The health impacts of wireless communications and small cells
Small cells transmit very low levels of radio waves (also known as radiofrequency electromagnetic fields). The safety of radio waves has been extensively studied for more than 60 years and the research is subject to constant and continual review by government health agencies and independent standards setting bodies round the world. Operators of 5G and small cell installations are closely monitored to ensure operations remain with the stringent safety guidelines in place for the industry. These guidelines are regularly reviewed and compliance is continually monitored.
International health authorities have found no convincing scientific evidence that radiofrequency signals from wireless communications pose any adverse health effects.
Small cells and health
SCF has recently updated its Small cells and health brochure. This document is designed to address questions related to exposure to radio frequency (RF) signals from small cells and 5G technology, including the use of millimetre-wave (mmWave), massive MIMO (multiple input, multiple output), and beamforming technologies.
Cross industry research
The links below provide a wide-ranging set of references so that you can better understand the work that has been completed by the healthcare industry, governments, industry associations, universities and independent researchers, as well as operators.
We believe you will find this to be a useful tool to understand the safety of 5G and the associated equipment and spectrum.
Health care industry links
- Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Do cell phones cause cancer?
- National Cancer Institute: Cell Phones and Cancer Risk.
- US Food & Drug Administration: Statement from Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., J.D., Director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health on the National Toxicology Program’s report on radiofrequency energy exposure.
- American Cancer Society: Cellular phone towers.
- World Health Organisation: Electromagnetic fields and public health.
- Norwegian Institute of Public Health: Low-level radiofrequency electromagnetic fields – an assessment of health risks and evaluation of regulatory practice.
- Office of Communications (UK Regulator) Ofcom test 5G radiation at 16 UK sites, identifies NO health risk.
- Ofcom findings reported by BBC: UK’s 5G network well within safety limits.
- ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority): “All mobile phone base stations, including small cells and 5G base stations, must stay within the safe EME levels.”
- Government of Canada: Everyday things that emit radiation.
- UK Government: 5G Technologies: radio waves and health.
- US Federal Communications Commission: RF Safety FAQ.
- European Commission (May 2019): “Protection of public health is of a paramount importance and is always taken into account in the Commission’s proposals and initiatives, including those on 5G. In particular, the strict and safe exposure limits for electromagnetic fields recommended at EU level by Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC on the exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields apply for all frequency bands currently envisaged for 5G.”
- Australia ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) (June 2019): “Contrary to some claims, there are no established health effects from the radio waves that the 5G network uses.”
- European Commission: Potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF).
- FCC (Federal Communications Commission):
- FCC (Federal Communications Commission): Resolution of notice of inquiry, second report and order, notice of proposed rulemaking and memorandum opinion and order.
Industry association links
- World health Organisation and International Telecommunication Union recommend human exposure guidelines developed by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The ICNIRP guidelines are designed to provide protection to all people (including children) against all established health hazards.
- 5G.co.uk: How Safe is 5G – provides a summary of findings regarding 5G and health.
- International Telecommunication Union ITU-T. K.100 Measurement of radio frequency electromagnetic fields to determine compliance with human exposure limits when a base station is put into service.
- International Electrotechnical Commission: IEC 62669:2019 Case studies supporting IEC 62232.
- International Electrotechnical Commission IEC 62232:2017 Determination of RF field strength, power density and SAR in the vicinity of radiocommunication base stations for the purpose of evaluating human exposure.
- The Institute of Engineering and Technology – Allaying health concerns regarding 5G and exposure to radio waves.
- CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association): What the expert community tells us.
- Techradar: Exposure to 5G radio-frequency will be far lower than what guidelines allow.
- GSMA document: 5G, the IoT and wearable devices: What do the new uses of wireless technologies mean for radio frequency exposure?
- GSMA brochure: 5G, EMF exposure and safety
- GSMA leaflet: Safety of 5G mobile networks.
- GSMA blog: 5G Exploring the safety limits and addressing the myths.
- GSMA: Health booklet.
- UK based watchdog Which report: Is 5G safe? Everything you need to know on the 5G-powered future.
- 5GIC University of Surrey: Allaying health concerns regarding 5G and exposure to radio waves
- EMF-Portal (research database): WTH Aachen University summarizes systematically scientific research data on the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF)