5G and the IOT: Scientific Overview of Human Health Risks
Currently there is no standard for 5G networks in place and it will be a combination of a variety of frequencies and modulations. Industry is developing exactly what 5G will be as the standard has not been set yet. It is assumed that 5G networks will not become commercially available until 2020 but several cities are rolling out 5G as test areas now. Verizon and Sprint have announced “test cities” for 5G which include Sacramento, Washington DC, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami and New York.
A first glance at US government websites such as the CDC and EPA could lead you to believe that this radiation is safe. Yet over 240 scientists and doctors from 41 nations who have published research in the field have appealed to the United Nations calling for urgent action to reduce these ever growing wireless exposures and they wrote the FCC for a moratorium on the roll-out of 5G citing the serious risks that to human health and the environment.
Published peer reviewed science already indicates that the current wireless technologies of 2G, 3G and 4G – in use today with our cell phones, computers and wearable tech – creates radiofrequency exposures which poses a serious health risk to humans, animals and the environment. Scientists are cautioning that before rolling out 5G, research on human health effects urgently needs to be done first to ensure the public and environment are protected.
However, instead of prudent public health measures to ensure the public’s safety, governments such as the United States are quickly rolling out 5G networks in neighborhoods and are enacting various state and federal regulations to “streamline” and fasttrack the rollout. These regulations will end the ability of communities to halt and be a part of the decision making process in this massive 5G infrastructure buildout.
Wireless company documents clearly state that 5G will increase the levels of RF radiation in the vicinity of the antennas. Many countries such as China, India, Poland, Russia, Italy and Switzerland have far more protective and stricter radiation limits which will not allow the deployment of 5G as the increased 5G radiation would exceed their limits. These countries are creating roadblocks to the 5G rollout and industry has launched large scale efforts to loosen limits.
Cancer epidemiology update, following the 2011 IARC evaluation of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields is a comprehensive research review of RF effects in human and animal research. The review concludes that scientific evidence is now adequate to conclude radiofrequency radiation is carcinogenic to humans (Miller 2018). Several previously published studies also concluded that RF can “cause” cancer, for example, Hardell 2017, Atzman 2016 and Peleg 2018.
The US National Toxicology Program (NTP) Study on Cell Phone Radiation found “clear evidence” of cancer, heart damage and DNA damage in a $30-million study designed to test the basis for federal safety limits (NIEHS). The heart and brain cancers found in the NTP rats are the same cell type as tumors that researchers have found to be increased in humans who have used use cell phones for over 10 years. Thus, researchers say this animal evidence confirms the human evidence (Hardell 2019.)
The Ramazzini Institute (RI) Study on Base Station RF was another large scale rat study that also found increases in the same heart cancers as the NTP study found—yet the Ramazzini rats were exposed to much lower levels of RF than the NTP rats. In fact, all the RI Ramazzini radiation exposures were below FCC limits, as the study was specifically designed to test the safety of RF limits for cell tower/base stations (Falconi 2018.)
Tumor promotion by exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields below exposure limits for humans” is a replication study that used very, very low RF exposures (lower than the Ramazzini and NTP study) and combined the RF with a known carcinogen. Researchers found elevated lymphoma and significantly higher numbers of tumors in the lungs and livers in the animals exposed to both RF and the carcinogen, leading researchers to state that previous research (Tillman 2010) was confirmed and that “our results show that electromagnetic fields obviously enhance the growth of tumors” (Lerchl 2015).
5G Wireless Expansion: Public Health and Environmental Implications is a 5G research review that documents the range of reported adverse effects of RF and millimeter waves—effects range from cancer to bacteria growth changes to DNA damage. The study concludes that “a moratorium on the deployment of 5G is warranted” and “the addition of this added high frequency 5G radiation to an already complex mix of lower frequencies, will contribute to a negative public health outcome … from both physical and mental health perspectives” (Russell 2018).
“The Human Skin as a Sub-THz Receiver – Does 5G Pose a Danger to It or Not?” and “The Modeling of the Absorbance of Sub-THz Radiation by Human Skin” are two papers by physicists presenting research that found higher 5G frequencies are intensely absorbed into human sweat ducts (in skin), at much higher absorption levels than other parts of our skin’s tissues (Betzalel 2017, Betzalel 2018). The researchers conclude, “we are raising a warning flag against the unrestricted use of sub-THz technologies for communication, before the possible consequences for public health are explored.”
“Exposure of Insects to Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields from 2 to 120 GHz” published in Scientific Reports is the first study to investigate how insects (including the Western honeybee) absorb the higher frequencies (2 GHz to 120 GHz) to be used in the 4G/5G rollout. The scientific simulations showed increases in absorbed power between 3% to 370% when the insects were exposed to the frequencies. Researchers concluded, “This could lead to changes in insect behaviour, physiology, and morphology over time….”
Two recent papers that have investigated frequencies to be used in 5G have called out the need to reevaluate current guidelines due to the unique way higher frequencies interact with human tissue. These studies are clear documentation of the reality that 5G technology is being rolled out before adequate research on human exposures. “Systematic Derivation of Safety Limits for Time-Varying 5G Radiofrequency Exposure Based on Analytical Models and Thermal Dose concludes that the “results also show that the peak-to-average ratio of 1,000 tolerated by the International Council on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection guidelines may lead to permanent tissue damage after even short exposures, highlighting the importance of revisiting existing exposure guidelines.” “Human Exposure to RF Fields in 5G Downlink concludes “our results show that 5G downlink RF fields generate significantly higher power density (PD) and specific absorption rate (SAR) than a current cellular system. This paper also shows that SAR should also be taken into account for determining human RF exposure in the mmW downlink.”
“A review of the ecological effects of RF-EMF” reviewed 113 studies finding RF-EMF had a significant effect on birds, insects, other vertebrates, other organisms and plants in 70% of the studies (Cucurachi 2013). Development and reproduction in birds and insects were the most strongly affected. As an example of the several studies on wildlife impacts, a study focusing on RF from antennas found increased sperm abnormalities in mice exposed to RF from GSM antennas (Otitoloju 2010). Studies on bees have found behavioral effects (Kumar 2011, Favre 2011), disrupted navigation Goldsworthy 2009, Sainudeen 2011, Kimmel et al. 2007) decreasing egg laying rate (Sharma and Kumar, 2010) and reduced colony strength (Sharma and Kumar, 2010, Harst et al. 2006). Research has also found a high level of damage to trees from antenna radiation. For example, a field monitoring study spanning 9 years involving over 100 trees (Waldmann-Selsam 2016) found trees sustained more damage on the side of the tree facing the antenna.
“Towards 5G communication systems: Are there health implications?” is a research review that details how research has found that millimeter waves can alter gene expression, promote cellular proliferation and synthesis of proteins linked with oxidative stress, inflammatory and metabolic processes.” The researchers conclude, “available findings seem sufficient to demonstrate the existence of biomedical effects, to invoke the precautionary principle” (Di Ciaula 2018).
Research on People Near Cell Towers Links Exposure to Adverse Effects
“The Impact of radiofrequency radiation on DNA damage and antioxidants in peripheral blood lymphocytes of humans residing in the vicinity of mobile phone base station” is a research study that compared people living close (within 80 meters) and far (more than 300 meters away) from cellular antennas and found that the people living closer had several significant changes in their blood predictive of cancer development (Zothansiama 2017). Researchers controlled for various demographics, including the use of microwaves and wireless in the homes.
“Mortality by neoplasia and cellular telephone base stations” is a 10 year study by the Belo Horizonte Brazil Health Department and several universities in Brazil that found an elevated relative risk of cancer mortality at residential distances of 500 meters or less from cell installations (Dode 2011). Shortly after this study was published, the city prosecutor sued several cell phone companies and requested that almost half of the city’s antennas be removed. Many antennas were dismantled.
A 2019 study of students in schools near cell towers found their higher RF exposure was associated with impacts on motor skills, memory and attention (Meo 2019). Examples of other effects linked to cell towers in research studies include neuropsychiatric problems, elevated diabetes, headaches, sleep problems and genetic damage. Such research continues to accumulate after the 2010 landmark review study on 56 studies that reported biological effects found at very low intensities, including impacts on reproduction, permeability of the blood-brain barrier, behavior, cellular and metabolic changes, and increases in cancer risk (Lai and Levitt 2010).
Cellular Antennas Create Measurable Increases in Radiation in the Area
A 2018 article published in The Lancet Planetary Health points to unprecedented increasing RF exposures (Bandara and Carpenter 2018). Another key finding from Zothansiama 2017 was that homes closer to antennas had measurably higher radiation levels—adding to the documentation that antennas increase RF levels. An Australian study also found that children in kindergartens with nearby antenna installations had nearly three-and-a-half times higher RF exposures than children with installations further away (more than 300 meters (Bhatt 2016).
A 2018 multi-country study that measured RF in several countries found that cell phone tower radiation is the dominant contributor to RF exposure in most outdoor areas exposure in urban areas was higher and that exposure has drastically increased. As an example, the measurements the researchers tool in Los Angeles, USA were 70 times higher than the US EPA estimate 40 years ago.
THOUSANDS OF MINI CELL TOWERS TO BE BUILT IN FRONT OF HOMES
5G will require the buildout of literally hundreds of thousands of new wireless antennas in neighborhoods, cities and towns. A cellular small cell or other transmitter will be placed every two to ten homes according to estimates. The purpose of this massive infrastructure build out of small cells, distributed antennae systems and microcells is to increase range and capacity in populated urban areas and prepare for the future 5G rollout. 5G frequencies will utilize higher frequencies that do not travel as far as the lower frequencies.
US state and federal governments are moving forth regulations which would make the right of way in front of homes as available sites for 5G transmitters – without consent of the property owners. In response, communities are protesting en mass as they do not want these transmitters built in front of their homes and communities want to be able to regulate the placement on right of ways. Some municipalities are taking the case to the courts with litigation.
5G WILL USE HIGHER ELECTROMAGNETIC FREQUENCIES
5G will utilize multiple frequencies from those currently in use for cell phones and wireless to higher millimeter frequencies.
Today’s cellular and Wi-Fi networks rely on microwaves – a type of electromagnetic radiation utilizing frequencies up to 6 gigahertz (GHz) in order to wirelessly transmit voice or data. However, 5G applications will require unlocking of new spectrum bands in higher frequency ranges above 6 GHz to 100 GHz and beyond, utilizing submillimeter and millimeter waves – to allow ultra-high rates of data to be transmitted in the same amount of time as compared with previous deployments of microwave radiation.
MILLIMETER AND SUBMILLIMETER WAVES ARE BIOLOGICALLY ACTIVE
Current investigations of wireless frequencies in the millimeter and submillimeter range confirm that these waves interact directly with human skin, specifically the sweat glands. Dr. Ben-Ishai of the Department of Physics, Hebrew University, Israel recently detailed how human sweat ducts act like an array of helical antennas when exposed to these wavelengths.
MECHANISM OF ACTION IS PROVEN
Research already indicates serious adverse effects from the wireless modalities in use today. Research studies from the Dielectric Spectroscopy Laboratory of the Department of Applied Physics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, headed by Dr. Yuri Feldman, indicate that 5Gs millimeter and submillimeter waves will uniquely interact with human skin and lead to preferential layer absorption. The number of sweat ducts within human skin varies from two million to four million. Replicated peer research of these biological effects in laboratory research has been conducted internationally and scientists consider this mechanism of action well proven (See documentation further down on this webpage).
5G FREQUENCIES ARE USED IN WEAPONS
For years, the U.S., Russian and Chinese defense agencies have been developing weapons that rely on the capability of this electromagnetic frequency range to induce unpleasant burning sensations on the skin as a form of crowd control. Millimeter waves are utilized by the U.S. Army in crowd dispersal guns called Active Denial Systems. Dr. Paul Ben-Ishai pointed to research that was commissioned by the U.S. Army to find out why people ran away when the beam touched them. “If you are unlucky enough to be standing there when it hits you, you will feel like your body is on fire.” The U.S. Department of Defense explains how “The sensation dissipates when the target moves out of the beam. The sensation is intense enough to cause a nearly instantaneous reflex action of the target to flee the beam.”
HUMAN SKIN WILL BE CLASSIFIED AS AN EXTREMITY ALLOWING HIGHER EXPOSURES
Our skin is our largest organ. Dariusz Leszczynski, PhD, Chief Editor of Radiation and Health has stated that the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection usually referred to as ICNIRP – is developing recommendations for public exposure limits of these higher frequencies is planning to classify all the skin in the human body as belonging to the limbs rather than to the head or torso. Leszczynski cautioned that, “If you classify skin as limbs – no matter where the skin is – you are permitted to expose it more than otherwise.”
We assume that in terms of US exposure limits this means that the skin will be classified as “an extremity”. Extremities are allowed to be exposed to much higher radiation levels than the brain, torso, legs and arms. In the USA extremities -in regards to wireless radiation- are specifically wrists and hands, ankles and feet and the ear.
5G DEPLOYMENT WITHOUT HEALTH EFFECT EVALUATION
5G is being developed and implemented without adequate evaluation of the effect of this technology on human health after long term exposure to these frequencies. Peer reviewed research studies have found adverse effects from the electromagnetic frequencies currently in use and that will be in use for this new technology.
“There is an urgent need to evaluate 5G health effects now before millions are exposed. We need to know if 5G increases the risk of skin diseases such as melanoma or other skin cancers,” stated Ron Melnick, the National Institutes of Health scientist, now retired, who led the design of the National Toxicology Program study on cell phone radiofrequency radiation.
In Dr. Cindy Russell’s A 5G Wireless Future: Will it give us a smart nation or contribute to an unhealthy one (Text PDF), published in the the Santa Clara Medical Association, Russell states that “3G, 4G, 5G or a combination of zapping frequencies giving us immersive connection and entertainment but at a potentially steep price.” Russell details the scientific documentation on 5G’s frequencies which include arrhythmias, heart rate variability, bacterial affects, antibiotic resistance, immune system affects, chromatin affects, teratogenic effects, altered gene expression and cataracts.
Please take the time to scroll down to read research recent research studies, watch videos and see expert testimony. EHT also has a youtube playlist dedicated to 5G science and to citizen testimony on 5G.
This webpage contains lists including recent bioeffects research, videos of expert lectures, and a list of submissions to the FCC on Spectrum Frontiers. Please scroll down for this information.
Expert Forum Lecture at the Israel Institute for Advanced Study at Hebrew University Medical School, January 24, 2017
Watch a lecture on submillimeter and millimeter frequencies by Paul Ben-Ishai, PhD of the Department of Physics, Ariel University, Israel, Full Bio and Yuri Feldman, PhD, Head of the Dielectric Spectroscopy Laboratory, Department of Applied Physics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Full Bio. Click here for a PDF of Abstract for this Presentation
Is 5G technology dangerous? Early data shows a slight increase of tumors in male rats exposed to cellphone radiation, Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times, Aug 8, 2016
A 5G Wireless Future: Will it give us a smart nation or contribute to an unhealthy one, Dr. Cindy Russell, Santa Clara Medical Association Bulletin Jan/Feb 2017 (Page 20 to 23) (Text only PDF)
The Internet of Things Poses Human Health Risks: Scientists Question the Safety of Untested 5G Technology at International Conference, Environmental Health Trust Press Release 3/9/2017
RESOURCES FOR THE COMMUNITY
WHAT ARE 5G AND THE INTERNET OF THINGS? Website: http://whatis5g.info/ This website considers all the issues surrounding 5G and the man ways 5G and the IoT will harm humans, the environment, and our Earth from cybersecurity to conflict minerals to health.
Citizens’ Cell Tower 5G Information Packet of Montgomery County: This slide presentation contains key details for communities addressing small cells in their neighborhood.
RECENT 5G and MILLIMETER WAVE BIOEFFECT STUDIES
This compilation has included several papers compiled from Dr. Joel Moskowitz on his blog SaferEMR, from work presented at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies at Hebrew University and from the Environmental Health Research Team.
Russell CL. 5G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications. Environmental Research. Available online 11 April 2018. in press.
- “On the horizon, a new generation of even shorter high frequency 5G wavelengths is being proposed to power the Internet of Things (IoT).”
- “It is argued that the addition of this added high frequency 5G radiation to an already complex mix of lower frequencies, will contribute to a negative public health outcome both from both physical and mental health perspectives.”
- “Like other common toxic exposures, the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF EMR) will be problematic if not impossible to sort out epidemiologically as there no longer remains an unexposed control group. This is especially important considering these effects are likely magnified by synergistic toxic exposures and other common health risk behaviors. Effects can also be non-linear. 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.”
- “Current radiofrequency radiation wavelengths we are exposed to appear to act as a toxin to biological systems. A moratorium on the deployment of 5G is warranted, along with development of independent health and environmental advisory boards that include independent scientists who research biological effects and exposure levels of radiofrequency radiation. Sound regulatory policy regarding current and future telecommunications initiative will require more careful assessment of risks to human health, environmental health, public safety, privacy, security and social consequences. Public health regulations need to be updated to match appropriate independent science with the adoption of biologically based exposure standards prior to further deployment of 4G or 5G technology.”
Betzalel N, Ben Ishai P, Feldman Y., The human skin as a sub-THz receiver – Does 5G pose a danger to it or not? Environ Res. 2018 May;163:208-216. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.01.032. Epub 2018 Feb 22.
- Experimentally we showed that the reflectance of the human skin in the sub-THz region depends on the intensity of perspiration, i.e. sweat duct’s conductivity, and correlates with levels of human stress (physical, mental and emotional). Later on, we detected circular dichroism in the reflectance from the skin, a signature of the axial mode of a helical antenna. The full ramifications of what these findings represent in the human condition are still unclear. We also revealed correlation of electrocardiography (ECG) parameters to the sub-THz reflection coefficient of human skin. In a recent work, we developed a unique simulation tool of human skin, taking into account the skin multi-layer structure together with the helical segment of the sweat duct embedded in it. The presence of the sweat duct led to a high specific absorption rate (SAR) of the skin in extremely high frequency band. In this paper, we summarize the physical evidence for this phenomenon and consider its implication for the future exploitation of the electromagnetic spectrum by wireless communication. Starting from July 2016 the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted new rules for wireless broadband operations above 24 GHz (5 G). This trend of exploitation is predicted to expand to higher frequencies in the sub-THz region. One must consider the implications of human immersion in the electromagnetic noise, caused by devices working at the very same frequencies as those, to which the sweat duct (as a helical antenna) is most attuned. We are raising a warning flag against the unrestricted use of sub-THz technologies for communication, before the possible consequences for public health are explored.
Nasim I, Kim S. Human Exposure to RF Fields in 5G Downlink. Submitted on 10 Nov 2017 to IEEE International Communications Conference.
- Our results show that 5G downlink RF fields generate significantly higher power density (PD) and specific absorption rate (SAR) than a current cellular system. This paper also shows that SAR should also be taken into account for determining human RF exposure in the mmW downlink.
TRIPATHI et al., Frequency of the resonance of the human sweat duct in a normal mode of operation, BIOMEDICAL OPTICS EXPRESS 130, Vol. 9, No. 3 | 1 March 2018
- This result indicates that careful consideration should be given while designing electronic and photonic devices operating in the sub-terahertz frequency region in order to avoid various effects on human health due to these waves.
Betzalel, Y. Feldman, and P. Ben Ishai, “The Modeling of the Absorbance of Sub-THz Radiation by Human Skin,” IEEE Trans. THz Sci. Tech. (Paris) 7(5), 521–528 (2017).
- In 2008, we demonstrated that the coiled portion of the sweat duct in upper skin layer could be regarded as a helical antenna in the sub-THz band. The full ramifications of what these findings represent in the human condition are still very unclear, but it is obvious that the absorption of electromagnetic energy is governed by the topology for the skin and its organelles, especially the sweat duct.
- “Preliminary observations showed that MMW increase skin temperature, alter gene expression, promote cellular proliferation and synthesis of proteins linked with oxidative stress, inflammatory and metabolic processes, could generate ocular damages, affect neuro-muscular dynamics.”
- “Further studies are needed to better and independently explore the health effects of RF-EMF in general and of MMW in particular. However, available findings seem sufficient to demonstrate the existence of biomedical effects, to invoke the precautionary principle, to define exposed subjects as potentially vulnerable and to revise existing limits.
Scientific Citations from the published study “Potential Risks to Human Health Originating from Future Sub-MM Communication Systems” by Paul Ben-Ishai, PhD and Yuri Feldman, PhD
Feldman, Yuri and Paul Ben-Ishai. “Potential Risks to Human Health Originating from Future Sub-MM Communication Systems.” Abstract, 2017.
Feldman, Yuri, et al. “Human skin as arrays of helical antennas in the millimeter and submillimeter wave range.” Physical Review Letters, vol. 100, no. 12, 2008.
Hayut, Itai, et al. “Circular polarization induced by the three-dimensional chiral structure of human sweat ducts.” Physical Review, vol. 89, no. 4, 2014.
Hayut, Itai, et al. “The Helical Structure of Sweat Ducts: Their Influence on the Electromagnetic Reflection Spectrum of the Skin.” IEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology, vol. 3, no. 2, 2013, pp. 207-15.
RESEARCH ON MILLIMETER WAVES
Haas AJ, et al. “Effect of acute millimeter wave exposure on dopamine metabolism of NGF-treated PC12 cells.” Journal of Radiation Research, 2017.
Gandhi OP, Riazi A. Absorption of millimeter waves by human beings and its biological implications. IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, vol. 34, no. 2, 1986, pp. 228-235.
Haas AJ, et al. “Effects of 60-GHz millimeter waves on neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells using high-content screening.” Neuroscience Letters, vol. 618, 2016, pp. 58-65.
Le Dréan Y, et al. “State of knowledge on biological effects at 40–60 GHz.” Comptes Rendus Physique, vol. 14, no. 5, 2013, pp. 402-411.
Sivachenko IB, et al. “Effects of Millimeter-Wave Electromagnetic Radiation on the Experimental Model of Migraine.” Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, vol. 160, no. 4, 2016, pp. 425-8.
Soghomonyan D, K. Trchounian and A. Trchounian. “Millimeter waves or extremely high frequency electromagnetic fields in the environment: what are their effects on bacteria?” Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, vol. 100, no. 11, 2016, pp. 4761-71.
Ramundo-Orlando A. Effects of millimeter waves radiation on cell membrane – A brief review. Journal of Infrared Millimeter Terahertz Waves, vol. 30, no. 12, 2010, pp. 1400-1411.
REFERENCES ON DEFENSE USE OF MILLIMETER WAVES
SUBMISSIONS TO THE FCC ON SPECTRUM FRONTIERS
On July 14, 2016, the FCC voted to approve Spectrum Frontiers, making the U.S. the first country in the world to open up higher-frequency millimeter wave spectrum for the development of 5G fifth-generation wireless cellular technology. The FCC was flooded with comments in opposition to 5G. Read full details at the EHT website on Spectrum Frontiers
Comments by Dafna Tachover and “We are the Evidence” to FCC, “Those Injured by Wireless ask Congress: Please Protect us and help protect the public’s health. Say STOP to the FCC and wheeler in 5G vote”
SPECTRUM FRONTIERS RESOURCES
INDUSTRY RESOURCES ON 5G
GSMA Intelligence. Understanding 5G
Innovation Center at the University of Surrey: What is 5G?
NYU Wireless: Millimeter wave channel modeling