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5G: Is Wireless Technology Safe?

DCIDec 5, 2019, 6:42:19 AM

As the Scientific American journal plainly states,

The telecommunications industry and their experts have accused many scientists who have researched the effects of cell phone radiation of "fear mongering" over the advent of wireless technology's 5G.

Since 5G is a new technology, there is no research on health effects, so we are “flying blind” to quote a U.S. senator. However, we have considerable evidence about the harmful effects of 2G and 3G. Little is known the effects of exposure to 4G, a 10-year-old technology, because governments have been remiss in funding this research.*1

Big Technology companies and governments have so integrated these technologies into their business models and long-term development strategies that pausing to research the health effects of these technologies pose a real threat to their profitability and power structures. However, the public has the right to determine for ourselves whether or not we want to sacrifice life and health for the sake of corporate profits, personal convenience, and government power.

My aim for this post is to compile some of the available research on the health affects of wireless technologies so that you can make the best possible informed decisions when it comes to your own home, technology choices, and the public-policy proposals that you support.

No Indication That 5G Is Safe

The research that guides the FCC’s policies on wireless-technology safety dates back to the 1980’s and only takes into account the short-term heating effects of wireless radiation. Wireless radiation that produces nominal heating effects is automatically deemed “safe”.

Nonetheless, new research suggests these standards are inadequate to determine the safety of wireless radiation:

Yet, since the FCC adopted these limits based largely on research from the 1980s, the preponderance of peer-reviewed research, more than 500 studies, have found harmful biologic or health effects from exposure to RFR at intensities too low to cause significant heating.*1

Without significant public funding to produce conclusive answers and bring current research up-to-date on the safety and regulation of wireless radiation, it is impossible to safely navigate the rapid advances of technology taking place in today’s world.

As stated by the Scientific American journal,

The latest cellular technology, 5G, will employ millimeter waves for the first time in addition to microwaves that have been in use for older cellular technologies, 2G through 4G. Given limited reach, 5G will require cell antennas every 100 to 200 meters, exposing many people to millimeter wave radiation. 5G also employs new technologies (e.g., active antennas capable of beam-forming; phased arrays; massive multiple inputs and outputs, known as massive MIMO) which pose unique challenges for measuring exposures.

Millimeter waves are mostly absorbed within a few millimeters of human skin and in the surface layers of the cornea. Short-term exposure can have adverse physiological effects in the peripheral nervous system, the immune system and the cardiovascular system. The research suggests that long-term exposure may pose health risks to the skin (e.g., melanoma), the eyes (e.g., ocular melanoma) and the testes (e.g., sterility).*1

Not only will the public be involuntarily exposed to 5G radiation because of its limited range and the necessity of building more wireless antennas to support the 5G grid, but 5G is based on millimeter waves instead of microwaves, which are absorbed on the surface of human skin and eyes, posing significant risk to the nervous system, immune system, and cardiovascular systems along with raising the potential for increases in skin cancer, eye cancer, and sterility.

Comparing DNA Damage

Dr. Dimitris J. Panagopoulosabc’s publication on Science Direct compares the damage done to DNA by different types of electromagnetic fields, for example, those found in cellphones vs. telephone wires, and suggests that the kind of electromagnetic fields produced by cellphones are significantly worse than those produced by other forms of technology.

The present review - of results published by my group from 2006 until 2016 - compares DNA fragmentation induced by six different EMFs on the same biological system - the oogenesis of Drosophila melanogaster - under identical conditions and procedures *2

In this study, the determining factor in damage produced by cellular technologies seems to come from the extreme variability of their signals:

The crucial parameter for the intense bioactivity seems to be the extreme variability of the polarized MT signals, mainly due to the large unpredictable intensity changes.*2

Dangers to Mobile Phone Use

In Dr. Michael Carlberg’s and Lennart Hardell’s conclusion to their study on the mobile phone risk for gliomas, they suggest that wireless radiation produced by commercially available cellphones should be considered carcinogenic:

Conclusion. RF radiation should be regarded as a human carcinogen causing glioma.*3

In their study, they suggest that some of the previous studies that had significant impact on current public policies (some of which date back to the 1960’s) were fundamentally flawed because many of their participants had less than 10 years of significant exposure to mobile radiation:

In the Interphone study on mobile phone use and brain tumours an increased risk for glioma was found among the heaviest mobile phone users. In an editorial accompanying the Interphone results published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the main conclusion of the results was described as “both elegant and oracular… (which) tolerates diametrically opposite readings.” They also pointed out several methodological reasons why the Interphone results were likely to have underestimated the risks, such as the short latency period since first exposures became widespread; less than 10% of the Interphone cases had more than 10 years of exposure. “None of the today's established carcinogens, including tobacco, could have been firmly identified as increasing risk in the first 10 years or so since first exposure.”*3

In other words, even none carcinogens like tobacco would not be identified as carcinogenic with less than 10 years of exposure.

The extreme lack in robust study on these issues led the World Health Organization to initiate an investigation in 2011 into the body of then-recent and up-to-date studies on the subject, and their conclusion upgraded cellular radiation to “possibly carcenogenic”:

Due to the widespread use of wireless phones (mobile and cordless phones) an evaluation of the scientific evidence on the brain tumour risk was necessary. Thus, in May 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) at WHO evaluated at that time published studies. The scientific panel reached the conclusion that radiofrequency (RF) radiation from mobile phones, and from other devices, including cordless phones, that emit similar nonionizing electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation in the frequency range 30 kHz–300 GHz, is a Group 2B, that is, a “possible,” human carcinogen [4, 5]. The IARC decision on mobile phones was based mainly on case-control human studies by the Hardell group from Sweden [6–13] and the IARC Interphone study [2, 14, 15]. These studies provided supportive evidence of increased risk for brain tumours, that is, glioma and acoustic neuroma.*3

Although this 2011 study did not produce any new research on its own, it did examine the current body of research available at the time. The threat-level upgrade to mobile phone radiation should be alarming because it both demonstrates that public policy and technology were advancing without any regard to public health, and because the lack of public-funding and interest in this research means that the research available to this 2011 investigation was not as robust as it likely needs to be.

Additional weaknesses in this study are evident:

A fact sheet from WHO issued in June 2011 shortly after the IARC decision in May 2011 stated that “to date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use” [21]. This statement contradicted the IARC evaluation and was not based on evidence at that time on a carcinogenic effect from RF radiation and was certainly remarkable since IARC is part of WHO. Furthermore WHO wrote that “currently, two international bodies have developed exposure guidelines for workers and for the general public, except patients undergoing medical diagnosis or treatment. These guidelines are based on a detailed assessment of the available scientific evidence.” These organizations were the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

ICNIRP is a private organization (NGO) based in Germany that selects its own members. Their source of funding is not declared. IEEE is the world's most powerful federation of engineers. The members are or have been employed in companies or organizations that are producers or users of technologies that depend on radiation frequencies, such as power companies, the telecom industry, and military organizations. IEEE has prioritized international lobbying efforts for decades especially aimed at the WHO.*3

Widespread and adequately funded public research is currently insufficient to address the rapid pace of technological development in today’s world. Given the pace of development and implementation, and the likelihood that 5G networks will be built and involuntarily expose the public to massive amounts of millimeter radiation, it is necessary to make public research into this issue a priority for the government.

My Conclusions

The human tendency to take inadequate research and form hasty conclusions is a very real threat to sound reason and wisdom. The public needs more research to establish reasonable safety limits on how we build and implement our wireless networks.

However, implementing these networks before such research is completed and involuntarily exposing the public to potentially serious health risks is both irresponsible and immoral. Companies should not recuse themselves of their responsibility to investigate the safety and health-risks of their products based simply on their ignorance and lack of research.

For my own home I have taken to implementing the following policies:

1. Turn off cellphones and wifi-routers at night to reduce our exposure to wireless radiation while our bodies rest

2. Never carry cellphones against our bodies (i.e. inside pants or shirt pockets)

3. Use faraday bags when traveling to limit direct cellphone radiation to our bodies

4. Use corded headsets when talking on the phone to limit direct cellphone radiation to our brains

I am considering using LAN-based desktops in our home and only using wifi as a supplement to our internet connectivity so that our wifi-router is not online all day, which would reduce our radiation exposure.

Most importantly, I am going to begin pushing for public-policy response by encouraging the public to contact their representatives and senators to influence public policy, encourage research, and get answers to the questions that have not yet been answered.

Works Cited

*1 https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/we-have-no-reason-to-believe-5g-is-safe/

*2 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1383574218300991

*3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5376454/