T-Mobile recently announced that its new 5G network, already underway in 30 cities, will be available on its prepaid service in 2019. As carriers race to build the 5G networks of the future, one must ask: is 5G safe?
What is 5G?
Here are the basics: 5G stands for 5th Generation. It’s simply the latest iteration of wireless service. It promises to be faster, and to allow more devices to connect by utilizing higher frequencies, known as “millimeter waves”. These waves have a much shorter range, and so telecom companies will need to build hundreds of thousands of towers to transmit them.
With estimated speeds 10 to 20 times faster than the current networks and the ability to connect more devices, there’s a clear incentive for 5G capacity. Carriers expect to launch in 2019, and have been working aggressively build their networks. This means more towers – and more harmful radiation.
What Are the Risks?
It’s estimated that 95% of U.S. adults use cellphones; by 2021, there may be as many as 28 billion devices online. At TTAC, we’ve discussed the carcinogenic effects of cell phone radiation, which will be made worse by the addition of hundreds of thousands of new towers.
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) initiated its own studies on the long-term health effects of cell phone radiation, in part because not much is known about this topic and because current safety guidelines seek only to protect users from acute injury because of the heat that cell phones generate.
Partial findings, reported in May 2016, revealed that the brains and hearts of male rats developed low incidences of tumors.
Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) associated with radiofrequency radiation have been shown to trigger oxidative stress, which in turn is known to promote many acute and chronic diseases. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) currently classifies EMFs associated with radiofrequency radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. They’ve also been associated with depression and anxiety, DNA damage, and fertility issues.
It is believed that one’s proximity to cell towers increases the risk of negative effects from EMFs. As 5G networks are erected, it may become all but impossible to avoid them.
What Can We Do?
With such a massive increase in cell towers already underway, it’s important that we protect ourselves as much as possible. You’ll want to avoid excessive contact and proximity, so be sure to keep devices in another room at night, and try not to carry them in your clothing. If possible, use a bag or other container for storage.
#1. Headphones and chargers can actually increase the EMF exposure from cell phones so don’t use them while they’re charging, and avoid traditional headsets whenever possible.
#2. There are several great options for air tube headsets, which can deliver great sound without exposing you to EMF radiation.
#3. Putting your phone on airplane mode when not in use stops connectivity with the towers, which is another great way to avoid harmful radiation.