Does Faster Internet Mean Faster Death for Us?
Frustrated because your internet speed is too slow? Tired of running out of data? If so, you’ll be happy to know that mobile device service providers are about to roll out a new, higher level of service called 5G Wireless. Most up-to-date cell phones now operate on 4G, which sends signals via a “base station,” or cell tower, to your phone.1 While 4G seemed amazingly fast when it first hit the scene, the demand for faster and faster and more responsive service keeps ratcheting up. We no longer connect to the web just for internet and phone, but now home appliances and security systems and watches and medical devices and even some dog collars all depend on a web connection.
Experts predict a dramatic spike in the number of internet-dependent devices being used in the next few years, and they’re looking to 5G to be able to handle the load.2 The advantages of 5G include much faster speeds—up to 100 times faster—and considerably improved capacity to connect multiple devices at once. Plus, 5G will make it easier to use virtual reality applications with cell phones.
But not everyone is happy about the upcoming revolution, and in fact, some are quite frightened by its potential health impacts. The downside of 5G is that it relies on high-frequency waves that travel a comparatively short range, so for it to work, lots of cell antennas need to be installed close to locations where the service will be offered.3 Plans are underway for 800,000 new, small cell towers, some the size of smoke detectors, to be built in residential neighborhoods, urban locations, and near businesses. Currently, somewhere between 154,000 and 308,000 towers exist across the US.4 And whereas the existing towers tend to be in isolated locations, the new mini-towers need to be closer to customers. In fact, an industry expert estimates that there will need to be a cell tower about every 12 houses or every 1000 feet.5
Every major cell service provider is busy getting their 5G network ready for operation. Right now, 5G devices aren’t available, but they probably will be next year and they’ll only operate if the towers are in place. According to the head of AT&T’s 5G effort, Melissa Arnoldi, “We’re going to use our existing infrastructure today. Whether it’s light poles, whether it’s street lights.” In other words, the light pole in front of your house could soon house a mini cell tower. And while that might bring you lightning-fast internet, it will also bring an increase in electromagnetic radiation to your doorstep.
There’s significant “controversy” about whether cell technology is harmful, even though there are numerous studies linking wireless phones to cancer as well as to DNA breakdown, lowered sperm count, sleep disturbances and neurological problems.6 As we’ve written before, some industry-funded studies have concluded that cell phones are completely safe, but the evidence for potential harm is damning enough to inspire the California Department of Public Health to issue a warning about the impact on our health from cell phones and to urge citizens to carry the phones away from their bodies.7 The American Cancer Society says it’s more dangerous to use a cell phone than to live near a cell tower, but the fact is that towers haven’t been studied much. Most of the studies focus on cell phones, not towers. That said, some of those that do focus on cell towers have indeed found negative health effects.89 And there are plenty of anecdotal reports from those living near towers that they cause headaches, sleep disorders, memory problems, confusion, anxiety, depression, diabetes, inflammatory conditions, and joint pain. In other words, having a cell tower in your front yard probably is less than desirable.
Add to the concern about proximity to cell towers the fact that the coming technology is new and mostly untested for health impact. Until now, mobile communication has depended on signals sent via microwave technology, and most existing research on health effects focuses on that technology. Instead of microwaves, the new 5G will use millimeter waves (MMWs). The millimeter-wave region of the electromagnetic spectrum is usually considered to be the range of wavelengths from 10 millimeters to 1 millimeter. This means millimeter waves are longer than infrared waves or x-rays but shorter than radio waves or microwaves. The high frequency of millimeter waves as well as the ways they change or interact with the atmosphere as they travel make them useful for a variety of applications including transmitting large amounts of computer data, cellular communications, and radar. And that’s all good. The problem is that we still don’t really know how MMWs affect humans. Of the few studies in existence, some have found adverse effects on skin, eyes, immune system, heart function, cell growth rates, and the environment.10 According to Dr. Joel Moscowitz, a public health professor at the University of California, Berkeley, “'The deployment of 5G, or fifth generation cellular technology, constitutes a massive experiment on the health of all species…5G will use high-band frequencies, or millimeter waves, that may affect the eyes, the testes, the skin, the peripheral nervous system, and sweat glands…Millimeter waves can also make some pathogens resistant to antibiotics.”
Recently, 185 doctors and scientists from 35 nations around the world issued a document urging restraint in implementing 5G.11 The opening of the document reads, “We the undersigned, more than 180 scientists and doctors from 35 countries, recommend a moratorium on the roll-out of the fifth generation, 5G, for telecommunication until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry. 5G will substantially increase exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on top of the 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, etc. for telecommunications already in place. RF-EMF has been proven to be harmful to humans and the environment.” The document cites significant studies that have found carcinogenic and other dangerous effects from exposure to EMFs and urges the EU to halt 5G build-outs, plus, to inform citizens of the dangers of living near and using cell technology.
Given the inevitability of exposure, what can you do to protect yourself? At the least, minimize your exposure from your own devices by switching off your WiFi router when you aren’t using it, keeping devices away from your body, and staying as far as possible from your router without losing the connection. In other words, put it in a room you aren’t working in. And then, make sure you keep your immune system functioning, your cellular function healthy, and your DNA intact by following the Baseline of Health program.
- 1. Chandler, Nathan. “How 4G Works.” How Stuff Works. 1 June 2018. https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/4g.htm
- 2. Nunez, Michael. “What is 5G and How Will it Make My Life Better?” 24 February 2016. Gizmodo. 31 May 2018. https://gizmodo.com/what-is-5g-and-how-will-it-make-my-life-better-1760847799
- 3. 5G Wireless Service is Coming, and So Are Health Concerns Over the Towers that Support it.” 29 May 2018. CBS New York. 1 June 2018. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2018/05/29/5g-cell-phone-service/
- 4. Rahhal, Natalie. “The roll-out of 5G wireless service is a ‘massive health experiment,’ public health expert warns as cell companies install 800,000 towers across the US.” 29 May 2018. Daily Mail. 1 June 2018. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5784487/The-roll-5G-wireless-service-massive-health-experiment-public-health-expert-warns-a.html
- 5. Puzzaghera, Jim. “Is 5G technology dangerous? Early data shows a slight increase of tumors in male rats exposed to cell phone radiation.” 8 August 2016. Los Angeles Times. 1 June 2018. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-cellphone-5g-health-20160808-snap-story.html
- 6. Rogers, Karen J. “Health Effects from Cell Phone Tower Radiation.” 13 February 2012. Geoengineering Watch. 1 June 2018. http://www.geoengineeringwatch.org/health-effects-from-cell-phone-tower-radiation/
- 7. https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2017/12/16/california-warnings-about-cellphones-what-you-need-to-know/#6499f6b36ac4
- 8. “Cell Tower Health Risks.” EM Watch. 1 June 2018. http://emwatch.com/cell-tower-health-risks/
- 9. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/radiation-exposure/cellular-phone-towers.html
- 10. Burrell, Lloyd. “5G Radiation Dangers: 11 Reasons to Be Concerned.” 12 May 2017. Electric Sense. 3 June 2018 https://www.electricsense.com/12399/5g-radiation-dangers/
- 11. https://ehtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/Scientist-5G-appeal-2017.pdf