Non-native radiation can be categorized into 4 specific types of EMFs that have been linked to adverse health effects:
- Radio Frequency (RF)
- Magnetic Fields (MF)
- Electric Fields (EF)
- Dirty Electricity (DE) (not looked at in this assessment)
5G fits into the RF category and gives us a plethora of new issues to deal with.
Whilst this technology promises lightning fast download speeds, capabilities to enable driverless cars, Internet of Things (IoT) deployment and other new age technology innovations – my question is: “ Do we really need this?”
Having been involved in EMF research and mitigation for the last 9 years, I would like to raise my concern about the proposed roll-out of 5G Infrastructure across our country and the world. There have been similar concerns raised across the globe with founded indications of potential health damage caused by such new technology.
This is particularly pertinent in light of the ICASA Notice 597 of 2019: “Notice of the licensing spectrum, inviting comments in respect of the provisioning of mobile broadband wireless open access services for urban and rural areas using the complimentary bands IMT700, IMT800, IMT2300, IMT2600 and IMT3500”. These new frequencies to be serving new 5G deployment, together with 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE form part of radio frequency electromagnetic fields that have be linked to possible health concerns.
As far back as May 31, 2011 the WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer.
This should be added to the previous (2001) 2B classification of low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields – emitted at high levels from handheld gadgets, such as eReaders and mobile phones – as a risk factor for childhood leukemia. Given the 2001 very close votes (9 to 11) for moving it to 2A and all the new knowledge that has accumulated since 2001, there are very compelling reasons to invoke the Precautionary Principle.
It needs to be brought to attention, that deploying 5G Communication technology does NOT only entail the new spectrum, but will be a combination of 3G, 4G technologies AND the new millimeter waves technology.
Base stations will need to be deployed a lot more densely than the current infrastructure exposing us to more radiation – Safety limits for mobile telecommunication technologies are outdated – these were set in 1998 by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) based on the premise that if radiofrequency radiation limits protected the human tissue from overheating, the public was adequately protected (i.e. based on non-ionizing radiation). Since then new information has come to light and many scientists and members of the medical fraternity are of the belief that based on scientific evidence, the combination of these technologies could cause negative effects on life forms on earth.
To date, no conclusive studies demonstrating the irrevocably safe use of the 5G technologies (and the older technologies for that matter) exist. For this reason, it is imperative that the Precautionary Principle be applied to the 5G technology roll-out specifically as:
Current limited studies on humans and animals indicate that some effects are possible. These effects appear to be affecting physiology of internal organs, including the brain.
More research is required to validate/dispute this scientific uncertainty. There is no indication that 5G protective measures are adequate to protect our environment and living organisms.
In my opinion, we should all request to defer/delay the deployment of the 5G technologies in South Africa until the industry has provided proof, via independent research, that use of such technologies is safe – an approach that many Governments, municipalities and communities across the globe suggest to be adopted.