Report finds 5G as safe as 4G, 3G and GSM

July 16, 2020 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Report finds 5G as safe as 4G, 3G and GSM
Leading UK engineers and technologists have found 5G to be just as safe as 4G, 3G and GSM, quashing recent misinformation and conspiracy theories about 5G safety.

A new report from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has  found that 5G technology is very similar to 4G in terms of radio wave exposure and that its pulsed signals are the same as GSM, Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) phones and a version of 4G.

The report looked at the safety standards of 5G and concluded it would need to meet the same safety standards as 4G, 3G and GSM, making it just as safe. Ofcom has proposed new licence conditions to ensure companies meet the safety standards, and it also carries out regular site testing. The report also looked into the frequency that 5G uses, which had sparked some concerns, and found that “higher frequency” (mmWaves) commercial 5G mobile antennas are not being deployed in the UK, and none are currently planned.

The report, however, does highlight the difficulty in finding Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) values on 5G smartphones. SAR is a measure of the rate at which energy is absorbed per unit mass by a human body when exposed to a radio frequency electromagnetic field. This is a consumer choice issue and not a safety issue. The SAR value data that was gathered for a number of 5G smartphones in the UK did show that all were compliant, and some were significantly under the recommended maximum safety standard.

Professor Will Stewart, Chair of the IET’s Digital Communications Policy Panel, said: “In recent months, 5G has been subject to an ‘infodemic’ of misinformation and conspiracy theories that has reached such a crescendo – and when this happens, it becomes a real challenge to get to the root of what started it all and separate fact from fiction. This IET report aims to separate the hoaxes from sincere concerns expressed that 5G might be harmful and to investigate those concerns.


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