by Bennett Davis
Switzerland, one of the first countries to begin deploying a 5G telecommunications network, has halted progress on the initiative “indefinitely” due to widespread public concerns about its health effects.
The country installed more than 2,000 5G antennas in 2019 and has been promising its population “imminent” access to the speedier, more capacious Internet access 5G makes possible.
5G technology uses higher-frequency signals than 4G, allowing them to carry more data in the same time period and with smaller antennas. But 5G signals are weaker than those of previous wifi technologies, so antennas have to be built close to users.
Many cities envision 5G antennas affixed on every street corner, office building, and residential block.
Because 5G networks could expose people to a 24-hour barrage of concentrated data waves beamed from close by, there has been growing public concern about the lack of definitive data on 5G’s possible health effects.
Popular referendums are being proposed in Switzerland to regulate 5G. One would make telecom companies legally liable for claims of health damage caused by the antennas unless the companies can prove otherwise. Another would give local residents the power to refuse 5G construction in their neighborhoods.
Corporations and government agencies point to tests showing that the more concentrated 5G data waves have shown no adverse health effects in animal tests. They also note that 5G radiation levels fall within current safety guidelines.
Other researchers point to studies indicating that cell phones left on constantly in close contact with the head or body can cause cancers and other disruptions to human tissue. They argue the effects of constant, close-range 5G radiation hasn’t been studied.
The Swiss government has taken notice. Bafu, its environmental agency, holds authority to set safety criteria for radio emissions. It has sent a letter to the country’s cantons calling a time-out on the technology’s use.
The agency said it can’t draft reliable safety criteria without further testing that “will take some time,” partly because no universal criteria have been established by others.
The Swiss Medical Association also urges caution about 5G, noting unanswered questions about its potential to harm the human nervous system or cause of cancers.
Swisscom, the nation’s largest mobile phone company, responded, “There is no evidence that antenna radiation within the limit values adversely affects human health.” It added that Switzerland’s safety limits were “ten times stricter than those recommended by the World Health Organization.”
TRENDPOST: There are more than enough reasons to suspend 5G deployment in any location until definitive tests confirm fears of short- and long-term health damage or lay them to rest. Corporate interests will fight delays, as will a large proportion of eager potential users, and those interests are likely to fend off deployment delays in places such as the U.S. where corporations dominate political and regulatory decisions.
Also, corporations already have sunk billions into developing and building the technology and adapting appliances to use it. They will not let go of that investment.
Early 5G adopters will be lab rats in a mass experiment. Even if users begin to show side effects, large tech companies will fight and delay any slowdown in rolling out 5G across nations.
by Bennett Davis