The deployment of fifth-generation cellular networks, known as 5G, has been met with both excitement and concerns. While governments and certain vested interests hail it as transformative, promising economic and lifestyle benefits, there is a growing need to address the potential health risks associated with the increased exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) that come with the densification of the network. In this article, we will delve into the inquiries made by prominent members of Congress, such as Rep DeFazio, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and Rep Anna Eshoo, regarding the safety of 5G and the need for more documentation on its rollout.
Letters from Congress: Seeking Documentation on Safety
In recent years, several members of Congress have raised concerns about the potential health impacts of 5G and the lack of comprehensive research supporting its safety. Representatives such as Rep DeFazio, Rep Suozzi, and Rep Andy Kim, as well as Senators Richard Blumenthal and James F. Gaughran have written letters to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking more information and documentation on the safety of 5G.
One such letter, written by Rep Thomas Suozzi in April 2019, emphasizes the concerns of constituents who worry about the adverse health effects of living in close proximity to cell antennas. They particularly express concerns about the long-term exposure to previous generations of wireless technology, such as 2G, 3G, and 4G, and the potential risks to vulnerable populations like children, fetuses in the womb, and the immune system.
Senator Richard Blumenthal and Rep Anna G. Eshoo also wrote a letter to the FCC in December 2018, urging the commission to provide documentation on the safety of 5G. They expressed the need for research on the potential health effects of 5G wireless technology, as the industry claimed not to be supporting such research during a Senate hearing.
Additionally, Rep Peter A. DeFazio and Rep Thomas Suozzi wrote a joint letter to the FCC in April 2019, referencing a Chicago Tribune study that raised concerns about cell phone radiation. They called for further investigation into the potential health risks associated with 5G and requested the FCC to provide more information on its safety.
These letters highlight the growing concern among members of Congress about the safety of 5G and the need for more transparency and documentation.
Misinformation: A call for more research
Alongside the inquiries made by members of Congress, there is a need to address the misinformation surrounding 5G and the open questions that require further research. In an opinion piece published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, Professor John William Frank from the Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh, highlights the concerns surrounding the transmitter density and potential health impacts of 5G.
Professor Frank acknowledges that there are no health concerns linking 5G to COVID-19, dismissing conspiracy theories that suggest otherwise. However, he points out that the increased transmitter density required for 5G exposes more people to RF-EMFs, potentially posing health risks. He calls for caution and a halt to the global rollout of 5G until its safety is confirmed.
One of the key areas of concern is the lack of clarity about the specific technologies included in 5G and the growing body of laboratory research indicating the potential biological disruption caused by RF-EMFs. While there is a lack of high-quality epidemiological studies on the impact of 5G EMF exposure, there is mounting evidence from previous generations of RF-EMF exposure at lower levels suggesting adverse effects on health.
Another concern raised by Professor Frank is the allegation that some national telecoms regulatory authorities have not based their RF-EMF safety policies on the latest science, potentially due to conflicts of interest. This raises questions about the consistency and reliability of safety standards across different countries. The advent of 5G introduces higher frequency radio waves and uses relatively unevaluated technology, which raises concerns about the potential long-term health effects. The transmission boosting ‘cell’ antennae required for 5G are far more spatially dense than those used in previous generations, resulting in higher levels of RF-EMF exposure.
The Precautionary Principle: A call for further investigation
Given the uncertainties and concerns surrounding the safety of 5G, Professor Frank argues for invoking the precautionary principle. He suggests that until there is adequate scientific investigation confirming the suspected adverse health effects of 5G, there should be a moratorium on its rollout.
He emphasizes that there is no compelling public health or safety rationale for the rapid deployment of 5G. The potential gains promised by 5G, such as economic benefits and increased consumer convenience, should be weighed against the need for further research and assurance of safety.
Professor Frank’s call for a precautionary approach aligns with the inquiries made by members of Congress, urging the FCC to provide more documentation and transparency on the safety of 5G.
The concerns raised by members of Congress and experts like Professor Frank highlight the importance of ensuring the safety of the 5G rollout. As the deployment of 5G continues, it is crucial to strike a balance between the potential benefits of the technology and the need for comprehensive research on its safety. By addressing the open questions and misinformation surrounding 5G, policymakers can make informed decisions that prioritize public health and safety. Through continued dialogue and collaboration between government agencies, experts, and the public, we can work towards a responsible and safe rollout of 5G networks. Learn more about how 5G is a piece of the triad shaping US politics here.