One woman’s recent illness highlights the issue of only considering radiofrequency radiation’s thermal effects
April 29, 2023 – David Charbonneau

After a 5G base station was installed within 60 meters of her second-floor apartment, a middle-aged, otherwise healthy, Swedish woman developed debilitating symptoms corresponding with radiofrequency/microwave syndrome, researchers at the Environment and Cancer Research Foundation (ECRF) in Sweden reported last month.

This was the third such case documented by the researchers.

According to their case study, published in Annals of Clinical and Medical Case Reports, fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology is being rolled out worldwide, “despite no previous research on possible negative effects on human health and the environment.”

As a result, exposure to pulse-modulated microwave radiation has “increased dramatically on a worldwide basis.” Microwave radiation is frequencies in the range of 300 megahertz to 300 gigahertz within the radiofrequency (RF) spectrum. In city environments, frequencies used for 5G are currently in the 3.5 GHz band.

Studies on possible health effects from exposure to 5G frequencies were all but nonexistent until recently. In a study published in October 2022, animals were exposed to the 5G frequency of 3.5 GHz for two hours a day, five days a week, for one month. The exposure caused oxidative stress and an increase of degenerated neurons in the hippocampus region of the brain, in addition to decreased irisin levels, a hormone positively correlated with weight loss and healthy cognitive function.

In the case study, the woman quickly developed a large array of debilitating symptoms after the installation. These symptoms included headache; dizziness and balance problems; cognitive dysfunction, including memory loss, confusion, and loss of focus; extreme fatigue; anxiety; cough; nose bleeding; and disorders of urinary function and the skin, including spontaneous bruising and skin eruptions.

The 5G antenna was installed on the roof of a three-floor adjacent building and projected toward her apartment on the second floor. There was previously a 4G base station antenna at the same spot, but it was only after it was replaced by the 5G antenna that the woman quickly developed severe symptoms of microwave syndrome. The 4G antenna was removed shortly after the 5G deployment.

The woman reported that when she relocated to another apartment not near a 5G base station, her symptoms all quickly resolved, only to return within 24 hours of her return to her own apartment.

The woman’s dog also showed signs of ill health after the 5G installation. Reportedly, the dog contracted diarrhea soon after the 5G antenna was installed. This disappeared during the retreat to the other apartment with no 5G but returned when they moved back to her own apartment.

Also, the dog was reluctant to reenter the apartment after being taken out for a walk.

The researchers point out that “5G emits high repetitive pulses of microwave radiation” with radiation spikes that are exponentially greater than those of previous generations, including 4G.

The researchers measured microwatts per square meter within one foot of the woman’s living room window over the course of one minute and found significant spikes.

High radiation was also found in the bathroom, highest in the bathtub, which was closest to the window. Considerably lower RF radiation was measured in the bedroom, which wasn’t directly in the line of transmission from the base station.

Despite maxing out the commercial meter (Safe and Sound, Pro II) used by the researchers, the level of exposure was non-thermal and well below the guidelines recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

A History of Exposure Disorders

RF sickness or illness resulting from microwave exposure was first reported in the 1960s and 1970s in East European countries. People most commonly suffered symptoms relating to neural, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems disruption.

International investigations of exposed workers, including U.S. military personnel, showed that microwave exposure at non-thermal levels caused symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, headache, sleep disorders, anxiety, and problems with attention and memory.

A review of multiple human and animal studies also concluded that “a surprisingly wide variety of neurological and physiological reactions are to be expected” because of exposure to non-thermal levels of RF/microwave radiation.

The condition has been variously termed radiofrequency sickness syndrome or microwave syndrome. The non-thermal effects—effects unrelated to a buildup of heat—depend primarily on the modulation and/or pulsation of the signal as well as on the peak and average intensity.

The Problem With Current RF Safety Standards

There are significant problems with how health effects from RF radiation are weighed, according to James Lin, a professor emeritus in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois–Chicago.

In an article published in Environmental Research in April, Lin details how safety limits for exposure to RF radiation applied by most countries around the world are still based on acute heat or thermal effects that appear within a short time from exposure, thus failing to assess other effects of long-term exposure.

The guidelines for reference values based on heating are set by the ICNIRP, a self-appointed private organization based in Germany. The ICNIRP has positioned itself with industry support to be the dominant international authority in evaluating scientific evidence of negative health effects from RF radiation.

“Their guidelines are based on evaluations that have rejected all scientific evidence on non-thermal effects, despite growing evidence of a range of harmful effects well below the ICNIRP levels. That unscientific evaluation is in the interest of industry thereby facilitating the deployment of 5G and the wireless society,” the researchers at ECRF wrote.

In his recent Environmental Research article, Lin, a former long-time member of ICNIRP, concluded: “There are substantial abnormalities in these putative health safety protection guidelines and standards. Some of the safety limits are irrelevant, debatable, and absent of scientific justification from the standpoint of safety and public health protection.”

In 2019, 258 electromagnetic field (EMF) scientists from 58 countries appealed to the United Nations to impose a moratorium on the rollout of 5G until health effects could be properly assessed.

In the appeal, the scientists said:

“Wireless communication technologies are rapidly becoming an integral part of every economic sector. But there is a rapidly growing body of scientific evidence of harm to people, plants, animals, and microbes caused by exposure to these technologies.

“It is our opinion that adverse health consequences of chronic and involuntary exposure of people to non-ionizing EMF sources are being ignored by national and international health organizations despite our repeated inquiries as well as inquiries made by many other concerned scientists, medical doctors, and advocates.

“This constitutes a clear violation of human rights, as defined by the United Nations.”

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