Science

5G: “no new risks” for health according to available data, estimates ANSES

The new generation of 5G mobile networks currently being deployed does not present “any new risks” to health, in view of the data currently available, said the National Health Security Agency (ANSES) on Tuesday, in a long-awaited opinion on this controversial technology.

However, ANSES recommends continuing studies on exposure to waves in the frequencies currently deployed (3.5 GHz) and indicates that it does not have sufficient data to “conclude” on possible health effects of 26 GHz frequencies, also used for 5G but not yet allocated in France.

The agency stresses the lack of scientific studies on the possible health effects of the new frequencies. But based in particular on work carried out on the frequencies used for previous generations of telephony (700 MHz to 2.5 GHz), and which are also used for 5G, she considers “unlikely at this stage that the deployment of 5G in the frequency band around 3.5 GHz poses a new health risk “.

Regarding exposure to the 26 GHz band, not yet allocated in France, ANSES stresses that “at the present time, the data are not sufficient to conclude on the existence or not of health effects”.

The agency recommends for all frequencies to continue research on exposure to waves and its possible health consequences. It has also decided to conduct a “public consultation” lasting six weeks on its opinion and the report of its experts. The two documents could possibly be completed following this consultation.

The Agency’s opinion, seized by the government in early 2019, was eagerly awaited while the deployment of 5G, which should allow increased speed and pave the way for “the Internet of Things”, is very controversial.

Some municipalities had wanted, or even voted, moratoriums on its implementation while awaiting this opinion. A moratorium also recommended by the Citizen’s Convention on the climate, but swept away by President Emmanuel Macron who had compared the skeptics to the “Amish” advocating a “return to the oil lamp”.

The government had proceeded in October to the allocation of 5G frequencies to the operators, and the deployment began since the beginning of the year, after the Council of State validated the procedure.

In a joint press release, the ministers concerned (Ecology, Economy, Health, Digital) considered that the ANSES report “confirms the government’s choices on the launch of 5G” and pledged to “strengthen research efforts on (…) possible health effects “, in particular on the 26 GHz band.

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