5G: Increased radiation exposure from the next generation of mobile communications?

5G: Increased radiation exposure from the next generation of mobile communications?

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Cell phone radiation gives more questions than answers

The next generation of 5G mobile communications is to be available in 2020. The new standard enables completely new technologies for which the network was previously too slow, including self-driving cars, voice-controlled assistants and intelligent refrigerators that automatically order food. But does 5G expansion also pose health risks from increased radiation exposure?

The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) provides information on the current state of scientific knowledge about 5G networks in relation to health. As the Federal Office reports, a large part of the knowledge that has already been gained about the possible health effects of electromagnetic fields also applies to the new 5G network. Predominantly frequencies are used which are either already used today or which are adjacent to such frequency bands.

The Federal Office is rather cautious

"According to the current state of scientific knowledge, the BfS does not assume any negative health effects, but it also sees open questions," the Federal Office wrote in a communication on the upcoming 5G network. According to the findings of the German Cellular Research Program (DMF), there are no confirmed evidence of a harmful effect of mobile radio on health within the valid limit values ​​for mobile radio transmitters and if the requirements placed on mobile phones as part of product safety are met.

The health risk has not yet been fully clarified

The 5G network can be expanded by further expansion steps with higher frequency bands in the millimeter or centimeter wave range. According to the BfS, there are only a few research results on the topic of health in these areas. Further studies are needed here. "The absorption of the high-frequency electromagnetic fields takes place in the millimeter or centimeter wave range very close to the body surface," reports the BfS. This could have possible effects on the skin and eyes. A direct effect on internal organs is not expected.

Radiation spread will increase

The BfS sees a potential health risk in the so-called small cells. For the expansion of the networks, the BfS expects such cells to increase rapidly. These small cells are set up in locations with a high density of use in order to guarantee a large amount of data transmission. The small cells have a lower transmission power, but are mainly operated in places where there are many people. "How exactly this will affect the extent to which the population will be exposed to radiation cannot yet be estimated," said the BfS. However, it can be assumed that the range of possible exposures will increase.

Long-term effects of current networks are still unknown

"Regardless of 5G, there is still scientific uncertainty regarding the possible long-term effects of intensive cell phone use overall," emphasizes the BfS. The technology is still too young to clarify these issues. For example, an impact on the development of cancer can only be determined after 20 to 30 years. The effects on the development of children have not yet been conclusively clarified.

This is what consumers should pay attention to

According to the BfS, those who have health concerns should pay attention to the so-called SAR value when choosing a mobile device. “The lower the value, the less radiation the device is,” explains the BfS. For more security, the smartphone must be stored at a sufficient distance from the body and a hands-free device or a headset must be used to make calls. The SAR values ​​of the various smartphones can be viewed on the BfS website. (vb)

Author and source information

Video: What will the future of 5G bring? - BBC Click (February 2023).