Before us looms perhaps the biggest health and environmental crisis of our times, that of the proliferation of wireless technology. The current soup of wireless radiation is effectively playing with the genetic makeup of all life.
And yet we stand now at the threshold of unleashing 5th generation cellular technology (5g) throughout our country, which according to former FCC Chair Wheeler “will make available more licensed spectrum for mobile than in the cumulative history of mobile spectrum allocation.” It will take nothing short of a massive public awareness campaign to put the breaks on the aggressive and fast-moving wireless industry and our complicit government. But there is no choice. Many scientists are calling for caution now, and more recently, 180 scientists have issued an appeal for a moratorium on 5g. We must heed the call.
1. We have a problem: We are now facing a serious threat to human health and wildlife due to the proliferation of wireless technology, and most people remain completely uninformed.
2. The problem is getting worse: Government and industry are fast tracking 5g and the Internet of Things (IoT). 5g will include higher millimeter wave (mmW) frequencies never before used for wireless infrastructure, and will require millions of new cell towers. Millimeter Wave frequencies are less studied than are the lower frequencies. The experiment is on us.
3. Government agencies are not protecting us: Current FCC guidelines protect only from harm caused by heating, yet these antiquated “safety” guidelines remain in effect giving virtually free rein to the wireless industry, while completely ignoring public health.
4. Prior legislation interfered with our right to oppose cell towers: The Telecommunications Act (TCA) of 1996 disallows opposition to cell tower installations on the grounds of environmental impacts, which has been interpreted by some to include human health effects.
5. What can we do? What measures can we take to protect ourselves from the mandatory irradiation of our homes and communities?
We have a problem
It is well known, and even the FCC agrees, that wireless radiation that heats us, can be harmful. If it burns us, it can harm us. But a debate has been on-going for over 60 years as to whether radiation that has negligible thermal effects – that is, it heats us only minimally – can impact health. Independent science overwhelmingly finds that non-thermal radiation can cause a multitude of health problems, while industry-funded science, more often than not, contends non-thermal radiation is safe.
So sixteen years ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioned the National Toxicology Program (NTP), a branch of the National Institute of Health (NIH), to conduct a study to settle this debate once and for all. The NTP designed an elaborate, $25 million dollar study on “cell phone radiation”, which was the largest and most extensive study ever conducted by the NTP.
In May 2016, the NTP released partial findings which showed a significantly higher rate of Glioma and Shwannomas of the heart in rats exposed to 2g cellular radiation. (Please note that this study was conducted on 2g. We are now up to 5g.) The findings were dose related, and corroborate similar findings in humans with heavy cellphone use.
Although the NTP study will not be completed till 2018, as the scientists are looking at many health effects, not just cancer, they chose to release these preliminary findings early because of their importance for public health. The NTP Report explained that even a small finding could have broad implications for human health since cell phones and other wireless devices are used so widely.
The NTP study underscores the 2011 World Health Organization’s classification of radio frequency/microwave radiation as a 2B possible carcinogen. (This classification will likely move to 2A probable carcinogen as a result of the NTP findings.) The NTP study adds further weight to the International Scientists Appeal, in which 223 scientists from 41 countries urged the UN and the WHO to call for more protective EMF guidelines and increased public education. The NTP study follows in the wake of recommendations from the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and many other resolutions, and government actions surrounding public exposure to radiation. The NTP findings also corroborate thousands of peer-reviewed studies linking cell phone use with cancer or other adverse health effects, a sampling of which can be found here.
For more on health effects from wireless, please see:
- IRRADIATED; A comprehensive compilation and analysis of the literature on radiofrequency fields and the negative biological impacts of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (particularly radiofrequency fields) on biological organisms
- THE BIOINITIATIVE REPORT 2012
- Updated Research Summaries, from the BioInitiative Report, Dec. 15th, 2017
- Cell Phone Radiation Study Confirms Cancer Risk
- EMF Scientist Appeal
- National Toxicology Program Finds Cellphone Radiation Causes Cancer
- Cell Phone Radiation Causes Cancer in US National Toxicology Program Study Watch NIEHS Report 2016
- Oxidative mechanisms of biological activity of low-intensity radiofrequency radiation
The problem’s getting worse
Six short weeks after the release of the NTP partial findings, the FCC approved 5g to usher in the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition to the lower frequencies that have been used up until now (and that independent science warns us about), 5g will open up large swaths of bandwidths in the higher millimeter wave (mmW) frequencies, “into the triple digits” as Wheeler boasted. 5g infrastructure promises to take radiation densification to a whole new level. According to FCC Chair Wheeler, “5g build-out is going to be very infrastructure intensive, requiring a massive deployment of small cells.” Virtually every lamppost and/or utility pole will be outfitted with a small cell. The vast body of research on health effects of radiofrequency/microwave radiation has been conducted primarily on the lower frequencies, such as those currently being used for cell phones and WiFi. The majority of independent peer-reviewed studies confirm that these lower frequencies cause adverse health effects. The higher mmW frequencies, though less studied, are proving harmful as well. Although the research science cannot keep pace with the FCC’s race to 5g, enough studies have been conducted to warrant putting a hold on 5g. Whereas the lower frequencies travel through our bodies, the higher, mmW frequencies, do not. With 5g frequencies, the outer layer of our bodies will be affected – skin and eyes. (Please note that even though 5g frequencies don’t penetrate deeply, it is likely that other systems will also be affected as no organ operates in isolation.) We might presume that in light of the recent NTP study and the wealth of peer-reviewed independent science that overwhelmingly shows adverse health effects from radiation, our government would give great consideration before barreling headfirst into a massive deployment of 5g small cells. But sadly, this was not the case. Unlike other countries, such as New Zealand and India, which are currently studying these new frequencies before exposing the public, our FCC prefers to bypass this “long and arduous task” in order to be “first out the gate.” FCC Chair Wheeler states:
“If the Commission approves my proposal next month, the United States will be the first country in the world to open up high-band spectrum for 5G networks and applications. And that’s damn important because it means U.S. companies will be first out of the gate.”
For more about 5g and health, please see:
- Is 5G Cellular Technology Harmful to Our Health?
- The FCC Approves 5G Millimeter Wave Spectrum Frontiers
- Wireless Pollution “Out of Control” as Corporate Race for 5G “Microwave Spectra” Gears Up
- The 5G Wireless Technology: Potential Health Impacts of Electromagnetic Radiation
- Comments submitted to the FCC opposing 5G on the grounds of health
- Comment Filed by: GUARDS (Global Union Against Radiation Deployment from Space)
- MIllimeter Wave Frequency Studies and Reviews
- Long-Term Exposure to Microwave Radiation Provokes Cancer Growth Evidences From Radars and Mobile Communication Systems
Government agencies are not protecting us
The FCC “safety” standards for radiofrequency/microwave radiation were set in 1996 when very few people owned a cell phone and well before the advent of WiFi. Since that time, wireless technology has become ubiquitous with most people using one or more wireless devices throughout the day (and night!). In addition, far more research has been conducted, and many experts now agree that the current FCC guidelines are inadequate and not protective of health. A resolution by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine states:
“Existing safety limits for pulsed RF [radiofrequency] were termed ‘not protective of public health’ by the Radiofrequency Interagency Working Group (a federal inter agency working group including the FDA, FCC, OSHA, the EPA, and others).”
Already in 2002, in a letter to the EMR Policy Institute, Norbert Hankin from the EPA wrote.
“The FCC’s exposure guideline is considered protective of effects arising from a thermal mechanism but not from all possible mechanisms. Therefore, the generalization by many that the guidelines protect human beings from harm by any or all mechanisms is not justified.”
The Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection recently sent a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) calling for more “balanced” representation in the WHO RF working group. The letter discusses ICNIRP’s antiquated exposure standards which are slightly more protective of health than the FCC standards, but nearly comparable. Oleg A. Grigoriev, Chairman DrSc., PhD, Assoc. Prof. Head of the Scientific Department of Non-Ionizing Radiation, Federal Medical Biophysical Center of Federal Medical Biological Agency of Russia states:
In particular, the private self-elected organization ICNIRP, similar as majority of the current WHO RF WG members, does not recognize the non-thermal RF effects, which represent the main concern of widespread exposure to mobile communication and upholding guidelines from 1996, which are based on RF thermal effects only. Thus, the quidelines of ICNIRP are irrelevant to present situation when majority of population over the world is chronically exposed to non-thermal RF from mobile communication.
For a fuller discussion of the FCC “safety” guidelines, please see
- Outdated FCC “Safety” Standards
- The Health Argument Against Cell phones and Cell Towers (Pages 5-9)
- FCC Maximum Permissible Exposure Limits for Electromagnetic Radiation, as Applicable to Smart Meters
- Inform the Public of Wireless Tech Risks – 33 Recommendations for the Federal Communications Commission
- FCC Maximum Permissible Exposure Limits for Electromagnetic Radiation, as Applicable to Smart Meters
Prior legislation interfered with our right to oppose cell towers
In 1996, after three years of intense lobbying and much pressure from the wireless industry, Congress passed, and the President signed into law, the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Hidden deep within this vast and complex Act, lies Section 704 which states:
No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission’s [the Federal Communications Commission’s] regulations concerning such emissions.
This unprecedented legislation set the stage for the onslaught of the wireless industry and its deluge of technological infrastructure. Though “health effects” is not stated explicitly in Section 704, it has been interpreted to include health effects. Now, over 20 years later, with the advent of 5g and the IoT, cities and municipalities are proving slow to accept 5g infrastructure, so the wireless industry is again pulling out all stops in an effort to get legislation at both the state and federal level to “remove barriers” in order to “streamline” the siting of 5g small cell infrastructure. Note former Chair Tom Wheeler’s Prepared Remarks to the Competitive Carriers Association, Sept. 2016: (For more on this please see, http://whatis5g.info/government-actions/.)
For our part, the Commission is united in its commitment to cutting red tape and facilitating siting. We’ve streamlined our environmental and historic preservation rules, and tightened our ‘shot clock’ for siting application reviews. And there’s a bipartisan commitment to do more as warranted. Both my Republican colleagues, for instance, have recently agreed that where states or localities are imposing fees or not being “fair and reasonable” for access to local rights of way, the FCC should preempt them. We shouldn’t be afraid to use all of our authority under the Communications Act to address unreasonable local barriers.
More on the FCC’s “hard ball tactics”:
- Captured Agency How the Federal Communications Commission Is Dominated by the Industries It Presumably Regulates An Exposé of the FCC:
- An Agency Captured by the Industries it Regulates Cell-Phone Towers and Communities:
- The Struggle for Local Control The Rules and Regulations That Frame Us The Telecommunications Act of 1996 Removes Our Rights to Stop Cell Towers Because of Health Concerns
What we can do
Call for ONE BIG DIG – Fiber to the every home, business, and school and farm: Government and industry must build a safe and reliable fiber optic and coaxial cable ICT infrastructure to all homes, businesses, schools, and farms. Government should put a halt on the continued proliferation of unsafe wireless infrastructure and the Internet of Things.
Measures you can take on a personal level:
- Use wired Internet connections whenever possible and be sure to deactivate the wireless settings on all routers and laptops.
- Use a corded landline phone whenever possible.
- Limit your time on cell phones or cordless phones, and if you must use them, use either speaker or an Air Tube headset.
- Do not carry wireless devices on your person, and when possible switch all devices to Airplane Mode.
- Choose conventional ovens not microwave ovens.
- Avoid buying IoT, Internet-connected machines, appliances, or “things”. Your health is worth far more than any wireless gizmo!
- For more complete guidelines, please see:Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to Wireless Radiation How to Reduce the Electromagnetic Radiation in Your Home
Stay abreast of all new applications for wireless infrastructure being considered in your community and/or any new legislation being considered that would further streamline the requirements for wireless infrastructure siting. Attend public hearings on cell towers, educate your City Council, and submit comment both orally and written whenever possible.
Protest, protest and protest some more! This seems to be the only remaining way for our voice to be heard.
Communities have been successful in stopping the wireless industry. For more information about actions you can take, please see all the sections in the Take Action tab on this website – http://whatis5g.info/small-cells/. Share information and encourage others to take action as well. Word of mouth and grass roots efforts can be very effective. Finally, to keep up to date on developments concerning 5g and the IoT, and to connect with other like-minded folk, please check out the Facebook Page, What is 5g and the Internet of Things, and consider joining the Facebook Group, Responding to 5G and the Internet of Things.
Expert Forum: Wireless Radiation and Human Health Hebrew University Medical School, January 23-26 2017
WHY WE SHOULD OPPOSE 5G ON HEALTH GROUNDS
February 20, 2017 — Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D.
Background of Ronald M. Powell Ph.D.
I am a retired U.S. Government career scientist (Ph.D., Applied Physics, Harvard University, 1975). During my Government career, I worked for the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. For those organizations, respectively, I addressed Federal research and development program evaluation, energy policy research, and measurement development in support of the electronics and electrical-equipment industries and the biomedical research community. I currently interact with other scientists and with physicians around the world on the impact of electromagnetic fields on human health.
Why Oppose 5G?
The National Toxicology Program at NIH has linked cellular radiation to cancer.
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has just published the “Partial Findings” of a $25 million multi-year study of the impact of cell phone radiation on human health. The NTP study found a likely causal relationship between the radiofrequency radiation emitted by cell phones and the occurrence of malignant brain cancer (glioma) and malignant nerve tumors (schwannomas) of the heart in male rats.
Description of the NTP study: http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/results/areas/cellphones/index.html
Published “Partial Findings” of the NTP study: http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/06/23/055699
Informative Discussion of the NTP study: http://ehtrust.org/science/facts-national-toxicology-program-cellphone-rat-cancer-study
The NTP regarded its findings as so important to world health that it issued the “Partial Findings” as soon as it could (May 2016) and formally presented those findings at an international conference (BioEM2016, June 2016) attended by 300 scientists from 41 countries.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer at WHO has classified radiofrequency radiation as a possible human carcinogen.
The NTP study reinforces the cancer classification of radiofrequency radiation made in 2011, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO). Such radiation, including specifically radiation from cell phones, was classified as a Group 2B carcinogen (possible carcinogen for humans) because of the associated occurrence of brain cancer (glioma) and acoustic neuroma (a benign tumor of the auditory nerve) which is a form of schwannoma.
In fact, the findings of the NTP study, in combination with the findings of other studies conducted since 2011, have greatly increased the likelihood that the IARC will raise its classification of radiofrequency radiation to Group 2A (probable carcinogen for humans) or even to Group 1 (known carcinogen for humans) in the near future.
The world’s scientists have appealed to the United Nations and the World Health Organization to warn the world population about the harm to health caused by radiofrequency radiation from wireless devices.
As of January 29, 2017, 224 scientists from 41 nations have signed an international appeal first submitted to the United Nations and to the World Health Organization in May 2015. These scientists seek improved protection of the public from harm from the radiation produced by many wireless sources, including “cellular and cordless phones and their base stations, Wi-Fi, broadcast antennas, smart meters, and baby monitors” among others. Together, these scientists have published over 2000 peer-reviewed research papers on this subject.
The most detailed and comprehensive analyses of international biomedical research show a broad variety of adverse health effects from exposure to radiofrequency radiation.
The health risks posed by continued expansion of the use of radiofrequency radiation in wireless devices are not limited to cancer, as devastating as that consequence is. The much broader range of health effects was reviewed in immense detail in the BioInitiative Report of 2012. This 1479-page review considered about 1800 biomedical research publications, most issued in the previous five years. The BioInitiative 2012 Report was prepared by an international body of 29 experts, heavy in Ph.D.s and M.D.s, from 10 countries, including the USA which contributed the most experts (10). The review concludes that “The continued rollout of wireless technologies and devices puts global public health at risk from unrestricted wireless commerce unless new, and far lower exposure limits and strong precautionary warnings for their use are implemented.”
BioInitiative Working Group, Cindy Sage, M.A. and David O. Carpenter, M.D., Editors, BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for Biologically-based Public Exposure Standards for Electromagnetic Radiation, December 31, 2012 (http://www.bioinitiative.org).
Why is 5G so especially outrageous to the public?
5G would greatly extend FCC’s current policy of the MANDATORY IRRADIATION OF THE PUBLIC without adequate prior study of the potential health impact and assurance of safety. 5G would IRRADIATE EVERYONE, including the most vulnerable to harm from radiofrequency radiation: pregnant women, unborn children, young children, teenagers, men of reproductive age, the elderly, the disabled, and the chronically ill.
5G would likely rely on the 1996 Telecommunications Act to continue to deny state and local governments and municipalities the right to bar the installation of wireless technology on environmental/health grounds
This Act may be the greatest offense to local rule of all time.
5G would likely rely on the FCC’s current outdated, excessively permissive, and thus widely criticized, radiation-exposure guidelines that enable many parties to make false claims of safety for wireless products. Those guidelines are based primarily on a 30-year-old analysis by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP),1 many years before the emergence of most of the digital wireless technology in use today. And the FCC’s proposed move to 5G would offer no further study of safety, even though the new study by the National Toxicology Program at NIH has already found those same FCC guidelines unprotective.
5G would set a goal of irradiating all environments, including the insides of homes, whether single family homes, townhouses, or apartments, ending any remnant of the notion that “your home is your castle” in which you are supposed to be safe and to have a measure of control of your environment. Specifically, the proposed 5G technology would blast through walls and cribs just as the current wireless technologies do. The result would be to drive even more people out of their homes than are already being displaced by the current wireless technologies.
5G would force cell antennas onto residential streets, bringing the radiation threat even more up close and personal to the public.
5G would bypass all current biomedical studies endeavoring to determine if radiofrequency radiation is a factor in the explosive growth of major health conditions — such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Alzheimers disease — that are ruining the lives of so many people, from their youngest years to their oldest years.
5G would increase the prospect for the continued explosion of health care costs, with a further worsening of the national debt, and with no clear assignment of responsibility to the providers of the harmful radiation. In short, 5G would continue to export to society the costs of the harm that wireless products cause.
5G would totally ignore the rapidly growing international biomedical research literature that demonstrates that radiofrequency radiation adversely affects human health at levels far below the current FCC exposure guidelines. And the adverse impact on animal, insect, and plant health, too, would continue to be ignored.
5G would continue to dismiss, as too expensive, the tremendous potential of wired technologies (especially fiber optics) to provide higher data rates, greater cyber security, and greater safety for human health, as if those benefits should be excluded from any cost comparisons with wireless technologies.
I urge you to oppose development of 5G.
1 Federal Communications Commission, Office Engineering & Technology, Evaluating Compliance with FCC Guidelines for Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields, OET Bulletin 65, Edition 97-01, page 64 (August 1997). See the last paragraph on the page to find this statement: “The FCC-adopted limits for Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) are generally based on recommended exposure guidelines published by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) in “Biological Effects and Exposure Criteria for Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields,” NCRP Report No. 86, Sections 17.4.1, 184.108.40.206, 17.4.2 and 17.4.3. Copyright NCRP, 1986, Bethesda, Maryland 20814 (http://transition.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Documents/bulletins/oet65/oet65.pdf ).
For other documents of Ronald M. Powell (Ph.D.) please see https://www.scribd.com/document/291507610/Documents-on-Wireless-Technology-and-Health-by-Ronald-M-Powell-Ph-D