5G, the fifth generation in the continuous evolution of mobile technology, it is said, will enable high speed wireless connectivity. Having endured a bit of health related controversy since first beginning to role out in 2019, 5G has recently been linked to the Covid-19 on social media and online chatrooms. Is the Coronavirus just a government cover-up to conceal the truth about harmful 5G radiation?
The, up to, 20 Gigabyte per second data transfer speeds, high capacity, and low latency that 5G connectivity offers promises to revolutionize human day-to-day existence and be the backbone of the Internet of Things (IoT). The lightning fast download speeds are made possible by 5G technology’s use of high frequency millimeter radio waves as opposed to the congested centimeter waves of its predecessors.
“I think 5G will have a transformational impact on our lives and enable fundamentally new things..What those types of applications will be and what that impact is, we can’t say for sure right now. It could be something that takes us by surprise and really changes something for society. If history has taught us anything, then 5G will be another example of what wireless can do for us.”– Harish Krishnaswamy, associate professor of electrical engineering, Columbia University,New York, USA.
Because millimeter frequency waves are shorter (ranging from 1-10 millimeters), they theoretically allow for high speed data transmission. This means that large data files (like movies, or the entire Bruce Springteen album catalog) can be transmitted or downloaded almost instantaneously. The thing is, short wave frequencies like ultraviolet light can be harmful to DNA.
That, and a possible misunderstanding of the term “radiation” has the internet up in arms, with claims of 5G being behind the recent Covid-19 outbreak. Reports have come in of people in some territories going as far as setting 5G towers on fire.
Now every evolution in mobile connectivity technology has been met with opposition based on the fears that the radiation these devices emit could be harmful to human health. A decade long study by the US health authority’s National Toxicology Program found that 2G and 3G waves emitted on rats and mice, over an extended period of time, resulted in adrenal gland tumors developing in the male rats.
Note that the rodents were exposed to 4 times the regular radation emitted by handheld devices in human use. A senior scientist on the project even stated that “exposures used in the studies cannot be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience when using a cell phone”.
Yes, cellular connectivity emits radiation, but cellphone radiation is non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation can displace the electrons in atoms and can potentially harm DNA. People have probably nitpicked a study for the parts that support their opinion and used it to feed the panic and cause hysteria, as always.
In fact, the World Health Organization, although having officially classified 5G as potentially carcinogenic (about as carcinogenic as eating pickled vegetables), the health authority has stated that there is no conclusive evidence that the technology is, at all, harmful to humans.
The UK government has stated that the radiation emitted by 5G towers (which use far less power than 4G network towers) are far below guideline levels.