Is 5G connectivity bad for your health? Iowans planning protests believe it is

'Stop 5G in Iowa' rallies planned later this month

Verizon 5G wireless signage is displayed at the company's booth during the Sept. 12. 2018, Mobile World Congress America
Verizon 5G wireless signage is displayed at the company’s booth during the Sept. 12. 2018, Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

While cellular companies tout 5G connectivity as a potential link to having broadband for all, some are raising concerns over the service’s radio-frequency.

Earlier this year, Verizon Wireless announced plans to roll out its 5G Ultra Wideband service in 20 cities — including Des Moines — in 2019. It uses radio technology to deliver speeds that are supposed to be anywhere between 10 to 100 times faster than the 4G service now seen on most smartphones.

In the cellular world, such speeds would be available only on 5G compatible phones.

However, despite touting a new level of high-speed internet, 5G has some people concerned over the amount of radio-frequency energy emitted by the service — 5G takes higher frequency waves than other mobile networks.

On July 27, “Stop 5G in Iowa” protests will be held in Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Des Moines. Hosted by organizations Health Freedom Iowa and Iowans for Responsible Technology, the protests aim to tell the public of what they call the dangers of 5G.

The Cedar Rapids protest will be noon to 3 p.m. at Natural Grocers, 931 Blairs Ferry Road NE.

Radio-frequency radiation is produced by any electromagnetic device, from microwaves and X-ray machines to smart meters and cellphones.

But is 5G dangerous?

According to the American Cancer Society, cellphones — like microwaves and FM radio waves — emit non-ionizing radiation, which “don’t have enough energy to cause cancer by directly damaging the DNA inside cells.”

Stronger, ionizing types of radiation like X-rays, gamma rays and ultraviolet light are strong enough to break the chemical bonds in DNA.

“The (radio-frequency) waves given off by cellphones don’t have enough energy to damage DNA directly or to heat body tissues. Because of this, it’s not clear how cellphones might be able to cause cancer. Most studies done in the lab have supported the idea that (radio-frequency) waves do not cause DNA damage,” according to the society.


The society reports that most expert agencies agree there is only limited evidence of a possible link between cancer and the radio-frequency waves in cellphones.

The World Health Organization and International Agency for Research on Cancer detail radio-frequency fields as “‘possibly carcinogenic to humans,’ based on limited evidence of a possible increase in risk for brain tumors among cellphone users, and inadequate evidence for other types of cancer.”

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