Updated: Nov 22, 2022
A Building Biologist's top reasons for not purchasing the latest in 5G protection.
Did you hear? There is finally a consumer-grade 5G EMF detection meter on the market. As a certified Building Biologist, you might think I would have been first in line for such a device, like an Apple fanboy waiting for release of the first iPhone (which actually was me way back then, btw. But things have changed). After all, the rapid rollout of 5G has put it into a surprising number of metropolitan areas in just a few short years, and it is one of the most common questions/concerns I get from my clients. Plus the satellites in space, and in-home 5G routers...and on and on. Amongst my colleagues in the trade, 5G is one of the most alarming EMF concerns challenging us in our abilities to protect our clients from excessive exposure.
So being able to detect 5G is really important for my work, right? It may shock you to hear then why I'm not going to be purchasing this new meter. Let me start with my concerns with this meter, and then I'll touch on how I look at 5G in terms of detection and protection. But First, what is 5G?
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What is 5G?
5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology (not to be confused with a 5 GHz WiFi network). It represents an evolutionary change in the technology around us and what it can do. 5G promises to bring us the "internet of things" where your refrigerator can sense the the milk is low and place an automated order with the grocery store whereby new milk will be instantly delivered via drone. Seriously.
While that may sound great (it sounds ridiculous to me), 5G has a huge dark side and many unknowns. The primary concern in my mind is that it will deploy hundreds of thousands of new antennas significantly closer to our homes, emitting new radiation in new ways across new frequency bands. And this is on top of current 4G/LTE radiation, which isn't going away any time soon. Essentially the radiation around us is going to go from a Nissan Sentra to a Ferrari in the next few years.
Here's an infographic courtesy of Safe Living Technologies covering the frequencies emitted by 5G:
Here is an infographic covering the other aspects of 5G's dark side:
So now that you understand a bit more about the monster that is 5G, let me explain why I'm not a big fan of the new 5G detection meter.
A Building Biologist's concerns with the new 5G meter
This meter requires the use of plug-in modules to detect the various major 5G millimeter wave bands. With 5G, the frequency range is much, much wider than current 4G/LTE. Because of that, it is very difficult for the hardware and software inside an EMF meter to cover such a big span with good sensitivity and accuracy. As far as I can tell from the product specs for this meter, one would have to potentially switch out multiple modules multiple times when doing readings to get the full picture.
Switching out multiple modules is not user-friendly, and I work with a lot of clients to help them in understanding how to use their EMF meters. Many can feel quickly overwhelmed with even basic meters. It's a lot to grasp at first, so having a meter that you need to open up and insert/remove modules is very unrealistic to my mind.
At this point, it appears each plug-in module costs around $500. That's on top of the $500 base price for the meter itself (covering the same frequencies that other meters currently offer). Since there are a wide range of frequencies being used across the 5G landscape, getting the most out of this meter could get really expensive, really fast.
The millimeter wave frequencies of 5G are emitted from cell towers in an on-demand basis (other bands of 5G are emitted 24/7 and can be detected with current RF meters). That means you have to have a 5G enabled device to get the 5G tower to "look your way" and send a beam of radiation. This is very different from current 4G/LTE which essentially blast radiation in a wide swath around the clock, regardless of what type of devices are around. So, to get this new 5G meter to pick up any radiation, you will need a 5G device very close by, like in your pocket. This feeds and supports the Big Telecom machine's expansion into 5G, which is unsavory to many. Plus it brings additional radiation very close to your body. 5G radiation isn't replacing anything, rather being added on top of existing 4G/LTE.
The numbers on the meter don't have any weight behind them; they aren't based on any data specific to 5G millimeter wave frequencies. This is different from the current meters, which rely on standards like those from the Building Biology Institute and BioInitiative Report. Those draw from thousands of studies, which we just don't have yet for 5G frequencies and deployment techniques. We have no reason to think 5G is good for us to be around, and there are already some concerning studies on health impacts. Until better scientific consensus is landed upon, the value in the numbers this meter displays for 5G is minimal.
Not much is known about the chipset inside the meter, nor the manufacturer itself. Is the chip high quality? Is the manufacturer reputable in the industry? Unlike my preferred brand of wireless detection meters, Safe and Sound, we can't say yet.
How a Building Biologist looks at 5G detection & protection
Unfortunately, there is no "easy-button" with 5G detection and protection. No single meter can tell you everything you need to know. 5G is so much more complex than current cellular technology like 4G/LTE that we have to take a multi-faceted approach in protecting ourselves from it. Here's how I do it.
Investigate the tower profile in your area. One of the most important ways to do this is visually. Be on the lookout in your area, especially within 1/2 mile of your home, for cellular towers. See the image below- many 5G antennas are being installed onto existing towers (right side image). Stand-alone 5G towers look like the pictures in the center and left of the below image. Beyond visually, use websites like Nperf and Antenna Search to see a listing (although incomplete) of towers, including 5G in your area. If you really want to nerd out click here for 5G satellite locations.
Understand that if you live in a higher population area, you will have more cell towers, 5G antennas, and WiFi systems around you, increasing your exposure exponentially. Location is huge in this game, and getting away from high-population areas, plus ensuring you have more defensible space around you (large lots, avoid apartments etc...) is a HUGE consideration.
Investigate the radiation profile inside your home. Using a quality meter, like Safe and Sound (linked above) will give you data on the overall amount of wireless radiation up to 10 gigahertz in your environment. This will catch the existing sources like 4G/LTE, smart meters, WiFi, radio/TV, and even C-band 5G (the lower frequency aspect of 5G). The higher frequency aspect of 5G, known as millimeter wave won't be detected by current meters, but also doesn't easily penetrate walls and windows.
The data that you do get from these meter is meaningful and actionable. It will indicate the severity of the situation.
PS you may just find that you have stronger sources of radiation inside your home than outside! A trip around your house with a detection meter will tell you what to unplug (meter will get much louder near strong sources). Then you can more accurately gauge what's coming in from outside. You'll want to address both sources of radiation (inside & outside) but for the sake of this article, we're focusing on external...
We are interested in the total amount of wireless radiation, not just 5G. Unfortunately, 5G isn't replacing anything at this point. It is added on top of existing 4G/LTE. Focusing in on 5G alone is misguided and not helpful in creating a low-EMF environment.
Compare to the exposure guidelines set up by Building Biology Institute (below boxed in orange). The Safe & Sound brand meters have convenient color-coded lights that correspond to the severity levels below.
If your home falls into the yellow or higher on the exposure guidelines, you should consider shielding. There are a variety of proven shielding materials available these days from paint, to fabric, to aluminum mesh/foil, and even window films. All of which have their place and generally perform very well against a wide frequency range (including millimeter wave). It's best at this point to consult with a Building Biologist to ensure any shielding is applied correctly, and in the appropriate spots of your home. Otherwise you can get poor results or even make things worse.
Symptoms of 5G Exposure
Even if you don't have a detection meter, you can still pay attention to your health and any symptoms you may be experiencing. Common symptoms of 5G as well as WiFi, cellular and BlueTooth radiation exposure are as follows. Do you ever experience any of them after spending time on the computer or being near any tech electronics?
stinging or tingling
tinnitus/ringing in the ears
skin sensitivity or reactions
mood changes, including anxiety or depression
If so, these can be a good indication that something is off in your environment. It could be any number of environmental stressors like mold, VOC, chemical fragrances, and even EMF like a new 5G tower down the street or power line exposures.
To bring us full circle, the bottom line is that we still have a long way to go in terms of making consumer-grade 5G radiation meters reveal useful data, as well as being user-friendly and affordable. Until that time, I recommend you use the tips and tricks in this article to your advantage to stay on top of 5G and wireless in your environment.
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In my experience working with clients in their homes, the most value in reducing EMF exposure comes from putting money towards a comprehensive EMF inspection and remediation for your home.
If you would like to learn more about testing EMF levels in your home or any aspect of this article, don't hesitate to reach out and take advantage of my free discovery call offering.
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Shane Reilly Electromagnetic Radiation Specialist Owner - Optimal Dwelling Spaces LLC
Making the invisible visible! Electromagnetic Field (EMF) INSPECTION // REMEDIATION // CONSULTATION My Trending Post: My EMF Journey