Many movements have emerged around the world opposing the deployment of 5G on public health grounds, such as in London, pictured
After the closure of the 5G auction, operators are preparing for the arrival of this new generation of telecommunications. As part of a series, Thierry Labro examines the claims of the pro and anti-5G camps for the health sector.
Fear is the best springboard for “fake news”, that modern-day rumor spread on social networks in increasingly less homeopathic doses. Between the pro-5Gs who claim that this new standard is not going to change anything and the anti-5Gs for whom it is a disaster, the best thing is, as often happens, to go back to the source.
With a starting point: the spectrum is divided into two parts, one ionising, which can have consequences on cells, even DNA, and the other, non-ionising, for which nothing has been proven, even if everyone is cautious. The frequencies used by telecommunications are in this second part.
5G poses health risks: FALSE
“To date, and after extensive research, no adverse health effects have been causally linked to exposure to wireless technologies. Health-related conclusions are drawn from studies conducted across the entire radio spectrum, but so far only a few studies have been conducted on the frequencies used by 5G,” says the World Health Organization (WHO) on its website, based on a compilation of 250,000 studies. “Tissue heating is the main mechanism of interaction between radiofrequency fields and the human body. The levels of RF exposure from current technologies result in a negligible rise in temperature in the human body.”
“As the frequency increases, there is less penetration into body tissues and the absorption of energy becomes more confined to the body surface (skin and eyes). As long as overall exposure remains below international guidelines, no public health consequences are anticipated.”
Sending the waves directly to the device that needs them instead of them being evenly distributed avoids even affecting other people in the same geographical area, adds the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.
In a spectrum that would go from left to right, from the low frequencies to the highest, the 5G (700 and even 3.6) is in the rather low part and only the very high part presents risks of ionising radiation, in other words of modifying the cells of the organism. No technology will use the waves in this part. The closest ones, the microwave and the solarium, are still far below international recommendations.
Health risks are described in various studies: TRUE
In Luxembourg, eight petitions have been tabled in parliament in a bid to stop the deployment of 5G and only one has passed the sufficient number of signatures (4,500) to have a debate. In its motivations, the request of the Stop 5G Luxembourg collective cites various studies. Let us examine them:
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reported in November 2018 the appearance of cancers in rats and mice subjected to radio frequencies: the study on 2G and 3G does indeed exist. But the warnings of its authors are more than enough to put it into perspective. “5G is an emerging technology that has not yet been fully defined. From what we understand at present, it probably differs considerably from what we have studied,” the author explains, among other things.
In 1981, NASA presented ‘Report - Electromagnetic Field Interactions with the Human Body: Observed Effects and Theories’: still accurate. In addition to the date of this 125-page study - 1981 corresponds to the still timid diffusion of the first mobile phones - the authors state that extrapolation of the findings obtained in animals and in the laboratory is impossible for humans (pages 3-4).
In 1972, the US Naval Medical Institute published a bibliography of 1,200 studies: “Bibliography of Reported Biological Phenomena (122 effects) and Clinical Manifestations attributed to Microwave and Radio-Frequency Radiation”, again nearly 50 years old. It establishes a short catalogue of health problems, based on more than a thousand studies. 2,311 references mention one of these disorders.
5G is a problem for electro-sensitive people or poses exposure problems: TRUE AND FALSE
Since there are no general health problems, there are no particular problems related to a person’s exposure to the waves emitted by antennas and smartphones. Here again, the WHO does not deny the questions, but its studies show that smartphones do not exceed the accepted limits. And no studies indicate that the waves have a harmful effect. These answers can be found in its comprehensive catalogue on electromagnetic fields.
A point of view that is not (anymore) fully shared by the French Health Safety Agency. The agency, which published a study on the subject just over a year ago, points to "old" mobile phones (before 2016) that no longer meet current standards. In other words, they exceed the limit when worn in a jacket, near the body or head. It calls for a change in the exposure limits of these phones, or even for their recall by manufacturers.
Before reminding that these effects were at least very limited and that the limits did not correspond to daily use of the same smartphones.
5G promotes the spread of Covid-19: FALSE
Again, WHO and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection explain in unison that the virus can only be transmitted through contact between an infected person or an infected object and a person. However, waves cannot carry viruses.