Instigator / Pro

5G is a ticking time bomb on health.


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 6 votes and with 36 points ahead, the winner is...

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Contender / Con

5G is the 5th generation mobile technology, not the five GHz spectrum used in some 802.11 standards.

Ticking time bomb: "That negative health repercussions of 5G are a very substantial risk."

Substantial: Real and tangible rather than imaginary.

BOP: Both parties. Pro must demonstrate there is a substantial risk. and Con must demonstrate there is not. Failure of both results in a tie.

Round 1

There are two parts to this debate.  First I will demonstrate how 5G is not inherently safe, (which CON has the BOP of proving), and then I will demonstrate there is a substantial risk to 5G (which I have the BOP of proving)


While this is a serious debate, I am not going to leverage the semantics of a word.  \\

Therefore my BOP requires me to prove that 5G has real, tangible risk.

The concept of “ticking time bomb” is to demonstrate that the assumptiveness on 5G safety will result in negative health outcomes, as if by surprise.  It is


I differentiate between terminology and definitions as the terms explained don’t require the vernacular specificity, and many of phrases.   That being said they do need to be explained for the reader.

EMS  -  Electromagnetic Spectrum.    This describes the wavelength (the distance between crest peaks) of how radio waves, light, X-rays move.  Radio waves are measured in Meters, GPS, 2G - 4G phones are Meters down to Centimeters.  5G is measured in millimeters, visible light is nanometers.

Signal Propagation and Attenuation.  The higher the wavelength the least penetration capacity it has.    You can pick up an AM radio in your basement, but not your cell phone.  Visible light cannot pass through walls.  The shorter the wavelength, the lower its capability to propagate.

Watts, Joules and Calories:    Watts is a measure of work.   Watts is the number of joules (units of energy) over a period of time.  1 joule = 4.14 calories.  I will use these later on.

Constructive Interference:  This is a waveform property that states when you add two crests of a wave together or two troughs you will have an increase in the wave power.  It is a way to increase strength in a wave, for which EM signals are a wave.  

MIMO:   Massive Input Massive Output.  Multiple antennas are used to leverage constructive interference to create a focused beam in the direction dictated by the output antenna signaling.
A MIMO antenna is an array.  There is not one antenna, however a series of over 100 antennas in a CE, and thousands of antennas in a Base Station.

Beamforming:  This is the process to allow a MIMO array to focus a targeting signal in a specific direction using constructive interference

Side Lobe:   This is a result of beamforming.  Noise on the lateral sides of the beam created.  Imagine a meteor hits the ground as a “beam” and the wave and shrapnel that propagates around it, That is the same as a side lobe.  

Polarization:  EM waves are polar, insofar as like a magnet they have a North and South pole.  If you rotate how signals are propagated 90 degrees you increase signal propagation.  You can send two different signals from the same location,  each turned 90 degrees.  I theory you could send a much larger number to provide that the offset of propagation is set properly.  

Base Station   This is unit usually provided by the telco,  to provide connectivity and switching for CE devices.  Small pico, and femto units could be available as “extensions” where signal amplification is required.

CE.   This is Customer Equipment.  A phone, a tablet, a connected IoT device.


It has been established that EM causes cancer.    Sunlight causes cancer.  That is indisputable.  However, that is a specific NM band and not all light.    So while we establish EM can cause cancer what about the bands that are more applicable to what we are talking about.  There has been much work done in this area.

In 2011 the International Agency for the Research of Cancer (a WHO agency)  scientist Dr. Johnathan Samet states “The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk."
International Agency for research of cancer.

He goes on to say.  “ it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands‐free devices or texting”
In 2018 a study by the US National Toxicology Program, shows that 2G and 3G EM can cause cancer in rats.  While it might appear I am arguing against myself, I have to point out that this study focused on the maximum permitted levels of 3G, as a baseline, and then 4 times that amount as the upper end.    Oh so the regulations are sound, one might say. This study shows two things.

  1.  EM at current cm wavelength fields can cause negative biological responses.
  2.  When you change the power, you have a significant impact on the risk.   (pin here)

In 2018 the European Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental, and Emerging Risks highlighted that the negative risks of EM were high against ecosystems and species.   Here they make it clear that safety is unknown and raise the caution level of 5G to level 3 which is rather significant based on the notices rubric.  It is on page 14 of the aforementioned link.

I have used a few select referenced from both EU and US governments to highlight that EM can not be ubiquitously categorized as safe.    Part 1of my argument is proven.


I do hope the above sets the appropriate foundation.  This is an incredibly complex topic, and making sure I narrowed it down was very difficult.  I apologize for the prose ramble.  

5G has two problems.  Base Stations and CE (phones etc,) The problem is in the MIMO technology they use.

If you recall the study above where I had mentioned that 2g and 3g are shown to cause cancer when rates are higher when the allowed output exceeds regulations. MIMO can make those regulations ineffective.  The regulations are based on the output of the station as a whole, NOT o the individual beam.

Because 5G cannot propagate well through walls, weather etc, it needs more power.    However, to minimize a wide blanket of power (which is accepted as not being health) engineers have come up with MIMO,  This technology is from the ’50s and forms the basis of RADAR.  It allows you to create a very high power focus beam of energy in any direction you want.

This is the problem.  The base stations need to use the MIMO technology to focus a beam. That beam now exceeds the levels set by the regulators.   Lets map out that technology.

  1. Phone could have 128 antennas.  
  2. Output of the phone is 2Watts max
  3. MIMO would focus that beam (away from the head for sure)
  4. SIDELOBES  cause the problem.    The spill radiation you get from the device exceeds a regular 3G or 4G phonecall.  A 60-second call can equate to the same amount of calories energy as a glass of wine!!  
  5. Various polarizations permits progradation even when not intended.
Let us add to the fact you will have 30k - 100k watt base stations every hundred feet.

We will realize through demonstrable evidence that the congestion of 5G, and EM wavelength and power congestion never experienced in nature, will have negative biological consequences.

I have shown EM can be unsafe.  My opponent needs to tend to that.

 I have laid a pre-emptive framework to show that 5G will be substantially problematic.    I look forward to an intelligent conversation.

Thanks, CaptainSceptic! Nice introduction. 

I will first give some points and then refute my opponent’s case.

  1. Contention: 5G Improves Health 
  • One of the biggest indicators of overall health in a nation is how affluent it is. The World Bank states that 
“Poverty is a major cause of ill health and a barrier to accessing health care when needed. This relationship is financial: the poor cannot afford to purchase those things that are needed for good health, including sufficient quantities of quality food and health care. The relationship is also related to… lack of information on appropriate health-promoting practices or lack of voice needed to make social services work for them.”
However, this relationship between economic prosperity and health continues even within the most developed of nations. The Health Inequality Project published a study in 2016 detailing how income impacted life expectancy of people within the US. They found that the richest men outlived the poorest by 15 years, and the richest women outlived their counterparts by 10. 

Looking more broadly, the Social Security Office of Policy found in 2007 that the upper half of the male income ladder outlived the lower half by 5.8 years.

  • 5G increases wealth worldwide, and thus positively impacts life expectancy worldwide.
A research paper by the firms IHS Markit, PSB and economist Dr. David Teece estimates that the global economic gain from 5G could amount to $12.3 trillion in goods/services, $3 trillion in GDP growth (the equivalent of all of India!), and 22 million jobs (roughly the size of all of Romania!) by 2035. 

New industries, entrepreneurship, jobs, higher incomes, and more all compile to lead to better health. This is a simple, statistical truth. 

However, let’s confirm this using cancer rates as an example, since they are especially relevant. 
Citing the WHO, “80% of children with cancer will survive in wealthy nations, while only about 20% will survive in low/middle income countries.” So, maybe while cancer rates are important, perhaps cancer survival rates we can more easily aim to improve. 

  1. Refutations
Part 1: EM Not Safe

  • WHO Study
The paper my opponent cites classifies cellular radio waves in the category 2B. This is only one tier up from “Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans” and is the same tier as caffeic acid (present in all plants and an ingredient in coffee) and pickled vegetables.

The NIH reports that, in the US, cancer rates declined from 2001 to 2017. Consider that smartphone usage in the US went from 35% of adults in 2011 to 81% in that time. There is NO correlation between cell phone usage and cancer rates on the macro level. 

More specifically, the paper summarizes in its conclusion that:
“The evidence was reviewed critically, and overall evaluated as being limited among users of wireless telephones for glioma and acoustic neuroma, and inadequate to draw conclusions for other types of cancers.”
In other words, assuming this link exists, it results in increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma, with pretty much negligible effects in all other forms of cancer. So, let’s examine glioma rates. A Forbes publication clarifies:
“Looking at the relevant articles, one finds that the incidence of all brain cancers has been remarkably stable over a number of decades in various countries: U.S. (slight decrease – 1992 to 2014), Australia (stable - 1982 - 2014), Ireland (stable - 1994 - 2013), New Zealand (stable – 1995 to 2010), and Taiwan (decrease from 1999 to 2012).”
There simply is no link. Next argument

  • NTP Study
This study only found a result in male rats at 900 mHz. Female rats & male and female mice showed unclear results (as said in your link.) I’m not sure, but last time I checked I’m not a male rat. And, if a mouse (much smaller than a rat) can take it, I’ll be alright I think.

And, as you literally say so yourself: “this study focused on the maximum permitted levels of 3G, as a baseline, and then 4 times that amount as the upper end.” Let’s also consider that DigitalTrends states that it wasn’t just the levels of exposure, it was also the duration. The duration of exposure was much higher than any person will have at any one time.

LiveScience goes into depth:
"For the study, the animals were housed in special chambers so the researchers could control how much radiation they received. The animals were exposed to a total of 9 hours of radiation per day, in 10-minutes sessions. The radiation began in the womb or early in life and lasted for up to two years, which is most of the animals' lifetime.”
So, basically, they blasted mice with radiation on the entirety of their bodies (not localized near the ear and brain for humans) for from their conception for two years, 9 hours a day, and they still had “unclear results.” As the senior scientist of the NTP clarifies himself: “The exposures used in the studies cannot be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience when using a cellphone.”

  • NTP Study Conclusions
“Oh so the regulations are sound, one might say.” 

“This study shows two things. 1. EM at current cm wavelength fields can cause negative biological responses. 2.  When you change the power, you have a significant impact on the risk (pin here)” 
As for #1, the results of ONE study specifically for MALE RATS doesn’t exactly extrapolate to fit your conclusion. It’s pretty clear the majority of scholarly material shows no significant link between cell phone usage and cancer rates, even in 5G levels (i.e. this, this, and this plus many more.)
To take a few particularly alarmist studies and extrapolate it as absolute fact is scholarly malpractice.

Moving to #2, the risk isn’t particularly significant, for all of the above reasons.

  • EU Committee Evaluation
“In 2018 the European Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental, and Emerging Risks highlighted that the negative risks of EM were high against ecosystems and species.” 
To quote, they said that
“The effects of electromagnetic radiation have been generally well studied, however low frequency electromagnetic radiation is less well studied, hence the justification for introducing this an emerging issue.”
This doesn’t exactly ring any panic bells for me. It just means they classify it as an issue of further study. Keep in mind, their jobs are to be overly cautious and to assume the worst in order to get fat paychecks. The more issues you can identify, the more you get paid. HUZZAH! 

(Alright that was a joke, but seriously, not a huge deal.)

Part 2: 5G ISSUES

There’s a lot of technological blab in this section, and while I see my opponent’s point I see no sources for information, nor have I been able to surface any support for his line of reasoning. 

Still, I shall argue that the basic premise is flawed. It is true that new technologies are being devised to help 5G penetrate walls, but MIMO is not like the DeathStar.
Its waves, especially as you move up the frequency scale, are safe and do not penetrate human skin. 

Consider that a study done with 4,500 UK 5G tower workers concludes this:
 “The RF exposure they're allowed to receive is five times that of the general population, and there is no evidence that they have higher rates of cancer or any other health problems that could possibly be attributable to WiFi radiation than any other population of humans.”
The waves that MIMO uses are not exactly new anyway.
DigitalTrends concludes: 
“if 5G is unsafe, it means that we’ve been using “unsafe” frequencies for decades.”

Thank you to any voters who have made it so far!

Round 2
I hope that my opponent is able to follow up with a response next round. That said, extend!
Round 3
If there's something strange in you neighborhood,
Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!
If there's something weird and it don't look good,
Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!
I ain't afraid of no ghost.
I ain't afraid of no ghost.
If you're seeing things running through your head,
Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!
An invisible man sleeping in your bed,
Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!
I ain't afraid of no ghost.
I ain't afraid of no ghost.
Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!
If you're all alone, pick up the phone and call

Round 4
Welp. Vote CON.