What do we know about the impact of 5G technology on people and nature?


There is still insufficient research on how fifth-generation high-frequency mobile communications, up to 100 GHz, affect human health and the environment. This became clear during a debate in the European Parliament. The European Parliament’s research panel presented two studies on the impact of 5G networks on human health and the environment.

The European Parliament’s health and environmental policy must be guided by scientific data and evidence, said Panel Chairwoman Eva Kaili a Greek MEP, at the start of the discussion. Members of the “Future of Science and Technology” panel discussed the results of research on how mobile communications affect human health and nature.

Eva Kaili – Chair of the „The Future of Science and Technology” panel: There is clearly a disagreement in this regard in science. Some believe that there should be more research on the potential negative effects on the environment and also the incidence of certain diseases in humans, including cancer and leukemia have been mentioned. And in this regard, basic restrictions are introduced to limit the exposure to maximum levels that should not be exceeded.

Ivo Hristov – MEP from Bulgaria, host of the debate: I believe that public interests and care for biodiversity and human health should take precedence over economic considerations. I am also convinced that citizens have the right to an objective scientific assessment, which, instead of polarizing public sentiment, should help to sift the truth from the half-truth. I believe that the presentation of the two studies will bring a dose of common sense to the debate over the introduction of fifth-generation networks.

This is not a new technology, but an evolution of existing mobile communications, reminded Fiorella Belpoggi of the Ramazzini Institute. She presented a study on the impact of fifth-generation mobile communications on human health. In particular, the effects on reproductive capacity and the spread of cancer have been subject to the research.

Fiorella Belpoggi – Team Leader from the Ramazzini Institute, Bologna, Italy: We have integrated the results of epidemiological studies, from experimental studies and gathered all the data together, as our conclusions are as follows … Current frequencies … and here we start from the best possible evidence that exists. In the group of frequencies from 450 to 6000 MHz, we can say that these frequencies are probably carcinogenic to humans.

In the second group of frequencies from 24 to 100 GHz, we can say that adequate research has not been performed. In this regard – in terms of cancer. From the point of view of reproductive problems and the impact on children’s development, in the group of 450 to 6000 MHz, it can be said that these frequencies probably affect men and possibly affect women in terms of their reproductive function. They can also have a potentially negative effect on the development of embryos and newborns when mothers use mobile phones during pregnancy. For higher frequencies from 24 to 100 GHz, I will repeat, we do not have enough research for non-thermal effects.

Based on the results of the study, Fiorella Belpoggi proposes to develop policies for this:

– To choose such technologies for mobile communications, which allow to reduce the exposure to radio frequency and electromagnetic radiation;

– Manufacturers to produce devices that are less exposed to such radiation;

– Phones should be used away from the body or should be away from the body;

– To limit the exposure to radiation in „fixed places“ – the workplace, homes, public buildings, etc .;

– Research is needed in various fields – from doctors, physicists, chemists and gather evidence „on many fronts.“

The results of the study on the impact of wireless communication with fifth generation networks on wildlife, flora and fauna were presented by Prof. Arno Thielens from the University of Ghent, Belgium.

Based on the available literature and research conducted so far, 4 policy options for environmental protection in the impact of fifth generation mobile communications have been summarized.

Prof. Arno Thielens – Team Leader from the University of Ghent, Belgium: So, the first policy option is to fund research into the environmental impact of the exposure to electromagnetic and radio frequency fields. Why? Because at the moment only the biological effects on human health are considered and the others, such as animals, plants, fungi, are completely off topic, then if we want to cover them, there must be research on them as well. A second policy option is to monitor wildlife exposures. Why? Because there is not enough scientific research at the moment, it is not known what the effect is. The third policy option is to monitor and control antennas for base stations. As I said, the exposure of wildlife is mostly from antennas and base stations, which are currently mounted on tall towers or buildings to provide great connectivity. On the right you can see what such an antenna for 5G looks like – very small antennas actually. These little circles are controlled by the blue cables you see below. Finally, the last option I propose to the policy is to look at the exhibits, the exhibition near the base stations. There is literature that in all studies it has been shown that the exposure is highest near the antennas. You see on the right the impact and absorption of the field in a bee in the table on the left and it is clear that it is closest to the antenna. This applies to all organisms.

Original text in Bulgarian by Valeri Marinov