Everything You Need to Know About 5G Risks
5G – An overview of potential ramifications
The recent 5G phenomenon is spreading all over the world, and it’s important that the general public is aware of the potential ramifications. As a society we are increasingly reliant upon wireless technologies, and 5G is the next big jump in their capabilities. There have been numerous studies done on the negative effects that the currently utilized wireless waves have on our bodies and our brains. Countless peer-reviewed studies have been published which describe detrimental biological effects from exposure to wireless waves, and even these results do not accurately represent the frequency and duration of which we are actually exposed to them.
Despite this information being widely accessible, there have been zero studies done to test the effects of the implementation of 5G networks. This new technology requires a significant number of base stations to allow it to be effective, which means every living being on earth will be affected by 5G.
The type of wave which will be used and reflected over our planet is currently being utilized as a weapon by the U.S. government, yet industry was not required to validate its safety before its global roll-out. Billions of dollars have already gone into 5G plans, but it is imperative that the proper testing is done, and that we find a way to evolve technologically while keeping people healthy, and informed.
What is 5G?
The global 5G roll-out that began early last year is much different than that of 4G or anything before it. 5G is something that will affect every living thing on the planet, and it’s imperative that we all know what it is and what these effects are before it becomes a global reality. While futuristic technology is exciting, it can also be dangerous - particularly when their effects on our bodies and ecosystems are unknown.
5G is the fifth generation of cellular network technology, following 1-4G. 1G facilitated voice calling, 2G brought text messaging, 3G introduced limited internet functionalities, and 4G extended the capabilities of Wi-Fi (1) These past developments have all operated below 6 gigahertz, but the currently-used radio-frequency bands are being overcrowded due to our ever-increasing dependency on such technologies. To remedy this, many nations have opened up new spectrums to facilitate the use of higher frequency waves. (2)
Millimeter waves, the most commonly utilized means of supporting 5G technologies, vary between 1-10mm in wavelength and use frequencies from 30-300gigahertz, which are 10 to 100 times higher on the spectrum than radio waves currently used to support 4G and Wi-Fi networks. Compared to the wavelengths of past technologies which are measured in centimeters, millimeter waves, due to their higher frequency and short wave length, can be used to create space for more users with an increased ability to support larger data transfers.
Due to the nature of higher frequency waves, however, millimeter waves are easily obstructed and absorbed by trees, buildings, and humid weather conditions. Its high atmospheric attenuation limits it to short-range capabilities, requiring many small cell base stations to support its use. This means that new infrastructure will need to be installed on buildings and street lights in high density, every few hundred meters, to ensure strong signal and connectivity.
The average person can likely reiterate the key feature of 5G advertised by telecommunication companies: It will be 10-100x faster than 4G LTE, allowing larger files and more information to be sent and received in less time.(3)
Ultimately, proponents of the implementation of 5G promise advances in connectivity, speed, and bandwidth.(2) Opening access to millimeter wave usage and new frequency spectrums connects more than just phones and computer systems, it opens up the entire Internet of Things. This is the technology that Self-Driving Cars, Automated Manufacturing and complex robotics are dependent on – and that’s just in the foreseeable future. 5G will enable technologies that have only been dreamt of until now, infiltrating every industry.(4 ) There are a lot of companies who have much to gain from this advancement – and they’re prepared to pay for it. This the first time that millimeter waves are being used for cellular networks, and there is reason to doubt their safety. (3)
Millimeter waves are used as a weapon
This technology is not new. It was originally employed for military use, designed to control and combat opposition. Millimeter waves are used in Active Denial Systems as a measure of crowd dispersal in combat, riots, prisons and the like. ADS’s work by causing an intense burning sensation on those targeted by the beams. The pain caused is so powerful that no human test subject has been able to endure more than 5 seconds of exposure. The discomfort subsides immediately once out of range, but first- and second-degree burns are possible at high temperatures.(5) This is exemplified in an instance in which 8% of an individual’s body was burned to the second degree due to an increase in power and duration of the millimeter wave used.(6)
Millimeter waves have also been utilized in combat to shoot down incoming missiles. The short wavelength enables them to track streams of outgoing bullets and targets so they can be brought together by computer control systems.(7) It is important to note here that when used for military purposes, the millimeter waves are focused in a particular direction, using something called a gyrotron, which creates an electromagnetic beam of energy. When used for 5G, the energy will not be as focused.(8) Worldwide implementation of something which is used in combat is alarming, so we looked further at the health-related evidence regarding wireless technology.
We are energy too
It has long been known that our bodies are more than physical constructs. Our brains and nervous systems actually function in ways similar to electricity, the energy of which can be visualized using medical equipment like an EEG (electroencephalogram) which tracks and records brain wave patterns.(9) Organisms produce magnetic fields called bio-magnetic fields, within and surrounding their bodies. These magnetic fields expand beyond the boundaries of the skin, which in turn allows for the penetration of exogenous magnetic fields to enter one’s own.(10)
The questions that thus arise from medical professionals and academics are in relation to the effects that 5G millimeter waves could have on us and our biological neighbors. This is not a new concept. Academics in fields such as neurology, biology and physiology have long been conducting studies on the effects of electromagnetic radiation on our bodies and the environment.
Though 5G networks utilize a type of wave higher on the spectrum than those in the following studies, there has been much research done on the effects of radiofrequency exposure on the human body and the bodies of animals. Some of the most worrisome results include the following:
- Long term radio frequency exposure can lead to neurodegenerative diseases and can alter miRNA expression.(11)
- A correlation has been found between brain cancer and acoustic neuroma only on the side of the head used to speak on the phone. These particular researchers warn that the current standards for radiofrequency exposure are insufficient.(12)
- Laptop use directly, negatively affects sperm motility and DNA fragmentation.(13)
- There is increasing evidence that EMF (electromagnetic field) exposure is linked to testicular cell apoptosis (cell death).(14)
- Living or working in close vicinity to powerlines heightens the risk of meningioma (a form of cancer surrounding the brain and/or spinal cord).(15)
- The American National Toxicology Program found that high exposure to radio frequency radiation from a cell phone is associated with clear evidence of tumors in the hearts of male rats, some evidence of tumors in the brains of male rats, and some evidence of tumors in the adrenal glands of male rats. (16)
- Exposure to ELF-MF (extremely low frequency magnetic field) is associated with elevated risks of dementia, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.(17)
- A correlation was found between the number and distribution of gliomas (tumor of the glia cell, which is one of two types of cells found in the brain), and the side of the head where a phone is held.(18)
- Franz Adlkofer, a German EMF researcher discovered that very low intensity EMF exposure caused more DNA damage than 1600 chest X-rays.(19)
- Another important study focuses on the effect that EMF from cell phones have on our skin microbiota, an aspect of the human microbiota which play an important role in our health. The results “led us to hypothesize that cell phone level RF-EMF disrupts human skin microbiota.” (20)
These studies have been conducted by nations, organizations and individuals. They have been published in peer-reviewed journals around the world by highly revered academics. One thing remains certain and is echoed by The World Health Organization, The National Institute of Environmental Health Science, and Members of Parliament around the world: more research is needed about the effects of 5G.
Non-ionizing radiation has the same biological effect as ionizing radiation
There are two types of radiation, ionizing and nonionizing. Ionizing radiation which includes X-rays and ultraviolet rays, has a short wavelength and is known to be destructive because it has the power to affect the water in our cell’s nuclei, breaking the bonds which hold your DNA together. Nonionizing radiation includes that which is emitted from your cell phone and Wi-Fi, and has a lower frequency with less energy. Cell phone (nonionizing radiation) is just as damaging as ionizing radiation, and also results in DNA damage through a different mechanism.(21)
Ionizing radiation is known to be very harmful because it can knock electrons off of an atom, creating the potential for free radicals, which are positively charged molecules that haven’t found anything to bind to, an action required to neutralize the charge. Free radicals are destructive and can damage our DNA. While nonionizing radiation such as that which is emitted from our cell phones, does not have enough power to do this directly, it can have the same effect by different means.
Nonionizing radiation damages our cells through oxidative stress, and part of this process involves allowing too much calcium to enter the cell. In a normal cell, there is 20-100 thousand times more calcium outside of our cells than inside. This knowledge dates back to the early 1990’s. Research has shown that nonionizing radiation exposure leads to an unhealthy amount of calcium flowing into the cell, as well as entering the mitochondria.(2)(21) Mitochondria are important for many reasons including the fact that they create adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is what our cells use for energy. When too much calcium enters the mitochondria, it leads to an inhibited ability to create ATP and heightens oxidative stress which contributes largely to premature cell death.(22)
Ultimately, nonionizing radiation exposure (including cell phone and Wi-Fi radiation) leads to an excess of calcium entering the cells and mitochondria, which leads to a series of harmful effects, greatly increasing the number of free radicals in the body, which then move around the body, causing damage to cell membranes, stem cells, mitochondria, proteins and DNA.(23) This above outcome is the same as that which occurs through ionizing radiation damage.
How does excess intracellular calcium hurt us?
Excess calcium entering our cells leads to the production of nitric oxide and superoxide, free radicals which initially, are relatively safe for our bodies. This becomes harmful when they are combined through close proximity to one another, to create pyroxynitrite, which occurs in large amounts with just a small rise in nitric oxide and superoxide. Pyroxynitrite is very harmful due to its destructive affinity for vital biological molecules resulting in disease, cell damage and premature cell death. It does so through easily crossing cell membranes and penetrating cell nuclei, where carbonate free radicals are created, followed by damage of the strands of the cell’s DNA. (21) A comprehensive, scientific review of the effects of peroxynitrite documents at least 96 vital biological processes which are disrupted by it, and over 60 chronic diseases linked with it.(24)
Effects on nature
In addition to the effects to be expected on humans, other organisms are affected by nonionizing EMFs as well. Some of the many studies done on the topic include those focusing on bees. One study found that the EMFs emitted from powerlines could be a powerful stressor in the lives of bees, which can lead to cognitive and motor disfunction, thus reducing their capability to pollinate. This is just one example, but of something that affects us all. (25)Another relevant study looked for the effects that one cell phone has on a beehive. Researchers found that when a cell phone was turned on near the bees, they created a noise called “worker piping”, a sound made before a colony of bees swarms and leaves to find a new, more suitable home.(26) If bees can’t stand the EMF’s emanating from one 4g cell phone, what will the world of 5G be like?
No results don’t mean good results
To create a balanced picture, it’s important to note that there are also a wide number of peer-reviewed articles in which researchers report finding no wireless network EMF related, adverse biological effects, along with those which report inconclusive results, and those which suggest simply that more research is needed. This being said, findings like these don’t disprove the conclusive ones.
If wireless-related technological advances continue to be integral to the human experience, we should be made to feel confident in our safety amidst the new reality. Surely, technological innovation doesn’t have to entail the degradation of our health and our planet. Other types of studies explore the potential benefit to EMF on the human body.
One related study looked at the characteristics of EMF which result in the varying biological effects they have on living beings. Such characteristics include frequency of the field, duration of exposure and intensity.(27) With these factors playing an important role on the biological effects of nonionizing EMF, it’s important to acknowledge just how much human exposure to 5G wireless waves will be experienced by us with all of the planned base stations, smart meters and satellites.
Doctors and experts urge: testing must be done
Dr. Sharon Goldberg, an internal medicine physician & professor states clearly “wireless radiation has biological effects, period.” (28)
Goldberg testified against Michigan’s 5G cell tower in October 2018 at a legislation hearing. As she mentions in the hearing, it’s important to note that all of the studies we have seen which show negative biological effects from nonionizing EMF’s were done with one cell phone. In most places in the world, exposure to one cell phone is no longer our reality, as we find ourselves bombarded with wireless waves almost every place we go.
We don’t have sufficient studies showing the actual effects on humans, with most of us being around Bluetooth, smart devices, and wireless technologies coming from all directions, constantly. With the increase from lower frequency waves to higher ones, what kinds of biological effects can we expect then? Not only this, but with a HUGE increase in the number of satellites in space, cell tower receivers and smart meters that are required to allow for 5G to work properly.
Recently, 1 million ground station receivers were approved by the Federal Communications Commission in the U.S.(29) In addition to this, SpaceX by Elon Musk has been approved for 12,000 satellites to be deployed into space,(30) with an application pending for another 30,000 satellites.(31)
Goldberg reminds us, “in academics this is called human subjects research,” highlighting the importance of having our consent and approval before implementing anything that will affect our lives so greatly. “The experts who don’t work for telecom and who are independent researchers, everyone comes to the same conclusions. We’re not in a place where we should be debating this anymore. This is exactly the same thing that happened with tobacco.”(27) Frank Clegg, former president of Microsoft Canada with over 40 years of experience in the technology sector, has also voiced his concern about the lack of 5G testing. He mentions that “over 230 scientists and researchers from 41 countries around the world, have formally written to the united nations, their member nations, and the world health organization, expressing their concern over their planned roll out of 5g”.(32) The fact that 5G is being so aggressively implemented without proper testing is worrisome. More third party, objective research needs to be done.
Interference with weather-patterning
Not only are the electromagnetic fields of living organisms at risk for interference, there is also a concern amongst NASA officials and industry experts that this new technology use could hinder our ability to gather vital information necessary to predict weather patterns, important for everything from 7-day trends to hurricane patterns.(33) Some of the same spectrum currently used by weather control stations is being sought out by wireless providers who are paying for increased 5G network access. Germany made over $6 billion at their spectrum auction in 2019, but meteorologists still don’t know what degree of interference this loss could lead to.(34)
It is important to note here that these weather-related dangers are associated particularly with the use of millimeter waves, the most commonly preferred means of supporting 5G, but aren’t reflective of the technology’s potential to exist on current 4G frequencies – which it can. The majority of telecommunications companies have opted against these alternatives, however, due to the dramatic influx in connectivity-dependent items. From phones to SMART fridges, the Internet of Things is expected to take up a lot of space in the spectrum. (35)
On a relatable note, this technology jump also raises a huge concern surrounding security. The capabilities of 5G that make it possible to virtually control an increasing number of personal items connected through the Internet of Things significantly increases the likelihood and dangers of hackers and terrorists. Any object with connectivity capabilities could be utilized in an attack.(36) Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Iowa have been studying security-related susceptibilities in the new generation network. They have found threats involving the ability to track and spy on users using real time location tracking, a side effect of the network capabilities.
TechCrunch warns that hackers will also be able to trigger emergency alerts, which could result in mass panic.(37) We are already seeing an influx in identity theft and, more recently, hackers gaining audio and video access through “SMART” technologies in people’s homes. There are currently a number of ongoing trials related to such security breaches, and in most cases the product manufacturers deny responsibility.(38)
So, whose responsibility is it?
The race to 5G
This technologic innovation is being referred to as the “Race to 5G” for its international significance as China, the US and other key players look to gain ground on one another in a fashion reminiscent of the Space Race. Industries are doing everything they can to push the movement forward, but at what cost?(39)
The FCC is a governing body in the United States, in charge of regulating radiofrequency use, cable, broadband usage, media, public safety and more. Things are moving fast after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously agreed to allow for four times the amount of unlicensed spectrum to be used. (40) This year, more of the spectrum is to be auctioned off through the commission and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), which regularly holds auctions for license to a portion of the spectrum. Auctions in 2020 are expected to focus on the 3500megahertz band, an important band for 5G.(41)
The FCC and the Telecommunications Act of 1996
There is concerning information made available through the FCC website, regarding the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This act was passed in 1996, and is still in effect today. This act, in section 704 states that no health or environmental concern can inhibit the placement of any telecom apparatus, including cell towers and antenna.(42) This is an overt infringement upon the basic human right to health, and gives telecommunications company excessive power. In addition to the Telecommunications Act of 1966, The FCC has also implemented new guidelines which reduce potential federal regulations from impeding upon 5G plans. Other guidelines were updated to allow for the implementation of small cells (mini 5G base stations), without municipal barriers which had been in place prior to this adjustment.(43)
Millimeter waves will be everywhere
The application of 5G will be widespread, as the Communications Research Center (CRC) works with the National Research Council of Canada to come up with ways to extend coverage to all areas that millimeter waves aren’t able to reach. One of these innovations is the engineered surface, consisting of thin plastic sheets with metallic ink. These surfaces are meant to be placed into materials such as blinds in homes and billboard signs to act as reflectors, along with several base stations, allowing for 5G signals to reach all areas.(44)
This situation is too widespread to exist without proper testing and safety assurance. Senator Blumenthal, the senior United States Senator from Connecticut since 2011, criticizes the FCC and FDA for ignoring the public’s concern for their health regarding 5G technologies. Last year in Washington DC, during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing, Blumenthal raised his concerns. When asking whether there has been or if there are plans for any research done on 5G and its biological effects, he was met with a clear “no” from industry representatives. Disappointed, Blumenthal ended by saying “we’re kind of flying blind here, as far as health and safety is concerned.” (45)
Industry devoid of health consultants
In addition to the FCC, The International Institute of Communications (ICC), is another important leader on information regarding the communications industry. This information is meant to include the effects of global telecommunications on society. Interestingly, the list of the ICC’s board of directors are all telecommunications company representatives, media-related law consultants and law firms. Surely, objective representatives and health-oriented advisors would be a relevant addition to the board in order to create a well-rounded access point for media-related information.(46) The communications research center (CRC), responsible for research regarding the spectrum, also neglects to incorporate health related research, with its focus being on functionality and monetization of wireless technologies.(47)
We are rushing into interminable infrastructure without proper acknowledgment of the potential effects. The ignorance surrounding the potential effects of 5G through apparent marketing tactics, biased studies and conflicting government affiliations bear striking resemblance to those of tobacco products on health and oil companies on the environment. Only this is a problem that no one will be able to escape once it goes global. It is an infringement on human rights that we cannot afford to make without knowing what lies ahead. If there is a way to move forward in which all living organisms are assured their safety and health, then this jump in wireless innovation can be a positive thing. Until this is proven and known beyond a doubt, we must halt all action regarding 5G.
What can we do about it?
With 5G roll-outs already active in China, South Korea, and parts of the US and Canada, and other countries, we have a very limited window of time to raise our voice and demand answers from our leaders. Telecommunication companies around the world are pressuring Members of Parliament and exploiting the general public’s lack of awareness in the race to 5G; but it’s far too great a risk for us to take without proper testing. We want to know that living organisms will be safe as we progress technologically. Further studies must be done.
Multiple countries have made the decision to halt 5G implementation due to the lack of its effects on us. These countries include Switzerland, Brussels, Italy, Greece, UK, Slovenia, Nigeria and New Guinea. Your voice can make a difference in ensuring your country remains safe as well. Due to the shared responsibilities of local, provincial/state, and federal government, this issue has to be addressed on every level. Many large companies are currently in the process of securing access to infrastructure through agreements with municipal governing bodies. Get in touch with your local council and MPs and ask the important questions, many of them may be unaware of the dangers ahead.
Beyond local representation, it is also largely in the hands of federal administrations. In Canada, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry as well as the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages need to hear your concerns. There are over 250,000 people and organizations from 202 nations and territories signing the International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space, a link to which is included below. We highly encourage you to educate yourself and share your findings with those you know and your local representatives.
Despite the high demand the societies of today are placing on wireless technologies, the health and livelihood of earth’s inhabitants is surely more important to us than faster internet. Wireless advancement is inevitable, but it is vital that we all become aware of the current situation regarding 5G and make the necessary adjustments to ensure our well-being. It seems that from our current knowledge on the negative effects of wireless EMF, a series of health-related testing for 5G would logically precede its implementation, yet that currently isn’t the case. That being said, there is always a solution, but in order to find these solutions we must first seek them out through asking pertinent questions, driven by a desire to ensure a healthy planet. Our values must trump our desire for profit and convenience, because a world devoid of mental and physical well-being is one in which no one truly benefits.
Find below a list of informative resources to enhance your understanding of the topic:
List of Peer Reviewed Articles Relating to EMF:
Reported Biological Effects from Radiofrequency Radiation at Low-Intensity Exposure:
PowerWatch (1,670 Peer-Reviewed Scientific Papers on Electromagnetic Fields and Biology or Health):
EMF Studies on PUBmed:
EMF Facts Consultancy:
Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Humans:
Physicians Call for Safety with Wireless Technology:
Voices of Scientists who are Speaking out Against EMF Technology:
Doctor’s Call for Protection from Radiofrequency Exposure:
Cosmos, Research into Mobile Phone use and Health:
Scientific American “We have no Reason to Believe 5g is Safe”:
International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection Site:
Better Health Safety Guidelines are Imperative before Exposing Public to 5G:
Resources to Take Action:
Letter Template to Send to Your Senator/MP:
Sign the Appeal to Stop 5g:
Coalition to Stop Smart Meters in BC:
To See Where Harmful Antennae are Located in Canada:
List of Contacts:
(1) Government of Canada. Available online: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/069.nsf/eng/00077.html (Accessed on February 4, 2020)
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(16) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: National Toxicology Program. “Cell Phone Radio Frequency Radiation”. Available online: https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/whatwestudy/topics/cellphones/index.html?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=prod&utm_campaign=ntpgolinks&utm_term=cellphone (Accessed on February 5, 2020)
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(18) Grell, Kathrine et al. “The Intracranial Distribution of Gliomas in Relation to Exposure from Mobile Phones: Analyses from the INTERPHONE Study.” American journal of epidemiology vol. 184,11 (2016): 818-828. doi:10.1093/aje/kww082.
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(20) Crabtree, D.P.E., Herrera, B.J. & Kang, S. “The Response of Human Bacteria to Static Magnetic Field and Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Field.” J Microbiol. 55, 809–815 (2017). Available online: https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/10.1007/s12275-017-7208-7
(21) Dr. Mercola, Joseph. “EMF*D”. New York, Hay House, February 2020.
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(25) Shepherd S et al, “Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic Fields Impair the Cognitive and Motor Abilities of Honey Bees”, May 2018, Sci Rep.;8(1):7932. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-26185-y.
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(28) Michigan Safe Technology. “Dr. Sharon Goldberg Testifies at Michigan’s 5G Small Cell Tower Legislation Hearing October 4, 2018”. Youtube. October 9, 2018. 14:49. Available online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CK0AliMe-KA
(29) Brodkin, Jon. “SpaceX gets FCC License for 1 million Satellite-Broadband User Terminals.” Ars Technicana. March 23, 2020. Available online: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/03/spacex-gets-fcc-license-for-1-million-satellite-broadband-user-terminals/ (Accessed on May 3, 2020)
(30) Brodkin, Jon. “FCC tells SpaceX it can Deploy up to 11,943 Broadband Satellites.” Ars Technicana. November 15, 2018. Available online: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/11/spacex-gets-fcc-approval-for-7500-more-broadband-satellites/ (Accessed on June 10, 2020)
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