I don’t have a lot of research to back this up. I did find a few links that claimed 5 GHz (or any GHz) WiFi would do various bad things from lowering your IQ to mutating your mitochondria; but nothing I’d call definitive, and a lot of it was whacko prattle.
Yet what has happened did happen.
So you will get a “story”.
I bought a new WiFi router for our “inside” network. It does both 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz. Things came up nicely. Never thought to connect that buy to anything health involved that was coincidental.
Then the spouse started having some health issues and I started having disrupted sleep. I just figured it was the Old Man Thing. I’d wake up after about 4 hours, visit The Little Room, and often be unable to return to sleep. About the same time I started getting what seemed like peripheral neuropathy. I’d wake up with my feet tingling or a bit of burning sensation.
So I checked my blood sugar. Normal. Cut alcohol intake to zero (for months now). No change. On down the list of possibles… made sure B vitamins were taken, etc. Over time it seemed like my heart rate was a bit irregular, but it was only a feeling. The Spouse had “hear palpitations” and some various medicines were tried. They would come and go.
My interior router was not always used, only turned on when needed for something most of the time; but sometimes left on for days depending on what I was doing, or forgot to do ;-)
Then one day I’d noticed that the spouse seemed to not have irregularities when the router was off. I rearranged things so that it wasn’t really needed and left it off for a week or two. She was better. OK, off it goes.
Then about 2 weeks after that, the AT&T router died. The replacement does both 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz. It runs 24 x 7. After a few days, spouse is having palpitations again, I’m sleeping “4 hours and pee” with feet tingles sometimes waking me up, and we’re both just feeling stressed and tired. I went from a “couple of cups a day” to “coffee or tea about every 2 hours” and still felt tired and slow all day. I posted about cheaper fuels for making coffee. ;-) Spousal insomnia returned; remember she is of the “bed at 9 or falls asleep at the TV” group – so her up reading at 11 pm because she can’t sleep is bizarre.
So I decided to run an experiment. Back when I’d shut off the interior WiFi router, I had gone through the house and made sure we had no LED bulbs running. (The excess blue from them is known to cause insomnia for her). Only one was in the garage, so OK. At the same time, any CFL bulbs were swapped out (just to assure no emissions from the switching power supply or short arc as spark gap transmitter). That and the router off had helped the spouse sleep better. Now I decided to shut off the AT&T Router nightly.
That was about 5 days ago.
Spouse was immediately sleeping better. No longer “waking up tired” and no waking up at the wrong time. I’d not really noticed, but my tendency to discomforts had lessened. (Part of why I didn’t notice was that I’d go to bed about 1 AM and get awakened at 5 AM to turn the WiFi back on so the spouse could check email & watch TV…) Well, after a few nights of that it was pretty clear she was doing better and I needed a better network option.
Looking at the router, it has instructions for ‘advanced settings’. Basically point your browser at it, and a password. Turns out it has a nice control panel where you can shut off either the 2.5 GHz of the 5 GHz radio. 2 nights ago I shut off the 5 GHz radio. Now I can’t say if it was just me imagining things, or something more, but at the moment the radio was turned off, I felt a kind of jittery tension just drain away. I’d not been expecting it, nor even really noticed the feeling being there until it left. It was just a feeling of relief.
Since then, my coffee consumption is drifted back toward more normal. I no longer feel the need to rush from cup to cup. The spouse reports sleeping comfortably through the night. My feet have not tingled in days; and last night I slept through the night, comfortably. Both of us have reported a deeper more restful more normal nights sleep.
The telco entry and WiFi routers are in the room next to our bedroom. It is about 10 feet from the routers to our bed. The wall between is simple wood studs and drywall (i.e. not much interaction with radio waves). We have about 50 to 100 feet to any neighbor’s possible EMF sources so plenty of IR^2 loss from them. There are power lines over the back of the lot about 25 feet away.
We are about 10 miles from an airport (so radar sweeps overhead) and immersed in the WiFi / Cell Tower 5 G “electronic smog” of Silicon Valley – but in a part that is not yet full of 5 G towers “near”.
As I don’t have any equipment that needs / uses 5 GHz I’m leaving those radios turned off. For now, the Telco router returns to being turned on 24 x 7 but as 2.5 GHz only. I am NOT going to be running any further “blind tests” with turning on the 5 GHz and seeing what happens; as I’m hoping both the spouse (and me) can get some decent sleep for a few months…
The number of “accidental experiments” was high enough and the results consistent enough to lead me to conclude that 5 GHz is highly likely at least a sleep disruptor, and likely causes other neurological responses as well. At 5 GHz the wavelength ought to be about 60 mm, or about 2 1/3 inches. Just about right to couple into many conductive structures that would fit in a human head (or body).
I will be much more diligent about observing any changes of “EMF Environment” when any sleep disruptions or other effects show up.
It will take a few weeks of this regime to assure all the bad things are gone. Perhaps partly due to the intermittent nature of my interior router use, or perhaps for other reasons, the negative health observables have been sporadic. Irregular heartbeat coming, then going, at various intervals often separated by many days. Now we will see if it is “just gone”, by waiting a few weeks. Similarly for other supposed manifestations.
I will instead look for any literature with a bit more authority in it that might shed some light.
There is a very real possibility this is all just wishful thinking mixed with placebo effect / hypochondriac ideation. That can take a while to figure out. But I don’t think it is. We’ve got 2 people, lack of expectation that this was the answer (until late in the process), and onset the second time before reading the router and seeing it did 5 GHz. Also the spouse was blissfully unaware of the technical aspects throughout. At least until I tried to explain my thinking 2 days ago ;-)
As the use of 5 GHz in home WiFi is just becoming significant, most folks will still be running older 2.5 GHz gear. Similarly, 5G cell service (a different but related thing) is not yet common in most areas. To the extent there IS an issue with very high frequency microwaves, we will be at the leading edge of this as it rolls out globally. My suggestion would be to drag your feet on it in your location.
A Couple Of Random Readings
Not particularly recommended, just things I ran into that might or might not have bearing. One I ran into stated that the move to 5 GHz had been accompanied by an allowance for much higher transmit power, but I don’t have the specifics.
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
Monday, August 7, 2017
5G Wireless Technology: Millimeter Wave Health Effects
The emergence of 5G, fifth-generation telecommunications networks, has been in the news lately because the wireless industry has been pushing controversial legislation at the state level to expedite the deployment of this technology. The legislation would block the rights of local governments and their citizens to control the installation of cellular antennas in the public “right-of-way.” Cell antennas may be installed on public utility poles every 10-20 houses in urban areas. According to the industry, as many as 50,000 new cell sites will be required in California alone.
Although many major cities and newspapers have opposed this legislation, the potential health risks from the proliferation of new cellular antenna sites have been ignored. These cell antennas will expose the population to new sources of radio frequency radiation including MMWs.
5G will employ low- (0.6 GHz – 3.7 GHz), mid- (3.7 – 24 GHz), and high-band frequencies (24 GHz and higher). In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has allocated “low-band” spectrum at 0.6 GHz (e.g., 600 MHz), “mid-band” spectrum in the 3.5 GHz range, and 11 GHz of “high-band” frequencies including licensed spectrum from 27.5-28.35 GHz and 37-40 GHz, as well as unlicensed spectrum from 64-71 GHz which is open to all wireless equipment manufacturers.
Prior to widespread deployment, major cell phone carriers are experimenting with new technologies that employ “high-band” frequencies in communities across the country. The “high-band” frequencies largely consist of millimeter waves (MMWs), a type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths of one to ten millimeters and frequencies ranging from 30 to 300 GHz (or billions of cycles per second).
by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Last Updated on October 2, 2015
1. Contributes to the Development of Insomnia
Have you ever felt more awake after using Wi-Fi or even struggled to sleep through the night? Reports of these phenomena have been frequent and even prompted a study in 2007 that evaluated low-frequency modulation from cell phones and its impact on sleep. Participants were exposed to the electromagnetic signals from real phones or no signal from fake phones. Those exposed to the electromagnetic radiation had a significantly more difficult time falling asleep and changes in brainwave patterns were observed.
It’s been suggested that sleeping near a phone, in a home with Wi-Fi, or in an apartment building with many Wi-Fi signals can create chronic sleep problems as the constant bombardment of Wi-Fi pollution interferes with falling asleep and sleep patterns. For many, sleep deprivation is just the start for larger problems. The development of depression and hypertension have also been linked to inadequate sleep.
8. Provokes Cardiac Stress
If you think your heart races when surrounded by wireless networks or 3G or LTE cell phones, it may not be in your head. A study involving 69 subjects reported that many of them experienced a real physical response to electromagnetic frequencies. Exactly what was the physical response? Increased heart rate — similar to the heart rate of an individual under stress.
In any case, while this is all interesting, it wasn’t this WiFi information that caught my eye so much as the reason that the girls thought to conduct this experiment in the first place. The article stated that all of the girls noticed that when they slept near their mobile phones when the phones were turned on, their sleep was restless and difficult.
This got me to thinking. My mobile phone is always next to my head on my bedside table. I’ve had a mobile phone since at least 1996, which is about when my insomnia started. What if my insomnia is not caused by my inability to relax, but by the mobile phone signals?
I tried my own experiment. I began turning off my mobile phone at night. I also turned off our household WiFi. It isn’t in the same room with me, but it is just through the wall, not six feet from my brain, and WiFi waves travel through walls.
Immediately my sleep improved. I’ve had a few nights where I awakened, but I fall instantly back asleep without the little buzzing brain going on. No more song worms. No more spinning thoughts. No more waking so much my kidneys think it’s time to turn on the bladder. No more tossing and turning and finally falling asleep at dawn, only to have to rise a half an hour later exhausted and worn.
I’ve gone for almost three months sleeping through the night. Nothing else in my living situation has changed to explain the improvement in my sleep. Even when I wasn’t having insomnia episodes before, my sleep was always restless. Now I actually rest.
So basically it isn’t just me; and other folks have observed similar things. Either there’s a lot of us having the same delusion, or there’s some “there there”.
Searches on “WiFi Insomnia” find a lot (much of it cell phone too). A search on “WiFi mitochondria” finds articles asserting it damages mitochondrial DNA leading to long term damage to cellular energy production. I’ve not sorted any of those articles yet so no links yet. An interesting idea, but needs a lot more before I’m signed up to the notion my WiFi is damaging all future generations though mtDNA destruction… Then there’s just the fact much of this is about 2.5 GHz and we seem OK with that, but not 5 GHz, so what the heck does that mean?
Gives a hodge podge of quasi-scholarly stuff and whacko fringe Luddites. So lots of time consumed per unit information gained.
This will be a low priority “mostly observational” thing for me, going forward. To the extent we’ve identified and got a fix, I don’t really care much anymore. To the extent 5G and 5 GHz become ubiquitous in classrooms, hotels, roadside dining, neighborhoods, airports, and everywhere there is humanity, it will become much more important to me… And, to the extent it is self delusional imaginings, well, my tinfoil hat looks pretty! ;-)