The first UK safety tests of 5G base stations has found radiation levels are at "tiny fractions" of safe limits.
The rollout of ultra-fast 5G mobile connectivity has sparked some fears the new transmission masts could be dangerous to humans. But Ofcom, the UK regulator, found no identifiable risks in its first tests since 5G technology was deployed. The highest result they found for the 5G band was 0.039% of the recommended exposure limit.
Those limits are set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) - non-ionizing meaning the type that does not damage DNA and cells. "The emissions at each site were a tiny fraction of the maximum levels set out in international guidelines," an Ofcom spokesman said. The tests covered 16 locations in 10 cities across the UK where 5G-enabled mobile base stations had been set up, and measured the strength of the electromagnetic field (EMF).
Public Health England acknowledges adding 5G to the existing technologies used could cause "a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves". "However, the overall exposure is expected to remain low relative to guidelines and, as such, there should be no consequences for public health," it says in its official guidance.
The World Health Organization, meanwhile, classified radio frequency radiation as a "possible carcinogenic". That puts it in the same category as pickled vegetables or talcum powder but not as dangerous as alcohol or processed meat.