Experts say there is a “very low” risk of unknown health hazards from exposure to 5G wireless networks

5G cellular network concept

The expert statement in the journal of health physics seeks to counter misinformation online.

Experts analyze recent online reports warning of the dire health consequences of new fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks. Within current exposure limits, there appears to be little or no risk of adverse health effects related to radiofrequency (RF) exposure from 5G systems, concludes an evidence-based expert review in the June issue of Health Physics, official journal of the Health Physics Society. The magazine is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

“While we recognize gaps in the scientific literature, particularly for exposures at millimeter wave frequencies, [we judge] the probability that the health risks as yet unknown at the levels of exposure within the current limits will be very low, if they exist, ”according to the statement of the Man and Radiation Committee (COMAR) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). As described by its President, Richard A. Tell, COMAR is an organization made up of physicians, biologists, epidemiologists, engineers, and physical scientists who are experts in health and safety issues related to electromagnetic fields who work voluntarily and collaboratively on a regular basis. consensual.

5G networks unlikely to cause exposure above current security limits

The consensus statement seeks to counter the increase in alarming messages regarding the mysterious health effects of 5G technology. “This misinformation along with activist websites expressing even more sinister 5G consequences, ranging from cancer induction to being responsible for the current coronavirus pandemic, has created substantial and unnecessary public anxiety,” says Jerrold T. Bushberg , from the University of California Davis School. Medicine and Vice President of COMAR.

Fifth generation wireless systems are expanding worldwide to meet the growing demand for wireless connectivity. The new technology can transmit much larger amounts of data at much higher speeds compared to previous 2G to 4G systems. This is in part because 5G uses the largest bandwidth available at higher frequencies, including the so-called millimeter wave band (MMW). The 5G expansion “will produce a more ubiquitous presence of MMW in the environment,” according to the report.

Because MMWs do not penetrate foliage and building materials, as well as low-frequency signals, many lower-powered “small cell” transmitters will be needed to provide effective indoor coverage. Some 5G systems will have “beamforming” antennas that transmit signals to individual users as they move, meaning that non-users will have less exposure.

Tissue heating is the main potential damaging effect of exposure to RF fields. Most countries, including the United States, have adopted exposure limits similar to those recommended by recent standards (2019) published by the IEEE International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety (ICES) or the International Commission on Protection against Non-Ionizing Radiation (ICNIRP). These guidelines seek to avoid harmful effects by setting exposure limits well below the threshold at which adverse effects on human health are expected to occur. These standards only allow low levels of public RF exposure for which energy is deposited in the form of thermal heating.

The COMAR statement provides insights to address concerns about the possible health effects of 5G exposure:

  • Unlike low-frequency fields, MMWs do not penetrate beyond the outer layer of the skin and therefore do not cause heating of the deeper tissues.
  • The introduction of 5G is unlikely to change overall levels of RF exposure. As is currently the case, most of the exposure is primarily due to the “uplink” of the cell phone itself or other devices, not to transmission from base stations.
  • In almost all publicly accessible locations, RF exposures from cellular base stations, including 5G stations, will remain small, a fraction of the current IEEE or ICNIRP exposure limits.

“[S]o As long as exposures remain below established guidelines, the research results to date do not support the determination that adverse health effects are associated with RF exposures, including those from 5G systems, ”concludes the COMAR statement. The Committee recognizes the limitations of the current evidence on the possible health and safety effects of 5G exposure and identifies key areas for future research, including high-quality studies of the biological effects of MMW.

Reference: “IEEE Committee on Human and Radiation Technical Information Statement: Comar: Health and Safety Issues Related to General Public Exposure to Electromagnetic Energy from 5G Wireless Communications Networks” by Bushberg, JT; Chou, CK; Foster, KR; Kavet, R .; Maxson, DP; Tell him, RA; Ziskin, MC, June 22, 2020, Health Physics.
DOI: 10.1097 / HP.0000000000001301