Global 5G Protest Warns of Health and Ecological Costs

publicerad 5 september 2020
- Olle Johansson
Olle Johansson (photo: NASMS, A. McDowell), Tanja Katarina Rebel and Brian McGavin (private photos)

The drive by tech giants to develop artificial intelligence envisages every facet of our lives dominated by 5G networks. The media paints it as the technology of the future but 5G is invading the public domain without public oversight.

By Olle Johansson, associate professor, retired from The Karolinska Institute Medical University, Stockholm, Sweden. Tanja Katarina Rebel, eco-philosopher, member of Stop 5G International, Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK. Brian McGavin, writer/environmentalist, Stockport, UK.

The costs are huge. Research by Greensill, a capital finance company, estimates that developing 5G globally will reach more than $2.7 trillion by the end of 2020. Operators paid almost £1.4bn for the UK government 5G wavelengths auction alone. When the world is reeling under the strain of a virus pandemic, a debt crisis, climate breakdown and economic collapse, how does it possibly make sense to throw so much money at a potentially harmful tech fantasy when we need to spend billions on a green transition to sustainability?

Claims that ‘we need 5G because 4G can’t cope’ conflicts with the millions spent looking for things to do with it. With growing pressure to disinvest in polluting fossil fuel companies, no such restraint is shown by 5G investors. The media is pumping up an unquestioning technology love-in with an IT sector that paints visions of driverless vehicles they claim are safer and more efficient than human controlled transport, offers ultra-fast streaming to mobile cell phones, virtual reality tech fantasies, internet-enabled fridges that can re-order your milk and even drone delivery of online orders to homes, to shatter what peace we have left in an overcrowded world.

Advocates point to areas where the technology might assist, perhaps in surgical procedures, but there is no sound evidence that autonomous vehicles are reducing collisions. A 2018 US study says driverless systems would have to improve ten-fold in detecting pedestrians, compared with humans. (Guardian, October 3, 2019).

ArcanumSkolan 2024

As data from billions of internet-connected ‘smart’ devices grow exponentially, it is estimated that the IT industry could consume 20% of all the world’s electricity by 2025, straining power grids to feed an incessant demand from people hooked on phone screen entertainment. The Internet of Things promises to give us more. But more of what?

  • Wireless cell antennas galore. 5G will bring a huge increase in microwave radiation everywhere, in cities, suburbs, parks, nature reserves. Instead of cell towers every few miles, there will be small but powerful towers—in front of every third to fifth home.
  • Atmospheric effects and use of fossil fuels. Instead of 2,000 satellites orbiting the Earth, there will shortly be 50,000, and permission has been granted for 100,000. These satellites have a short lifespan requiring more deployment. A new hydrocarbon engine to power a fleet of suborbital rockets would emit black carbon which “could cause potentially significant changes in the global atmospheric circulation” according to a 2010 Californian study. (Guardian, October 3, 2019).
  • Astronomical observations, including asteroid collision monitoring, will be greatly harmed by plans to deploy up to 50,000 or 100,000 small satellites in preparation for 5G. (International Astronomical Union)
  • Disruption of natural ecosystems. Thousands of peer-reviewed studies already show electrosmog to be harmful to public health and ecology, more so with pulsed 24/7 high-frequency radiation, which will be vastly more harmful to humans and wildlife, especially bees and other pollinators. Since 2000, reports of birds abandoning nests and reduced survival are common. (cf. Alfonso Balmori, biologist, and Exposure of Insects to Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields from 2 to 120 GHz).
  • More tree culling. The 5G Innovation Centre in Surrey says that “where trees are of comparable heights to masts, coverage can be reduced by as much as 70%.”
  • New ‘microcomb’ cable fiber technologies are safer, 10 times more efficient than 5G and could be in wide use within three years. (Monash University).
  • Impact on human health and our environment. Despite recent revision, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection guidelines remain largely unchanged since 1998.
  1. In 2016 The Global Union Against Radiation Deployment from Space (GUARD) wrote to US officials about the potential harm 5G will inflict –
  2. Effects on the skin – Sweat glands may act like antennas when exposed to these wavelengths, meaning that we could become more conductive. Another study found 90% of the transmitted power is absorbed in the skin. (Dr. Ben-Ishai, Hebrew University, Israel). The skin is intimately connected to the nervous system, opening the door to an increase in neurological disorders primarily of the peripheral nervous system.
  3. Effects on plant health – millimetre waves are particularly susceptible to being absorbed by plants, which humans and animals consume as a food source; see
  • Abuse of informed consent. 5G is invading the public domain without public oversight. Nowhere in its seven ‘terms of reference’ did the UK government’s consultation ‘Call for Evidence and the Road to 5G, even mention ‘health and environmental’ concerns. It is a monumental bias to promote the tech lobby investment, oblivious to the health and ecological impact. Similar to the playbook used by tobacco, asbestos, Teflon, and other toxins, the telecom industry has neglected to disclose risks from 5G. Instead, it unabashedly asserts 5G’s safety while providing no substantive independent studies to support this claim. They are flying blind on the health and environmental effects and putting profit before people.

People are rising across the world to say no to 5G which is being rolled out without independent health or environmental impacts assessments and without informed consent, enshrined in UN Law. People should have the right to decide what kind of radiation they are exposed to and whether they want it at all without being labelled “conspiracy theorists.” The Stop 5G movement bases its concerns about radiofrequency radiation on evidence-based independent science. Instead of peddling a one-sided ‘conspiracy’ narrative, the media needs to engage in serious debate.

On June 6, 2020, 5G protests took place across the world, including in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, The Philippines, USA, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, France, Greece, Bulgaria, and the UK.  A new “Stop 5G Global Protest” will take place on September 26.


Finally, do not get us wrong. The current exposures to other sources of electromagnetic fields and signals, such as 2G, 3G and 4G, WiFi, baby alarms, smart meters, etc., are not safe. That’s the reason why we want to – in time – address the potential health consequences as well as biological impacts of the next generations, such as 5G. But we are very well understanding the need to also warn of health and ecological costs of the earlier versions.

By Olle Johansson, Tanja Katarina Rebel, Brian McGavin


We can point to thousands of relevant scientific reports on environmental and linked health issues, see:, at Aachen University, and

For more information see the “Global 5G Protest Facebook Group” and “Stop 5G International”: and

For further reading, see:

Johansson O, “Associate professor: Wireless radiation – the biggest full-scale biomedical experiment ever done on Earth”, 5/8, 2018a,

Johansson O, “To understand adverse health effects of artificial electromagnetic fields…  …is “rocket science” needed or just common sense?”, In: Essays on Consciousness – Towards a New Paradigm (ed. I. Fredriksson), Balboa Press, Bloomington, IN, USA, 2018b, pp 1-38, ISBN 978-1-9822-0811-0

Johansson O, “Is the ‘electrosmog’ finally clearing?”, 4/2, 2019a,

Johansson O, “To bee, or not to bee, that is the five “G” question”, 28/5, 2019,

Johansson O, Ferm R, ” “Yes, Prime Minister” Stefan Löfven, but no! This is not good enough!”, 3/5, 2020,

Santini R, Johansson O, “If 5G is not deemed safe in the USA, and nowhere in the rest of the world, by the insurance industry … why is it by the Danish government?”, 8/7, 2020,


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