Is 5G technology bad for our health?


AS 5G wireless technology is slowly making its way across the globe, many government agencies and organizations advise that there is no reason to be alarmed about the effects of radiofrequency waves on our health. But some experts strongly disagree.
The term 5G refers to the fifth generation of mobile technology. With promises of faster browsing, streaming, and download speeds, as well as better connectivity, 5G may seem like a natural evolution for our increasingly tech-reliant society.
But beyond allowing us to stream the latest movies, 5G has been designed to increase capacity and reduce latency, which is the time that it takes for devices to communicate with each other.á
For integrated applications, such as robotics, self-driving cars, and medical devices, these changes will play a big part in how quickly we adopt technology into our everyday lives.
The mainstay of 5G technology will be the use of higher-frequency bandwidths, right across the radiofrequency spectrum.
In the United States, theáFederal Communications Commissionáhas auctioned off the first bandwidth Œ 28 gigahertz (GHz) Œ that will form the 5G network, with higher bandwidth auctions scheduled for later this year.
But what does 5G have to do with our health?
In this Spotlight, we look at what electromagnetic radiation is, how it can impact our health, the controversy surrounding radiofrequency networks, and what this means for the advent of 5G technology.
An electromagnetic field (EMF) is a field of energy that results from electromagnetic radiation, a form of energy that occurs as a result of the flow of electricity.
Electric fieldsáexist wherever there are power lines or outlets, whether the electricity is switched on or not. Magnetic fields are created only when electric currents flow. Together, these produce EMFs.
Electromagnetic radiationáexists as a spectrum of different wavelengths and frequencies, which are measured in hertz (Hz). This term denotes the number of cycles per second.
Power lines operate between 50 and 60 Hz, which is at the lower end of the spectrum. These low-frequency waves, together with radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, and some of the ultraviolet spectrum Πwhich take us into the megahertz (MHz), GHz, and terahertz spectra Πmake up what is known as nonionizing radiation.
Above this lie the petahertz and exahertz spectra, which include X-rays and gamma rays.