On the “Threat” of G5

I started writing a long rant on this, but I just don’t have the time to do something super-comprehensive. Hence this shorter, less-comprehensive rant.

Suffice it to say that the professed concern about radiation from G5 cellular networks has all the hallmarks of pseudoscience. Radiation is harmful primarily if it is what is called ionizing radiation, and radio frequencies are so far from being ionizing that it’s not even funny. (Radio waves are some of the longest, lowest-frequency electromagnetic waves around; it is the shortest, highest-frequency waves that are ionizing.)

Because of how radiation-induced ionization works at the quantum level, you simply must have waves of a sufficiently high frequency to get ionization. The quanta of electromagnetic energy, photons, have an energy value proportional to their frequency, and ionization happens when a single photon interacts with a single electron. So low-energy, non-ionizing photons simply can’t ionize things, no matter how many of them you have. Physicists have amassed over 100 years of evidence which testifies to this fact.

Sure, there could theoretically be something as of yet undiscovered that makes non-ionizing radiation harmful, but so far there really isn’t much evidence in favor of this. Moreover, most of the alarmist propaganda about G5 is obviously written by those ignorant of the basic physics of electromagnetic radiation, given how much it confuses ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

By far, the man-made non-ionizing radiation most harmful to life is… visible light from various forms of electric lighting! It’s known to have an adverse impact on many animal and plant species, including us humans, whose circadian rhythms it is prone to disrupt. But you don’t hear much concern about that, because visible light is a normal, everyday phenomenon. It’s less mysterious than radio waves, which lend themselves much better to unscientific fear-mongering by and for the gullible.

On top of that, the G5 fear-mongering I’ve run across is without exception about the base stations. None of it is about radiation from consumer handsets, and that is responsible for subjecting people to by far the strongest fields, for the simple reason your phone’s transmitter is so much physically closer to you than the transmitter on the cell tower. Again, your own phone is a familiar everyday object, making it harder to engage in fear-mongering about.

In other words, all available evidence points to the whole thing being driven by emotion and ignorance, not science. Mind you, I’m certainly open to a science-based critique of G5 technology from a health and safety standpoint. It’s just that so far, I haven’t seen one.

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