ICNIRP finds no health risk with 5G technologies

Research by the by the International Commission on Non‐Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has concluded that there is no specific undue health risk posed by 5G communications technologies if they adhere to recognised standards.

The ICNIRP is an independent organisation that provides scientific advice and guidance on the health and environmental effects of non‐ionising radiation (NIR) to protect people and the environment from detrimental NIR exposure.

After seven years of study looking at improved protection for higher frequency waves covering upcoming 5G technologies, as well as AM and DAB radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and the currently used 3G and 4G mobile phones, the ICNIRP has issued new guidelines regarding the protection of humans exposed to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields.

The ICNIRP first published its international guidelines for protection against harmful effects of radiofrequency fields in 1998.

The main changes in the 2020 guidelines that are relevant to 5G exposures are for frequencies above 6 GHz. These include the addition of restriction for exposure to the whole body; the addition of a restriction for brief (less than six‐minute) exposures to small regions of the body; and the reduction of the maximum exposure permitted over a small region of the body.

In formulating the new guidelines, the ICNIRP said that it recognised parts of communities were concerned about the safety of 5G and it hoped that its updated guidelines will help put people at ease.

“The guidelines have been developed after a thorough review of all relevant scientific literature, scientific workshops and an extensive public consultation process,” said ICNIRP chairman Eric van Rongen.

“They provide protection against all scientifically substantiated adverse health effects due to EMF exposure in the 100 kHz to 300 GHz range,” he said. “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.

“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.”

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