The 5G rollout will lead major improvements in technology and multiple industries. The fifth generation wireless technology promises low latency as well as speeds of up to 100 times faster than its 4G predecessor. From autonomous vehicles to smart cities and beyond, 5G is expected to add the finishing touches to the groundwork for high-tech innovations.
However, 5G is sparking some serious health concerns.
A group consisting of 170 scientists from around the globe recently flagged a number of health concerns associated with the technology to the European Union and requested a review.
This is even more of a concern given the close proximity of the 5G infrastructure to so many people in their homes, offices and schools, as well as the constant explosion in the number of cellular connected devices— all of which add up to much more exposure to EMF radiation than we have today.
Frequencies in the 5G Rollout
All wireless devices communicate using frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum called radio frequency (or RF). The wide-scale 5G rollout will lead to a massive increase in the volume of information transferred over wireless networks involved. This will demand more spectrum at higher frequencies of RF.
According to a spokesman for the World Health Organization (WHO) who was interviewed by Euronews, the highest frequencies used will be ten times higher than those used by existing network technologies.
The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) is in the process of revising its radio frequency guidelines. However, ICNIRP recently presented an advice draft related to the high frequency at a public consultation.
The draft warns that high frequencies can penetrate exposed tissues of the body, leading to friction and heat. Above the heat threshold that the body can endure — which depends on the duration of exposure to high frequencies as well — the temperature increase can cause serious health issues, such as burns and heatstroke. This is the so-called “thermal effect” of exposure to EMF radiation.
According to ICNIRP, the long-term effects of high-frequency exposure below the thermal threshold haven’t resulted in any conclusive evidence of poor health effects.
RF Radiation Dangers
Yet, despite ICNIRP’s position, thousands of peer reviewed scientific studies of RF (radio frequency) radiation link to serious health issues such as cancer, sterility in men, DNA damage, etc.
In 2011, the World Health Organization classified RF Radiation as possibly “carcinogenic,” which can cause cancer. Unfortunately, we are more exposed to it than we are aware.
People often do not realize that they have a mini cell tower in their homes and office. These mini cell towers are called WiFi routers, which emit high levels of RF radiation. A WiFi router emits radiation at full power at all times, or as long as it is turned on.
The range of this device includes your entire home and beyond. This radiation is the same type of RF radiation emitted by a cell tower or your microwave used for cooking food.
Health Risks of 5G Technology
Radiation from wireless technologies is a concern, but it isn’t getting the awareness that it should.
Countless studies and discussions among scientists show that radiation can destroy the DNA of humans and animals, if subject to prolonged and exposure or high amounts. This genetic damage can lead to cancer.
Multiple peer-reviewed scientific studies have also demonstrated that exposure to this type of radiation can result in:
- Hair loss;
- Low energy;
- Appetite loss;
- Bone marrow damage;
- Organs damage;
- Incapacitation and death; and
The roll out of 5G means thousands of towers and stations in each city, as well as a bevy of mini cells placed in very close proximity to homes, making it difficult or impossible to avoid harmful exposure.
However, a few things can be done to protect ourselves from RF radiation.
Reducing Exposure to RF Radiation
Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) called for a thorough investigation into the health concerns associated with the new 5G technology. The investigation body used auction of 5G licenses to provide consumers with advice on how people can protect themselves from harmful mobile phone radiation.
They advised that consumers can keep their own exposure to radiation to a minimum when making calls or surfing the internet. They also advised consumers to use a landline as much as possible instead of their smartphone. However, if using a smartphone is necessary:
- Consumers should keep their smartphone calls as short as possible;
- Communicate via text messages; and
- Avoid making phone calls whenever the reception is poor.
Weaker connections to communication towers result in more intensive electromagnetic fields as your phone works near you. The investigation body also advised to only surf the internet on a smartphone if it’s utilising a Wi-Fi network.
These are just some of the ways you can reduce your exposure to this type of radiation. Others are not carrying your phone in your pocket, turning off your phone while you sleep, enabling airplane mode, and using anti-radiation headsets. For more tips, check out our Healthy Living Tips series.
While 5G comes with a lot of promise, the fact remains that it presents some dangers as well. Closer proximity to cells and other 5G infrastructure will result in increases exposure to high frequencies and radiation, which poses significant health risks.
The technology is being rolled out too fast, long before extensive studies can alleviate these concerns. Increased awareness is one of the most powerful tools we have to cope with the 5g rollout.