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EMF Studies

05 May 2018

5G Wireless Technology: Is 5G Harmful to Our Health? - Recent Studies

5G Wireless Technology: Is 5G Harmful to Our Health?saferemr.com, 4 May 2018
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5G wireless telecommunications expansion:  Public health and environmental implications

Russell CL. 5G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications. Environmental Research. Available online 11 April 2018. In press. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2018.01.016.


The popularity, widespread use and increasing dependency on wireless technologies has spawned a telecommunications industrial revolution with increasing public exposure to broader and higher frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum to transmit data through a variety of devices and infrastructure. On the horizon, a new generation of even shorter high frequency 5G wavelengths is being proposed to power the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT promises us convenient and easy lifestyles with a massive 5G interconnected telecommunications network, however, the expansion of broadband with shorter wavelength radiofrequency radiation highlights the concern that health and safety issues remain unknown. Controversy continues with regards to harm from current 2G, 3G and 4G wireless technologies. 5G technologies are far less studied for human or environmental effects.

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.

Radiofrequency radiation (RF) is increasingly being recognized as a new form of environmental pollution. 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.

This article will review relevant electromagnetic frequencies, exposure standards and current scientific literature on the health implications of 2G, 3G, 4G exposure, including some of the available literature on 5G frequencies. The question of what constitutes a public health issue will be raised, as well as the need for a precautionary approach in advancing new wireless technologies.


Although 5G technology may have many unimagined uses and benefits, it is also increasingly clear that significant negative consequences to human health and ecosystems could occur if it is widely adopted. 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.

Considering the current science, lack of relevant exposure standards based on known biological effects and data gaps in research, we need to reduce our exposure to RF EMR where ever technically feasible. Laws or policies which restrict the full integrity of science and the scientific community with regards to health and environmental effects of wireless technologies or other toxic exposures should be changed to enable unbiased, objective and precautionary science to drive necessary public policies and regulation. Climate change, fracking, toxic emissions and microwave radiation from wireless devices all have something in common with smoking. There is much denial and confusion about health and environmental risks, along with industry insistence for absolute proof before regulatory action occurs (Frentzel-Beyme, 1994; Michaels 2008). There are many lessons we have not learned with the introduction of novel substances, which later became precarious environmental pollutants by not heeding warning signs from scientists (Gee, 2009). The threats of these common pollutants continue to weigh heavily on the health and well being of our nation. We now accept them as the price of progress. If we do not take precautions but wait for unquestioned proof of harm will it be too late at that point for some or all of us?


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The human skin as a sub-THz receiver - Does 5G pose a danger to it or not?

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.


• The sweat duct is regarded as a helical antenna in the sub-THz band, reflectance depends on perspiration.
• We outline the background for non-thermal effects based on the structure of sweat ducts.
• We have introduced a realistic skin EM model and found the expected SAR for the 5G standard.


In the interaction of microwave radiation and human beings, the skin is traditionally considered as just an absorbing sponge stratum filled with water. In previous works, we showed that this view is flawed when we demonstrated that the coiled portion of the sweat duct in upper skin layer is regarded as a helical antenna in the sub-THz band.

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.



The need for high data transmission rates, coupled with advances in semiconductor technology, is pushing the communications industry towards the sub-THz frequency spectrum. While the promises of a glorious future, resplendent with semi-infinite data streaming, may be attractive, there is a price to pay for such luxury. We shall find our cities, workspace and homes awash with 5 G base stations and we shall live though an unprecedented EM smog. The benefits to our society of becoming so wired cannot ignore possible health concerns, as yet unexplored. There is enough evidence to suggest that the combination of the helical sweat duct and wavelengths approaching the dimensions of skin layers could lead to non-thermal biological effects. Such fears should be investigated and these concerns should also effect the definition of standards for the application of 5G communications.

Human Exposure to RF Fields in 5G Downlink

Nasim I, Kim S. Human Exposure to RF Fields in 5G Downlink. Submitted on 10 Nov 2017 to IEEE International Communications Conference. arXiv:1711.03683v1.


While cellular communications in millimeter wave (mmW) bands have been attracting significant research interest, their potential harmful impacts on human health are not as significantly studied. Prior research on human exposure to radio frequency (RF) fields in a cellular communications system has been focused on uplink only due to the closer physical contact of a transmitter to a human body. However, this paper claims the necessity of thorough investigation on human exposure to downlink RF fields, as cellular systems deployed in mmW bands will entail (i) deployment of more transmitters due to smaller cell size and (ii) higher concentration of RF energy using a highly directional antenna. In this paper, we present human RF exposure levels in downlink of a Fifth Generation Wireless Systems (5G). 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.


Towards 5G Communication Systems:   Are there Health Implications?
Di Ciaula A. Towards 5G communication systems: Are there health implications? Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2018 Feb 2. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2018.01.011.


• RF-EMF exposure is rising and health effects of are still under investigation.• Both oncologic and non-cancerous chronic effects have been suggested.• 5G networks could have health effects and will use MMW, still scarcely explored.• Adequate knowledge of RF-EMF biological effects is also needed in clinical practice.• Underrating the problem could lead to a further rise in noncommunicable diseases.Abstract

The spread of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) is rising and health effects are still under investigation. RF-EMF promote oxidative stress, a condition involved in cancer onset, in several acute and chronic diseases and in vascular homeostasis. Although some evidences are still controversial, the WHO IARC classified RF-EMF as "possible carcinogenic to humans", and more recent studies suggested reproductive, metabolic and neurologic effects of RF-EMF, which are also able to alter bacterial antibiotic resistance.

In this evolving scenario, although the biological effects of 5G communication systems are very scarcely investigated, an international action plan for the development of 5G networks has started, with a forthcoming increment in devices and density of small cells, and with the future use of millimeter waves (MMW).

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. An adequate knowledge of pathophysiological mechanisms linking RF-EMF exposure to health risk should also be useful in the current clinical practice, in particular in consideration of evidences pointing to extrinsic factors as heavy contributors to cancer risk and to the progressive epidemiological growth of noncommunicable diseases.


Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley

Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

Website: http://www.saferemr.com

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