5G & Health: The Precautionary Perspective

The consensus among governments and expert advisory organizations, such as ICNIRP, is that the vast majority of credible scientific research suggests that current regulations are sufficient to protect public health from in terms of the new types of exposure to RFR resulting from the implementation of 5G technologies.

A subset of the research, however, places greater emphasis on the element of uncertainty that remains regarding increasing public exposure to RFR, including from new 5G technologies. Researchers in this community are not as dismissive of evidence of negative health effects from RFR, based on methodological inconsistencies or experiment irreproducibility issues.

This set of research suggests a range of views from precautionary to deep concern, which include:

  • Current standards are probably sufficient, but should be verified through continued research
  • The uncertainty remaining around RFR health effects warrants more conservative guidelines informed by research that has returned concerning results
  • The research already demonstrates a wide array of negative biological and psychological effects of human exposure to RFR, and there should be a moratorium on the implementation of 5G technologies until these effects are better understood.

Here are examples from the peer-reviewed research literature that support these views:

Adverse health effects of 5G mobile networking technology under real-life conditions (2020)

Kostoff, Ronald N., Paul Heroux, Michael Aschner, and Aristides Tsatsakis. "Adverse health effects of 5G mobile networking technology under real-life conditions." Toxicology Letters 323 (2020): 35-40

"Superimposing 5G radiation on an already imbedded toxic wireless radiation environment will exacerbate the adverse health effects shown to exist. Far more research and testing of potential 5G health effects under real-life conditions is required before further rollout can be justified."


Risks to health and well-being from radio-frequency radiation emitted by cell phones and other wireless devices (2019)

Miller, Anthony Bernard, Margaret Sears, Lennart Hardell, Mark Oremus, and Colin L. Soskolne. "Risks to health and well-being from radio-frequency radiation emitted by cell phones and other wireless devices." Frontiers in public health 7 (2019): 223

"Governmental and institutional support of data collection and analysis to monitor potential links between RFR associated with wireless technology and cancers, sperm, the heart, the nervous system, sleep, vision and hearing, and effects on children... Cell towers should be distanced from homes, daycare centers, schools, and places frequented by pregnant women, men who wish to father healthy children, and the young."


Towards 5G communication systems: Are there health implications? (2018)

Agostino Di Ciaula, MD. Published in: International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 221 (2018) 367–375

"Evidences about the biological properties of RF-EMF are progressively accumulating and, although they are in some case still preliminary or controversial, clearly point to the existence of multi-level interactions between high-frequency EMF and biological systems, and to the possibility of oncologic and non-oncologic (mainly reproductive, metabolic, neurologic, microbiologic) effects. Biological effects have also been recorded at exposure levels below the regulatory limits, leading to growing doubts about the real safety of the currently employed ICNIRP standards… Further experimental and epidemiologic studies are urgently needed in order to better and fully explore the health effects caused in humans by the exposure to generic or specific (i.e. MMW) RF-EMF frequencies in different age groups and with increasing exposure density. However, underestimating the relevance of available results… do not appear to be ethically acceptable since... Results already available should be sufficient to invoke the respect of the precautionary principle considering the large number of subjects involved in this form of environmental exposure and classifiable as “vulnerable”, and possible interactions between multiple and heterogeneous exposures, overcoming the single-pollutant approach with the measurement of the absorbed internal dose of multiple pollutants… In the respect of the WHO principle “health in all policies”, the development of new RF-EMF communication networks should be paralleled by adequate and active involvement of public institutions operating in the field of environmental health, by a revision of the existing exposure limits and by policies aimed to reduce the level of risk in the exposed population."

Dr. Agostino Di Ciaula is a physician in the Division of Internal Medicine, Hospital of Bisceglie (ASL BAT), Bisceglie, Italy and a member of the International Society of Doctors for Environment (ISDE), Arezzo, Italy


Thermal and Non-Thermal Health Effects of Low Intensity Non-Ionizing Radiation: An International Perspective (2018)

Belpomme D, Hardell L, Belyaev I, Burgio E, and Carpenter DO. 2018. “Thermal and Non-Thermal Health Effects of Low Intensity Non-Ionizing Radiation: An International Perspective.” Environmental Pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987) 242: 643–58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.07.019.

“… Standards set by most national and international bodies are not protective of human health. This is a particular concern in children, given the rapid expansion of use of wireless technologies, the greater susceptibility of the developing nervous system, the hyperconductivity of their brain tissue, the greater penetration of radiofrequency radiation  relative to head size and their potential for a longer lifetime exposure."


5G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications (2018)

Cindy L. Russell, MD, Journal: Environmental Research v165 (August 2018): 484-495

Conclusion: "Although 5G technology may have many unimagined uses and benefits, it is also increasingly clear that significant negative consequences to human health and ecosystems could occur if it is widely adopted. Current radiofrequncy radiation wavelengths we are exposed to appear to act as a toxin to biological systems. A moratorium on the deployment of 5G is warranted, along with development of independent health and environmental advisory boards that include independent scientists who research biological effects and exposure levels of radiofrequency radiation… Public health regulations need to be updated to match appropriate independent science with the adoption of biologically based exposure standards prior to further deployment of 4G or 5G technology… Climate change, fracking, toxic emissions and microwave radiation from wireless devices all have something in common with smoking. There is much denial and confusion about health and environmental risks, along with industry insistence for absolute proof before regulatory action occurs… The threats of these common pollutants continue to weigh heavily on the health and wellbeing of our nation… If we do not take precautions but wait for unquestioned proof of harm will it be too late at that point for some or all of us?”

Dr. Cindy L. Russell is a California based plastic surgeon with health policy experience regarding the environmental toxins. She is the executive director of Physicians for Safe Technology, which holds the view that wireless technology "has been well demonstrated in the literature to have non-thermal toxic effects on our cell biology" and therefore a worldwide reassessment of how they are regulated is needed to avoid increases in "a variety of health concerns including cancer, neurodevelopmental harm, neurodegeneration and reproductive abnormalities" on a global level.


Mobile Phone Use and Risk for Intracranial Tumors and Salivary Gland Tumors - a Meta-Analysis (2017)

Bortkiewicz A, Gadzicka E, and Szymczak W. 2017. “Mobile Phone Use and Risk for Intracranial Tumors and Salivary Gland Tumors - a Meta-Analysis.” International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health 30 (1): 27–43. https://doi.org/10.13075/ijomeh.1896.00802.

“Our results support the hypothesis that long-term (over 10 years) use of mobile phones increases the risk of intracranial tumors.”


Risk of brain tumours in relation to estimated RF dose from mobile phones: results from five Interphone countries (2011)

Cardis, Elisabeth, B. K. Armstrong, J. D. Bowman, G. G. Giles, Martine Hours, D. Krewski, M. McBride et al. "Risk of brain tumours in relation to estimated RF dose from mobile phones: results from five Interphone countries." Occupational and environmental medicine 68, no. 9 (2011): 631-640.

"There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma in long-term mobile phone users with high RF exposure and of similar, but apparently much smaller, increases in meningioma risk. The uncertainty of these results requires that they be replicated before a causal interpretation can be made."