April 12, 2021
Busting misconceptions about 5G and health
In recent years, public opinion has been swayed by inaccurate, non-factual reports and conspiracy theories that state mobile phones, particularly 5G, present a danger to health.
Despite decades of extensive research assessing potential adverse health effects, to date no links have been established.
With all-new technology, it is normal for questions to be raised and for the public to seek reassurance. Our #5GCheckTheFacts campaign aims to offer clear insight, bust the myths, and offer the facts and scientific insight to answer common misconceptions about 5G.
So, what are the main myths circulating about 5G?
Myth 1: 5G causes and helps spread coronavirus.
Previous conspiracy theories have tried to link 5G masts with the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is biologically impossible as viruses cannot travel through mobile networks, and the virus has been spreading in areas where there is no presence of 5G.
Myth 2: 5G is a health risk.
A key concern about 5G is that it is broadcast via radio waves, which are a form of radiation and therefore have been cited by some as a dangerto public health. Radiation is simply the release of energy, just like the light from the sun or heat from our bodies. Most radiation is harmless or, in scientific terms, non-ionising. It is part of our everyday lives, without us even realising it.
Many household items such as our TVs, radios, light bulbs, WiFi, and even our own bodies emit levels of radiation. But importantly, the levels we are exposed to are so low they are not powerful enough to cause adverse health effects - 5G mobiles phones and masts all safely fall into this category.
Myth 3: 5G causes cancer.
Some people have raised concerns that they believe 5G could cause cancer. There is no scientific evidence to show that using mobile phones, including 5G, within guidelines increases cancer risk.
Furthermore, it is widely recognised that non-ionising radiation is not capable of directly causing cancer when used within guidelines. All current and future frequencies of radio waves used for 5G are crucially well within the non-ionising part of the spectrum.
Myth 4: 5G is not essential, it is just about improving consumer convenience.
As the world depends more and more on mobile connectivity and we are consuming more data, existing networks are becoming congested. This is particularly the case when there are lots of people in the same place, at the same time, trying to access online services.
5G has the capacity to handle this demand and has the unique ability to ‘splice’ the network, which will ensure essential services like the emergency services will have the ability to have their own dedicated, reliable part of the 5G network to stay connected.
Faster speeds, the ability to connect multiple devices and reduced latency will also transform how businesses and industry sectors operate, enabling extensive economic growth.
Myth 5: 5G requires more energy, increasing our carbon footprint.
While 5G will use more energy to operate, it will do so much more efficiently and has been designed so that it is only used when and where it is needed, intelligently regulating the amount of power it uses by working “on demand.” Reports have shown that 5G masts already consume half the energy as their 4G counterparts per gigabyte, and by 2025, it is expected they will consume ten times less per gigabyte.
Also, the use of 5G will play a significant role in helping the UK achieve Net Zero by 2050. Studies have shown that 5G and connected technology could save the UK up to 269 megatonnes of CO2 by 2035 – almost as much CO2 as all of England’s emissions in 2018 (280 megatonnes). Connected devices will also optimise fuel efficiency and support the natural world with the timely identification of potential threats.
Myth 6: 5G masts are dangerous.
One of the most common misconceptions is that 5G masts are a source of dangerous levels of radiation. The strong consensus of scientific opinion and public health agencies, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), is that no health risks have been established from exposure to the low-level radio signals used for mobile communications, including 5G.
While masts (or base stations) transmit and receive radio waves to connect the users of mobile phones and other devices to the internet, the strength of those radio waves is very low in publicly accessible areas.
The UK’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom carried out tests at 5G-enabled mobile masts across the country. The highest emission levels (e.g.radiation) recorded at mobile phone masts were consistently well within the strict safety guidelines that monitor radiation levels.
For more information and to access helpful information andmaterials about 5G, please visit www.mobileuk.org/5g-and-health
About Building Mobile Britain
Building Mobile Britain is a campaign created by Mobile UK seeking to work with national and local government, as well as interested industry groups to overcome the challenges we face with expanding the existing mobile networks, while also developing innovative services for customers.
See here for further information - or #BuildingMobileBritain
Head of Policy and Communications
Tel: 07887 911 076