AS most of us know, 5G is the latest mobile technology (though there is now talk of 6G and 7G) which will be used for the Internet of Things, smart cities, driverless cars and much more. There is a higher level of mistrust about 5G than previous technologies which relates not just to its enhanced capacity for tracking and surveillance, but also to its health risks.
5G (as well as previous communications technology) produces radio-frequency radiation (RFR), electromagnetic fields (EMFs) or non-ionising radiation. RFR also comes from Wifi routers, phone masts, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, smart meters and appliances, Fitbits, smart watches, baby monitors, game consoles, ‘smart nappies’ and more. It’s difficult to avoid it.
At present, 5G uses existing frequencies, but in the UK the higher frequencies of 26GHz and 40GHz (millimetre wave) are likely to be allocated soon. This is a problem. As these higher frequencies cannot penetrate objects, signal boosters or ‘small cell’ antennas will have to be placed on every second or third lamppost, creating a dense transmission network and a consequent increase in the population’s exposure to radiation.
It will make use of new supporting technology, including pulsing, beaming, phased arrays and multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) to enable a higher data transmission capacity, similarly to the smart poles described in these pages recently. This technology is too new to have been tested for health safety and, given its frequent protection by patent, its precise technical nature remains unknown to researchers.
Last month, the government faced a judicial review led by Michael Mansfield KC challenging its ‘failure to give adequate information to the public about the risks of 5G and to explain the absence of a process for investigation of any adverse health effects’.
It raised the question of what exactly has the Government been relying on to protect our health from RFR? The answer given to date is the entirely inadequate International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) whose guidelines have scarcely changed since 1998, and were only very slightly updated in 2020. Based on animal tissuestudies (whether the tissue heated up after one hour of radiation exposure or not), ICNIRP assumes that only tissue heating causes harm. A detailed critique of 14 false assumptions made by ICNIRP, which can be found in this recent excellent article, refutes this. With so many countries following stricter exposure safety guidelines, how is it that the UK remains so lax?
Thousands of studies since 1998 have shown harm to health from existing RFR, well below the ICNIRP exposure guidelines and irrespective of tissue heating. For example, Professor Tony Miller has summarised the human epidemiological evidence linking human breast and brain tumours, male reproductive (fertility) outcomes and child neurodevelopmental conditions to RFR exposures’ resulting from the use of pre-5G technology. He believes that RFR should be classified as a Class 1 (definitely carcinogenic to humans) carcinogen. It is presently classified as possibly carcinogenic.
These results are already worrying but they do not take account of the likely increased impact of novel 5G systems. The type of epidemiological study required needs decades of follow-up to detect delayed health effects, especially for cancers.
Regarding the few studies on 5G to date showing health effects, although they employed carrier frequencies used in 5G, none of them modulated or pulsed the signal as required by 5G or used other features of 5G technology which are likely to affect the nature and extent of health effects from exposure to this radiation.
However there are two case studies showingthat modern 5G-type technology can cause immediate distressing symptoms. One is of ‘two previously healthy persons, a man aged 63 years and a woman aged 62 years, [who] developed symptoms of microwave syndrome after installation of a 5G base station . . . on the roof above their apartment’. This appears similar to another condition, electro-hypersensitivity, reportedly on the increase. Symptoms include exhaustion, flu-like symptoms, tinnitus, insomnia, headaches, fibromyalgia and dizziness. The second case study shows similar results.
In summary, there is sufficient knowledge about the harmful health effects of technologies up to 4G to alert the population to the serious implications of the absence of safety research on the far more powerful 5G and its accompanying invasive new technologies. Quite simply, untested, they are unsafe for public health. It is a reckless government that will use the population as guinea pigs again.
There are some simple ways we can reduce our exposure to radio-frequency radiation generally. In the home the strongest emissions are likely to come from your Wifi and any DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) cordless phones. You can turn off your Wifi at night, as this is when your body recuperates. Or you could get rid of Wifi in your home by using ethernet cables for your router and computers. Each computer can be wired into a powerline adapter plugged into a normal socket, so that your electrical circuit carries your internet. You might think about switching off Wifi and Bluetooth on your computer and possibly on your ‘hub manager’ webpage. Getting rid of your smart meter, smart appliances and devices also makes sense. Your energy company will change your meter if you insist for health reasons.
If you cannot do without your smartphone, you can think about keeping it in a Faraday bag or in airplane mode (as well as switching off Bluetooth, Wifi and automatic updates), when not in use. Avoid keeping it next to your body when data is being downloaded. Use corded, not cordless landline phones!
Therapeutic measures include barefoot walking or earthing. You can buy earthing straps for shoes at Groundology. This firm also sells earthing sheets. Most ‘harmonising’ products are not considered to be effective.
If you want to take action on this, watch for planning applications for masts at your council’s planning portal and register an objection. Objecting on health grounds is possible. This website explains more fully about mast objections and is reliable. Ask for help with mast objections on this website and join their mailing list so that you can also help. Join a local group – your Stand in the Park group may know of one. Notice which services require the use of a smartphone and stop using them. Discuss your concerns with everyone you meet. Write to your MP and talk to local councillors. Write to newspapers. Keep yourself informed.
Editor’s explanatory note:
In response to some comments elicited by the piece we need to make clear that the advice given at the end on self protection refers to all radio-frequency radiation whether it comes from wireless communication devices or mobile networks such as 4G or 5G.
Updated 5th March 17.30