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Mobile networks use wireless radio signals to communicate with devices. Over recent years there has been a huge expansion in the use of all forms of wireless communications ranging from short range Bluetooth to wide area mobile connectivity. This rapid growth has been managed safely through the industry conforming to international health standards which are independently laid down and are based upon a huge amount of research carried out over the last 50 years (the ICNIRP guidelines).
ICNIRP is the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, which is formally recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO).
5G is a next generation of cellular mobile technology that will overlay current 4G and WiFi means of connecting to the broadband Internet as well as being deployed for various industrial uses. The ICNIRP guidelines are technology neutral so the task for the industry is to ensure any new 5G characteristics conform to these guidelines under all circumstances.
In the United Kingdom Public Health England’s (PHE’s) Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards (CRCE) takes the lead on public health matters associated with radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, or radio waves, used in telecommunications. Central to PHE advice is that exposures to radio waves should comply with the ICNIRP guidelines.
ICNIRP guidelines includes frequencies used by both existing mobile systems and those intended for 5G. While a small increase the localised exposure to radio waves is possible when 5G is added to the existing network it is the responsibility of the industry to ensure the total remains well within ICNIRP guidelines.
Public Health England and other organisations have concluded there is no convincing evidence that human exposure of radio waves below these guideline levels causes health effects in either adults or children.