Electromagnetic fields, 5G and health: what about the precautionary principle?
New fifth generation (5G) telecommunications systems, now being rolled out globally, have become the subject of a fierce controversy. Some health protection agencies and their scientific advisory committees have concluded that there is no conclusive scientific evidence of harm. Several recent reviews by independent scientists, however, suggest that there is significant uncertainty on this question, with rapidly emerging evidence of potentially harmful biological effects from radio frequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposures, at the levels 5G roll-out will entail. This essay identifies four relevant sources of scientific uncertainty and concern: (1) lack of clarity about precisely what technology is included in 5G; (2) a rapidly accumulating body of laboratory studies documenting disruptive in vitro and in vivo effects of RF-EMFs—but one with many gaps in it; (3) an almost total lack (as yet) of high-quality epidemiological studies of adverse human health effects from 5G EMF exposure specifically, but rapidly emerging epidemiological evidence of such effects from past generations of RF-EMF exposure; (4) persistent allegations that some national telecommunications regulatory authorities do not base their RF-EMF safety policies on the latest science, related to unmanaged conflicts of interest. The author, an experienced epidemiologist, concludes that one cannot dismiss the growing health concerns about RF-EMFs, especially in an era when higher population levels of exposure are occurring widely, due to the spatially dense transmitters which 5G systems require. Based on the precautionary principle, the author echoes the calls of others for a moratorium on the further roll-out of 5G systems globally, pending more conclusive research on their safety.
Conclusions and recommendation
In assessing causal evidence in environmental epidemiology, Bradford Hill himself pointed out that ‘the whole picture matters;’ he argued against prioritising any subset of his famous nine criteria for causation. One’s overall assessment of the likelihood that an exposure causes a health condition should take into account a wide variety of evidence, including ‘biological plausibility’. After reviewing the evidence cited above, the writer, an experienced physician-epidemiologist, is convinced that RF-EMFs may well have serious human health effects. While there is also increasing scientific evidence for RF-EMF effects of ecological concern in other species, both plant and animal, these have not been reviewed here, for reasons of space and the author’s disciplinary limitations. In addition, there is convincing evidence, cited above, that several nations’ regulatory apparatus, for telecommunications innovations such as the 5G roll-out, is not fit for purpose. Indeed, significant elements in that apparatus appear to have been captured by vested interests. Every society’s public health—and especially the health of those most likely to be susceptible to the hazard in question (in the case of EMFs, children and pregnant women)—needs to be protected by evidence-based regulations, free from significant bias.
Finally, this commentary would be
remiss if it did not mention a widely circulating conspiracy theory,
suggesting that 5G and related EMF exposures somehow contributed to the
creation or spread of the current COVID-19 pandemic. There are
knowledgeable commentators’ reports on the web debunking this theory, and no respectable scientist or publication has backed it. Indeed, combatting it is widely viewed by the scientific community as critical to dealing with the pandemic, as conspiracy theorists holding this view have already carried out violent attacks on mobile phone transmission facilities and other symbolic targets, distracting the public and authorities at a time when pandemic control actions are paramount. 42 This writer completely supports that view of the broader scientific community: the theory that 5G and related EMFs have contributed to the pandemic is baseless.
It follows that, for the current 5G roll-out, there is a sound basis for invoking ‘the precautionary principle’. This is the environmental and occupational health principle by which significant doubt about the safety of a new and potentially widespread human exposure should be a reason to call a moratorium on that exposure, pending adequate scientific investigation of its suspected adverse health effects. In short, one should ‘err on the side of caution’. In the case of 5G transmission systems, there is no compelling public health or safety rationale for their rapid deployment. The main gains being promised are either economic (for some parties only, not necessarily with widely distributed financial benefits across the population) or related to increased consumer convenience. Until we know more about what we are getting into, from a health and ecological point of view, those putative gains need to wait.
Regulators Steamroll Health Concerns as the Global Economy Embraces 5G (The Washington Spectator)
"We Have No Reason to Believe 5G is Safe" (Scientific American)
(includes "5G, Public Health and Uncomfortable Truths")
From the knowledge and principle of electromagnetism, human beings are constituted of substantial amount of oriented cells with diverse electromagnetic field attributes. The Biological attributes of the human tissue under diverse electromagnetic radiative emission are studied and that had provided the basis upon which the current research on the effects of electromagnetic fields on the human body. The heating consequences of the radio electromagnetic waves from 5G network technology deployment had formed the fundamental basis for current research. On the several findings of the research, deploying 5G network technology under the ultra-high baseband above 20 GHz will produce effects such as heating up of the body tissues due to electromagnetic field inducement on the account that human body is dipolar in nature. The effects will extend to produce dielectric polarization, ionic polarization, interfacial polarization and orientational polarization. This is generally on the account that variations on dielectric properties of biological tissues with the frequency of the electromagnetic field inducement are very dissimilar. While it is very imperative to determine the frequency distribution in deploying the novel 5G network to avoid adverse dielectric dispersion that may flow into the human body.
"First, we discuss the human EMF exposure in the downlink as well as the uplink. Most of the prior work studies the uplink only, while hardly paying attention to EMF emissions generated by BSs [base stations or cell towers] in a 5G network. Recall the aforementioned changes that the 5G adopts: 1) operation at higher carrier frequencies; 2) reduction of cell size (which leads to increase in number of BSs; and 3) concentration of higher EMF energy into an antenna beam. They all imply that in 5G, unlike the previous-generation wireless systems, the downlink can also be a threat to human health as well as the uplink.
Second, we suggest that both SAR [Specific Absorption Rate] and PD [power density] should be used to display human EMF exposure for a wireless system. The reason is that SAR captures an amount of EMF energy that is actually “absorbed” into human tissues, whereas PD is an efficient metric only to present the EMF energy being introduced to a human user.
Third, we present an explicit comparison of human EMF exposure in 5G to those in the currently deployed wireless standards....Fourth, we consider the maximum possible exposure that a human user can experience...."
Also, it is significant to notice that no regulation exists at 28 GHz where this article investigates for 5G. As such, we refer to the ICNIRP's guideline that is set to be 2 W/kg by ICNIRP at a frequency “below 10 GHz.” In Figure 3(d), it provides a ““inferred” understanding on SAR in an uplink. The zoom-in look shown in Figure 3(d) suggests that in 5G, use of a handheld device within the distance of 8 cm causes an EMF absorption exceeding 2 W/kg, which would have been prohibited if the carrier frequency was lower than 10 GHz. This implies the gravity of human EMF exposure in an uplink of 5G."
"This article has discussed human EMF exposure in 5G operating at 28 GHz, while most of the prior work focuses only on the technological benefits that the technology brings. Considering the significance of wireless technologies in our daily life, the potential danger of using them should also be emphasized for sustainable advancement of the technologies. In this article, the first case study has demonstrated how much EMF exposure is caused in a 5G system compared to 4G and 3.9G. Then, the latter case study has suggested an adequate separation distance from a transmitter, in order to keep a human user from being exposed to EMF below a regulatory guideline. This article is expected to ignite continued interest in overarching research on the design of future wireless systems that achieve high performance while keeping consumer safety guaranteed.
However, considering the gravity of this issue, we suggest several directions to be achieved in our future research.
Human EMF exposure mitigation strategy: We are particularly interested in exploiting the technical features in future wireless systems—i.e., a larger number of BSs within a unit area. Such a paradigm change will enable a holistic, network-based approach to mitigate the EMF exposure as an optimization problem with a set of constraints representing the PD, SAR, and skin-temperature elevation.
Further studies regarding exact human health impacts caused by EMF exposure: The particular focus will be put on 1) skin dielectric effect with respect to frequency and 2) the effect of radiation when the body is covered with clothing or garment materials."
More than 200 Monte Carlo simulated exposure scenarios have been analyzed to evaluate total human exposure in 5G Networks for different topologies and user scenarios. The results show that for all users (except non-users), the total exposure is dominated by a person’s own mobile device. Compared to a non-user, the exposure is increased for a light user (with 100 MByte uplink data per day) by 6 – 10 dB (or by a factor 4 to 10), for a moderate user (with 1 GByte uplink data per day) by 13 – 25 dB (or by a factor of 20 to >300), and for a heavy user by 25 – 40 dB (or a factor of 300 to >10000). The peak exposure of non-users is further not defined by exposure to surrounding base stations but by mobile devices of close bystanders in urban areas, resulting in 6 dB (or a factor of 4) higher exposure than from a nearby base station antenna.
In all, the EMF-Portal archive references more than 30,000 publications and presentations on non-ionizing electromagnetic fields. The Portal is a project based at the University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Germany.
• Extremely complex modulation patterns involving numerous frequencies form novel exposures.
• Beam formation characteristics can produce hotspots of high unknown intensities.
• A vast number of antenna arrays will add millions of microwave transmitters globally in addition to the existing RF transmitters thereby greatly increasing human exposure. This includes 5G small cell antennas to be erected every 200-250 metres on street fixtures, such as power poles and bus shelters, many of which will be only metres from homes with the homeowners having absolutely no say in where the antennas will be located.
James C. Lin. 5G Communication Technology and Coronavirus Disease [Health Matters]. IEEE Microwave Magazine, 21(9):16-19. Sep 2020.
Current limits for exposures to nonionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) are set, based on relatively short-term exposures. Long-term exposures to weak EMF are not addressed in the current guidelines. Nevertheless, a large and growing amount of evidence indicates that long-term exposure to weak fields can affect biological systems and might have effects on human health. If they do, the public health issues could be important because of the very large fraction of the population worldwide that is exposed. We also discuss research that needs to be done to clarify questions about the effects of weak fields. In addition to the current short-term exposure guidelines, we propose an approach to how weak field exposure guidelines for long-term exposures might be set, in which the responsibility for limiting exposure is divided between the manufacturer, system operator, and individual being exposed.
“PROPOSED APPROACH TO SETTING EXPOSURE LIMITS
From these and other lines of solid research, the guidelines for exposure could be revised. Increased emphasis on long-term exposures may require refining the concept of dose to more flexibly combine exposure time and field intensity or energy absorbed. Eventual guidelines might suggest limiting cell phone calls to X hours per day with exposure levels above Y W/m2, and for Z days per week exposure should be less than Y W/m2 to allow the body to reset its baseline.”
“What is missing in the current guidelines or regulations are guidelines for long-term exposure to weak EMF….”
“Guidelines should be set at three levels: the individual user, local company, and national or international level…. External guidance, in terms of informed recommendations or at least analysis of various intensities and styles of usage from some agency such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or NIH, would be useful.
Limits on the time for operations of base stations and exposures in adjacent living spaces are not controlled by the user and must be set by competent authorities, based on scientific evidence. It is likely to be difficult to specify times when exposures to RF signals are zero or below some limit. What will be needed is being able to say with some certainty that exposure below a given level has not been shown to cause changes in body chemistry above some level. A starting point might be current levels from TV and radio stations that are large enough to give signal-to-noise ratios around 20 dB (100-fold) with typical receiving systems. Currently, mean values for the population's exposure to these systems are estimated to be around 0.1 V/m and peak exposures range up to 2 V/m, which exceed current exposure limits for a small fraction of the population. Therefore, one starting point for exposure limits might be an average of 0.1 V/m, not based on research but on practicality, until further research results dictate either a lower or higher limit.”
- Difference between 5G and current technology
- Regulation of electromagnetic fields and 5G exposure
- European Parliament Research on EMF and 5G effects on human health
- Stakeholders' views
- The road ahead for 5G
• Most laboratory experiments were not designed to identify the more severe adverse effects reflective of real-life conditions
• Many experiments do not include the real-life pulsing and modulation of the carrier signal
• Vast majority of experiments do not account for synergistic adverse effects of other toxic stimuli with wireless radiation
• 5G mobile networking technology will affect not only the skin and eyes, but will have adverse systemic effects as well
This article identifies adverse effects of non-ionizing non-visible radiation (hereafter called wireless radiation) reported in the premier biomedical literature. It emphasizes that most of the laboratory experiments conducted to date are not designed to identify the more severe adverse effects reflective of the real-life operating environment in which wireless radiation systems operate. Many experiments do not include pulsing and modulation of the carrier signal. The vast majority do not account for synergistic adverse effects of other toxic stimuli (such as chemical and biological) acting in concert with the wireless radiation. This article also presents evidence that the nascent 5G mobile networking technology will affect not only the skin and eyes, as commonly believed, but will have adverse systemic effects as well.
Hardell L, Nyberg R. [Comment] Appeals that matter or not on a moratorium on the deployment of the fifth generation, 5G, for microwave radiation. Molecular and Clinical Oncology. Published online January 22, 2020. https://doi.org/10.3892/mco.2020.1984.
Radiofrequency (RF) radiation in the frequency range of 30 kHz‑300 GHz is classified as a ‘possible’ human carcinogen, Group 2B, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) since 2011. The evidence has since then been strengthened by further research; thus, RF radiation may now be classified as a human carcinogen, Group 1. In spite of this, microwave radiations are expanding with increasing personal and ambient exposure. One contributing factor is that the majority of countries rely on guidelines formulated by the International Commission on Non‑Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), a private German non‑governmental organization. ICNIRP relies on the evaluation only of thermal (heating) effects from RF radiation, thereby excluding a large body of published science demonstrating the detrimental effects caused by non‑thermal radiation. The fifth generation, 5G, for microwave radiation is about to be implemented worldwide in spite of no comprehensive investigations of the potential risks to human health and the environment. In an appeal sent to the EU in September, 2017 currently >260 scientists and medical doctors requested for a moratorium on the deployment of 5G until the health risks associated with this new technology have been fully investigated by industry‑independent scientists. The appeal and four rebuttals to the EU over a period of >2 years, have not achieved any positive response from the EU to date. Unfortunately, decision makers seem to be uninformed or even misinformed about the risks. EU officials rely on the opinions of individuals within the ICNIRP and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), most of whom have ties to the industry. They seem to dominate evaluating bodies and refute risks. It is important that these circumstances are described. In this article, the warnings on the health risks associated with RF presented in the 5G appeal and the letters to the EU Health Commissioner since September, 2017 and the authors' rebuttals are summarized. The responses from the EU seem to have thus far prioritized industry profits to the detriment of human health and the environment.
Spatial and Time Averaging Restrictions Within the Electromagnetic Exposure Safety Framework in the Frequency Range Above 6 GHz
in new Emerging Risk report from Swiss Re
Swiss Re, one of the world's leading providers of insurance and reinsurance, rated 5G as a "high impact" risk for the insurance industry that may affect property and casualty claims in more than 3 years.
Off the leash – 5G mobile networks
"5G – short for fifth generation – is the latest standard for cellular mobile communications. Providing ultrafast broadband connection with higher capacity and lower latency, 5G is not only heaven for your smartphone. It will enable wireless connectivity in real time for any device of the Internet of things (IoT), whether that be autonomous cars or sensor-steered factory. In doing so, it will allow decentralised seamless interconnectivity between devices. To allow for a functional network coverage and increased capacity overall, more antennas will be needed, including acceptance of higher levels of electromagnetic radiation. In some jurisdictions, the rise of threshold values will require legal adaptation. Existing concerns regarding potential negative health effects from electromagnetic fields (EMF) are only likely to increase. An uptick in liability claims could be a potential long-term consequence.
Other concerns are focused on cyber exposures, which increase with the wider scope of 5G wireless attack surfaces. Traditionally IoT devices have poor security features. Moreover, hackers can also exploit 5G speed and volume, meaning that more data can be stolen much quicker. A large-scale breakthrough of autonomous cars and other IoT applications will mean that security features need to be enhanced at the same pace. Without, interruption and subversion of the 5G platform could trigger catastrophic, cumulative damage. With a change to more automation facilitated by new technology like 5G, we might see a further shift from motor to more general and product liability insurance. There are also worries about privacy issues (leading to increased litigation risks), security breaches and espionage. The focus is not only on hacking by third parties, but also potential breaches from built-in hard- or software “backdoors.” In addition, the market for 5G infrastructure is currently focussed on a couple of firms, and that raises the spectre of concentration risk. Potential impacts:
· Cyber exposures are significantly increased with 5G, as attacks become faster and higher in volume. This increases the challenge of defence.
· Growing concerns of the health implications of 5G may lead to political friction and delay of implementation, and to liability claims. The introductions of 3G and 4G faced similar challenges.
· Information security and national sovereignty concerns might delay implementation of 5G further, increasing uncertainty for planning authorities, investors, tech companies and insurers.
· Heated international dispute over 5G contractors and potential for espionage or sabotage could affect international cooperation, and impact financial markets negatively.
· As the biological effects of EMF in general and 5G in particular are still being debated, potential claims for health impairments may come with a long latency."
Simkó M, Mattsson MO. 5G wireless communication and health effects-A pragmatic review based on available studies regarding 6 to 100 GHz. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Sep 13;16(18). pii: E3406. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16183406.
The introduction of the fifth generation (5G) of wireless communication will increase the number of high-frequency-powered base stations and other devices. The question is if such higher frequencies (in this review, 6-100 GHz, millimeter waves, MMW) can have a health impact. This review analyzed 94 relevant publications performing in vivo or in vitro investigations. Each study was characterized for: study type (in vivo, in vitro), biological material (species, cell type, etc.), biological endpoint, exposure (frequency, exposure duration, power density), results, and certain quality criteria. Eighty percent of the in vivo studies showed responses to exposure, while 58% of the in vitro studies demonstrated effects. The responses affected all biological endpoints studied. There was no consistent relationship between power density, exposure duration, or frequency, and exposure effects. The available studies do not provide adequate and sufficient information for a meaningful safety assessment, or for the question about non-thermal effects. There is a need for research regarding local heat developments on small surfaces, e.g., skin or the eye, and on any environmental impact. Our quality analysis shows that for future studies to be useful for safety assessment, design and implementation need to be significantly improved.
Pall M. Eight repeatedly documented findings each show that EMF safety guidelines do not predict biological effects and are, therefore fraudulent: The consequences for both microwave frequency exposures and also 5G. Second Edition, May 23, 2019.
ICNIRP, US FCC, EU and other EMF safety guidelines are all based on the assumption that
average EMF intensities and average SAR can be used to predict biological effects and therefore safety. Eight different types of quantitative or qualitative data are analyzed here to determine whether these safety guidelines predict biological effects. In each case the safety guidelines fail and in most of these, fail massively. Effects occur at approximately 100,000 times below allowable levels and the basic structure of the safety guidelines is shown to be deeply flawed. The safety guidelines ignore demonstrated biological heterogeneity and established biological mechanisms. Even the physics underlying the safety guidelines is shown to be flawed. Pulsed EMFs are in most cases much more biologically active than are non-pulsed EMFs of the same average intensity, but pulsations are ignored in the safety guidelines despite the fact that almost all of our current exposures are highly pulsed. There are exposure windows such that maximum effects are produced in certain intensity windows and also in certain frequency windows but the consequent very complex dose-response curves are ignored by the safety guidelines. Several additional flaws in the safety guidelines are shown through studies of both individual and paired nanosecond pulses. The properties of 5G predict that guidelines will be even more flawed in predicting 5G effects than the already stunning flaws that the safety guidelines have in predicting our other EMF exposures. The consequences of these findings is that “safety guidelines” should always be expressed in quotation marks; they do not predict biological effects and therefore do not predict safety. Because of that we have a multi-trillion dollar set of companies, the telecommunication industry, where all assurances of safety are fraudulent because they are based on these “safety guidelines.”
Open access paper: http://bit.ly/RFguidelinesPall190523
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.
More than 200 Monte Carlo simulated exposure scenarios have been analyzed to evaluate total human exposure in 5G Networks for different topologies and user scenarios. The results show that for all users (except non-users), the total exposure is dominated by a person’s own mobile device. Compared to a non-user, the exposure is increased for a light user (with 100 MByte uplink data per day) by 6 – 10 dB (or by a factor 4 to 10), for a moderate user (with 1 GByte uplink data per day) by 13 – 25 dB (or by a factor of 20 to >300), and for a heavy user by 25 – 40 dB (or a factor of 300 to >10000). The peak exposure of non-users is further not defined by exposure to surrounding base stations but by mobile devices of close bystanders in urban areas,resulting in 6 dB (or a factor of 4) higher exposure than from a nearby base station antenna.
In a world where many overlapping 2G, 3G, and 4G electromagnetic radiation sources already exist, concerns regarding the potential increase in these radiation levels following the roll-out of 5G networks are growing. The deployment of 5G is expected to increase power density levels drastically, given the limitations of mmWave communications that impose a notably higher number of base stations to cover a given area of interest. In this paper, we propose a gradual deployment strategy of a 5G network for a small area in downtown Austin, Texas, using the already existing 4G LTE sites of the area. The radiated power density of the proposed 5G network is then analyzed according to several electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure limits and compared to the radiation levels of the same area where only the LTE network is present. Simulation results for the selected area demonstrate the significant increase in radiation levels resulting from the addition of 5G cell towers.
W/m2. Finally, the Chinese ministry of health  have set the power density exposure limit to 0.1 W/m2.
Jamshed MA, Heliot F, Brown T. A Survey on Electromagnetic Risk Assessment and Evaluation Mechanism for Future Wireless Communication Systems. IEEE Journal of Electromagnetics, RF and Microwaves in Medicine and Biology. May 20, 2019. DOI: 10.1109/JERM.2019.2917766
The accurate measurement of electromagnetic exposure and its application is expected to become more and more important in future wireless communication systems, given the explosion in both the number of wireless devices and equipments radiating electromagnetic-fields (EMF) and the growing concerns in the general public linked to it. Indeed, the next generation of wireless systems aims at providing a higher data rate,better quality of service (QoS), and lower latency to users by increasing the number of access points, i.e. densification, which in turn will increase EMF exposure. Similarly, the multiplication of future connected devices,e.g. internet of things (IoT) devices, will also contribute to an increase in EMF exposure. This paper provides a detailed survey relating to the potential health hazards linked with EMF exposure and the different metrics that are currently used for evaluating,limiting and mitigating the effects of this type of exposure on the general public. This paper also reviews the possible impacts of new wireless technologies on EMF exposure and proposes some novel research directions for updating the EMF exposure evaluation framework and addressing these impacts in future wireless communication systems. For instance, the impact of mmWave or massive-MIMO/beamforming on EMF exposure has yet to be fully understood and included in the exposure evaluation framework.
A thorough survey on exposure risk assessment, evaluation, limitation and mitigation for current and future wireless devices and equipments has been provided in this paper. From the human health point of view, it seems that the possibility of brain tumor is still the main cause of concerns related to the extensive use of wireless devices, even though the effects of EMF exposure is now being investigated in new parts of the body (e.g. eyes). Meanwhile, with the advent of 5G, more efforts are now been made to understand the thermal and non-thermal effects of mmWave exposure on the human body. When it comes to the evaluation of EMF exposure, we have presented the most common evaluation frameworks and metrics that are utilized in wireless communications to measure the exposure. We have also explained how new more generic metrics have been defined by combining existing metrics to better reflect the exposure of large geographical areas and have argued that a generic metric for measuring the individual exposure would also be of interest. We have also reviewed the existing exposure guidelines and have explained how they can be updated for better reflecting the true nature of EMF exposure, i.e. by better taking into account the duration of exposure. Finally, we have provided some views on how key 5G enabling technologies such as densification, massive MIMO and mmWave will impact the EMF exposure in the near future; for instance, the dense deployment of small cells and IoT devices is very likely to increase the overall ambient exposure. We also believe that there could be some technical opportunities in 5G to increase the exposure awareness of wireless system users and to let them decide if they want to reduce it at the cost of, for instance, a lower QoS.
The Human Skin as a Sub-THz Receiver - Does 5G Pose a Danger to It or Not?
• 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.
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.
Pawlak R, Krawiec P, Żurek J. On measuring electromagnetic fields in 5G technology. IEEE Access. 7: 29826-29835. March 5, 2019. DOI: 10.1109/ACCESS.2019.2902481
At the awakening of the new 5G network as the network of services, issues related to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) will become one of the key aspects for the cost-effective establishment of the 5G infrastructure. The new 5G services will meet the rigorous demand for bandwidth through the implementation of a large number of densely located base stations operating in the millimeter-wave range. Introduction of new emission sources, working in parallel with already existing 2G/3G/4G mobile technologies, raises concerns about exceeding the admissible EMF exposure limits. This paper analyzes issues and challenges related to EMF measurements in 5G technology, which are crucial for the assessment of EMF compliance with regulatory limits. We point out that the existing methodologies, dedicated to EMF measurements in 2G, 3G, and 4G networks, are not suitable for 5G. The reason is the use of new techniques, such as massive MIMO and precise beamforming together with higher frequency bands so that the existing measurement methods can lead to significantly overestimated results when they will be applied to 5G networks. Such results, in conjunction with the restrictive legislation on the EMF limits that apply in some countries, may have the negative impact on 5G network deployment, making it difficult to achieve the intended 5G network capabilities. We also propose an alternative method of EMF exposure assessment that is based on calculations and simulations and allows obtaining an accurate estimation of the EMF distribution in the 5G environment.
Open access paper: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8660395
Persia S, Carciofi C, Barbiroli M, Volta C, Bontempelli D, Anania G. Radio frequency electromagnetic field exposure assessment for future 5G networks. IEEE 29th Annual International Symposium on Personal, Indoor and Mobile Radio Communications (PIMRC), 2018. IEEE, 2018. doi:10.1109/PIMRC.2018.8580919
The fifth generation of mobile network (5G) will relay not only on the expansion of existing fourth (4G) Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, but thanks to the introduction of new radio access in the millimetre wave bands will allow to meet new requirements in terms of connectivity and capacity. Specifically, 5G network will be characterized by the use of new spectrum at higher frequencies with a very large number of antenna elements deployment. As a consequence, the RF EMF (Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Field) compliance assessments with the regulatory requirements for human exposure for the installation permission needs to be revised accordingly. In this work, a Country case (Italy), where a more restrictive regulatory framework than the ICNIRP Guidelines is applied, has been analysed to investigate the impact of the restrictive approach on the future 5G mobile networks roll-out.
The EMF evaluations of existing cellular networks has been analysed in this work in order to highlight how restrictive regulatory framework than International Guidelines can affect 5G and future network deployment. Italy case study is considered as an example, due to its restrictive regulation to verify if it can permit an efficient 5G roll-out. This consideration has been confirmed by evaluations of the trend of saturated sites from 2010 to 2017 in Italy. Simulations demonstrate that in Italy the strong development expected for the evolution of 4G networks and, in the perspective of 5G systems, can be threatened with the stringent constraints imposed by the current regulatory framework for exposure to electromagnetic fields.
Extreme broadband wireless devices operating above 10 GHz may transmit data in bursts of a few milliseconds to seconds. Even though the time- and area-averaged power density values remain within the acceptable safety limits for continuous exposure, these bursts may lead to short temperature spikes in the skin of exposed people. In this paper, a novel analytical approach to pulsed heating is developed and applied to assess the peak-to-average temperature ratio as a function of the pulse fraction α (relative to the averaging time T; it corresponds to the inverse of the peak-to-average ratio). This has been analyzed for two different perfusion-related thermal time constants (τ1 = 100 s and 500 s) corresponding to plane-wave and localized exposures. To allow for peak temperatures that considerably exceed the 1 K increase, the CEM43 tissue damage model, with an experimental-data-based damage threshold for human skin of 600 min, is used to allow large temperature oscillations that remain below the level at which tissue damage occurs. To stay consistent with the current safety guidelines, safety factors of 10 for occupational exposure and 50 for the general public were applied. The model assumptions and limitations (e.g., employed thermal and tissue damage models, homogeneous skin, consideration of localized exposure by a modified time constant) are discussed in detail.
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.
Implications of EMF exposure limits on output power levels for 5G devices above 6 GHz
5G: The Unreported Global Threat
Devra Davis, PhD, Medium, May 18, 2019
"Small Cell" Antenna Bill (Calif. SB 649)
I have been hearing from scientists around the world who are deeply concerned about the deployment of fifth generation (5G) wireless technology without adequate research on the health effects of exposure to this type of radio frequency radiation.
Following is a sample of letters sent to California Governor Brown asking him to veto SB 659, a "small cell" antenna bill written by the cellular industry that paves the way for deployment of 5G wireless technology across the state.
Professor Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Golomb's letter begins with the following warning:
"I urge in the strongest terms that you vigorously oppose California SB 649.
If this bill passes, many people will suffer greatly, and needlessly, as a direct result.
This sounds like hyperbole. It is not.
My research group at UC San Diego alone has received hundreds of communications from people who have developed serious health problems from electromagnetic radiation, following introduction of new technologies. Others with whom I am in communication, have independently received hundreds of similar reports. Most likely these are a tip of an iceberg of tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of affected person. As each new technology leading to further exposure to electromagnetic radiation is introduced – and particularly introduced in a fashion that prevents vulnerable individuals from avoiding it – a new group become sensitized to health effects. This is particularly true for pulsed signals in the radiowave and microwave portion of the spectrum, the type for which the proposed bill SB 640 will bypass local control."In the letter, Dr. Golomb summarizes the research on the effects of exposure to radio frequency radiation and advocates for "safer, wired and well shielded technology – not more wireless."
Professor Martin Pall, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University, explains in his letter to the Governor his peer-reviewed research which has documented ...
"exquisite sensitivity to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in the voltage sensors in each cell, such that the force impacting our cells at the voltage sensor has massive impact on the biology in the cells of our bodies."
"This new understanding [1-7] means we can debunk the claims of the wireless industry that there cannot be a mechanism for effects produced by these weak EMFs. The 20 years plus of industry propaganda claims are false. Rather the thousands of studies showing diverse health impacts of these EMFs can be explained. We now have a mechanism, one that is supported by both the biology and the physics, both of which are pointing in exactly the same direction."
"5G will be much more active in activating the VGCCs and producinghealth impacts because of its rapid absorption by materials in the body, because of its very rapid pulsations and because of the huge number antennae they are planning to put up, at least 200 times the number of antennae from all current cell phone towers. What this means is that the impacts on the outer one to two inches of our bodies will be massive."
His letter discusses the potential health impacts on humans and on agriculture with exposure to 5G radiation.
The letter can be downloaded at: http://bit.ly/SB649Pall
Dr. Michael Lipsett, MD, JD, a retired public health physician with extensive experience in environmental health, mentions in his letter the recent demand for a 5G moratorium by more than 180 scientists and physicians and the study of cell phone radiation conducted by the National Toxicology Program.
He points out that while individuals can take precautions to reduce their exposure to radiofrequency radiation emitted by wireless devices, this is not feasible with exposure from cell antennas. He notes that ...
"laboratory and human health investigations designed and conducted by independent researchers have reported associations linking exposure to radiation from cell phones or similar devices with multiple adverse effects (e.g., headaches, impacts on brain function, memory, learning and sleep; decreased sperm counts and quality) as well as with DNA damage and tumors of the brain and nervous system."
"Potential health impacts of wireless communication have been ignored or obscured for decades by the telecommunications industry, which has implied that cell phones and other devices are safe because they comply with federal safety standards. However, these standards were established more than 20 years ago and were based on assumptions that have since been called into question by health research studies. The push to establish a 5G network, exemplified by SB 649, is based on a similarly unproven assumption: i.e., that round-the-clock exposure to 5G frequencies will not affect human health or the environment.
Establishment of a 5G network will be irreversible, as will the pattern of near-universal exposure of California residents to high-frequency, as-yet-untested 5G electromagnetic radiation."The letter can be downloaded at: http://bit.ly/LipsettSB649.
June 23, 2017
for 5G “Small Cell” Antennas
FCC filing detail (June 9, 2017)
FCC submission: International EMF Scientist Appeal
International EMF Scientist Appeal Official Website
May 8, 2017
Safety testing for 5G is the same as other wireless devices. It is based on heat. This is an obsolete standard and not considering current science showing cellular and organism harm from non-thermal effects. There is a large gap in safety data for 5G biological effects that has been demonstrated in older studies including military.
1. Do not proceed to roll out 5G technologies pending pre-market studies on health effects.
2. Reevaluate safety standards based on long term as well as short term studies on biological effects.
3. Rescind a portion of Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which preempts state and local government regulation for the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects so that health and environmental issues can be addressed.
4. Rescind portions of The Spectrum Act which was passed in 2012 as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which strips the ability city officials and local governments to regulate cellular communications equipment, provides no public notification or opportunity for public input and may potentially result in environmental impacts.
5. Create an independent multidisciplinary scientific agency tasked with developing appropriate safety regulations, pre-market testing and research needs in a transparent environment with public input.
6. Label pertinent EMF information on devices along with appropriate precautionary warnings.Dr. Russell provides a brief review of the research on millimeter wave bioeffects in this article: http://bit.ly/5GRussell.
Aug 17, 2016 (Updated Aug 19)
5G cellular technology will employ much higher frequency microwaves than current cell phone technologies: 2G, 3G, and 4G. These microwaves, known as millimeter waves, won't penetrate building materials like the current technology which is why industry may need one cell antenna base station for every 12 homes.
When the Los Angeles Times reporter contacted me for the story below, I did a quick search and found several recently published articles examining biological effects of millimeter waves (see references below). This form of microwave radiation is most likely to affect our skin and neuronal cells in the upper dermis.
Moreover, widespread adoption of 5G cellular technology in the U.S. may have profound effects on our ecosystem by altering bacteria, possibly creating harmful bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
History has proved that we cannot trust the FCC and the FDA to protect our health from microwave radiation exposure.
I submitted an open letter to the FCC in July calling for "an independent review of the biologic and health research to determine whether the RF standards should be modified before allowing additional spectrum to be used for new commercial applications."
Moreover, the FCC has ignored the 800-plus submissions that call upon the agency to adopt rigorous radio frequency standards to protect the public’s health. Instead the agency maintains its 20-year old exposure guidelines that control only for heating or thermal risks. The FDA has ignored the thousands of studies that find nonthermal biologic effects, and the human studies that find a wide range of health effects including increased cancer risk and reproductive harm from exposure to low intensity microwaves.
However, more research is also needed as specific characteristics of the millimeter waves (e.g., pulsing, modulation) to be employed in 5G cellular technology may be more important than the frequency or intensity of the waves in terms of biologic and health effects. The research funding must be independent of industry as conflicts of interest have been found to undermine the science in this field.
The Russians have pioneered millimeter wave therapy (MWT) using low intensity millimeter waves to reduce pain including headaches, joint pain, and postoperative pain.
"We conclude that there is promising data from pilot case series and small-scale randomized controlled trials for analgesic/hypoalgesic effects of electromagnetic millimeter waves in frequency range 30–70 GHz. Large-scale randomized controlled trials on the effectiveness of this non-invasive therapeutic technique are necessary."
"In the studies reviewed the authors did not report any health-related side effects of MWT. Slight paresthesias, previously mentioned in several case reports and non-controlled case series (10,11), appeared in almost 50% of patients in studies where the effects of MWT were carefully described (21,27,28,31). The paresthesias were of short duration and reported as pleasant (‘warmth’) or neutral. General fatigue and sleepiness during the treatment sessions in almost 80% of the patients was a rather desirable side effect of MWT, as also described in previous reviews on biomedical effects of MWT (10,11,21,27,28)."
From: Usichenko TI, Edinger H, Gizhko VV, Lehmann C, Wendt M, Feyerherd F. Low-intensity electromagnetic millimeter waves for pain therapy. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006 Jun;3(2):201-7. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1475937/Little research is available on long-term exposure to millimeter waves (see below). Most of the studies referred to in this review paper did not modulate or pulse the carrier waves which will be required for information-carrying millimeter waves employed in 5G technologies. Prior research suggests that such waves will be more biologically active than pure sine waves.
Pujol F, Manero C, Ropert S, Enjalbal A, Lavender T, Jervis V, Rudd R, Marcus JS. Study on using millimetre waves bands for the deployment of the 5G ecosystem in the Union: Final Report. A study prepared for the European Commission. doi: 10.2759/703052. 2019.
Mehdizadeh AR, Mortazavi SMJ. Editorial. 5G technology: Why should we expect a shift from RF-induced brain cancers to skin cancers? J Biomed Phys Eng. 2019.
"In summary, although 5G technology brings new risks, it should be noted that regarding mobile phone use and cancer, the level of exposure is a factor that really matters."
The essential 5G glossary of key terms and phrases
Michaela Goss, Tech Target, Aug 12, 2019
Senator Blumenthal Raises Concerns on 5G Wireless Technology Health Risks at Senate Hearing
"We're kind of flying blind here so far as health and safety is concerned."
Congressional letter to FCC Commissioner requesting evidence for safety of 5G
Richard Blumenthal, Anna G. Eshoo, Dec 3, 2018
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
Natalie Rahhal, Daily Mail, May 29, 2018
The 5G telecommunication technology--emitted millimeter waves: Lack of research on bioeffects
Dariusz Leszczynski, PhD, Presentation at 5th Asian & Oceanic IRPA Regional Congress on Radiation Protection, Melbourne, Australia, May 22, 2018
NEPA rollback now official for small wireless projects
Eight Distinct Types of Great Harm Caused by Electromagnetic Exposures and the Mechanism that Causes Them
Martin L. Pall, PhD, undated
5G and Internet of Things: A Trojan Horse
Paul Héroux, PhD, The Green Gazette, Mar 27, 2018
Residents worried about small cell safety have been waiting years for federal guidance
Allan Holmes, New York Times, Mar 2, 2018
‘Tsunami of data’ could consume one fifth of global electricity by 2025
The Guardian, Dec 11, 2017