Is 5G Harmful to Your Health?
5G is considered the most powerful cellular technology, but in between the marketing, advertising, and hype from network providers, many are concerned about its long-term impact on health and wellbeing. Those against the growth of 5G claim it generates radiofrequency radiation that could damage DNA, cause oxidative damage, disrupt cell metabolism, and potentially lead to the degeneration of tissue.
As cellular technology continues to evolve, are we facing the next healthpocalypse?
The primary health concerns stem from something called millimeter-wave technology, which is the type of high-frequency radio waves 5G is using, enabling them to deliver their super-fast speeds. The issue is, these millimeter-waves increase speed, but they don’t hit the mark when it comes to reliably transmitting frequencies over long distances. Can’t be good at everything, right? The workaround is to increase something called access points, allowing these millimeter-waves to link up more efficiently, over long distances.
There are two different concerns stemming from this technology. The first concern is that we don’t know enough about these new millimeter-wave frequencies and they could be dangerous. The second concern is the increase in access points, which, given that millimeter waves can’t travel long distances, will be nearer to homes, schools, and other places where you work and live. The fear here is increased exposure to radiation, more than 4G, which didn’t require as many access points.
HERE’S WHY YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE TO WORRY
5G and millimeter-wave technology are not new. In fact, some carriers that are using 5G are actually using a band that was previously used for broadcast television. If you use a connector or have several routers in your home, multiple access points are not new either, since they work in the same way as when you try to connect your basement internet to the main floor router. Other carriers have repurposed their 4G bands to include 5G, another example of using existing technology.
A few carriers have built new millimeter bands, but they’re in select areas and won’t be rolled out nationwide for several years. Even when this rollout does happen, 5G frequencies are at a level categorized as non-ionizing radiation, meaning they do not break molecular bonds. X-rays and gamma rays – the kind of radiation we don’t want – are known as ionizing radiation and are much, much higher on the electromagnetic spectrum compared to millimeter-waves. For context, visible light – also part of the spectrum – is also higher than millimeter-waves. In fact, researchers at NYU and Temple University stated that since the millimeter-wave lengths are shorter, there’s less chance of skin penetration, making it even less of a health concern than previous frequencies.
A quick Google search “Is 5G dangerous” will bring up thousands of articles presenting convincing and often scientifically-backed evidence either supporting of dismissing the theory. In 2011, the World Health Organization categorized cell phones as possibly carcinogenic 1. This is understandably alarming, but what’s not highlighted is that the same category contains coffee, aloe, and pickled vegetables. Upon further investigation, this category holds items that have had questions, yet no conclusive evidence exists one way or another.
If radiation from our cell phones is considered a safe level, should we still be concerned about the radiation and exposure everywhere else? Airplanes, microwaves, and X-rays also emit radiation, so collectively, is it too much? The debate over whether or not electromagnetic radiation can hurt humans remains contentious. Some research suggests limitation only to be disputed later with more research, which suggests it poses no risk.
Research, on both sides, is inconclusive because it depends on self-reporting; and since it’s a new field of study, this is limited.
If you’re worried about 5G, rest-assured you can still take some steps to reduce your radiation intake by going handsfree or simply, disconnecting more. If you think about it, you’re probably doing the majority of your research on your phone or tablet, making yourself more anxious about the conflicting information you’re reading.
Step back, prioritize time outside, and simply focus on disconnecting from the online world more. Meet with friends in real life or enjoy a good book. 5G isn’t going anywhere, and technology will continue to evolve but taking time away from the things that trigger anxiety and worry can be a good idea when we’re feeling like we don’t have control.