The debate over whether cellphones cause brain cancer has been going on for decades, from the earliest services to every network that ends in a ‘G.’ Now 5G is in the process of rolling out, and new concerns are being raised.
The next-generation mobile network is reviving discussions about health risks, including cancer. While scientists continue their research, one U.S. government agency is is making their stance clear.
After six years of public input and reviews, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a ruling on the safety of 5G. Not only that, the commission has also responded to cancer fears surrounding old and new smartphones.
The FCC rules on the safety of 5G
Most studies over the years have found that there is no connection between cellphones and brain cancer. So what is it about the technology that stokes cancer fears?
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that no conclusive connection between brain cancer and mobile phone use has been found because the gadgets emit non-ionizing radiation, which is low frequency. For reference, household items like microwaves also emit non-ionizing radiation.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, ionizing radiation is high frequency which is why patients and technicians wear lead vests during procedures like X-rays, where that energy is emitted. Too much exposure to ionizing radiation can cause cancer.
And that brings us back to the FCC’s recent ruling. Like everything that’s come before, the FCC says the nation’s 23-year-old safety limits for radio-frequency exposure will be left unchanged even with 5G. The agency said current exposure levels for cellphones and other radio frequency devices remain safe.
5G health controversy
Why has 5G revived brain cancer fears? First, 5G operates on higher radio frequencies than older cellphone standards. However, these higher frequency waves can’t travel long distances or pass well through objects.
To compensate, antennas will have to be installed every 500 feet on average. Soon, there will likely be a 5G antenna on every lamp post you see. This means our exposure to radio frequency radiation will be higher than ever.
Remember we’re not just dealing with cellular signals. We’re also constantly bombarded by radio-frequency radiation from other appliances including Wi-Fi routers and Wi-Fi enabled gadgets.
The Federal Drug Administration finds that despite 5G current data suggest that the cellular industry’s radio frequency safety limits are still acceptable. The agency does add the caveat that it will continue to review future studies.
One thing researchers do agree on is that the most significant health risk mobile phones pose is distracted driving. So drop the phone and buckle up. Buckle up mentally too, because high-speed 5G is the future.