conspiracy theory that links the spread of the coronavirus to an ultrafast wireless technology known as 5G," reads a New York Times piece on the issue.

"Under the false idea, which has gained momentum in Facebook groups, WhatsApp messages and YouTube videos, radio waves sent by 5G technology are causing small changes to people’s bodies that make them succumb to the virus."

According to a report from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), 5G or "fifth generation" refers to the next generation of mobile wireless standards and technologies. 

The report indicates that the majority of misinformation around the safety of cell towers and mobile devices, including 5G, has to do with their use of radio frequency (RF) energy.

Conspiracy theories have spread on social media claiming that these emissions cause increased health issues such as cancer and, most recently, the coronavirus.

But studies have shown that 5G contributes a very low amount of RF emissions, and the CWTA says there has been no substantiated scientific evidence of harmful health effects from RF technologies used within national and international safety standards.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to many baseless conspiracy theories, including attempts to link 5G to COVID-19," notes the CWTA report.

"While this myth has been widely debunked, it has led to the vandalization of several antenna installations in other countries. Such actions are not only foolish, they can deprive affected communities, including first responders and 9-1-1 service providers, of critical telecommunications services."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even issued his own warning to those who've vandalized cell towers in Canada. 

"Vandalizing cellphone towers does nothing but threaten emergency services and impact the daily lives of Canadians across the country," he wrote on Twitter earlier this week. "These recent acts are serious criminal offences and carry severe penalties."

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