5G is a marketing term used by the telecom industry to promote the latest iteration of wireless telecommunications technology. But the over-hyped rollout of 5G is based on mere presumptive Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rules that are at odds with judicial rulings and fundamental federal laws and statutes and their intended purposes—to protect public safety and promote energy efficiency. Yet 5G deployment is advancing without public input, informed consent or acknowledgement of the biological harm caused by exposure to wireless electromagnetic radiation (EMR).
Because of military needs, the telecom industry has been given great leeway in adapting wireless technology for commercial uses. Following the “generations” of 2G & 3G, 4G and 4GLTE brought higher frequency broadband, faster downloads, with increased gaming, video teleconferencing, and HD TV capabilities via even “smarter” phones. Now 5G, the fifth generation, overlaps and extends previous generations as it harnesses frequencies across the radio and microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, promising lower latency, and up to ten times higher download speeds, while enabling machine-to-machine communications in the Internet of Things (IoT). What distinguishes 5G from earlier generations, making it exponentially more harmful, are its phased arrays of “massive MIMO” (multiple input and multiple output) antennas within each installation that send directed beams to search for connections. Also, due to the line-of-sight proximity required in the siting of “small-cell’ antennas, these small-cell antennas must be deployed densely, which further endangers the health and safety of area residents.
Small-cell antennas can transmit “millimeter waves” carrying heavy data loads to thousands of cell phones and other devices in a given vicinity. But most importantly to industry, the above-described features provide greater profits through increased capacity for surveillance and data harvesting. Data, “the new gold,” can then be collected by service or app providers to sell as a commodity to third party marketing corporations or government agencies.
Cell phones already track users wherever they go via GPS (Big Brother in Your Pocket). Since cell phones can be easily hacked, including by such authorities as the police using Stingray to listen in, users are unwittingly revealing their personal habits, medical records, and friends’ identities. Also, electromagnetic frequencies can be “sliced” and shared among stakeholders and/or military and other government agencies. Frequency slicing grants a flexible easement that allows a second party to operate in the same frequency, creating the potential for interference and co-optation.
The industry anticipates billions of dollars in profits from the Internet of Things, which incorporates everything from doorbells that remotely reveal visitors’ faces, and diaper monitors, to 3D medicine at a glance, self-driving cars, Artificial Intelligence (AI), wearables (FitBits), and ultimately—with the use of injectables and other methods of in vivo monitoring—a full-fledged “Internet of Bodies (IoB),” where each body is an internet node. While much lip service is given to setting up privacy and moral frameworks around such technologies, biosensors could track our physical and emotional state and collect information on the most intimate level. This can then be aggregated with our digital financial transactions and other personal data. Algorithms could be used to analyze that data to predict or control disease, or manipulate social behavior. The IoT and IoB are part of an overarching plan whereby all things, living and non-living, would be engineered for internet connectivity, trackable and accessible at all times.
The Millimeter Wave Factor
Most of the new frequencies the FCC recently auctioned off are in the low and mid-band ranges of the radio spectrum. But the “millimeter waves” (30–300 GHz), fall within the super high frequency band. These short, broad waves (1-10 mm, or less than1 /2”long) are transmitted by pulsed modulation that spike erratically millions of times per second, interfering with the human body’s innate bio-electrical circuitry. Although these spikes are not perceived by the conscious mind, they are experienced in the moment by every cell in the body.
Because millimeter waves cannot easily penetrate walls and objects, the industry has been densifying the deployment of 4GLTE/5G “small” cell Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTFs) and antennas in urban settings, placing them on rooftops and street poles every 300 feet in close proximity to homes, businesses, schools and pedestrian traffic, while often co-locating duplicate equipment from competing companies on the same or nearby site.
On a macro scale, the implementation of “smart meters,” “smart grids” and “smart cities” would envelop entire communities (and with the proliferation of satellites, the entire globe) in a dense, invisible field of electromagnetic radiation.
“Small” cells (sWTFs) and macro antennas transmit radio frequency microwave radiation (RF/MR) on a 24/7/365 basis. What’s more, the effective radiated power (ERP) or wattage used in sWTFs is not monitored or regulated, while the combined ERP of multiple antennas is neither measured for exposure risks nor gauged for energy efficiency. Despite their smaller size, due to their deployment in close proximity to people, so-called small-cell antennas end up transmitting much more radiation than their macro tower counterparts, which are situated at longer distances from us. A small-cell antenna near a Sacramento, CA home at a vertical height of 35 feet and horizontal distance of 60 feet provides 50,000 micro watts per meter squared or radiation units, compared to the macro tower at a 200 foot height and 2,500 feet away which provides .002 average radiation units—all that is needed to deliver five bars on a cell phone so that everyone within 2500 feet can make a call. This indicates that sWTFs are transmitting 25 million times more power than is actually needed.
In New York City and other dense urban environments these small cells are typically 15 feet above the street on poles every two blocks, and the excess radiation even greater. Excessive ERP and microwave radiation continuously spewed into our atmosphere by so-called “small-cell” antennas is not only unnecessary and dangerous to public health and the environment, but it constitutes a massive rise in energy consumption and wasted resources.
The Ruling Hand of the FCC
Although site developers and cell phone carriers often claim “compliance” with FCC guidelines, it’s important to note that the guidelines are totally inadequate, inefficient and among the least protective of health and safety in the world.
In fact, the FCC’s guidelines were promulgated in fraud. The FCC’s test for mobile devices involved placing a cell phone next to a plastic model of a large male head and torso for just 6 or 30 minutes measuring only thermal (heat) effects. The tests failed to consider the smaller heads of women or children, and did not place the cell phone directly to the head or body. Likewise, the FCC’s standard for radio frequency/microwave radiation exposure, known as Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), is again misleading and deceives the cell phone user since SAR measures only the speed or rate at which microwave radiation (MR) penetrates the body rather than the actual amount of absorption.
In addition, the FCC’s guidelines completely ignore the long-term biological effects of exposure, which are cumulative, and can include disrupted cognitive and cellular functioning, neurological and behavioral disorders, erratic heart rhythms, cancers, infertility and damage to DNA — even at levels far below the guidelines. Significantly, 5G millimeter waves may penetrate beyond the skin surface by spiraling through helical sweat glands, creating something called Brillouin Precursors, which allow the radiation to go deeper into the tissue and organs.
These and other harmful effects have been documented in tens of thousands of peer-reviewed scientific and military studies. But as in the past with the FDA and tobacco, and the EPA in the cases of lead and PFAs, the FCC (a “captured” agency) has allowed the industry to create doubt about the validity of these studies by commissioning their own biased testing systems. Yet, despite the FCC’s subterfuge, the California Court of Appeals has recognized electromagnetic sensitivity (EMS) as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is estimated that between 10-30% of the population suffer from EMS making normal life extremely difficult for those afflicted.
A Fork in the Road – Fiber Instead
Beyond exposing users’ brains and bodies to ever-accumulating microwave radiation, the long shadow of 5G and wireless technology’s vulnerability to hacking looms as a national cyber-security threat. Hackers and ransomware criminals have breached our power grids, dams, nuclear plants, agencies, hospitals and businesses.
In conclusion, while our government, in collusion with industry, may choose to disregard the realities of biological harm caused by 5G and all wireless telecommunications technologies, it can no longer continue to ignore its cyber-security vulnerabilities and massive over-consumption of energy without precipitating disastrous national consequences. These two factors alone may well turn out to be the “Achilles’ heel” of 5G and beyond that will inevitably usher in a new day when “wireless broadband” is replaced with superior “wired broadband”—fiber optic cable to the premises (FTTP)—the fastest, safest, most reliable and secure, energy-efficient option.
Post Script—Finally Some Good News!
On August 13, 2021, The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the petition brought by Children’s Health Defense (CHD) and Environmental Health Trust (EHT) that challenged the FCC’s 2019 decision not to review its outdated 1996 radio frequency/microwave radiation exposure guideline. In its decision, the court held that the FCC failed to consider evidence of harm, especially in children and the environment, while also failing to address the impacts of long-term exposure. The court further stated that the FCC’s “…maximum exposure guideline is not based on science,” and that the agency’s decision not to review its 1996 guideline was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). CHD and EHT submitted to the court 11,000 pages of evidence. The DC Circuit Court’s decision represents a major victory for environmental and public health and safety advocates alike.
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