Can 5G affect my health?

For all the benefits of 5G over 4G, including faster speeds, lower latency and greater use cases, some have expressed concerns that it could impact your health.

While worries about the impact of mobile radiation on the body are not new, they have arisen once more following the rollout of 5G in multiple cities across the UK.

The UK government is adamant that it is perfectly safe, and that the public has nothing to worry about. But we wanted to run through the concerns, nonetheless.

What’s the worry?

To truly understand the concerns of 5G, it’s best to briefly consider what electromagnetic radiation is and how it works… So, hold tight for a brief science lesson.

The electromagnetic spectrum is natural and contains familiar forms such as visible light (illustrated on the diagram below).

Electromagnetic radiation is measured in frequency and wavelengths. Radiation at lower frequencies and longer wavelengths than visible light is known as microwave and radiowaves.

Mobile phones use microwaves and radiowaves to communicate. 5G just uses another part of this spectrum – the portion from 22Ghz to 86GHz. Importantly, this part of the spectrum is non-ionising, meaning it is incapable of breaking the human body’s molecular bonds and causing each molecule to have an electric charge.

Yet, this is where the concerns lie. While non-ionising radiation is weaker than the ionising kind, there remain suggestions that it can still alter the body. Such claims often go so far as to say that it is a leading cause of chronic and terminal illnesses.

Why is this suggested?

When you use your mobile phone, it is emitting radio waves that hit the human body. These are then absorbed by human tissue and simply turned into energy.

Scientific research has not shown that radio waves alter the molecular structure of any of these tissues. It has shown, however, that they can raise the temperature of these cells by 0.2 degrees Celsius, but this is equivalent to a natural increase during exercise, and it is not considered a health risk.

While governments and health organisations are adamant that there is no public health risk posed by 5G, research into the impact and prolonged exposure of radiowaves to the human body has ultimately been inconclusive. Studies are likely to continue until risk can be determined either way.

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