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Life Arts    H4'ed 11/30/21

Is the WHO impaired by electro-smog? A commentary on regulating 5G radiation

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Is the WHO impaired by electro-smog?

A commentary on regulating 5G radiation
by Miguel Coma

Last April, scientists published the first assessment of a commercial 5G network's emissions of electromagnetic radiation (EMR).1 5G is the fifth generation of mobile phone networks. Swisscom deployed Europe's first nation-wide network, covering 96% of the Swiss population with 5G. Of course, around the world, deployment of 5G is also well underway.

5G's rollout raises many questions: How will it transform peoples' daily lives and businesses? What kind of extractions and how much energy will it demand over the next decade? How will its emissions of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) affect public and wildlife health?

I considered these questions in previous articles. In light of this new reportand more electro-smogI feel compelled to address them again. I must admit: making light reading of this subject is a challenge.

What is special about 5G radiation?

While antennas from previous generations of mobile networks (1G-2G-3G-4G) typically emit electromagnetic radiation in all directions, most 5G antennas beam EMR in specific directions. This technique is called "beamforming."2 It allows antennas to transfer lots of data more efficiently.

"Signal" beams repetitively scan the area nearby to locate potential 5G users. "Channel" beams allow mobile users speedy transfer of data (videos, virtual reality, apps) from the Cloud to their mobile device.

In the future, some 5G networks will use millimetre waves (mmW) for extremely high speeds of data transfer. But these very short waves cannot travel very far; and they are absorbed by tree leaves, skin and rain. Therefore, 5G "small cell" antennas need be installed about every three to ten houses on utility poles and under manhole covers, etc.

What is electro-smog?

In a previous article, I reported on the harmful biological effects of electro-smog on wildlife. In the 2010s, telecom equipment already emitted microwave radiation 1018 times (1 followed by 18 zeros) levels found in nature.

To date, future EMR exposure limits in Brussels relied on the 2018 report by the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT). It proposed that exposure limits in Brussels should more than double (x 6) and, eventually, should be multiplied by 50 in order to enable efficient deployment of 5G.

While Belgian legislators use BIPT's report to push for much higher EMR-exposure limits in Brussels, the first 5G field measurements made in Switzerland show that such an increase is not necessary.

What does the Swiss network have to say?

I understand that the telecommunications industry aims to meet the technology's engineering needs and economical goals. Meanwhile, it proposes EMR exposure limits that allegedly protect our environment. BIPT's report about 5G's emissions had prepared me for the worst. I expected 5G to increase our exposure to microwave radiation significantly. When I learned that Swiss radiation levels are not that high, I felt relief. But I also felt mistrust: the BIPT report had claimed that regulatory limits regarding the public's EMR exposure from 5G must be lifted. This new report did not even suggest higher limits. What had changed?

Since new EMR exposure limits have not yet been voted on in Brussels, I felt hopeful that I could present legislators with scientific facts about 5G before they rewrite regulations.

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Katie Singer writes about nature and technology in Letters to Greta. She spoke about the Internet's footprint in 2018, at the United Nations' Forum on Science, Technology & Innovation, and, in 2019, on a panel with the climatologist Dr. (more...)

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