Petition Launch an independent enquiry into the health and safety risks of 5G.
As wireless companies prepare to launch the next generation of service, there are new questions about the possible health risks.
The National Toxicology Program study "was just an indicator that more and better research is needed,"
This response was given on 19 March 2019
Exposure to radio waves has been carefully researched and reviewed. The overall weight of evidence does not suggest devices producing exposures within current guidelines pose a risk to public health.
Public Health England (PHE) advises the Government on appropriate public health standards for protection from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs), or radio waves. PHE’s main advice is that the guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) should be adopted and there is no convincing evidence that exposures below the ICNIRP guideline levels cause adverse health effects. ICNIRP is formally recognised as an official collaborating non-governmental organisation by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization. ICNIRP is also consulted by the European Commission. Advice from PHE includes comprehensive scientific review reports and statements on particular topics that can be viewed at:
The Government continues to support research on this topic, including the ongoing Cohort Study of Mobile Phone Use and Health (COSMOS, http://www.thecosmosproject.org/) and the Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phone studies (SCAMP, https://www.scampstudy.org/) at Imperial College London. PHE keeps the emerging evidence under review and maintains precautionary advice that recognises exposures can be much higher when mobile phones are held to the head to make voice calls than in other situations. Similar advice is not considered necessary with the lower exposures that occur from mobile phone base stations and wireless networks.
PHE’s advice is based on EMF and health evidence reviews have been prepared by scientific expert groups in the United Kingdom (UK) and around the world. The independent Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR) published their report in the UK in 2012 and the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) published their report in 2015. Links to these reviews are below:
The main conclusion from the WHO reviews is that EMF exposures below the limits recommended in the ICNIRP guidelines do not appear to have any known consequence on health. WHO is presently preparing an Environmental Health Criteria Monograph covering the evidence in relation to radiofrequency exposures and health. This publication will complement the monographs on static fields (2006) and extremely low frequency fields (2007) and will update the previous monograph on radiofrequency fields (1993). Information from WHO about EMF exposure guidelines can be viewed at: http://www.who.int/peh-emf/standards/en/.
ICNIRP guidelines apply up to a frequency of 300 gigahertz (GHz), well beyond the maximum frequencies under discussion for 5G (a few tens of GHz). Some 5G technology will use similar frequencies to existing communications systems. Other 5G technology will work at higher frequencies (a few tens of GHz), where the main change would be less penetration of radio waves through materials, for example walls. International product standards applying to mobile phones and other transmitting devices, health and safety legislation, and planning policy for telecommunications developments all look towards compliance with exposure restrictions from the ICNIRP guidelines. While a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves is possible when 5G is added to the existing network, the overall exposure is expected to remain low and well within the ICNIRP guidelines. Guidelines and other information from ICNIRP can be found at the following link: www.icnirp.org.
In 2018, the United States’ National Toxicology Program (NTP) released its final reports on rat and mouse studies. NTP concluded it had found evidence linking high levels of exposure to cancers in the animals. NTP explained that the findings cannot be directly applied to humans for two reasons: firstly, the exposure levels and durations were greater than what people may receive from mobile phones; and secondly, because the rats and mice received exposure throughout their whole bodies, which is different from the more localised exposures humans may receive, as from a mobile phone in their pocket or next to their head. The press release and links to the study are available at:
PHE considers the results from the NTP studies, though interesting, do not alter the balance of evidence in relation to human exposure when using mobile phone technologies. However, the results of this study highlight the continuing uncertainties in this complex area and reinforce the importance of mobile phone users following the long-standing precautionary advice, which is available at the following links:
Department of Health and Social Care.
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