Is 5G safe?

Communication antenna

Are you cautious of the dangers connected to the 5G technology and wondering: is 5G safe? Here’s everything you need to know about the potential issues with 5G, why people are nervous, and what the research states. 

Have you heard of 5G? Though it has become a buzzword in the media many people are unaware of what this new technology is and what it could mean for society. 

Simply put, 5G connections will allow network providers to reduce latency and increase capacity. It will ensure that wireless connections are faster than before. If you are using 5G, you could download a 4K movie in seconds. 

5G stands for “fifth-generation,” falling in after 3G and 4G. Typically, there is a new standard for wireless networks launched about every ten years. This is largely consumer-driven. The world constantly wants to access the information they need faster than before. It’s easy to understand the benefits here. Businesses can operate more efficiently and private individuals don’t need to be bugged by the pesky buffering circle when watching Netflix on phones. 

To put this in perspective, 5G is about 10 to 100 times faster than 4G in terms of data transfer. Most webpages accessed through 5G will load in milliseconds. Currently, most pages online will take several seconds to fully load on a mobile device. 

5G Speed Test

For the typical consumer, 5G probably sounds both enticing and exciting. As already mentioned, we all desire our technology to operate at a faster speed. We don’t want to get information in a moment, we want it right now. 

Make no mistake 5G is coming. Indeed, most major mobile networks already provide 5G support – to an extent. Areas, where you can access to 5G, are currently confined to key points such as urban hubs, but over the next few years, that will change dramatically. 

By 2023, there will be 1.01 billion 5G connections which means a 217.2% annual growth rate through the five year period between 2019 and 2023. 

Despite the clear positives, there are concerns surrounding the use of 5G technology. Is 5G safe? You might have read reports that 5G is perfectly safe but there is some uncertainty as to whether this is the case. Let’s explore why. 

Why Could 5G Be Considered Dangerous? 

Every type of wireless technology utilises electromagnetic radiation to both receive and send signals. This means that regardless of what wireless tech you are using it will be producing a certain level of EMF.

We have already mentioned that 5G channels are expected to grow rapidly across the globe. So, from 5G connected devices to 5G cell towers, there will be a tremendous increase in the level of exposure for humans to this type of radiation. Animals are also going to be more exposed due to the locations where 5G towers are being constructed.

What does the scientific community think about the danger of 5G? The main issue currently from the perspective of experts is that the impact of 5G on the human body is substantially under-researched. However, studies have shown various biological outcomes of people being exposed to millimeter-wavelength. 

Millimeter Waves Explained

Every generation of wireless technology has increased the level of frequency bands required to transmit data. The magnitude of data that will be transferred using 5G far outweighs the capabilities of 4G channels. 

4G and the networks that came before falling between frequencies of about 300 megahertz and 3 gigahertz. 

The low and mid-band 5G signals will operate at frequencies of about 6 GHz. The high-band frequencies are going to reach upwards of 34 GHz. This will lead to the introduction of the millimeter-wave and that’s where the potential danger could begin. 

Millimeter waves will change everything. Unlike the other frequencies millimeter, waves won’t travel as far as lower frequency waves. This means that they won’t pass through buildings and can be absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere, trees or even the upper layers of the human skin. 

5G Effects On Body 

Say No To 5G
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

Since there are limited levels of research on the impact on 5G effects on the body, we need to focus on how studies suggest millimeter waves impact the body. The evidence is both worrying and alarming. 

Potential impacts on the body include oxidative stress as well as altered gene expression. Some studies have suggested that there could be an impact on the skin as well as the way the immune system functions. 

Researchers have suggested that due to this more testing is needed to explore the potential dangers of 5G technology. They want to explore health outcomes due to RF-EMF exposure. Many are suggesting that typical vulnerable populations should receive more protection from 5G waves. Certain researchers want to ensure that the cell towers for 5G networks are not built by daycare centers, schools, and the areas that are commonly frequented by pregnant women. Others have called into question whether 5G networks could impact fertility rates and if men who want to father children should stay away from these towers. But what are professionals so worried about the danger of 5G for people under 16?

Children And 5G 

Evidence does seem to suggest that babies and children are under a greater level of risk from exposure to EMF

One of the reasons for this is due to absorption. In 2014, a study was released which highlighted that children absorb significantly more microwave radiation compared to adults. This is due to the fact that the brain tissues are more absorbent and they have thinner skulls. They are also smaller in size. Remember, this doesn’t just link to the danger of children using phones. It applies to every type of wireless technology including baby monitors that operate with wireless systems. 

Of course, it’s not just about the absorption rate. We also need to consider the fact that children are now being exposed to more EMF, even from a younger age. By the time they reach adulthood they will have been exposed to a level that simply hasn’t been explored yet. This is another reason why research in this area is limited. 

The Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure has even noted that radiation from wireless devices could be a potential human carcinogen. The problem with this is that while children are more at risk the diagnosis of a tumor can be years after it first develops or even decades. So, these tumors might not be diagnosed until these children are adults. 

Of course, there are lots of other reasons why children could be more at risk from wireless radiation than adults. For instance, physicists have explained that children’s brains take years to fully develop. The blood-brain barrier develops slowly over time, leaving children exposed to cell-leakage. Furthermore, the immune system isn’t fully developed until children are 18 years old

The problem with 5G specifically, is that children won’t be able to escape it. They will be exposed to the radiation caused by the new network at school, home, and even in the streets. Parents won’t be able to make the decision to shield their kids from this type of tech. Even if you live completely off the grid, it’s possible that there could still be a 5G cell tower somewhere nearby. 

It’s also worth noting that 5G isn’t just going to replace 4G. Instead, it’s going to be used to support the existing 4G network similar to how 3G was supported by 4G. So, rather than seeing a reduction in radiation caused by 4G, 5G will simply add to the issue. 

Furthermore, the current safety measures in place are based on the exposure from one tech device. Arguably, this is just no longer realistic. Almost every family in the developing world these days has multiple tech devices in their home including various personal devices for their children. Don’t forget, 5G isn’t just going to provide the network that powers phones. It’s going to connect everything. Smart homes are becoming increasingly common where every piece of tech and device is connected to the same network. So, instead of just being exposed to radiation from one or two devices children and adults could be exposed to radiation from hundreds or potentially thousands. 

5G Side Effects

Some reports have also explored the potential side effects that 5G could cause on the human body. As mentioned one of the main effects seen from 5G is oxidative stress. Studies have linked oxidative stress to a wide range of side effects including:

  • Increased fatigue 
  • Memory loss 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Reduce eyesight
  • Increased susceptibility to infections

Oxidative stress is linked to oxygenation. The process has been researched extensively for connections to everything from Dementia to certain types of cancer.

As for altered gene expression, this can cause a wide range of issues in the human body. For instance, one 2018 study has explored the impact of altered gene expression on toddlers with autism. They found that it changed neural responses to a speech by using functional magnetic resonance imaging. 

Other studies have found that prolonged exposure to millimeter wavelengths could cause the heating and injury of skin cells

The Dangers Of Millimeter Waves According To Key Researchers

Various individual researchers have explored and widely discussed other examples of health issues that could be caused due to 5G networks and millimeter waves. For instance, Dr. Cindy Russel has explored studies that link the new network to birth defects, decreased sensitivity to antibiotics, and even heart problems. 

Other researchers including Dr. Pall has explored the wider effects of exposure to millimeter waves. According to the doctor, non-thermal levels of EMF radiations could lead to an attack on the nervous system including various widespread neuropsychiatric impacts. It could even attack our hormonal system that causes various areas of the human body to function effectively. Even a simple single-cell organism needs both the nervous system and the hormone system to function normally if they are going to survive and thrive. The doctor has also suggested that the millimeter waves could attack the cells in the body leading to the development of cancer. 

Reports have suggested that millimeter waves only impact the upper tissue in the human body. However, a critical study in 1977 by Russian scientist Dr. Zalyubovskaya found that millimeter waves could impact various areas of the inner body including the skin, blood, bone marrow, and organs. Crucially, the study also suggested that the effects worsened when there was an increased level of exposure to the waves. You might be wondering why this report hasn’t garnered more attention. Up until 2012, this report was classified by the Central Intelligence Agency. 

Furthermore, Dr. Carpenter has researched whether radiofrequency could cause cancer in animals. He found multiple studies suggesting that RF radiation created from sources like mobile phones are linked to the development of cancer in rats. Critically, these are cancers that are found in the human population. This research explored levels of exposure that were comparable to those that you would be exposed to if you lived close to a phone tower. 

Is 5G Safe Compared To 4G?

Cell Towers on a Hill

When people explore the question: is 5G safe, they often discover reports and articles which suggest that 5G is safer than 4G. Are these suggestions accurate? This is mainly based on the fact that 5G waves travel a shorter distance which means that they can’t go as deep into the skin. 

The reality is quite different because 5G will use Massive Multiple Input Multiple Output. Ultimately this means that it expands on current networks. It also focused energy through 3D or digital beamforming. This could increase EMF exposure when individuals use a particular device. Again, this means that more cell towers will be required to support the network, leading to even further exposure. 

The Greatest Evidence Of Danger From Millimeter Waves And 5G

Using millimeter waves as weapons may sound like science fiction. However, since as early as the 1980s, governments have explored where there is potential for this tech to be turned into a weapon. This led to the creation of the Active Denial System. Designed to cause pain without injury, high powered waves are aimed at a person to cause a burning sensation and subdue a potential threat. It’s worth noting that the type of tech explored here is not the same as how mobile networks operate. But it still shows clear support that this type of tech could be dangerous when used in a particular form. Indeed, this demonstrates that the radiation we are discussing could have significant effects on human health. 

The Potential Threat Of 5G To Humanity 

Thus far in this article, we have explored the threat of 5G to individuals. However, it is worth checking out the impact of 5G on human health in general. The question here is whether or not wireless technology could alter the human gene pool. It has been suggested that DNA damage could be more common due to the growth of wireless tech. This might have implications for the human genome in the future. 

While media reports of 5G causing individual health issues are rare, media reports of 5G being linked to the damage of DNA. Reports by researchers such as Dr. Henry Lai suggests that exposure to continuous or pulsed radio frequency will trigger DNA strand breaks within the living cells. This means that the information contained within the DNA could become corrupted. It’s possible that the damage that we’re talking about here may, in some cases, be irreparable. 

This brings us back to problems with fertility. Since the 1970’s the sperm count of males has dropped substantially. Certain evidence does suggest that this is linked to electromagnetic fields. Indeed, multiple studies have shown evidence of a connection between phone radiation and a reduction in sperm fertility. 

A more recent study has explored whether EMF from a WiFi router could lead to a higher death rate of human sperm. Indeed, the issue of low fertility rates is growing rapidly. Regardless of whether it is caused by radiation from phones or not, this could bring significant economic problems in the future. Ultimately, there might be a massive elderly population that doesn’t have a younger population to support them financially. 

Even if wireless technology doesn’t directly cause sperm death and low fertility rates, studies still show it can cause abnormal sperm. This means that the gene pool is being altered as this tech continues to evolve and advance over time. 

Why Haven’t We Heard More About The Potential Danger?

It’s true to say that the research into 5G networks and the dangers are not being widely reported, but why is this? For numerous years, the scientific community has explored the variety of risks from EMF radiation and 5G networks are potentially just going to make these dangers worse or more common. 

However, there seems to be a contrast between how the scientific community views EMF radiation exposure and the way it is perceived by telecom companies as well as government organizations. 

This is particularly noteworthy when you consider that organisations like the FCC are supposed to put the health of individuals as their top priority and have a strong focus on public safety. Some experts have accused the FCC and similar organizations of either failing to pay attention or intentionally turning a blind eye to the potential dangers of this technology. 

It is possible that the findings of scientific studies are being substantially minimised. This makes sense when you consider that 800 scientific studies have suggested that there are negative impacts for people who are exposed to EMF radiation. 

Instead of highlighting the dangers that these studies have revealed, it seems that there is a push to hype up the clearly apparent benefits of 5G and downplay any negatives. Indeed, some have suggested that there is a surge in companies who want to ensure that nothing stands in the way of the growth of this tech. 

In a 2016 press conference, the chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler suggested as much. He made it clear that the government was not willing to slow down the adoption of this tech for more findings. The key phrase here was that the technology should be driving the policy rather than the other way around. 

In other words, set up the tech first and then define how it should be used as well as what safety measures potentially do need to be in place here. Of course, the FCC has also taken further action to ensure that 5G is a part of the future of infrastructure. The organization has established a legislature that stops local governments from significantly restricting the use of 5G. This means that local citizens can no longer choose whether they want small cell installation in key areas such as close to housing developments. 

Furthermore, the FCC has a dated official understanding of the dangers that can be caused by EMG radiation. The main focus of the FCC is that EMF radiation can cause the heating of tissues. It does not mention any evidence previously discussed which suggests that high levels of this type of radiation could cause oxidative stress. It certainly does not explore the potential danger from millimeter wavelengths. 

The guidelines laid out by the FCC also clearly suggest that tech devices are used away from the bodies. This should give you an idea of how outdated the guidelines are. These days, it’s far more common to use a laptop or tablet rather than a full desktop computer. As the name suggests, laptops are commonly used on people’s laps and children can have their eyes inches away from a table when watching a video. At the same time, mobile devices are held directly up to the ear or kept close by in pockets of jeans and trousers. 

There has been the suggestion that organizations like the FCC have no willingness or goals to reevaluate their understanding of the potential threat caused by EMF radiation. Ultimately, they seem far more invested in the benefits it can bring rather than protecting the public. 

This is even true for the potential threat for children. We have already discussed how children are at a higher risk and that experts suggest they need more protection. Well the safety standards laid out by the FCC are based upon a Specific Anthropomorphic Mannequin. This is basically a plastic model of a male adult head. As such, the safety standards with specific relation to children are being widely underestimated. One study in 2012 suggested that the absorption rate for a 10-year old is up to 153% higher than the model used by the FCC and the typical adult male. Indeed, the researchers concluded that the absorption rate for children in the skull’s bone marrow could be ten times greater than for adults. Again, the FCC seems to be behind the times here and this fact is putting the public, specifically children, under more risk. 

The FCC is the organization that is key in deciding whether 5G will be implemented across the US. But what about the UK? Well, the situation is relatively similar. Ofcom is the UK regulator responsible for checking whether this network poses a threat. Since it has been launched in the UK, Ofcom has found no identifiable risks. However, it’s worth noting that this is based on exposure that could damage DNA or cells. It does not refer to other potential dangers or the chance of damage to the human body. Despite this, the emissions found were a tiny fraction of the set international standards. 

Ofcom has been testing 5G since 2003. However, their report that the network is not dangerous has not persuaded the public. There have been numerous campaigns to ban 5G in certain areas of the UK including Devon. 

Health authorities in England have notably suggested that 5G tech will cause an increase in the exposure of the public to radio waves. But they maintain that the increase in level will be minor. What isn’t considered is that some researchers suggest that the level of exposure to radiation is already far too high regardless of set international standards. 

The UK is definitely pressing ahead with the rollout of 5G as is America. However, certain countries are resisting the tech to an extent. Officials in Switzerland have suggested that rumours of a blanket 5G ban for the country are inaccurate. However local authorities are not ruling out an extensive exploration into the use of 5G and the health issues it could cause. 

There have also been local authorities in the US that are pushing for exclusions of 5G cell sites in certain locations, just like the UK. However, it’s unclear how effective these ordinances will be. 

Make no mistake, governments have a firm reason to support the rollout of 5G technology. In 2018, it was reported that the wireless industry contributes $475 billion to America’s economy on an annual basis. It also triggers a $1 trillion economic output. Regardless of the potential threat to the health of the public, economically, it’s always going to be in their best interest to push forward. 

There is even evidence to suggest that studies controlled by the government and funded by big names in the telecom industry are both flawed and biased. One comparative study found that 2/3s of independent studies found a biological impact of phone radiation while only 28% of industry-funded studies found the same result. This again brings more evidence that things aren’t quite what they seem in terms of the official stance on 5G tech and similar possibilities on the market. Ultimately, it may be that the financial benefits of this tech are simply too great for companies and governments to be neutral here. 

Can You Reduce Your Exposure To 5G Waves? 

SAR
What is SAR?

You might think that it will be difficult if not impossible to limit your exposure to 5G waves in the future. Certainly, if you are living in a densely populated area such as a city, then there will be no way to avoid RF-EMFs completely. But exposure can be significantly reduced. 

The FDA has released several pieces of advice including suggesting that individuals cut down the time they spend on the cell phone. They also recommend that you use the speaker mode more frequently to create more distance between the head and the device. 

Other organisations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics want to ensure that we start limiting the mobile usage for both children and teenagers. 

Essentially, you need to think about how to guarantee that you are not using the tech devices that exist in all our lives as frequently. For some, this is always going to be more difficult than for others. 

Anti-radiation cases for tech including mobile phones are also readily available on the market. Using this type of product, you could potentially shield yourself and family members from a certain level of the most harmful waves that are transmitted by this tech.

The Future Of 5G Research 

As discussed, the research exploring 5G is limited and this isn’t due to a lack of thirst for knowledge by researchers in the field. Key industry figures seem to be desperate to ensure that findings of research papers do not limit or slow down the usages of 5G networks. 

However, that doesn’t mean there is no research diving into the impact of cellular networks like 5G. A long term study is currently ongoing. The COSMOS study began in 2007 and includes 290,000 people. It will explore their cell phone usage and the impact this could have had on their health. 

So, Is 5G Safe?

We start where we began, with a key question: Is 5G safe? The answer? Currently, it’s impossible to say because, as researchers firmly agree, more studies and investigations are currently needed. Right now, we just don’t know what the short and long term effects of 5G will be. What is clear is that people do need to be cautious and skeptical of reports that suggest 5G networks are completely safe. While there is always a healthy level of nervous energy surrounding new technology, the warnings from the scientific community about 5G are too far stretching to ignore.