What Is 5G Technology and Is it Safe?

Vodafone 5G antenna

5G or 5th generation of cellular networks represents a next-generation wireless network. It’s a new version of cellular technology that can increase the speed of cell phones and other wireless devices.

5G networks began to be deployed in 2019 and are being introduced as a replacement for 4G. Therefore, there are differences between the two networks.

Numerous studies have shown the harmful effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (EMR) on human health. However, the US FCC which adopted the limits of exposure to RF radiation in the late 1990s decided to retain the existing limits of RF exposure.

5G vs 4G Frequency

The main difference between 4G and 5G is that 4G networks operate at low-frequency waves below 6 GHz. Therefore the receiving towers can be installed a few miles away and still work fine.

The 5G technology is used to send and receive very large amounts of data at superfast speeds by utilizing both low-band and high-band frequencies from 30 to 300 GHz. Higher frequencies are mainly generated by electromagnetic radiation called millimeter waves (MMW) from 24 to 52 GHz. MMWs can transmit large amounts of data over short distances.

5G frequencies also have greater directional accuracy. 4G receiving towers are currently operating, by shooting radio waves in different directions. 5G towers provide accurate beam data at a higher concentration and can potentially provide ultra-fast bandwidth for more than 1000 devices per square meter than 4G. Ultimately, they are more effective than 4G.

Is 5G Really Faster?

Using higher frequency radio waves means greater bandwidth speeds. This translates to internet speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G.

Therefore, instead of cell towers, as in the case of 4G, 5G towers should be located much closer to each other, since they operate at higher frequencies using shorter radio waves. 5G networks will use cells that will require an array of mini-cell receptors installed on almost every house to get the best coverage.

The speed of the mobile Internet, 100 times the current network speed, sounds great! However, there are concerns that 5G will bring more serious health problems, both due to the use of more powerful radiation and because of the increased number of receiving towers and mini-cell receptors needed for the network.

Cell Phone Radiation Effects on Human Health

All electronic devices create electromagnetic fields (EMFs) of radiation, which can be harmful to our health. Numerous studies have shown a link between EMF radiation and various health issues.

A study conducted in 2011 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency of the WHO, classified radiofrequency radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” and labeled mobile devices as a Class 2B carcinogen. WHO recognized that more research was needed on the long-term intensive use of wireless devices.

The study of the US National Toxicology Program conducted for ten years and published in November 2018 found cancerous tumors in the heart, brain and adrenal gland of rodents exposed to high levels of radiofrequency radiation (2G and 3G frequencies). Similar results were obtained in a study at the Ramazzini Institute.

Numerous studies have reported an increased risk of developing brain tumors or statistically significant associations between cell phone use and cancer in humans.

The effects of EMF on the human body included the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disorders, impairments in the nervous system, eyesight,  infertility, miscarriage, mental problems associated with depression, anxiety and neurodegenerative disorders.

Studies of the EMF effect revealed critical changes in cell metabolism, changes in cell development, oxidative stress (free radicals), DNA damage, and an increase in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier.

However, international and national advisory institutions in different countries still consider these studies inconsistent and inconclusive.

5G Health Risks

Most of the studies examined exposure to 2G and 3G network frequencies and their conclusions about links were very difficult to draw out.

Studies on 5G radiation have not been carried in detail, as with previous generations of radio frequencies. The lack of research on the long-term effects of low-frequency radiation is due to the fact that we haven’t been using them long enough.

The biological effect of MMWs has been studied for decades and showed their potentially dangerous effects. However, very few studies have examined the long-term effects of low-intensity MMWs.

Studies have shown that low-intensity MMWs may affect cell cycle and proliferation and alter structural and functional properties of membranes. Cellular water was the main acceptor of MMW radiation and when dissociated produced reactive oxygen species (ROS).  Moreover, MMW irradiation may affect DNA stability and density, and increase the permeability of lipid bilayer membranes (reviewed by Ramundo-Orlando, 2010). Obviously, more research is needed for a full understanding of the biological effects of low-intensity MMW radiation.

Opposition to 5G in Geneva
Opposition to 5G in Geneva. Credit: Wikimedia

The Effects of Radio Frequencies on Children 

Children may be even at a greater risk because their nervous systems are still developing and skulls are thinner than those of adults. Thus they are more vulnerable to the effects of the radiation emitted by the phones.

Importantly children and adolescents will likely have more years of cumulative exposure to radio frequencies from mobile phones than adults.

The EU-funded MOBI-Kids study is underway to examine risk factors for developing childhood brain tumors associated with exposure to radio frequencies and extremely low frequencies (ELF) from mobile phones in 14 countries around the world.

A Swedish study reported a 4-fold increased risk of a brain tumor in children who began to regularly use mobile phones and other wireless devices under the age of 20.

Other studies have shown negative effects of radio frequencies on children including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and asthma.

Children should be taught how to use cell phones in moderation, using them with wired earphones, and avoid putting them directly on their ear. They should be aware of the adverse effects of cell phones from prolonged exposure.

Scientists Warn About 5G Dangers 

In 2015, EMF scientists from around the world signed a petition to the United Nations and the World Health Organization, in which they expressed their concern about the negative effects of EMF on health. The harmful effects of EMF on living organisms have been confirmed in over 10,000 studies.

In April 2018 the International Society of Doctors for the Environment signed the 5G Space Appeal calling to stop the deployment of 5G, including 5G from space satellites. Currently, nearly 200,000 signatories from 208 countries and territories have signed a petition.

The 5th generation of wireless technology will increase the level of radiation by 10 to100 times around the world, affecting everyone and everywhere.

This irresponsible act, which ignores numerous scientific studies about the harmful effects of EMFs, is considered “an experiment on humanity and the environment that is defined as a crime under international law”.

Read our recent article on 5G in the time of coronavirus here.

Updated on 07.07.2020

Author: EcoDesign&EcoLifestyle

Researcher, entrepreneur, and artist at heart.

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