Published: NOVEMBER 2021
‘Some people are going to become very ill’ – Prof. Magda Havas
Scientists warn about dangers from hasty 5G rollout
Special report by Warren Perley
Writing from Montreal
Despite medical warnings from scientists and physicians about radiofrequency (RF) radiation danger from cellular technology, telecommunications companies have been launching satellites and erecting cell towers worldwide on an expeditious schedule.
South Korea became the first country to offer 5G service in March 2019,1 joining the U.S. and China as leaders in deploying 5G technology, which is touted in developed countries as the backbone of the Internet of Things (IoT), that will connect all wireless objects such as driverless cars and “smart” homes.
Although 5G technologies are too new to have undergone peer-reviewed studies, thousands of scientists and medical doctors cite “clinical evidence” from 10,000 peer-reviewed studies into 3G and 4G cellular technologies going back at least two decades as proof that “radiofrequency (RF) radiation is harmful to life“. Some of those studies report “evidence of damage to DNA, cells and organ systems in a wide variety of plants and animals”2 causing cancer, heart disease and diabetes, to name a few of the illnesses. They also cite RF radiation as one of the causes of plummeting populations of birds, bees, butterflies and the decline of healthy forests.
Frank Clegg, former president of Microsoft Canada and co-founder of C4ST which is a volunteer-based organization concerned with health issues of wireless technology, said in an interview with BestStory.ca that 5G “includes all the sins of 3G and 4G”, but “is going to be worse.”
There are thousands of scientific papers about 2G, 3G and 4G cellular technologies causing “cancer, sperm damage, DNA damage, links to learning disabilities, ADHD, Alzheimer’s and other diseases,” he said. He cites 3G, 4G and 5G as “factors in climate change” and as being harmful to pollinators, such as birds and bees.
According to experts, in addition to long-term effects – some of which are not felt for years – a percentage of the population experiences immediate symptoms. In a June 2020 article Clegg and seven scientists wrote for the online publication Building and Environment, they list different names that are applied to the symptoms believed to be caused by RF radiation from wireless communication devices and antennas: electrical sensitivity; electrohypersensitivity; idiopathic environmental intolerance; and electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), historically known as microwave sickness or microwave syndrome.3
Their common symptoms are headaches, cognitive difficulties, sleep problems, dizziness, depression, fatigue, skin rashes, tinnitus, and flu-like symptoms. Adverse reactions to wireless devices range from mild and reversible to severe and disabling.4
Magda Havas, an expert on electromagnetic pollution for over two decades and a professor at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, said in a November 24, 2019 posting on her website that both the Canadian and American governments “deny any adverse health effects” from RF radiation because they are following safety guidelines “that were outdated when they were originally conceived decades ago.” She chastised the media for providing “a lot of misleading information” on the subject. “We are at the beginning of one of the largest experiments ever conducted on this planet. 5G is being rolled out across the globe and no one really knows what the consequences of this are likely to be.” 5
“There will be winners and losers with 5G,” Havas says. “Some people are going to make a lot of money and some people are going to become very ill…”6
Scientists such as Havas believe that 5G will be even more dangerous than 4G – the current standard – because of the higher number of cell towers that will be required to be closer to cellphone users in order to make 5G operational.
The reason more cell towers will be needed closer to where people live and work is because 5G uses shorter millimeter waves – in addition to the frequencies currently used by 4G – enabling it to carry data faster. But the shorter millimeter waves do not travel as far as 4G cell signals.7 That means 5G cell towers must be closer to each other and closer to users than 4G cell towers are.
Publicly available information for distances required between 5G cell towers varies between 100 meters (328 feet)8 and 500 meters (1,640 feet or just under one-third of a mile)9, rather than up to several miles apart for 4G cell towers. The higher number of 5G cell towers located closer together and incorporating new technologies, such as multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) antenna arrays, will create more radiofrequency radiation than the amount emitted by a smaller quantity of 4G cell towers located farther apart and without multiple antenna arrays.
In addition to free-standing, macro 5G cell towers that are highly visible, there are also thousands of 5G small-cell antennas being installed that people may not recognize because they are small enough to be attached to everyday objects such as street lights, trash cans, bus stops and utility poles.10
Due to its “reduced latency” (industry jargon meaning faster upload and download speeds) and wider bandwidth, it is projected that by 2024 5G technology will connect as many as 24 billion IoT smart devices known as “data points”11.
“Some experts are now claiming that 5G will be 20 times faster than 4G,” according to the CENGN, a Canadian telecommunications industry association that includes the Government of Canada and major Canadian universities.12 By comparison, U.S. carrier Verizon says that 4G – up to now the current standard of cellular networks – is 500 times faster than its predecessor 3G13 and has thus been able to support streaming services such as for the gaming industry, music, and high-definition video since its introduction in 2009.
Whereas 4G and earlier generations of cellular technologies focused on connecting phones, 5G will connect all wireless devices with each other, including driverless vehicles.14 The technical standards for 5G and the previous iterations of cellular technologies have been developed by seven telecommunications organizations around the world (ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TSDSI, TTA, TTC) working cooperatively through the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) founded in 1998 and based in Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France near the French Riviera.15
The International Appeal To Stop 5G on Earth and in Space – known in short as the 5G Space Appeal — is an international movement of thousands of scientists, doctors, and environmentalists calling on governments and regulatory agencies around the world to impose a moratorium on the rollout of 5G claiming it will cause an exponential increase in radiation from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF).
(Don’t count SpaceX founder Elon Musk as being among those concerned about the dangers of electromagnetic radiation caused by cellular technology. In a YouTube video posted from The Joe Rogan Experience podcast in February 2021, Musk said: “If I had a helmet of cell phones strapped around my head and around my nuts, I would not worry… If you had a helmet that was made of cell phones, you would be fine.”)16
5G Space Appeal, which counts 7,142 scientists and 4,395 medical doctors among its supporters, states on its website: “If the telecommunications industry’s plans for 5G come to fruition, no person, no animal, no bird, no insect and no plant on Earth will be able to avoid exposure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to levels of RF radiation that are tens to hundreds of times greater than what exists today, without any possibility of escape anywhere on the planet. These 5G plans threaten to provoke serious, irreversible effects on humans and permanent damage to all of the Earth’s ecosystems.”17
On September 18, 2020, The Washington Spectator published an article by Joel Moskowitz, a UCLA Berkeley professor, scientist, and researcher with expertise in electromagnetic radiation issues. Moskowitz’s piece said that radiofrequency (RF) “damage goes well beyond the human race as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.”18 The headline over the article read, ‘Regulators Steamroll Health Concerns as the Global Economy Embraces 5G’.
That headline turned out to be prescient in light of an historic legal win 11 months later, in August 2021, by the Environmental Health Trust – that included multiple co-petitioners such as the Children’s Health Defense – over the U.S.-based Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concerning the safety of wireless technology, including 5G.19
The petitioners, including the Children’s Health Defense – whose founder and chairman is Robert Kennedy Jr. – filed 11,000 pages of evidence of harm caused by wireless technology as part of its challenge to the FCC’s 2019 decision affirming the adequacy of its 1996 safety guidelines that indicate the only danger from cellphone radiation is if thermal heating causes tissue temperature to rise above a certain level. The lawsuit, known as a Petition for Review, described the FCC’s 2019 decision as “arbitrary, capricious, not evidence-based, an abuse of discretion, and in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.”20
Historic August 2021 U.S court judgment forces FCC to reconsider evidence about dangers of cellular technology
The August 2021 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit means that the FCC must re-examine its health and safety guidelines for 5G and other wireless-based technologies. The court concluded that the analysis provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on which the FCC relied for its decision, was also not evidence-based.21
The court judgment states that the FCC must now “provide a reasoned explanation for its determination that its guidelines adequately protect against harmful effects of exposure to radiofrequency radiation.” Robert Kennedy Jr. said of the judgment: “The court’s decision exposes the FCC and FDA as captive agencies that have abandoned their duty to protect public health in favor of a single-minded crusade to increase telecom industry profits.”22
Scott McCollough, a telecommunications and administrative law attorney involved in the case, called it “an historic win” which will force the FCC to reopen proceedings “and for the first time meaningfully and responsibly confront the vast amount of scientific and medical evidence showing that current guidelines do not adequately protect health and the environment.”23
One of the affidavits submitted on behalf of the plaintifs at the June 2021 hearing of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit was from Dr. Riina Bray, medical director of the Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. In her affidavit, Bray described illnesses from wireless radiation as “widespread”, “debilitating”, and in some cases “life-threatening”. They usually prevent people from holding down jobs, which could lead to homelessness, anxiety, depression, and sometimes suicide, she said.24
Bray cited European surveys that show an average of 10% of the population is “afflicted to some degree” with radiation sickness and “with the growing exposure to wireless radiation, the prevalence is likely growing”. Due to Wi-Fi exposure in schools, half of North American children diagnosed with electromagnetic sensitivity can no longer attend classes and must be home-schooled, she said, adding that the only effective treatment is to avoid exposure to such radiation. In her presentation, Bray described her clinic as “the first and largest hospital clinic in the world to specialize in the diagnosis of radiation sickness.”
It remains to be seen whether the judgment against the FCC by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will create additional public protests forcing regulatory agencies in other countries to re-examine their own similar safety guidelines pertaining to radiation from wireless technology.Canadian politicians are mute
On August 23, 2021, BestStory.ca emailed Canadian Minister of Health Patty Hajdu to find out whether she would support a review of cellular radiation safety guidelines in Canada as a result of the historic American court judgment against the FCC. On August 25, 2021, BestStory.ca emailed the same question to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office, as well as to the leaders of all the federal political parties which hold seats in the Parliament of Canada – Erin O’Toole of the Conservative Party of Canada; Jagmeet Singh of the New Democratic Party; Annamie Paul of the Green Party of Canada; and Yves-François Blanchet of the Bloc Québécois. As of the publication date of this article, BestStory.ca had not received a response from any of those elected officials or party leaders.
[Notes: 1. Annamie Paul resigned as leader of the Green Party of Canada after she failed to win a seat in the federal election of September 20, 2021. 2. On October 26, 2021, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed Patty Hajdu as the new Minister of Indigenous Services, while naming Quebec MP Jean-Yves Duclos as the new Minister of Health.]
Until now, regulatory agencies in most Western countries have given wireless carriers carte blanche to install 5G cell towers over the objections of local municipalities and citizens. For example, a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada ruling in Rogers Communications Inc. v. Châteauguay established the principle that local municipalities and homeowners in Canada cannot block installation of cell towers in their communities because such activity is under the jurisdiction of the Canadian government, which has expressed no concerns about 5G through its Ministry of Health.
Meg Sears, chairperson of Prevent Cancer Now, is a scientist with decades of experience involving environmental health issues. Prevent Cancer Now was one of 24 Canadian groups that called on the Canadian government in May 2020 to suspend 5G in favor of wired connections. Sears noted in an interview with BestStory.ca that “novel 5G frequencies and modulations have not been used long enough to study long-term effects on people and the environment.”
“Some effects may require exposure for a period of 10 to 15 years, or longer, following deployment,” she said. “That said, 5G includes 3G and 4G, for which there is strong evidence of health risks.”
In addition to leading Prevent Cancer Now, Sears – who has a PhD in biochemical engineering and works in health research – is one of the principal advisers to Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST). She favors cancelling 5G, opting instead for fiber or wire connections, citing thousands of science-based studies already done on 3G and 4G that show “radiofrequency radiation can cause cancers, damage sperm and DNA, impair reproduction, learning, memory, and more.”
‘We have no reason to believe that 5G is safe.’ – Meg Sears, PhD
“We have no reason to believe that 5G is safe,” Sears told BestStory.ca. “That’s a presumption that governments are working from, but it’s a flawed assumption. The idea that technology is presumed innocent until proven guilty is contrary to the Precautionary Principle and to protection of public health.”
Magda Havas, the expert on electromagnetic pollution who is a professor at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, said in a November 29, 2016 posting on her website that non-ionizing radiation such as that created by cellular technology is carcinogenic because it interferes with the body’s ability to repair free radical damage.25
In her interview with BestStory.ca, Havas said there is a “huge amount of evidence” that radiofrequency (RF) radiation from wireless devices affects fertility – especially sperm viability – and the ability to reproduce. As well, the children of pregnant women exposed to RF radiation exhibit behavioral problems such as ADHD in early childhood, she said. “I think we really need to focus on how to minimize kids being exposed to this radiation,” she said alluding to Wi-Fi in schools and homes being a source of RF radiation.
Governments and regulatory agencies have become ‘blind, deaf, and dumb’ about wireless technology – Prof. Magda Havas
In an April 15, 2020 posting on her website, Havas said “studies are documenting adverse biological and health effects to humans, plants and animals including insects” from wireless technology which emits mIcrowave radiation. “5G is going to increase our exposure to microwaves as it does not replace earlier wireless technology (i.e. 3G and 4G)… Why aren’t the telecom providers and the government testing the potential for long-term adverse health effects of 5G technology before rolling it out?... Those who have the ability to make decisions about the future of wireless in Canada and elsewhere have become blind, deaf, and dumb.”265G military applications
The shorter millimeter waves used in 5G technology are also known to have military applications when used as pulsed microwave energy directed at individuals, Havas said in her interview with BestStory.ca.
In fact, the shorter millimeter wave frequencies have been weaponized by various governments for more than five decades, with the U.S. military acknowledging that it adapted the technology in the 1970s for crowd control – dubbed the “active denial system”.
In late 2016, U.S. embassy personnel in Havana, Cuba reported clinical signs of such radiofrequency radiation: pain in the ears and/or head, including sensations of head pressure, vibration and dizziness followed in some cases by tinnitus, visual problems, vertigo and cognitive difficulties. At least five Canadian diplomats in Havana reported similar symptoms one year later in 2017.
In December 2020, the U.S.-based National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine published a 77-page report of 130 similar incidents worldwide – known as “Havana syndrome” – involving symptoms of RF radiation of U.S. diplomats. The report concluded that “the symptoms of many of the victims were consistent with exposure to pulsed microwave radiation.”27
In a fact sheet dated May 11, 2020 posted on its website, the U.S. Department of Defense says the directed energy (DE) beam used in the active denial system penetrates the skin to a depth of 1/64 of an inch creating “an intolerable heating sensation” to be used as a nonlethal deterrent of “suspicious individuals”.28
CBS’s 60 Minutes ran a piece on the Havana syndrome attacks in June 2021, as did the May 31, 2021 issue of The New Yorker magazine. There was also what authorities called a “health incident” similar to Havana syndrome in Hanoi on August 25, 2021, which delayed by several hours the flight of U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris to Vietnam.
The Washington Post published a story on September 21, 2021 that said since 2016 there have been 200 incidents of Havana syndrome reported among American personnel around the world, including in the U.S., China, Russia, Colombia, and Uzbekistan. It said the condition is characterized by symptoms including migraines, fatigue, vertigo, anxiety, dizziness, memory lapses, and cognitive impairment. The newspaper reported that brain scans of the CIA officers affected at the U.S. embassy in Havana in late 2016 showed tissue damage normally seen in patients with concussions suffered in a bomb blast or car accident.29
Shorter millimeter wave frequencies used in 5G have military applications and are the suspected source of Havana syndrome injuries to American and Canadian diplomats
In her interview with BestStory.ca, Havas said it is “really obvious” that microwaves can be weaponized, causing neurological damage to the brain, heart and the entire nervous system. “And if the nervous system isn’t functioning, we’re not functioning either,” she added.
In May 2015 – 1 ½ years before Havana syndrome surfaced – 190 scientists specialised in EMF from 39 nations submitted to the United Nations the International EMF Scientist Appeal calling for the public to be educated about the health risks of electromagnetic field [EMF] exposure on humans, plants, and animals. Martin Blank, then a retired professor in Columbia University’s Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics and a world-renowned expert on the health effects of electromagnetic radiation, introduced the document with a recorded message: “I’m here with disturbing news about our favorite gadgets – cellphones, tablets, Wi-Fi, etc. Putting it bluntly, they are damaging the living cells in our bodies and killing many of us prematurely.”30
In his Columbia University profile, Blank, who held PhDs in physical chemistry and in colloid science, wrote that “the ubiquity of EMR [electromagnetic radiation] reactions with DNA and the low observed reaction thresholds indicate the need for greater caution and control over the spread of EMR in the environment.”31
The Canadian government has on its website a simple chart explaining the fundamental difference between non-ionizing energy and ionizing energy, both of which are on the electromagnetic spectrum:
What is non-ionizing energy?
Non-ionizing energy is electromagnetic energy that does not break down the bonds between atoms and molecules, which means it does not break down chemical bonds within cells and tissues. Examples of non-ionizing energy include visible light and RF energy used in wireless communication.
What is ionizing energy?
Ionizing energy is electromagnetic energy that may have enough energy to break down the bonds between atoms and molecules. Examples of ionizing energy include X-rays and gamma rays, which are both used in some medical treatments under medical supervision.32
Non-ionizing radiation emanates from satellites and cell towers, as well as from consumer devices such as cellphones, Bluetooth and other wireless headphones and earpieces, gaming consoles, Wi-Fi modems, routers, wireless computers, and other “smart” wireless items. Oakville, Ontario-based C4ST states on its website that “many people are unaware that wireless devices use microwaves, the same as your microwave oven – so your cordless phone, Wi-Fi, smart meter and the cell tower outside your window are effectively functioning as low-level, constantly emitting microwave transmitters.”33
In 1987, Martin Blank partnered with his fellow Columbia University PhD Reba Goodman to conduct research that proved that electromagnetic fields (EMF), such as those created by wireless devices, have health effects on living cells – a finding that contradicts those who say that only ionizing radiation, such as that emitted by X-rays, is harmful. The obituary for Blank, who died of natural causes in 2018 at age 85, states: “Their [Blank and Goodman’s] results were published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and were subsequently confirmed by other independent scientists around the world.”34
A 2021 survey by Deloitte indicated that 38% of American households added wireless devices since March 2020 when more people started working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 2021, the average American home had 25 connected wireless devices, compared with less than half that number prior to the pandemic.35 All such wireless devices emit RF radiation.
Despite the dire warnings from scientists and concerned citizens about the dangers from non-ionizing electromagnetic energy, governments and their regulatory agencies have continued to rely on decades-old standards specifying that the only danger posed by non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation is if body tissue heats (known as thermal effects) above the safety limit set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
Scientists say that the private, non-profit, Munich-based ICNIRP and the World Health Organization (WHO) – which relies on ICNIRP recommendations – are ignoring the long-term non-thermal health effects of RF radiation from wireless devices on the body’s immune system and its ability to repair oxidative damage to DNA caused by free radicals.
The BioInitiative 2012 Report – put together by 29 independent scientists and health experts from 10 countries – concluded that 1,800 studies published between 2007 and 2012 reported that “bioeffects…occur at very low levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation.”36 Among the health effects covered by the report:
- damage to DNA/genes;
- damage to memory, learning, behavior, attention;
- sleep disruption, cancer, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s;
- sperm and miscarriage issues;
- impact on brain development of fetuses and of infants;
- impact of wireless classrooms on children and adolescents; and
- brain tumor risks from cellphones.
In 2020, the report was updated to include research summaries covering studies of the genetic and neurological effects, free radicals (oxidative damage), electrohypersensitivity and comet assay studies. The authors concluded “the trend continues that the great majority of studies report biological effects of low-intensity exposures” to electromagnetic radiation.
Dr. David Carpenter, a world-renowned scientist who is co-editor of the BioInitiative 2012 Report cited above, was one of nine individual petitioners who were part of the successful lawsuit won by the Environmental Health Trust and the Children’s Health Defense in August 2021 forcing the FCC to reconsider its safety guidelines for radiofrequency radiation.
An important study on brain tumor risks was published on November 17, 2017 by Dr. Lennart Hardell of the University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden. He concluded that “there is a consistent pattern of increased risk for glioma (a malignant brain tumor) and acoustic neuroma with use of mobile and cordless phones.”37
Aside from the potential danger of 5G to living organisms, there is also concern among scientists that due to the increased bandwidth demands of 5G, governments are allocating and auctioning off to telecom companies higher wave frequencies ranging between 24GHz and 100GHz. For example meteorologists are concerned that the higher radiofrequency spectrum being allocated by governments to 5G could interfere with the 23.8 gigahertz frequency used for weather forecasting, which includes the monitoring of climate change. In a spring 2020 article in the Columbia Journalism Review, author Mary Cuddehe wrote that 5G could disrupt extended weather forecasts, which are “a fact of life relied upon for everything from flying to farming…”
Cuddehe wrote: “As the planet warms and seas rise, our collective ability to observe the climate changing and to inform people about it is a consequential power. Any act that could diminish it would seem to be, to put it mildly, counterproductive.”38
In addition to such new dangers from 5G, Environmental Health Trust, a U.S. non-profit think tank which educates communities and health professionals about environmental health risks such as exposure to wireless technology, points out on its website that 3G and 4G wireless frequencies will continue to be used even after new 5G frequencies are launched – meaning cumulatively more radiation exposure for all living organisms.39
While most of the terrestrial radiation threat from cellular technology emanates from ground-based cell towers and cellphones, activists are also concerned about the cumulative effect of radiation reaching Earth from thousands of satellites that have been launched into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) since 2018 to expand the reach of high definition internet services. By 2024, there are expected to be between 20,000 and 40,000 such new communications satellites ringing the planet.
Whatever the source of the radiation, it has medical doctors and scientists concerned. In December 2018, The Lancet Planetary Health medical journal – citing the independent, Australian-based Oceania Radiofrequency Scientific Advisory Organization as the world’s largest online database of peer-reviewed studies into RF-EMF – reported that of 2,266 studies evaluated, 68% “demonstrated significant biological or health effects associated with exposure to anthropogenic [i.e. caused by humans] electromagnetic fields.”40
The Lancet Planetary Health article was written by Dr. Priyanka Bandara and Dr. David Carpenter – the same Dr. Carpenter who was co-editor of the BioInitiative 2012 Report and was one of the petitioners in the major legal victory in August 2021 by the Environmental Health Trust versus the FCC concerning the safety of wireless technology, including 5G.
In their December 2018 Lancet Planetary Health article, Drs. Bandara and Carpenter concluded that RF-EMF exposure guidelines – such as those first promulgated by ICNIRP in 1998 and by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2005 – based on preventing thermal heating of body tissue are “now proven to be ineffective in preventing biochemical and physiological interference”. Both ICNIRP and IEEE exposure guidelines were updated in 2019, but are still based on thermal exposure. The IEEE is a U.S.-based, non-profit established in 1963 to standardize the electrical and electronic development industry worldwide.
Acute non-thermal RF-EMF exposure has been shown to alter human brain metabolism, electrical activity in the brain, and systemic immune responses while causing increased oxidative stress and DNA damage, Drs. Bandara and Carpenter wrote, citing previous scientific studies. Increased cancer risk was also flagged by the authors as a major concern based on a 10-year, $30 million [U.S.] rodent study published in 2018 by the National Toxicology Program (part of the U.S. Department of Health), and based on a separate study by the Ramazzini Institute of Italy.41
The comments herein of Frank Clegg, Magda Havas, and Meg Sears – who are worried about the unknown consequences of 5G – align with the Precautionary Principle as defined by the National Center for Biotechnology Information – part of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health. The Precautionary Principle states that environmental decision-making should be based on four central components: “taking preventive action in the face of uncertainty; shifting the burden of proof to the proponents of an activity; exploring a wide range of alternatives to possibly harmful actions; and increasing public participation in decision-making.”42
Why are regulatory agencies around the world not following the Precautionary Principle in relation to the possible negative biological effects of cellular technology?
Their views also conform with Principle 15 of the United Nations 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development which was the first international document to include a definition of the Precautionary Principle and which states that “where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”43
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), a Winnipeg-based, independent think-tank, says there are multiple pieces of legislation and treaties worldwide that include the Precautionary Principle, which was introduced as a concept of international law at the 1972 Stockholm Conference. “Today it is part of European Union law, as established in the Maastricht Treaty , which dictates that community policy on the environment shall be based, among others, on the Precautionary Principle,” the IISD website states.44
Yet despite myriad scientific studies about the harm caused by cellular technology, ICNIRP has never invoked the Precautionary Principle and, in fact, announced in March 2020 that a review of its 1998 guidelines on electromagnetic radiation continued to deem 5G to be safe and not to be carcinogenic.
Eric van Rongen, vice chair of ICNIRP and a member of WHO’s electromagnetic field project, said in an April 2, 2020 interview with Investigate Europe that ICNIRP concluded that the studies by the National Toxicology Program and by the Ramazzini Institute of Italy “do not provide sufficient and consistent information to conclude there is a carcinogenic effect of electromagnetic field exposure.” Therefore, those studies were not considered when determining that the 2020 ICNIRP guidelines should remain unchanged from those of 1998.45
Van Rongen acknowledged in the April 2, 2020 interview with Investigate Europe that “many biological effects can be induced by electromagnetic field exposure, but they don’t necessarily count as adverse health effects.” When asked whether the Precautionary Principle should be applied to possible negative biological effects caused by such exposure, van Rongen, a Dutch biologist with a PhD in experimental radiotherapy, replied: “The uncertainty could be a reason to apply precautionary measures, but it is not ICNIRP’s task to decide that.”46
It is not ICNIRP's ‘task’ to decide whether to invoke the Precautionary Principle regarding EMF exposure – Eric van Rongen, vice chair of ICNIRP
Given the refusal of ICNIRP to take responsibility for warning the world about the possible biological dangers of RF radiation, it should come as no surprise that the IEEE takes the identical official position that the only known danger from radiofrequency radiation is the possibility of thermal heating. Despite that assurance of safety, IEEE Fellow Rod Waterhouse said in a November 2019 interview that appeared in IEEE Spectrum that it is up to regulatory bodies overseeing telecommunications companies in various countries to ensure the safety of 5G.
The article, written by Kathy Pretz, quotes Waterhouse as saying: “The majority of the scientific community does not think there’s an issue. However, it would be unscientific to flat out say there are no reasons to worry.” Waterhouse also confirmed in the interview with Pretz that millimeter waves such as those used in 5G have been used in military applications and that the effect of their use in telecommunications is not well understood.47
David Witkowski, an IEEE colleague of Waterhouse’s who is also considered an expert on 5G, is quoted in the same article by Kathy Pretz as saying “it isn’t logically possible to prove anything with 100 percent certainty” when asked about critics who contend that 5G should be proven safe before regulators allow its deployment. “Whether we’re looking at 3G, 4G, or 5G, the question of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) safety is whether the risks are manageable,” Witkowski said in the interview… “We should continue to look at the question of EMR health effects, but the vast majority of evidence says there’s no reason to pause deployments.”48
While both Waterhouse and Witkowski of the IEEE suggested in the interviews with Kathy Pretz that 5G electromagnetic radiation safety issues should be scrutinized by regulatory agencies in countries around the world, it seems ironic that the issue of safety is not on the agenda of any of those regulatory agencies because they have accepted the opinions of ICNIRP, WHO, and IEEE that there is no proven danger aside from thermal heating. Neither ICNIRP, WHO, nor IEEE is adhering to the Precautionary Principle cited above.
Joel Moskowitz, Director of the Center for Family and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of California in Berkeley, revealed in a July 2021 interview with Berkeley News that although “cellphones, cell towers and other wireless devices are regulated by most governments, our [U.S.] government stopped funding research on the health effects of radiofrequency radiation in the 1990s.” 49
The WHO acknowledges on its website that “electromagnetic fields (EMF) of all frequencies represent one of the most common and fastest growing environmental influences about which anxiety and speculation are spreading.”50
In a section of its website subtitled ‘Key Facts’ posted in October 2014, WHO states that “the electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer [IARC, which is a WHO agency] as possibly carcinogenic to humans.” It goes on the say that “in particular, with the recent popularity of mobile phone use among younger people, and therefore a potentially longer lifetime of exposure, WHO has promoted further research on this group.” Despite acknowledging such potential danger from cellphone use, WHO concludes: “To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.”51
But on August 22, 2021, the National Center for Biotechnology Information – part of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health – revealed on its pubmed.gov website information about a protocol that is to be used by WHO for a new systematic review of human observational studies on the effect of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields on cancer risk.52
So despite its October 2014 conclusion of no adverse health effects from mobile phone use, it would seem that WHO has decided to use a new protocol to review past studies linking RF radiation with cancer risk – although as of October 2021 a visitor to the WHO site could find no announcement to that effect.
So the question that begs answering is why are governments and regulatory agencies ignoring the danger warnings from thousands of scientists and doctors about cellular technology?
Magda Havas agrees with Robert Kennedy Jr. that financial considerations are one reason that governments are not putting the brakes on the rollout of 5G, reporting on her website that in 2015 alone, “the FCC made $45 billion [U.S.] selling part of the wireless spectrum” to U.S. telecoms.53
On January 15, 2021, the FCC announced that it had raised $80.9 billion [U.S.] in 97 rounds of bidding by U.S. telecoms for 5G spectrum – the highest-grossing spectrum auction in U.S. history.54
On July 30, 2021, the Canadian government announced that its latest auction of licenses to Canadian telecom companies for 5G wireless spectrum had raised $8.9 billion [Cdn] for just one of the 5G frequencies. This was in addition to the $3.5 billion (Cdn) that the government raised in its previous spectrum auction in 2019 for one band (600 MHz).55 The high-band spectrum auctions are scheduled for 2024 (bands over 26 GHz).
The Government of Canada said in a June 2019 news release that “5G wireless technologies could add up to $40 billion annually to the Canadian economy by 2026.”56
Conflict of interest allegations
Dr. John Frank, a Canadian physician who teaches at the University of Edinburgh and has expertise in EMF, published a January 2021 paper in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (JECH) in which he alluded to “persistent allegations” about “unmanaged conflicts of interest” at “national telecommunications regulatory agencies”.”57
He wrote that “there is convincing evidence…that several nations’ regulatory apparatus, for telecommunications innovations such as the 5G rollout, is not fit for purpose.” He went on to say: “Indeed, significant elements in that apparatus appear to have been captured by vested interests.”58
In his JECH paper, Frank, who specializes in epidemiology, quoted Dr. Lennart Hardell of Sweden whose 2017 study tied brain tumor risk with use of cellphones. Frank wrote that “Hardell contends that ICNIRP’s membership includes overrepresentation of vested interests, especially the giant multinational telecommunication firms who are heavily invested in the rollout of 5G systems internationally.”59 [Editor’s Note: Dr. Hardell’s brain cancer study is described higher up in this article – Citation 37.]
In a June 21, 2017 article published in the International Journal of Oncology (IJO),Hardell made a blunt assessment of what underlies ICNIRP’s lack of objectivity in setting safety standards for wireless radiofrequency radiation: “Being a member of ICNIRP is a conflict of interest in the scientific evaluation of health hazards from RF radiation through ties to military and industry.”60
‘Being a member of ICNIRP is a conflict of interest in the scientific evaluation of health hazards from RF radiation...’ – Dr. Lennart Hardell
In his 2017 IJO article, Hardell also lambasted the World Health Organization – which follows ICNIRP’s safety guidelines for wireless RF radiation – pointing out that the WHO downplayed the May 2011 findings of IARC [an independent sister organization within WHO] that RF radiation is a possible human carcinogen.
“No doubt, the IARC decision started a world-wide spinning machine [by WHO] to question the [IARC] evaluation,” Hardell wrote in his 2017 IJO article. “It was similar to the one launched by the tobacco industry when IARC was studying and evaluating passive smoking as a carcinogen in the 1990s. Sowing confusion and manufacturing doubt about scientific facts is a well-known strategy used by the tobacco and other industries.”61
For his part, Frank wrote in his January 2021 JECH paper that he is “convinced that RF-EMFs may well have serious human health effects” and that there is “increasing scientific evidence…of ecological concern in other species, both plant and animal…”62
Frank, who leads Research and Evidence-Based Medicine courses at the University of Edinburgh, where he has taught for the last 13 years after 25 years as a professor at the University of Toronto, concluded by calling for a moratorium on the 5G rollout: “It follows that for the current 5G rollout, there is a sound basis for invoking the Precautionary Principle.”63 Frank has published nearly 300 scientific papers in his career dealing with the prevention of many kinds of illnesses and hazardous exposures.
ICNIRP took another hit to its reputation in June 2020 when two Members of the European Parliament – Michèle Rivasi (Europe Écologie) and Klaus Buchner (Ökologisch-Demokratische Partei) – commissioned and published a report titled ‘International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection: Conflicts of Interest, Corporate Interests and the Push for 5G’ financed by the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament. It concluded: “For really independent scientific advice, we cannot reply on ICNIRP.”64
Why aren’t citizens hearing more about the dangers of cellular technology? Experts suggest four possible reasons:
- regulatory agencies are following an outdated international safety standard;
- some regulators have inherent conflicts of interest;
- telecoms and governments stand to make a lot of money from 5G; and
- misleading information in the media.
Meanwhile citizens around the world are not waiting on international organizations such as ICNIRP, IEEE and WHO: instead they are marching in protest and fighting at local levels to stop the rollout of 5G technology, as reported by ‘stop5Ginternational.org’; the Cellular Phone Task Force; and by the 5G Space Appeal. Stop 5G International is a non-partisan association of individuals from around the world which posts discussions on their website about the harms of 5G and about safer technology options.65
As of November 2021, 5G Space Appeal reported about 300,000 signatories from 214 nations and territories calling on international organizations and governments to halt the deployment of 5G.66 As of the same date, just under 21,000 people had signed an online petition titled, ‘Urgent Appeal to the Government of Canada To Suspend the 5G Rollout and To Choose Safe and Reliable Fibre Connections’, calling on Canada to protect the health of citizens and the environment before further rollout of wireless technology, including 5G.67
In the meantime, Environmental Health Trust states on its website that over 600 cities in Italy, as well as some in the U.S., have passed resolutions to halt 5G until safety research has been completed.68
On the legal front, a ground-breaking U.S. jury trial is expected to start in 2022 in the District of Columbia Superior Court to determine whether major telecom companies can be held responsible for brain cancer which 13 plaintiffs claim was caused by their long-term exposure to cellphone radiofrequencies. Judge Alfred S. Irving will decide at a hearing scheduled between January 31, 2022 and February 11, 2022 which expert witnesses should be allowed to testify on behalf of the plaintiffs at trial by jury.
The 13 separate cases – which were filed between 10 and 20 years ago and have been delayed due to numerous defence motions – have now been consolidated under the oldest lead case of Murray v. Motorola Inc. et al dating to 2001. Many major telecom companies, in addition to Motorola, are defendants in the lawsuits: Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, Bell South, Bell Atlantic, Motorola, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony, Sanyo, and Nokia.69
Although many of the plaintiffs have since died of brain cancer, a win by their estates and the surviving plaintiffs could open the door to hundreds or thousands of similar personal injury lawsuits in the future.
In relation to potential RF damage to the brain, Arthur Firstenberg – founder of the New Mexico-based, non-profit Cellular Phone Task Force – has written extensively about the relationship between cellular technology and radiation sickness. Firstenberg said in an interview with BestStory.ca that a person’s brain absorbs more radiation from a cellphone held next to the head than from a nearby cell tower. He noted that a wired headset does not protect a user because the metal component of the headset passes radiation from the cellphone into the brain. “And if you operate one [a cellphone] while it is in your pocket, it is irradiating your hip, colon, and reproductive organs while the headset is irradiating your brain,” he said.
In addition to brain cancer fears, a 2015 scientific study published by Elsevier, a Netherlands-based publisher specializing in scientific, technical and medical content, said that electromagnetic fields such as those emitted by cellphones damaged the blood-brain barrier in rats causing cognitive impairment.70
Protecting against radiation
A list of safety tips to help offset possible electromagnetic radiation danger from wireless devices has been posted on the website of C4ST, founded by former Microsoft Canada president Frank Clegg.
C4ST advises, where possible, to replace wireless devices – such as Wi-Fi, baby monitors, and gaming consoles – with hard-wired options. It cautions not to wear personal devices, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, because they constantly emit radiation. It says to “keep cellphones away from the body at all times”, to use speakers or air tube ear buds (not Bluetooth or other wireless headsets) for conversations, and to turn off wireless devices when not actively in use by switching to airplane mode. It recommends keeping analog utility meters, rather than replacing them with smart meters.71
C4ST recommends air tube ear buds to reduce EMF cellphone radiation to the brain because such air tubes use sound waves to reach the brain via hollow tubing (similar to a physician’s stethoscope), thus avoiding metal wires going directly in the ear.72
An Ontario-based company called Safe Living Technologies (SLT) sells meters that can detect RF radiation and mesh that it says can be used in renovations or new construction to shield homes from external RF waves.73 There are also multiple other websites that promote safety tips and products to protect against 5G radiation, including clothing.
While the Munich-based ICNIRP says thermal heating is the only danger from non-ionizing electromagnetic energy produced by wireless devices, the German government office for radiation protection known as the Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz (BFS) takes a more cautious approach citing on its website “possible effects on the skin and eyes” from the shorter millimeter wave frequencies of 5G.74
The BFS website states that due to the greater number of small-cell antennas used for 5G transmissions “it can be assumed that the range of possible [radiation] exposures will increase.” It goes on to say: “Regardless of 5G, there are still scientific uncertainties regarding possible long-term effects of intensive mobile phone use. However, the technology is still too young for a final assessment because cancer, for example, develops over a period of 20–30 years. There are also no conclusive answers regarding the effects on children.”75
Like Frank Clegg, PhDs Magda Havas and Meg Sears, as well as Drs. John Frank, Lennart Hardell, David Carpenter, and Priyanka Bandara – who are all EMF experts quoted in this article – Martin Blank, the late esteemed Columbia University professor, was a proponent of caution as regards electromagnetic energy. “You take a certain amount of precaution as a result of a risk that has been identified,” Blank said at a 2013 U.S. public forum on the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) on children, fetuses and fertility. “The risk can turn out to be a false alarm, in which case you haven’t lost anything; what you’ve done is prevented damage that might have occurred might it have been so.”76
While activists opposing 5G await movement on the legal and political fronts, it is left to average citizens to inform themselves about the possible dangers from wireless radiation in order to lobby for safety standards that will protect them and their loved ones, especially young children and babies who are the most vulnerable.
In his 2015 book titled Overpowered: The Dangers of Electromagnetic Radiation and What You Can Do About It, Columbia University’s Martin Blank acknowledged that like most people, “I too love and utilize EMF-generating gadgets.” He wrote that his message was not to abandon such “gadgets”, but “to realize that EMF poses a real risk to living creatures and that industrial and product safety standards must and can be reconsidered.”77
A profile of journalist Warren Perley can be found here.
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RETURN 46. Ibid.
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RETURN 48. Ibid.
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RETURN 58. Ibid.
RETURN 59. Ibid.
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RETURN 61. Ibid.
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RETURN 63. Ibid.
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