The global roll-out of 5G should be halted while further investigations are conducted into potential risks associated with the next-generation network technology, a health expert has warned.
Professor John William Frank from the Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh claimed that no more transmitter towers should be built in order to limit public exposure while safety standards are reviewed.
In an opinion piece published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, Professor Frank wrote that the radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) emitted by 5G towers could be linked to “suspected adverse health effects”, though he emphasised that there is no scientific evidence linking 5G to the spread of Covid-19, as some conspiracy theorists have claimed.
“A growing number of engineers, scientists, and doctors internationally [are] calling on governments to raise their safety standards for RF-EMFs, commission more and better research, and hold off on further increases in public exposure, pending clearer evidence of safety,” he wrote.
“It is highly likely that each of these many forms of transmission causes somewhat different biological effects – making sound, comprehensive and up-to-date research on those effects virtually impossible.”
The introduction of 5G coverage offer users radically faster download speeds and the ability to conduct lag-free ultra-HD video chats with other users, however only a handful of high-end devices currently offer the service in a limited number of areas.
Its roll-out has been accompanied by baseless conspiracy theories linking it to the coronavirus pandemic, which have been fuelled by online misinformation disseminated across social media platforms.
Facebook groups sharing fake reports about the alleged dangers of 5G reached tens of thousands of users in 2020, prompting the social network to crack down on such content.
Professor Frank dismissed these conspiracy theories in his article, writing: “There are knowledgeable commentators’ reports on the web debunking this theory, and no respectable scientist or publication has backed it… The theory that 5G and related EMFs have contributed to the pandemic is baseless.”
He added that other possible side effects should be looked at more closely, and called for “a moratorium on that exposure, pending adequate scientific investigation."
There have been numerous studies in recent decades that have sought to understand the potential risks associated with mobile phones and electromagnetic radiation from phone towers, though no adverse effects have yet been established.
According to the World Health Organisation’s International Electromagnetic Fields Project, there is yet to be any concrete proof of negative health outcomes from electromagnetic fields.
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