Are We Too Connected?

Aug 23, 2019 |

Man using his phone in bed

We are addicted to our phones. We use them at work, at home, in restaurants, and anywhere else we can get a signal. Phone apps exist for everything from shopping to caller ID apps for iPhone¬†to your local dentist’s office. People claim radiation from phones can cause serious health issues, including cancer or brain tumors. Activists call for bans on the placement of cell towers. They fear the introduction of 5G wireless services, claiming grave health concerns.

5G High Band Signals

Groups express growing fears regarding 5G. 2G, 3G and 4G posed concerns but phone carriers use low (600MHz) to midband spectrums for those services – 2.5GHz, 3.5GHz and 3.7GHz-4.2GHz bands. However, Verizon and AT&T, among others, have said that they will use higher bands for 5G. The FCC has sold off airwaves in the 24GHz-28GHz range. They will soon sell licenses for 37GHz, 39GHz, and 47GHz bands.

Why All the Concern?

People have concerns over the high band spectrum because it needs denser radio distributions. Additionally, there is little research on the effects of using higher frequency bands and exposure to increased radiation. Fans of 5G say high band frequencies are non-ionizing, lacking the energy to break apart DNA and cause cells to be more prone to cancer.

More Towers

5G networks will require more, smaller towers within short distances of each other. ¬†Carriers will put towers every few blocks rather than every few miles. Some people worry that more towers means more cell tower radiation. 5G uses more towers due to the super high-frequency millimeter wavelengths it uses. Signals transmitted via millimeter waves are limited and can’t penetrate walls or even natural things like leaves on trees, a problem that also requires more towers to ensure a strong signal.

NY Representative Thomas Suozzi (D) recently stated in a letter to the FCC, “Small cell towers are being installed in residential neighborhoods in close proximity to houses throughout my district. “I have heard instances of these antennae being installed on light poles directly outside the window of a young child’s bedroom. Rightly so, my constituents are worried that should this technology be proven hazardous in the future, the health of their families and value of their properties would be at serious risk.”

Activists Call for Research

Activists say 5G deployments should be stopped until the results of safety tests are complete.

Martin Pall, a professor emeritus at Washington State University, says the existing evidence is clear – cellphone radiation is dangerous.

“What we’re doing is destroying our health,” stated Pall in a recent interview. He believes that if 5G deployments aren’t halted, “we [as a society] are playing around with our very survival.”

Pall is one of many who believe the risks are real. Many new outlets and social media forums are full of similar predictions. Some accuse the phone industry of hiding data about the dangers of 5G, much like the tobacco industry hid the truth about the dangers of cigarette smoking.

Phone carriers continue to move ahead while activists and lawmakers go to war to protect the public.

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