Are you worried that 5G cell phone towers are transmitting dangerous levels of radio frequency radiation to your brain? Forget the classic tin foil hat and try the “quantum pendant” pictured above. It is a much more elegant accessory. The product is based on a tried and true pseudoscientific marketing trick: put the label “quantum” on something, and the word imparts an aura of magical mystery into the minds of the ever-credulous.
These types of “negative ion” products can be found for sale on the Internet, claiming that they improve immune function, increase energy and, yes, protect the user from supposedly harmful 5G waves, among other supposed benefits. The hysteria about the risks of 5G has no scientific basis, and even if it did, “negative ions” are not some kind of magic defense. But if people want to spend their hard-earned money on nonsense, that is their prerogative. No harm, no fault, right?
Not so fast. It turns out that many of these products emit low levels of ionizing radiation that could be dangerous with prolonged use; so much so that the Netherlands Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS) has just issued a consumer warning and banned the sale. of ten of those products, including that fancy quantum pendant.
This is not the first time that someone has realized that these types of “negative ion” products are radioactive. Products may contain volcanic ash, titanium, tourmaline, zeolite, germanium, and monazite sand and may also contain naturally occurring radioactive elements, including uranium and thorium. Of course, there are traces in the products, but the emitted gamma radiation is still enough to activate the radiation monitoring equipment. (On the other hand, so can a truck full of bananas.)
While the agency does not have the authority to ban foreign suppliers, it has promised to inform such suppliers to the appropriate authorities in their own countries. (Ionic air purifiers, on the other hand, do not contain radioactive materials and are exempt from the ban.) According to ANVS:
Tested consumer products contain radioactive materials and therefore continuously emit ionizing radiation, thereby exposing the user. Exposure to ionizing radiation can cause adverse health effects. Due to the potential health risk they pose, these consumer products containing radioactive materials are prohibited by law. Ionizing radiation can damage tissues and DNA and can cause, for example, redness of the skin. Only low levels of radiation have been measured in these specific products. However, someone using such a product for an extended period (one year, 24 hours a day) could be exposed to a level of radiation that exceeds the strict skin exposure limit applied in the Netherlands. To avoid any risk, the ANVS asks the owners of these items not to use them from now on.
As we previously reported, wireless technology has long sparked fears based on vague allegations that it causes health problems and claims that some people are “electro-sensitive.” Those fears have been sustained by a handful of ambiguous studies that suggested hints of possible links between cell phone use and cancer, but most of these studies had significant problems. And many other studies didn’t see any connection.
Radio frequency radiation has a relatively low energy and cannot break chemical bonds. Like close microwave frequencies, it can heat tissue. But we do not know of any mechanism beyond heating by which radiation at these wavelengths can damage human tissue. And there is no evidence at the population level to indicate that radiation from these sources presents any kind of risk.