MPs have claimed that 5G ‘electromagnetic radiation' is carcinogenic, worse for the environment than aviation and could wipe out the world's insects.
The claims were made in a debate moved by Gower MP Tonia Antoniazzi yesterday, with MPs discussing the risk of "health-related effects of electromagnetic fields" - a long debunked urban myth - and 5G communications.
Antoniazzi cited Washington State University's Dr Martin Phall who has described the 5G rollout as "absolutely insane". Phall also claims that electromagnetic fields are responsible for autism and is a favourite of conspiracy theorist David Icke.
5G can go through us, where other things go around us, so it cannot go through trees but it can go through humans
"The government are sweeping the health concerns under the carpet and there appears to be an absolute refusal to acknowledge that the health-related effects even exist," claimed Antoniazzi. "What shocked me was the number of people who have ES [electromagnetic sensitivity] but are too afraid to talk publicly about their illness, because they are really wary of being humiliated and ostracised.
"Electrosensitivity is the symptomatic sensitivity to electric or magnetic fields of any frequency, including radio frequency transmissions. The condition was first described in 1932. It is when a person's physiology is affected by external electromagnetic fields, giving rise to a spectrum of symptoms, which are often neurological.
"It is therefore an illness caused by environmental agents - essentially, an environmental toxic pollutant."
Symptoms, apparently, include headaches, fatigue, disturbed sleep, limb pain, stabbing pains, brain fog and impaired cognitive function, dizziness, tinnitus, nose bleeds and palpitations.
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"I also worry about the impact of social media on mental health, and about the smartphones' increasingly addictive nature, which is impacting on the lives of the youngest of children.
"There is some evidence about the effects of radio frequency signals on mental health and behaviour in children and young people, but those effects are not considered in current attempts to address the increase in mental health and behavioural problems in the UK…
"I will not accept the response that electrosensitivity does not exist; studies show that it does. It has many effects that are not at all subjective, including effects on proteins and DNA, cell death, altered brain activity and effects in animals, as my honourable friends have mentioned. Those effects can be measured, and they cannot be dismissed as being all in the mind."
Geraint Davies, MP for neighbouring Swansea West, added that "4G has the same carbon footprint as all of aviation, and 5G will be a lot more".
It has many effects that are not at all subjective, including effects on proteins and DNA, cell death, altered brain activity and effects in animals
He claimed that 5G would also have a "detrimental impact on insect life", which is decreasing in number at a rate of 2.5 per cent a year. He suggested that "the precautionary principle" ought to be applied to the roll-out of 5G, which presumably means that it shouldn't proceed, "even if all sorts of commercial threats are being made to the government behind closed doors".
Belief in electromagnetic radiation even extends to the shadow front bench, with David Drew MP, the shadow minister for environment, food and rural affairs joining in: "I have met people who are incredibly affected by electromagnetic sensitivity - to the extent that, when they moved into their house, they had to have the smart meter taken out, and even asked their neighbour to take out theirs.
"Once that happened, their health dramatically improved. People say that electromagnetic sensitivity is all psychosomatic, but I have seen the evidence of people's sensitivity to electromagnetic waves. If we ignore it, there will certainly be health and biological consequences, and there may be many more problems."
People say that electromagnetic sensitivity is all psychosomatic, but I have seen the evidence of people's sensitivity to electromagnetic waves
He demanded that the government respond "to the growing evidence", adding: "There is growing concern, and it needs to be recognised and answered."
And the shadow minister for public health, Sharon Hodgson, added her not considerable scientific knowledge to the debate, too: "I had heard... that 5G can go through us, where other things go around us, so it cannot go through trees but it can go through humans. There is a lot more we need to know about the technology."
Thankfully, or perhaps remarkably, in view of the expertise thus far demonstrated in the debate, the parliamentary under-secretary for health and social care, Seema Kennedy MP, was able to offer some actual science.
Health concerns about electromagnetic fields have been raised in relation to each successive wave of new communications services
"People ask whether radio wave exposure levels are increasing and whether there could be health consequences, and I want to put on record right at the beginning that, very importantly, radio waves are non-ionising radiation.
"That means that the packets of energy that form the radiation are too small to break chemical bonds: the radiation cannot damage cells and cause cancer in the same way as ionising radiation," said Kennedy, adding that a lot of research has already been done in the UK and around the world into the issue.
She also noted: "Health concerns about electromagnetic fields have been raised in relation to each successive wave of new communications services, from 2G to 3G and 4G mobile phone networks, and with WiFi, smart meters and now 5G."
There is, of course, an awful lot of nonsense written and amplified online about 4G, 5G and the risks posed by electromagnetic fields in general, such as the suggestion that it kills birds, inhibits plant growth, turns people into ‘snowflakes', and requires hazmat suits for installation.
It doesn't reflect well on the calibre of MP today that some of that nonsense should be echoed in the chamber of the House of Commons.
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