Written evidence submitted by Dr Alison Steward



The most significant impacts of increasingly prevalent smart and connected technology are likely to be negative impacts on the health of the large number of people within range of the substantial millimetre and microwave radiation emanating from numerous cell-towers and antennae.


I am submitting evidence as a concerned individual. My concerns are derived from my background in research in the chemical aspects of imaging technology and interactions of EM radiation with different materials.


In this submission I wish to draw the attention of the committee to several aspects of the controversy regarding the biological effects of the technologies used in the telecommunications industry and particularly those intended to be used in the deployment of 5G.



Thermal and Non-Thermal Biological Effects


A large number of scientists have expressed very grave concerns regarding the significant risks to human health as well as to the environment of the biological effects of the frequencies already in use, and those intended to be used as 5G progresses to use of higher energy bands. These concerns have been summarised in two recent papers. [1,2]


However, these concerns are routinely dismissed by officially recognised  advisory panels, such as ICNIRP and Public Health England, who ignore this accumulating evidence, restricting themselves to consideration only of thermal effects which are observable only at very high powers. This approach is severely flawed.


At frequencies below those of visible light, EM energy is absorbed as specific dynamic excitations of molecules, macromolecules or other structures within biological tissues, initially causing a specific change in the motion of those structures. Once this primary excitation has occurred the absorbed kinetic energy of these structures is transferred to neighbouring molecules and structures and dissipated as heat.


Thus there are two types of effect to be considered:

a) Non-thermal effects are those that arise from the primary excitation, its immediate effects on the structures involved and any other short- or long-term consequences.

b) Thermal effects are those that arise from tissue heating.


To ignore the disruption to cellular processes caused by the primary excitations of absorbed waves is naïve in the extreme, and it certainly seems that those who are members of those committees which have come to dominate the  official RF-EMF safety narrative have very limited understanding of what they are dealing with at the molecular level.


Concerns Regarding the Impartiality of Officially Recognised Expert Advisory Panels


The current guidelines which are based only on non-thermal effects are set by ICNIRP. However, this organisation is coming under increasing criticism for its

refusal to recognise non-thermal biological effects of RF-EMF esposure. ICNIRP has been critiqued in a recent report by Klaus Buchner (former German MEP) and Michèle Rivasi (French MEP): ’The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection : Conflicts of Interest, corporate capture and the push for 5G.’ [3] This report points out that the composition of ICNIRP is very one-sided. It is dominated by physical scientists, rather than biomedical scientists, and  all members are all committed to the paradigm that there are no biological effects other than thermal effects. This report also details concerns regarding conflicts of iinterests and connections with the telecommunications indusry.


Additionally, Sarah Starkey’s paper, ‘Inaccurate official assessment of radiofrequency safety by the Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation’ [4], criticises AGNIR and the PHE both for conflicts of interest and for inaccuracy. She concludes; ‘Public health and the well-being of other species in the natural world cannot be protected when evidence of harm, no matter how inconvenient, is covered up.’



Biological Effects


The refusal of ICNIRP and other related organisations to recognise the non-thermal effects of RF-EMFs renders their assessments of safety unreliable. However, there is a large and growing body of research into these effects in the scientific literature undertaken by biologists, biochemists and biophysicists,who actually appreciate the complexities of EM / biological interactions, and many concerns are being raised.


A review was published in 2018:by Agostino Di Ciaula, ‘Towards 5G communication systems: Are there health implications?’ [5] RF-EMF was found to promote oxidative stress, a condition involved in cancer onset in several acute and chronic diseases and in vascular homeostasis. Other studies suggested reproductive, metabolic and neurologic effects, as well as alteration of bacterial antibiotic resistance.


Millimetre Waves


5G is expected to add additional higher frequencies to those frequencies already in use. As such these frequencies interact more readily than lower frequencies with biological tissue. Di Ciauli’s review reports that prelimary observations showed that MMW (millimetre waves) increase skin temperature, alter gene expression, promote cellular proliferation and synthesis of proteins linked with oxidative stress, inflammatory and metabolic processes, generate ocular damage, and affect neuro-muscular dynamics.


Pulsation and Modulation


5G uses a very high level of pulsation in order to carry very large amounts of information per second. Panagopoulos, in his 2019 paper, “Comparing DNA damage induced by mobile telephony and other types of man-made electromagnetic fields” reported that pulsing and modulation increase biological activiity.’ [6]


This issue is also discussed in Kostoff et al’s article: “Adverse health effects of 5G mobile networking technology.’ [7]




Both Karaboytcheva [1] and Frank [2] comment on the dense transmission network that will be required for 5G,. This will inevitably greatly increase exposures to RF-EMFs by the public, that will be of higher frequencies (including millimetre wave)  and hence nore readily absorbed by the human body, and pulse modulated and hence more biologically active.


Multiple types of adverse biological effects have already been observed with use of these types of RF-EMFs. Introduction of this technology will inevitably lead to serious health impacts.


I urge the DCMS committee to read the documents referenced below. The DCMS committee must take their responsibilities seriously and not allow themselves to be misled by ICNIRP’s unfounded assurances.


I also urge the committee to increase and encourage the use of wired connections, such as fibre optiic as an alternative to increasing the public’s exposure to RF-EMFs.





1. ‘Effects of 5G wirless communication on human health” an EU Parliament briefing by Miroslava Karaboytcheva, March 2020


2.“Electromagnetic fields, 5G and health: what about the precautionary principle?’ Frank JW, J. Epidemiol Community Health 2021;0;1-5


3. https://www.michele-rivasi.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/ICNIRP-report-FINAL-JUNE-2020_EN.pdf


4. Sarah J.Starkey "Inaccurate official assessment of radiofrequency safety by the Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation" Rev Environ Health 2016, 31(4), 493-503


5. Di Ciaulia A, ‘Towards 5G communication systems: Are there health implicatons?’ International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Vol 221, Issue 3:367-375, April 2018


6. Panagopoulos, DJ, ‘2019 .Comparing DNA damage induced by mobile telephony and other types of man-made electromagnetic fields’, Mutat. Res. 781, 53-62


7. Kostoff’ RN et al, ‘Adverse health effects of 5G mobile networking technology under real-life conditions’, Toxicology Letters 2020;323;35-40