The currently ongoing deployment of the fifth generation of the wireless communication technology (5G) is being met with a great enthusiasm by the telecommunication industry, national governments and portion of the general public. However, there is also some resistance from the part of the population, caused by the uncertainty whether radiation emitted by the 5G networks and devices will have any effects on human health and environmental impact on fauna and flora.
The 5G wireless communication technology that is being deployed comprises of parts of the used already 3G and 4G technologies. The radiation emitted by the predecessors of the 5G, the radiation frequencies emitted by the 3G and 4G technologies, has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), as a possible human carcinogen. IARC evaluation did not concern the frequencies above 6 GHz, especially the currently prepared for use 26 and 28 GHz bands and the whole spectrum of 30–300 GHz frequencies that will be used by 5G in coming years.
Recently published safety guidelines by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), claiming that mm-waves radiation exposure limits are protecting all users, are only an assumption that is not sufficiently based on science, because the research on effects of mm-waves on skin has not been done yet. ICNIRP’s claim that the safety limits protect all users, no matter of their age or their health status, are only assumption with insufficient scientific basis.
The notion, often presented by industry and in the news media, that mm-waves will not be of health concern because they are entirely absorbed by skin, is absolutely misleading. Skin is not just a “physiologically inert overcoat”. Skin is involved in regulation of the immune response, cardiovascular functions, or neurological functions.
Skin is the only organ of the human body, besides the eyes, that will be directly exposed to the mm-waves of the 5G technology. As I presented in recent review of science, the whole scientific evidence on the possible effects of mm-waves on skin and skin cells consists of only some 99 studies, where 11 are human volunteer studies, 54 are animal in vivo studies (rats & mice) and 34 are in vitro laboratory studies using human and animal cell cultures. These studies examined only short-term acute effects of the exposure that do not provide any information about the possible delayed or long-term-exposure effects. Furthermore, the effects of mm-waves were examined in separation from other frequencies used by 5G and in separation from other environmental stressors (chemicals and radiations). Possibility of any co-effects and/or synergistic effects were not yet examined at all.
There is an urgent need for research on the biological and health effects of mm-waves because, using the currently available evidence on skin effects, the claims that “we know skin and human health will not be affected” as well as the claims that “we know skin and human health will be affected” are premature assumptions, lacking sufficient scientific basis.
In this situation, it would be prudent to place temporary moratorium on 5G deployment, while progressing with health research.