Opinion: Radiating Caution on the 5G Rollout

August 4, 2019 Updated: August 7, 2019

The much-hyped rollout of 5G continues, but many scientists would prefer 5G be put on hold—at least until much more testing has been done. To scientists who have been sounding the alarm over the rollout, the spectre of 5G means more than fifth-generation wireless technology. It also means five times greater health risks—if not five thousand.

In 2015, 220 scientists from 40 nations (including nine from Canada), presented The International EMF Scientist Appeal to the United Nations. It warns that “numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF [electromagnetic frequency] affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines” and causes genetic damage to people, plants, and animals.

Wireless radiation undermines the health of living things in numerous ways including oxidative stress, damage to cell membranes, and damage to mitochondria (the energy-producing parts of cells). In people, this contributes to an impaired blood-brain barrier, which keeps toxins out of the brain. It also constricts blood vessels and blood flow to the brain and triggers autoimmune reactions.

This radiation also has toxic effects in pregnancy and has been tied to developmental problems for the fetus after it is born, including attention deficit and hyperactivity. Such radiation has been known to decrease sperm count and function. Even worse, all the sperm and eggs a human will ever have are produced in the fetal stage. Current exposure affects not just the generation yet to be born, but also grandchildren.

Dr. Beatrice Golomb, a professor at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, has given special attention to the issue. She surveyed those whose health suffered by living close to cellphone towers. Minor symptoms include ringing ears, headaches, chest pain, heart arrhythmia, and insomnia. Worse symptoms include seizures, heart failure, hearing loss, and severe cognitive impairment. And these mechanisms also contribute to neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

As Golumb explains, “These mechanisms have known involvement in induction of brain cancer, metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes, autism, autoimmune disease, and neurodegenerative conditions, conditions that have exploded. In each case these have been linked, or presumptively linked, in some studies to electromagnetic radiation.”

Half of the EMF victims Golomb surveyed lost their jobs as a result of the negative health effects. Such people now have electrohypersensitivity and must take special care to avoid airport scanners and many other places that others can pass through with little harm. Those with the condition include Gro Harlem Brundtland, once the Prime Minister of Norway and head of the World Health Organization; Matti Niemela, former Nokia technology chief; and the wife of Frank Clegg, former head of Microsoft Canada and current head of Canadians for Safe Technology.

Why 5G has so many alarmed is this: the frequency it will operate on functions at a shorter range. This will require many more towers operating at increased power just to function correctly. Expect antennas the size of a pizza box every 250 feet or less to ensure connectivity. “Industry is going to need hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of new antenna sites in the United States alone. So people will be bathed in a smog of radiation 24/7,” said Dr. Joel Moskowitz, of the University of California, Berkeley.

A Forbes article suggested that the internet of things will mean 10 to 20 billion connections that include “smart” refrigerators, washing machines, surveillance cameras, and self-driving vehicles.

For policy makers, the answer may lie in a petition given to the European Union on September 11, 2017. Frank Clegg was one of five Canadians among the 170 signatories from 37 countries. The petition’s recommendations are useful for every jurisdiction. An abridged and slightly paraphrased version follows.

  • Halt 5G expansion until independent scientists can ensure total radiation levels by RF-EMF won’t be harmful.
  • Inform citizens about health risks from radio frequency (RF) and EMF radiation, and how and why to avoid wireless communication, especially near schools, homes, workplaces, hospitals, and elder care.
  • Appoint a task force of truly impartial scientists to determine new standards of maximum total exposure standards, study cumulative exposure, and create rules to be enforced to keep people from exceeding such exposure.
  • Prevent the wireless/telecom industry from lobbying officials regarding RF-EMF radiation safety.
  • Favour and implement wired digital telecommunication instead of wireless.

In 2017, Golomb railed against SB 649, legislation that would have given mobile companies wide latitude to roll out 5G in California.

“If this bill passes, many people will suffer greatly and needlessly as a direct result,” she wrote. “This sounds like hyperbole. It is not.”

The legislation would have passed regardless, except that it was vetoed by California Governor Jerry Brown in October of 2017. Even so, any reprieve from 5G seems only temporary. For better or worse, 5G proponents are bent on its implementation, health be damned.

Lee Harding is a former political staffer, taxpayer advocate, and think tank researcher. He is now a columnist based in Saskatchewan.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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