We’ve officially (re)entered the Orwellian Age. Our life is dominated by technology through phones, laptops, smart TVs, and/or watches. I wonder what George Orwell would say if he knew one day we would live in a world where you can talk to someone across the world from your watch or ask a little gizmo named “Alexa” to put on your favorite band after she orders you some take-out?

Orwell’s time-telling novel, 1984, in many ways hinted to where we were going as a society. It alluded to our obsession and dependency on technology and touched on our naïveté about such advancements, which somehow are supposed to keep us safer. We come to believe that all of these things will make our lives not only better, but simpler and more efficient. However, with the promise of something “better” there has always been the threat of potential danger creeping in the shadows.

With the emergence of 5G technology in many major cities throughout the US, once again the “safe or dangerous” conversation rears its ugly head. As always, it’s a very polarizing conversation, leaving those of us who are uncertain, feeling stuck in the middle ground.

For those like me who had no clue what 5G even was, I’d argue that, to keep things as simple as possible, it makes network connections between phones and computers faster. Great news for machines, this technology means higher broadbands with a much stronger frequency.

However, since these signals travel shorter distances, this will require the construction of more cell towers, each emitting their own radiofrequency radiation (which some believe could lead to chronic, long-term exposure to massive amounts of radiation).

To make things even more uncertain and terrifying, in 2011 the World Health Organization listed this type of frequency as a potential 2B carcinogen. With the operative word being “potential” many are convinced that it is totally safe to be exposed to, while others are much more eager to tread on the side of caution.

Ultimately, while the dangers of cell phone use are (mostly) agreed upon, chronic exposure to this type of frequency remains disputed by many. Radiation levels that cell towers emit are comparable to those emitted off the scanners at the airport — of which there are very few studies.

Potential risks of chronic exposure include melatonin reduction, cancer, oxidative damage, and increased blood-brain barrier permeability. And those risks are not just towards humans, but potentially to plants and animals as well, meaning implications on a global level.

With the Mobile Now Act having passed in 2016, certain states like Hawaii are now fighting to prevent this technology from coming into their cities without first having these very serious risks and concerns addressed. Slowly, the word is getting out thanks to people like Luke Storey of The Life Stylist Podcast and Dr. Jack Kruse, a leading expert on 5G.

As with anything, with every fight and protest comes propaganda, labeling, and bashing. But it’s important to research and be mindful of where and from whom you’re getting your information. Science is always changing. What is considered safe one day, may not be considered safe tomorrow (i.e. cigarette smoking while pregnant).

Perhaps the 5G debate is really just the echo of an even greater question — how often is “truth” created? Whether you are being swayed by money, politics, religion, or society, when does objective truth start to become molded into whatever truth you are needing? Was this the inevitable future Orwell had predicted? Will we ever put our health and future ahead of instant gratification and gain? If you can never really know if something is safe, can you ever really know if it’s unsafe?

Julia Piantini writes and drinks offensive amounts of coffee in Miami, Florida. She tries to spend as little time on social media as possible but if you’re curious enough, she invites you to find her on the ‘Gram at @julia_piantini.

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