As 5G mobile technology slowly making it’s across the world many government Agencies and organizations advise that there is no reason to be panic about the effect of radio-frequency waves on our health but some experts strongly disagree. So is 5G technology really bad for our health?.
So what is 5G? In technical term, 5G stands for the fifth generation of the mobile network. Which promises of faster browsing, streaming and download experience with low latency and higher bandwidth connection that means you can download movies in seconds. Bandwidth describes the maximum data transfer rate of a network. It measures how much data can be sent over a specific connection in a given amount of time. 5G also offers low-latency condition which is the time that it takes for devices to communicate with each other.
5G is a huge breakthrough for integrated applications such as Robotics self-driving cars and medical devices. Which need real-time processing and we can provide this processing in cloud with the low latency connection in 5G.
What makes 5G different?
5G is the latest generation of the mobile network which offers higher frequency bandwidth and low latency connection. Which enabling users to transfer wireless data faster (up to 10 Gigabits per second) than never before. Previous generations of the mobile network used frequencies between 700 MHz and 6 GHz. 5G network will operate on the frequencies between 28GHz and 100GHz. Put that into perspective 4G is 10 times faster than 3G it is expected that 5G will be around 1,000 times faster than 4G.
Here are some 5G frequency ranges called multi-layer spectrum:
- C-band: 2–6 GHz for coverage and capacity.
- Super Data Layer: Over 6 GHz (e.g., 24–29 GHz and 37–43 GHz) for high bandwidth areas.
- Coverage Area: Below 2 GHz (like 700 MHz) for indoor and broader coverage areas.
But what does 5G have to do with our health?
In this topic, we are looking at what electromagnetic radiation is, how it can impact our health. The controversy surrounding radio-frequency networks and 5G.
What is electromagnetic spectrum?
EM radiation spans a large range of wavelengths and frequencies. This range is known as the electromagnetic or EM spectrum. The EM spectrum is generally divided into 7 regions, in order of decreasing wavelength λ (LAMDA) and increasing energy and frequency ω (OMEGA). The common designations are radio waves, microwaves, infrared (IR), visible light, ultraviolet (UV), X-rays and gamma rays.
We can only see a very small region of the electromagnetic spectrum is called visible light.
Radio waves are low-frequency long wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum, with frequencies of up to 30 GHz, and wavelengths greater than about 10 mm.
Microwaves fall in the range of the electromagnetic spectrum between radio and infrared. They have frequencies from about 3 GHz to 30THz and wavelengths of 10 mm to 100 μm (micrometers).
Infrared is in the range of the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and visible light. It has frequencies from about 30 THz up to about 400 THz and wavelengths of about 100 μm to 740 nm (nanometers). Infrared light is invisible to our eyes, but we can feel it as heat if the intensity is high enough.
Visible light is found in the middle of the electromagnetic spectrum, between infrared and ultraviolet. It has frequencies of about 400THz to 800THz and wavelengths of about 740nm to 380nm. More specifically, visible light is defined as the wavelengths that are visible to our eyes.
Ultraviolet light is in the range of the EM spectrum between visible light and X-rays. It has frequencies of about 800THz (8 × 1014 Hz) to 30PHz (3 × 1016 Hz) and wavelengths of about 380 nm to about 10 nm.
X-rays are broadly classified into two types: soft X-rays and hard X-rays. Soft X-rays comprise the range of the electromagnetic spectrum between ultraviolet and gamma rays. Soft X-rays have frequencies of about 30PHz (3 × 1016 Hz) to about 1EHz (1018 Hz) and wavelengths of about 10nm to about 100pm (picometers). Hard X-rays occupy the same region of the electromagnetic spectrum as gamma rays. The only difference between them is how they are formed: X-rays are produced by accelerating electrons in a very high electric field, while gamma rays are produced by atomic nuclei.
Gamma-rays are in the range of the spectrum above soft X-rays. It has frequencies greater than about 1EHz or 1018 Hz and wavelengths of less than 100 pm. Gamma radiation causes damage to living tissue. And it is dangerous for human.
But what about 5G Technology?
Mobile devices emit radio frequency electromagnetic spectrum at low levels. Whether this is a cause for concern is a matter of ongoing debate, reignited by the arrival of 5G. The effect of radio frequency on our body or any biological body is only heating. The higher dose of radio wave heating up any exposed biological tissue and causes burning but that is in a very very high amount. Is 5G technology bad for our health?
Radio frequency is ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’
In 2011, 30 international scientists, who are part of the working group of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), met to assess the risk of developing cancer as a result of exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic spectrum.
The scientists looked at one cohort study and five case-control studies in humans, each of which was intended to investigate whether there is a link between mobile phone use and glioma, a cancer of the central nervous system.
The team concluded that, based on studies of the highest quality, “A causal interpretation between mobile phone radio wave exposure and glioma is possible.” Smaller studies supported a similar conclusion for acoustic neuroma, but the evidence was not convincing enough for other types of cancers.
The team also looked at over 40 studies that had used rats and mice.
WHO says ‘no adverse health effects?’
The IARC is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). Yet, the WHO is undertaking a separate “health risk assessment of radio wave spectrum, to be published as a monograph in the Environmental Health Criteria series.”
Moving from 4G to 5G
5G Technology offers us to improve connectivity. What that means, in reality, is wider coverage and more bandwidth to allow data to travel from A to B really quickly.
To build out networks at the higher end of the radio wave spectrum, new base stations, or small cells need to be implemented in a global scale. but we are not very sure this 5G technology really bad for our health.
The reason behind this is that high-frequency radio waves have a shorter range than lower-frequency waves. Small cells that will allow data to travel relatively short distances will form a key part of the 5G network, particularly in areas of dense network usage.
Higher frequency (shorter wavelength) radiation associated with 5G does not penetrate the body as deeply as frequencies from older technologies, although its effects may be systemic.