Misperceptions about 5G effect on health
Viruses of any kind don’t transmit via radio waves; Covid-19 spreads through person-to-person contact and not through 5G radiation; there is no link between 5G and spread of Covid-19
5G is a disruptive innovation and will prove to be a game changer. It will provide benefits for the economy and society. High speed broad band, virtual reality/augmented reality, applications in implementation of smart cities/ smart manufacturing, support of massive number of IOT (Internet of Things) devices, car platooning, telesurgery are some of the benefits of this promising technology.
More than hundred commercial 5G Networks have been rolled out across the world in sixty countries. DoT (Department of Telecommunications) has allotted spectrum to the telecom operators for conducting 5G trials. Of late several messages are being circulated in social media platforms claiming that the second wave of Covid-19 has been caused by the testing of 5G mobile towers. Several telecom towers and equipment were damaged fearing linkage of 5G radiation to Covid-19. DoT vide their press release dated 10.05.21 has clarified that there is no link between 5G and spread of Covid-19 and there is no scientific basis to prove the linkage between these two. It also informed that testing of 5G had not started anywhere in India.
Recently Delhi High court has dismissed the lawsuit, filed by one consumer advocacy group member, Mumbai, challenging the 5G network roll out fearing health hazards because of 5G radiations.
It can be noted that 5G technology was first deployed in South Korea (in Dec 2018) and part of US (not in China). US had not seen major Covid-19 out breaks until months after cases spread in China. Covid-19 has spread to areas without 5G towers like Iran and Japan. These facts prove that the fear that 5G radiation causes Covid19 spread is misplaced. Viruses of any kind don't transmit via radio waves. Covid-19 spreads through person to person contact and not through 5G radiation.
Electromagnetic spectrum is divided in to two distinct categories as ionizing and non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation includes UV (Ultraviolet) rays, X rays, gamma rays which are harmful beyond a certain limit. Non-ionizing radiation has lower frequency and is safe. It lacks sufficient energy to take out an electron to form an ion. It will not able to break apart the chemical bonds of DNA to cause cellular damage.
The frequency bands used in 5G technology are (1) 600-2300 MHz (2)2300-5000 MHz (3) 26GHz- 28GHz which are in non-ionizing band of electromagnetic spectrum. Mobile towers, including 5G ones, emit non-ionizing radio frequencies of very low power and can't cause any kind of damage to living cells including human cells. The power is so small that there will be no heating effect.
DoT has prescribed norms for exposure limit for the Radio Frequency Field (i.e. base station emissions) which are 10 times more stringent than the safe limits prescribed by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and recommended by World Health Organization (WHO). The Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) have to give self-certificates regarding emission levels of base stations to DoT and field units of DoT conduct physical audit of 10 per cent of total sites randomly.
Any citizen having any apprehension about any mobile tower emitting radio waves beyond the safe limit prescribed by DoT can request for measurements/testing on Tarang Sanchar Portal of DoT. It is crucial to note that radio waves are far less energetic than even the visible light we experience every day.
♥ There is no linkage between Covid-19 and 5G radiation
♥ All mobile towers (including 5G ones) emit non-ionic radiation which is safe
♥ The limits for the emission levels of mobile towers in India are ten times more stringent than the safe limits recommended by WHO.
♥ There is no reputable evidence that mobile networks have caused health problems. All evidences available support that 5G technology is safe. This technology is already being used in sixty countries.
(The author is retired Advisor, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) Government of India)