Are modern telecommunications fueling a global infertility crisis?

Fewer people are having children, it would seem. Scores of research suggests that more couples are opting to remain childless, leaving many experts to claim a “baby bust” to explain the rapidly declining fertility rates currently being experienced worldwide. According to the latest data from the U.S.-based Population Reference Bureau (PRB), the worldwide fertility rate in 2018 was 2.4 births per woman, down from around five in the 1960s.

But why are so many couples choosing to remain childless? The answer may be that not all of them deliberately choose to be. Experts from various fields are warning that radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) exposure may be damaging health, particularly fertility.

In April 2018, an international consortium called for a moratorium to be made on the potential health hazards of 5G (fifth generation cellular technology) in the European Union. The declaration, which appealed to both the government and several health institutions to look at how RF-EMF from 5G technology could damage health, explained that it would be “unethical to ignore the available evidence waiting a possible ‘a posteriori’ demonstration of health damages in the presence of a present and potentially manageable risk for public health.”

In particular, the members of this consortium (which included several organizations from 27 countries), noted the potential health hazards 5G may have on fertility. While several studies were referred to, one study published in Cell in 2015 was highlighted. Here, scientists from Zanjan University of Medical Sciences in Zanjan, Iran, found that 2.45 GHz radiation (the postulated amount of frequency people would be exposed to under 5G technology) radically changed the sperm parameters of the tested mice. Animals that were constantly exposed to this radiation displayed histomorphometric changes in their testicles, effectively decreasing the quality of sperm produced. This, in turn, made it more difficult for the males to impregnate females (who, the researchers noted, may also have experienced changes in their reproductive systems.)

“Decline in male fertility, as one of the parameters in this study, is considered as a major concern during the past several decades. It has been suggested that direct or indirect exposure to RF-EMW as the main environmental factor plays a dominant role in the observed decline,” the researchers noted.

Several more studies have suggested a link between direct and indirect exposure to these frequencies and decline in fertility. And while correlation does not signify causation, the fact that there is a link between these two factors does spell a troubling potential health hazard once 5G becomes the standard.

Call to mind that fertility may not be the only thing being affected by this new technology. Lawmakers are concerned that this new technology may increase the risk of cancer. In December 2018, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) and Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Calif) sent a letter to FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr asking for guidance on 5G.

“To ensure we communicate accurate information to our constituents … we respectfully request you provide to our offices the 5G safety determination from FCC and relevant health agencies,” they wrote. “Most of our current regulations regarding radiofrequency safety were adopted in 1996 and have not yet been updated.”

In particular, they noted that the current FCC’s specific adoption rate (SAR) limits did not apply to devices operating above 6 GHz. (Related: Experts WARN: 5G technology will blanket the Earth with ultra-high microwave frequencies.)

Current research on 5G technology has provided evidence that high levels of radiofrequency radiation significantly increased the risk of cancer.

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