With 5G wireless network construction happening at an accelerated pace and early 5G wireless broadband internet services already available in a few markets around the U.S., consumers are now seeing the first 5G smartphones available in the market.
Not surprisingly, we’ve been receiving a lot of questions about whether 5G wireless technology is safe for consumers. It’s important for us to ask these questions and to understand the facts behind the research.
Mobile phones emit radiofrequency radiation, or radio waves, which are a form of non-ionizing radiation. This kind of radiation is normal and all around us. Non-ionizing radiation only has enough energy to excite a molecule, and the byproduct is merely heat.
Ionizing radiation, by contrast, is higher frequency and can be a severe health hazard. It can cause radiation sickness, burns, cancer, and even genetic damage. Ionizing radiation is the kind of radiation we find in using nuclear power.
It is important to be clear that 5G wireless technology is a form of non-ionizing radiation. And for that matter, so is the current 4G wireless technology and every other generation prior to that.
Since radio frequencies (RF) have been used in radio, TV, wireless networks, and many other services for decades, this is a careful area of study for regulatory agencies to ensure that these RF waves have no negative impact on consumers’ health.
To be very clear, there has been no conclusive evidence that RF wireless technology causes any side effects in consumers who use, or even those in the presence of, wireless networks.
A study in Denmark analyzed the records of more than 358,000 mobile phone subscribers with brain tumor incidence data from the Danish Cancer Registry. The “analysis found no association between cell phone use and the incidence of glioma, meningioma, or acoustic neuroma, even among people who had been cell phone subscribers for 13 or more years.”
In 2018, there was some very bad reporting concerning a study on the effects of high exposure of radiofrequency energy on rats. It found that male rats exposed to radio waves developed schwannomas (small tumors) on their hearts at statistically higher rates than the control group. However, mice and female rats exposed to the same radio waves did not develop any of these small tumors.
Somewhat ironically, those animals that were exposed to the radiofrequency radiation actually lived longer than the control animals that weren’t.
Also worth mentioning is that there have only been a handful of documented cases in humans of schwannomas of the heart… They are incredibly rare in humans.
This study was conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Worth noting is that the study was performed at the request of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is responsible for determining the safety of such radiofrequency energy.
Left out of the negative reporting on this research was the fact that the study used levels of radiofrequency energy that were considerably above what the FDA deems as the current safety limit for cell phones. And the current safety limits have a 50-fold safety margin to ensure consumer safety.
In the words of the NTP, “The levels and duration of exposure to radiofrequency radiation were much greater than what people experience with even the highest level of cell phone use, and exposed the rodents’ whole bodies. So, these findings should not be directly extrapolated to human cell phone usage.”
The FDA summarized that it had “not found sufficient evidence that there are adverse health effects in humans caused by exposures at or under the current radiofrequency energy exposure limits.”
In support of the FDA’s position, the National Cancer Institute notes that it does not see increasing numbers of brain tumors in the general population. Given that humans have been exposed to radiofrequency energy for decades, if there was a direct correlation to our health, we should have seen the impact already. So far, we have not.
For obvious reasons, I’ll be tracking this topic closely as 5G wireless networks become more widespread. My readers know well that 5G wireless networks use more power and as many as five times more cell phone towers than 4G in order to deliver 100x or more speed to smartphones.
It’s important to note that all 5G-enabled smartphones will still meet the safety limits and standards set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is informed by the FDA.
The above research should dispel any concerns you might have about 5G’s impact on your health. But if you’re still worried about it, I’ll leave you with a couple extra steps you can take to minimize your RF exposure…
First, use a landline phone whenever possible and try to avoid long conversations on mobile phones. Second, when you do have long conversations on mobile phones, I recommend using a headset (wired or wireless) that allows you to talk without having the mobile phone right next to your head. For those who have any concerns, this is a simple step of precaution that anyone can take.
Ultimately, we’re in for an incredible time as 5G wireless technology becomes available throughout the U.S. and in other major developed markets around the world. We’re going to see such incredible improvement in wireless service, we’ll wonder how we ever survived without it.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge