A new case report on two previously healthy men who developed “microwave syndrome” symptoms after a 5G cell tower was installed on the roof of their office, and a similar report published last month, show that non-ionizing 5G radiation can cause health problems in people with no prior history of electromagnetic sensitivity.
By Suzanne Burdick, Ph.D.
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A new case report shows that two previously healthy men rapidly developed typical “microwave syndrome” symptoms shortly after a 5G cell tower was installed on the roof of their office.
According to the report, published Feb. 4 in the Annals of Clinical Case Reports, the men experienced headaches, joint pain, tinnitus, abnormal fatigue, sleep disturbances, burning skin, anxiety and trouble concentrating.
The findings match the results of a similar case report published last month in the same journal — that appeared earlier in the Swedish journal Medicinsk Access — showing a previously healthy man and woman developed similar microwave syndrome symptoms soon after a 5G tower was installed on top of their apartment.
Both reports show that non-ionizing radiation from 5G — well below levels allowed by authorities — can cause health problems in individuals who had no prior history of electromagnetic sensitivity (EMS).
The two reports appear to be the first studies in the world on the health effects in humans from exposure to 5G, according to the authors.
The case reports’ lead author, Dr. Lennart Hardell — a world-leading scientist on cancer risks from radiation — said the two reports are “groundbreaking” because they serve as the “first warning of a health hazard.”
“This may be the case for 5G and these results must be taken seriously,” he said.
“People shouldn’t have to leave their homes because of 5G,” said Hardell, an oncologist and epidemiologist with the Environment and Cancer Research Foundation who has authored more than 100 papers on non-ionizing radiation.
Just the ‘tip of the iceberg’
Hardell told The Defender the two case studies are likely just “the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to 5G’s impact on people’s health.
Because research on the health effects of exposure to 5G is lacking, Hardell said, we don’t know how many people get sick from 5G.
Mona Nilsson — managing director of the Swedish Radiation Protection Foundation and co-author of the case reports — said it was a “great scandal” that “5G has been rolled out for several years now in Sweden and in the U.S. without any study at all being performed about the health effects.”
“These two studies show that 5G is very dangerous to health and that the scientists and doctors who have been warning for years of serious consequences for human health due to a predicted massive increase in microwave radiation … have been right in their assessments,” Nilsson added.
5G impacts many organ systems
In the January case report, telecommunication companies replaced a 3G/4G cell tower with a 5G tower on the roof directly above the apartment of a healthy man and woman, ages 63 and 62.
Days after the 5G tower was installed, the two residents began developing acute physical symptoms, causing them to move out.
The residents’ physical symptoms quickly decreased or disappeared when they moved to a building with much lower radiation levels.
Measurements taken in their apartment showed extremely high levels of non-ionizing radiation throughout the apartment. The maximum value measured was more than 2,500,000 microwatts — the highest maximum value that the meter used can measure — so the actual radiation may have been even higher, Hardell and Nilsson said.
The report’s findings contradict assurances from the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority that the amount of radiation a cell tower emits is relatively below, behind or above the tower, she added.
The February report discussed the experiences of two men, ages 57 and 42, when a 3G/4G tower was replaced with 5G equipment on the roof of their office where they worked as information technology and management consultants and sometimes slept.
The men displayed symptoms shortly after the 5G tower was installed and chose to relocate — at which point their symptoms lessened or disappeared.
Hardell and Nilsson measured a maximum of 1,180,000 microwatts (μW/m2) in the men’s office.
Both case reports utilized the classic “provocation test” design which is “extremely important in medicine,” Hardell said because it clearly shows the symptoms that occur when a person is exposed to something — such as an allergen or drug or new radiation level.
Commenting on the findings, Hardell said he found it interesting that 5G appears to act as a “fundamental biological mechanism” because it affects “so many organ systems.”
“How is it explained that you get cognitive effects, heart palpitations, sleep problems and so on?” he said.
The individuals in the case reports had no history of EMS, so they were not “primed” to suspect 5G might be causing their illness, Hardell added.
Reports pave way for accurate classification of 5G health risks
This type of research is pivotal in getting the ball rolling toward the appropriate regulatory classification of 5G as posing human health risks, according to Hardell.
In 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) as “possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).” And in January, the IARC announced it will “coordinate production of a risk assessment on 5G exposures” scheduled to be released in 2025.
Meanwhile, Hardell and Nilsson are already conducting their third case report on the health effects of 5G on humans and hope to publish it next month.
While their first two reports focused on the health effects associated with living underneath a 5G tower, they told the Defender their next case report will document the health effects experienced by individuals living across the street from a tower.
“Those are also very alarming [situations],” Nilsson said.
Nilsson said they have already obtained a measurement of 2.5 million microwatts — “which is the top level that our meter can measure” — at 60 meters away from the tower, so people living within that range of a tower may be affected by radiation.
Hardell emphasized that case reports can have a big impact over time. “It [5G] reminds me of my studies on phenoxy herbicides and dioxins — all started with case reports,” Hardell said.
He called the chemical herbicides “Agent Orange stuff,” referring to how U.S. military forces used them during the Vietnam War to eliminate forest cover and crops for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops.
In the 1970s, Hardell said he noticed a few of his patients who worked in the Swedish forestry industry — tasked with spraying hardwoods with these herbicides — developed a rare form of cancer called soft tissue sarcoma.
So he wrote and published a case report on it, which led to additional studies.
“There was very huge resistance from the forestry, industrial, agricultural [sectors],” he said.
Yet 20 years later, the IARC classified these types of dioxins as “carcinogenic to humans (Group 1),” Hardell said.
Hardell also said his case studies were used by the U.S. government to grant compensation to Vietnam War veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange.
RF-EMF guidelines are industry-friendly, not based on science
The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) is a private non-governmental organization registered in Munich, Germany, that “managed to get collaborative status” with the World Health Organization to “harmonize the RF-radiation guidelines all over the world,” Hardell said in a 2021 review article.
According to Hardell, ICNIRP appoints its own members and is closed to transparency.
ICNIRP has published only three articles with guidelines on RF-EMF exposure, he said.
“Only thermal (heating) effects from RF radiation are recognized, thereby excluding all studies showing harmful effects at lower non-thermal intensities,” Hardell said.
ICNIRP guidelines are set to allow very high exposure levels so that the deployment of this technology is not hampered, he said, adding that they were favored by industry while disadvantaging human health and the environment.
“In fact,” Hardell added, “the ICNIRP guidelines have never been challenged by industry in peer-reviewed articles, which must be taken as a green card for acceptance by industry.”
In 2020, ICNIRP vice chairman Eric van Rongen, Ph.D., said 5G is safe for humans as long ICNIRP limit levels are not exceeded.
Van Rongen also said ICNRIP’s guidelines about the “safety of 5G” were “developed after a thorough review of all relevant scientific literature.”
However, Nilsson said the ICNIRP guidelines were developed by taking the average of RF levels over 6 minutes, which obfuscates the actual danger because 5G towers can emit pulsing signals.
Prior research has shown additional risk from pulsated radiation, Nilsson said.
She said that according to the authors of a 1971 review of EMF scientific studies done up until that time, researchers in the USSR, the U.S. and Czechoslovakia independently concluded that pulsed-wave radiation can cause greater biological effects in animals — including harm to the organs and death — than the same frequency when it is not pulsated.
Nilsson said it was unscientific of van Rongen to claim that studies have proven the safety of 5G regarding human health.
“Eric van Rongen will not be able to refer to any such studies because they simply do not exist!” Nilsson said.
Suzanne Burdick, Ph.D., is a reporter and researcher for The Defender based in Fairfield, Iowa. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin (2021), and a master's degree in communication and leadership from Gonzaga University (2015). Her scholarship has been published in Health Communication. She has taught at various academic institutions in the United States and is fluent in Spanish.
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