New Delhi: Even as India is poised to become the first country to provide native 5G, experts have argued over concerns that link 5G technology to potential health risks.
5G, or fifth generation, is the latest wireless mobile phone technology that was first widely rolled out in 2019. It enhances the capabilities of 4G.
Along with faster connectivity speeds, it also opens up new use cases in gaming and entertainment due to its high bandwidth and low latency. It should also increase performance and a wide range of new applications, including strengthening e-health (telemedicine, telemonitoring, telesurgery).
5G works by producing a type of energy called electromagnetic radiation. It uses higher frequencies than previous wireless networks, making it faster and more efficient.
Electromagnetic frequencies, such as those produced by 5G, create an area called an electromagnetic field (EMF), which some believe has negative effects on human health.
While research into the frequencies used in 5G is limited, studies show the health effects of electromagnetic fields across the spectrum. However, the results are inconsistent.
“Although there is no documentation on the risks associated with 4G, 5G theoretically exposure to radio magnetic waves can increase the incidence of cancer in different parts of the body. People, while talking , keep smartphones closer to their brain, so there is a higher risk of brain cancer among the exposed population,” Dr. Col Vijay Dutta Sr. Consultant – Internal Medicine and Respirology, told IANS. Indian Spinal Injuries Center.
“Radio magnetic waves can also potentially disrupt heart rhythm and those with pacemakers are at greater risk. The closer you stay to the towers, the greater the risk. Technology is a boon for communication, but harmful to human health,” he added.
However, according to the World Health Organization, “to date, and after extensive research, no adverse health effects have been linked to exposure to wireless technologies.”
The WHO has stated that tissue heating is the primary mechanism of interaction between radiofrequency fields and the human body. RF exposure levels from current technologies result in a negligible increase in temperature in the human body.
As the frequency increases, there is less penetration into body tissues and energy absorption becomes more confined to the surface of the body (skin and eye). Provided overall exposure remains below international guidelines, no public health consequences are expected, the global health body said.
“India is not the first country to roll out 5G. Around 50 countries have rolled out the technology before us. Moreover, a majority of these countries like the US, Korea, Japan and the UK launched 5G years ago. If there were some concerns or some real risks to people’s health, we would have seen these cases appear by now,” Charu Paliwal, research analyst at Counterpoint Research, told Reuters. ‘IANS.
“I don’t think at this point we need to worry about the health risks. There are also no studies that can verify these claims,” she added.
With India on a digitization frenzy, 5G will spur growth in sectors like agriculture, education, healthcare, robots, among others, according to the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). ).
The industry body earlier this year also claimed that any concerns about 5G’s negative health impact are “totally misplaced”. He said the available evidence confirms that the next-generation technology is safe.
The mega 5G spectrum auction, which ended on August 1, received record bids worth over Rs 1.5 lakh crore in 40 rounds spanning seven days.
The Mukesh Ambani-led Jio has become the top bidder in India’s 5G spectrum auction, acquiring 24,740 MHz spectrum worth Rs 88,078 crore. Jio was followed by Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Airtel with 19,867 MHz spectrum in various bands worth Rs 43,084 crore.
Vodafone Idea in third place received 2,668 MHz worth Rs 18,784 crore while a unit from Adani Group acquired 400 MHz spectrum in the 26 GHz band worth Rs 212 crore .