With the advent of 5G, the world of communication will be better prepared to meet globalization‘s demands. But the complete safety of the latest 5G cellular network is not guaranteed as the scientific community has at times shown concern over the matter. Our interest in faster telecommunication and a vaster reach is valid, but can it cost our health?
5G is expected to transform our lives by low latency, more capacity, and connectivity for billions of devices and introduce new applications such as e-health (telemedicine and telesurgery). Still, the EMF hazards on humans have always been a question under debate. And now, the use of 5G has further provoked controversy. With all these advancements, will humanity witness serious health conditions? Is it safe for you and your children to let the latest technologies take over your lives? Let’s take a closer look!
What is 5G; a brief introduction
5G or fifth generation is the latest cellular wireless technology. 5G has come with millimeter waves for the first time, along with the previously used microwaves. 5G works with high-frequency radio waves – a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The latest cellular technology promises 10 times more speed than the current 4G due to the transmission at a higher frequency.
By using high-frequency radio waves called millimeter waves, the desired, enhanced speed is attained. 5G network requires small geographic cells or masts as the high-frequency radio waves have a short physical range. 5G wireless devices and cellphones are connected to the network using the highest speed antenna.
Are 5G hazards an issue of concern?
Electromagnetic waves are always around us. TV, mobile phones, WIFI router, and computers emit a stream of invisible energy waves called radio signals. In 2011, the WHO’s International Agency for cancer research (IARC) declared EMF “possibly carcinogenic.” During a study on EMF hazards, researchers noticed a kind of connection between glioma (a cancer type) and high EMF exposure rate. In this study, the glioma was found to occur more often on the side of the head people used to answer the phone. Furthermore, skin and eyes become the major organs of concern when frequency increases as the penetration in the body is reduced.
The possible EMF hazards on humans are increased harmful free radicals, cancer risk, genetic damages, structural and functional changes in the reproductive system, cellular stress, neurological disorders, and memory deficits. Another study conducted by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) observed increased cancer risks in male rats and DNA damage in rats and mice.
A big problem with 5G
5G travels at shorter distances, so it needs masts or antennas every 100 to 200 km increasing the EMF exposure rate. For the first time, millimeter waves are going to be used in a cellular network. As millimeter waves have a short physical range, many new base stations are required for the 5G network to transmit and receive signals. With the decrease of distance from the source, sending out the signal, the emf exposure density increases, so do the 5G hazards.
Moreover, new technologies like phased arrays, active antennas capable of beamforming, massive MIMO present big challenges for measuring the exposure. The peripheral nervous system, cardiovascular, and immune systems can have adverse physiological effects in short-term exposure. Long-term exposure can affect the eyes, skin, and testes. A link between long-term exposure to EMF and some types of cancer is also seen.
5G comes with increased exposure to EMF
5G will accompany 4G, increasing exposure to the radiofrequency radiation RFR. The simultaneous use of multiple cellular technologies and their resultant synergistic effects increase the overall risk massively. In the US, 5G requires an installation of 800000 cell antenna sites.
RFR causes oxidative stress. Not only cancer but also neurological and reproductive disorders are the possible health hazards of high EMF exposure. European scientists have noticed an association between EMF and leukemia in children. International Commission on non-ionizing radiation protection (ICNIRP) maintains EMF exposure guidelines. Hypersensitivity to EMF exposure can be; headache, depression, insomnia, fatigue, dysesthesia, lack of concentration, dizziness, changes in memory, irritability, anxiety, and nausea.
Professor Andrew Woods’ Swinburne Team authors the study of 5G electromagnetic radiation absorption in humans. The team is a part of the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research (ACEBR). According to the study, the electromagnetic radiation of a mobile phone causes an increase in temperature, which is the main biological effect observed.
Protection from EMF
Many epidemiological studies show small increases in leukemia in children with exposure to low-frequency magnetic fields in the home. Workers exposed to microwave and high radiofrequency radiation levels are sometimes shown to have general eye irritation and cataracts. Some individuals have reported hypersensitivity to EMF. They experience depression, lethargy, sleeping disorders, aches, pains, even convulsion. There is growing evidence of the effect on both plants and animals.
To lessen the EMF exposure, try to put down the phone when not in use. While sleeping, keep the electronic gadgets in another room. Use a speaker or earphones to reduces wave absorption. You can use a cellphone EMF protection disc and computer EMF protection strips.
The use of 5G promises faster speed and a vaster reach. It would indeed be a great addition to the fields of science, education, and economy. But the 5G hazards on humans are also to be kept in mind. We have to keep pace with the world and its technologies. In this regard, the best practice is to accept the technologies but never remain ignorant of the threats they impose on human health. Protection is to be undertaken in this regard. And a dutiful citizen is the one who not only ensures the safety of his family and friends but also of humanity. For sure, the earth is home to every one of us!