The International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has weighed in on 5G, declaring it safe, while also providing updated guidelines.
Governments, physicians and advocate groups have expressed concern over 5G, especially the high-frequency, mmWave variety. mmWave is the type of 5G that provides the fastest speeds and stands to disrupt the industry. However, it operates at much higher frequencies than previous generations, and it has limited range, requiring towers and base stations to be placed every couple of hundred meters. As a result, there have been concerns that blanketing people in that much high frequency, electromagnetic fields (EMF) could lead to health problems.
Ultimately, the ICNIRP found no evidence that 5G EMF caused illnesses, such as cancer, when EMFs were kept below the guidelines the group last established in 1998. In the report’s (PDF) summary it states:
“The only substantiated adverse health effects caused by exposure to radiofrequency EMFs are nerve stimulation, changes in the permeability of cell membranes, and effects due to temperature elevation. There is no evidence of adverse health effects at exposure levels below the restriction levels in the ICNIRP (1998) guidelines and no evidence of an interaction mechanism that would predict that adverse health effects could occur due to radiofrequency EMF exposure below those restriction levels.”
Although the 1998 guidelines still provide a measure of protection, the group went further, revising them to account for the newer technology.
“When we revised the guidelines, we looked at the adequacy of the ones we published in 1998. We found that the previous ones were conservative in most cases, and they’d still provide adequate protection for current technologies,” said (PDF) ICNIRP Chairman, Dr Eric van Rongen. “However, the new guidelines provide better and more detailed exposure guidance in particular for the higher frequency range, above 6 GHz, which is of importance to 5G and future technologies using these higher frequencies. The most important thing for people to remember is that 5G technologies will not be able to cause harm when these new guidelines are adhered to.”