5G: More bandwidth but also more dangers

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Letís 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, between 30GHz and 300GHz, in addition to some lower and mid-range frequencies.

High-frequency MMWs travel a short distance. Furthermore, they donít 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 noticeable 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 neighborhood.

Here are some numbers to put the dangers of 5G into perspective: as of 2015, there were 308,000 wireless antennas on cell towers and buildings. Thatís double the 2002 number. Yet 5G would require exponentially more, smaller ones, placed much closer together, with each emitting bursts of radio frequency radiation (RFR) ó granted, at levels much lower than that of todayís 4G cell towers ó 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 thatís everywhere, all the time.

Serious health concerns

First, itís important to know that in 2011, the World Health Organizationís 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:

1. DNA single and double-strand breaks (which leads to cancer)

2. Oxidative damage (which leads to tissue deterioration and premature aging)

3. Disruption of cell metabolism, increased blood-brain barrier permeability

4. Melatonin reduction (leading to insomnia and increasing cancer risks)

5. Disruption of brain glucose metabolism

6. 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 rigors 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 peopleís homes and workplaces ó basically a lot more (and more potent) RFR flying around us. Itís 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 Jerusalemís 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, itís generally considered acceptable so long as the violating wavelengths are greater than the skin layerís dimensions. But MMWís violate this condition.

Furthermore, the sweat ducts in the skinís upper layer act like helical antennas, which are specialized antennas constructed specifically to respond to electromagnetic fields. With millions of sweat ducts, and 5Gís 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 itís 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?

Other distressing research

Unfortunately, innocent animals have already been the victims of testing to see MMWís effects on living cells. Extrapolating the results from animal testing to humans isnít 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 tumors in the brain and heart, and rats of both sexes developed DNA damage.



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