5G Health Fears
Our friends over at the Financial Times have put together an interesting read about health concerns already voiced by millions across the globe.
We have begun to see this technology roll-out in Australia in densely populated areas such as airports and local sporting grounds in Brisbane.
FT wrote: Switzerland, one of the world’s leaders in the rollout of 5G mobile technology, has placed an indefinite moratorium on the use of its new network because of health concerns.
The move comes as countries elsewhere around Europe race to upgrade their networks to 5G standards amid a furious rearguard diplomatic campaign by the US to stop them using Chinese technology provided by Huawei. Washington says the company, which is fundamental to most European networks’ upgrade plans, presents a grave security risk.
However, a letter sent by the Swiss environment agency, Bafu, to the country’s cantonal governments at the end of January, has now in effect called time on the use of all-new 5G towers, officials who have seen the letter told the Financial Times.
The agency is responsible for providing the cantons with safety criteria against which telecom operators’ radiation emissions can be judged. Under Switzerland’s highly federalized structure, telecoms infrastructure is monitored for compliance and licensed by cantonal authorities, but Bern is responsible for setting the framework.
Bafu has said it cannot yet provide universal criteria without further testing of the impact of 5G radiation.
The agency said it was “not aware of any standard worldwide” that could be used to benchmark recommendations. “Therefore Bafu will examine exposure through adaptive [5G] antennas in-depth, if possible in real-world operational conditions. This work will take some time,” it said.
Several cantons have already imposed their own voluntary moratoria because of uncertainty over health risks.
Swisscom said that Bafu’s assessment process would not halt its ongoing work to build out 5G infrastructure, even if it meant that it would not be able to be used at full capacity. The operator said it could still achieve high speeds for customers of up to 2Gb/s without the full use of new masts.
Swisscom, the country’s largest mobile operator, said it understood “the fears that are often expressed about new technologies”.
“There is no evidence that antenna radiation within the limit values adversely affects human health,” the company added, pointing out that 5G is run on frequencies similar to the current 4G standard, which has been subject to “several thousand studies.”
The company said Switzerland’s regulatory limits were “10 times stricter than those recommended by the World Health Organization in places where people stay for longer periods of time”.
The Swiss Medical Association has advised caution on 5G, arguing that the most stringent legal principles should be applied because of unanswered questions about the technology’s potential to cause damage to the nervous system, or even cancers.
Five “popular initiatives” — proposals for legally binding referendums on 5G use — are already in motion in Switzerland. Two have already been formalized and are in the process of collecting the 100,000 signatures needed to trigger nationwide votes that if successful will amend Switzerland’s constitution.
One will make telecoms companies legally liable for claims of bodily damage caused by radiation from masts unless they can prove otherwise. The other proposes strict and stringent limits on radiation emissions from masts and will give local residents veto power over all new constructions in their area.
We’re excited to see technology improve here in Australia, but at what cost? We believe further testing of the “new” 5G rollout is a must.
What are your thoughts? Is it worth the risk?