5G is here.
As of 2022, Verizon has fixed and mobile 5G all over the country, AT&T has mobile 5G in thousands of cities, T-Mobile/Sprint also has 5G available in thousands of locations.
If you live in a city, the small cell antennas are all around.
Since 5G includes higher millimeter waves, they don’t travel as easily through buildings so 5G deploys the use of millions of these “small cell” antennas.
Next, lamp posts and utility posts across the country will be used to house the small cell antennas, which means radiation next to homes, schools, office buildings, shopping centers – everywhere 24/7.
This article will answer: what 5G is, the dangers of 5G EMF, and how to protect yourself from 5G EMF radiation.
Jump straight to:
How the 5G Network is Different
11 Ways to Protect Yourself From 5G Radiation
Wondering if 5G is near you now?
Read: How Do I Find 5G Towers Near Me (5 Ways)
What is 5G?
5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology. It’s the next after 2G, 3G and 4G. It is touted as the technology that will provide higher and faster transmission capacity.
This means 5G will hugely increase the millimeter wave and microwave radiation in the environment.
Additionally, it will use new frequencies that have not been declared “safe” by independent research, not associated with the wireless networks.
As mentioned, since 5G includes higher millimeter waves, they will not travel as easily through buildings, so 5G will deploy the use of millions of “small cell” antennas.
How the 5G Network is Different
5G is different from previous generations in several ways, including frequencies, data transfer, and bandwidth needs.
|Band Type||High Bands||Mid Bands||Mid Bands||Low Bands|
|Frequency||24 GHz – 50+ GHz||3.5 GHz – 6 GHz||1 GHz – 2.6 GHz||<1 GHz|
|Network(s)||5G||4G, 5G||2G, 3G, 4G, 5G||2G, 3G, 4G, 5G|
This video from IEEE Spectrum provides a nice overview of the 5G technology if you prefer video format:
Previous networks operated on frequencies up to 6 GHz. 5G is the first network to operate on high bands.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved up to 300 GHz frequencies. However, as of July 2022, the FCC hasn’t auctioned frequencies higher than 47 GHz bands (2).
The C-band spectrum is included in mid-band frequencies, which offer coverage and capacity.
Nothing above 5 GHz has been used before in mass communication. High-band 5G is what most people are concerned about since it uses much faster frequencies, called millimeter waves.
As electromagnetic frequencies increase, their wavelengths decrease.
This means that high-band 5G waves are much shorter:
|Frequency (Hertz)||Wavelength (m)|
|1 GHz||30 cm|
|5 GHz||6 cm|
|30 GHz||10 mm|
|300 GHz||1 mm|
With millimeter waves, there is high propagation loss. Like a rock dropped in a pond, the waves are the strongest right where the rock hits the water. As the waves ripple out, the waves decrease in intensity.
Not only do 5G waves travel shorter distances, but they also have a harder time penetrating materials like wood, concrete, and trees. In other words, these 5G waves have a difficult time in dense urban areas.
To deal with this problem, the 5G network makes use of many small towers within close distances of each other.
Beamforming technology is used to make sure the small tower signals reach your devices.
Beamforming is a technology used in wireless communications to direct a signal toward a specific receiving device. Using multiple antennas, a beamforming system can send a signal directly to the receiving device, even if the device is moving. This makes the signal stronger and more reliable.
Devices need to catch up to the current technologies. 5G is marketed as up to 100 times faster than previous technologies. Still, it requires more bandwidth to operate at these high speeds.
Not all devices are capable of this level of bandwidth.
As of 2022, most new cell phones do offer 5G capability. You can search on the mobile device carrier sites for 5G capable phones:
5G Radiation Dangers
5G hugely increases the millimeter wave and microwave radiation in the environment. In a scientific paper (3) published in 2017 by the Department of Electrical Engineering at Georgia Southern University, a massive increase in radiation was observed:
“Our results show that 5G downlink RF fields generate significantly higher power density (PD) and specific absorption rate (SAR) than a current cellular system.”…Thus, when a larger phased antenna is used or when a user moves closer to the AP, the PD value becomes a major health concern which inevitably requires more research about health effects of 5G before it is deployed successfully by strictly following the RF emission standards.” (3)
Many papers like this one, from independent researchers not funded by the wireless industry, show many harmful effects and hazards to the average person.
The organization Physicians for Safe Technology list the risks from 5G to include (4):
- Damage to the eyes- cataracts, retina
- Immune system disruption
- Metabolic disruption
- Damage to sperm
- Skin damage
- Collapse of insect populations, the base of food for birds and bats
- Rise in bacterial resistance and bacterial shifts on skin and in ecosystems
- Damage to plants and trees
The harmful effects of 5G to the human body were studied by the European Parliamentary Research Service. They released their study in 2021 (5) with the following conclusion:
The literature contains no adequate studies that would rule out the risk that tumours and adverse effects on reproduction and development may occur upon exposure to 5G MMW, or to exclude the possibility of some synergistic interactions between 5G and other frequencies that are already being used. This makes the introduction of 5G fraught with uncertainty concerning both health issues and forecasting and or monitoring the actual exposure of the population: these gaps in knowledge justify the call for a moratorium on MMW of 5G, pending completion of adequate research. (5)
Further, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization works to find the causes of cancer.
In 2011 they classified RF EMF radiation as a Group 2B Possible Human Carcinogen (6).
Ultimately, scientists and physicians are calling for more research on the health risks caused by this new millimeter wave technology before we blanket the country with small cellular towers.
Recommended EMF Protection Products
- TriField EMF Meter Model TF2 (Amazon) – measures the 3 different types of EMF radiation, including RF radiation from routers and cell phones
- Wifi Router Guard Cover (Amazon) – blocks up to 90% of EMF radiation from router using a Faraday cage
- Smart Meter Guard Cover (Amazon) – blocks up to 98% of EMF radiation emitted from your smart meter
- EMF Protection Underwear for Men & Women – Lambs uses WaveStopper technology to block 99% of UV and Wireless Radiation.
- EMF Protection T-Shirts for Men & Women – Lambs independently lab tested material blocks 99% of UV and Wireless Radiation
11 Ways to Protect Yourself From 5G Radiation
We may not be able to do anything about 5G expanding across the country. But we can put things in place to reduce the effects of radiation exposure from 5G.
1. Increase Distance and Decrease Duration
This is a common theme on this site when it comes to reducing and minimizing the effects of wireless devices.
The electromagnetic fields electronic devices emit attenuate or are reduced, with distance from the source.
In my article on the safe distance from a Wifi router I talked about the inverse square law. Which, to be honest, is somewhat complicated. Here’s the math formula:
The approximate power density function is given by the equation P*G/4Πr2, where P is the transmission power, G is the antenna gain, and 4Πr2denotes the surface area of a sphere.
In basic english this means as we double our distance from a source of radiation, we quarter our exposure to it.
Moving away from the source of the RF-producing object, like your 5G-enabled cell phone, helps.
Common sense also tells us that the shorter period of time we spend with these sources of radiation, the less exposure we will have as well.
2. Distance Yourself from a 5G Tower
Refer to the article I linked above that helps you find 5G towers.
If you can maintain distances of at least 200 feet from a 5G tower, that will help reduce your exposure.
3. Disable 5G on Your Devices
Just because your device is capable of 5G doesn’t mean you have to use it.
On an iPhone or cellular network capable iPad you can change the settings:
Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options>LTE
On an Android device you can change the network settings like this:
Settings -> Connections -> Mobile Networks -> Network Mode -> select LTE/3G/2G.
4. Use an EMF Protection Cell Phone Case
Be sure to check that any EMF protection case or radiation blocking case protects against the high frequency 5G bands.
This is a full article on cell phone radiation protection if you want the full list but I always recommend the DefenderShield EMF Protection Cell Phone Cases.
DefenderShield is a leader in the EMF protection market, and their cases block up to 99.9% of RF radiation and 98.25% of ELF radiation (independently lab tested), including 5G bands.
You can check out their cases on the DefenderShield website or on Amazon.
5. Be Mindful in Dense, Urban Areas
Skyscrapers, stadiums, and crowded buildings are likely places with many people accessing 5G base stations and throwing off a lot of .electromagnetic fields
The only true way to know exactly how much electromagnetic radiation is in your environment, is to use an EMF meter. The EMF meter I use and recommend is the TRIFIELD EMF Meter Model TF2 available on Amazon.
Reduce Your Overall EMF Radiation Exposure
Of course, RF radiation from 5G is not the only type of radiation that can cause health hazards.
Dosages of radiation accumulate from many sources, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G, and other cellular networks, and extremely low frequency (ELF) radiation.
Here are ways to reduce your daily EMF exposure to all different sources.
6. Use Airplane Mode
Airplane mode is a setting on cell phones, tablets, laptops, and other mobile devices that stops radio-frequency transmission by the device, including 5G.
Airplane mode disables Wi-Fi, Bluetooth devices like Bluetooth headphones, and access to mobile phone services.
I’ve written an article, Do Cell Phones Emit Radiation in Airplane Mode? which confirms RF radiation is indeed stopped when the phone is in airplane mode.
It will continue to emit EMF radiation from the device itself still being on but the cell phone towers and 5G small cells will be eliminated.
7. Create a Healthy Home
When you sleep you spend a significant amount of time in one place, night after night.
It makes sense to first look at your bedroom and arrange it so your current devices aren’t near where you sleep.
Maybe set up a charging area across the room from your bed where your devices charge. This will not only help you sleep better but create that important distance between you and the EMF radiation – RF radiation from wireless network technology to ELF from routers and smart meters.
Although not an inexpensive option, you can invest in a bed canopy. Shield Your Body sells a canopy you drape over your bed made of silver that blocks 5G among other EMF radiation frequency waves.
8. Avoid Using Your Cell Phone in Weak Signal Areas
Researchers at the California Department of Health found that using cell phones in areas with weak reception can result in microwave radiation emissions that are 10,000 times higher than in areas with strong reception.
The study (7) found that when there is a weak signal, the cell phone will put out an increased amount of radiation in an attempt to connect to a cell tower.
9. EMF Protection Clothing
If you’re interested in some of the benefits of EMF protection clothing, this article that explains how the technology works.
10. Smart Meters
You might already have a smart meter and not even know it.
Smart meters are used by utility companies to bill you for the correct amount of energy usage, water, or natural gas you have used in a particular month.
Until recently, utility and power companies had to send their staff to individual homes every month to physically read the old analog meters. Not now, thanks to smart meters.
They emit the same radio frequency (RF) radiation as Wi-Fi devices, cell towers, and cell phones. This makes smart meters potentially hazardous to citizens.
This article, Some Smart Meter Dangers You Should Worry About is fully comprehensive and provides information on how to protect yourself from them.
Keeping your exposure to radiation limited from sources like these smart meters is a part of the overall strategy to prevent adverse health effects from EMF radiation like that from 5G.
11. Turn off Electronic Devices When Not in Use
A straightforward and free way to reduce the radiation levels you’re exposed to is to simply turn off a device when it’s not in use.
Exposure to radiation levels and the health impacts from devices like the 5th generation cellular networks and cell towers can be mitigated by a flip of a button (or switch).
Here are some resources where I’ve written on this:
Turn Off Wifi at Night for Your Health
Do TVs Emit Radiation When Turned Off?
Is It Safe to Sleep with AirPods?
The human body just isn’t meant to constantly be hit by these radiation sources from modern technology and they can have a real impact on your physical health. And for what? Faster speeds when browsing on your cell phone?
It’s important to be aware of the potential health risks and make educated choices for you and your family.
Hopefully, this article on 5G and an explanation of high-band 5G frequencies helps you with that.
References and Resources
(1) Lifewire – https://www.lifewire.com/5g-availability-us-4155914
(2) FCC – https://www.fcc.gov/5G
(3) Nasim, Imtiaz & Kim, Seungmo. (2017). Human Exposure to RF Fields in 5G Downlink.
(4) Physicians for Safe Technology – https://mdsafetech.org/5g-telecommunications-science/
(5) EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service – STUDY Health impact of 5G
(6) World Health Organization – IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer). Non-ionizing Radiation, Part 1: Static and Extremely Low-frequency (ELF) Electric and Magnetic Fields.
(7) Wall S, Wang ZM, Kendig T, Dobraca D, Lipsett M. Real-world cell phone radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposures. Environ Res. 2019 Apr;171:581-592
(8) Oliver, J. P., Chou, C. K. and Balzano, Q. (2003), Testing the effectiveness of small radiation shields for mobile phones. Bioelectromagnetics, 24: 66-69. doi:10.1002/bem.10076