An expose on the major omissions of fact from the New York Times July 16, 2019 article on 5G by William J. Broad.
When William J. Broad, a Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times science writer, mangles information on the dangers of 5G, this plays into the hands of those determined to advance this never-tested technology without serious examination of its long-term impact on human health and the environment. Until now, scientific evidence that the wireless foundation of 5G poses major hazards to migrating animals — from insects to mammals — and can undermine human health has remained under the public radar and largely unaddressed.
Swamped by the pressures generated from billions of dollars of public subsidies undergirding the infrastructure necessary for the 5G system to work, the science has been effectively ignored — particularly by those responsible for ensuring that our political and corporate classes maintain the public trust — namely, reporters.
The recent headline of The New York Times trumpeted 5G as the “health hazard that isn’t.” Not so fast. A close examination of claims in that article undeniably reveals that it is time for a reset on the march to the latest wireless technology. he consequences could not be more monumental.
Do we need 5G? That depends on who we are asking. Of course, the value of getting faster speeds and shorter latencies is vital for military, national security, medical, and industrial purposes. But for the rest of us, it comes down to a question of how much we value the capacity to download a movie to our phones in a few seconds or to connect our baby’s diapers, household lighting, coffee pots, and washing machines.
Setting aside the values of such utilities, there is another way to achieve the outcomes of 5G without compromising our health — and that of the entire planet and our capacity to predict weather or navigate on the high seas — should 20,000-plus satellites be launched to beam back signals to support the 5G infrastructure. We can simply insist on hard-wiring the dense, complex, fiber-optic cable that is the backbone to 5G. Rather than wirelessly beam-forming thousands of signals to and from every device, make 5G wired to and through major facilities that require it.
To do otherwise, to insist on beaming untested signals directly into schools and bedrooms, appears unwise to growing numbers of scientists and policymakers around the world who advise taking steps to limit proliferation until more information can be provided about 5G’s environmental impacts. Indeed, the question of 5G’s unintended consequences currently sits before the United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit, which is reviewing our historic legal action against the Federal Communications Commission for not updating their 1996 wireless radiation “safety” limits.
Aside from the health and economic issues associated with 5G’s expansion, former FCC Chair Tom Wheeler, wrote in the New York Times of mounting cybersecurity concerns relating to the deployment plans for 5G. “If 5G is so important, why isn’t it secure?” he asked.
That remains the question of the day.
Building the next generation of technology and protecting it from hostile actors can best be done through a secured wired system — much as banks require today.
Why not reboot the entire issue? Promoting wired 5G installations will require training and recruitment of underemployed (think coal miners) to produce and install cable and will protect our national security in ways that make it much harder to disrupt our systems.
As Congressional Representatives Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier have urged, it is critically important for us to engage in a serious re-examination of how to produce a safe and effective 5G network before the currently proposed wireless system gets built.
The errors in William J. Broad’s piece — outlined below — are important in their own right because they unfortunately bespeak a fundamental failure to understand the gravity of the threats currently before this nation.
Despite the fact that Theodora Scarato repeatedly wrote William J Broad and his editors with corrections on several of his articles, they refused to correct the articles. Thankfully, Professor Tom Butler of University College Cork filed a complaint with the Office of the Press Ombudsman for the Press Council of Ireland regarding the New York Times articles which ran in the Irish Times and in February 2020, the Press Ombudsman concluded that the Broad story violated the truth and accuracy code of practice of the Press Council of Ireland. Microwave News featured the inaccuracies in “A Fact-Free Hit on a 5G Critic Fabricating History on the New York Times Science Desk” and investigative reporter Barbara Koeppel details the New York Times financial ties to industry in “Wireless Hazards” published in the Washington Spectator.
Here are the top 10 misconceptions included in Broad’s New York Times article:
- Contrary to Broad’s claim, Dr. Curry’s report and graph on wireless radiation risks to children in schools in 2000 are not the central foundation for scientific concerns regarding wireless radiation. As Lewis Slesin reports.
- Long before 2000, scientists had investigated and confirmed numerous health impacts of electromagnetic (EMF) radiation.
- For over two decades, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had a robust research program on electromagnetic fields (EMF). It was expressly defunded by Congress in 1995, shortly after the EPA briefed the FCC about plans for developing EMF safety standards.
- As a result, no federal agency has responsibility for setting standards for public safety from exposures to EMF that include radiofrequency radiation (RF), also known as microwave or wireless radiation.
2. In contradiction to Broad’s assertion, Curry’s graph showing greater absorption with higher frequency of wireless radiation up to 3G is correct and directly applicable to schools.
- Curry’s graph showing brain tissue absorption of RF came directly from laboratory research commissioned by the U.S. Air Force and was not a manipulation of data as Broad claims.
- Broad alleges that Curry’s graph was “wrong” because higher and faster 5G millimeter waves don’t penetrate the skin. In fact, Curry’s chart had nothing to do with the frequencies of 5G, but solely with the lower and slower wireless frequencies in use at that time and about which there is no debate: Wi-Fi and Wi-Max penetrate the body and brain .
- As wireless radiation frequencies get faster and higher, the depth of penetration goes down but the rate of absorption goes up.
- A graph from Curry’s second report to the school district (also cited by Broad) references “absorption into a slab of grey matter” — otherwise known as the brain. Broad incorrectly captioned Curry’s graph in the NYT story as showing “tissue damage” rather than “absorption,” the actual and correct word used in the graph shown below.
3. The New York Times graph on 5G frequencies is wrong because it incorrectly indicates that 5G devices will start at 3000 MHz (3 GHz), when in fact companies have stated that 5G will use the same frequencies as current cell phones — as low as 600MHz, in addition to higher frequencies.
- The wireless industry is clear that for 5G phones, routers and systems to work, they must use a full range of frequencies, from low to middle to high, as well as higher millimeter wave frequencies never used in mass scale before (from 600 MHz up to around 50,000 MHz and higher into Terahertz for 6G). T-Mobile, for example, will use 600 MHz.
- As the American Academy of Pediatrics has noted in its letters to Congress, lower frequencies are absorbed deeply into brains and bodies, especially in children, because the skull of the young child is thinner than that of the adult, the neurons of their developing brains are not fully myelinated, and their brains contain more fluid. As a consequence, children will absorb proportionally more wireless radiation per exposure into the brain than adults, a point that Curry makes in his reports.
- Broad’s misrepresentation of 5G as not including these lower frequencies is the foundation for his erroneous conclusion that the skin is “a barrier” to 5G. By email to Theodora Scarato, Executive Director of Environmental Health trust, Marvin Ziskin clarified that his statement quoted by Broad that “5G emissions, if anything, should be safer” applied solely to the higher frequencies to be used in 5G as they did not penetrate into the body as deeply. His statement did not apply to the slower and lower frequencies that are well known to be absorbed past the skin.
4. Broad errs in reporting the assertion of radiation physicists that radio waves become “safer” at higher frequencies because human skin purportedly “acts as a barrier.” Fact: The skin does not act as a mirror deflecting radiation.
- 5G’s faster mm wave frequencies between 30 and 300 GHz are absorbed into and just below the surface of the skin. Such exposure is biologically impactful. That is why the U.S. Defense Department developed weapons with high-powered millimeter waves (as seen here). The Active Denial System (ADS), also known as the Pain-Ray, was deployed to Afghanistan, tested in prisons, and considered as a pirate deterrent in Somalia.
- The military grounds for concluding that the Pain-Ray does not cause cancer after long-term exposure rests on a single three-month long animal study involving two exposures per week. Further, the expert review alleges that blinking would spare eyes from harm. “The eyes would have to be held open to achieve damage.” Ignoring the absurdity of the claim, It has been shown in scientific studies that people blink less when looking at screens than when looking at paper text or the environment around them. So do we stream movies superfast with our eyes closed? What about children’s developing eyes glued to 5G Virtual Reality streaming into classrooms?
- Wireless 5G networks will use beams of radiation like the Pain-Ray, and include Massive MIMO (multiplex in and multiplex out) and phased arrays meaning each installation could consist of numerous antennas simultaneously sending and receiving beaming waves into neighborhoods.
- A 2019 European Parliament Report notes, “The 5G radio emission fields are quite different to those of previous generations because of their complex beamformed transmissions in both directions — from base station to handset and for the return. Although fields are highly focused by beams, they vary rapidly with time and movement and so are unpredictable.” Because of this, that report concludes, “It is not possible to accurately simulate or measure 5G emissions in the real world.”
- As our largest organ (~20 square feet), the skin is not a “barrier” but a filter that interacts with chemicals and EMF, that can produce systemic effects on the immune system and specific organs. Poison ivy and peanuts need only touch the surface of the skin to set off occasionally fatal reaction. A number of medicines are delivered through skin patches absorbed throughout the body. Babies born with jaundice are treated with intense light that penetrates through the skin to their blood that becomes transformed in their livers.
- As with all drugs in medicine or chemicals in the environment, biological impact depends on who gets exposed to how much under what specific conditions. For instance, a fair-skinned baby and her darker-skinned mother can have the same exposure to sun with profoundly different results.
5. Contrary to what The New York Times article asserts, studies find that as RF frequency increases past 10 GHz, the intensity of the rate of absorption can also increase.
- Researchers investigating the impact to the skin from 5G’s higher millimeter frequencies are “raising the warning flag” on the safety of 5G after finding that human sweat ducts absorb these frequencies at much higher rates than in surrounding skin structures. These sweat ducts act as tiny helical EMF antennas to magnify these signals.
- Swiss government and private sector researchers caution that 5G frequencies can cause big increases in temperature rises that “may lead to permanent tissue damage after even short exposures.”
- For insects, a new simulation study finds that their bodies can absorb up to three times more power from 5G that could lead to major changes in how they behave and function, affecting the capacity of bees and other insects to pollinate crops.
- Published reviews on 5G, millimeter waves, and wireless (even from decades ago) have cataloged a host of harmful impacts including increased temperature, altered gene expression, faster cell growth, inflammatory and metabolic processes, damage to the eyes and cellular stress, memory problems, sperm damage, genetic damage, behavior issues, and brain damage. .
6. Contrary to The New York Times’ statement that “mainstream scientists continue to see no evidence of harm from cell phone radio waves,” more than 240 experts in the field of bioelectromagnetics have asked the United Nations to call for a moratorium on 5G.
- These scientists note that while exposures have risen many fold, so have studies showing damage to human health and the environment.
- Astonishingly, Broad omitted any mention of the fact that an independent panel in 2011 advised the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO/IARC) that cellphone and other wireless RF radiation should be classified as a “possible human carcinogen” based on evidence from studies carried out up to that date. Furthermore, numerous scientists who participated in the 2011 WHO/IARC expert working group on wireless RF now state that the evidence has increased and wireless is a probable or proven human carcinogen.
- Broad does not report more recent analyses from scientists who have been senior advisors to the WHO and the NIH on bioelectromagnetics concluding that the FDA is downplaying clear evidence of cancer in the National Toxicology Program study, later corroborated by the Ramazzini Study, or that a growing number of scientists say RF is a “human carcinogen.”
- In light of this mounting research linking wireless to cancer, the WHO/IARC advisory group in 2019 issued “high priority” recommendations to reevaluate the cancer hazard from wireless radiation.
7. Broad neglected to mention industry connections of several of his sources.
- Several of the experts quoted in this article have in fact published research directly funded by the wireless industry or by NYU Wireless, “an R&D arm” of New York University’s s industry affiliates, which include AT&T, Sprint and Crown Castle — the very companies spearheading the rollout of 5G.
- Unfortunately, the field of EMF research has been plagued with industry loyal experts who have influenced federal agencies and whose research suffers “sponsorship bias,” in which works underwritten by the telecom industry tend to find no effect from wireless radiation exposure while those that are independently funded do report impacts.
- Barbara Koeppel in “Wireless Hazards” published in the Washington Spectator points out the industry connections of Broad’s sources:
“In a May 2019 Times story, “Your 5g phone wont hurt you. But Russia wants you to think so,” the journalist William Broad quoted Marvin Ziskin, a Temple University professor of radiology, who claimed, “5G emissions, if anything, should be safer [emphasis added] than previous generations’ exposure of the body’s internal organs.” But Ziskin’s papers, many co-authored by Kenneth Foster, a professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, are funded by the Wi-Fi Alliance and the Mobile & Wireless Forum, or MWF, a trade group whose members include Apple, Motorola, Samsung, and Sony. As industry favorites, Foster and Ziskin were invited to chair MWF’s 2016 workshop sessions in Belgium, and Foster gave the keynote address.”
8. Broad cites the lack of a marked uptick in brain cancer rates as proof of RF safety. This misunderstands the long latencies for brain cancer and also fails to consider that several other cancers plausibly tied with cellphone use are increasing in young adults.
- Cancers do not occur immediately after exposure to a causative agent and usually take years to several decades to be diagnosed. Widespread rises are not expected to be evident in today’s statistics.
- Nonetheless, new analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others show that non-Hodgkin lymphomas, central nervous system tumors (CNST) (including brain cancers), renal, hepatic and thyroid tumors have increased recently among Americans under 20 years old.
- Perhaps more importantly, cancer is not the sole indicator of a problem. The Cleveland Clinic advises men who wish to father healthy children to remove phones from their pockets because there is growing evidence that exposures can damage sperm. “We’ve done a lot of research on cell phones,” Dr. Sabanegh says. “In studies where we directly exposed sperm to cell phone radiation, it did damage the sperm.”
- Sterility and infertility continue to rise in many countries. While factors accounting for this are complex, research indicates that exposures to wireless radiation is relevant.
9. Broad’s article fails to report on a number of major policy efforts to restrict 5G due to concerns about the lack of safety data, including the following developments:
- The European Environmental Authority ranked the impact of 5G as “high” due to “the possibility of unintended biological consequences.”
- Swiss Re and Lloyd’s have compared 5G and wireless to asbestos as “high” risk and most companies will not underwrite coverage for health damages.
- The State of Louisiana passed HR 145 requesting authorities to study the environmental and health effects of 5G.
- More than a dozen municipalities in Italy have issued resolutions for precaution on 5G as have several other localities in the world.
- Oregon passed SB 283, a Bill that directs the Health Authority to review independently-funded scientific studies of the health effects of wireless, especially for school exposures.
- Cyprus (as has several other countries)launched a major public educational campaign to reduce children’s wireless exposures and it has removed wireless from the pediatric intensive care units of Archbıshop Makarıos III Hospital.
In 2020, the New Hampshire Commission on 5G Health and Environment issued their final report to the Governor with 15 recommendations which include: support an independent study of 5G health effects; reduce public exposure to cell phones, wireless devices and replace Wi-Fi with wired- non wireless networks- in schools and libraries; ensure cell network infrastructure antenna setbacks from schools and homes; measure levels of cell network radiation; establish wireless radiation limits to protect trees and insects; establish more sophisticated measurement protocols to include high data rates; require software changes to reduce radiation exposure into the body; establish wireless radiation-free zones; and call on the US Federal Communications Commission to do an environmental assessment on the impact of 5G and wireless infrastructure expansion.
10. Broad refuses to correct the inaccuracies of his articles and the Times persists in demeaning critics and concerned citizens.
- Despite ample documentation of the need for corrections, editors at The New York Times refuse to correct their misleading and deceptive articles about 5G and cellphone radiation.
- Broad’s 5G articles have been picked up by medical platforms and media nationwide, and are invoked as proof of safety by former FCC Chairman Wheeler, who is also former head of the CTIA-The Wireless Association, telecom industry lobbyists. A 2015 Harvard Report documents how heavy congressional lobbying by the multibillion dollar wireless industry coupled with the revolving door between industry and government has resulted in undue industry influence into the science and policy of wireless radiation.
- The New York Times article included a belittling graphic showing people fleeing in fear from a cell tower, mocking those who are working for safe neighborhoods and schools and the many nations that reduce children’s exposure and do not permit towers near schools and hospitals, yet it did not reference a major investigative journalism analysis indicating serious grounds for concern.
Should the Times and its science reporter want to take public concerns and scientists’ warnings seriously, it would recognize that science is built on developing new information over time and making adjustments to hypotheses along the way. As an investigative journalist — a watchdog for the public — it is a shame that Broad fails to question the motives of his sources and undermines the case for precaution in managing the public health. The absence of definitive proof of harm should not be misconstrued as evidence of safety.
“The 5G Health Hazard That Isn’t” 7/16/19 July 16, 2019