Scientific Literature

Update 12/15/18

5th Generation (5G) Telecommunications Uses Gigahertz (GHz) Wavelengths

The Telecommunications Industry promises fast, ubiquitous and unlimited mobile internet access with the next generation of 5G technologies by 2020, along with removal of landlines. This network is designed to provide faster downloads, streaming movies, wireless virtual reality, in addition to being the platform for the Internet of Things, whereby all our household devices are connected wirelessly for remote control. While there may be limited medical applications, 5G will mainly be used for more immersive entertainment with much greater public exposure, especially in “Smart Cities”. This 5th generation (5G) system uses high frequency electromagnetic radiation with Gigahertz (GHz) wavelengths in the millimeter range. These high frequency wavelengths penetrate only the outer layer of the skin, unlike 2G, 3G and 4G technology which passes through the body.  Major health concerns with exposure to 5G are to skin, eye and adverse systemic metabolic signaling through skin sensors, as well as heat effects.

New research by Neufeld and Kuster 2018  highlights the significant tissue heating generated by 5G technology with rapid short bursts of data transfer on a device, prompting them to call for reevaluation of  thermal safety standards (let alone biological standards). The researchers state, “The results also show that the peak-to-average ratio of 1,000 tolerated by the International Council on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection guidelines may lead to permanent tissue damage after even short exposures, highlighting the importance of revisiting existing exposure guidelines.”   In addition, there is convincing emerging scientific evidence causing great concern for the environment, with harm to mammals, insects and bacteria, prompting scientists around the world to call for a moratorium on 5G.  This 5G technology is complex, likely to be costly, accompanied by privacy concerns and will also consume significant amounts of energy, contrary to global climate goals.  Despite this scientific evidence, the FCC is accelerating the deployment  of wireless antenna infrastructure by limiting local governments ability to refuse these towers, limiting charging fees and shortening the shot clock for approval, effectively blocking the power of local authorities.

No Testing, No Regulation, No Safety Guidelines

There has been no premarket testing of this technology or the mix of frequencies we will be exposed to. There are no protective regulations to assure monitoring of radiation levels for each antenna or a registry to document reported health effects. The Departments of Public Health are not informed about any potential health or environmental effects and have not given any guidance with regards to non-ionizing wireless radiation safety except to tell people to reduce their current exposure (California Department of Public Health).  Effects on our most vulnerable populations i.e. children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with chronic diseases, have not been taken into account.

Fiberoptic Networks  provide even faster broadband speeds, are safer, more cybersecure, and more reliable in rural areas, however, telecommunications companies are abandoning these to push for a cheaper alternative, wireless antenna, which emit biologically harmful radio frequencies. Critical secure and sophisticated landlines are also planned for removal by AT&T by 2020 to further force customers into wireless systems. Some cities are moving to community owned fiberoptic networks with Municipal Open Fiber Networks,

5G Mobile Telecommunications to Use a Blanket of Fixed Antennas Networks 

The 5G deployment proposes to add frequencies in the microwave spectrum in the low- (0.6 GHz – 3.7 GHz), mid- (3.7GHz – 24 GHz), and high-band frequencies (24 GHz and higher) for faster communications.  They call this mobile communication, however, because these wavelengths travel only short distances, this system will need to use a dense network of fixed antennas outdoors every 300 meters as well as indoor systems, as the gigahertz radiation is blocked by buildings. This radiation, like the 2G, 3G, 4G telecommunications systems, has not had pre market testing for long term health effects despite the fact that people will be exposed continuously to this microwave radiation. Environmental effects have also been ignored. Published scientific literature is listed below. See also PST 5G “Mobile” Communications

Risks from 5G include:

  • Damage to the eyes- cataracts, retina
  • Immune system disruption
  • Metabolic disruption
  • Damage to sperm
  • Skin damage
  • Collapse of insect populations, the base of food for birds and bats
  • Rise in bacterial resistance and bacterial shifts
  • Damage to plants and trees

5G Short Wavelengths Mixed With Longer 2G, 3G and 4G:

5G high frequency wavelengths are short and in the millimeter range (fractions of an inch). This is in contrast to the 2G, 3G and 4G telecommunications systems which use longer centimeter-length (inches to feet)  microwave frequencies in the megahertz  (MHz)  range. Industry states the deployment of 5G will increase productivity, boost the economy and give us a sense of well-being. In order to accomplish this, they will not just be using just 5G short wavelengths to transmit data, but will integrate 5G with current 3G and 4G systems, with plans to add much of the remaining spectrum in the microwave frequencies. Industry states this will operate fluidly in a highly dense cell antenna arrangement throughout neighborhoods and cities. This cell antenna network will accommodate multiple types of access technologies, multi-layer networks, multiple types of devices, multiple types of user interactions including self-driving automobiles and massive industrial automation.

Increase in Frequencies With Constant Exposure:   

This means that the human population as well as pets and other species will be exposed to an even larger mix of frequencies continuously inside and outside the home. Industry is fast-tracking placement of cell antennas for this new technology by promoting new legislation on a local, state and federal level.  This will preempt local authority to place antenna on potentially every public utility pole and preexisting cell tower structure.

More Questions than Answers: Health and Environmental Effects:

What are the public health implications of this novel technology? What research supports its safety? What research indicates harmful effects? What are the implications for the unsolved privacy and security issues that are also related to health as products are being developed to interface with the medical community and patients? What are the contributions to global climate change? What are the societal and mental health effects in a population increasingly addicted to this technology and disconnected with each other? Patients and physicians are becoming increasingly aware of these related issues and concerned about the long term consequences of our convenient yet problematic wireless technologies. There appear to be more questions than answers.

Millimeter Wavelengths Hazards: Cell Membranes, Internal Signalling, Skin Changes, 

Millimeter wavelengths (MMW) have been used in non-invasive complementary medicine in many Eastern European countries, typically to therapeutically heat the tissues over a short time frame. Millimeter wavelengths (at high intensity) have also been used in military applications in active denial systems (non-lethal crowd control weapons). Some research on non-thermal effects has shown that millimeter wavelengths target cell membranes and have adverse biological effects as well as clinical effects such as cataracts, immune system alterations and physiological effects on the heart and blood pressure.  Betzalal et al (2018)  have demonstrated that the sweat glands  which are coiled structures in the upper layers of the skin can act as antenna receiver for 5G sub-THz band wavelengths. The presence of sweat glands in skin significantly increase the specific absorption rate (SAR), or heat absorption,  for millimeter radio frequency radiation.  This varies depending on factors such as perspiration and stress levels.  Le Quement (2012) looked at non-thermal skin genome effects of 60.4 GHz exposure for 1, 6 or 24 hours and found at 6 hours there was differential expression of 5 transcripts. He states , “this is the first large-scale study reporting on potential gene expression modification associated with MMW radiation used in wireless communication applications.”

Adverse effects have also been found in bacteria and insects (Trchounian 2016). The cellular and organism effects are nonlinear and depend on a variety of individual factors as well as specific wavelengths, phasing and modulation of the wavelength signals. With widespread exposure even small physiologic alterations would be magnified in a population and contribute to a negative public health outcome.

Research: Lacking. 

A review of the literature reveals that there is inadequate research into 5G health and environmental effects. There is science which shows both harmful and beneficial effects but no independent long term studies have been performed on 5G or any research on the mix of frequencies we would be exposed to. Critical long term health studies are lacking for 3G and 4G wireless technologies as well as 5G. Current FCC standards are based only on heat effects for all telecommunications radiofrequencies and not biological effects seen with low level exposures that do not heat or burn tissues.

IEEE: Heat is Still the Only Standard of Harm Considered in 5G Applications, not Biological Effects.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is an industry association primarily composed of engineers, computer scientists, software developers, information technology professionals, physicists, scientists, and allied professionals. It is the world’s largest technical professional association. Their input has been pivotal in setting standards for radiofrequency exposures. The IEEE performs its own research and is involved in computer and wireless technology product development. Some of their research is included in this section. Even in their 2015 report on 5G “Safe for Generations to Come” the authors state,  “At this time, more reports of beneficial effects than detrimental effects from low-level exposure to mmWave radiation appear to exist in the literature, but this area needs to be better understood, and the specific effects need to be demonstrated reproducibly by independent investigators before any potential non-thermal effects are to be considered in determining the regulatory limits on this regime of nonionizing radiation.”  So far science is not sufficient to support the safety of this technology.


New Evidence of Significant Heat Tissue Damage with 5G: FCC Standards for 5G Gigahertz Wavelengths Urgently Need Reevaluation.

The short millimeter waves for 5G technology bring along new challenges for public safety.  To improve the performance of 5G and IOT devices,  pulsed phased antenna arrays will be used in cell towers and wireless devices- See  A Beam-Steering Antenna for 5G Mobile Phones . This beamforming technology uses a cluster of pulsed microwave antenna beams whose shape and direction can be controlled to have an individual beam pointed at a device to improve signal, similar to missile control.  5G technology will have dozens of smaller antennas packed in a single cell antenna array.  The heat generated by these antenna is a huge concern (Nasim and Kim 2017) .  New research on heat effects of 5G, by (Neufeld and Kuster 2018), demonstrates that permanent tissue damage from heating may occur even after short exposures to 5G millimeter wave pulse trains, where repetitive pulses can cause rapid, localized heating. The scientists highlight an urgent need for new thermal safety exposure standards to update current guidelines which do not adequately prevent excessive heating from pulsed millimeter wave exposure. 

If 5G millimeter wave transmissions associated with these new technologies fail to meet current public safety standards, as the authors predict, then the rollout of IOT becomes questionable on significant thermal health effects, which are regulated and felt to be the only significant health effect. Current FCC policy does not consider non-thermal biological and physiological radiofrequency effects on living organisms, despite abundant literature for 2G 3G and 4G system. This research underscores the obvious lack of meaningful public safety standards.

Scientists Urge Moratorium on 5G Technology:

It is notable that currently over 207 scientists and physicians who have researched the biological and health effects of radiofrequency radiation have signed the 5G appeal, calling for a moratorium on the use of 5G technologies until more research is conducted and proves the safety of this technology. See also Scientists call for 5G Moratorium-SaferEMR

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 Published Literature 5G High Frequency, Gigahertz RF