By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
Photo credit: melpomen © 123RF.com
We are a nation hooked on technology. Not only do we depend on it, we expect it to be fast, reliable, and readily available.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world of wireless technology.
Wireless technology allows us to communicate without the use of cables, wires, or some other physical medium. Remember back in the 1990s when you had to plug a cable into a wall to access the Internet? While you can still do that, most people have replaced this “archaic” practice with WiFi (wireless fidelity), which uses radiofrequency signals to get us connected online.
Believe it or not, wireless technology is nothing new. In one form or another, it’s been around since the early 1800s, starting with physicist Hans Christian Oerstead, who established the relationship between electricity and magnetism—electromagnetics. Other physicists and scientists followed, including James Clerk Maxwell (who came up with Maxwell Equations) and Heinrich Hertz (who created radio waves and whose name to this day is used to is measure the frequency of radio transmissions…megahertz, gigahertz, etc.).
Without a physical medium guiding communication signals, the transmission of signals is accomplished with antennas, which turn electrical signals to radio signals in the form of electromagnetic waves.
I’ve discussed the potential dangers of electromagnetic waves/radiation before. There are documented issues linked to the electropollution caused by cell phones, tablets, computers, TVs, and other commonly used devices.
And now there’s another, relatively new concern within this realm of wireless technology that has me a little on edge too—5G.
The Evolution of the Five “Gs”
Wireless communication technology inside cell phones has advanced greatly over the years. When you see a term like 4G or 5G, the “G” refers to “generation,” and the number that precedes the G represents its place in the evolution of this technology, starting with 1G.
Introduced in the late 1970s, 1G was the earliest voice-only network. If you remember those cell phones, they were huge (compared to today’s devices) and only functioned as wireless telephones.
The next era, 2G, was released a couple years later and lasted a long time—from the 1980s to 2003. During that time, a lot of progress was made in terms of data transfer on top of voice capabilities, and the speed at which these data transfers occurred.
The next generation, 3G, was huge in terms of improvements in data transmission speed. It allowed regular old cell phones to become what we now know as “smart phones,” enabling faster communication, the sending of emails and texts, web browsing, and video streaming.
Released at the end of 2009, 4G was a significant redesign of the 3G network architecture and resulted in even greater speed and efficiency.
5G, which is the fifth and latest generation of mobile technology, promises even faster browsing, streaming, and downloading, as well as better connectivity. It allows cellular networks to manage more wireless devices than they were ever able to on the older platforms, without interruptions to service.
Speed and reliability are what all wireless users want and, quite frankly, expect out of their service providers. After all, how many times have you sighed impatiently at your phone or tablet, annoyed at how slow it’s working when you’re in an area with bad service?
5G, however, is not without its concerns and controversies.
Potential 5G Health Risks
5G is still in its early stages, and it can get a little confusing to understand the science behind why it’s so contentious among some scientists and health advocates. But there are basically two potential 5G health risks that worry these people the most.
First, 5G technology requires using higher-frequency bandwidths across the radiofrequency spectrum—millimeter waves, in addition to microwaves that were used for 2G, 3G, and 4G. You see, 4G is not being phased out; it is going to be used along with 5G – which means we’ll face radiation exposure from both sources simultaneously!
Second, and probably more importantly, 5G has limited reach. This means the system relies on a lot of small cells towers (antennas) placed in close proximity to one another (roughly 100–200 meters apart).
All of this leads to unprecedented levels of radiofrequency radiation transmitted through homes and businesses and in the streets. In other words, people who live and/or work in cities or towns infiltrated with these cells will be in constant presence of this largely unstudied electropollution.
Research Into 5G Health Risks
Most government organizations and, not surprisingly, tech companies, advise that there is little-to-no reason to worry about potential 5G health risks. They claim that radiofrequency radiation is nonionizing, so it doesn’t have enough energy to break apart DNA and cause cellular changes that lead to cancer and other diseases. (In contrast, ionizing radiation, such as that from CT scans and, more dramatically, nuclear disasters like Chernobyl, is far more dangerous and has been definitively proven to increase cancer risk with high exposure.)
But some research into the health risks of earlier wireless technologies—and electropollution in general—shows otherwise.
In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer reviewed all the published literature to date on radiofrequency radiation and categorized it as a possible carcinogen. Since that time, a broad range of adverse health effects have been associated with exposure. Some of them include schwannomas (tumors in the tissues that cover nerves), brain and eye cancers, DNA damage, and infertility in men. Children are particularly at risk, as their thin skulls allow the brain to absorb more radiation than an adult brain.1
In one rat study released in 2018 by the National Toxicology Program, researchers concluded that there is “clear evidence that male rats exposed to high levels of radio frequency radiation (RFR) like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones developed cancerous heart tumors… There was also some evidence of tumors in the brain and adrenal gland of exposed male rats.”2
Another 2018 study had similar findings. Researchers noted a significant increase in heart tumors in rats exposed to the highest doses of radiofrequency radiation.3
When it comes to 5G health concerns, though, the most important thing to remember is this: The technology is still too young to have any significant or meaningful research behind it, and neither the wireless industry nor the government agencies who regulate it have supported ANY independent research on the potential health risks associated with 5G technology. During a Congressional hearing in 2019, CT Senator Richard Blumenthal brought the lack of safety testing to light and concluded, “So there really is no research ongoing. We’re flying blind here, as far as health and safety is concerned.”4 All outrage about this aside, we won’t know any of the true 5G health risks for decades to come…We, the public, are being unwittingly recruited as human guinea pigs in this worldwide experiment!
The authors of a recent study on the rollout of 5G said it best: “Because this is the first generation to have cradle-to-grave lifespan exposure to this level of man-made microwave (RF EMR) radiofrequencies, it will be years or decades before the true health consequences are known. Precaution in the roll out of this new technology is strongly indicated.”5
Minimize Your Exposure to 5G Radiation
5G is slowly but surely rolling out across the country and globe. By the end of 2020, it will be hard to fully prevent exposure. But you have to do what you can, and even small steps can bring significant protection. Here are some things you can do:
Change the way you use your 5G-enabled devices.
- Keep your devices as far away from your body as possible. Don’t carry your phone in your pocket. A purse is better, but for best protection, consider buying an electromagnetic frequency (EMF) shielding case to house your phone. (These can be purchased online from various retailers.
- At night, keep your devices far away from your bedside—preferably in another room, but at the very least on the other side of your bedroom. Or, simply power them off fully every evening and turn them back on in the morning.
- For calls, use the speakerphone function instead of placing your phone against your ear. For simple, straightforward communications, send text messages.
- Place routers in little-used rooms that don’t get a lot of traffic.
Note that, while increasing distance between yourself and your electronics/routers won’t eliminate your exposure to radiofrequency radiation, it will help reduce the risks associated with prolonged use.
Also called earthing, grounding is the practice of reconnecting with the Earth’s subtle and natural electrical energy. This is easily accomplished by walking barefoot in the grass or sand, so that the energy of the Earth flows directly into your body and brings you back to your most natural electrical state. Do this every day, as the weather permits. Research has shown that when the body is grounded, “its electrical potential becomes equalized with the Earth’s electrical potential through a transfer of electrons from the Earth to the body.” This helps lower radiofrequency radiation and 5G health concerns.6 And generally speaking, grounding keeps your metabolism and your capacity for healing and recuperation at maximum efficiency.
Consider wearing protective clothing.
There are brands of clothing that are specially designed to protect against electromagnetic frequencies. Belly Armor is one such company that produces clothes for babies, kids, men, women, and mothers-to-be, using a proprietary fabric that shields against nonionizing radiation.
Look into radiation-blocking paint.
You read that right…paint! YSHIELD and similar companies have created paint that blocks radiofrequency waves. You apply it to your walls, and once it dries, you cover it with your regular paint. This paint can block up to 99.9 percent of cell phone and WiFi signals, as well as additional sources of nonionizing radiation in your home.
Folks, wireless technology is here, and it’s here to stay. I’m not asking you to shun it, as that would be nearly impossible. But I am asking you to be mindful of the invisible threat it may pose to your health. Until definitive science shows that wireless technology, and especially 5G, is totally safe—which may not come for decades—I strongly recommending erring on the side of caution.
1. Miller AB, et al. Risks to health and well-being from radio-frequency radiation emitted by cell phones and other wireless devices. Front Public Health. 2019 Aug 13;7:223.
2. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences press release. High exposure to radiofrequency radiation associated with cancer in male rats. 2018 Nov 1.
3. Falcioni L, et al. Report of final results regarding brain and heart tumors in Sprague-Dawley rats exposed from prenatal life until natural death to mobile phone radiofrequency field representative of a 1.8 GHz GSM base station environmental emission. Environ Res. 2018 Aug;165:496-503.
4. Richard Blumenthal U.S. Senator for Connecticut. At Senate Commerce Hearing, Blumenthal Raises Concerns on 5G Wireless Technology’s Potential Health Risks. Blumenthal.senate.gov, Feb. 7, 2019.
5. Russel CL. 5 G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications. Environ Res. 2018 Aug;165:484-95.
6. Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, et al. Earthing: Health implications of reconnecting the human body to the Earth’s surface electrons. J Environ Public Health. 2012 Jan; Article ID 291541.
© 2020 Stephen Sinatra, MD. All rights reserved.