Friday 25 September 2020

5G can be rolled out, but more research is necessary, says health council

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The roll-out of 5G telecoms services in the Netherlands is safe, but some aspects remain unclear and require further research, the Dutch health council Gezondheidsraad said on Wednesday.

‘It has not been proven and it is not likely that exposure to 5G systems can damage health, even though the science cannot rule this out entirely,’ the council said on its website. ‘The health council is advising that exposure be monitored and that more research is done.’

The council had been asked to look into the health aspects of 5G telecommunications by MPs following a spate of arson attacks on telecom masts.

The report focuses on the theoretical impact on health because 5G is so new there is little concrete information. And this means that actual exposure to 5G needs to be monitored as more networks come online. ‘The commission cannot answer the question if exposure to 5G will actually lead to risks to health,’ the report said. ‘Therefore the focus has been on the potential to cause damage.’

Recommendations

The commission makes two main recommendations. Firstly, officials should set up an epidemiological research project into the relationship between exposure to the 5G frequencies being used and cancer, reduced fertility in men, risks to pregnancy and birth defects.

The Netherlands is already taking part in an international research project into 5G and health, and these results can be a part of the Dutch study, the researchers said.

At the same time, the council recommends officials postpone the use of the higher end of the frequency spectrum, namely 26GHz, because relatively little research has been done on the impact of this frequency range on health.

There are currently no concrete plans in the Netherlands to use this frequency.

Reactions

Telecoms company KPN said it welcomed the report which reconfirmed that the current frequencies for mobile communications via 3G, 4G and 5G can be used.

However, the anti 5G campaign group Stichting Stop5GNL, which tried earlier to have the roll-out stopped in court, said that the recommendations are contradictory.

‘You cannot put something in the market which has not been properly researched,’ spokeswoman Martine Vriens told broadcaster NOS.

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