5G is coming whether we want it to or not. Early phases of 5G infrastructures are already rolling out in some areas of the world, although still years away in Canada. This new mobile technology is expected to provide download speeds so fast our lives will never be the same. As expected, it has a lot of people excited. But not everybody is anticipating 5G with enthusiasm. There are concerns about potential dangers it may present, particularly health-related ones. Some have even asked the question did 5G cause COVID-19?
Typing the words 5G concerns into a Google search will reveal hundreds of articles about a variety of claims related to 5G, from minor to apocalyptic. Some of these concerns are certainly worth taking seriously, as 5g technology is unquestionably still in its infancy. But the majority of them are irrational claims not backed up by any credible scientific evidence and with no basis in reality.
In this article, we address 3 of the heaviest 5G related conspiracy theories.
1. Did 5G cause the coronavirus?
2. Does 5G cause cancer?
3. Does 5G impede fertility?
Spoiler: all 3 of them are easily dismissed with demonstrable evidence. But before we get into it, let’s provide a brief explanation of what 5G is for those who may not know. We’ll also give an honest summary of the underlying reasons why 5G is concerning to some people.
First of all, what is 5G?
5G is the latest and most advanced iteration of cellular technology. In the past, when cell phones first became available to consumers, 2G networks provided our cellular data. Soon after, 3G networks were released and introduced the concept of mobile data usage for things outside making phone calls, like downloading music and ringtones right from our phones. Then came 4G which is what most of us still use today. 4G gave us fast, high-quality video streaming, better service, better functionality, and opened up the world to mobile apps.
Next in line is 5G. How much better will 5G be compared to 4G? It represents the largest leap in cellular technology to date. Data speeds will be lightning fast. Connectivity will be incredibly reliable. Things that we thought could only possible in science fiction will become reality.
One of the main things that distinguish 5G from its network predecessors is its use of mmWaves to transmit signals (mmWave is short for millimeter wave). This is not how 4G, 3G, or 2G networks operate. They use microwave technology which is comprised of larger and slower waves compared to the smaller, faster mmWaves. When discussing wave frequency, smaller means it uses less bandwidth. Internet speeds with 5G are expected to be significantly faster than anything we currently experience with 4G. To put it into perspective, 5G supports 1 million devices per square kilometer. 4G can support 100,000.
So what is it about 5G that some people say is dangerous?
After considering all of the arguments against 5G, there’s a common thread that appears throughout:
A global transition to the stronger 5G signal involves the installation of many hundreds of thousands of new, smaller antennas. Stronger signals and more antennas have some people worried.
What’s worrisome about more antennas sending stronger signals?
A cursory understanding of radiation science shows that there really is nothing to be worried about, which we’ll address in the next section. But for years people have been saying that cell towers and cell phones are bad for our health; that they emit hazardous radiation. So it should be no surprise that now, with 5G on the verge, that those who share this belief are making themselves known more forcefully than ever.
When you type 5G into Google, you’ll likely see some pretty interesting auto-suggestions in the search bar. 5G dangers, 5G cancer, and other similar phrases usually appear. Also interesting is that if you type 4G or 3G, you’ll see similar auto-suggestions. There are people who’ve been worried about the potential dangers of cellular technology for a long time.
Is radiation really one of the “dangers of 5G”?
No, it isn’t. Years ago, when cellular technology really started to take off, studies began to surface about possible links to health risks like cancer, headaches, and more. And they continue to this day. However, some basic knowledge of electromagnetic radiation spectrum puts these claims to bed.
The truth about radiation and cell phones
For most of us, the word radiation conjures up horrifying mental images of hazardous waste, the aftermath of nuclear bombs; things like that. This isn’t surprising given the fact that these images are all over TV and film. But radiation is much more multifaceted and comes in many forms.
Harmful radiation is ionizing. Unharmful radiation is non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation involves wavelengths that are above the ultraviolet spectrum. Examples include X-rays and gamma rays. Non-ionizing radiation involves wavelengths below the ultraviolet spectrum. Examples include TVs, mobile phones, and microwave ovens.
The following is a simplified explanation, but when a person is exposed to ionizing radiation the electrons in their base molecules are “knocked out”. This is extremely damaging to DNA. Side effects include tumors, cancers, and other life-threatening conditions. Lucky for us, cellular technology uses non-ionizing radiation. These are radio waves operating on a much lower frequency.
In very rare, very unlikely circumstances, non-ionizing radiation does have a small potential to be harmful. But in day-to-day life scenarios, being near this type of radiation is risk-free. Ionizing radiation, on the other hand, is extremely harmful even in small amounts.
For more information on the difference between these two types of radiation and where certain familiar devices fall on the electromagnetic radiation spectrum, click here.
Just think of it this way. Have you ever been tanning at a spa? A tanning booth emits non-ionizing radiation and is significantly more dangerous than anything coming from your cell phone.
Let’s get into 3 real 5G conspiracy theories.
1. Did 5G cause the coronavirus?
Soon after COVID-19 surfaced, articles could be found on the internet linking the virus to the 5G equipment being installed around the world. Some of this information claimed that it was the reason the virus was spreading so rapidly. What’s more, some were claiming that 5G actually caused COVID. The conspiracy went even deeper than that, purporting that connections exist between radio waves and pandemics throughout history. Bill Gates himself was even blamed for creating 5G as a ploy to lower the world’s population.
The reality is that these claims have no legs to stand on. The most incontrovertible evidence probably being the fact that 5G, despite its incredible abilities, still has a difficult time getting through walls of traditional buildings. This is not a detail up to debate. It’s a scientific fact. Take hospitals, for example. They’re known for having really bad cell signal. Yet those working in hospitals contract the virus at the same rate as you and I. The very nature of 5G technology - taking into consideration the science of radiation and mmWaves - simply lends no credence whatsoever to the claim that 5G is related in any way to the coronavirus.
Radio waves cannot act as a vehicle for a virus. It’s physically impossible. There just isn’t any evidence that supports the theory that the existence of 5G infrastructures causes COVID-19 to spread faster than it otherwise does on its own.
2. Does 5G cause cancer?
If you’ve ever done any research on cancer, you’ve likely come across the phrase possibly carcinogenic to humans. It refers to something that “might cause cancer.” Some claim that 5G is not only possibly but indeed carcinogenic to humans.
Proponents of this theory often cite the following source. In 2011, two American institutions - The WHO (World Health Organization) and the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) - set out to determine if the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones were actually harmful. In their published results, they did in fact categorize them as possibly carcinogenic to humans. Cell phone radiation was classified as 2B. This is a classification that essentially means that they suspect a risk and that further monitoring is in order.
It’s important, however, to understand what it truly means for something to be classified as 2B. In the hierarchy of carcinogenic classifications, 2B is near the bottom of the totem pole. To further clarify, consider these other things that have also been given 2B status:
- being a firefighter
- aloe vera leaf extract
You read that right. Pickles.
Cancer trend data doesn’t line up
It’s been almost 20 years since cell phones became an item as common as our wallets. And during all this time, these devices have been making contact with the sides of our heads. More than 3.5 billion people have a personal cell today. That’s close to half of all humanity. So it should follow that if cellular technology was carcinogenic to humans, the rate of cancer diagnoses should have steadily risen in step with the ever-increasing number of cell phones being used on the planet. Fortunately, it hasn’t. In fact, cancer rates have been going steadily down, not up, for many years. Reference this and this.
Another thing. All oncologists know that high radio wave frequencies have a very difficult time penetrating our skin. Not only that, but both Canada and America have very strict regulations concerning consumer products and radiation absorption. So as you can see, 5G has neither a positive nor a negative effect on your health.
3. Does 5G impede fertility?
As previously mentioned, there are more health concerns surrounding 5G than just cancer. One of them is fertility. There are studies purporting that there is a link between modern cellular technology and male infertility. And again, the science and very nature of radio waves alone disprove this argument. But we should give credit where it’s due, and there is an aspect of this theory that deserves some attention.
Since the advent of the laptop computer, men especially have been advised to be careful with the amount of time their laptop spends on top of their groin. This is good advice because it’s long been known that excessive heat on the groin can cause real problems. Too much regular and extended time in the hot tub is not good for men, for example. Laptops give off heat. Older models, especially.
Smartphones, on the other hand, or not the same. They aren’t supposed to get hot - even warm - on their own, ever. If they are, it shouldn't be doing that and you should get it looked at.
Did 5G Cause COVID-19? (Debunking 3 5G Conspiracy Theories Canada) - Conclusion
5G is safe. From what we’ve seen, so much of the negative information out there is alarmist in nature and not backed up by science. However, let’s not forget that 5G is still new. More research is being done every day about how to properly implement it, what its capabilities are, if there are any potential risks, and so much more.
The argument could be made that despite inconclusive evidence that 5G is harmful, there’s so much more to learn and something conclusive could at some point come to light. Fair enough. There are actually countries that have put a hold on their 5G rollout so that more research can be done to ensure that it’s safe. We absolutely respect these choices. That doesn’t change the fact that the data is unquestionably in favor of the safety of 5G technology.
If you still have concerns, that’s completely fine. Do research. Keep learning. You’re welcome to call us if you want answers from our perspective. But we say with certainty that of all the things to be scared of, 5G is way down on the list.