Health impact of 5G; Report European Parliament

woensdag, 28 juli 2021 - Categorie: Onderzoeken


Panel for the Future of Science and Technology
EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service
Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA)
PE 690.012 – June 2021

Health impact of 5G

Current state of knowledge of 5G-related carcinogenic and
reproductive/developmental hazards as they emerge from
epidemiological studies and in vivo experimental studies

The upcoming deployment of 5G mobile networks will allow for significantly faster mobile broadband speeds and increasingly extensive mobile data usage. Technical innovations include a different transmission system (MIMO: use of multiple‐input and multiple‐output antennas), directional signal transmission or reception (beamforming), and the use of other frequency ranges. At the same time, a change is expected in the exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) of humans and the environment. In addition to those used to date, the 5G pioneer bands identified at EU level have frequencies of 700 MHz, 3.6 GHz (3.4 to 3.8 GHz) and 26 GHz (24.25 to 27.5 GHz). The first two frequencies (FR1) are similar to those used for 2G to 4G technologies and have been investigated in both epidemiological and experimental studies for different end points (including carcinogenicity and reproductive/developmental effects), while 26 GHz (FR2) and higher frequencies have not been adequately studied for the same end points.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency (RF) EMF as 'possibly
carcinogenic to humans' (Group 2B) and recently recommended RF exposure for re-evaluation 'with high
priority' (IARC, 2019). Since 2011 a great number of studies have been performed, both epidemiological
and experimental. The present review addresses the current knowledge regarding both carcinogenic and
reproductive/developmental hazards of RF as exploited by 5G. There are various in vivo experimental and
epidemiological studies on RF at a lower frequency range (450 to 6000 MHz), which also includes the
frequencies used in previous generations' broadband cellular networks, but very few (and inadequate) on
the higher frequency range (24 to 100 GHz, centimetre/MMW).

The review shows: 1) 5G lower frequencies (700 and 3 600 MHz): a) limited evidence of carcinogenicity in
epidemiological studies; b) sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental bioassays; c) sufficient
evidence of reproductive/developmental adverse effects in humans; d) sufficient evidence of reproductive/
developmental adverse effects in experimental animals; 2) 5G higher frequencies (24.25-27.5 GHz): the
systematic review found no adequate studies either in humans or in experimental animals.

Conclusions: 1) cancer: FR1 (450 to 6 000 MHz): EMF are probably carcinogenic for humans, in particular
related to gliomas and acoustic neuromas; FR2 (24 to 100 GHz): no adequate studies were performed on
the higher frequencies; 2) reproductive developmental effects: FR1 (450 to 6 000 MHz): these frequencies
clearly affect male fertility and possibly female fertility too. They may have possible adverse effects on the
development of embryos, foetuses and newborns; FR2 (24 to 100 GHz): no adequate studies were
performed on non-thermal effects of the higher frequencies.

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