Wednesday, October 14, 2020

5G Wireless Technology: Is 5G Harmful to Our Health?

See the bottom of this page for additional resources.

5G Research from the EMF-Portal Archive

As of June 1, 2020, the EMF-Portal archive listed 133 papers and letters to the editor published in professional journals and presentations at professional conferences that focus on 5G research. Although most discuss technical or dosimetric issues (n = 92), 41 citations address other issues including potential biologic or health effects. 

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.

Currently, no peer-reviewed, empirical studies of the biologic or health effects from exposure to 5G radiation have been published. Hence, those who claim that 5G is safe because it complies with radiofrequency exposure guidelines are engaging in sophistry. 

These guidelines were designed to protect the population from short-term heating (or thermal) risks. However, numerous peer-reviewed studies have found adverse biologic and health effects from exposure to low-intensity or non-thermal levels of electromagnetic fields (EMF). Hence, more than 240 EMF scientists who have signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal have recommended that “guidelines and regulatory standards be strengthened”:

“Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines….

The various agencies setting safety standards have failed to impose sufficient guidelines to protect the general public, particularly children who are more vulnerable to the effects of EMF.”

To download the list of 133 papers and presentations:



5G Wireless Deployment and Health Risks: Time for a Medical Discussion

Priyanka Bandara, Tracy Chandler, Robin Kelly, Julie McCredden, Murray May, Steve Weller, Don Maisch, Susan Pockett, Victor Leach, Richard Cullen, Damian Wojcik. 5G Wireless Deployment and Health Risks: Time for a Medical Discussion in Australia and New Zealand. ACNEM Journal. 39(1). July 2020.

No abstract.


"There is an urgent need for clinicians and medical scientists in the Australia-New Zealand region to engage in an objective discussion around the potential health impacts of the fifth generation (5G) wireless technology currently being deployed.  The statements of assurance by the industry and government parties that dominate the media in our region are at odds  with the warnings of hundreds of scientists actively engaged in research on biological/health effects of anthropogenic electromagnetic radiation/fields (EMR/EMF). (1)  There have been worldwide public protests as well as appeals by professionals and the general public (2) that have compelled many cities in Europe to declare moratoria on 5G deployment and to begin investigations.  In contrast, there is no medically-oriented professional discussion on this public health topic in Australia and New Zealand, where 5G deployment is being expedited.  5G is untested for safety on humans and other species and the limited existing evidence raises major concerns that need to be addressed.  The vast body of research literature on biological/health effects of  ‘wireless radiation’ (radiofrequency EMR) (3,4) indicates a range of health-related issues associated with different types of wireless technologies (1G-4G, WiFi, Bluetooth, Radar, radio/TV transmission, scanning and surveillance systems).  These are used in a wide range of personal devices in common use (mobile/cordless phones, computers, baby monitors, games consoles etc) without users being aware of the health risks.  Furthermore, serious safety concerns arise from the extra complexity of 5G as follows:

• 5G carrier waves use a much broader part of the microwave spectrum including waves with wavelengths in the millimetre range (hence called ‘millimetre waves’) which will be used in the second phase of 5G).  Until now, millimetre waves have had limited applications such as radar, point-to-point communications links and non-lethal military weapons. (5)
• 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.

This massive leap in human exposure to RF-EMR from 5G is occurring in a setting where the existing scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates biological interference, (3,4) therefore suggesting the need to urgently reduce exposure...."

"As for the new 5G technology, it is concerning that leading experts in the technical field (6) have reported the possibility of damaging thermal spikes under the current exposure guidelines (from beam forming 5G millimetre waves that transfer data with short bursts of high energy) and some animals and children may be at an increased risk due to smaller body size.  Even working within the entirely thermally-based current regulatory process, they pointed out 5G millimetre waves “may lead to permanent tissue damage after even short exposures, highlighting the importance of revisiting existing exposure guidelines”. (6)  Microwave experts from the US Air Force have reported on  ‘Brillouin Precursors’ created by sharp transients at the leading and trailing edges of pulses of mm waves, when beam forming fast millimetre waves create moving charges in the body which penetrate deeper than explained in the conventional models, and have the potential to cause tissue damage. (7)  In fact, concerns about moving charges affecting deep tissue are associated with other forms of pulsed RF radiation currently used for wireless communications.  This may be one factor explaining why the pulsed radiation used in wireless communication technologies is more biologically active than continuous RF radiation. (8)  Such effects of high energy 5G mm waves could have potentially devastating consequences for species with small body size and also creatures that have innate sensitivity to EMF, which include birds and bees that use nature’s EMFs for navigation. (9)  Unfortunately, non-thermal effects and chronic exposure effects are not addressed in the current guidelines. (10)"

"Our investigation into the scientific literature has found RF-EMR to be a potent inducer of oxidative stress even at so-called “low-intensity” exposures (which are in fact billions of times higher than in nature (26)) such as those from commonly used wireless devices.  An analysis (22) of 242 publications (experimental studies) which had investigated endpoints related to oxidative stress - biomarkers of oxidative damage such as 8-oxo-2'-deoxyguanosine (indicating oxidative DNA damage) and/or altered antioxidant levels - revealed that 216 studies (89%) had reported such findings (Fig. 1).  This evidence base on RF-associated oxidative stress from 26 countries (only one study from Australia and none from New Zealand) is relatively new and mostly post 2010, i.e. after the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified RF-EMR as a Group 2B possible carcinogen.  Moreover, 180 studies out of the 242 (74.7%) were in vivo studies (including several human studies) which presents strong evidence.

"Proponents of 5G often dismiss concerns about health risks claiming that 5G microwaves will minimally penetrate the skin and therefore any effects are limited to minor skin heating (and they acknowledge that there is some uncertainty around heating effects on the eyes).  The medical community understands that skin is the largest organ of the human body and a key part of the neuro-immune and neuro-endocrine systems.  Natural UVA and UVB (also so-called non-ionizing radiation) that penetrate the skin less than 5G millimetre waves have profound effects on health and wellbeing of humans. Therefore, artificial 5G waves must be subjected to rigorous safety testing."

"Unfortunately, the questionable conduct of regulatory agencies such as ARPANSA and WHO’s international EMF Project (43) with conflicts of interest due to funding links to the wireless industry (44) remains to be investigated.  More open questioning and protests are appearing in Europe and North America where there is some level of engagement on the part of government bodies in response to warnings of adverse health effects of anthropogenic EMF/EMR by expert medical bodies such as EUROPAEM and AAEM (31,32) (despite industry opposition)."


5G Communication Technology and Coronavirus Disease [Health Matters]

James C. Lin. 5G Communication Technology and Coronavirus Disease [Health Matters]. IEEE Microwave Magazine, 21(9):16-19. Sep 2020.

No abstract


"The fact is that there is no link between the COVID-19 virus and 5G cell phone technology or 5G base-station communication towers. These are totally different constructs; they are not even close. None of the conspiracy theories that try to link 5G and the coronavirus make any sense scientifically."

"For biological matters, it is not obvious whether the biological responses to high-band 5G radiation will be akin to earlier generations or low-band 5G radiations, given the distinctive characteristics of mm-wave [millimeter wave] and its interaction with the complex structure and composition of pertinent biological tissues."

"It is important to note that the recent NTP and Ramazzini RF exposure studies presented similar findings in terms of heart schwannomas and brain gliomas. Thus, two relatively well-conducted RF exposure studies employing the same strain of rats showed consistent results in significantly increased cancer risks. More recently, an advisory group for the IARC has recommended including reevaluation of the carcinogenicity of human exposure to RF radiation, with high priority, in their monograph series [7]."

"... the 5G frequency domain is divided into low, mid, and high bands. The operating frequencies at low and mid bands can overlap with the current 4G band at 6 GHz or below. Thus, the biological effects of RF radiation at these lower frequency bands are likely to be comparable to 2, 3, or 4G. However, the scenarios of high-band 5G—especially for 24–60 GHz in the mm-wave region for high-capacity, short-range wireless data communications—are relatively recent arrivals and pose considerable challenge to health risk assessment. There is a paucity of data on permittivity and coupling, such as reflection, transmission, and induced energy deposition, in biological tissues in the mm-wave frequency band."

"Induced energy deposition increases with mm-wave frequency. However, at the highest frequencies, the energy deposition in the deeper regions inside the skin is lower because of the reduced penetration depth at these frequencies [11]."

"A recently published review [13] included 45 in vivo studies conducted using laboratory animals and other biological preparations and 53 in vitro studies involving primary cells and cultured cell lines.... This industry-supported review noted that, aside from the wide frequency ranges, the studies were diverse both in subjects and in the end points investigated. Biological effects were observed to occur both in vivo and in vitro for different biological endpoints studied. Indeed, the percentage of positive responses at nonthermal levels in most frequency groups was as high as 70%."

"While many of these investigations with mm-wave exposures reported biological responses, there is inconsistency in the dependence of biological effects and mm-wave intensity used for exposure. Also, the reported in vitro and in vivo laboratory investigations are modest in number and diverse in subject matter, considering the wide 5G/mmwave frequency domain. The jury on the biological effect or health impact is still out on 5G. Moreover, there is a lack of ongoing controlled laboratory investigations. Simply put, the existing scientific data are too limited for any reliable assessment or conclusion with certainty."


Setting Guidelines for Electromagnetic Exposures and Research Needs

Barnes F, Greenebaum B. Setting Guidelines for Electromagnetic Exposures and Research Needs. Bioelectromagnetics. 2020 Jul;41(5):392-397. doi: 10.1002/bem.22267. 


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.


“Both IEEE and ICNIRP base their analyses on rigorous reviews of the scientific literature and on established firm evidence of health effects in humans. The present guidelines are based on acute exposures; to date both IEEE and ICNIRP have not found sufficient evidence to include health effects of long-term exposures at lower levels. However, over the last 20 years the evidence has become extremely strong that weaker EMF over the whole range for frequencies from static through millimeter waves can modify biological processes. There is now solid experimental evidence and supporting theory showing that weak fields, especially but not exclusively at low frequencies, can modify reactive free radical concentrations and that changes in radical concentration and that of other signaling molecules, such as hydrogen peroxide and calcium, can modify biological processes …”

“The evidence that weak radiofrequency (RF) and low-frequency fields can modify human health is still less strong, but the experiments supporting both conclusions are too numerous to be uniformly written off as a group due to poor technique, poor dosimetry, or lack of blinding in some cases, or other good laboratory practices. Based on recent studies by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) [SmithRoe et al., 2020] and the Ramazzini Foundation [Falcioni et al., 2018] as well as laboratory data, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has declared RF fields as possible human carcinogens [IARC, 2013]. A recent paper extends the NTP studies by evaluating genotoxicity in animals exposed to fields at or over the guideline limits and found DNA damage in Comet assays [SmithRoe et al., 2020]. Many other papers indicate similar results, but many negative results are also in the literature.”


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.”


Effects of 5G Wireless Communication on Human Health

Karaboytcheva M. Effects of 5G wireless communication on human health. European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS). Briefing document: PE 646.172. March 2020.


The fifth generation of telecommunications technologies, 5G, is fundamental to achieving a European gigabit society by 2025.

The aim to cover all urban areas, railways and major roads with uninterrupted fifth generation wireless communication can only be achieved by creating a very dense network of antennas and transmitters. In other words, the number of higher frequency base stations and other devices will increase significantly.

This raises the question as to whether there is a negative impact on human health and environment from higher frequencies and billions of additional connections, which, according to research, will mean constant exposure for the whole population, including children.

Whereas researchers generally consider such radio waves not to constitute a threat to the population, research to date has not addressed the constant exposure that 5G would introduce. Accordingly, a section of the scientific community considers that more research on the potential negative biological effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) and 5G is needed, notably on the incidence of some serious human diseases. A further consideration is the need to bring together researchers from different disciplines, in particular medicine and physics or engineering, to conduct further research into the effects of 5G.

The EU’s current provisions on exposure to wireless signals, the Council Recommendation on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0 Hz to 300 GHz), is now 20 years old, and thus does not take the specific technical characteristics of 5G into account.

In this Briefing
  • 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
Open access paper:


Adverse health effects of 5G mobile networking technology under real-life conditions

Kostoff RN, Heroux P, Aschner M, Tsatsakis A. Adverse health effects of 5G mobile networking technology under real-life conditions. Toxicology Letters. 323(1):35-40. May 2020.


• Identifies wide-spectrum of adverse health effects of non-ionizing non-visible radiation
• 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.

Appeals that matter or not on a moratorium on the deployment of the fifth generation, 5G, for microwave radiation

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.


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.


In conclusion, this article demonstrates that the EU has given mandate to a 13‑member, non‑governmental private group, the ICNIRP, to decide upon the RF radiation guidelines. The ICNIRP, as well as SCENIHR, are well shown not to use the sound evaluation of science on the detrimental effects of RF radiation, which is documented in the research which is discussed above (9,10,21‑24,54,55). These two small organizations are producing reports which seem to deny the existence of scientific published reports on the related risks. It should perhaps be questioned whether it is in the realm of protecting human health and the environment by EU and whether the safety of EU citizens and the environment can be protected by not fully understanding the health‑related risks.


Spatial and Time Averaging Restrictions Within the Electromagnetic Exposure Safety Framework in the Frequency Range Above 6 GHz 

Neufeld E, Samaras T, Kuster N. Discussion on Spatial and Time Averaging Restrictions Within the Electromagnetic Exposure Safety Framework in the Frequency Range Above 6 GHz for Pulsed and Localized Exposures.  Bioelectromagnetics. 2019 Dec 30. doi: 10.1002/bem.22244.


Both the current and newly proposed safety guidelines for local human exposure to millimeter-wave frequencies aim at restricting the maximum local temperature increase in the skin to prevent tissue damage. In this study, we show that the application of the current and proposed limits for pulsed fields can lead to a temperature increase of 10°C for short pulses and frequencies between 6 and 30 GHz. We also show that the proposed averaging area of 4 cm2 , that is greatly reduced compared with the current limits, does not prevent high-temperature increases in the case of narrow beams. A realistic Gaussian beam profile with a 1 mm radius can result in a temperature increase about 10 times higher than the 0.4°C increase the same averaged power density would produce for a plane wave. In the case of pulsed narrow beams, the values for the time and spatial-averaged power density allowed by the proposed new guidelines could result in extreme temperature increases.


.... In this letter, we look at limits, such as those currently proposed or recently approved for the revised ICNIRP guidelines and IEEE standard, and investigate whether such limits are consistent with the stated goals of the exposure safety frameworks of preventing excessive heating in the case of pulsed and/or localized radiation. In cases when they are not consistent, we discuss how consistency can be achieved. In line with the above mentioned safety standards and exposure guidelines, the presented analysis focuses exclusively on the magnitude of the tissue temperature increase as a risk factor and does not consider other aspects, such as the thermoelastic effect related to the rapidity of temperature increase.....

In conclusion, the results presented above demonstrate that, in the case of very short pulses, pulse‐duration‐independent limits imposed on transmitted energy density (fluence) alone cannot preclude the induction of high‐temperature increases in the skin. Pulse‐duration‐dependent limits should be applied also for pulses less than 1 s and possibly less than 30 GHz as well. Even though the amplifiers of the currently developed consumer devices will not allow the full exploitation of the limits of the guidelines, the guidelines should not implicitly rely on this, as they will be used to develop exposure assessment standards with the aim of ensuring safety of any future technology, e.g. IEC/IEEE 63195 [2018]. Accordingly, either assumption must be explicitly stated in the guidelines, or the limits should be adapted to be intrinsically safe. In the absence of limitations applied to the peak‐to‐average power ratio of pulses, it is possible to deliver to the body large amounts of energy within a very short time interval. For millimeter‐wave frequencies, where the absorption is superficial, this results in fast and dramatic temperature rises, as the step response function is proportional to the rapidly rising ...  rather than the ... commonly encountered for deeper heating. As far as spatial averaging is concerned, it has been shown that an averaging area smaller than 4 cm2 should be introduced in order to avoid peak PDs in narrow beams [Neufeld and Kuster, 2018] that overheat the tissues. With increasing beam radius, e.g. at larger distances from the antenna(s), the tolerable averaging area increases rapidly, provided that there are no sharp exposure peaks. Duration‐independent limits on the fluence of pulses are not suitable. They should either be replaced by duration‐dependent fluence limits for pulses or by limits on the (temporal) peak exposure. In both cases, the limits should be set after taking narrow‐beam exposures into consideration. These limits will depend on the chosen spatial and temporal averaging schemes and the maximum temperature increase deemed acceptable. Forward‐looking knowledge about the technical needs and priorities of the industry could allow for selecting the balance between thresholds (averaging time and area, peak‐to‐average ratio, PD) to minimally impact the technological potential using the same limit‐setting framework.


 5G mobile networks rated as "high impact" risk for insurance industry
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."
Source: Swiss Re. SONAR – New emerging risk insights. Zurich, Switzerland: Sustainability, Emerging and Political Risk Management, Swiss Re Institute, Strategy Development & Performance Management. May 2019.  page 29.

5G Deployment

Blackman C, Forge S. 5G Deployment: State of Play in Europe, USA, and Asia. Study for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies, European Parliament, Luxembourg, 2019. 

Download the report at: 

“It is becoming clear that 5G [fifth generation cellular technology] will cost much more to deploy than previous mobile technologies (perhaps three times as much) as it is more complex and requires a denser coverage of base stations to provide the expected capacity. The European Commission has estimated that it will cost €500 billion to meet its 2025 connectivity targets, which includes 5G coverage in all urban areas.

As 5G is driven by the telecoms supply industry, and its long tail of component manufacturers, a major campaign is under way to convince governments that the economy and jobs will be strongly stimulated by 5G deployment. However, we are yet to see significant “demand-pull” that could assure sales. These campaign efforts are also aimed at the MNOs [mobile network operators] but they have limited capacity to invest in the new technology and infrastructure as their returns from investment in 3G and 4G are still being recouped.

The notion of a “race” is part of the campaign but it is becoming clear that the technology will take much longer than earlier generations to perfect. China, for instance, sees 5G as at least a ten-year programme to become fully working and completely rolled out nationally. This is because the technologies involved with 5G are much more complex. One aspect, for example, that is not well understood today is the unpredictable propagation patterns that could result in unacceptable levels of human exposure to electromagnetic radiation.”

“Although lower frequencies, many in the UHF [ultra high frequency] range, are being proposed for the first phase of 5G networks, much higher radio frequencies are also projected in bands traditionally used for radars and microwave links. Whether this will transpire is still open to question. These frequencies are being commercially tested by some (e.g. by AT&T in the USA at 28 GHz [gigahertz]). The new bands are well above the UHF ranges, being either in centimetric (3-30 GHz) or in millimetric bands (30-300 GHz) and popularly branded “mmWave”, but present technical challenges that are expensive to solve.”

“Although many 5G networks currently being piloted will use the much lower bands, those upper frequencies being proposed for the future may offer propagation ranges only in the order of hundreds or even tens of metres. Higher frequency signals are also subject to more interference from weather – rain, snow, fog – and obstacles - wet foliage or buildings and their walls. This means that, at higher frequencies, indoor use may be problematic if based on through-wall or window penetration. Consequently, re-use of the existing UHF bands and also those just above in the 3-10 GHz range (“mid-range”) are emphasised today, to give 5G signals greater range with fewer technical challenges.”

“With higher frequencies and shortened ranges, base stations will be more closely packed into a given area to give complete coverage that avoids “not-spots”. Ranges of 20-150 metres may be typical, giving smaller coverage areas per “small cell”. A cell radius of 20 metres would imply about 800 base stations per square kilometre (or small area wireless access points (SAWAPs), the term used in the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC)). That contrasts with 3G and 4G which use large or “macro” cells. Traditionally they offer ranges of 2-15 km or more and so can cover a larger area but with fewer simultaneous users as they have fewer individual channels.”

5G Electromagnetic Radiation and Safety

“Significant concern is emerging over the possible impact on health and safety arising from potentially much higher exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation arising from 5G. Increased exposure may result not only from the use of much higher frequencies in 5G but also from the potential for the aggregation of different signals, their dynamic nature, and the complex interference effects that may result, especially in dense urban areas.

The 5G radio emission fields are quite different to those of previous generations because of their complex beamformed transmissions in both directions – from base station to handset and for the return. Although fields are highly focused by beams, they vary rapidly with time and movement and so are unpredictable, as the signal levels and patterns interact as a closed loop system. This has yet to be mapped reliably for real situations, outside the laboratory.

While the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) issues guidelines for limiting exposure to electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields (EMF), and EU member states are subject to Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC which follows ICNIRP guidelines, the problem is that currently it is not possible to accurately simulate or measure 5G emissions in the real world.”


“The USA is moving towards some form of rollout of mobile broadband as 5G but not necessarily in a holistic, well-orchestrated operation. It is more a set of ad hoc commercial manoeuvres. Some of these are simply rebranding existing LTE, rather than delivering novel networks. Re-use of the LTE spectrum in the UHF ranges (300 MHz to 3 GHz) is significant. The latter decision is probably warranted by its geography of large rural spaces and high density urban centres situated more on the coasts. Thus, the insistence for 5G on high centimetric bands (25–30 GHz and higher) is probably less justified than for the dense conurbations of Asia and the EU.

A significant challenge concerns the administrative local barriers to small cell rollout. The need for many small cells implies long delays and high costs. Local regulations continue to prevail despite the FCC’s mandate on a light-touch regime and minimal permit costs. This has led to a wide divide between local and central government on the principles of having to obtain permission for rollout and the charges for that. Local administrations, especially in the larger municipalities, are at loggerheads with the FCC (Zima, 2018). Several court challenges are being made to the FCC mandate of August 2018 that overrides local objections to a “one-touch” regime.”

How Harmful is 5G?

Harald Schumann and Elisa Simantke. How harmful is 5G really? Der Tagesspiegel, Jan 15, 2019. (In German. For English translation email me at

"5G should transfer huge amounts of data quickly. But it could also harm your health. Europe's governments ignore the danger."

Investigate Europe reports on the current state of the science and exposes the harmful roles that the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), the World Health Organization's International EMF Project,  and the EU Commission's Scientific Committee on New Health Risks (SCENIHR) have played in paving the way for the deployment of 5G without regard to health consequences.

Investigate Europe is a pan-European journalist team that researches topics of European relevance and publishes the results across Europe. The project is supported by several foundations, the Open Society Initiative for Europe, and readers' donations. Among the media partners for the report on 5G include "Newsweek Polska", "Diario de Noticias", "Il Fatto Quotidiano", "De Groene Amsterdamer", "Efimerida ton Syntakton", "Aftenbladet" and the "Falter". In addition to the authors, Crina Boros, Wojciech Ciesla, Ingeborg Eliassen, Juliet Ferguson, Nikolas Leontopoulos, Maria Maggiore, Leila Minano, Paulo Pena and Jef Poortmans contributed to this. 

More about the project:

Literature Reviews

5G Wireless Communication and Health Effects-A Pragmatic Review Based on Available Studies Regarding 6 to 100 GHz

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.


Since the ranges up to 30 GHz and over 90 GHz are sparingly represented, this review mainly covers studies done in the frequency range from 30.1 to 65 GHz.
In summary, the majority of studies with MMW exposures show biological responses. From this observation, however, no in-depth conclusions can be drawn regarding the biological and health effects of MMW exposures in the 6–100 GHz frequency range. The studies are very different and the total number of studies is surprisingly low. The reactions occur both in vivo and in vitro and affect all biological endpoints studied.
There does not seem to be a consistent relationship between intensity (power density), exposure time, or frequency, and the effects of exposure. On the contrary, and strikingly, higher power densities do not cause more frequent responses, since the percentage of responses in most frequency groups is already at 70%. Some authors refer to their study results as having “non-thermal” causes, but few have applied appropriate temperature controls. The question therefore remains whether warming is the main cause of any observed MMW effects?
In order to evaluate and summarize the 6–100 GHz data in this review, we draw the following conclusions:
  • Regarding the health effects of MMW in the 6–100 GHz frequency range at power densities not exceeding the exposure guidelines the studies provide no clear evidence, due to contradictory information from the in vivo and in vitro investigations.
  • Regarding the possibility of “non-thermal” effects, the available studies provide no clear explanation of any mode of action of observed effects.
  • Regarding the quality of the presented studies, too few studies fulfill the minimal quality criteria to allow any further conclusions.


EMF safety guidelines are fraudulent: 
The consequences for microwave frequency exposures and 5G

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:   


5G Wireless Telecommunications Expansion: Public Health & Environmental Implications

Russell CL. 5G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications. Environmental Research.  2018 Aug;165:484-495. doi: 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?


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 Apr;221(3):367-375. 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.

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.


Effects of Millimeter Waves Radiation on Cell Membrane - A Brief Review

Ramundo-Orlando A.  Effects of millimeter waves radiation on cell membrane - A brief review.  J Infrared Milli Terahz Waves. 2010; 30 (12): 1400-1411.


The millimeter waves (MMW) region of the electromagnetic spectrum, extending from 30 to 300 GHz in terms of frequency (corresponding to wavelengths from 10 mm to 1 mm), is officially used in non-invasive complementary medicine in many Eastern European countries against a variety of diseases such gastro duodenal ulcers, cardiovascular disorders, traumatism and tumor. On the other hand, besides technological applications in traffic and military systems, in the near future MMW will also find applications in high resolution and high-speed wireless communication technology. This has led to restoring interest in research on MMW induced biological effects. In this review emphasis has been given to the MMW-induced effects on cell membranes that are considered the major target for the interaction between MMW and biological systems.


 “Several studies on the effects induced by millimeter radiation on biological systems have been reported in the literature. Diverse effects have been observed on cell free systems, cultured cells, isolated organs of animals and humans. The subject has been extensively reviewed by Motzkin [17] and more recently by Pakhomov [3]. At the cellular level these effects are mainly on the membrane process and ion channels, molecular complexes, excitable and other structures. Many of these effects are quite unexpected from a radiation penetrating less than 1 mm into biological tissues [3, 18, 19]. However none of the findings described in the above reviews has been replicated in an independent laboratory, thus they cannot be considered as established biological effects.”

“…a large number of cellular studies have indicated that MMW may alter structural and functional properties of membranes (Table 2).”


“In this review emphasis has been given to the low-level MMW effects on cell membranes. Above all, it should be mentioned that the reported effects are of a non-thermal character, that is, the action of radiation does not produce essential heating of the biological system or destroy its structure. In this context it appears that no permanent structural change of lipid bilayer could arise under low level (less than 10 mW/cm2) millimeter waves irradiation.

On the other hand, MMW radiation may affect intracellular calcium activities, and, as a consequence, several cellular and molecular processes controlled by Ca2+ dynamics themselves. The effects of MMW radiation on ion transport may be the consequence of a direct effect on membrane proteins as well as on phospholipid domain organization. Water molecules seem to play an important role in these biological effects of MMW radiation. Unfortunately, detailed cellular and molecular mechanisms mediating physiological responses to MMW exposure remain largely unknown.

Usually the search at a molecular level is simpler if we can reduce the complexity of our biological samples. This is the case for cell membranes by using model systems. They can be formed by a simple lipid bilayer without interfering components and they give independence from biological activity that can create complication in searching for electromagnetic fields bioeffects. The emphasis is on the search for molecular mechanisms of the membrane effect induced by MMW with different frequencies and power density. Furthermore, replication studies are needed including good temperature control and appropriate internal control samples. It is also advantageous if the future studies are multidisciplinary, invoking an integration of high quality exposure and effects methodologies.

Clearly a significant amount of accurate experimental work is still required in order to fully understand the interactions between MMW radiation and cell membrane.”

Research Papers

El-Hajj AM, Naous T. Radiation Analysis in a Gradual 5G Network Deployment Strategy. 2020 IEEE 3rd 5G World Forum (5GWF), Bangalore, India IEEE, 2020: 448-453, ISBN 9781728173009. (Austin, TX simulation)


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.

For the frequency range of 2 to 300 GHz, the IEEE C95.1-2019 standard [18] specifies a limit power density value of 10 W/m2 in restricted environment and 50 W/m2 in unrestricted environments. These correspond to an averaging time of 30 minutes. The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) 2020 guidelines for limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields [19] specify the general public exposure limit at 10 W/m2 for frequencies between 2 and 300 GHz with the averaging time being 30 minutes. Similar limits are specified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in [20] where a restriction of 10 W/m2 for the general public has been set. In contrast, the institute for building biology and sustainability (IBN) in Germany have specified the exposure limit to be less than 0.1 W/m2 in their 2015 Standard of Building Biology Measurement Technique (SBM-2015) [21], which is a million-fold lower than what is specified by the aforementioned guidelines. This suggests that negative health effects can occur at levels much lower than 10
W/m2. Finally, the Chinese ministry of health [22] have set the power density exposure limit to 0.1 W/m2.
This paper presented an analysis of the radiation levels in a deployed 5G network in an urban outdoor environment. Under the constraints of exposure limits, several challenges face the design and planning of such radiation aware 5G networks. Cell ranges need to be reduced to comply with the maximum allowed radiated power, requiring the densification of small cells in small areas and making it more costly to deploy these radiation-aware 5G networks. Although in this work we considered the maximum allowed EIRP prior to network deployment, results showed power density levels that do not satisfy all the exposure limits set by several sources. In this regard, a positive impact can be imposed by radiationaware 5G networks on several levels. On a governmental level, the exposure limits for the power density need to be revised using today’s data and approaches to bridge the gap between the thresholds specified by the different institutes and commissions. On a technological and scientific level, the radiation exposure constraint can open the door for innovative 5G solutions targeted to limit the health risks and economic barriers associated with this problem. This work can be extended by developing an analytical framework to efficiently rank and rate different cell allocation alternatives to minimize the potential radiations given a carefully chosen list of key performance indicators.


Absorption of 5G radiation in brain tissue as a function of frequency, power and time

David H. Gultekin, Peter H. Siegel. Absorption of 5G radiation in brain tissue as a function of frequency, power and time. IEEE Access. Published online June 12, 2020. DOI: 10.1109/ACCESS.2020.3002183.


The rapid release of 5G wireless communications networks has spurred renewed concerns regarding the interactions of higher radiofrequency (RF) radiation with living species. We examine RF exposure and absorption in ex vivo bovine brain tissue and a brain simulating gel at three frequencies: 1.9 GHz, 4 GHz and 39 GHz that are relevant to current (4G), and upcoming (5G) spectra. We introduce a highly sensitive thermal method for the assessment of radiation exposure, and derive experimentally, accurate relations between the temperature rise (ΔT), specific absorption rate (SAR) and the incident power density (F), and tabulate the coefficients, ΔT/ΔF and Δ(SAR)/ΔF, as a function of frequency, depth and time. This new method provides both ΔT and SAR applicable to the frequency range below and above 6 GHz as shown at 1.9, 4 and 39 GHz, and demonstrates the most sensitive experimental assessment of brain tissue exposure to millimeter-wave radiation to date, with a detection limit of 1 mW. We examine the beam penetration, absorption and thermal diffusion at representative 4G and 5G frequencies and show that the RF heating increases rapidly with frequency due to decreasing RF source wavelength and increasing power density with the same incident power and exposure time. We also show the temperature effects of continuous wave, rapid pulse sequences and single pulses with varying pulse duration, and we employ electromagnetic modeling to map the field distributions in the tissue. Finally, using this new methodology, we measure the thermal diffusivity of ex vivo bovine brain tissue experimentally.


In this paper, we present for the first time, a simple, highly accurate test system for measuring the temperature rise and the specific absorption rate in tissue samples and liquid or gel simulants as a function of frequency, RF exposure power and time – pulsed and CW. We use this set up to make, and compare, carefully calibrated measurements of bovine brain tissue and a gel simulant, Triton X and water, at both 4G (1.9 GHz) and newly allocated 5G frequency bands (4 GHz - 39 GHz). We show the effects of beam concentration, focusing, absorption and heat diffusion at all three frequencies and delineate a linear range over which we can derive highly accurate coefficients (ΔT/ΔF and Δ(SAR)/ΔF) that can be used to predict the temperature rise and the specific absorption rate at prescribed depths and exposure times within the tissue or gel at power levels that go down to detectable limits (<1 mW). This method may be used to evaluate a wide range of RF radiation sources, tissues and simulants.

We also note that the impact of relatively modest incident RF power (1 W) and short exposure times (6 minutes CW and 30 second pulsed) at 39 GHz using a single mode waveguide source for the exposure, results in extremely large power density (16.5 kW/m2) and temperature rise (> 60°C for CW, > 35°C for 30 s pulse) in both bovine brain tissue and gel. This same temperature rise can be expected on skin (which has very similar dielectric properties) when such large surface power densities are present in very close proximity to the RF source or antenna, perhaps emanating from millimeter-wave base stations, handsets, or wireless-enabled appliances or kiosks. Although, current safety limits of 28.76 and 143.8 W/m2 for power density in unrestricted (public) and restricted (occupational) environments, respectively should prevent such exposures, the resulting limits on RF power generation of only 1.7 to 8.5 mW from a directional RF source, such as our waveguide at 39 GHz, in the vicinity, will greatly limit the application potential for any such communications system.

In the USA, the FCC and FDA are overseeing the implementation of millimeter wave technology in the public realm and more studies are needed to help guide the science, technology and policy. Our experimental method can provide threshold temperature and SAR values for both occupational and public exposures to millimeter waves with surface power densities from 16.5 W/m2 to 16.5 kW/m2 and exposure times from 1 second to 30 minutes.

Finally, we use our new data and this RF method to derive a thermal diffusivity coefficient for the ex vivo bovine brain tissue that is consistent with our prior measurements using an MRI. This is the first time that the thermal diffusivity of ex vivo bovine brain tissue has been directly measured by this thermal RF method [47, 50, 51, 70].


A Theoretical and Experimental Investigation on the Measurement of the Electromagnetic Field Level Radiated by 5G Base Stations

Adda S, Aureli T, D’elia S, Franci D, Grillo E, Migliore MD, Pavoncello S, Schettino F, Suman R. A Theoretical and Experimental Investigation on the Measurement of the Electromagnetic Field Level Radiated by 5G Base Stations. IEEE Access 2020. doi:10.1109/ACCESS.2020.2998448.


This paper presents some theoretical considerations and experimental results regarding the problem of maximum power extrapolation for the assessment of the exposure to electromagnetic fields radiated by 5G base stations. In particular the results of an extensive experimental campaign using an extrapolation procedure recently proposed for 5G signal is discussed and experimentally checked on a SU-MIMO signal. The results confirm the effectiveness of the extrapolation technique. Starting from an analysis (that represents a further novel contribution of this paper) on the impact of Spatial Division Multiple Access techniques used in 5G on the measurement of EMF level, some indications of possible extension of the technique to the highly complex MU-MIMO case are also given.

Adverse Impacts of 5G Downlinks on Human Body

Nasim I, Kim S. Adverse Impacts of 5G Downlinks on Human Body.  2019 SoutheastCon. Huntsville, AL. 11-14 April 2019. DOI: 10.1109/SoutheastCon42311.2019.9020454


The increasing demand for higher data rates and uninterrupted reliable service have made the frequency spectrum above 6 GHz a very promising candidate for future wireless communications because of its massive amount of raw bandwidth and extremely high data transfer capabilities. However, increasing concerns of communications at high frequencies on human health have gained international alarm that suggests more research before it is deployed successfully. In this context, this paper aims to investigate the human electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure from fifth-generation (5G) downlink communications and compare its impacts with the present cellular technologies considering the features that the 5G systems will likely adopt. Our simulation results suggest that while the impacts from 5G beamforming communications cross the regulatory borders at downlinks for a very short range between base stations (BSs) and user equipment (UE), the exposure level remains on a high throughout the entire network compared to the present systems. Also, this paper urges for more research on the exposure level from future communications to determine any possible threats below the existing guidelines. This paper also highlights the significance of considering SAR for the measurement of exposure compliance in downlinks.


... this paper urges the regulatory authorities to set SAR guidelines for 5G systems at far-field exposure also for frequencies above 6 GHz. Also, the minimum AP-UE [access point - user equipment] distance should be maintained at least 6 m [meters] for 5G and further space should be left for a conservative operation regarding human safety.


This paper has highlighted the significance of the human EMF exposure issue in the downlink of a cellular communications system. This paper measured the exposure level in terms of PD and SAR and compared them to those calculated in the 3.9G and 4G specifications. Distinguished from the prior art that studied uplinks only, this paper has found that the downlinks of a 5G can also yield a higher level of emissions in terms of SAR compared to concurrent cellular systems. Our results emphasized that this increase stems from more highly concentrated EMF energy per downlink RF beam due to the use of larger phased arrays within small cells of a 5G network. However, only skin effects are being taken into consideration for simplicity. This paper has also suggested the minimum AP-UE distance for human safety in cellular communications at high frequencies such as 28 GHz. To this end, this paper urges to investigate any possible threats at the exposure level shown in this work for future 5G systems before it is finally globalized.


A Survey on Electromagnetic Risk Assessment and Evaluation Mechanism 
for Future Wireless Communication Systems

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.


Assessment of Maximally Allowable Power-Density Averaging Area 
for EMF Exposure above 6 GHz

Neufeld E, Carrasco E, Murbach M, Balzano Q, Christ A, Kuster N. Theoretical and numerical assessment of maximally allowable power-density averaging area for conservative electromagnetic exposure assessment above 6 GHz.  Bioelectromagnetics.  2018 Dec;39(8):617-630. doi: 10.1002/bem.22147.


The objective of this paper is to determine a maximum averaging area for power density (PD) that limits the maximum temperature increase to a given threshold for frequencies above 6 GHz. This maximum area should be conservative for any transmitter at any distance >2 mm from the primary transmitting antennas or secondary field-generating sources. To derive a generically valid maximum averaging area, an analytical approximation for the peak temperature increase caused by localized exposure was derived. The results for a threshold value of 1 K temperature rise were validated against simulations of a series of sources composed of electrical and magnetic elements (dipoles, slots, patches, and arrays) that represented the spectrum of relevant transmitters. The validation was successful for frequencies in which the power deposition occurred superficially (i.e., >10 GHz). In conclusion, the averaging area for a PD limit of 10 W/m2 that conservatively limits the temperature increase in the skin to less than 1 K at any distance >2 mm from the transmitters is frequency dependent, increases with distance, and ranges from 3 cm2 at <10 GHz to 1.9 cm2 at 100 GHz. In the far-field, the area depends additionally on distance and the antenna array aperture. The correlation was found to be worse at lower frequencies (<10 GHz) and very close to the source, the systematic evaluation of which is part of another study to investigate the effect of different coupling mechanisms in the reactive near-field on the ratio of temperature increase to incident power density. The presented model can be directly applied to any other PD and temperature thresholds.


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.


On Measuring Electromagnetic Fields in 5G Technology

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:


Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Field Exposure Assessment for Future 5G Networks

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.


Derivation of Safety Limits for 5G RF Exposure 
Based on Analytical Models & Thermal Dose

Neufeld E, Kuster N. Systematic Derivation of Safety Limits for Time-Varying 5G Radiofrequency Exposure Based on Analytical Models and Thermal Dose. Health Phys. 2018 Sep 21. 705-711. doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000930.


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. 

The results demonstrate that the maximum averaging time, based on the assumption of a thermal time constant of 100 s, is 240 s if the maximum local temperature increase for continuous-wave exposure is limited to 1 K and α ≥ 0.1. For a very low peak-to-average ratio of 100 (α ≥ 0.01), it decreases to only 30 s. 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

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

Colombi D, Thors B, Törnevik C. Implications of EMF exposure limits on output power levels for 5G devices above 6 GHz. IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters. 14:1247-1249. 04 February 2015. DOI: 10.1109/LAWP.2015.2400331.


Spectrum is a scarce resource, and the interest for utilizing frequency bands above 6 GHz for future radio communication systems is increasing. The possible use of higher frequency bands implies new challenges in terms of electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure assessments since the fundamental exposure metric (basic restriction) is changing from specific absorption rate (SAR) to power density. In this study, the implication of this change is investigated in terms of the maximum possible radiated power (P max ) from a device used in close proximity to the human body. The results show that the existing exposure limits will lead to a non-physical discontinuity of several dB in P max as the transition is made from SAR to power density based basic restrictions. As a consequence, to be compliant with applicable exposure limits at frequencies above 6 GHz, P max might have to be several dB below the power levels used for current cellular technologies. Since the available power in uplink has a direct impact on the system capacity and coverage, such an inconsistency, if not resolved, might have a large effect on the development of the next generation cellular networks (5G).


Above 6 GHz for FCC and 10 GHz for ICNIRP, EMF exposure limits are defined in terms of free-space power density rather than SAR. It was shown that at the transition frequency where the exposure metric changes, the maximum radiated power to meet compliance with ICNIRP and FCC EMF limits, for a device used in close proximity of the body, presents a strong discontinuity (in the order of 6 dB for the investigated case). This discrepancy has no scientific basis and is due to inconsistencies in the exposure limits. As a consequence, the estimated maximum output power in uplink for devices operating at frequencies above 6-10 GHz is about 18 dBm and 15 dBm for ICNIRP and FCC, respectively. These figures were obtained by numerical simulations of a canonical dipole at frequencies up to 70 GHz. It was shown that for more directive antennas, the maximum available power can be substantially lower. For the IEEE limits, the incongruity at the transition frequency is less evident. This is because the IEEE PD limits make use of a larger averaging area than the ICNIRP and FCC limits. The IEEE limits, however, have not yet been adopted in any national regulations.

With a growing interest for utilizing frequency bands above 6 GHz for mobile communications, it is important that the inconsistencies at the transition frequency from SAR to PD based basic restrictions are timely solved. If not, the observed discrepancy might have a large impact on the development of future mobile communication networks. We therefore encourage the relevant standardization organizations and regulatory authorities responsible for defining EMF exposure limits to address this issue.

Expert Opinions

May 20, 2019

5G: The Unreported Global Threat

Devra Davis, PhD, Medium, May 18, 2019


Aug 18, 2017 (Updated Sep 27, 2017)

Scientists and Physicians Oppose
"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." 

Appended to the letter are 360 references to the scientific literature.

The letter can be downloaded at:

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:

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:


June 23, 2017

EMF Scientist Appeal Advisors Call for Moratorium on Policies 
for 5G “Small Cell” Antennas

The advisors to the International EMF Scientist Appeal submitted a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in opposition to a proposed change in FCC rules that would allow rapid deployment of 5th generation (5G) wireless infrastructure throughout the nation. A copy of the Appeal was appended to the letter.

5G involves transmission of millimeter waves which operate at much higher frequencies than currently used for cellular transmission (30 to 300 gigahertz). Because the range of these signals is limited (i.e., less than a football field), hundreds of thousands of new “small cell” antennas will be required in the U.S. The wireless industry wants to install these not-so-small cellular antennas on existing public utility poles.

The FCC intends to streamline the approval of these antennas which would further undermine the regulatory authority of cities and states over cell towers.

Meanwhile the wireless industry is lobbying for legislation in many states across the country that would limit local authority over cell antenna deployment.

Due to the concern that the FCC’s new rules will result in increased exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF), the Appeal’s advisors oppose the new rules and call for a “public health review of the growing body of scientific evidence that includes reports of increasing rates of cancer and neurological diseases that may be caused by exposure to EMF from wireless sources.”

The Appeal reflects the concerns of 225 EMF experts from 41 nations about the impact of EMF exposure on public health. All of the experts who signed this appeal have published research in peer-reviewed scientific journals about the biologic or health effects of EMF.

According to the Appeal’s signatories, current national and international EMF exposure guidelines are obsolete and inadequate to protect human health and the environment. The FCC’s radio frequency guidelines were adopted in 1996.

The letter (dated June 9, 2017) is signed by the five advisors to the International EMF Scientist Appeal: Drs. Martin Blank, Magda Havas, Henry Lai, and Joel Moskowitz, and Elizabeth Kelley.

For more information:

FCC filing detail   (June 9, 2017)


May 8, 2017

A 5G Wireless Future: 
Will it give us a smart nation or contribute to an unhealthy one?

Dr. Cindy Russell, The (SCCMA) Bulletin, Jan/Feb 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:


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. 
But millimeter waves can affect your eyes and penetrate your skin.

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.
In my opinion, precaution is warranted before unleashing 5G technology on the world. I suspect most of the 221 scientists who signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal (referenced in the article below), would support this assertion.

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.
For an unbiased summary of the partial findings of the National Toxicology Program study of cancer risk from 2G cell phone radiation, see

 Low-intensity millimeter waves 
used for pain therapy have side effects

The Russians have pioneered millimeter wave therapy (MWT) using low intensity millimeter waves to reduce pain including headaches, joint pain, and postoperative pain.

Although the following review paper documents some positive effects from short-term exposure to MWT, the authors note that there are side effects including fatigue, sleepiness, and paresthesia (an abnormal sensation, tingling or pricking [“pins and needles”] caused by pressure on or damage to peripheral nerves). 
"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:
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.

Additional Resources 
(Updated 10/14/2020)

El-Hajj AM, Naous T. Radiation analysis in a gradual 5G network deployment strategy. 2020 IEEE 3rd 5G World Forum (5GWF), Bangalore, India IEEE, 2020: 448-453, ISBN 9781728173009. (Austin, TX simulation)

Koh TH, Choi JW, Seo M, Choi H-D, Kim KH. Factors affecting risk perception of electromagnetic waves from 5G network base stations. Bioelectromagnetics. 31 August 2020. Open access paper.

Electromagnetic Radiation Safety. 5G Research from the EMF-Portal Archive: 133 papers and presentations Apr 1, 2020.

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
U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Hearing, Feb 6, 2019 (5 minute video)
         "We're kind of flying blind here so far as health and safety is concerned."

Kashyap Vyas, Interesting Engineering, Jan 27, 2019

Congressional news briefing, Connecticut Network, Dec 3, 2018 (22 minute video)

Congressional letter to FCC Commissioner requesting evidence for safety of 5G
Richard Blumenthal, Anna G. Eshoo, Dec 3, 2018

Conan Milner, Epoch Times, November 9, 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
Sobczyk N, GreenWire, May 3, 2018

Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times, Aug 8, 2016