5G Wireless Broadband and how (not) to Boil Eggs
Written by Dr Klaus L E Kaiser
The new 5G wireless broadband technology that is said to be rolled out soon for wireless communication everywhere has some people concerned about potential health effects.
In my perception, that concern is not without thought — and not only for human health reasons.
In order to understand why, one has to review not just the numerous studies done about the safety of the current (4G) technology but also the technology of microwave ovens and traditional ways of cooking. Let’s begin with the latter.
Traditional cooking is by boiling food in water or roasting a steak with hot air in an oven. In all such cooking modes, the heat is applied from the outside and it takes time for the food to get fully done on the inside. The main reason is that the heat coming from its outside takes time to be transferred to the food core.
For example, to hard boil eggs, they need to be immersed in boiling water for several minutes.
Microwave ovens are highly efficient systems to heat and cook food. Their great advantage is that nearly all the energy supplied gets directly into the core of the food item. This can be demonstrated simply by trying to boil eggs in a microwave oven. They boil from the inside and will explode! You can easily try that experiment yourself but don’t blame me for the resulting mess!
Also, there is a growing number of experimental studies in the scientific literature that demonstrate the use of microwave ovens to facilitate certain chemical reactions.
Now, you may wonder what do microwave ovens have to do with wireless communications?
In order to see the similarity and differences one needs to look at the frequencies (or wavelengths) of the applied electromagnetic (EM) waves.
Electromagnetic Wave Spectrum
The electromagnetic wave (EMW) spectrum ranges over many orders of magnitude. From very low frequency (very long wavelength = low energy) waves (e.g. in long-wave radio communications) to very high frequency (short wavelength = high energy) X-ray waves. Visible light is a small part of this entire spectrum.
Trying to critically assess the proposed (and to become ubiquitous) EM waves of the 5G system, one needs to look at the comparative wavelengths and their inherent energy. The following graph will demonstrate that:
Figure: Part of the electromagnetic wave spectrum. The red circle is the range of the proposed 5G energy EM waves (25 to 85 GHz); the dark blue circle is the range of EMW in common microwave ovens and current 4G cell phone transmissions (2 to 7 GHz). The light blue circle indicates current satellite and other mobile frequency (roughly 10 to 100 GHz) allocations. Graph adapted from Wikipedia.
As you can see, the wave energy of 5G system is smack between the current 4G and the higher frequency EM of the microwave energy range of some appliances and many systems, including medical and communication devices. This higher energy range also may also cover hitherto unrecognized biological effects. But that alone is not the sole reason for a reasonable concern.
It is not only the energy of the 5G-EMW itself that could be a problem but also the proposed high density of transmission towers and their expected total RF (radio frequency) energy output that dwarfs the RF radiation (photon) energy you may get from a 4G covered area.
In this context, there is also some recent news, i.e. the post on “Lloyds Insurers Refuse to Cover 5G Wi-Fi Illnesses” at Principia Scientific Intl. While that fact does not prove anything by itself, it is nonetheless surprising. Therefore, no matter which camp of opinion you may be inclined to trust, there are sincere questions that ought to be answered about the (assumed) safety of the 5G system.
Cell Phone vs. Transmission Tower
A cell phone is primarily a type of receiver (except when you talk or transmit a message). In contrast, a cell phone transmission tower is primarily a transmitter.
So, if you download pictures or videos from a Wi-Fi network to your cell phone, it does not matter whether you hold that phone close to your ear or have it in your pocket.
Your whole body will be exposed to the same amount of EMW radiation. While numerous studies appear to have shown no problems with the typical 4G-EMW radiation, that does not allow any conclusion as to the envisaged 5G system.
A good example of unintended consequences of even much lower-energetic EMW radiation can be found near Albuquerque, NM. Not far from there is the Sandia Crest, a mountain range that you can drive up to.
Because of the top’s elevation (some 1.5 km above Albuquerque) and its prominent exposure, it has a number of EMW transmitting towers for radio and TV signals.
That area is so saturated with EMW radiation that most car-key electronic signals are unable to lock or unlock your car.
Visitors to the area are cautioned about that condition by several signs posted in the area.
To use an analogy from the light spectrum: While your cell phone may only provide you with the message intended for your specific receiver (i.e. cell phone), your whole surrounding area (and body) will be exposed to the entire EMW energy of the EM wave band(s) in that area.
For example, when your eyes are seeing a green tree, your whole body is also receiving all other visible light radiation. When you are at the seaside in summer, your eyes see the sand on shore and the water in front.
However, your whole body also receives (invisible) high energy (short wavelength) ultraviolet range EMW radiation that can give you a sunburn before you realize it.
For those reasons, I think it is a great fallacy to assume that all the safety studies and experiences with the lower EMW energy of the 4G system are also applicable to the much higher EMW energy of the 5G system. I’d like to show that on another example, namely that of electrical voltage.
As you may have experienced yourself, there is a significant difference between touching the hot pole of a 12 Volt battery and that of the common 120 Volt household current.
Most car batteries supply 12 V output voltage and can deliver up to several hundred amperes in current, for example when needed to start a car engine. Still, you can safely touch the poles with dry fingers and not get any charge as your skin’s resistance is too large for the low voltage to “get through.”
In contrast, your household electrical wires, at ten times the car voltage will give you a good jolt. See what the difference in the power (voltage here) by a factor of 10 can do?
That’s why electrical wires are well insulated, outdoor receptacles come with ground-fault (power) interrupters and your microwave oven is surrounded by a metal cage and its front glass has a fine EMW- intercepting metal mesh.
In contrast to the current 4G system, the envisaged 5G system operates not only at 10+ times more energetic EM waves, it is said to require a much higher density of transmission towers; sort of “one transmission tower for every city block.” Furthermore, the typical energy output of the 5G transmission towers is presumably much higher too.
Therefore, what is missing, as I think, is proper field testing of the new much more energetic (wavelength) and powerful (transmission energy) 5G systems. Reliance on the safety standards of the 4G system is a simplistic view of both the EMW energy per se and the potential effects of the much higher energy output.
To add to this view, there is a recent petition “INTERNATIONAL APPEAL, Stop 5G on Earth and in Space” (https://www.5gspaceappeal.org/the-appeal ), claimed to have been signed by more than 40,000 signatories, that “urgently call[s] for a halt to the deployment of the 5G (fifth generation) wireless network.”
In short, I think the envisaged 5G systems need to be tested very thoroughly in multiple double-blind field trials, with actual transmission towers and test systems that use both a variety of biological and non-biological 5G-EMW receptive “species” before the planned widespread 5G roll-out can go ahead.
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