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5G: Health Hazards

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 57265, tabled on 9 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effects of the high frequency of signals from 5G technology on (a) babies, (b) young people and (c) animals.

Answered on

16 June 2020

Electromagnetic radiation is not new and research on the topic has found no credible evidence that radio waves, including those from 5G, have an impact on public health, including that of the elderly, young people, children and babies. Government is guided by Public Health England’s (PHE) independent advice, who are committed along with Ofcom to continually monitoring and assessing the evidence applicable to this and other radio technologies. Central to PHE’s advice are the guidelines published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The ICNIRP is formally recognised by the World Health Organisation and its guidelines underpin health protection policies at UK and European levels.

Ofcom continues to monitor the levels of electromagnetic radiation near mobile base stations, and in all cases, including the recent measurements taken near 5G-enabled base stations, the levels recorded were well below the limits for general public exposure outlined by the ICNIRP Guidelines. The highest level recorded was approximately 1.5% of these guidelines. While a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves under 5G is possible, such an increase would remain well within guidelines and is anticipated to have no consequence for public health.

With regard to animals, electromagnetic radiation has the potential to impact insect movement, but there is currently no evidence that human-made electromagnetic radiation has population level impacts on insects. In 2015, UK researchers were involved in a major global review of the status and threats to wild and managed insect pollinators for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). In their report, the team of leading scientists did not identify mobile phone signals as significant threats to insect populations.