5G won’t make you sick

Lately, and especially since the coronavirus outbreak, I’ve seen and heard a lot about 5G in a negative context. In the UK, people have been lighting 5G towers on fire. Even in our area, in Taylorsville, NC, a woman opened fire on cell tower workers hundreds of feet in the air. I’ve even had friends and family members ask me “What’s the deal with 5G?”

5G will be a fast method of telecommunications, providing speeds of up to 1Gbps to phones. It will be revolutionary in terms of mobile bandwidth. Combined with the latest Wifi standards, WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E, it means that you will be able to connect at gigabit speeds wherever you are, and paving the way for advanced technologies.

That’s all there is to 5G. Literally, that’s it. High-speed data.

Do you see a light bulb near you? Then understand that the light that you see has far more energy and at a far higher wattage than a cell phone.

Now, if you’ve read or seen that 5G gives you cancer, or 5G gives you coronavirus, or 5G will cook your brain, or 5G will harm your immune system, or anything else that 5G supposedly does to your body, then I would advise spending less time on Facebook. If you’re not sure, let me personally reassure you… 5G WILL NOT HARM YOU.

This is not up for debate. We don’t need to wait for all the facts to come in on this. We don’t need to commission studies about it. We know that 5G can’t harm you. And we know this because of physics. Allow me to explain.

Graphic courtesy of Wikimedia

What we call “light” is actually electromagnetic radiation (don’t be alarmed by that word; it just means it radiates outward from the source). Our eyes can only see a small sliver of the EM around us, called the EM spectrum, and that spectrum is based on wavelength. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the frequency. But in physics, higher frequency is actually a way of saying “more energy”. Because light only has only one speed (c) and zero mass, it can’t store more energy by going faster or having momentum like you would think of a baseball or a bullet. So when you hear talk about “frequency” or “wavelength”, just understand that means “energy”. In visible wavelengths, our brains interprets that as color.

But what is brightness, then? Brightness is nothing more than a measure of how many packets of light (photons) are reaching your eyes (or being emitted) at any one time. One way to measure brightness (and the way we will discuss here) is in watts, or joules per second. In terms of the EM wave, think of it as the height of the wave, or the amplitude.

To be sure, there is a point where light has enough energy to harm you, or even kill you. Ultraviolet light can give you a sunburn or skin cancer. X-rays go right through you, which can be good if you need a photo of your insides, but bad if you’re exposed to it frequently. And gamma rays could turn you into The Hulk. But why?

Above a certain wavelength, around the middle of the UV part of the spectrum, the photons carry so much energy that they can actually collide with electrons, and knock them away like pool balls. When atoms lose electrons, they turn the atom into a particle with electric charge, called an ion. So, radiation that causes this condition is called ionizing radiation, and it’s probably what you think of when you hear the word “radiation” like Chernobyl or Hiroshima. If the light has enough energy, it can even hit particles hard enough to have the particles knock other particles away.

Where this is bad for humans and other living things is because of DNA. DNA is a highly complex, and self-replicating molecule, and if ionizing radiation hits DNA, it can damage it in unforeseen ways. Normally, DNA damage will kill a cell by inhibiting replication. But after enough hits, one particular cell’s DNA might be hit in just the right way as to cause its cell to replicate over and over, without being able to turn replication off. And that’s what cancer is. But fortunately, our atmosphere blocks almost all harmful, high energy radiation from the sun and space. All that gets through is a little bit of UV, and as long as you wear sunscreen or clothing, you’ll be fine.

So why all this context? Let me ask you a question: Do you see a light bulb near you? Overhead, perhaps? Or nearby on a desk lamp? Or maybe light from the screen you’re reading this on, right now? Then understand that the light that you see has far more energy and at a far higher wattage than a 5G cell phone.

In terms of frequency, cell phones, including 5G, operate in the microwave band of the spectrum. As you can see in the graphic above, this is less energy than visible light. So, does visible light harm you? Well, I guess if you look at a bright light, it could blind you temporarily. But visible light can’t damage your DNA. So, microwaves won’t damage you either.

“But microwaves cook food! Won’t 5G cook my brain like a burrito?!” No, for a couple of reasons.

First, microwaves don’t ionize. The light that they emit doesn’t have enough energy. Instead, they cook food by causing the water molecules to vibrate, releasing energy in the form of heat. As the heat spreads throughout the food, your burrito is cooked.

Second, let’s talk about wattage. Microwave ovens emit light at 1000W or more. If you could “see” in the microwave spectrum, when you cooked a burrito you’d see an intensely bright light coming from the oven. Meanwhile, cell phones emit light around 100 milliwatts, ten-thousand times less. If you could see cell phone emissions in the same way, you’d be hard pressed to even see them.

Because of the low energy and low wattage, cell phone emissions can’t even penetrate your skin. Not that they’d do anything if they did. They won’t irradiate you. They won’t cook you. They don’t interact with anything in your body, like your immune system.

And they won’t give you coronavirus, which I didn’t even feel the need to address in this post, because it’s so dumb that I’m amazed people actually believe it. It’s like believing that gravity can turn you blue.

So, please leave the cell phone workers alone, and let them do their jobs. They’re trying to help you, by giving you faster internet.

And if I could give one more piece of advice: please stop reading stupid Facebook conspiracy theories. And before you share that story about the lizard people and the NWO, do a Google search on the topic before hitting “Share”. It only takes a few seconds, and can prevent wild and stupid disinformation from clogging everything up.

EDIT: For more information, I’d highly encourage reading the Wikipedia article “Electromagnetic spectrum“.

Derek Moore

Co-owner, Technician -- Has over 20 years experience in technology.  Began programming software by age 13, and repairing and custom-building PCs by age 15.  Graduated with B.S. in Computer Science.  Most recently worked as a software developer...  “I've always enjoyed helping people and solving problems, and with MCS, I get to do both.”