The popularity and widespread use of wireless technologies has spawned a telecommunications revolution with increasing public exposure to broader and higher frequencies of the electro-magnetic spectrum as we transmit data through a variety of devices. The Telecom industry is promoting the replacement of our current cellular network, 4G (fourth generation) with a new generation of shorter high frequency 5G wavelengths to power the “Internet of Things” (IoT). The IoT promises faster data processing, amazing new gadgets and a lifestyle that mirrors science fiction. However, 5G will require a massive telecommunications network with many more cell towers—resulting in wireless antennas every few feet, greater radiofrequency radiation (RFR) and increasing concerns about health.
Because this is the first generation to have cradle-to-grave lifespan exposure to this level of man-made microwave radiofrequencies, it will be years or decades before the true health consequences are known. There are still many questions about the safety of RFR in 2G, 3G and 4G wireless technologies. Informed health experts strongly recommend precaution in the roll out of 5G tech.
RFR exposure has been classified as a potential 2B carcinogen according to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. Research showed that the use of mobile phones could lead to specific brain tumors. Other studies have concluded that RFR exposure has been associated with DNA breaks (related to cancer), oxidative damage (leads to tissue deterioration and premature aging), disruption of cell metabolism, increased blood-brain barrier permeability, melatonin reduction (can lead to insomnia), and many others.
5G technologies are far less studied for human effects. The addition of this 5G radiation to an already complex mix of lower frequencies, will likely contribute to negative public health outcomes—both physically and mentally. The new 5G technology utilizes high-frequency millimeter waves (MMW), which give off the same dose of radiation as airport scanners. Continuous exposure in close proximity to people’s homes and workplaces may pose serious risks.
Dr. Yael Stein of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University is a strong critic of the new 5G network. He notes the adverse effects MMW have on human skin—causing pain receptors to flare up. The Department of Defense (DoD) uses MMW in a crowd-dispersal device that makes the skin feel like it’s burning.
5G technology is not only bad for humans, it harms plant and animal life as well. One study found low-intensity MMW cause “peroxidase isoenzyme spectrum changes,” which damages cells. The 5G infrastructure would also pose a threat to our planet’s atmosphere. The implementation of this massive telecom network will require the deployment of many, short-lifespan satellites propelled by hydrocarbon rocket engines. One study states: launching these rockets will produce enough atmospheric carbon to pollute global atmospheric conditions, affect temperature and the ozone.
There is little or no corporate media coverage, of specific 5G health concerns. One CBS news article, May 29, 2018, noted general health concerns about the increased proximity and scope of the proposed 5G infrastructure (300,000 new antennas), yet they, and other corporate articles focus more on the proposed benefits of 5G: faster data speeds, 3D imaging, investment opportunities, etc. Corporate media also defer to telecom industry and federal officials to answer health questions; who typically say radiation exposure is minimal and RFR devices are safe.
Corporate media also fail to cover consumer groups questioning industry and federal practices, such as the coalition of 52 grassroots organizations calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay deployment of 5G infrastructure pending more health studies, citing “emerging science linking exposure to RF microwave radiation with serious biological harm.”
Cindy Russell, “5 G Wireless Telecommunications Expansion: Public Health and Environmental Implications,” Environmental Research, August 2018, (Epub: April 11, 2018), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29655646.
Jody McCutcheon, “Frightening Frequencies: The Dangers of 5G and What You Can Do About Them,” Eluxe Magazine, May 2018, https://eluxemagazine.com/magazine/dangers-of-5g.
Jason Plautz, “Grassroots Coalition Asks FCC to Slow 5G Expansion over Health Concerns,” Smart Cites Dive, September 24, 2018, https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/news/grassroots-coalition-asks-fcc-to-slow-5g-expansion-over-health-concerns/532992.
Joel Moskowitz, “Scientists and Doctors Demand Moratorium on 5G,” Electromagnetic Radiation Safety, April 26, 2018, https://www.saferemr.com/2017/09/5G-moratorium12.html.
Conan Milner, “Resistance to 5G: Roadblock to a High Tech Future or Warning of a Serious Health Risk?” Epoch Times, November 9, 2018, www.theepochtimes.com/resistance-to-5g-roadblock-to-a-high-tech-future-or-warning-of-a-serious-health-risk_2705116.html.
Nicole Karlis, “Why Public Health Experts are Worried about 5G, The Next Generation of Cell Network,” Salon, December 4, 2018, www.salon.com/2018/12/03/why-public-health-experts-are-worried-about-5g-the-next-generation-of-cell-network.
Martin L. Pall, “Wi-Fi is an Important Threat to Human Health,” Environmental Research, July 2018, pages 405-416, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935118300355.
Student Researcher: Jamie Wells (San Francisco State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)