5G Wireless Radiation

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5G is the upcoming high-capacity wireless technology for exponentially more data transfer, and the Canadian government is asking for your input on its rollout. 5G will support on-demand immersive entertainment, the Internet of Things (IoT), self-driving cars and data streaming to your cell phone and other wireless devices. With dense infrastructure, we will all experience substantial exposure to its radiofrequency radiation. Health consequences may be substantial as well. C4ST thinks that we should look before making this leap.

C4ST is recommending a moratorium on the rollout of 5G until the science and scientific gaps have been fully examined, and there is a thorough understanding of the health consequences of this new and untested technology, that will be added to the recent surge of exposure to 3G and 4G wireless radiation from today’s myriad of devices.


5G is the next generation of mobile technologies. It is designed to provide greater capacity for wireless networks, to deliver extremely fast data speeds and much lower latencies (network delays) than previous generations. 5G promises to provide us with an entirely new level of connectivity with the Internet of Things. From autonomous vehicles to smart cities and fibre-over-the-air, 5G is purported to be at the heart of the future of communications.

5G will include higher frequencies and new technologies: massive MIMO, advanced beamforming, higher cell density, higher spectral efficiency, OFDM, time division duplexing. See “The electromagnetic spectrum” in Chapter 2 that defines these ranges of frequencies.

In Canada, initial pre-commercial deployments have already begun. The first wave of commercial products is expected to be available in Canada in 2021 or 2022. Canadian carriers are waiting for frequencies above 6 GHz to become available. Much depends on the schedule of the Canadian government’s auctions of the spectrum. Canadian 5G spectrum auctions (carried out by Innovation, Science and Economic development (ISED)) began in 2019 and should conclude by 2022.

5G is not just another number and a letter on your cell phone. 5G requires an entirely new infrastructure of thousands of small cellular antennas to be erected. This new 5G infrastructure will be in addition to the current set of cell towers and antennae installed across Canada. Any lamp post or hydro pole is a candidate to host a small 5G cell antenna.

5G introduces a new set of frequencies called millimetre waves that we know very little about in terms of the health impact of exposure 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Millimeter waves are utilized by the U.S. Army in crowd dispersal guns called Active Denial Systems[1].  Sweat ducts may act as antennae that can cause point heating and pain[2].

Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 is the set of guidelines that “establish safety limits for human exposure to radiofrequency (RF) fields”, the radiation that is emitted by every wireless device. Since its establishment in 1979, it has had only minor changes and is still based on the assumption that thermal effects (heating) are the only “established” adverse effects. Much sound scientific evidence now points to harm from non-thermal effects at well below these limits. There has been no safety testing on long term exposures to radiation from 5G technologies. We know that no such studies are being planned in the USA[3] and are not aware of any planned for Canada.

All the health concerns associated with 1G, 2G, 3G, LTE and 4G apply to 5G. Canadian and other international experts have published peer-reviewed papers that summarize the scientific evidence that radiofrequency radiation should be classified as a known human carcinogen (as are asbestos and cigarette smoking)[4],[5].  China, Russia, and parts of Italy and Switzerland have guidelines that are 50 times safer than Canada’s.

Health Canada’s track record has been poor in responding in a timely manner to other harmful agents that include asbestos, Bisphenol-A (BPA), cigarette smoking, dioxins, flame retardants, lead, mercury, thalidomide and urea formaldehyde insulation.[6] Regarding BPA, Health Canada’s website states: “Health Canada’s Food Directorate has concluded that the current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging uses is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population including newborns and infants”[7]

Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 guidelines are based on the assumption made in 1929 that tissue must be heated to be harmed.[8],[9] There is substantial peer-reviewed evidence that this assumption is wrong[10],[11],[12],[13]. These peer-reviewed published studies show links to cancer, sperm damage, DNA damage, neurodegenerative conditions and childhood development from radiofrequency radiation.

Health Canada has never completed a proper review of the peer-reviewed, published literature based on international standards.[14]  Nor has Health Canada ever published any of its analysis to justify its claims that Safety Code 6 protects Canadians.

The overall business case of wireless solutions is being challenged. Re-Inventing Wires: The Future of  Landlines and Networks[15] states that wireless networks continue to be about 100 times slower than wired systems, are unreliable, more vulnerable to security and privacy problems and prone to both latency and delay issues, consume significant amounts of energy, are not sustainable, increase the points of vulnerability hundreds of thousands of times and significantly increase the amount of personal and business data at risk.

In a recent article, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) indicates, “Wireless technologies will continue to consume at least 10 times more power than wired technologies when providing comparable access rates and traffic volumes.” This is a key factor in climate change.[16]

It is time Safety Code 6 is updated to include non-thermal, biological effects. In the meantime, we recommend the adoption of the precautionary principle. The following actions should also be considered:

  • Stop the roll-out of 5G until it is proven safe;
  • Stop the auction of the extremely high frequency spectrum until 5G is proven to be safe;
  • Launch an awareness campaign so Canadians can take steps to protect themselves and their children from the current levels of microwave radiation;
  • Protect individual rights esp. children, pregnant women, the infirm and those who are electrosensitive.

Other regions of the world are taking action to stop the rollout of 5G technology. The Louisiana House passed Resolution 145 which calls for a study of the effects of 5G technology on the environment and public health with the results of the study due no later than sixty days prior to the start of the 2020 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature.[17] Oregon Senate passed a bill that calls for a review of the peer-reviewed, independently funded scientific studies of health effects of exposure to microwave radiation, particularly in schools and to report results not later than January 2, 2021.[18] A New Hampshire House Bill established a commission to study the environmental and health effects of 5G technology.[19],[20] 15 Municipalities in Italy have halted deployment of 5G.[21] The Austrian Parliament has commissioned a study on the health effects of 5G.[22] Switzerland will monitor radiation levels amidst 5G rollout.[23] Brussels has halted 5G deployment due to radiation concerns.[24]

Countries around the world have passed legislation to protect their citizens from current forms of wireless radiation.[25] Greece has mandated lower RF exposures near schools, nurseries & hospitals, Chile has prohibited cell antennas/towers in “sensitive areas” (educational institutions, nurseries, kindergartens, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes), India limits RF radiation levels, France has banned Wi-Fi in Nursery Schools, cell phones in all areas of elementary and middle schools and placed restrictions on ads promoting cell phones, Korea has mandated labeling on cell phones and portable devices and published public health recommendations to reduce exposure to cell phone radiation, Taiwan has banned children under the age of two from using electronic devices and French Polynesia has banned marketing to children and prohibited wireless in nursery schools.


[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1475937/

[3] Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing of the future of 5G wireless technology. February 17, 2019. https://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/at-senate-commerce-hearing-blumenthal-raises-concerns-on-5g-wireless-technologys-potential-health-risks

[4] Miller, A. B. et al. (2018). Cancer epidemiology update, following the 2011 IARC evaluation of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (Monograph 102). Environmental Research, 167, 673–683. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.043  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.043 and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30196934

[5]  Hardell, L., & Carlberg, M. (2018). Comments on the US National Toxicology Program technical reports on toxicology and carcinogenesis study in rats exposed to whole-body radiofrequency radiation at 900 MHz and in mice exposed to whole-body radiofrequency radiation at 1,900 MHz. International Journal of Oncology. https://doi.org/10.3892/ijo.2018.4606 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30365129

[6] https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-safety/packaging-materials/bisphenol.html

[7] https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-safety/packaging-materials/bisphenol.html

[8] https://www.magdahavas.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Cook_1980_early_research.pdf

[9] www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/consult/_2014/safety_code_6-code_securite_6/final_finale-eng.php See Section 2. MAXIMUM EXPOSURE LIMITS, paragraph 2 – first sentence

[10] National Toxicology Program. Cell Phone Radio Frequency Radiation https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/results/areas/cellphones/index.html

[11] Falcioni, L., et al. (2018). Report of final results regarding brain and heart tumors in Sprague-Dawley rats exposed from prenatal life until natural death to mobile phone radiofrequency field representative of a 1.8 GHz GSM base station environmental emission. Environmental Research. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2018.01.037 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935118300367?via%3Dihub

[12] Pall, M. L. (2015). Scientific evidence contradicts findings and assumptions of Canadian Safety Panel 6: microwaves act through voltage-gated calcium channel activation to induce biological impacts at non-thermal levels, supporting a paradigm shift for microwave/lower frequency electromagnetic field action. Reviews on Environmental Health, 30(2), 99–116. https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2015-0001

[13] Canadian scientists urge more research into safety of wireless technology, saying recent report downgrades cancer risk. The National Post. April 15, 2014. https://nationalpost.com/health/canadian-scientists-urge-more-research-into-safety-of-wireless-technology-saying-recent-report-downgrades-cancer-risk

[14] https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp.1307972

[15] http://refhub.elsevier.com/S0360-1323(19)30534-7/sref29

[16] https://people.eng.unimelb.edu.au/rtucker/publications/files/energy-wired-wireless.pdf

[17] https://www.wakingtimes.com/2019/06/07/louisiana-becomes-first-state-to-call-for-study-on-health-impacts-of-5g/?utm_campaign=meetedgar&utm_medium=social&utm_source=meetedgar.com&fbclid=IwAR3XaFFnTMlNXvUQKR9G_Qs44Who7etn7QPYIkgLyvoe39Flm66AHK7OfIg

[18] https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/SB283


[20] http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/statstudcomm/committees/1474/documents.html

[21] https://oasisana.com/2019/06/24/esclusivo-sindaci-stop-5g-ecco-la-prima-ordinanza-ditalia-di-sospensione-e-la-lista-delle-13-delibere-di-giunta-e-mozioni-comunali-per-la-precauzione/?fbclid=IwAR38YOvu-PkPfgmhsu5k8Bnerz6aoI3SB5sExYpqAL9PH56mFw3YkFss8Y8

[22] https://www.vedomosti.ru/technology/articles/2019/03/28/797714-minoboroni-otkazalos-peredavat-5g

[23] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-5g/switzerland-to-monitor-potential-health-risks-posed-by-5g-networks-idUSKCN1RT159

[24] https://www.hln.be/in-de-buurt/brussel/brusselse-regering-weigert-5g-brusselaars-zijn-geen-proefkonijnen~a92c8130/?referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&referer=https%3A%2F%2Fehtrust.org%2Finternational-actions-to-halt-and-delay-5g%2F

[25] https://ehtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/International-Policy-Precautionary-Actions-on-Wireless-Radiation.pdf

To learn more about the risks of Wireless 5G and why we should fix Canada’s Safety Code 6, click on the guide above