Why I’m Not Worried About 5G Or Other Radio Technologies

Wrote this on NextDoor, and I think maybe it’s worth sharing here too.

Valerie, the reason many of us engineers did not attend the City meeting on 5G towers is that we can’t believe anyone would believe this nonsense. Much of it can be refuted with just plain basic physics. And if people don’t believe basics physics, what good can we do attending a meeting?

Think about this: Do they use radio waves, 4G, 5G, light, or x-rays to look inside you for broken bones?

They use x-rays because x-rays can penetrate your tissues getting past some cells, while getting blocked[absorbed] or deflected by others). This is a property of the minuscule wavelength of the radiation, which is equal to 1/frequency (in hertz; greater the frequency, the smaller the wavelength).

When they use x-rays, do the technicians act like it’s nothing and hang out with you, and let themselves get exposed to the x-rays? No, they don’t. Why? Because they know it is dangerous. The x-ray photons can cause havoc in your cells by knocking subatomic particles around and damaging the cell DNA. They put a lead blanket/bib over parts of you and they hide behind lead glass in the other room. They understand the science involved. Now, do you think that a radiologist would walk home or use a cell phone without a bib or lead glass helmet if she thought that radio waves were going to cause her cancer? No. They would take no such risk, IF it were a risk. It is not.

But they, and most people, wear sunglasses and sunscreen when in the sun, because energetic ultraviolet radiation can and does damage your eyes/skin cells.

(I’ll be preemptive and add this here before those who say 5G is the same as TSA body scanners… https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/do-airport-scanners-rip-apart-dna/)

The science of electromagnetic radiation is well established. We know the dangers of that radiation are with frequencies so high that they have to knock an electron off an atom. Gamma rays do that (you get a little bit of that every day from the sun, and you would have gotten a whole lot more if the ozone layer damage hadn’t been reversed. You also get extra each time you fly a plane).

Ultraviolet rays at the higher frequencies, can also ionize. Ultraviolet rays from black lights at parties are the lower frequency and don’t ionize. Purple light doesn’t. Blue, green, orange, and red light don’t. Infrared doesn’t. Those all have frequencies higher than 5G and radio waves. So, why would anyone think that the lower frequency 5G or WiFi signal is more dangerous than a higher frequency flashlight?

Is this controversial? If you need a link, start here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionizing_radiation

In the spectrum of electro-magnetic radiation, you have radio waves at one end and gamma rays at the other. Here’s how they are ordered:

Radio waves – 1hz to Gigahertz
Microwaves – gigahertz
Infrared – gigahertz to terahertz
Optical light – terahertz to petahertz
Ultraviolet – petahertz
X-rays – petahertz to exahertz
Gamma Rays – exahertz to zettahertz

It may be hard to picture this, but all of these are photons that also behave as waves. They are all the same, except the size of the photon’s wave (and the frequency is 1/wavelength).

(In contrast, power, is the number of photons. A more powerful lightbulb puts out more photons than a less powerful one)

In the early days of radio, we had 1 Hertz signals. Someone would transmit a spark in jar to another jar across the room. We didn’t have technology or electronics able to do very fast processing, so it took us decades to get to the point where we had stations transmitting on 97.3, 104.5 or 105.3 megahertz (good old KRQR, KFOG and KITS; do you remember when 97.3 was KRQR?). People did worry about getting harmed by those radio towers. (They also fought against alternating current electricity in their walls, on their poles, etc.)

Now we have the processing power to inexpensively handle EMR in the gigahertz range. Just because we can only now do it, doesn’t mean that we humans have not been exposed to much gigahertz radiation till recently. Infrared light that you’ve been exposed to all your life, starts at 300 gigahertz.


Ask those who tell you that radio waves are harmful, “why isn’t Infrared harmful?” Many of us have infrared heaters (heaters that have a red hot heat generator or red bulb). Do we get cancer from those? Both infrared and 5G are in the gigahertz range.

There is nothing inherently special about Gigahertz radiation. Megahertz, Gigahertz or Terahertz radiation hit us, no, bombard us everyday, and are harmless. Do I sound crazy? No, you’ve been exposed to megahertz FM radio for as long as you’ve lived, you’ve been exposed to infrared gigahertz every day and many nights, and you’ve been exposed to the spectrum of light in the terahertz range. Do we disagree on that?

At the Petahertz level is where you start to get into harmful UV, and Exahertz and above are X-rays and cosmic rays. Those are ionizing waves.

How about microwave ovens? Don’t they boil water with EMR? Isn’t the human body full of water? Yes. The way a microwave oven works is to blast EMR in a certain spectrum of the gigahertz range, focused on your food, and the water molecules in that food will vibrate and this vibration will cause the water, and the food in turn, to heat up. For this to happen, the amount of energy that is needed is high, and the food mush be within inches of the microwave’s magnetron, where the waves are created. For the same kind of heating occur from a 5G transmitter on a pole, the water or human cells need to be within inches of that transmitter. As for this radiation emanating from a cellphone, held close to a head, the cell phone doesn’t have that kind of power to generate the intensity of radiation required.

Ask those who tell you that radio waves are harmful, “why doesn’t green light, reflected from trees, or white light from light bulbs, give you cancer?” Surely, the light bulb in your room is closer to you and is imparting more power to you than a transmitter on a tower. Why isn’t it dangerous?

They’ll show you some stats, and maybe charts. And this is where we depart from science. While stats can be very useful to science, stats can be wielded in ways that defy science. If I showed you stats that showed that virtually every cancer patient also has been in a car, then you might think that the existence of cars cause cancer. If I show you, as someone here brought up, that everyone who is being treated for autism, has touched a minted coin, then you might think that coins bring about autism. Correlation does not imply causation. If the majority of the US has cellphones and the majority of cancers are in cell phone users, that actually shows that cell phone use isn’t correlated to cancer, not the opposite.

Stats (along with charts) can be honest and useful, or cherry-picked to make a point, true or false. Be careful.

There are things you could trust. The CDC has been very good at tracking why people die. They wouldn’t sit back and let a cancer inducing technology grow, regardless of the industry behind it. Cigarette manufacturers tried, but you still got stern warnings and more from the CDC and other official health agencies, about the dangers of cigarettes. Being under the influence of alcohol while driving, seatbelts, safer cars, poisons in our foods, and many more risks that industries hoped we would ignore in order for them to continue their profits, are all well-known.

Can I be wrong? Can scientists be wrong? Yes, of course. Science is no stranger to new concepts replacing old concepts. The chances of this fundamental concept being wrong is as likely as the cause of cancer being gravity or sound waves. Yet, any new concept begins with hypotheses, experiments, rational study, and not “gigahertz radiation is dangerous on a tower, but not in my room heater because one is new and the other one I don’t even think about”.

“But”, you say, “you make a living off of apps made for cellphones! How can we trust you?” You don’t. You open a physics book and see if I said anything that is false. You ask a physicist. You talk to an oncologist. You talk to a radiologist. You shouldn’t just trust me, or a psychologist, or a fireman, or a friend of your cousin who took a college physics course who now is an expert on cancers, or some random “scientist” who has a blog with no connection to a respected scientific organization. You can talk to recognized experts in the field, or read their writings. Check with the CDC, NIH, other organizations around the world. Of course, follow the money, and the influence, but beware that there are disingenuous ways to discount anyone: “I can’t trust that oncologist because he disagrees with me and probably wants more people to get cancer so he can buy a boat”…

Having said all this, and I really didn’t want to post because I don’t want any friends to feel like I am belittling their truly altruistic concerns, I have to add that Dan Miller is right. We are wasting time on something that isn’t a risk to us or to humanity, while we are ignoring the HUGE environmental disaster that is brewing. I feel like we are concerned about the paint used on the walls of the Titanic. Is the paint toxic? Shall we investigate? Someone said something about an iceberg, but this paint here could be poisonous! Some rats were fed a pint of that paint and they got sick! We should ask to meet with the captain about the paint immediately!

The climate nay-sayers are right: Earth won’t be hurt by a simple temperature change. Yep, Earth will be here for a long long time, with or without humans. But humans, and the organisms they rely on for sustenance, are in trouble.

There’s the present trouble: we burn fossil fuels, including coal. The byproducts are carcinogenic. Coal has the extra special side effect of containing mercury and uranium. When burned, the compounds of those two elements enter the atmosphere and then rain down on us. So we have radioactive rain, and mercury-tainted milk and fish. (I’m not sure if other fossil fuels are much better with their contributions of those two elements).

Then there’s the near-future trouble: oceans are rising, people will get displaced, freshwater will become scarce, wars will be fought over fresh water and livable land. Meanwhile, bees, crops, livestock and our food chain will shrink as the climate changes, fires burn, dust bowls are created, etc.

Sure, we’ll still have technology providing us with nice comfortable A/C to keep us cool, when not fighting a war, or starving.

If I am going to attend a City meeting to change how we stay healthy, it best be one about climate change; which virtually all scientists (used to be 97%, but is a larger percentage now) agree is happening. Not a topic that has virtually no scientists concerned.


~ by mz on February 25, 2019.

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