If you thought the 5G conspiracy theories went away — well, they kind of haven’t. Among some groups, such as QAnon believers or anti-vaxxers, the belief that 5G caused the pandemic (or that it’s some form of conspiracy meant to make us ill) hasn’t gone away. Obviously, there’s no scientific evidence to back it up. Still, some go to great lengths to “protect” themselves from 5G.
For instance, some opted for a “magnetic bracelet” with “negative ions” that allegedly protects wearers from the “nefarious” effects of 5G. The bracelet, which can be purchased from a vendor which we will not name nor link towards (to avoid further exposure), was sold for approximately $24. The vendor did not market it as an anti-5G product (as far as we can tell, based on a year-old screenshot of the product page), but it was popularized as such on conspiracy theory groups.
It was still sold as pseudoscientific, spiritual mumbo-jumbo. Here’s what the product description reads:
“Negative ion jewelry is a hot trend theme – many athletes and health-conscious people swear by it. According to the ancient Yin-Yang theory, negative ions can compensate for a surplus of positive ions in our environment.”
Regardless of how it was sold, however, it turns out it’s radioactive, and it’s not the only wellness product sold that was found to be radioactive. The organization for nuclear safety and radiation protection in the Netherlands issued a warning after 10 products they analyzed were found to be giving off harmful ionizing radiation. Wearing them long-term could be harmful to wearers, the warning said.
“The 10 consumer products examined contain radioactive substances…Ionizing radiation can damage tissue and DNA,” the warning says. “The amount of radiation measured on the examined products is low, however in the case of prolonged and continuous wear of these examined products (a whole year, 24 hours a day), the strict limit value in the Netherlands for exposure of the skin to radiation can be exceeded.” This is the full list of the products found to be radioactive.
Conspiracy theories have fueled the emergence of an “anti-5G” market — devices or products that typically have no effect or, as is the case here, are actually harmful. For instance, a simple Amazon search reveals hundreds of “anti-radiation stickers” or “anti-5G” products, and there are plenty more bogus products on the darker corners of the internet. If you’re considering buying these, maybe reconsider.
Andrei's background is in geophysics, and he's been fascinated by it ever since he was a child. Feeling that there is a gap between scientists and the general audience, he started ZME Science -- and the results are what you see today.