5G: A Possible Health Risk?

5G: A Possible Health Risk?

Nicole L., Staff Writer

The Benefits of 5G

The new 5G network, or 5th Generation network, is just getting deployed , was released in early 2019. With speeds projected to be up to 100 times faster than 4G, 5G network will usher a new era of technology worldwide. It will not only provide faster internet speeds, but it will serve as a platform for new mobile networks and devices for years to come. Everything we know will be changed, transportation, education, and entertainment will change forever. We should see its full effect of 5G by 2035 through the increase in global communication and production, possibly as much as $12 trillion in services and goods. If all goes well, 5G will change our current technologies for the better.

How It Works

5G is considered a millimeter wave technology. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the frequency. 5G signals uses wavelengths between 30 and 300 gigahertz that are measured in millimeters. The very high frequency of these signals is important because it means that 5G will be capable of incredible data bandwidth, so that many people will simultaneously send and receive huge amounts of data. The limitation to high frequencies is that they have a short range, and 5G can only span a few blocks before the signal degrades. Shorter frequencies also don’t penetrate obstacles very well, so everything from concrete walls to tree leaves will disrupt signals. Service providers will have to install their equipment on existing telephone lines and buildings in what they call “small cells”. These cells will use “beam forming” to efficiently to aim transmissions instead of going in random directions. The small cells may have a range of around 820 feet. With greater bandwidth, 5G has reduced latency between the devices it connects. 5G have less than 1 ms (milliseconds) latency compared to 4G that has a latency of around 70 ms (milliseconds). In order to access the new network, devices must have a 5G radio inside. The older phones and tablets without it will not work.

 

The Dangers of 5G

However, many are concerned about the health risks. The new 5G network emmits high amounts of radiofrequency radiation. All mobile devices (cellphones, tablets, headphones) exude radiofrequency radiation, but on lower levels (we don’t know the long-term effects). But 5G network signals emit much more radiation, which can be harmful to the body in unsafe levels. A study showed that 90% of the transmitted energy was absorbed into the skin, and this could possibly cause various skin cancer and as well as other diseases. A Russian researcher found that frequencies in the 53-78GHz range affected the heart’s variability, or heart rate. In another study, the 5G frequency range could decrease our immune system with prolonged exposure. It can also increase bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics, making bacteria harder to treat and much more dangerous to our health. Radiofrequency radiation has also been shown to disrupt the natural ecosystem by affecting plants and animals. The long term effects of 5G technology will take many years to fully witness the impact it will have on ourselves and the world we live in.

Millimeter wave technology is also being used military weapons. It’s called “active-denial technology”, and so far $40 million dollars has been spent developing it. The goal is to focus the millimeter waves into a heat ray that hurts the target, but doesn’t cause permanent damage. Is it really worth the risk?