Is 5G Deployment Harmful to Health? Simple Answer, No.
There are Many People in the World that Worry about the Effects of 5G
5G cellular networks are slowly establishing their presence throughout the country. While you won’t be able to truly revel in the benefits presented by this new mobile network in its entirety just yet, the work is being done to prepare the country. Certain major metropolitan areas are already getting the opportunity to experience this new ultra-quick and reliable network. However, as with all things, there are those that oppose 5G deployment.
While carriers across the globe are racing to implement 5G, some have seen its potential benefits yet still want to stop it. They believe that 5G, specifically the use of millimeter wavelengths (mmWaves), pose negative health effects on the public. These types of fears and worries surrounding new mobile networks are far from new.
When 2G, 3G, and 4G were about to be deployed, there were many who stood against it, believing these radio waves led to cancer and other health scares.
However, many of these individuals cherry-pick their evidence to fit their case, avoiding the countless studies that contradict their argument.
What is 5G?
5G is the fifth generation of cellular mobile networks for the next generation of smartphones. Its predecessor, 4G LTE, is currently running out of capacity in many metropolitan areas, leading to heavy slowdowns during times of peak activity. The need for 5G is apparent.
5G promises to provide lightning-fast speeds, increase reliability, and reduce latency, which is the time it takes for one device to communicate with another wireless network. This new technology will be used to not only improve our mobile devices, but it will also help advance the development of autonomous vehicles, power advanced augmented and virtual reality experiences, be used for healthcare, and help improve the Internet of Things. You will be able to connect to more devices and have a much faster response time of 1 millisecond.
While 5G networks will be piggybacking off of established 4G technologies and pathways, the plan is for 5G to sustain itself in the future.
5G networks require much more small cell towers, which will be established in areas where people live, work, and go to school.
While 4G LTE peaks at a speed of 10 Mbps, 5G is expected to reach peak speeds of 10 to 20 Gbps, nearly ten times faster than 4G. 5G will utilize a band of radio spectrum known as millimeter waves or mmWaves, which broadcast at frequencies between 30 to 300 GHz.
Unfortunately, 5G has low coverage area and poor penetration, so carriers have to deploy many small cells, improving the level of coverage for 5G. They also use massive MIMO, which allows the sending and receiving of data between multiple networks simultaneously.
Why Some People Worry
As mentioned above, 5G networks use high-frequency spectrum called mmWaves. However, many people fear that these waves pose a negative impact on the health of the public. They worry about the radiation that these waves emit. Several places across the world have taken efforts against 5G, including:
- The Belgian government stopped 5G tests in Brussels due to fear of radiation from base stations causing harm.
- The state of New Hampshire is considering creating a commission to study the effects of 5G networks.
- The city council in Mill Valley, California, blocked the development of 5G cells.
Understandably, all new things can lead to feelings of unease and worry. However, those that oppose the progression of 5G tend to ignore facts that contradict their arguments.
As we have mentioned, 5G networks require carriers to deploy much more small cells than are already in place. This increase is what has given people worry. People question that the use of mmWaves has not been properly tested, but the FDA and the FCC have both stated that there is nothing to worry about. This has not stopped 5G’s critics, though.
People fear radiation, which is simply just the energy that a source emits. Technically, the heat that you give off as a human is classified as radiation. There are forms of radiation that can cause harm, however. The level of power on the electromagnetic spectrum organizes radiation waves.
Two categories dived this spectrum: non-ionizing and ionizing.
- Non-ionizing: These contain bigger wavelengths with lower frequencies. They are not as powerful as their counterparts. Non-ionizing radiation is not nearly as powerful enough to break apart chemical bonds in DNA. Radiofrequency (RF) like FM radio, TV signals, and cellphones are all examples.
- Ionizing: These contain smaller wavelengths with higher frequencies and are very powerful. Ionizing radiation includes ultraviolet rays, X-rays, and gamma rays, and they are all harmful. Their energy is powerful enough to pull apart atoms and break down chemical bonds in DNA. This breakdown often leads to cancer.
Ionizing radiation is the only radiation that causes any harm. That is why doctors advise you against unnecessary X-rays and that spending too much time in the sun can lead to skin cancer.
Two important keys to 5G, microwave and millimeter wavelength (mmWave), are both non-ionizing. This means they can’t produce the type of energy to hurt you. Visible light is also non-ionizing radiation. People come in contact with lower-frequency microwaves every day, including Wi-Fi routers, airport security scanners, walkie-talkies, and even garage door openers.
What Science Says
Since mobile networks involving cellphones are still in their infancy, there is not enough data to come to a conclusive answer. However, most studies conducted to this point have shown that cellphone use in RF range does not cause the development of tumors, according to the American Cancer Society.
Critics use the fact that the World Health Organization classified RF radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” However, they also refer to coffee and pickles as “possibly carcinogenic” just like RF. Essentially, anything can cause cancer.
Even further, carriers in the U.S. intend on using the same frequency bands used for earlier generations for 5G. Many carriers do intend on targeting higher frequencies in the near future. However, these frequencies are still non-ionizing, so they do not pose a threat.
Kenneth Foster, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, has studied the effect radio-frequency energy has on your health for nearly 50 years. He has stated that those opposed to 5G are finding studies that support their agenda and ignoring those that don’t.
Dr. Steve Novella, an assistant professor of neurology at Yale and the editor of Science-Based Medicine, has stated that you can “go out in the sun, and you’re bathed in electromagnetic radiation that’s far greater than these 5G cell towers.” Dr. Novella essentially says that you are at a greater risk standing in the sun than from 5G networks.
While there will always be countless individuals who oppose advancements in cellular networks, they still persist. Critics claim these advancements lead to increased radiation, which would be the public in harm’s way. However, the studies and research done on the subject have proven to be inconclusive and even contradictory. The overall evidence shows that 5G and mmWaves used in these networks do not put people in danger. They merely improve our mobile networks, improving overall speed and decreasing latency. ARYU Networks has done its due diligence in understanding 5G cellular networks, ensuring their effectiveness and safety to the public.