The 5G Conspiracy Theory
Claim: The unsafe deployment of 5G.
The claim that 5G hasn't been tested and is unsafe, or hasn't been shown to be safe.
Yes. Yes it has. 5G and its application have been tested by various bodies in different countries, and I will share that with you now. Before we start, I think this claim doesn't come from anything observed, but moreover, I think "it hasn't been tested" actually means "I don't know if it's been tested."
So who has tested it?
The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection has studied 5G technologies and have set a series of safety guidelines for countries and companies to adhere to. Their guidelines include frequencies between 100 kHz and 300 GHz. This was published in 2020 so it applies to the current application of 5G.
There have been people criticising the ICNIRP on their stance on radio wave radiation which as far as I have seen, date back to them using 1998 recommendations. In the introduction of these guidelines, they write:
"As radiofrequency EMFs at sufficiently high power levels can adversely affect health, ICNIRP published Guidelines in 1998 for human exposure to time-varying EMFs up to 300GHz, which included the radiofrequency EMF spectrum. Since that time, there has been a considerable body of science further addressing the relation between radiofrequency EMFs and adverse health outcomes, as well as significant developments in the technologies that use radiofrequency EMFs. Accordingly, ICNIRP has updated the radio-frequency EMF part of the 1998 Guidelines."
Is this an "aha! Gotcha!" moment? While it is possible for radio frequencies to cause harm to humans, what we are specifically talking about here is the current application of 5G, which includes whether or not it meets the necessary criteria for causing harm to humans.
Their summary page on their recommendations states the following.
"There are a number of differences between 5G and previous wireless standards. One of these is that, in addition to the EMF frequencies that are used for 3G and 4G standards, some 5G communication technologies utilise higher EMF frequencies (e.g. 28 GHz is currently used in the USA). EMFs at higher frequencies produce relatively superficial exposure, with less power penetrating deep into the body; the restrictions in the ICNIRP guidelines account for this to ensure that exposure does not cause any harm."
"RF EMFs have the ability to penetrate the human body, with the main effect of this being a rise in temperature in the exposed tissue. The human body can adjust to small temperature increases in the same way as it does when undertaking exercise and performing sporting activities. This is because the body can regulate its internal temperature. However, above a certain level (referred to as the threshold), RF exposure and the accompanying temperature rise can provoke serious health effects, such as heatstroke and tissue damage (burns)."
"Accordingly, 5G exposures will not cause any harm providing that they adhere to the ICNIRP (2020) guidelines."
"The ICNIRP RF EMF guidelines have taken the above considerations into account and protect against all potential adverse health effects relating to exposure to RF EMFs from 5G technologies. This includes potential differences in the effect of RF EMFs as a function of age, health status, and depth of penetration, the effect of both acute and chronic exposures, and it includes all substantiated effects regardless of mechanism."
Yes, actually. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency have also set their own safety recommendations for 5G technologies. You can review their report here as well. These recommendations come from 2002, so the ICNIRP guidelines will be more accurate.
So what does this mean?
Ofcom are a regulatory body in the UK and they have conducted testing on 5G mobile phone base stations. This was conducted in February 21st 2020. It's worth noting if only from my own personal experience, but the 5G conspiracies only started surfacing around March and April.
Ofcom tested 22 locations across the UK and measured their findings in accordance with the ICNIRP guidelines above. Their highest recording was from Canary Wharf which is like the business hub of Southeast London. Their readings for Canary Warf at best weren't even 1.5% of the ICNIRP recommended safety levels. It's worth noting that the 1.5% reading came from testing all frequency bands. From the Ofcom report:
"The highest level we observed in the band used for 5G was just 0.039%of the reference level."
What about the long term?
It's true that 5G has been tested and is at very safe levels throughout the UK, but what about the long term. Luckily, that's included in the Ofcom report:
"The deployment of 5G networks and the take-up of 5G services in the UK is still at an early stage. We will, therefore, continue to undertake EMF measurements to monitor the overall trends in the long term."
What about the scientists speaking out against 5G? What about the scientists?
I've been jumping around these very pages. One such link sent me to The Federal Office For Radiation Protection. (The page has since moved or been deleted so I have linked to another page quoting it) They write:
"In a further expansion step, higher frequency bands in the milli- or centimetre-wave range are also planned for 5G (e.g. in the 26 GHz, 40 GHz band or at up to 86 GHz). It can be assumed that no health effects are to be expected in these areas below the existing limit values. However, because only a few results are available for this area, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection still sees a need for research in this area. The absorption of high-frequency electromagnetic fields takes place in the milli- or centimetre-wave range very close to the body surface. There are thus possible effects on the skin and eyes; direct effects on internal organs are not to be expected."
The most convincing site I've had shown to me while debating this conspiracy theory is the EMF Scientists web page. This is a collection of scientists speaking out against 5G. Or is it?
There are a lot of obviously smart and accomplished people on this list. This site is used as a justification for 5G causing cancer in my experience. Let's start with the scientist quotations page. There are 25 people on this page, and a search for "5G" returns no results. I do find it interesting that all we have is quotes with no links to studies backing up the quotes. My thoughts also go to "If I could provide a website with 50 quotes from scientists saying the opposite, and I twice as right?"
Moving on from quotes as they aren't backed up by links, let's move onto their actual evidence in their "Recommended EMF Science literature databases" section.
The evidence - Intro
They supposedly have 833 studies proving how dangerous EMF radiation is. I'm writing this page and even I don't want to read them. How many people sharing this page around have actually read these 833 studies? I'm willing to bet almost no one. My assumption is the alternative-thinker has gone "833 studies, that's overwhelming, that proves it" and not actually read any of it. It's a powerful tool as well, because what opposition is going to fact-check 833 studies? You can't refute something without reading it so in a two-for-the-price-of-one move. The alternative-thinker has got a life-time of reading to back their claims up that they didn't have to read, that can't be refuted without being read.
Instead, let's look at the updates on their policy page to get an idea of what this site is about.
The evidence Pt.1
On their policy page they list the evidence that supports the health concerns. The first one is "Cell Phones, Cell Towers and Wireless Safety." The main evidence linked from this page is a press release from 2011 by the WHO. It classifies radiofrequency magnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans. They rated this as belonging to Group 2B. If you're interested in what is on this 2B list, the classification is here. Other "Agents" include Aloe Vera extract, Bracken Fern, Carpentry and Joinery, Dry Cleaning, Gasoline, and Magenta apparently. Lead is also on the list, and so is metallic Nickel.
Here are some extracts from their press release.
"The evidence was reviewed critically, and overall evaluated as being limited among users of wireless telephones for glioma and acoustic neuroma, and inadequate to draw conclusions for other types of cancers."
"Dr Jonathan Samet (University of Southern California, USA), overall Chairman of the Working Group, indicated that "the evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B classification. The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cellphones and cancer risk."
The evidence Pt.2
The next article on the page references the rat and mouse 2G study. I go into why this is irrelevant in the "5G Causes cancer" section. The page acknowledges that the author even says that the study doesn't apply to humans, and to be fair, this website isn't specifically aimed at 5G, but has been used as justification for the 5G conspiracy by people I've debated.
The evidence Pt.3 and Pt.4
The next section, the "Landmark studies" section and the "More studies ahead" section. This is actually the same as pt.2 about the rats and mice using 2G and 3G radio-frequency technologies. They use the same quotes I have which support this not being related to 5G so we'll move along.
The evidence Pt.5
To quote the EMF website:
"Communications modulated RFR in Hsd: Sprague Dawley SD rats and B6C3F1 mice at frequencies of 900 or 1900 MHz, respectively".
Already, this doesn't apply to 5G because the frequency is too low. Another problem I have is the original study isn't linked, it's just written about and the methodology of the study isn't mentioned. Was it full-body exposure? Was it similar to the NTP study above? Who knows. It might even be the same one. Let's keep reading.
"The primary finding observed in mice in these studies was increased DNA damage in cells of the frontal cortex of RFR-exposed male mice (both GSM and CDMA). This finding was not associated with any change in brain tumors in the 2-year studies; however, elevated incidences of neoplastic lesions were observed in male (skin and lung) and female mice (malignant lymphomas). These incidences may have been related to RFR exposure and were considered equivocal evidence of carcinogenicity for RFR at 1900 MHz for both GSM or CDMA modulations."
"decreased pup survival was observed at the higher levels of RFR tested. Increased DNA damage in cells of the hippocampus and frontal cortex was observed in RFR exposed male mice from the CDMA study. Lower survival in control group was observed and attributed to high severity of chronic progressive nephropathy. At the end of the 2-year studies, increased incidences were observed in malignant schwannomas and right ventricular cardiomyopathy in the heart, malignant gliomas in the brain, and pheochromocytoma in the adrenal medulla (GSM only) of male rats."
So from the rat portion of the study, the pups exposed didn't live as long and only male rats had cancer increases but the control group not exposed to EMF radiation didn't survive as long. Conclusively, this doesn't apply to 5G. After reviewing more of their site they reference this. It was a 2-year study so was different from the original rat and mice study above.
The evidence Pt.6
The next parts include scientists "recommended that some National Toxicology Program (NTP) conclusions be changed to indicate stronger levels of evidence that cell phone radiofrequency radiation (RFR) caused tumors in rats."
"Bucher stressed that the goal of the study was to establish the potential health hazard of exposure to cell phone RFR. He said that to detect a potential effect, the rodents’ whole bodies were exposed to levels equal to and higher than the highest level permitted for local tissue exposure in cell phone emissions today."
A little lower down:
“We were aiming to expose as many tissues as possible, not mimic a phone next to the head.”
The rest of the policy information references 2015 so we're pre-5G now.
I rate this claim misleading because while 5G has been tested and found to be safe, it will need to be monitored to make sure that long-term health effects don't occur. Luckily, that's already happening. The EMF scientist page that gets used to justify 5G being unsafe doesn't actually prove that at all. It's a collection of scientists saying that radiofrequency waves have the potential to cause harm even at low frequencies. The nuance here is that 5G uses high-frequency waves which don't penetrate the body past the skin. The safety standards have been set and current deployment is less than 1.5% of the safety guidelines at its peak in the UK. The EMF scientists web page isn't targeted at 5G and doesn't reference it other than to say their information doesn't apply to it.
While I find the dichotomy interesting, the safety concerns of scientists cannot be ignored, but it doesn't mean that 5G is dangerous. They call for safety checks and regulations before radiofrequency technology deployment, and in the UK that's exactly what's happened. Longer radio frequencies which penetrate the body such as 2G and 3G seem to be more in line with the concerns this website and the scientists on it.
While 5G hasn't been tested long term, from what we have now we can assume it's safe and we should be watchful to keep an eye on it. The interesting thing is I'm very in line with the concerns of the professionals and scientists on this page when they say that radiofrequency technology needs to be safe. The irony is that the very page used as a silver bullet actually disproves the 5G conspiracy. This has happened because the alternative-thinker hasn't read the material they use to prove their points because they're operating under confirmation bias and assume it agrees with them when it doesn't
I also find the fact that alternative-thinkers who oppose authority and government are using sources that reference the WHO and FDA. That's just me, but it's quite interesting.