A group of Luddites who think 5G causes everything from cancer to lack to sleep have had an advert promoting their views banned from public display.
Electrosensitivity-UK, a group of people who think “all forms” of electromagnetic radiation could be dangerous to your health, put up posters in July and August last year with the headline “How safe is 5G?” over a picture of a family walking a dog, presented with lots of scare quotes about the digital cellular tech.
Unfortunately for ES-UK, it was unable to back up its scary claims that 5G will cause infertility in men, make your head to hurt and treat users of 5G as "guinea pigs". It also, hilariously, said "that the millimetre waves planned for 5G were used in military warfare and some civilian crowd control, which confirmed that this type of 5G radiation could cause adverse reactions in the ordinary population."
Ruling that the ad was misleading and unsubstantiated, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) declared: "We told Electrosensitivity-UK to ensure they did not make claims which implied there was robust scientific evidence that demonstrated negative human health effects caused by 5G signals or that specific medical conditions had been shown to be caused by 5G signals."
Along with the wholesome picture of the family in ES-UK's poster were "four quotes from various professionals detailing their comments which opposed the rollout of 5G network technology," as the Advertising Standards Authority summarised them.
Those quotes said: "The 5G rollout is absolutely insane" and "The people are not guinea pigs whose health I can sell at a profit." Along with those quotes were statements from ES-UK about "reduced male fertility, depression, disturbed sleep and headaches, as well as cancer."
During the ASA's investigation, ES-UK sent them a pile of what it described as "mainstream majority science" and what the ASA described as "not adequate" to back up claims that 5G causes cancer, infertility and so on.
"Many of the articles provided were not studies, but reviews of the current context of research in the area," said the ASA. One piece of "evidence" was "a YouTube video of a Canadian radio talk show in which a scientist hypothesised the extinction of life forms due to 5G radiation," with adland's self-regulator adding: "That material, along with many others, lacked the robustness of an appropriately designed observational study or clinical trial."
But some of ES-UK's articles were scientific in nature. The only problem was that they focused on the effects of electromagnetic radiation on lab test animals and not on humans, so the ASA ruled them out.
In a statement slagging off the ASA, ES-UK whined that adland's self-regulator, a private company based in Shoreditch, "discounted [ES-UK's] majority mainstream viewpoint by adopting a minority view based on unsubstantiated and non-peer-reviewed claims of the small cartel supporting the wireless industry."
Luddites railing against 5G are a growing problem, even in Parliament. Although areas of the country traditionally associated with the fringe politics have banned new 5G masts, thankfully this contagion seems limited in the UK. ®