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More research on 5G networks 'needed'

Tuesday January 19th 2021

A British academic has called for a halt to the global roll out of 5G until safety concerns are properly addressed.

The comments are controversial as 5G has become enmeshed in conspiracy theories, including wild claims that it is somehow linked to COVID-19.

Writing in a mainstream medical journal, Professor John William Frank, director of knowledge exchange and research impact at the Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh, stressed he did not want to give credence to claims about the links to the virus.

He said the levels of radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) that more people will be exposed to merits further study.

Writing in the online edition of the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, the physician-epidemiologist says 5G uses 3 to 300GHz radio waves – higher than previous generations of the technology – and transmission boosting ‘cell’ antennae are needed every 100m-300m, making it more spatially dense than the older transmission masts.

Prof Frank says although there have been several major reviews of the existing evidence on the potential health harms of 5G, they have been of “varying scientific quality”.

He also points out that permitted maximum safety limits for RF-EMF exposure vary in different countries and points out that “5G systems” is not a consistently defined term. Instead, it comprises different specific technologies and components.

“It is highly likely that each of these many forms of transmission causes somewhat different biological effects – making sound, comprehensive and up-to-date research on those effects virtually impossible,” he writes.

Recent reviews of lab data on RF-EMFs suggest that exposures can result in a number of effects, including reproductive, foetal, oncological, neuropsychiatric, skin, eye and immunological and Prof Knight says because of “significant doubts” about the safety of a new and potentially widespread human exposure, there should be “a moratorium on that exposure, pending adequate scientific investigation of its suspected adverse health effects”.

“Until we know more about what we are getting into, from a health and ecological point of view, those putative gains need to wait,” he concludes.

Frank JW. Electromagnetic fields, 5G and health: what about the precautionary principle? Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 19 January 2021


Tags: Cancer | Childbirth and Pregnancy | General Health | UK News

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