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Concerns About the Potential Effects of 5g Technology, Essay Example

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Essay

Introduction

5G stands for fifth-generation, the latest cellular technology for mobile phone communication. The technology is an evolution of previous technologies; 2G, 3G, and 4G. 5G technology was developed to support faster speeds, increased bandwidth, and lower latency to facilitate the Intern of Things (IoT). Such improvements will definitely have a great impact on how people can communicate and drive the advancing Information and Communication Technology industry. Today’s cellular technologies 2G through 4G create radiofrequency exposures that pose significant health risks to people. 5G will be using higher frequencies than previous-generation technologies, further putting human health at risk, (Simkó & Mattsson, 2019, p. 3406). More base stations and connected objects are required to support 5G. It will also employ beam-forming antennas to concentrate signals towards devices. Scientists have registered concerns about the potential effects of 5G technology and called for more research on its impact on human health before deployment. This paper will analyze the potential health risks as a result of deploying 5G, and if there is any correlation with the coronavirus

Mini-cell towers

Many wireless antennas are required to be built everywhere to support 5G. Transmitters are to be placed close, approximately between two and ten homes, to increase the capacity and coverage in urban centers in preparation for 5G roll-out.  The higher 5G frequencies travel less distance compared to lower rates used in previous technologies.

High electromagnetic frequencies

5G utilizes multiple frequencies from frequencies used in today’s wireless and cell phones to much higher millimeter frequencies. The current Wi-Fi and cellular networks utilize microwaves – the electromagnetic type of radiation using frequencies up to 6GHz in transmitting data and voice. Applications that will use 5G must unlock new spectrum bands in higher frequency, from 6 – 100 GHz that allow higher data transmission rates, (Wang et al., 2014).

Millimeter waves

The wireless frequencies found in millimeter and submillimeter range prove these waves directly interact with human skin, precisely the sweat glands. The sweat glands behave similarly to helical antennas upon exposure to such wavelengths.

Action Mechanism

Research has proved the adverse effects of today’s wireless modalities that are in use. The 5G waves in millimeter and submillimeter interact with the human skin leading to preferential layer absorption.

5G use in weapons

For some time, China, Russia, and the U.S have developed weapons relying on 5G electromagnetic frequency capability to induce burning and irritating sensations on human skin. The U.S Army utilizes millimeter waves in making Active Denial Systems guns that are used to disperse crowds, (Kenny et al., 2008). When the beam touches people, they run away because they feel like they have been set on fire.

Today, there is a rapid growth of academic literature about 5G effects on health. While some research papers claim possible health risks, others do not. Part of the scientific community – majorly researchers and medical practitioners in the medical science field believe electromagnetic frequency (EMF) exposure has negative impacts, and deployment of 5G will only increase or worsen the effects. Appeals regarding 5G roll-out have been presented to the United Nations and European Union in 2015 and 2017, respectively, (Karaboytcheva,  Briefing PE646). More scientists and medical doctors have continued to sign the appeal, increasing to 268 in number by the end of 2019. These signatories argue that with an increasing use of wireless technology, people are continuously being exposed to EMF radiation, and 5G will only worsen the situation given the high number of transmitters required to support the network. In the appeal, many scientific publications demonstrate the effects of EMF exposure, including genetic damage, increased risk of cancer, neurological disorders, memory, and learning deficits. The appeal states that the effects are to both humans and the environment.

According to the appeal, 5G deployment should be put on hold until the potential illustrated health risks are looked into in detail by industry scientists. The petition urges the European Union to comply with Resolution 1815 made by the Council of Europe – demanding new assessment to be done by an independent task force. Regarding this, the scientists say it is mandatory to consider the establishment of new exposure limits accounting for the unique exposure characteristics. The limits should put into consideration the biological EMF radiation effects instead of the absorption rate that is energy-based. The radiation from cell phones and 5G is non-ionizing, therefore, perceived to be harmless generally because of a lack of potency, (Kostoff et al., 2020, p.35-40). However, the scientists in the appeal attest that in the 5G case, the main concern is the pulse and not potency. Pulse refers to the frequency the people are to be exposed to because of the high density of the networked antennas and the billions of connections.

High levels of pulsations are employed by 5G to increase high data transmission rates. Further studies reveal that pulsed EMF is biologically active hence more hazardous if compared to non-pulsed EMF. All wireless devices communicate via pulsations, the smarter a device is, the more the pulsations it uses; therefore, more hazardous, (Pall, 2015).  As a result, 5G may be weak from a power point of view, but the consistent pulse radiation is dangerous. Pulsing also increases the health impacts as a result of exposure, including damaging DNA, perceived to cause cancer. Neurodegenerative diseases and reproductive decline is also linked to DNA damage.

A review of researched biological and health impacts of radiofrequency EMF, 5G included, prove there are effects of millimeter waves, (Moskowitz, 2017, p. 3-6). Evidence shows the radiofrequency EMF biological properties progressively accumulate, proving multi-level interactions between biological systems and high-frequency EMF. This has oncological and non-oncological (microbiological, reproductive, neurological, and metabolic) effects. The increasing density of antennas and wireless communication devices raises even more concerns. The development of the 5G network has already commenced around the globe despite the fact that investigation into the effects is still scarce. 5G will rapidly increase the number of wireless devices hence the increased density of small cells. The millimeter waves are proven to increase the temperature of the skin, promoting cellular proliferation and metabolic and inflammatory processes.  There is a need for further exploration regarding the health risks posed by exposure to radiofrequency EMF, and more specifically, the millimeter waves.

Currently, there is an urgent need for research that looks into 5G technology effects on both humans and the environment. With already existing lower frequencies, the expected radiation resulting from 5G higher frequencies are expected to negatively impact the mental and physical health of the public.  Deeper analysis into millimeter waves finds effects on the eyes, skin, bacterial antibiotic resistance, and the immune system. Reviews point out that radiofrequency EMF effects will be hard to be sorted epidemiologically. Studies, therefore, have expressed that a lot of caution needs to be taken in the deployment of 5G technology. Engineers and scientists argue that heat is the only way to measure harm health, but scientists in the medical field point to other mechanisms such as cellular functioning, which is affected by exposures to the radiofrequency, (Mann, 1996).

Scientific articles reviewed in 2016 on experimental data regarding oxidative effects caused by low-frequency radiation in living cells. The findings show radiation frequency radiation has oxidative effects in biological systems, (Kıvrak, 2017). It was concluded that the living cells are affected by a physical agent that is oxidative.  Another study that was carried out on animals revealed that electromagnetic radiation from Wi-Fi networks causes hyperglycemia, increased weakened insulin secretion, and increased oxidative stress. Exposing rats to the frequency of up to 2.5 GHz in a laboratory created diabetes, and could lead to kidney deficiency.

There is increased concern regarding the use of mobile phones associated with infertility rates and decreasing the quality of semen, (Ciaula, 2018, p. 8).  Radiations from the cell phones can negatively affect the quality of sperm in men, specifically through reduced semen volume, concentration, viability, count, and motility that ultimately impairs male fertility. A recent review of the effects on radio frequency EMF on semen resulted in 21 out of 27 pieces of research verifying the adverse effects of exposure. The effects included DNA damage, affected sperm motility, and reduced anti-oxidant levels.

5G and coronavirus

There are many conspiracy theories linking the spread of coronavirus to 5G technology. From a technical perspective, viruses cannot spread or transmit through mobile networks or radio waves. The coronaviruses, COVID-19 is spreading rampantly in countries that have not yet deployed the 5G technology. The viruses can spread via respiratory droplets from an infected person when they speak, cough, or sneeze. The only other way the virus spreads is when one touches surfaces that are contaminated with the virus then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose. Some theories are claiming that 5G suppresses the immune system hence making the population more susceptible to the virus, while others blatantly suggest the virus can spread through 5G technologies. Even if no research is yet to be conducted to prove these theories, their reasoning is far-fetched. According to medical doctors, the immune system can be affected by a lot of things from poor diet to lifestyle; therefore, 5G cannot be singled out to be the factor in this case. Compared to radiations at higher frequencies such as X-rays and Sun’s rays, 5G radiation is lesser powerful to cause any direct damage to cells.

Bibliography

Di Ciaula, A., 2018. Towards 5G communication systems: Are there health implications?. International journal of hygiene and environmental health221(3), pp.367-375.

Karaboytcheva, M., Effects of 5g wireless communication on human health. Briefing PE646.

Kenny, J.M., Ziskin, M., Adair, B., Murray, B., Farrer, D., Marks, L. and Bovbjerg, V., 2008. A narrative summary and independent assessment of the active denial system. Penn State University, Applied Research Laboratory.

Kıvrak, E.G., Yurt, K.K., Kaplan, A.A., Alkan, I. and Altun, G., 2017. Effects of electromagnetic fields exposure on the antioxidant defense system. Journal of microscopy and   ultrastructure5(4), pp.167-176.

Kostoff, R.N., Heroux, P., Aschner, M. and Tsatsakis, A., 2020. Adverse health effects of 5G mobile networking technology under real-life conditions. Toxicology Letters323, pp.35-40.

Mann, K. and Röschke, J., 1996. Effects of pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic fields on human sleep. Neuropsychobiology33(1), pp.41-47.

Moskowitz, J., 2017. 5G wireless technology: millimeter wave health effects. Electromagnetic Radiation Safety3, pp.3-6.

Pall, M.L., 2015. How to approach the challenge of minimizing non-thermal health effects of microwave radiation from electrical devices. Int. J. Innov. Res Eng. Manag (IJIREM)2(5), pp.71-76.

Simkó, M. and Mattsson, M.O., 2019. 5G Wireless Communication and Health Effects—A Pragmatic Review Based on Available Studies Regarding 6 to 100 GHz. International journal of environmental research and public health16(18), p.3406.

Wang, Y., Li, J., Huang, L., Jing, Y., Georgakopoulos, A. and Demestichas, P., 2014. 5G mobile: Spectrum broadening to higher-frequency bands to support high data rates. IEEE Vehicular technology magazine9(3), pp.39-46.

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