FAQ

Questions and Answers About Wireless Radiation and 4G/5G-Enabled “Small” Cells

Q1. What exactly is wireless radiation?

A.  Wireless radiation, also known as “radio-frequency radiation” (RF) or “microwave radiation,” is part of the vast energy spectrum that contains radio waves at one end and X-rays on the other. This type of radiation is emitted from wireless devices such as cell phones, Bluetooth, laptops, Chromebooks, iPads and other tablets, smartboards, classroom access points, wearable devices, wireless earphones, wireless baby monitors, utility “smart” meters, gaming systems, cordless phones, wireless keyboards/mice, hearing aids, vehicles, home assistants as well as cell towers, including “small” cell antennas for 4G/5G and Wi-Fi routers.  They are all in the microwave segment of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum, and there has never been a safe level of microwave radiation determined in the scientific literature.

Image From Better Breast Health

Q2.  What evidence do we have of negative effects from exposure to wireless radiation?

A. For many years, scientists believed that the only possible result of exposure to wireless radiation was heat. In fact, the standard used by the U.S. government to set allowable limits of exposure is still based only on thermal (heat) effects which boils down to how much radiation it would take to heat the skin.  The limits are very high and they do not address the much lower non-thermal impacts that come with chronic use of today’s wireless devices.  Science has since proven there are many harmful non-thermal biological effects.  There are now thousands of independent, peer-reviewed and published scientific studies from around the world showing adverse biological effects from exposure to wireless radiation, even at levels considered “safe” by the U.S. government.

Q3.  What are some of the health effects from wireless radiation?

A.  Independent, peer-reviewed and published scientific studies show increased cancers in children and adults, DNA damage, infertility and miscarriage, headaches, tinnitus, heart irregularities, endocrine (hormonal) effects, lack of concentration, memory and cognitive impairment, behavioral problems, insomnia, fatigue, nosebleeds, nausea, dizziness, anxiety/depression, suicidal ideation, interference with medical devices such as pacemakers and more from exposure to wireless radiation. Growing numbers of people around the world are suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity/microwave sickness

Q4.  Aren’t we already exposed to lots of wireless radiation in our lives?

A.  Yes, we are. But you should have the right to control the amount of radiation in your own personal space. You can turn off your cell phone or choose fiber-optics to connect to the internet, but once “small” cell antennas are mounted near your home, you’ll be involuntarily exposed all day, every day. Studies have shown that the impact of this type of radiation is cumulative, meaning that constant, long-term exposure increases your risk.  There is a big difference between voluntary and involuntary exposure.  The rollout of “small” cells inside neighborhoods across the country will result in involuntary exposure to a proven health hazard for millions of Americans.  That’s just wrong. 

Q5.  What do the wireless companies NOT tell you about their cellular antennas? 

A.  Telecom companies are reluctant to admit that their claims of “safety” are based on old science, or that the government guidelines set for exposure were established back in 1990s. If you were to ask someone with the telecom industry if a cell tower or cell phone is safe, they probably will not tell you it is safe. Instead they may tell you it is FCC compliant. That’s the problem!  FCC compliance does not equate with safety. 

Q6.  Are there “small” cells in Wisconsin?

A.  Yes.  We have seen them in Brookfield, Greenfield, Madison, Milwaukee, Muskego and West Allis.  They are likely using 4G frequencies and will likely be switched over to 5G soon.  Many more “small” cell antennas will be installed since Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed the 5G Bill (Act 14) in July 2019, despite opposition by citizens and letters written to him by scientific, medical and other experts.  5G uses much higher frequencies than 4G. The 4G networks of today use frequencies up to 6 GHz. By comparison, the new 5G being rolled out will utilize extremely high microwave frequencies in the 25 GHz to 90 GHz range. Long-term exposure to these higher frequencies has never been tested, although exposure to the lower frequencies of 2G and 3G have been linked to cancer, immune dysfunction, infertility, altered brain development, sleep and memory disturbances, and many other adverse health effects.

Q7.  Isn’t 5G needed to bring broadband to rural Wisconsin?  

A.  5G will not necessarily bring broadband to underserved or rural communities; fiber-optic cable is still required to do that. In an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio on June 20, 2019, Tom Still of the Wisconsin Technology Council said it would “not immediately” bring broadband “because of the investment that will be required.”  At the Public Hearings in Madison on May 29, 2019 about the 5G legislation, the telecom industry said they plan to focus on the urban areas of Wisconsin. Even FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel said of the September 26, 2018 FCC Order to streamline 5G deployment:  “Not one wireless carrier has said that this action will result in a change in its capital expenditures in rural areas.” 

Q8.  Why are so many “small” cells needed?

A.  5G uses millimeter waves which don’t travel well through walls or foliage, so “small” cells need to be close together spaced just hundreds of feet apart or every 2-10 homes.  The industry vision for 5G is to bring things like driverless cars, smart cities, homes and highways, faster downloads, and the Internet of Things (IoT), which means virtually everything we own and buy, from appliances to milk cartons, even diapers and toothbrushes, will contain antennas or microchips and will connect wirelessly.  It also means robots and micro-chipped humans.   Vast amounts of data will be collected about us for marketing and surveillance.

Q9:  Why is there pushback by citizens against 5G? 

A. It’s simple.  We have evidence of harm and the wireless industry has no evidence that 5G technology is safe.  So they should stop putting “small” cell antennas inside our neighborhoods.  Also, “small” cells are an eyesore.  They are even referred to as “junkyard on a pole.”  Just like macro cell towers, they bring down property values.  “Small” cells will not replace macro cell towers adding another layer of wireless radiation to the electrosmog around us.  Other concerns are safety, privacy and impacts on wildlife, particularly pollinators such as birds, bees, bats and butterflies.

Q10.  Can these “small cells” be found anywhere else outside of Wisconsin?

A. Yes, in order to bring 5G to America, the plan is to build these 5G networks in every village, town, and city across our nation.  The telecom industry also has plans to add 20,000 satellites into space which will beam 5G frequencies down on us from everywhere. 

Q11.  Are “small” cells dangerous?

A.  These cellular antennas increase the amount of wireless radiation in and around our homes 24/7. The levels of radiation measured inside and outside these homes are beyond what has been linked to cancer in independent, peer-reviewed and published scientific studies.  There are no independent scientific studies proving that 5G is safe.  Dr. Martin Pall, a wireless radiation expert, explains that it is not just the power level that is the main issue. The spiked, erratic, digital pulses of wireless radiation that carry the data are much more dangerous.

Q12.  Doesn’t the U.S. have exposure limits for RF microwave radiation to keep us safe?

A. Yes, but the current U.S. guidelines are not protective of health and were set back in the 1990s. U.S. exposure guidelines are much higher than most other countries. In fact, our limits are 100 times higher than Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, and China. These guidelines do not account for exposure to multiple wireless sources and only consider 30 minutes of exposure from one device at a time. The guidelines were based solely on preventing thermal (heat) effects which boils down to how much radiation it would take to heat the skin.  Thousands of studies show biological harm at levels well below FCC limits. 

U.S. Guidelines are 100x higher than most other countries.

Q13.  Why hasn’t the FCC revised their antiquated guidelines for RF microwave radiation?

A.  The FCC is not a health agency and many of the people running it are former telecom representatives.  The head of the FCC, Ajit Pai, is a former Verizon attorney!  The FCC is protecting the interests of the telecom industry not the health and safety of Americans.  The FCC has been described by Harvard University’s Center for Ethics writer, Norm Alster, as “the most captured agency in DC,” acting more as an industry cheerleader than regulator.  Government agencies, scientists, doctors, the American Academy of Pediatrics and citizens have asked the FCC to reassess the outdated guidelines (which were set by industry engineers, not medical experts), especially to take into account children, pregnant women, the immune compromised, the elderly and those with implanted medical devices and nothing has been done.

Q14.   Is RF microwave radiation a proven carcinogen? 

A. In May 2011, the World Health Organization/International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as a Group 2B possible carcinogen. A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries, including the U.S., made the decision after reading hundreds of peer-reviewed studies. The team found enough evidence to categorize radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” They found evidence of increases in glioma and acoustic neuroma brain cancer. Since 2011, there have been many new studies which have lead independent scientists, including longtime WHO advisor, Anthony B. Miller, M.D., and other experts, to urge the WHO to classify RF radiation as a “Group 1 carcinogenic to humans” agent.

Q15.   I see “5G” in my WiFi router and cell phone, does this mean they are already using 5G? 

A.  The 5G you see in WiFi routers means 5 GHz. This is NOT the same as actual 5G which means “Fifth Generation.” Is the wireless industry purposefully attempting to get people to gain acceptance and familiarity with the term 5G?

Q16. Are children more vulnerable to RF microwave radiation?

A.  It has been proven that radiation penetrates deeper into the brain and bodies of children. Children’s cells are dividing at a faster rate, so the impact of radiation is larger.  Their immune systems are still developing. They have thinner skulls, smaller heads (shorter distance to brain centers), different dielectric properties (higher liquid content), and their brains are less myelinated and still developing. No amount of long-term exposure to wireless radiation has been proven safe for children, or for anyone. Children in schools bathed in WiFi complain of headaches, nausea, dizziness, vomitting, nosebleeds, fatigue, concentration and behaviorial problems, etc. Today’s children have a lifetime of wireless radiation exposure ahead of them. 

Q17.  Have you measured the radiation from these “small” cells?

A.  Yes, Wisconsin For Safe Technology has an Acoustimeter, a device that measures the levels of RF radiation.  When the Acoustimeter light is in the green zone, or there is no light at all, it means there is very little or no radiation and it is safe. When it is yellow, it means that in the long-term, that radiation can be biologically damaging. When it is red, it is above the level linked to cancer in independent, peer-reviewed and published studies. The radiation outside the homes in close proximity to small cells is in the red both outside and inside.

Q18.   Why are so few people aware of the dangers of RF microwave radiation? 

A.  The telecom industry is very powerful and they spend between $60-$80 million a year lobbying our Congress.  They have approximately 500 full-time lobbyists, more than one for every member of Congress!  They have worked very hard to keep the truth hidden because they know the truth will hurt the industry.  The mainstream media is hesitant to report the truth for fear of losing big advertising dollars from the telecom industry, so most people are unaware that wireless technology is harmful and that it was never tested for long-term safety. However, that is changing. More and more people are learning the truth.

Q19 Is it true that the new higher frequencies to be used in 5G have been used in military weapons?

A.  The Department of Defense has developed a non-lethal crowd control device called the Active Denial System (ADS). It works by firing a high-powered beam of 95 GHz millimeter waves at a target.  It gives people the sensation that their skin is on fire. The Active Denial System operates on 95 GHz waves and 5G will operate on the same frequencies. 

Image from YouTube

Q20.   What can we do to stop 5G towers from being put up in our towns?  What can communities do to halt this rollout when it has already begun?

A.  We don’t have the money and power of the telecom industry, but we do have the power of the people.  We need to raise awareness so that others get involved.  Go to local town meetings and voice your concerns.  Talk with everyone you know about this and do your own research to educate yourself. Show the documentary film “Generation Zapped” at local venues to help others understand the dangers of wireless technology.  Call, write to, and meet with local, state, and federal representatives and demand changes in laws and a moratorium on “small” cells in our neighborhoods.  Follow us on Facebook and share our website with others. Visit our Take Action page for more ideas.

Q21.   What solution can we offer as an alternative?

A.  Fiber to all homes, schools and businesses will enable us to have wired technology which is faster, safer, and more secure. This policy paper sets the record straight offering consumers, business leaders, and policy makers the critical facts they need to rethink a more intelligent and secure future with reliable, secure, wired communications more resilient to storm, flood, and fire, and reducing the enormous carbon footprint from the present wireless approach. It also demonstrates why the mistaken upcoming 5G frenzy, with its millions of small cell antennas destined to clutter all neighborhoods and public right-of-ways, is dangerous, wasteful, and unnecessary.

Q22.   Is it true that insurance companies including Lloyds of London refuse to insure T-Mobile, Crown Castle, Verizon, AT&T and other companies from future adverse health effects caused by RF microwave radiation?

A.  Insurance companies have seen the studies and they do not cover electromagnetic fields.  They have clear “electromagnetic field exclusions”.  They classify EMFs as a pollutant.

Q23.   Have any Senators or members of Congress spoken out about this issue?

A.  Former State Senator Colbeck has been testifying about his concerns over 5G and wireless technology.  In early December 2018, U.S. Senator Blumenthal and U.S. Congresswoman Eshoo demanded that the FCC show how they determined that 5G will not cause cancer and other adverse health effects.  They gave the FCC a deadline of Dec. 16th to respond.  The response they received is exactly what you would expect from a captured agency.  There were no studies provided by the FCC.  In February 2019, Sen. Blumenthal asked the wireless industry about 5G safety.  Industry conceded it has done no research.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal

Q24.   The National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Cancer Society say this radiation is safe. Why is this? 

A.  Actually, no organization will say that RF microwave radiation is safe. Instead, they often say more studies are needed to create doubt in Americans’ minds so they will keep using the harmful wireless technology. These groups will also say that the radiation poses a lower risk, provided you keep within the time limit for exposure and do not exceed the maximum intensity exposure standards. Unfortunately, these guidelines are not protective of public health.

Q25 Are there websites/resources available for our schools if they want to learn more about how they can protect children? 

A.  Yes, we recommend these sites: Environmental Health Trust, The Baby Safe Project, and Wireless Education.

Q26.   Have there been studies on the health of populations living in close proximity to cell towers?

A.  People living or working in close vicinity to a cell tower will get the highest exposures.  Find the independent, peer-reviewed and published research on the harmful effects from cell tower radiation here.

Q27.   What are some of the latest research studies?  A.

  • The BioInitiative Report includes thousands of studies published since 2007.  It’s the work of 29 independent scientists and health experts from 10 countries. This report concluded that cell towers are particularly dangerous because of the constant nature of the activity of the towers in that they emit pulsed RF radiation which has been shown in thousands of studies to cause biological damage to the body and to be a precursor to disease. 
  • The NTP study results were released in 2018. The FDA-ordered National Institutes of Health/U.S. National Toxicology Program Study was a premier 10-year, $30 million study on the effects of RF microwave radiation.  Now we have “absolute and clear evidence” that these DO cause damage to living organisms.  And there have been very recent studies in France and Italy that show the same results as the NTP study, but at even lower radiation levels.  
  • The Ramazzini Study, partially funded by the U.S. and released in 2018, is the world’s largest animal study on cell tower radiation and confirms cancer link at lower levels of radiation exposure than the U.S. NTP study.  “Our findings of cancerous tumors in rats exposed to environmental levels of RF are consistent with and reinforce the results of the U.S. NTP studies on cell phone radiation, as both reported increases in the same types of tumors of the brain and heart in Sprague-Dawley rats. Together, these studies provide sufficient evidence to call for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to re-evaluate and re-classify their conclusions regarding the carcinogenic potential of RFR in humans,” said Fiorella Belpoggi PhD, study author and RI Director of Research.  

Q28.   Is it true that we are not allowed to use health to argue placement of small cells?

A.  Section 704 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act states that no health or environmental concern can interfere with the placement of telecom equipment such as cell towers and antenna. In fact, if the corporation believes that your city officials took health into account when denying them a permit, then your city can be sued. Please speak to your representatives in Congress to repeal limitations on state and local authority imposed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and permit state and local governments to regulate the placement, construction, and modification of telecommunications towers and other personal wireless services facilities on the basis of the health and environmental effects of such facilities.

Q29.   What is SAR?

A.  The FCC requires that all wireless communications devices sold in the U.S. meet its minimum guidelines for “safe” human exposure to radio-frequency (RF) energy (radiation).  These guidelines specify exposure limits for hand-held wireless devices in terms of the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). The SAR is a measure of the rate that RF energy is absorbed by the body. For exposure to RF energy from wireless devices, the allowable FCC SAR limit is 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg), as averaged over one gram of tissue. All wireless devices sold in the U.S. go through a formal FCC approval process to ensure that they do not exceed the maximum allowable SAR level when operating at the device’s highest possible power level. The problem is that SAR is based on thermal (heating of tissue) effects only, and when they test, a spacer is used so that the device is not directly against the body.

Another issue is that we live in proximity to a very large number of actively transmitting WiFi devices and WiFi access points/routers, not just one device or antenna.  In a classroom or coffee shop, there are often over 20 wireless devices actively transmitting with multiple access WiFi points.  The exposure to RF energy from one wireless device itself is close to the allowable FCC SAR limit already. For example, iPhone’s published SAR is 1.18 W/kg Body and 1.25 W/Kg Head and iPad’s published SAR is 1.19 W/kg Body.  So the question is, what are we really being exposed to on a daily basis? 

In August  2019, a Chicago Tribune investigative piece revealed that many cell phones exceed FCC radiation exposure limits.

Q30.    What are scientists and medical experts doing to stop 5G? 

A. Many are trying to raise awareness by contacting government officials and sharing their knowledge in the media.  Recently, the 5G Summit presented talks by over 40 experts and the EMF Conference which took place in California in September 2019 featured many experts to discuss wireless radiation and how to diagnose and treat EMF symptoms.  The 5G Appeal was signed by over 200 scientists and doctors from over 40 countries calling for the halt to the 5G rollout: 

“We recommend a moratorium on the roll-out of the fifth generation, 5G, for telecommunication until potential hazards for human health and the environment havebeen fully investigated by scientists independent from industry…RF-EMF has been proven to be harmful for humans and the environment.” 

Q31.   What is the International Appeal?

A.  The International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space is a document signed by over 130,000 organizations like ours, scientists, doctors, engineers, environmental organizations, beekeepers and citizens, urgently calling the governments of all nations to halt the deployment of the 5G, including 5G from space satellites. The deployment of 5G constitutes an experiment on humanity and the environment that is defined as a crime under international law.  You can sign the appeal here.

Q32.   How can I reduce the amount of RF microwave radiation in my home? A.

  • Wired or corded devices have insulated cables, preventing leakage of radiation into the surrounding environment.  
  • Wireless devices such as routers, cell phones, cordless phones, wireless video game controllers, baby monitors, tablets, as well as emissions from cell phone towers, are NOT insulated
  • Reduce the amount of wireless devices in your home.
  • If you can, opt-out of utility smart meters or consider purchasing a smart meter cover to put over your smart meter to reduce radiation emissions.
  • Use a corded landline instead of a cordless phone. 
  • Keep cell phones on airplane mode when not in use.  
  • Keep laptops off your lap.  Use a table. 
  • Do not hold a cell phone to your head. Keep out of bra or pockets.
  • Pregnant women should keep wireless devices away from the abdomen.
  • Do not use a cell phone in a car, bus or elevator.  It emits more radiation. 
  • Cell phones are not teething objects or toys.  Keep all wireless devices away from babies and young children.
  • Use speaker phone or an air-tube headset for cell phone calls. 
  • Remove all wireless devices from bedrooms. 
  • Only use wired baby monitors. 
  • Turn off WiFi at night or when not in use.   
  • Use a wired computer, printer, keyboard, and mouse. 
  • Invest in a RF meter like the Acoustimeter so you can make sure your home is as safe as possible.  
  • Here are more Safety Tips for you and your loved ones. 
  • #PracticeSafeTech #Stop5G

You can turn off your cell phone.  You cannot turn off a cell tower.