What is 5G?
5G is the latest progression in cellular network technology, following our familiar friends 2G, 3G, and 4G. The differences between the standards keeps getting more confusing. Networks keep getting stronger, with your nearest cell tower probably getting closer every day, and this new generation promises faster speeds for more people and better connectivity than ever before. Cell phone carriers have slowly begun rolling out their 5G programs in big cities all around the world, though it’s still in its infancy for the majority of the population. But like all new technology, people have questions, and a lot of misinformation has surfaced. We're here to address those.
Okay, So How Does 5G Work?
Unlike previous generations, which use microwave technology to transmit signals, 5G utilizes much smaller and substantially faster millimeter wave, or mmWave, technology. 5G is more energy efficient, provides faster internet with less bandwidth, and has the capability to support up to a million devices per square kilometer — compared to 4G’s mere 100,000. Millimeter waves use smaller antennas, which would require an increase in transmitters to cover the same area. More antennas and a stronger signal? Cue the concerned consumers.
Is 5G Dangerous?
No, your cell phone is not trying to kill you — and it never has been. Like 2G, 3G, and 4G before it, 5G has been the subject of scrutiny surrounding human health and safety. The cell phone tower-brain tumor connection has been rumored since cell phones first hit the scene, so it’s only natural that the promise of a stronger signal might reawaken old nightmares. Google “5G” and the first suggestions include both “5G dangers” and “5G cancer”. Red flags all around. However, the same search suggestions pop up for 3G and 4G, too, so let’s not toss our phones into the river and run our RVs off the grid quite yet.
Why is 5G Bad?
It’s not. Change is scary, and new technology has a tendency to breed fear. The cell phone-cancer conspiracy has been around since phones first cut the cord decades ago, but research has failed to provide a definitive link between the two. A plethora of studies have tested the effects of lower and higher frequency radio waves (ie: cell phone signals) on rats and mice, and no conclusive evidence has shown a connection between cancer and cell phone use of any kind. 5G utilizes the same frequencies, and is subject to the same rules and regulations of every previous cellular network generation.
The Myth of Correlation: Is there a relation between 5G and COVID-19?
Perhaps the most common myth about 5G has to do with the recent coronavirus pandemic. Some articles have done deep dives into the history of radio waves and pandemics, while others have been quick to burn down cell towers after hearing that 5G might be responsible for the virus. These conspiracy theories posits that 5G and the virus are directly correlated due to its recent rollout, whether that's a direct symbiotic relationship between the virus and 5G itself, or that cellular companies are the ones to cause the outbreak in order to force a large scale shutdown on the scale we've experienced in order to more effectively roll out their infrastructure.
The truth is...this is all untrue. As we've shown, 5G is currently in its infancy, with very real problems reaching inside buildings. If there were a direct correlation between COVID-19 and the virus, hospital staff and medical workers wouldn't be contracting the disease, as hospitals are notorious for being difficult for cell signal to enter.
Please, stay safe from COVID-19 by staying indoors, but don't believe that 5G is its cause. It has an airborne spread, much like the common cold, with social distancing and self-quarantine our best options right now.
But I Read That Cell Phones Cause Cancer...
In 2011 the World Health Organization released a study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifying the radiofrequency electromagnetic fields used by cell phones as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. Yikes. However, according to Dr Jonathan Samet (University of Southern California, USA), overall Chairman of the Working Group, this 2B classification means that there “could be some risk” and “we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk”.
When you slow it down, that’s a lot of “possibly’s” and “could be’s” and ZERO “absolutely’s”. Plus, as Robert Triggs provides perspective in his Android Authority article 5G is not going to microwave your brain: All the myths, debunked: “Other Class 2B carcinogens include pickles, aloe vera leaf extract, and being a firefighter.” Pickles!
Consider the Cancer Trends
Today, mobile phones are in every adult’s pocket, purse, and backpack. If cell phones cause cancer, then shouldn’t the cancer rates have skyrocketed in the past twenty years or so? Guess what? They haven’t. Cancer rates in the United States are actually on the decline — brain cancer rates in particular have stayed the same for the past forty years.
What About 5G and Fertility?
Alongside cancer concerns, cell phone use has also been purportedly linked to male infertility. Research on this topic has found one factor to be true: heat. Nothing in the radio waves or frequencies has proven to be a cause for concern — but men looking to conceive should probably avoid hot tubs and storing overheated phones (or really anything hot) in their front pockets or on their laps. Unfortunately, this won’t be a valid excuse to skip those boring conference calls after all.
How to Avoid 5G?
5G isn’t the widely available standard we’ve been promised quite yet, but if you’re wondering how to protect yourself from potential 5G dangers, the answer is pretty simple: skin. No tin foil hats or space suits necessary. Skin reflects high frequency radio waves, forming a barrier that protects internal organs from potential harm. Turns out, 5G’s higher frequency actually makes it even safer for humans.
So is 5G Safe After All?
The myth of the big scary cell phone signal stems from unfortunate misunderstandings when people attempt to interpret scientific research. While the evidence has yet to prove that 5G is bad for humans, there is always ample room for more research. Cities across the globe are pressing pause on the 5G network rollout until more is known about the potential risks of 5G exposure, but as it stands, there is no real reason to worry.
It bears mentioning that, as 5G is a very new technology, time will tell if any health risks are shown. Of particular interest will be its potential effects on the human electrical field, which the high-frequency millimeter-waves of 5G might disrupt. Theories suggest this human electrical field might have some impact on the basic functions of our immune system and bodily functions, so any disruption to the field caused by 5G will be worth monitoring. But as of early 2020, we don't have any studies on about that just yet.
If you truly are worried, do something that is proven to be great for brains: learn. Keep reading, researching, and asking questions — and direct your precious energy away cell phone signal stress. Give your current 3G and 4G signals a helping hand from cell phone boosters. And unless new research proves otherwise, take solace knowing that the scariest thing to come from your phone might just be those dreaded texts from your ex.
Any other questions or concerns about 5G? Let us hear them in the comments below!
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