Regional Australia's first 5G tower.
Regional Australia's first 5G tower. Tobi Loftus

5G jitters? Scientists debunk the myths and true concerns

THERE is already plenty of opposition to 5G, the fifth generation cellular network technology for mobile phones.

That's why Dr Geza Benke, Senior Research Fellow at Monash University's School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, agreed to clarify the myths and true concerns about the new technology.

Dr Benke said 5G will offer faster network speeds and humans have been exposed to 5G radiofrequency radiation for generations, via radar technology and other applications such as scanning machinery at airports.

"It isn't really something new, it's not something totally unknown to the human body and mind," he said.

Dr Benke said there was no epidemiology studies specifically addressing the 5G frequency of 3.5GHz.

"However, we have done lots of studies, particularly around 1800MHz and 2600MHz and we don't expect anything to be different, really," he said.

"The higher frequencies have less penetration in the body than the lower frequencies so a lot of the concern about brain tumours will have to disappear because, simply, once you get above 6GHz, the radio frequency waves don't actually get into the head."

Dr Geza admitted he was unable to totally dismiss the idea that 5G could pose new and unknown health problems, as there were no studies about it.

"I can't say 100 per cent no to that at this stage, but I'd be about 99 per cent," he said.

Dr Geza said all other lower frequency technologies were currently being used in many applications, including telephones.

"Will 5G increase exposure to radiation in humans? Well it's most unlikely and it will probably be lower," he explained.

Monash University is currently working on a study on risk perception in men regarding 5G, and is planning other studies regarding the issue for the next couple of years.

Dr Ken Karipidis, from the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, said a good source of sound scientific information about the issue is was their website:

"More importantly, we provide a 'talk to the scientist' service where members of the public can call our agency on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 11am and 12.30pm, and speak to an actual scientist about their concerns," he said.

You can call the agency on 1800 022 333 and talk to a scientist about 5G and other radiation exposure and protection issues in Australia.