Even as questions mount around the negative effects of 5G, the wireless industry continues to grow in power and influence. According to a 2018 report, the U.S. wireless industry now contributes $475 billion annually to America’s economy, and generates over $1 trillion in economic output.
It’s no wonder: there are hundreds of millions of smartphones plus over 180 million connected devices in the U.S alone, and network demand is constantly increasing.
But while its easy to get excited about “always on” connectivity and economic gains, there are other consequences to consider. With 5G being rolled out as the next generation of mobile technology, we need to ask: will there be unforeseen negative effects of 5G networks? And how can we know the truth about them when the wireless industry has motive to keep us in the dark?
Big Wireless And The Economy Of Doubt
If we’ve learned anything from other scandals like those surrounding like “Big Tobacco” and “Big Oil” its that powerful industries employ powerful tactics to keep the public on their side.
Spreading doubt is one of them. To keep people buying a product you don’t necessarily need to convince them it’s safe — you just need to convince them there’s no conclusive evidence to the contrary.
“Doubt is our product,” said an infamous 1969 memo from a tobacco executive, “since it is our best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the mind of the general public.” To put it another way, Big Tobacco couldn’t claim that cigarettes were good for health, but they were able to keep people smoking simply by casting doubt on the evidence they were bad.
“Big wireless” trades on the same economy of doubt. As long as the research results on the safety of electromagnetic radiation is conflicting, the public can’t be sure of the truth.
Who’s Funding The Research?
An in-depth investigative piece in The Nation magazine recently dug into the tactics used by Big Wireless to convince the public cell phones are safe. They point to another key method of manipulation: funding friendly research. This “conveys the impression that the scientific community truly is divided,” says the piece. “Thus, when studies have linked wireless radiation to cancer or genetic damage… industry spokespeople can point out, accurately, that other studies disagree.”
As a member of the public catching news reports on the latest research, it’s often near impossible to tell how a study was funded. The Nation recounts one professor who analyzed 326 safety-related studies into the biological effects of cell phone radiation. The results showed that about half the studies found negative effects while the other half didn’t. The scientific community seemed completely split.
But here’s where it gets interesting. When he redid the analysis to take funding sources into account, two-thirds of independent studies found a biological effect while only 28 percent of industry-funded studies did.
A 2007 study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives looked at the effect of funding sources on research outcomes, and landed on a similar conclusion. It found that industry-funded studies were two and a half times less likely to report a biological effect of EMF. “Results from studies of health effects of radiofrequency radiation,” conclude the authors, “should take sponsorship into account.”
If there’s one thing without doubt it’s that the value of the wireless industry gives it a political advantage. As we’ve already seen, 5G health concerns have done little to hold back the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in their push to win the “race to 5G”. On the contrary, the FCC has ruled to remove barriers for Big Wireless by lowering fees and barring state and local governments from regulating the advancement of 5G.
While some local councils have kicked back against the ruling, concerned for the health of their citizens, lawmakers at a national level have the interests of the economy at heart. An industry worth so many billions holds sway — and the FCC are already hearing that money talk.
Marketing The Product, Not The Means
For 5G to work, it requires cities to be blanketed in countless “small cell” receptors. This means EMF radiation will be ubiquitous, unavoidable, and stronger than ever.
Of course, it’s not in the interest of providers to point this out. Telecoms companies market 5G as revolutionary and exciting. They appeal to our growing desire for speed and instant gratification. Verizon, for example, promotes 5G as an “innovation that changed the world”, declaring it the Fourth Industrial Revolution. They promote its speed and tell you how to order it, but nowhere do they explain how 5G actually works or what’s needed to set it up.
Unless the consumer goes out of their way to research for themselves, the potential negative effects of 5G could remain completely unknown.
The Negative Effects Of 5G: Finding The Truth
The reality is that the wireless industry is both powerful and growing. With the rollout of 5G they’ll be able to deliver speeds that will change the game for many industries and bring numerous benefits to consumers.
But all that should not be at the cost of human health. At the very least, 5G should be properly tested and regulated before being implemented across the country. Instead, the rollout is being expedited. Conflicting research, much of it industry-funded, keeps the public in doubt about the negative effects of 5G. And the value of Big Wireless makes it politically favored, meaning they have virtual free reign to implement new technologies faster than they can be evaluated.
For the public, this makes it difficult to get to the truth. So what can you do?
One of the best things you can do is simply to educate yourself so that you understand what electromagnetic radiation is, what it can do, and how you can take precautions to live a healthier life in a technology-driven world.
Lastly, simply understanding the tactics industries use to manipulate consumers gives you something of an upper hand. So keep all the above in mind when you’re presented with information about 5G, and you’ll be better positioned to separate fact from fiction.