Is 5G Harmful?

By Chidinma Okere on Mon, 06/04/2020 - 04:51

In recent times, there has been claims and theories linking the novel Corona virus to the launch of 5G in Wuhan where the virus outbreak started from. According to theorists, the virus is one of a series of harmful effects of 5G on the human body. This article explains what 5G is and the concerns surrounding the technology.

What's different about 5G?

As with previous cellular technologies, 5G networks rely on signals carried by radio waves - part of the electromagnetic spectrum - transmitted between an antenna or mast and your phone.

We're surrounded by electromagnetic radiation all the time - from television and radio signals, as well as from a whole range of technologies, including mobile phones, and from natural sources such as sunlight.

5G uses higher frequency waves than earlier mobile networks, allowing more devices to have access to the internet at the same time and at faster speeds.

These waves travel shorter distances through urban spaces, so 5G networks require more transmitter masts than previous technologies, positioned closer to ground level.

What are the concerns?

The electromagnetic radiation used by all mobile phone technologies has led some people to worry about increased health risks, including developing certain types of cancer.

In 2014 the World Health Organization (WHO) said that "no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use".

However, the WHO together with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified all radio frequency radiation (of which mobile signals are a part) as "possibly carcinogenic".

It has been put in this category because "there is evidence that falls short of being conclusive that exposure may cause cancer in humans".

Eating pickled vegetables and using talcum powder are classed in the same category.

Alcoholic drinks and processed meat are in a higher category because the evidence is stronger.

A toxicology report released in 2018 by the US Department of Health, and pointed to by those expressing safety concerns, found that male rats exposed to high doses of radio frequency radiation developed a type of cancerous tumour in the heart.

For this study, rats' whole bodies were exposed to radiation from mobile phones for nine hours a day every day for two years, starting before they were born.

No cancer link was found for the female rats or the mice studied. It was also found that rats exposed to the radiation lived longer than those in the control group.

A senior scientist on the study said "exposures used in the studies cannot be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience when using a cell phone", even for heavy users.

Dr Frank De Vocht, who helps advise the government on mobile phone safety says "although some of the research suggests a statistical possibility of increased cancer risks for heavy users, the evidence to date for a causal relation is not sufficiently convincing to suggest the need for precautionary action".

However, there is a group of scientists and doctors who have written to the EU calling for the rollout of 5G to be halted.

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