To 5G or not to 5G, that is the question. Or maybe it should read, if 5G happens, how can I protect myself and family?
This is Post #1 of 5 posts I plan for Shungite. So it makes sense to start dating back a couple of years ago and with this interesting article from Oct 2019.
Earthstore isn't for or against 5G, but rather raising the importance of Shungite, hematite and other protective natural elements in the battle against 'electrosmog'
Anti-antennae warriors stall 5G rollout in Brussels back in 2019
This article is part of the special report: The State of 5G.
The rollout of 5G mobile internet infrastructure has stalled in Brussels, over worries that mobile phones cause cancer — and science’s inability to prove otherwise.
“We are not conspiracy theorists,” said Olivier Galand, spokesperson for Brussels anti-cellular activists grONDES (a play on French words for “wave” and “scold”). The group blames “electrosmog” emitted from cell phone towers for causing serious health problems ranging from cancer to weaker bones — and they’re making sure politicians know about it.
“We are not against technology,” said Galand, “We just ask that technology respect health.”
Though little evidence exists linking cell phone radiation to health problems, the absence of long-term studies has fueled community opposition to mobile phone system infrastructure like antenna towers. The opposition is raising worries among policymakers as Europe prepares to spend billions on new equipment to support new 5G systems.
The science behind Brussels' decision to pause the roll out of 5G is at best inconclusive.
With scientists unable to definitively rule out that mobile radiation is harmful, grONDES’s skepticism is gaining more traction — and Brussels, the capital of Belgium and home to European Union policymaking, is a hotspot of concern.
In April, the Belgian region that includes Brussels halted work on its new 5G network, citing uncertainty about its health effects. Once expected to be online in 2020, work on the network is now frozen pending further study. Galand and grONDES, which protested the upgrade, claim credit for the turnaround.
Brussels’ system ran into trouble when the region’s environment minister, Céline Fremault, from the center-left Humanist Democratic Center party, became wary that the 5G network would not respect radiation limits. “The people of Brussels are not laboratory mice,” Fremault told Belgian newspaper L’Echo. Posters featuring an innocent looking, animated guinea pig have been popping up in apartment windows in the capital.
Fear and roaming
For Galand, the fear began when antennas almost went up in front of his apartment. He didn’t know anything about antennas or electromagnetic radiation. So he went online and searched for it. There he decided the evidence was enough to convince him of a problem.
Galand took to the streets, organizing his neighborhood against the project — a move he and his fellow concerned citizens have repeated many times in the years since.
Galand's anti-antenna stance has changed parts of his everyday life; he turns his Wi-Fi modem off at night to protect his young child (and recommends others try doing the same and see how it affects their sleep). His primary concern, however, is cancer. Giving kids smartphones is "like giving cigarettes to the young people," he said.
While house-hunting recently, Galand found what he thought was a perfect home in Uccle for his young family — until he learned it sat two doors down from a church that had rented its steeple to host satellite antennas.
The family passed.
“We said, 'Oh no,'” recalled Galand, age 52, laughing at a hip cafe near the apartment they currently rent in Schaerbeek. “The house was very nice.”
Mobile technology requires that infrastructure be installed inside the communities that use it. That has made it a natural target for grassroots organizers like grONDES.
Late last year, activists and politicians in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert successfully fought antenna installations in a local apartment building.
Now, the fight is moving from the streets to European politics.
French Green MEP Michèle Rivasi has made repeated requests for a health impact assessment of next-generation cell towers and accused the Commission of prioritizing telecom’s interests over public health.
“I prefer to apply the precautionary principle and have more studies to know the consequences of technology,” Rivasi said.
Rivasi is joined by her German counterpart, Green MEP Klaus Buchner, a physicist who's been collecting vintage mobile devices for decades and whose concerns have led him to create a website dedicated to the issue.
Now that the project is stalled in Brussels, grONDES activists are largely silent except for the innocent guinea pig posters in their apartment windows. But if Brussels tries to raise the radiation limits again, Galand said they will "of course" protest it.
Blinded with science
The science behind Brussels' decision to pause the roll out of 5G is at best inconclusive.
There is no scientific evidence to support electrosensitivity (people who say they suffer negative health effects from electromagnetic radiation) and scientists accuse anti-5G campaigners of using misleading figures and arguments.
But the inability of science to completely rule out harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation has given opponents of 5G plenty of room to maneuver.
Some research does bolster anti-cellular activists' concerns. A study from the U.S. Health Department’s National Toxicology Program found that high exposure to cell phone radio frequency radiation produced “clear evidence” of tumors in the hearts of male rats and “some evidence” of tumors in their brains and adrenal glands. The U.S. study was replicated in Europe by the Italian Ramazzini Institute, which found similar results.
An international appeal to the United Nations and the European Union to stop the rollout of the faster networks has been signed by 100,000 people representing 180 countries, including some scientists and MEPs.
Last year, a statement by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHEER) agreed that the medical literature remains inconclusive: “The lack of clear evidence ... leaves open the possibility of unintended biological consequences.”
Similarly in 2014, the World Health Organization, citing research by its International Agency for Research on Cancer, found “no adverse health effects” had yet been connected to mobile use. But the organization stopped short of declaring phones safe, terming the devices “possibly carcinogenic to humans” and noting a lack of long-term study.
An international appeal to the United Nations and the European Union to stop the rollout of the faster networks has been signed by 100,000 people representing 180 countries, including some scientists and MEPs. “The deployment of 5G constitutes an experiment on humanity and the environment that is defined as a crime under international law,” the petition claims.
It's claims like that, researchers say, that illustrate the need for further study.
"The scientific community will hopefully answer these questions, because it’s not going away,” said Michael Wyde, a toxicologist at the U.S. government’s National Toxicology Program who took part in the rat tumor study cited by opponents of 5G.
The inconclusive state of the research — with some studies raising health concerns and no scientific body willing to rule them out completely — has turned the question into a political issue.
"It's a question of how we want to manage the risk,” said Jon Samet, who chaired the WHO's working group on its International Agency for Research on Cancer, and is now the dean of the University of Colorado’s School of Public Health. “Are we going to be precautionary — which would be, you stop the technology or you minimize human contact with it — or not?”
Many researchers argue that there's no reason not to go ahead with 5G. Even if electromagnetic radiation does prove to be harmful, they argue, it is not likely to be more so than existing networks.
"There's no scientific foundation for saying it’s worse," said Wyde. "It's the same. It's radiofrequency radiation."
Academic and telecom expert Rui Luis Andrade Aguiar, chair of Networld 2020, which advises the EU on research priorities, insisted that the science does not back up the 5G truthers’ claims.
"The notion that 5G is bad for your health or that it is going to kill the birds, it’s hard for me to take it seriously,” Aguiar said. “For God’s sake, please show me a credible study that proves this. All our studies prove otherwise."
Church and solid state
At the European Commission, it’s the shaky reliability of the Brussels' current 4G network, not the radio waves from it, that’s causing the most headaches.
The region’s already low radiation limits, and Brussels’ reluctance to change its restrictions, could make it harder to deploy 5G equipment, according to the Commission.
The Commission could attempt to force the matter. Both 5G rollout and radiation limits are up to the member country, but the Commission could launch infringement proceedings against Belgium or any other country that does not properly roll out the new digital network.
A Commission spokesperson said: “5G technology will transform our economy and society and open massive opportunities” for all sorts of sectors like energy and health care.
The radiation levels are a key point of contention on both health and technical fronts. Guy Vandenbosch, a professor and radiation health specialist at KU Leuven, said 5G networks should follow the “ALATA” principle for radiation — “as low as technically achievable.”
"Why go much higher, if it's not really needed, or if it's only needed for a specific set of applications?” he said.
Vandenbosch used smoking as an example, saying his grandfather began smoking when he was a young kid, and smoked the rest of his life. He died at the age of 78 from lung cancer. "This took 64 years to develop," he said. "Nobody can tell you what 64 years of exposure will do."
Alternative technologies have entered discussion. Green MEP Buchner wants to look at deploying 5G with visible light communication, or Li-Fi, which would essentially create a 5G system with LED lights that could be turned on and off like a light switch. Scientists say that this technology is promising.
The Commission said it may be possible to redo telecom infrastructure, getting rid of larger base stations used for 4G that emit more radiation and replace them with more antennas that emit less radiation for 5G.
Neither of those remedies is likely to be ready in time to resolve the Brussels standoff.
7/11/19, 4:05 AM CET
Updated 10/23/19, 4:20 PM CET