5G radio waves are a poor choice for death rays

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/04/08/5g-radio-waves-are-a-poor-choi.html




A fully detailed breakdown of the allocated radio spectrum from NASA, showing all the neighboring spectrum usage that no one is worrying about:

and an easier-to-understand graphic:

EDIT: From electrical engineer /u/lmaccaro

5G is in the same frequency range as many other things you’ve been living with your entire life - except it is at much lower power. Have you ever worried much about TV broadcasts at 698 MHz and 10,000 watts? Then you shouldn’t worry about 5G at 700MHz and 1 watt. Have aeronautical radionavigation frequencies at 960MHz ever been a concern to you? They function at much higher powers than a cell phone, believe me. These bands have been full of traffic your whole life, and it’s never hurt you. Same goes for the Ka bands at 25GHz - these have always been in use.


My Sister in Law is one of these loons.

It is almost killing my in laws in what she makes them go through.

And of course she believes corona virus is a hoax, that might literally kill my in laws and my wife, as my wife will have to go take care of them any of them if they get sick.


Honestly, I didn’t know there were health concerns with 5g in the first place. I thought the main objection was that China seems to be controlling the market.

That said, I went looking and I found this blog post from that seems very non-loony. Can anyone comment?

BigClive makes some well-reasoned arguments but he’s not discussing actual peer-reviewed studies, which the SA author, Moscowitz, argues do suggest there is a risk.

“Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.”

Again, I’m not inclined either way. Just bringing this up for discussion. I am not familiar with Moscowitz, 5gappeal.eu, or EMFscientist.org; I don’t know if they are wearing tin-foil hats or not. Does anyone have reason to doubt them?

No collection of crazies is complete without someone telling us that 5G will kill us all.

I’ve seen exactly the same thing posted by someone on a thread I started on a biking forum about the dipshits destroying 5G towers here in the U.K., and it completely fails to provide any real evidence that’s properly peer-reviewed.
Also, what about all the dangers of exposing yourself to the thermonuclear reactor hanging in the sky? Then there’s the radioactivity produced by burning coal, or living where the underlying granite produces radon?


Which studies are those?

Numerous recent scientific publications have touted the benefits of giving me a rimjob. Boom, I am now scientifically compelling.




Actually, for better or worse, there is a link to a bibliography in the blog post:

Now, do you have one about your rimjob studies?

Again, I’m just saying that this idea (that 5G EMF might be hazardous) doesn’t, from what I have seen so far, rise by a long shot to the level of, say, flat eartherism or contrail poisoning.

This is true. Some studies do show effects. However, many things in daily use can be possibly carcinogenic to humans but it all comes down to quantity of dose and exposure time. We should never try and cherry pick outlier studies to form decisions. While they may be interesting, a consensus it dose not make.


Okay, so here’s the thing:

If 4G or 5G caused an appreciable rise in risk for any specific cancer, we’d see that across the entire population with a predictable starting point since there are points in time when the towers got switched on.

Since we don’t see any of these expected sharp rises in cancer, we can conclude that these studies appear to be detecting infinitesimally subtle effects, or are just picking up noise.


That may absolutely be the case. I would just want to know that policy based on that was backed up by good data; well-controlled double-blind studies, whatever. BigClive’s informal argument isn’t very compelling to me compared to the knowledge that hundreds of researchers are concerned enough to write grants and run studies.

I’m just making an appeal for following the scientific method on this question over back-of-the-envelope reasoning. Maybe there are lots of studies indicating there is no risk. I don’t know yet. Point us in the right direction if you know.

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Radar might not be the luckiest choice for a reference here. Radar has been found to cause cancer. On very short distance and at high power, affecting german Air Force mechanics who maintained aircraft radar systems in the 70s and 1980s which is in no relation to 5g but nevertheless. There’s no really harmless radiation. Not even IR or long waves. There are only safe limits. It’s like everything all about energy. A tennis ball is a completely harmless object. You won’t be affected by one lying under your bed even if it’s there for 25 years. The same ball will do a lot of harm if it hits you in the face with 55m/s.


This is the main point I keep trying to hammer home. Starting with widespread radio use in the ‘30s through OTA television, microwave ovens (I know they’re a faraday cage, but try convincing any of these nuts about core scientific principles), cordless phones etc, if there were any appreciable impact, it would have been seen decades ago and in staggering numbers. There was at least some compelling reason to suspect early cellphones based on usage, but modern towers and phone antennas are so low power that it’s just silly.


I would love to see some of that evidence.


Unfortunately, there are people who worry about this stuff. We had a presidential candidate in 2016 who fed the idea that everyday low-level radiation is dangerous.

Inverse-square laws for radiation are really incredibly well-verified science. It isn’t just “back-of-the-envelope reasoning” (as one person put it).


In these discussions the sharp distinction between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation is key. This article on Hackaday does a pretty good job i think :

My amateur techno-historian’s impression is that some of the popular confusion originates with the trend in the early 20th century when all these new mysterious phenomena were discovered to call everything radio-“x” Radionics anyone?


Ok, crap. Here I go looking like a nutter.

Over at Powerwatch (https://www.powerwatch.org.uk/science/studies.asp) is the bibliography I pointed to earlier, but in html with links and abstract summaries. This is at least part of the body of work cited by the International EMF Scientist Appeal as evidence for their concern. The articles in the list are color coded:

  • This study has found effects from the exposure or radiation category
  • This study has found no effects from the exposure or radiation category
  • This study has offered important insights or findings but is neither a positive or null finding

Right from the start you notice that they have listed lots of studies that fall into the second and third categories, suggesting they aren’t completely cherrypicking. And although the entire website in general is clearly biased, most of these articles come from scientific journals and the authors are researchers at universities and the like. This appears to be, for the most part, dependable scholarly work.

That said, I looked at the summaries of a dozen or so articles from the first category and most of them found only very weak effects, nothing very conclusive, and made the standard researcher’s appeal ‘for more research’.

I have no idea how exhaustive this bibliography is and I’m not standing it up in defense of the claim of health risks, but I’m guessing this would be where the members of that appeal would probably point you for “growing evidence”.


There is some evidence of links between EMF and “cancer clusters”.
Evidently folks living near high tension power lines are at greater risk of lung cancer. Evidently the radiation has a tendency to ionize smog into very fine and sticky particles. So if you are unfortunate enough to live under a high tension line and a busy highway you may have more to be concerned about than just noise.

What of folks who live near radio or TV transmitters?

I wonder what the incidence of cancers are with aircrew who are getting heightened doses of UV owing to the altitude and frequency of flying?

Here’s a bit of light reading on the subject for those with time:

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