The conversation at lunch turned to the radiation threat from 5G, the next generation of mobile and wireless technology. The conversation took place in a unique location because we were in an open air restaurant with the sun shining in. Directly across from us were the area’s electric power lines. The restaurant had microwaves in use. Several patrons were on their phones, Wi-Fi was available, fans were spinning, lights were on, and music was playing.
Internet scuttlebutt has it that 5G will crush the human population as men become sterile. There are additional fears:
● Damage to the eyes – cataracts, retinal damage
● Severe sweating
● Skin damage
● Immune system disruption
● Metabolic disruption
● Neurological disturbance
● Leakage of blood brain barrier
● Increased risk of cancers
● Collapse of insect populations, the base of food for birds and bats
● Rise in bacterial resistance and bacterial shifts
● Damage to plants and trees
Is that for real? Is there even another side to this?
I searched for clarity starting with the CDC’s definition of radiation. It said radiation is energy moving in the form of particles or waves that, in a vacuum, move with the speed of light. So, in addition to heat, light, radio waves, radioactive decay, and microwaves, everywhere electricity is flowing there is radiation.
Our eyes can detect visible light which is a very small segment of the very wide band of electromagnetic radiation that exists naturally. Red light has less energy than purple light. Below the red light frequency are other familiar forms of electromagnetic radiation that we can’t see such as infrared, microwaves, cell phone signals, and radio waves. These waves are called Non-Ionizing Radiation.
We also can’t see the frequencies above purple light which include ultraviolet (UV), x-rays, and gamma rays. These higher frequency waves, known as Ionizing Radiation, are the waves most people fear. That’s because radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, and radioactive decay have enough energy to interact with atoms and remove their electrons causing them to become charged or ionized. Ionizing radiation can penetrate the human body producing the potential for harmful effects, especially at high levels of exposure where it can damage the DNA inside cells, leading to mutations and uncontrolled cell growth.
Our environment is saturated with natural sources of low level ionizing radiation. Usually the amounts (doses) are very small. Even our bodies are natural sources of ionizing radiation that include radioactive elements in our bodies. Of course, there are more sinister sources such as Radon, a natural radioactive gas found in rock formations, which is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
Even though extremely low frequency (ELF) radiation is a type of non-ionizing radiation, it still has enough energy to move atoms around or make them vibrate, but not enough to directly damage DNA. ELF radiation has less energy than other types of non-ionizing radiation such as radio frequencies, visible light, and infrared.
Everything to do with generating and using electricity exposes us to ELF radiation. How much exposure depends on the strength of the radiation, the distance from it, and the duration. So the big question: “Does ELF radiation cause disease?”
There are some credible lab studies where animals have been exposed to radiation (often at extremely high levels for extended periods) to see if it caused health issues. Unfortunately, it’s not known if the results from these studies can apply to humans and so far most studies have not found higher risks for any type of cancer. There are also studies involving groups of people with differing exposures to radiation. But people are typically exposed to many substances other than the one being studied which can affect the results. So these studies are questionable.
Obviously, studying the effects of ELF radiation on people is not easy because ELF radiation exposure is so common. That’s why most studies try to compare people exposed at higher levels with people exposed at lower levels. Yet again, it’s nearly impossible to determine total ELF radiation exposure over long periods. Currently it’s not even known if ELF radiation adds up over time.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). So far it has found “inadequate evidence” for the carcinogenicity of ELF electric fields in humans. So the IARC has classified ELF magnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” and ELF electric fields as “not classifiable as to their carcinogenicity to humans.”
Since it has not been proven that ELF radiation exposure is harmful, yet you are still concerned, you can lower your exposure. Remember. Your exposure is based on the strength of the ELF radiation source, how close you are to it, and how long you are exposed.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) recommends that concerned people should determine their major EMF sources and move away from them or limit their exposure. For example, moving three feet from a source can dramatically lower one’s exposure.
Power lines are always a concern. The strength of the electromagnetic field is highest on the ground directly under the power line. Get further away and the level eventually matches normal home background levels. Surprisingly, directly under the power line the electromagnetic field is similar to when using certain household appliances.
After reading all the concerns about 5G it was refreshing and assuring to read “5G Is Not Going to Microwave Your Brain” by Robert Triggs. He reviewed many concerns and addressed them with powerful counterpoints. One very compelling point was that the cancer incidence rate in the USA is up only 1.14% since the first U.S. consumer cell phone network was built in 1983. Yet cell phone usage has increased more than 100 times during those same 35 years.
If everyone is still concerned, are their alternatives to the planned American 5G system? In the report “Comments on the National Toxicology Program Bioassay on RF GSM-and CDMA-Modulated Cell Phone RFR” dated March 12, 2018, the Environmental Health Trust stated that “fiber-optic cabling is fundamental to 5G. This cable will be at the base or atop each proposed tower that will include MIMO wireless antennas. It should be noted that the projected U.S. system will use 5G to deliver wireless systems that many believe are unlikely to achieve safety or security of communications in contrast to the fiber-optic system that is used extensively in Korea to provide direct high-speed broadband service estimated to be 100 times faster than in the U.S. that includes no microwave radiation.”
Yes, those comments are above my pay grade.
The 5G debate will undoubtedly continue. Can I say for sure there is no risk? Absolutely not. Will it be the end of mankind? I doubt it. When it arrives will I carefully limit my exposure when able? Absolutely, just like I do now with 4G and other forms of radiation. I’ll also continue to eat foods that strengthen my immune system, nerves, and brain function. That means I’ll strive to balance my essential Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids while eating foods that are low glycemic plus nutrient dense and diverse.
To your health.
Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.
Don’t miss these links for additional reading:
Comments on the National Toxicology Program Bioassay on RF GSM-and CDMA-Modulated Cell Phone RFR, NTP TR 595, March 12, 2018, submitted on behalf of Environmental Health Trust
5G Wireless Technology: Millimeter Wave Health Effects by Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.
Power Lines, Electrical Devices and Extremely Low Frequency Radiation from American Cancer Society
5G Is Not Going to Microwave Your Brain by Robert Triggs
Is 5G A CIA Plot? by Simon Rockman in Forbes Magazine
What Are Radio Waves? by Jim Lucas, Live Science Contributor
Wi-Fi from Wikipedia