Rob Brown, MD

A Physician's Unique Perspective on Wellness

Tag: healthyliving

5G – A Move into the Future! But… What about Public Health?

We have all seen commercials for 5G. And although most of us don’t really understand what 5G is, we have felt the excitement and the hype. The tech industry and world governments believe 5G to be the genesis of the 3rd industrial revolution that will transform society, allowing for the internet of things! This technology will connect the internet to our appliances, our lights, our “things” and so much more. Turn your dishwasher on with your smart phone! Autonomous self driving vehicles will abound. 5G cells will triangulate and precisely locate your phone and other devices whenever you are connected to the network. Vendors will know who you are when you enter their stores and be able to market to you in real time as you move through the aisles. Companies will know when you turn your lights on, turn your TV off, what temperature you turn your thermostat on and how often you do your laundry! 

Anyone could get caught up in the media hype. That is, anyone but those that fear the implications of wide scale surveillance and those aware of the negative health effects from EMF exposure.

What exactly is 5G?

5G stands for 5th generation and represents the next technological leap for wireless communication beyond 4G LTE. 5G will be providing access to a new band width of higher frequency with increased energy, previously used only by military and radar applications. The 5G technology is much more complex than merely sending and receiving information over a higher frequency band though. This is in part related to the anticipated increase in network traffic as well as technical requirements for working with higher frequencies with shorter wavelengths.

5G will utilize frequencies from 6 GHz up to and beyond 86 GHz within the millimeter frequency bandwidth. These higher energetic frequencies are composed of shorter wavelengths allowing for much more information to be delivered over a shorter time frame. But higher frequencies with shorter wavelengths don’t penetrate structures as easily as longer wavelengths, so without any further modification, these high frequency signals would be blocked by trees, building materials, and even rain! As a remedy, engineers have figured out how to focus the millimeter waves into a narrow beam directed at its target device. The increased intensity of the beam enables penetration through houses and offices.

Because the distance traveled by these waves is significantly shorter than low frequency waves, antennae need to be located much closer to each other and to their target devices than the older 3G and 4G transponders. It is for this reason that these smart cells are being installed every 2 – 19 house in urban environments. In this way, a pedestrian or car utilizing data moving down a street will be transferred from cell to cell, allowing uninterrupted service. For these reasons, this technology will become mainly an urban phenomenon.

The Details:

 For the foreseeable future, the 5G network will be a hybrid system utilizing  both 4G LTE and 5G technology. Both of these frequency bands will be emitted from small cells placed strategically within residential neighborhoods and commercial districts. The 4G LTE signal will be beamed 24/7/365. The beam focused 5G signal, on the other hand, will be “on demand” – only utilized when a user initiates the connection. The 5G network will not canvas the neighborhood for users. The 4G LTE/5G interface is expected to be fully operational in most locations around the globe by 2025. Over time, it is expected that the 5G will function as a stand alone system and the for 4G LTE network will eventually be disbanded. 

Why the concern?

The scientific community does not yet understand the full health implications that will surface from the bombardment of high frequency EMF including millimeter waves into our homes. But researchers and medical professionals understanding EMF are extremely concerned about the 5G rollout. There has been worldwide opposition to the 5G deployment by activists and health care advocates. 

The two most apparent health concerns regarding 5G are as follows:  First, the 4G LTE cells will be much too close to people living or walking in these neighborhoods incessantly beaming RF fields. Second, the focussed 5G beams will consist of very strong pulsed EMF that will have the energy and capacity to do significant biological damage to people and animals.

It is expected that 5G will exponentially augment indoor and outdoor RF levels, undoubtedly increasing the number of people who develop EMF related illnesses and electrosensitivity. Millimeter waves in particular have been shown to accelerate bacterial, viral and cancer growth, negatively impact our body’s tumor suppression capability, and cause eye damage and cataracts. 

5G Detection

The 4G LTE frequencies can be detected with RF meters currently available in the market place. At the present time though, there are no reasonably priced detectors available for purchase that can measure the mm wave frequencies emitted by 5G cells. Once the wireless industry determines the frequency band they plan to use, industry will follow suit and design appropriate detectors.

What Can you do to Limit your Exposure to 5G?

1. Now is a good time to remove wifi from within your home. Since 5G will not be activated without your device asking for its service, the cells won’t beam focused EMF bands into your home if you have your devices hardwired. Here are a few suggestions:

  •  Hardwire your computers, smart TVs and tablets with ethernet cables.
  • Use a corded landline for phone service when you are at home.
  •  Have incoming calls forwarded from your cell phone to your landline when you enter your home.
  •  Place your cell phone and tablets in airplane mode when you are at home.

2. Increase your efforts to shield your home from 4G LTE. These signals will be much more intense than those from remote cell towers as they will be beamed from smart cells as close as 30 feet to some homes.  Consider applying shielding paints, building grade foil and/or RF blocking window film if interior RF fields from outside cells are strong. The extent to which you need to shield will depend on your proximity to the cell and the strength of EMF entering your home. A building biologist will be a useful resource to assist you in remediation.
What else can you do?
Become aware of this technology and learn as much as you can in preparation of its roll out in your neighborhood. Keep a journal and be observant of any changes in your health or your family’s health. Become politically active if you are able and check out organizations such as the  Environmental Health Trust which utilize grassroots efforts to combat industry and governmental lobbyists.

EMF, Cancer, and Chronic Disease

Miscommunication within a cell or between cells is a common cause of disease. Mixed messages and altered signals can result from biochemical contaminants as well as electromagnetic interference. Most people scan down a list of potential adverse health effects to see if a toxin can cause cancer. The risk of developing a chronic inflammatory condition such as autoimmune disease or a hormonal disorder like diabetes doesn’t raise the hair up on most people’s necks like the thought of potentially getting cancer. 

Do electromagnetic fields (EMF) cause cancer?
In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified EMF as a Group 2B carcinogen, i.e. possibly carcinogenic. This determination was based on the potential increased risk of developing brain cancer from mobile cell phone use. That means, as far as the World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned, EMF may cause cancer. We might have thought that over the years, with thousands of peer reviewed journal articles in the scientific literature, this uncertainty would have been resolved. But unfortunately, for political and economic reasons, the WHO placed a majority of members tied to industry on this important influential core research committee. Their conflicts of interest render the indecision suspect.

What causes cancer? 
At a most basic understanding, two conditions can lead to cancer. The first is an improperly functioning immune system. The second is an agent causing an excessive number of cells to go rogue and reproduce uncontrollably. Most of us think of something “causing” cancer as being the latter. Studies on EMF have shown the radiation can play an influential role in both processes.  

EMF and the Immune System
In a real sense, the cure for cancer has always been within ourselves. A properly functioning immune system is designed to knock out crazed, uncontrollable cancer cells before they get a foothold. Immune cells called natural killer cells are tasked with this chore. Short term exposure to EMF can excite the immune system and increase immune reaction, but prolonged, chronic EMF exposure has been shown to cause a drop off in the immune system’s response and a reduction in the number of natural killer cells. Most of us now live with chronic exposure to radio-frequency (RF) EMF through our cell phones, wifi routers, and other sources, ELF-EMF emitted by 50 Hz and 60Hz electrical currents running through our homes also negatively impact the immune system. Magnetic fields over 1 microtesla generated by some appliances and neighborhood power lines have also been found to cause a drop off in NK cells.  

EMF, Cellular Miscommunication, and Oxidative Stress
Cancer starts with one cell going haywire and loosing its “sense of purpose and community. The diseased cell no longer communicates properly with its surroundings and begins to incessantly reproduce itself. One of the important mechanisms by which this can occur is through an internal imbalance called oxidative stress. When a cell is experiencing oxidative stress, molecules within the cell are missing electrons. These charged molecules then look to steal electrons from other sources in the cell, setting off a cascade of events potentially damaging DNA, mitochondria (the energy generating powerhouses of the cell), and the cell membrane, among other important intracellular structures. 

EMF causes oxidative stress even at non-thermal levels! Yes, EMF, along with many other environmental toxins, can cause oxidative stress. Many diseases, including ALL inflammatory diseases, heart disease, and cancer, can arise from oxidative stressChronic oxidative stress in the brain can also lead to mental illness, stroke, and dementia. There is evidence that cardiovascular disease is increasing because of oxidative stress from chronic EMF exposure. And, some researchers have uncovered evidence that the diabetes and childhood obesity epidemics may also be the result of increasing EMF fields in our society.  

What can you do?
1. Limit your exposure to EMF as much as possible during the day and at night.
2. Hardwire your computer and accessories including keyboard, mouse, and printer.
3. Use ethernet cables for all internet based appliances you utilize most often, such as smart TVs, to directly connect them to the internet router. 
4. Turn off wifi while you sleep. Cable companies typically provide a router that emits wifi 24 hours a day. Much better to turn off this capability (ask your cable provider how to do this). With wifi disabled, your cable router will remain in communication with the cable company and hardwired devices will still have internet access. A second wifi router can then be plugged into the cable router when wifi is needed and unplugged before heading for bed. Alternatively, the accessory wifi router can be plugged into an appliance timer so it automatically shuts off 30 minutes before bedtime, and turns back on in the morning.
5. Distance yourself from EMF emitting devices wherever possible. As technology becomes more pervasive in our society, this is becoming increasingly difficult.
6. Place wifi routers far away from the living spaces you spend most of your time in. 
7. Increase your daily consumption of antioxidants. These foods and supplements provide extra electrons to cells undergoing oxidative stress and can help mitigate damage. There are tons of great antioxidant rich foods. I recommend you eat a variety of them and often.
Vitamin ACarrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli
Vitamin ESunflower seeds, almonds, leafy greens
CysteineCheese, sunflower seeds, chicken
CoQ10Organ meats, spinach, oranges
FlavonoidsTea, Citrus fruit
GlutathioneAsparagus, avocados, squash
Additional suggestions:Artichokes, dark chocolate, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
A Few Recommended Antioxidants 

Tide Pods, Magnetic Laundry Tablets or the EcoWasher?

Doing the laundry isn’t a task I particularly enjoy.  It is one of those time consuming chores I continually struggle with to fit into my schedule. And now that my kids are teenagers, the laundry needs to be done 4 or 5 times a week. My interest in the technology behind washing textiles however picked up recently after I was introduced to two methods of laundering clothes without detergent, the magnetic laundry system and the EcoWasher.

Laundry Magnets?

Was it laziness or complacency? I had been given the magnetic laundry system over the holidays, but I was hesitant to try it out. Although I had been using Nikken’s magnetic technology as a tool to heal physical injuries for decades, I was unsure about the ability for magnetics to wash clothing. I played with the idea that maybe the water molecules, in being mini magnets themselves, would somehow align with the magnetic field created by the laundry magnets and that this could somehow make the water more potent at cleaning. But, I was skeptical. The blue magnets remained in their box on the kitchen counter for several weeks.

Then, jokes about the Tide Pod challenge became a more frequent, disturbing conversation in my home at dinnertime. Although we were using a less toxic detergent recommended on the EWG website, it was then that I began to think that if these magnetic discs worked, it would be great way to remove another set of toxins from the household.

You have no doubt heard that some foolish kids on the internet are videotaping themselves biting into and swallowing Tide Pods, a cute name for a pre-measured packet of Tide laundry detergent wrapped up in a shiny coating. The product is soft, colorful and swirled, and looks like a piece of candy. A similar appearing packet of dishwasher detergent is sold by Cascade, another Proctor and Gamble product. I haven’t heard of any YouTube videos of kids eating cascade, and I hope that doesn’t become the next dare!

Yes the packaging is labeled, “harmful if swallowed”, but to a teen, isn’t that so boring? I mean EVERYTHING says that?! And to a younger kid who can’t read, the packets look like flavorful, fruity treats! Tide pods are poisonous. A sampling of 5 ingredients in the Tide Pod formula includes: linear alkylbenzene sulfonate, ethanolamine, alcoholethoxy sulfate, polyethyleneimine ethoxylate, disodium diaminostilbene disulfonate etc. The idea of a child swallowing this batch of chemicals is truly frightening.

My Experience

So, I took my chances, opened up the magnetic laundry system and ran my first load of laundry. I was pleasantly surprised. The clothes did come out clean and without any odor. And trust me, my 15 year old son can make clothing unbelievably rank after a day of exercising or doing track. I did notice on a few articles of clothing that there were faint stains, so the next time I washed them, I pre-treated those items with a stain remover. I have no problem with that for I often use a stain remover with my regular detergent anyway.

I’ve been doing the laundry this way for five weeks now and I have decided that it works! Although it wasn’t something I was conscious of beforehand, I have also come to realize that our clothes no longer have the feel of, what I now recognize as being, dried detergent residue. I now realize that detergent ingredients have permeated my clothing for as long as I can remember.


Some people claim that detergent is needed to kill viruses, molds and bacteria. I don’t have any experience with this. I suppose if I have clothing or towels that have mildew in the future and the magnetic system doesn’t clean them adequately, I’ll rewash them with detergent. But, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

If you are looking for a method to wash and sanitize your clothing without chemicals, there is another product on the market called the EcoWasher. This adaptor attaches to the cold water intake valve of your washing machine and infuses ozone into the water, sanitizing your clothing in a similar method to that used in hospitals.. The basic system, The EcoWasher Pro costs around $350 and is available here.

Although I have no personal experience with this system, my good friend, who also happens to be my physician, told me he swears by the EcoWasher and calls the technology “The real deal!”

What to do?

It’s tough to break habits, and laundry is definitely an ingrained routine for many of us. In addition, advertisements and reviews often misrepresent and misinform, no doubt designed to make false claims of a product’s efficacy and to smear the reputation of competing interests. An old friend of mine expressed concern that he read on the Snopes website that the laundry magnets were proven to be a fraud. Over the years, I have noticed that this website, in particular, discredits pretty much anything and everything that isn’t status quo and pro-industry, including many products I love and have used for decades. I don’t make decisions based on the information from these types of sources. If a product sounds interesting to me, I try it out and make my own assessment. Sometimes I am disappointed, but other times I am very pleased. I have found that my joy in life often comes from my own exploration and discovery.

So, I recommend you take a moment to think about your options for laundry. Yes, there are dozens of detergents to choose from, and there are also detergent-free alternatives. It’s not a trivial decision. The chemicals in these cleansers are clearly poisonous if ingested orally, but some of these toxins come in contact with your skin 24/7 from clothing, towels and bed linens. Some of these can be absorbed directly through your skin and insidiously affect your health. Consider this, especially, if you or someone in your home suffers from allergies or other types of inflammatory disease.

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