Two new studies question the harmlessness of cell phone radiation. “Extremely low risk,” says the FDA – but wants to continue researching.
With the expansion of the 5G network, there are doubts about the harmlessness of mobile phone radiation: Around 300 scientists and doctors have written a petition to the EU and are calling for a moratorium on the expansion. In western Switzerland, some cantons have already enacted just that.
What will 5G do?
5G differs in one important point from all previous mobile phone generations. While the transmitters in the previous networks are as high up as possible, the radiation distributors are now moving as far down as possible, in the immediate vicinity of people. Because the 5G waves make the data exchange nimble, but they have a short range. You can hardly penetrate simple walls made of concrete. So that the data transmission does not interrupt everywhere, many more antennas are required. What is currently emerging is a network with an unprecedented exposure density.
Mobile phone studies with rodents
Above all, concerns raise two studies, both of which started in 2005 and were published in 2018. One took place in the United States on behalf of the FDA, the world’s largest toxicological research institute, the National Toxicology Program (NTP). Another at the world’s number two toxicology company, the Ramazzini Institute in Bentivoglio, Italy. The co-owners of the institute, a citizens’ cooperative in Bologna, initiated the study.
In both laboratories, several generations of rodents lived in a cell phone network, 720 rats and mice in the USA, 2448 rats in Italy. The US laboratory field corresponded to the radiation that a cell phone in the USA emits directly while making calls. The Italian researchers had a remote view of the permanent radiation, which is up to a thousand times lower, using a transmission mast that is common throughout Europe.
Although both studies were carried out independently and initially without knowledge of one another, the results were surprisingly consistent: in both experiments, the animals had already been exposed to the field in the womb. And both times, after a period of about 55 years of human life, they had developed a certain type of brain tumor that is extremely unusual for rodents and humans alike.
Will 5G be dangerous?
Even more astonishing: in both groups there were cases of actually extremely rare so-called schwannomas. These are tumors on the cardiac nerves that trigger cardiac arrhythmias. Symptoms were not significantly increased in either of the two studies, but the overall picture is still irritating.
“When I saw this data, I knew immediately: We have a real problem here,”the pathologist Fiorella Belpoggi, the lead scientist of the Bentivoglio study.
But laboratory tests cannot be so easily transferred to humans. Even the different body sizes between humans and rats show the limit of transferability: Cellular waves only penetrate a few centimeters into tissue. At least in adult people, they do not reach the heart at all. A Schwannom epidemic decades after everyday use of cell phones is therefore not to be expected.
Secondly, both studies started in 2005, using what was then known as the e-network. With him, however, the radio waves were in the decimeter range. The frequencies of the 5G network that have been auctioned so far are about much shorter wavelengths. They are in the centimeter range, in future even in the millimeter range. In the opinion of most radiation physicians, this should be an advantage in terms of health: the shorter the waves, the easier they are to be deflected – and the lower their penetration depth.
FDA sees “no uniform pattern”
If there is a risk, it is “extremely low”, judges the US health agency FDA. She had reviewed 125 animal tests and 75 human tests carried out between 2008 and August 2019. In the recent report, she concluded that there was “no consistent pattern” to associate high frequency radiation with tumors or cancer. Nevertheless, the FDA is pushing for further investigations, especially taking into account those who are predisposed to tumors.