In an article by the renowned magazine Nature , scientists warn of the consequences that the introduction of the 5G mobile radio standard could have on research. In Germany, the 5G mobile network will use frequencies in the range of 3.4 to 3.8 GHz in the first few years.
According to some scientists, this could cause interference because the 23.8 GHz frequency is also of great importance in astronomy and meteorology as well as other research fields. So far there are no meaningful studies that have examined the effects of the use of frequencies for mobile radio networks on scientific applications.
5G mobile networks could interfere with scientific measurements by astronomers and meteorologists by using the 23.8 GHz frequency. Currently there is still discussion about how much interference radiation should be permitted by law and whether the use of the frequency range is only released for science.
In the medium and long term, however, significantly higher frequencies are required in order to achieve the desired data transfer rates of the mobile radio companies. During the 5G World Radio Conference in 2015, use of frequencies of up to 86 GHz was therefore proposed.
Test networks with other frequencies:
Since the currently operated 5G test networks use significantly lower frequencies, there is currently no fear of interference. The 28 GHz frequency band is used in Japan, South Korea and the USA, the 3.5 GHz frequency in Europe , China and the USA and the 4.5 GHz frequency in China and Japan . In the first years of public 5G operation, it can therefore be expected that these frequencies will also be used, at which no interference is to be expected due to their great distance from the 23.8 GHz frequency.
During the 5G frequency auction in the USA in April 2019, however, the frequency bands 24.25 to 24.45 GHz and 24.75 to 25.25 GHz were auctioned, the use of which could possibly restrict scientific measurements. The 23.8 GHz frequency is not directly affected, but interference radiation in neighboring frequency ranges is inevitable. From a scientific point of view, the most important thing is how strict the legal regulation regarding interference radiation becomes. The US government, in particular, provides an extremely liberal regulation of interference radiation with a value that exceeds the European proposal by a factor of 150. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) requires a value that is 3,000 times smaller than the current US proposal.
Radio telescopes and weather forecasts influenced:
The scientists cite the recently presented first image of a black hole , which was created with the help of radio telescopes, as an example of possible impairments . Radio telescopes use every possible measurement frequency to observe space . Radio telescopes that are already on Earth cannot currently observe the frequencies 0.8 GHz, 1.8 GHz and 2.6 GHz that are currently used in mobile communications. With the introduction of 5G, additional frequencies are inevitably added, since it will then no longer be possible to observe them from the earth.
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The “pollution” caused by further electromagnetic waves means that radio telescopes, like the Hubble space telescope, have to be operated outside the earth to avoid interference. The side of the moon facing away from the earth would be ideal for this , since there are no interference from radiation from the earth. It is still unclear to what extent the use of the 23.8 GHz frequency will limit meteorologists in their work, since they too use radio waves, for example, to determine the concentration of water vapor in the atmosphere, which are generated by satellites and are in the same frequency range as that planned 5G cellular networks.
The use of the 23.8 GHz frequency will be discussed on October 28, 2019 at the 5G regulatory conference in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt.
The new, high-performance 5G mobile network should solve many problems. So far, however, researchers have known surprisingly little about how it affects our bodies.
Electromagnetic fields do not leave us without a trace
The biologist misses the political will to follow the clues systematically. After the large-scale German mobile phone research program at the beginning of the 2000s found no evidence that cell phone radiation can cause cancer, Drießen has the impression that the topic has now largely been closed to many. “But that’s not how science works,” she says. To answer whether 5G is a particular threat, one has to ask what actually distinguishes the new standard from the networks that are already in operation.
How much Scientists are calling for moratorium:
About 200 scientists and doctors are calling for a moratorium because they fear health damage. And in Switzerland, last year the parliament rejected a higher limit for the transmitters because of health concerns. “We know far too little about how the radiation exposure for the population below 5G will increase,” says Wilfried Kühling, professor of spatial and environmental planning at the University of Halle-Wittenberg and chair of the scientific advisory board at the Federation for Environmental and Nature Conservation Germany (FEDERATION). He demands that the auction of 5G frequencies be suspended until technology and its health effects have been better researched.
And what about the development of cancer? The electromagnetic radiation in mobile communications does not have enough energy to cause DNA breaks, says Sarah Drießen from the Research Center for Electromagnetic Environmental Compatibility at RWTH Aachen University. Drießen heads the EMF portal, an information platform on which she and her colleagues have been collecting all scientific studies on electromagnetic fields and their effects on humans since 2005 and commenting on them in a way that is understandable to laypeople. Some studies, in which rats have been exposed to strong electromagnetic fields, show that cell phone frequencies may cause tumors. “Oxidative stress and free radicals that damage the genome are discussed as a possible mechanism of action,” says Drießen.
Everyone who has ever had a sunburn knows that electromagnetic fields do not leave us without a trace. The cause in this case is UV radiation with its frequencies in the petahertz range * (a one with 15 zeros). In contrast, low-frequency fields, such as those produced by our electricity network, can irritate nerves and muscles. In short: fields of different frequencies have different effects. The effect of cell phone radiation is comparable to that of a microwave. Water molecules and other particles vibrate, the resulting frictional heat increases the body temperature. In animal experiments, researchers observed a disturbed metabolism, behavior changes and errors in embryonic development. However, these effects only occurred when the tissue warmed permanently by more than one degree Celsius.
What’s the Combination:
The combination of number and capital letter is almost ubiquitous right now , you can hardly avoid “5G” . The name stands for the new mobile radio standard, whose frequencies will be auctioned in spring . From 2020, 5G should then move into Germany. Some exult in all the technical possibilities, such as extremely fast data transmission. They hope that the last milk jug in Buxtehude will soon show four reception bars. Others – such as a reader who emailed ZEIT – fear negative health effects from increasing radiation exposure, which can hardly be avoided.
Actually, the subject of cell phone radiation had become calmer in recent years. Hundreds of studies have so far not been able to prove that these electromagnetic fields (EMF) pose a health hazard. But with 5G, other frequencies and much more broadcasting stations are coming into play – and the debate is back immediately.