Nov 14, 2018 (Updated Feb 22, 2019)


The emergence of 5G, fifth-generation telecommunications technology, has been in the news lately because the wireless industry has been pushing controversial
legislation at the state and federal level to expedite the deployment of this technology.
The legislation would block the rights of local governments and their citizens
to control the installation of cellular antennas in the public “right-of-way.” Cell antennas may be installed on public utility poles every 10-20 houses in urban areas. 
According to the industry, as many as 50,000 new cell sites will be required in California alone and at 800,000 or more new cell sites nationwide.
Although
many
major cities and newspapers have
opposed this legislation
,
the potential health risks from the proliferation of new cellular antenna sites
have been ignored. These cell antennas will expose the population to new sources
of radio frequency radiation including millimeter waves.
5G
will employ low- (0.6 GHz – 3.7 GHz), mid- (3.7 – 24 GHz), and high-band
frequencies (24 GHz and higher). In
the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has allocated “low-band”
spectrum at 0.6 GHz (e.g., 600 MHz), “mid-band” spectrum in the 3.5 GHz range, and
11 GHz
of “high-band” frequencies including licensed spectrum from 27.5-28.35 GHz and
37-40 GHz, as well as unlicensed spectrum from 64-71 GHz which is open to all
wireless equipment manufacturers.
Prior
to widespread deployment, major cell phone carriers are experimenting with new
technologies that employ “high-band” frequencies in communities across the
country. The “high-band” frequencies largely consist of millimeter waves (MMWs),
a type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths of one to ten millimeters
and frequencies ranging from 30 to 300 GHz (or billions of cycles per
second). 
The
characteristics of MMWs are different than the “low-band” (i.e., microwave) frequencies
which are currently in use by the cellular and wireless industries. MMWs can
transmit large amounts of data over short distances. The transmissions can be
directed into narrow beams that travel by line-of-sight and can move data at
high rates (e.g., up to 10 billion bits per second) with short lags (or
latencies) between transmissions. The signals are blocked by buildings, and
foliage can absorb much of their energy. Also, the waves can be reflected by
metallic surfaces. Although antennas can be as small as a few millimeters,
“small cell” antenna arrays may consist of dozens or even hundreds of antenna
elements.
What does research tell
us about the biologic and health effects of millimeter waves?
Millimeter
waves (MMWs) are mostly absorbed within 1 to 2 millimeters of human skin and in the
surface layers of the cornea. Thus, the skin or near-surface zones of tissues
are the primary targets of the radiation. Since skin contains capillaries and
nerve endings, MMW bio-effects may be transmitted through molecular mechanisms by
the skin or through the nervous system. 
Thermal
(or heating) effects occur when the power density of the waves is above 5–10
mW/cm2. Such high-intensity MMWs act on human skin and the cornea in
a dose-dependent manner—beginning with heat sensation followed by pain and
physical damage at higher exposures. Temperature elevation can impact the growth,
morphology and metabolism of cells, induce production of free radicals, and damage
DNA.
The
maximum permissible exposure that the FCC permits for the general public is 1.0
mW/cm2 averaged over 30 minutes for frequencies that range from 1.5
GHz to 100 GHz. This guideline was adopted in 1996 to protect humans from acute
exposure to thermal levels of radiofrequency radiation. However, the guidelines
were not designed to protect us from nonthermal risks that may occur with
prolonged or long-term exposure to radiofrequency radiation.
With
the deployment of fifth generation wireless infrastructure (aka 5G), much of the nation will be exposed
to MMWs for the first time on a continuous basis. Due to FCC guidelines, these
exposures will likely be of low intensity. Hence, the health consequences of 5G exposure will be limited to non-thermal
effects produced by prolonged exposure to MMWs in conjunction with exposure to
low- and mid-band radiofrequency radiation.
Unfortunately,
few studies have examined prolonged exposure to low-intensity MMWs, and no
research that I am aware of has focused on exposure to MMWs combined with other
radiofrequency radiation.
Although
biologic effects of low-intensity MMWs have been studied for decades,
particularly in Eastern Europe, study results are often inconsistent because
the effects are related to many factors including the frequency, modulation, power
density, and duration of the exposures, as well as the type of tissue or cells
being investigated.
Results vary
across studies—MMWs have been shown to induce or inhibit cell death and enhance
or suppress cell proliferation. Some studies found that the radiation inhibits cell
cycle progression, and some studies reported no biologic effects (Le Drean et
al., 2013)
A review of
the research in 2010 noted that “A large number of cellular studies have indicated
that MMW may alter structural and functional properties of membranes.” Exposure
to MMWs may affect the plasma membrane either by modifying ion channel activity
or by modifying the phospholipid bilayer. Water molecules also seem to play a
role in these effects. Skin nerve endings are a likely target of MMWs and the
possible starting point of numerous biological effects. MMWs may activate the immune
system through stimulation of the peripheral neural system (Ramundo-Orlando,
2010).
In 1998, five scientists employed by U.S. Army and Air Force research institutes published a
seminal review of the research on MMWs. They reported:
“Increased
sensitivity and even hypersensitivity of individual specimens to MMW may be
real. Depending on the exposure characteristics, especially wavelength, a
low-intensity MMW radiation was perceived by 30 to 80% of healthy examinees
(Lebedeva, 1993, 1995). Some clinical studies reported MMW hypersensitivity,
which was or was not limited to a certain wavelength (Golovacheva, 1995).”


“It
is important to note that, even with the variety of bioeffects reported, no
studies have provided evidence that a low-intensity MMW radiation represents a
health hazard for human beings. Actually, none of the reviewed studies with
low-intensity MMW even pursued the evaluation of health risks, although in view
of numerous bioeffects and growing usage of MMW technologies this research
objective seems very reasonable. Such MMW effects as alterations of cell growth
rate and UV light sensitivity, biochemical and antibiotic resistivity changes
in pathogenic bacteria, as well as many others are of potential significance
for safety standards, but even local and short-term exposures were reported to
produce marked effects. It should also be realized that biological effects of a
prolonged or chronic MMW exposure of the whole body or a large body area have
never been investigated. Safety limits for these types of exposures are based
solely on predictions of energy deposition and MMW heating, but in view of
recent studies this approach is not necessarily adequate.” (Pakhomov et al.,
1998)
Microbes are
also affected by MMW radiation. In 2016 a review of the research on the effects
of MMWs on bacteria was published (Soghomonyan et al., 2016). The authors
summarized their findings as follows:
“…bacteria
and other cells might communicate with each other by electromagnetic field of
sub-extremely high frequency range. These MMW affected Escherichia coli and
many other bacteria, mainly depressing their growth and changing properties and
activity. These effects were non-thermal and depended on different factors. The
significant cellular targets for MMW effects could be water, cell plasma
membrane, and genome….The consequences of MMW interaction with bacteria are the
changes in their sensitivity to different biologically active chemicals,
including antibiotics….These effects are of significance for understanding
changed metabolic pathways and distinguish role of bacteria in environment;
they might be leading to antibiotic resistance in bacteria.”
Changing the sensitivity
of bacteria to antibiotics by MMW irradiation can be important for the
understanding of antibiotic resistance in the environment. In this respect, it
is interesting that bacteria [that] survived near telecommunication-based
stations like Bacillus and Clostridium spp. have been found to be multidrug
resistant (Adebayo et al.
2014).”  (Soghomonyan et al., 2016)
In sum, the
peer-reviewed research demonstrates that short-term exposure to low-intensity
millimeter wave (MMW) radiation not only affects human cells, it may result in
the growth of multi-drug resistant bacteria harmful to humans. Since little
research has been conducted on the health consequences from long-term exposure
to MMWs, widespread deployment of 5G or 5th generation wireless
infrastructure constitutes a massive experiment that may have adverse impacts
on the public’s health.

Early Russian research on millimeter radiation


Russian scientists conducted much of the early research on the effects of exposure to millimeter radiation. The U.S.Central Intelligence Agency collected and translated the published research but did not declassify it until decades later. 


In 1977, N.P. Zalyubovskaya published a study, “Biological effects of millimeter waves,” in a Russian-language journal, “Vracheboyne Delo.” The CIA declassified this paper in 2012. 


The study examined the effects of exposing mice to millimeter radiation (37-60 GHz; 1 milliwatt per square centimeter) for 15 minutes daily for 60 days. The animal results were compared to a sample of people working with millimeter generators.


Here is a brief summary of the paper:


   Excerpts:

The paper can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/MMWstudy1977.

Related Posts

Following are summaries of research reviews of the effects of MMW exposure and a list of recently published studies.



Millimeter Wave Research Reviews
(Updated Aug 9, 2017)
Belyaev IY,
Shcheglov
VS, Alipov
ED, Ushakov
VD. Nonthermal effects of extremely high-frequency microwaves
on chromatin conformation in cells in vitro—Dependence on physical, physiological,
and genetic factors. IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques. 2000; 48(11):2172-2179.
There is a substantial number of studies showing biological
effects of microwaves of extremely high-frequency range [i.e., millimeter waves
(MMWs)] at nonthermal intensities, but poor reproducibility was reported in few
replication studies. One possible explanation could be the dependence of the
MMW effects on some parameters, which were not controlled in replications. The
authors studied MMW effects on chromatin conformation in Escherichia coli (E.
coli) cells and rat thymocytes. Strong dependence of MMW effects on frequency
and polarization was observed at nonthermal power densities. Several other
factors were important, such as the genotype of a strain under study, growth
stage of the bacterial cultures, and time between exposure to microwaves and
recording of the effect. MMW effects were dependent on cell density during
exposure. This finding suggested an interaction of microwaves with cell-to-cell
communication. Such dependence on several genetic, physiological, and physical
variables might be a reason why, in some studies, the authors failed to
reproduce the original data of others.




Le
Drean Y, Mahamoud YS, Le Page Y, Habauzit D, Le Quement C, Zhadobov M, Sauleau
R. State of knowledge on biological effects at 40–60 GHz. Comptes Rendus
Physique. 2013; 14(5):402-411.

Millimetre
waves correspond to the range of frequencies located between 30 and 300 GHz.
Many applications exist and are emerging in this band, including wireless
telecommunications, imaging and monitoring systems. In addition, some of these
frequencies are used in therapy in Eastern Europe, suggesting that interactions
with the human body are possible. This review aims to summarise current
knowledge on interactions between millimetre waves and living matter. Several
representative examples from the scientific literature are presented. Then,
possible mechanisms of interactions between millimetre waves and biological
systems are discussed.

Pakhomov AG, Akyel Y, Pakhomova ON, Stuck BE, Murphy MR. Current state and implications of research on biological effects of millimeter waves: a review of the literature. Bioelectromagnetics. 1998; 19(7):393-413.
In recent years, research into biological and medical effects of millimeter waves (MMW) has expanded greatly. This paper analyzes general trends in the area and briefly reviews the most significant publications, proceeding from cell-free systems, dosimetry, and spectroscopy issues through cultured cells and isolated organs to animals and humans. The studies reviewed demonstrate effects of low-intensity MMW (10 mW/cm2 and less) on cell growth and proliferation, activity of enzymes, state of cell genetic apparatus, function of excitable membranes, peripheral receptors, and other biological systems. In animals and humans, local MMW exposure stimulated tissue repair and regeneration, alleviated stress reactions, and facilitated recovery in a wide range of diseases (MMW therapy). Many reported MMW effects could not be readily explained by temperature changes during irradiation. The paper outlines some problems and uncertainties in the MMW research area, identifies tasks for future studies, and discusses possible implications for development of exposure safety criteria and guidelines.
Ramundo-Orlando
A. Effects of millimeter waves radiation on cell membrane – A brief review.
Journal of Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves.  2010; 31(12):1400–1411.
The
millimeter waves (MMW) region of the electromagnetic spectrum, extending from
30 to 300 GHz in terms of frequency (corresponding to wavelengths from 10 mm to
1 mm), is officially used in non-invasive complementary medicine in many
Eastern European countries against a variety of diseases such gastro duodenal
ulcers, cardiovascular disorders, traumatism and tumor. On the other hand,
besides technological applications in traffic and military systems, in the near
future MMW will also find applications in high resolution and high-speed
wireless communication technology. This has led to restoring interest in
research on MMW induced biological effects. In this review emphasis has been
given to the MMW-induced effects on cell membranes that are considered the major
target for the interaction between MMW and biological systems.
Ryan KL,
D’Andrea JA, Jauchem JR, Mason PA. Radio frequency radiation of millimeter wave
length: potential occupational safety issues relating to surface heating.  Health Phys. 2000; 78(2):170-81.
Currently,
technology is being developed that makes use of the millimeter wave (MMW) range
(30-300 GHz) of the radio frequency region of the electromagnetic spectrum. As
more and more systems come on line and are used in everyday applications, the
possibility of inadvertent exposure of personnel to MMWs increases. To date,
there has been no published discussion regarding the health effects of MMWs;
this review attempts to fill that void. Because of the shallow depth of
penetration, the energy and, therefore, heat associated with MMWs will be
deposited within the first 1-2 mm of human skin. MMWs have been used in states
of the former Soviet Union to provide therapeutic benefit in a number of
diverse disease states, including skin disorders, gastric ulcers, heart disease
and cancer. Conversely, the possibility exists that hazards might be associated
with accidental overexposure to MMWs. This review attempts to critically
analyze the likelihood of such acute effects as burn and eye damage, as well as
potential long-term effects, including cancer.
Soghomonyan
D, Trchounian K, Trchounian A. Millimeter waves or extremely high frequency
electromagnetic fields in the environment: what are their effects on bacteria?
Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2016; 100(11):4761-71. doi:
10.1007/s00253-016-7538-0.
Millimeter
waves (MMW) or electromagnetic fields of extremely high frequencies at low
intensity is a new environmental factor, the level of which is increased as
technology advance. It is of interest that bacteria and other cells might
communicate with each other by electromagnetic field of sub-extremely high
frequency range. These MMW affected Escherichia coli and many other bacteria,
mainly depressing their growth and changing properties and activity. These
effects were non-thermal and depended on different factors. The significant
cellular targets for MMW effects could be water, cell plasma membrane, and
genome. The model for the MMW interaction with bacteria is suggested; a role of
the membrane-associated proton FOF1-ATPase, key enzyme of bioenergetic
relevance, is proposed. The consequences of MMW interaction with bacteria are
the changes in their sensitivity to different biologically active chemicals,
including antibiotics. Novel data on MMW effects on bacteria and their
sensitivity to different antibiotics are presented and discussed; the combined
action of MMW and antibiotics resulted with more strong effects. These effects
are of significance for understanding changed metabolic pathways and
distinguish role of bacteria in environment; they might be leading to
antibiotic resistance in bacteria. The effects might have applications in the
development of technique, therapeutic practices, and food protection
technology.
Torgomyan
H, Trchounian A. Bactericidal effects of low-intensity extremely high frequency
electromagnetic field: an overview with phenomenon, mechanisms, targets and
consequences. Crit Rev Microbiol. 2013; 39(1):102-11.
Low-intensity
electromagnetic field (EMF) of extremely high frequencies is a widespread
environmental factor. This field is used in telecommunication systems,
therapeutic practices and food protection. Particularly, in medicine and food
industries EMF is used for its bactericidal effects. The significant targets of
cellular mechanisms for EMF effects at resonant frequencies in bacteria could
be water (H2O), cell membrane and genome. The changes in H2O
cluster structure and properties might be leading to increase of chemical
activity or hydration of proteins and other cellular structures. These effects
are likely to be specific and long-term. Moreover, cell membrane with its
surface characteristics, substance transport and energy-conversing processes is
also altered. Then, the genome is affected because the conformational changes
in DNA and the transition of bacterial pro-phages from lysogenic to lytic state
have been detected. The consequences for EMF interaction with bacteria are the
changes in their sensitivity to different chemicals, including antibiotics.
These effects are important to understand distinguishing role of bacteria in
environment, leading to changed metabolic pathways in bacteria and their
antibiotic resistance. This EMF may also affect the cell-to-cell interactions
in bacterial populations, since bacteria might interact with each other through
EMF of sub-extremely high frequency range.
Recent Millimeter Wave
Studies

(Updated: November 29, 2018)
Bantysh BB, Krylov AY, Subbotina TI, Khadartsev AA, Ivanov DV, Yashin AA. Peculiar effects of electromagnetic millimeter waves on tumor development in BALB/c mice. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2018 Sep;165(5):692-694. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30225701


Foster KR, Ziskin MC, Balzano Q. Thermal response of human skin
to microwave energy: A critical review. Health Phys. 2016; 111(6):528-541.
(Note: This work was sponsored by the Mobile Manufacturers Forum. The authors
state that MMF had no control over the contents.) 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27798477
Gandhi OP, Riazi A. Absorption of millimeter waves by human
beings and its biological implications. IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory
and Techniques. MTT-34(2):228-235. 1986. 
http://bit.ly/2oS3rKD

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Haas AJ, Le Page Y, Zhadobov M, Sauleau R, Le Dréan Y. Effects of 60-GHz
millimeter waves on neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells using high-content
screening. Neurosci Lett. 2016 Apr 8;618:58-65.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26921450

Haas AJ, Le Page Y, Zhadobov M, Sauleau R, Dréan YL, Saligaut C.
Effect of acute millimeter wave exposure on dopamine metabolism of NGF-treated
PC12 cells. J Radiat Res. 2017 Feb 24:1-7.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28339776
Hovnanyan K, Kalantaryan V, Trchounian A. The distinguishing
effects of low intensity electromagnetic radiation of different extremely high
frequences on Enterococcus hirae: growth rate inhibition and scanning electron
microscopy analysis. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2017.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28609553

Koyama S, Narita E, Shimizu Y, Suzuki Y, Shiina T, Taki M, Shinohara N, Miyakoshi J. Effects of long-term exposure to 60 GHz millimeter-wavelength radiation on the genotoxicity and heat shock protein (Hsp) expression of cells derived from human eye. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Aug 8;13(8). pii: E802. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27509516
Sivachenko
IB, Medvedev DS, Molodtsova ID, Panteleev SS, Sokolov AY, Lyubashina OA.
Effects of millimeter-wave electromagnetic radiation on the experimental model
of migraine. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2016 Feb;160(4):425-8. doi:
10.1007/s10517-016-3187-7.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26899844
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