What is 5G Technology?
Right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a strange theory suggesting that the rollout of 5G technology is the root cause of the pandemic. This 5G Coronavirus conspiracy started in April 2020 and was believed to begin in the UK – coinciding with a number of 5G masts in the country being vandalised. Indeed, misinformation of this sort benefits no-one except for the perpetrators of such bizarre rumours, who wish to mislead the public for whatever reason.
The 5G Coronavirus rumour is just one example of the type of misinformation that further complicates situations for medical practitioners who are already under a tremendous amount of stress in managing their patients’ health. On top of that, misleading narratives of this sort also work to discredit the genuine concern raised by the public on the potential health risks associated with 5G technology.
Rumours and questionable theories aside, what actually is 5G technology and what are the legitimate concerns raised surrounding its effects on public health? Read on to find out.
A brief introduction to 5G technology
5G is the 5th generation of cell phone networks being deployed from 2019. It is the latest global network after 4G, enabling a new type of network through which users connect wirelessly to devices, machines, and objects.
The main advantage of the new networks is that they will have greater bandwidth, offering higher download speeds – up to 10 gigabits per second. At this speed, you could download a High Definition (HD) movie in a matter of seconds!
The increased speed is achieved partly by using higher-frequency radio waves compared to previous cellular networks. However, higher-frequency radio waves have a shorter useful physical range – which means more 5G cell towers would be required to be set up. It is estimated that the 5G network will require cell antennas every 100 to 200 meters (300 to 600 ft).
Where 5G is being used?
5G technology is being used across different types of connected services. These include the massive Internet of Things (IoT), mission-critical communications, and enhanced cell phone broadband. The defining capability of 5G is aimed at promoting compatibility to support future services in a flexible and advanced manner that was not achieved by previous networks.
In short, 5G technology can let its users reach new horizons in terms of speed, network connectivity, and communications. With 5G, it isn't just about communication between humans via cell phones and the like; it also enables connections between various devices and machines. From IoT to autonomous driving, smart homes, smart metering, intelligent power supply, smart farming and more, these applications are aimed at automating technologies in our daily lives at another level.
Along with making smartphones faster, 5G technology is designed to usher in the latest immersive experiences such as augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR respectively) with more uniform and faster data rates, lower per-bit cost, and lower latency. A recent survey done by a telecommunication company indicates that 20% of 5G users have subsequently decreased their usage of WiFi. On top of that, there is an increased demand to make 5G available indoors. 5G coverage is placed as a higher priority than battery life or speed by most 5G users, with most being willing to spend more to get coverage.
Is 5G dangerous?
Here’s the answer: we don't know for sure. Many experts would say that there is no evidence telecommunication technologies such as 5G cause adverse health impacts. However, the opposite is also true: as of now, there is no long-term conclusive evidence to prove that 5G is safe. In fact, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (30kHz to 300 GHz) as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
Since the IARC evaluation in 2011, the evidence on human cancer risks from radiofrequency radiation has been strengthened based on human cancer epidemiology reports, animal carcinogenicity studies, and experimental findings on oxidative mechanisms and genotoxicity. Therefore, the IARC Category should be upgraded from Group 2B to Group 1, a human carcinogen. These sources were cited in a paper published by The Environment and Cancer Research Foundation of Sweden entitled "Health risks from radiofrequency radiation, including 5G, should be assessed by experts with no conflicts of interest".
With the deployment of 5G viewed as a major concern, groups of citizens in some countries have been trying to implement a moratorium until thorough research on adverse effects on human health and the environment has been performed.
One such example is The 5G Appeal, which has been signed by over 400 international scientists and medical doctors and sent to the European Union (EU) in September 2017. This appeal called for a temporary halt on the rollout of 5G until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from the industry.
The appeal states that harmful effects or RF-EMF exposure are already proven, with 230 scientists from more than 40 countries having expressed their serious concerns on the world’s ubiquitous and increasing exposure to EMF even before the additional 5G roll-out. They refer to the fact that "numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines".
There is no current response from the European bloc regarding the 5G Appeal. Nonetheless, several regions such as Geneva have implemented a moratorium on the deployment of 5G motivated by the lack of studies on health effects.
Summing up 5G technology
Undoubtedly, there are numerous advantages to 5G technology in terms of connectivity, user experience, capacity, and communication. However, it is reasonable to expect a higher level of EMF exposure due to more antennas installed at closer distances compared to previous generations of technology. When it comes to the health effects of 5G, there are only a few research results available in this regard, more particularly associated with 5G wireless radiation use.
In some countries, 5G technology implementation is on halt due to a lack of research regarding its impact on health and the environment. With the ever more extensive use of wireless technologies, nobody can avoid being exposed. On top of the increased number of 5G transmitters within residential areas, it is estimated that 10-20 billion connections – to refrigerators, washing machines, surveillance cameras, self-driving cars, buses, etc – will become a lasting part of the Internet of Things. Put together, all these can cause a substantial increase in the total, long term RF-EMF exposure to all citizens, who may have to start taking precautionary steps like wearing EMF protection clothing.
What precautions can we take?
Here is a genuine concern from one of our contacts in Melbourne: "My children’s childcare now has a direct line of sight to a 5G cell tower. The distance is about 30 metres from the childcare centre. How would this affect the children?"
The truth is, we don’t have a perfect answer for this question. One thing we can do is be informed and take a few practical steps to reduce exposure to cell phone radiation.
1. Exercise cell phone usage with caution and make brief calls as necessary.
2. Don't put your cell phone in contact with your head.
3. Store your cell phone away from your body and pockets where possible.
4. Use a local map to be aware of where the cell towers are located.
5. Measure the radiofrequency level in your house and rearrange RF-emitting furniture especially in sleeping areas.
6. Call an EMF specialist or building biologist for further assistance.
7. Distance is your friend. If you are unable to keep a distance from known sources of radiofrequency emissions, consider shielding yourself with EMF protection clothing.
Radia Smart was founded with the intention of raising awareness around the benefits of reducing EMF exposure in our day-to-day lives. From the simple act of putting your phone away when you sleep to shielding through EMF protection clothing, we believe that every small step to reduce EMF exposure is a boon to our public health and well-being. Visit our website to learn more about us or view our store to browse through our EMF belly band and EMF hat collections today.