Is The 5G Health Scare Unfounded?
Bio Spectrum|August 2021
The introduction of the 5G network has been mired in numerous controversies. Governments across the globe, activists and telecom operators are embroiled in a bitter fight, filing lawsuits and protesting in large numbers. Although most of the available research on electromagnetic fields (EMF) reveals that there are no harmful effects from mobile radiation, some studies do reveal that it has the potential to damage the very structure of the DNA. Cancer, impaired reproductive health and numerous other disorders, including psychiatric, have been attributed to 5G. Will the implementation of the 5G network have serious health implications, or are these fears unfounded? We try to weigh-in the opposing sides.
Sanjiv Das

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened new avenues of how people do their day-to-day work and how children as young as three are undertaking online lessons. Though a handful of offices have opened, a majority of the workforce is somehow managing to work from home. And all this has led to increased consumption of the Internet. The high demand for the Internet has forced telecom operators to look out for an advanced form of technology to cater to the demands.

We are all aware of the harmful radiation being emitted from mobile phones and not only adults but even children are always hooked to mobile phones. The introduction of the fifth generation or 5G network has made many cautious about the harmful effects of mobile radiation. However, healthcare experts and the government have been able to allay some fears among the general public, as there is no concrete evidence to prove that mobile radiation can cause health hazards.

A few years back health specialists have raised concerns and believed that too much handling of mobile phones may lead to headaches, heart diseases, and sometimes fertility issues. With COVID-19 on the loose, things have changed for good. With little option in hand, the urban and rural areas have seen a surge in the demand for Internet connectivity.

Now, on one hand, we need good Internet service for online classes and webinars and online conferences happening in large numbers and on the other, we are concerned about the health hazards due to radiation being emitted from mobile phones and other gadgets.

The Stewart report in 2000 by the UK Independent Expert Group on mobile phones declared that children may be more vulnerable to electromagnetic fields (EMF) than any other age group. The conductivity of children is higher due to higher moisture and ionic content compared to adults and more than adults, children’s head absorbs a lot of RF energy.

Now the question remains, what is the way out and what effect will 5G implementation have on one’s health outcome.

Possible health hazards

Till now a handful of studies have been conducted on the effects of 5G radiation. Though some studies have been undertaken in western nations, there is no concrete proof as to what will be the health outcome when 5G is implemented in India wholly.

Talking about the possible health hazards 5G might bring in, Dr Harish P, Senior oncologist, Cytecare Cancer Hospitals, Bengaluru said, “Excessive screen time associated with easy availability of media in a handheld device makes for longer viewing hours. This in turn has many psychological impacts. The power of concentration is reduced. This is especially important for very young children whose brain has just started developing. This can lead to poor scholastic performances. Adults, as well as children, may develop anxiety, restlessness, depression, and addictive habits. The habits could be so strong that increasing suicides especially in the younger population are ascribed to overexposure to screen time. But as such, 5G radiation has not been ascribed as a cause for all these changes.”

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