The impact of 5G on human health - what is known now?

In 2019, 5G technology in Russia is still in preparation for mass use - we have already written about this . In the meantime, 4G is used in large cities, and far from large settlements there may not be a connection to a 3G network. At the same time, the controversy about the possible harm of 5G to health continues. Is this a baseless incitement to panic or reasonable fears?

New technology, new frequencies

First, let's dwell a little on the differences between 5G and 4G. The radio spectrum is divided into many bands. The characteristics of each band change with increasing operating frequency. The 4G frequencies used vary from country to country, but they usually range from 400 MHz to 6 GHz. Higher frequencies are not used for data transmission.

5G uses frequencies between 30 and 300 GHz. The use of high-frequency bands avoids interference with household appliances, Wi-Fi, 4G signal.

In a word, those frequencies are used in which only devices connected to 5G networks will work so far. Most likely, in the early twenties, there will be relatively few such devices, so the first subscribers of new networks will be able to connect to the Internet at much higher speeds.

But speed is still not the main advantage of the new technology, although it is an important plus of 5G. The reduction in latency on new networks can be really impressive. In the near future, it may take no more than 1-2 milliseconds to transfer data packets to a remote server. This allows the use of 5G networks, for example, in telemedicine. In Japan and the US, experimental 5G networks have already been used to perform surgeries (using robotic surgeons controlled by a doctor over the Internet). In addition, the absence of delays in signal transmission is simply necessary to control robotic transport.

Of course, the use of high frequencies imposes a number of technical limitations. Unavoidable attenuation leads to the fact that the high-frequency signal is less able to penetrate walls and ceilings, moreover, weather conditions can significantly affect the quality of communication. Heavy rain or snow can make the signal unstable.

But also in the press, there are more and more reports about the negative impact of 5G on human health, primarily on the brain and cardiovascular system. What are the arguments of opponents of the new technology?

Arguments against 5G

Doctors and engineers, who negatively perceived the emergence of a new communication standard, note that the use of higher frequencies will lead to the need to install base stations every 200-300 meters, otherwise the signal level will be unsatisfactory. In addition, with the transition to 5G, humanity will not immediately stop using Wi-Fi and mobile networks of the third and fourth generation, which means that the impact of radio frequency radiation will only increase in the coming years.

In addition, research has shown that some people (an average of 1–2 in 100) do not tolerate RF exposure well. They have headaches, fatigue, and trouble concentrating if a radiation source is nearby.

Back in September 2017, 180 doctors and scientists from European countries signed an appeal calling for the most thorough study of the effect of high-frequency radiation on the human body. Almost immediately after the publication of this appeal, many articles appeared on the dangers of 5G. For example, the ES Ireland website has published a list of possible risks caused by the introduction of high-frequency data transmission networks. The authors mention damage to the eyes and skin, deterioration of sperm quality, death of beneficial insects, etc. However, the article does not provide any reliable experimental data confirming this.

But the topic turned out to be extremely resonant: in two years, various paper and electronic publications rushed to announce both the incredible harm of the new data transmission technology and its absolute security. What are 5G proponents saying?

Technology Support Word

European, Japanese and American experts who are positive about the introduction of 5G say that the data on the danger of high-frequency radiation is greatly exaggerated. First, as the frequency increases, the wavelength decreases: this means that the radiation will not only pass through walls worse, but also less enter the human body. Secondly, experiments carried out on laboratory animals showed some changes in behavior only with prolonged directional irradiation. A similar dose of radiation can be obtained if you constantly live a few centimeters from the transmitting station: already 10–20 meters from the source you can be without the slightest concern for your health. Third, proponents of 5G notice that in Japan, where the density of communication networks is one of the highest in the world, citizens often live to be 90-100 years old.

Finally, the most frightening argument about the possible effect of radio frequency radiation on the growth of cancerous tumors is also not supported. Although in laboratory conditions, scientists were able to achieve the development of a cancerous tumor in a rat exposed to radio frequency exposure, the researchers admitted that such radiation cannot be obtained in everyday life, even if you use the mobile Internet every day for several hours.

Thus, there is no experimentally confirmed evidence of the negative impact of 5G on human health.

The only reliably confirmed consequence of the effect of a high-frequency radio signal on the body is an increase in body temperature. However, in order to feel it, it is necessary to be near a powerful radiation source for several hours. But the source must be much more powerful than your phone or tablet, otherwise you won't feel anything.

 The future of 5G in Russia

In Russia, the introduction of 5G is welcomed by many Internet users, as well as telecom operators. But voices are also being heard calling for a ban on the new standard. It should be noted here that the SanPiN acting in our country sets the maximum permissible level of exposure to an electromagnetic field up to 10 μW per square centimeter. In European countries and Japan, the maximum allowable level reaches 500 and even 1000 μW, but the life expectancy in these states is higher than in Russia.

Some uncertainty in assessing the impact of high-frequency radiation on the human body is shown by the World Health Organization. WHO either acknowledges some harm to cellular communications, then completely denies it. We have to admit that there are no reliable studies on humans in this matter yet. The technologies and frequencies used have changed in recent decades, so it is rather difficult to conduct reliable research: over the years, while a sufficient amount of experimental data is being collected, the communication standard has already become outdated.

Outdated SanPiN standards and the lack of reliable data became one of the main topics of the interdepartmental meeting of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications of Russia (in July 2019).

If the safety of 5G is proven, adjustments will be made to the SanPiN to increase the permissible level of electromagnetic radiation, and new-generation networks will begin to spread more actively in Russia. Well, let's see what changes will follow in the coming years.


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