Is a cell tower going up in your neighborhood? If it’s not now, it may soon, and you need to know about the health risks.
Most people these days are glued to their cell phones. Our addiction to the internet has prompted technology companies to offer faster and more efficient connections.
Although at first glance, it may seem that 5G networks will enable more effective device-to-device connections, it is very important to understand that the frequencies produced by this ‘lust’ for internet speed most likely will harm you and your family. In fact all of us.
CBSN reported that according to federal law the city simply can’t consider health concerns.
It’s outlined in a small section of the Telecommunications Act, based on science from 1996, back when we were still talking on cellphones that looked like bricks.
“I find it really unfair,” said Hiestand.
If cities do consider health, cell companies can sue them.
So, with few legal arguments to deny a tower, they’re popping up outside bedroom windows and school campuses, despite objections from across the country.
“5G can be a tremendous boom to California but only if it can be put up quickly and easily,” said Hayward Assembly member Bill Quirk. Quirk co-authored legislation that would make it even harder for cities like Piedmont to object to a tower.
As the old saying goes, give us an inch and inevitably we’ll want a mile. And certainly, this sentiment is true with technology, eluxemagazine reports.
Who doesn’t want faster, bigger (or smaller), more efficient? Take wireless mobile telecommunications. Our current broadband cellular network platform, 4G (or fourth generation), allows us to transmit data faster than 3G and everything that preceded. We can access information faster now than ever before in history. What more could we want? Oh, yes, transmission speeds powerful enough to accommodate the (rather horrifying) so-called Internet of Things. Which brings us to 5G.
Until now, mobile broadband networks have been designed to meet the needs of people. But 5G has been created with machines’ needs in mind, offering low-latency, high-efficiency data transfer. It achieves this by breaking data down into smaller packages, allowing for faster transmission times. Whereas 4G has a fifty-millisecond delay, 5G data transfer will offer a mere one-millisecond delay–we humans won’t notice the difference, but it will permit machines to achieve near-seamless communication. Which in itself may open a whole Pandora’s box of trouble for us – and our planet.
More bandwidth – more dangers of 5G
Let’s start with some basic background on 5G technology. Faster processing speeds require more bandwidth, yet our current frequency bandwidths are quickly becoming saturated. The idea behind 5G is to use untapped bandwidth of the extremely high-frequency millimeter wave (MMW), between 30GHz and 300GHz, in addition to some lower and mid-range frequencies.
High-frequency MMWs travel a short distance. Furthermore, they don’t travel well through buildings and tend to be absorbed by rain and plants, leading to signal interference. Thus, the necessary infrastructure would require many smaller, barely noticable cell towers situated closer together, with more input and output ports than there are on the much larger, easier to see 4G towers. This would likely result in wireless antennas every few feet, on every lamp post and utility pole in your neighbourhood.
Here are some numbers to put things into perspective: as of 2015, there were 308,000 wireless antennas on cell towers and buildings. That’s double the 2002 number. Yet 5G would require exponentially more, smaller ones, placed much closer together, with each emitting bursts of radiofrequency radiation (RFR)–granted, at levels much lower than that of today’s 4G cell towers–that will be much harder to avoid because these towers will be ubiquitous. If we could see the RFR, it would look like a smog that’s everywhere, all the time.
Serious health concerns
First, it’s important to know that in 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified RFR as a potential 2B carcinogen and specified that the use of mobile phones could lead to specific forms of brain tumors.
Many studies have associated low-level RFR exposure with a litany of health effects, including:
DNA single and double-strand breaks (which leads to cancer)
oxidative damage (which leads to tissue deterioration and premature ageing)
disruption of cell metabolism
increased bloodbrain barrier permeability
melatonin reduction (leading to insomnia and increasing cancer risks)
disruption of brain glucose metabolism-
generation of stress proteins (leading to myriad diseases)
As mentioned, the new 5G technology utilizes higher-frequency MMW bands, which give off the same dose of radiation as airport scanners. The effects of this radiation on public health have yet to undergo the rigours of long-term testing. Adoption of 5G will mean more signals carrying more energy through the high-frequency spectrum, with more transmitters located closer to people’s homes and workplaces–basically a lot more (and more potent) RFR flying around us. It’s no wonder that apprehension exists over potential risks, to both human and environmental health.
Perhaps the strongest concern involves adverse effects of MMWs on human skin. This letter to the Federal Communications Commission, from Dr Yael Stein of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, outlines the main points. Over ninety percent of microwave radiation is absorbed by the epidermis and dermis layers, so human skin basically acts as an absorbing sponge for microwave radiation. Disquieting as this may sound, it’s generally considered acceptable so long as the violating wavelengths are greater than the skin layer’s dimensions. But MMW’s violate this condition.
Furthermore, the sweat ducts in the skin’s upper layer act like helical antennas, which are specialized antennas constructed specifically to respond to electromagnetic fields. With millions of sweat ducts, and 5G’s increased RFR needs, it stands to reason that our bodies will become far more conductive to this radiation. The full ramifications of this fact are presently unclear, especially for more vulnerable members of the public (e.g., babies, pregnant women, the elderly), but this technology
Furthermore, MMWs may cause our pain receptors to flare up in recognition of the waves as damaging stimuli. Consider that the US Department of Defense already uses a crowd-dispersal method called the Active Denial System, in which MMWs are directed at crowds to make their skin feel like it’s burning, and also has the ability to basically microwave populations to death from afar with this technology if they choose to do so. And the telecommunications industry wants to fill our atmosphere with MMWs?
Unfortunately, innocent animals have already been the victims of testing to see MMW’s effects on living cells. Extrapolating the results from animal testing to humans isn’t straightforward, but the results nonetheless raise some serious red flags. Perhaps most significantly, a US National Toxicology Program study noted that male rats exposed to RFR for nine hours a day over two years developed rare forms of tumours in the brain and heart, and rats of both sexes developed DNA damage.
The researchers noted that the increased risk to the rats was relatively small; but if these findings translate to humans, the widespread increase in cellphone use could have a significant impact on populations. Thus the NTP study served to renew the debate about the potential harmful effects of cellphones on human health. Not only that, it caused a significant shift in the American Cancer Society’s understanding of radiation and cancer, and sparked them to state that our ignorance of RFR’s impact on human health could be compared to our previous obliviousness to the connection between smoking and lung cancer.
Other animal research worldwide illustrates how microwave radiation in general and MMW’s in particular can damage the eyes and immune system, cell growth rate, even bacterial resistance. An experiment at the Medical Research Institute of Kanazawa Medical University showed that 60GHz millimeter-wave antennas produce thermal injuries in rabbit eyes, with thermal effects reaching below the eye’s surface. This study, meanwhile, suggests low-level MMW’s caused lens opacity–a precursor to cataracts–in rats’ eyes. A Chinese study demonstrated that eight hours’ of microwave radiation damaged rabbits’ lens epithelial cells. A Pakistani study concluded that exposure to mobile phone EMF prevented chicken embryo retinal cells from properly differentiating.
This Russian study revealed that exposing healthy mice to low-intensity, extremely high-frequency electromagnetic radiation severely compromised their immune systems. And a 2016 Armenian study concluded that low-intensity MMW’s not only depressed the growth of E. coli and other bacteria, but also changed certain properties and activity levels of the cells. The same Armenian study noted that MMW interaction with bacteria could lead to antibiotic resistance–distressing news, considering immunity to bacteria is already compromised due to the overuse of antibiotics.