Call me cynical, but given the choice between believing that city officials in Portland are opposing the installation of new 5G networks in their city because of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations rather than their expressed concern for the health of their citizens, I suspect the reason is financial.
Portland is in the process of rebelling against FCC restrictions, which caps franchise fees on transmitters to $270 per year. This will lead to millions of dollars in lost income; so the health issue appears to be a convenient excuse.
However, this is not to say that there are no concerns. Even though radio frequency waves used in cell phones and bluetooth transmitters have not been proven to cause cancer in humans, long term studies are still lacking. And some studies in animals have recently raised eyebrows.
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) released the results of a study of over 7,000 rats and mice late last year. It showed clear evidence that prolonged high dose exposure to 2G and 3G radio frequency radiation RFR was associated with malignant heart tumors in male rats as well as some evidence that it was associated with brain and adrenal cancer.
In terms of human health, a Brazilian study showed that cell phone use could lead to tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and multiple studies have shown increased instances of anxiety, depression, and ADHD.
Now with 5G, it uses higher frequency and transmits more dat, but over shorter distances. This means that many more transmitters will be needed and it raises the question of whether the health effects and possible cancer risks are exacerbated. No one knows; many experts are concerned; and we need to find out.
Along these lines we can turn to bluetooth technology. How protected is the human brain when AirPods or other bluetooth headset transmitters provide near constant exposure to these microwave pulses?
For years experts have comforted the public with the notion that as long as you kept your cell phone at a distance most of the time the risk was minimal. But now that world is changing. We know enough to be concerned and to recognize that prolonged close exposure cannot be assumed to be completely safe. Further studies in humans need to be done especially with the emerging new 5G technology.
The concerns of a fiscally minded municipality are one thing, but as a physician, my concerns are on the basis public health.
My son currently wears his bluetooth headset for hours at a time so he can listen to music and couple to computer videos and communicate with his friends. He is not alone. This is the latest rage and millions of teens across the U.S. are participating in it. I have always been concerned that this detachment could affect future behavior but now I have an additional concern as a parent. What will be the impact on his brain be from the radio frequency radiation itself?
Marc Siegel M.D. is a professor of medicine and medical director at Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Health. He is a Fox News Medical Correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @drmarcsiegel.