February 26

Is 5G Safe? by CNBC


Transcript of “Is 5G Safe?”

You’re being exposed to radiation right now. It’s coming at you from both space and the soil, from water and food.

Your body itself is radioactive and you’re being exposed to microwaves and radio waves, both natural and human made; Wi Fi, TV, radio stations, cell phones, 3g, 4g, and now 5g.

And 5g is just getting started. Qualcomm, Samsung, Verizon, LG, Sprint, all these companies and more are right now working to build out the 5g ecosystem. So the question is, what are all these things doing to you?

Potential issues and questions:

  • The connection between your cell phone and your cancer risk?
  • How much radiation is being absorbed by your head?
  • More than 99% of industry info confirms that there is no such (negative health) effect.
  • Brain cancer warning labels on cell phones?
  • Should we at least be concerned about 5g?

People like Joel Moskowitz, a PhD from UC Berkeley, are concerned and see cell phones as a massive risk factor to public health. But as we will see, there are conflicting points of view within the scientific community.

Joel Moskowitz, PhD: “We have no assurance that 5g is safe. For that matter, if 4g is safe. I’ve only found three studies on 4g that came out of China, and they all indicated changes in brain function.

And Moskowitz isn’t alone, Camilla Rees has spent the last 12 years of her life trying to educate the public on what she sees as a risk greater than climate change.

Camilla Rees: “I’ve been really amazed at the resistance to learning the truth. The spin that the industry puts out. Learning that the exposure guidelines that the FCC uses are totally not protective. Really, I would call them fraudulent.

Right now, the FCC requires that every phone on the market be tested and given a value corresponding to the amount of radiation it emits.

It says that value is well below the point at which adverse health effects could occur, but the values tested against are from 30-year-old standards. But still, these kinds of concerns about health risks, usually cancer associated with cell phones and especially 5g are everywhere on the internet.

Most of us are not radiation scientists on college or medical physicist, so how do we know what’s going on? The International Agency for Research on Cancer or IARC is the World Health Organization cancer agency.

Since 1971, it’s had a program that convenes groups of experts to look at whether specific things cause cancer. It then defines those things cancer risks as either definite, probable, possible, uncertain or not probable.

In 2011, as a result of one of those groups, it classified radio frequency electromagnetic radiation; the kind that comes from cell phones as possibly carcinogenic. The chair of that particular group was Jonathan Samet, a pulmonary physician and epidemiologist who is now Dean of the Colorado School of Public Health.

Jonathan Samet: “There were several human studies, epidemiological studies, pointing to a possible link. But the rest of the evidence, you know, the laboratory evidence and very limited animal evidence didn’t provide much of a link between the electromagnetic radiation exposure and cancer. So put into the IARC scheme, it ends up in this being possible.

This is something that wireless safety advocates, like Moskowitz and Rees often bring up.

Camilla Rees: “We know this tremendous evidence of connection with brain tumors. Which is why the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified this radiation in 2011 as a possible carcinogen.

It is clear that the classification does not mean we know cell phones cause cancer. These studies are reason enough to keep investigating, but not convincing by themselves.

Jonathan Samet: “To me, it provides a warning and says, you know, we should take this seriously enough to do more research.

His position boils down to the old aphorism “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. Just because we don’t currently have evidence that cell phones are causing cancer doesn’t mean they’re not. Scientists don’t know exactly how they could be. But if they are, though, it would have to be through a mechanism we don’t currently understand.

Scientists often describe things in ways that make sense to other scientists, but are confusing to everyone else. The WHO’s classification from 2011 is a good example of how that can lead to misunderstandings.

Jerrold Bushberg: “When RF energy was classified as a 2B carcinogen, that’s a number two and then the letter B. You know, most people just heard RF and carcinogen and didn’t care whether it’s 2B or 1A or whatever, you know, whatever. It’s a carcinogen, so that’s bad. Let’s stop it.

But when you look at actual definitions of what a 2B carcinogen is and look at other things that are classified as 2B carcinogens, like pickled vegetables and coffee, the next level up is probable. And so it’s not probable because that would be 2A. So it’s possible.

Eric van Rongen: “The problem is that if lay people hear that something is possibly carcinogenic, they tend to forget the possibly and they just focus on carcinogenic. So, possibly becomes likely and then it’s completely forgotten alone that the WHO says it’s carcinogenic. And that’s just a wrong conclusion.

In support of that interpretation is the fact that the WHO’s official stance is that today no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use. And if you look to other agencies and scientific institutions that have studied this, like the Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Communications Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Cancer Institute, they all agree. We don’t yet have good evidence that cell phones are doing anything bad to us.

Critics say these conclusions are not based on science, but rather a result of ignorance and lobbying from the telecommunications industry.

So, let’s try to take a clear look at the science behind cell phone radiation and what we know about it. Radiation is just a form of energy, but it comes in different strengths. You’ve got low energy radio waves on one end of the spectrum and super high energy gamma rays on the other. Even visible light is radiation.

And understanding the effects of radiation at different energy levels is key when thinking about risk. The wavelengths of radiation, like the distance between crests of ocean waves can differ. It’s these differing wavelengths that defined how high energy the radiation is. The shorter the length between crests, the higher the energy.

Another way to describe radiation is by using hertz, the unit of frequency which tells you how many crests in that wave are happening per second. The energy Amplitude is another measure of power, the higher the amplitude, the higher the power.

So for example, 3g and 4g radiation is around one to 2 billion hertz or one to two gigahertz. 5g moves up in the spectrum using frequencies from one gigahertz all the way up to 70 gigahertzes. And if you were exposed to enough of any of these frequencies, it would affect your body by heating it. That’s how a microwave oven works and why there are limits on how powerful cell phone radiation can be.

Jerrold Bushberg: “At the levels that are used, for example, wireless communications or that are used for transmitting AM and FM radio or 5g technology, the amount of RF energy that’s being transmitted is very, very low, and would need to be thousands of times greater to even be felt by the body as a heat source, much less cause any particular harm to the body.

But there’s a certain point at which radiation has enough energy to do more than that, and actually makes changes to the atoms in your body. If it reaches that point, it becomes ionizing, which means it has enough energy to knock electrons out of atoms and do things, like give you cancer and damage your DNA.

This process is also the reason radiation therapy can be used to treat cancer by beaming ionizing radiation to cancer cells and damaging their DNA. This is the kind of radiation you probably think of when you hear the word.

Jerrold Bushberg: “If I for example took enough energy to raise the temperature of a cup of coffee by one degree, but I took that in the form of ionizing radiation, I would be dead within probably half an hour from a very horrible acute radiation syndrome.

But if I took that same amount of energy in terms of radio frequency energy, my body will be able to easily dispel or easily normalize that additional heat, because it wouldn’t produce any permanent damage, it would just be in the form of thermal energy, which my body can easily adapt to.

So, there’s a point at which radiation switches from being non-ionizing to ionizing. And the question is, how close are we getting to that when we move up to these higher 5g frequencies? The answer it turns out is, not very close at all.

While 70 gigahertzes is certainly higher than two, radiation isn’t ionizing until about 2.4 million gigahertzes. Although signal amplitude is a factor here as well, and 5G signal amplitude is much greater then previous G versions.

There’s clear epidemiological evidence that ionizing radiation causes cancer.

But it’s this lower energy radiation used by things like cell phones that has provoked controversy. Wireless safety advocates say that not only do we already know this kind of radiation can cause effects beyond heating, but that research is being influenced and suppressed by the telecommunications industry.

Jerrold Bushberg: “I wouldn’t risk my qualification, which I went to school a long time for and took a lot of exams to bet to say something for the telecom industry. It just wouldn’t be worth it.

There has always been and will always be a completely independent group of experts who disagree with the industries point of view. They are also very transparent in affiliations of our experts. We don’t want any influence of the industry or what we do at all.

Jerrold Bushberg: “If it’s true, then where are all the brain cancers? Where are all the gliomas? You know, you look at study after study of cancer rates, and you look at the incidence of brain cancers since the introduction of wireless technology and cell phones, you don’t see any significant change in the incidence.

Eric van Rongen: “If you look at the energy that’s coming from current cell towers, like from 3g or 4g, it’s mostly not very much more than a couple of volts per meter that you measure in residential areas. So, that’s comparable to the amount of energy that comes out from the incandescent light bulb.

Jerrold Bushberg: “From all the Wi-Fi exposure in 5g and the other types of exposure that we talked about; visible light and radio frequency, there should not be any adverse effects.

One thing often brought up is that cell phones are relatively new technology, and 5g is brand new. How can we possibly already understand how they’re affecting us? Especially if the industry pushes down any attempts to fund research that may prove there is a problem.

Jerrold Bushberg: “Really, wireless telecommunication is actually the combination of three old technologies that we have a lot of experience with. It’s the combination of the computer, the radio and the telephone. We have been exposed to our official radio frequency energies for over 100 years now and we’ve been studying biological effects of RF energy for over 70 years, and have over 3000 publications in the literature, specifically devoted to biological effects of RF energy at various levels in various frequencies.

Eric van Rongen: “It’s absolutely useless to do a lot of research, for instance, with the particular frequencies that 5g is going to use to see whether those frequencies will result in any health effects, because they’re much different from the frequencies that have been studied a lot already in the past.

Again, Moskowitz disagrees.

Joel Moskowitz: “Thousands of peer review studies have found biological and health effects from chronic exposure to non-thermal levels of microwave radiation and low frequency fields.

Eric van Rongen: “There are several thousands of papers altogether that have studied the effects of non-ionizing radiation. There may be a couple of dozen papers that give some indications for a possible carcinogenic effects. But there are not very many studies that give some indications of a possible carcinogenic effects, certainly not thousands.

So, that’s absolutely not true. Most of the studies that have been published do not show any indication at all for a carcinogenic or whatever health effect.

So, we’ve got two people claiming to be experts who have access to the same collection of scientific research. Most of us aren’t scientists studying this, so how do we know who to believe?

Jerrold Bushberg: “I go back to the literally dozens and dozens and dozens of these national and international panels that have been stood up over the last decade or two that have brought together the experts with the necessary complement of expertise with epidemiologists, with engineers, with microbiologist, with all of the necessary cadre of expertise necessary to really completely analyze the literature.

Their view holds more weight than individual opinions, more than my opinion, more than any one scientist opinion or a collection of scientists that you can find and select on a tally.

And this is the crux of how you should approach things here. When faced with big, complicated scientific questions, scientific consensus is your best option. If you rely on just one person, you could hear this.

Eric van Rongen: “We have some indications from some studies that the might be in association with mobile phone use and an increased risk of brain cancers.”

But then also this.

Eric van Rongen: “If you look at a possible carcinogenic effect of radiofrequency radiation, I’m more than 99% confident that there is no such effect.”

And this is not a case of Van Rongen in flip flopping, it’s an example of a scientist talking about science the way scientists talk about science, deliver it but not necessarily understood by non-scientists. To get the whole picture, you need more than a sound bite. So radiation can be scary and deadly.

But according to so many reputable organizations, we just don’t have good evidence cell phone radiation is causing us harm. At least at this point in time, so of course the industry backers are using this as proof of no danger.

It can heat up your body if it’s powerful enough, which is why the FCC sets limits on it, although many other experts think their standards are woefully outdated.

But beyond that, right now, there’s no good reason to think that it’s doing anything else. And according to Bushberg, we have even less reason to be worried about 5g.

Jerrold Bushberg: “The nature of 5g and the so-called millimeter waves, they don’t penetrate the body. In fact, they don’t even penetrate beyond the skin surface. And so, they can’t get to our internal organs so no RF energy that is going to hit the liver or the spleen or the lungs or any of our internal organs.

So, I’m not really sure why people should be more concerned. If you had to have a concern, you should be least concerned about 5g.

The truth is that even if you believe the worst-case reality of 5G radiation affecting you or your family, there are more and more products available to provide protection from radiation damage. These fall into 2 specific category’s:

  • Internal protection, such as antioxidant products, which work from inside the body to counteract the effects of radiation damage.
  • External protection, such as stickers that can be attached to electronic devices to modulate the energy they transmit out.


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