Impact of EMF limits on 5G network roll-out

ITU Workshop on 5G, EMF & Health Warsaw, December 5 2017

Christer Törnevik, Senior Expert, EMF and Health Ericsson Research, Stockholm

This presentation by a representative for Ericsson, Sweden is well worth to consider in detail.

Especially the pictures at pages 8 and 9 are very illustrative of the distribution of radiofrequency radiation. Note these pictures are protected by Copyright.

They show boundaries for compliance with radiofrequency EMF limits. That means that the implementation of 5G will be much more difficult in countries with lower guidelines than those provided by ICNIRP.

The conclusion is that:

In countries with EMF limits significantly below the international science-based ICNIRP limits the roll-out of 5G networks will be a major problem

The situation is even worse if the substantially lower guideline on 30-60 µW/m2 in the Bioinitiative Report is applied ( Using a safety factor of 10 as proposed in the report would give an even lower guideline on 3-6 µW/m2.

This technology will increase the exposure to radiofrequency radiation in the environment and should be banned until proper evaluation of exposure and consequences for human health and environment is investigated, see

No doubt this presentation by Ericsson show that 5G will increase exposure, proper scientific evaluation has not been done and re-enforces the need for a moratorium as demanded in the 5G Appeal.


Radiofrequency radiation from nearby base stations gives high levels in an apartment in Stockholm, Sweden: A case report

We measured radiofrequency radiation in an apartment in Stockholm. The study is open under open access. Due to nearby bases stations high radiation levels were measure both in the apartment and on balconies.

A total of 74,531 measurements were made corresponding to ~83 h of recording. The total mean RF radiation level was 3,811 μW/m2 (range 15.2‑112,318 μW/m2) for the measurement of the whole apartment, including balconies. Particularly high levels were measured on three balconies and 3 of 4 bedrooms. The total mean RF radiation level decreased by 98% when the measured down‑links from the base stations for 2, 3 and 4 G were disre­garded. The results are discussed in relation to the detrimental health effects of non‑thermal RF radiation. Due to the current high RF radiation, the apartment is not suitable for long‑term living, particularly for children who may be more sensitive than adults. For a definitive conclusion regarding the effect of RF radiation from nearby base stations, one option would be to turn them off and repeat the measurements. However, the simplest and safest solution would be to turn them off and dismantle them.

Thus, we concluded that of special concern is the levels in bedrooms, especially those two used by children, since they seem to be more vulnerable to adverse health effects than grown‑ups. They have also a longer expected life in which illnesses may later become manifest. The results indicate that this apartment is unsuitable for long‑term living based on current knowledge of the potential adverse effects on health of RF radiation.

Another conclusion is that RF radiation should be measured in homes, especially before moving into a new one.

Fatal collision? Are wireless headsets a risk in treating patients?

In this recently published article wireless headsets are discussed. There is no open access to the article, but abstract is as follows:

Wireless-enabled headsets that connect to the internet can provide remote transcribing of patient examination notes. Audio and video can be captured and transmitted by wireless signals sent from the computer screen in the frame of the glasses. But using wireless glass-type devices can expose the user to a specific absorption rates (SAR) of 1.11–1.46 W/kg of radiofrequency radiation. That RF intensity is as high as or higher than RF emissions of some cell phones.  Prolonged use of cell phones used ipsilaterally at the head has been associated with statistically significant increased risk of glioma and acoustic neuroma. Using wireless glasses for extended periods to teach, to perform surgery, or conduct patient exams will expose the medical professional to similar RF exposures which may impair brain performance, cognition and judgment, concentration and attention and increase the risk for brain tumors. The quality of medical care may be compromised by extended use of wireless-embedded devices in health care settings. Both medical professionals and their patients should know the risks of such devices and have a choice about allowing their use during patient exams. Transmission of sensitive patient data over wireless networks may increase the risk of hacking and security breaches leading to losses of private patient medical and financial data that are strictly protected under HIPPA health information privacy laws.

A detailed discussion is made of such items as: What are wireless headsets and why are healthcare professionals being encouraged to use them? What is the problem for the medical professional? What is the problem for the patient? What’s the advice to medical professionals?

National Toxicology Program (NTP) Radiofrequency radiation carcinogenesis in rats (NTP TR 595) and mice (NTP TR 596)

This study is now under peer review during March 26 to 28, 2018; the reports can be found here (NTP TR 595; rats) and here (NTP TR 596; mice). It has been able to submit comments and our views can be found here.

Our overall evaluation of levels of evidence of carcinogenic activity are:

Glioma: Clear evidence
Meningioma: Equivocal evidence
Vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma): Clear evidence
Pituitary tumor (adenoma): Equivocal evidence
Thyroid cancer: Some evidence
Malignant lymphoma: Equivocal evidence
Skin (cutaneous tissue): Equivocal evidence
Multi-site carcinogen: Some evidence

Based on the IARC preamble to the monographs, RF radiation should be classified as Group 1: The agent is carcinogenic to humans.

’This category is used when there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans. Exceptionally, an agent may be placed in this category when evidence of carcinogenicity in humans is less than sufficient but there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals and strong evidence in exposed humans that the agent acts through a relevant mechanism of carcinogenicity.’ (

Measurements of Radiofrequency Radiation with a Body-Borne Exposimeter in Swedish Schools with Wi-Fi

Our research group published recently a study on radiofrequency (RF) radiation in schools using an exposimeter. RF emissions in the classroom were measured by the teachers in order to approximate the children’s exposure. Teachers in grades 7–12 carried a body-borne exposimeter, EME-Spy 200, in school during 1–4 days of work. Eighteen teachers from seven schools participated. The mean exposure to RF radiation ranged from 1.1 to 66.1 μW/m2. The highest mean level, 396.6 μW/m2, occurred during 5 min of a lesson when the teacher let the students stream and watch YouTube videos. Maximum peaks went up to 82,857 μW/m2 from mobile phone uplink.  The exposure levels varied between the different Wi-Fi systems, and if the students were allowed to use their own smartphones on the school’s Wi-Fi network or if they were connected to GSM/3G/4G base stations outside the school. An access point over the teacher’s head gave higher exposure compared with a school with a wired Internet connection for the teacher in the classroom. All values were far below International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection’s reference values, but most mean levels measured were above the precautionary target level of 3–6 μW/m2 as proposed by the Bioinitiative Report. The length of time wireless devices are used is an essential determinant in overall exposure. Measures to minimize children’s exposure to RF radiation in school would include preferring wired connections, allowing laptops, tablets and mobile phones only in flight mode and deactivating Wi-Fi access points, when not used for learning purposes.

In Table 10 in the article examples of methods to reduce children’s exposure to RF radiation in schools are given

1. Wired connection to both teachers and students and no wireless networks or devices in school is the optimal choice. If this is not possible:
2. Wired connection to each classroom
a. to the teacher’s laptop,
b. for the students to download large files and videos.
3. To reduce exposure from Wi-Fi networks in school:
a. turn off Wi-Fi access points when not used for learning purposes,
b. position Wi-Fi access points outside of classrooms,
c. use directional Wi-Fi access points, which radiate into the direction of the client’s device.
4. Keep laptops and tablets in flight mode when Internet is not needed for learning purposes.
5. Wired connection to a landline telephone in each classroom could minimize the need for mobile phones for contact.
6. Mobile phones, including smart phones, could be left at home or collected in turned off mode. If allowed, they should be carried only in flight mode during school hours.


5G Appeal sent to EU

5G Appeal sent to EU

September 13, 2017

Scientists and doctors warn of potential serious health effects of 5G

We the undersigned, more than 180 scientists and doctors from 36 countries, recommend a moratorium on the roll-out of the fifth generation, 5G, for telecommunication until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry.  5G will substantially increase exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on top of the 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, etc. for telecommunications already in place. RF-EMF has been proven to be harmful for humans and the environment……

We urge EU:

1.To take all reasonable measures to halt the 5G RF-EMF expansion until independent scientists can assure that 5G and the total radiation levels caused by RF-EMF (5G together with 2G, 3G, 4G, and WiFi) will not be harmful for EU-citizens, especially infants, children and pregnant women, as well as the environment.

2.To recommend that all EU countries, especially their radiation safety agencies, follow Resolution 1815 and inform citizens, including, teachers and physicians, about health risks from RF-EMF radiation, how and why  to avoid wireless communication, particularly in/near e.g., daycare centers, schools, homes, workplaces, hospitals and elderly care.

3.To appoint immediately, without industry influence, an EU task force of independent, truly impartial EMF-and-health scientists with no conflicts of interest to re-evaluate the health risks and:

  • To decide about new, safe “maximum total exposure standards” for all wireless communication within EU.
  • To study the total and cumulative exposure affecting EU-citizens.
  • To create rules that will be prescribed/enforced within the EU about how to avoid exposure exceeding new EU ”maximum total exposure standards” concerning all kinds of EMFs in order to protect citizens, especially infants, children and pregnant women.

4.To prevent the wireless/telecom industry through its lobbying organizations from persuading EU officials to make decisions about further propagation of RF radiation including 5G in Europe.

5.To favor and implement wired digital telecommunication instead of wireless.

Read the full appeal here.





Oxidative effect of low-intensity microwave radiation in the model of developing quail embryos


Objective: Exposure of humans to low-intensity microwave (MW) radiation under some circumstances leads to several medical conditions, including headache, chronic fatigue, and even cancer. Mechanisms of these effects in many cases may depend on oxidative stress caused by MW exposure. Our study aims to assess oxidative stress features in embryonic cells under low-intensity MW exposure in the first stage of embryogenesis. Methods: Embryos of Japanese quails were exposed in ovo to low-intensity MW of global system for mobile communication (GSM) 900 MHz (0.25 μW/cm2) during 158-360 h discontinuously (48 c – ON, 12 c – OFF) before and in the initial stages of development. The levels of superoxide (O2•−), nitrogen oxide (NO•), and 8-oxo-2’-deoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG) were assessed in cells of 38-h, 5-, and 10-day exposed embryos and compared to the control group. Lucigenin-enhanced chemiluminescence was used for assessment of GSM modulation role in MW-induced oxidative effects. Results: A significant persistent overproduction of superoxide, nitrogen oxide, and 8-oxo-dG in GSM MW-exposed embryonic cells during all periods of analyses was detected. Conclusion: Exposure of developing quail embryos to low-intensity MW of GSM 900 MHz during the first stages of embryogenesis resulted in a significant overproduction of superoxide and nitrogen oxide and oxidative damages of DNA in embryonic cells. These effects were interpreted to be depended on the GSM modulation of MW.

The article can be found here.

Comment: This is a very interesting and important study. Embryos of Japanese quails were exposed to radiofrequency (RF) radiation using GSM 900 MHz. The average intensity of RF radiation on the surface of hatching eggs in the exposed group was 2 500 μW/m2 (0.25 μW/cm2). SAR was calculated to 3 μW/kg. A control group with no exposure was used. A statistically significant overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative damage of DNA in living cells was reported. The exposure was far below the guideline still provided by ICNIRP for RF radiation as 2 to 10W/m2 depending on frequency and 2 W/kg to the brain. The results in the study show that the ICNIRP guidelines are outdated, see our previous discussion. Moreover, using a safety factor of 10 would give 250 μW/m2 as guideline, a level easily exceeded in many places, see our measurements at Stockholm Central Railway Station and Stockholm Old Town.