This post is Grassroots, meaning a reader posted it directly. If you see an issue with it, contact an editor.
If you’d like to post a Grassroots post, click here!

0.2
June 3, 2020

Cell 4G/5G Safety Issues: Protecting Birds and People.

  1. Cell Phone 4G/5G Safety Issues
    Protecting Birds and People

Understand Cell Radiation:
The Inverse Square Law for power levels at a distance is key to understanding cell towers. If you move X times further away from a radio source the measured power will be:
1/(X times X).
If you go 10 times further away the power will be 1/100th of the strength.

If you measure a power level at a certain distance from a transmitter and then move 1000 times further away the power measured will be 1/(1000*1000) or 1 millionth of the power at the transmitter location.

Supposing a cell tower puts out 200 watts as measured 1cm from the tower antenna. That is a dangerous level. Birds that sit on the tower antenna can be killed. Sometimes technicians are injured from working on a live cell tower!

Technicians working on a live antenna have known for a century that you need to turn off the transmitter to work on it!  For a technician to forget to turn off the tower before servicing is just stupidity today, just as it would have been in 1920!

Technicians are always warned to turn the transmitter off before working on a radio tower. This is equivalent to an electrician failing to turn off the main power and getting electrocuted. This is a century old danger that some 5G conspiracy theorists focus on.

If you are on the street 10 meters away from a 200 watt cell tower antenna you are safe. The 200 watts is measured a centimeter or so away. 10 meters is 1000 times 1 centimeter. The strength you will measure will be 1/(1000*1000) or 1 millionth of the power.

Therefore on the street you will experience 200 microwatts of power. This is a totally harmless power level.

Even if the cell tower transmitter was 1000 watts you would only receive one milliwatt (1/1000 watt) of energy from the tower. This is 50 times weaker than a child’s walkie talkie delivers to the ear of a child.

Safe Cellphone Use
Many people hold the cellphone to their ear that is 1 centimeter away from their head. If you lay the phone in your hand and use the speaker phone this is 20 centimeters away the power is …

1/(20*20)

Or 400 times weaker.

If you are afraid of cell phone radiation, always use the speaker phone! If you want to put your ear up to the phone keep the discussion brief.

The 5G Experience
With 5G the power levels you will experience directly from your phone will be much lower than for 4G because there are more towers in a 5G network and your phone will need to use much less power to reach the closer towers. The towers themselves will not need to be as powerful as 4G towers.

The Inverse Square Law explains why the power levels from your phone to your head are the serious issue, not the cell tower radiation.

A typical cell phone puts out a watt of power a centimeter from your head and this is not a good idea for long conversations! With 5G and a close cell tower the radiation from your phone might only be 1 milliwatt or less instead of the 1 watt needed to reach a distant 4G tower.

The design  of 5G is intended to protect your health through widely distributed lower powered cell towers, but there are some dangers from the 5 gigahertz and greater radio frequencies used for the first time in 5G systems.

Addressing the safety of 5G:
The possible increased danger may be the use of 5 gigahertz plus frequencies that optionally can be used in 5G. These frequencies do not need to be used. 5G is a flexible system with many options. For people concerned about this pressure can be exerted on phone companies to not implement this range of frequencies.

I would like to see more research done on the higher radio frequencies before they are activated in 5G but I do feel safer with the generally lower levels of radio energy that the user will experience with 5G versus 4G that we now use.

Setting Your Phone to 4G
With some cell phone designs you will be able to turn off the use of higher frequencies, similar to how some 4G phones allow you to optionally select 3G. As soon as you select 4G you will not be subjected to the 10 gigahertz plus frequencies.

Birds Dying from Cell Towers:
Bird fatalities from radio frequencies have been seen since the 1920s when powerful transmitters became available. When I was a kid in 1955 I remember seagulls being killed by the TV transmitting station near our house in Sault Ste Marie. But this unfortunate occurance led me to an invention idea. We can protect the birds with a simple addition to cell phone infrastructure!

Invention to Protect Birds:
(An Open Source Declaration)

A radio wave transparent shield really should be used to protect the birds! The Shield would keep the birds a meter away from the antennas of cell towers. A single meter of spacing would drop the radio frequency levels by a factor of at least 1/(100*100) or 10,000 times less. The birds would be safe for occasional visits but not for nesting. The top would have little spikes to make it an undesireable place to nest.

Perhaps this idea should go to the Audubon Society for funding.

(Many thanks to my cousin Dennis Espey who helped me with the discussion over lunch. He is a cellphone technogy designer.)

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Ian Faulkner  |  Contribution: 4,555