Megan S. Smith
We all agree that cell towers are an eyesore. But as a scientist I believe a larger problem exists, one to which we should pay attention: the amount of radiation generated in the form of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from cell towers could affect our health.
While it’s still unclear what “generation” of telecommunications the two proposed Rappahannock cell towers will hold, according to 180 signatory scientists and medical doctors from 36 countries in the 2017 report “Scientists warn of potential serious health effects of 5G”, the 3G, 4G and particularly the “fifth generation” of telecommunications (known as 5G) are very troubling due to the devastation that accumulative radiation exposure may incur.
They continue, “5G will substantially increase exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on top of the 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, etc. for telecommunications already in place. RF-EMF has been proven to be harmful for humans and the environment.”
The harms of ubiquitous EMF exposure has been found, they said, to include “increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans,” as well as harm to plants and animals.
Lower generation cell towers placed in Rappahannock is a toe-under-the-door, and will eventually lead to 5G and its numerous and necessary EMF-carrying transponders to operate.
The report’s authors recommend a moratorium of 5G until the affects of EMFs be “fully investigated by scientists independent from industry.” They state that current safety guidelines are “obsolete” and describe them as “misleading.” The “conflict of interest of [the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection] members due to their relationships with telecommunications or electric companies” undermines their impartiality in writing the safety guidelines.
The world’s largest RF-EMF study, conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program, shows a significant increase in brain and heart cancer incidence “in animals exposed to EMF below the ICNIRP [safety] guidelines followed by most countries.”
The telecommunications industry claims there is no evidence of harm. Yet a 2018 evaluation of 2,266 studies found that 68.2% demonstrated significant biological or health effects associated with EMF exposure.
Further, the 2016 “EUROPA EM-EMF Guideline” states “there is strong evidence that long-term exposure to certain EMFs is a risk factor for diseases such as certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and male infertility…”
The “International EMF Scientist Appeal,” signed by over 240 scientists from over 40 nations, has been sent to the United Nations and World Health Organization, requesting “more protective EMF guidelines, encouraging precautionary measures, and educating the public about health risks, particularly risk to children and fetal development.”
The upcoming 5G will use millimeter waves or “MmWaves”, also known as EHF (Extremely High Frequency), and are more dangerous because of their very short wavelength. Per a June 2015 paper, “…analyses of penetration depth show that more than 90% of the transmitted power is absorbed in the epidermis and dermis layer…”
Traveling I-66 East to D.C. you can see the massive numbers of cell towers already in place, readying for 5G expansion.
As a scientist, I implore you to pay attention, get involved and raise your voices — for this could affect us all.
The writer lives in the town of Washington