The 5G revolution is here. But, as with every major technological advancement, there are hurdles to overcome. With 5G technology, one of the biggest hurdles is the concern about supposed health risks.
Those fears may be overblown, however, with organizations like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection confirming that 5G tech does not pose a health risk.
This is great news for 5G stocks.
The buzz surrounding 5G has been monumental, and for good reason. 5G technology is supposed to revolutionize the way we live, reducing the delay between when your mobile device sends and receives signals by up to 90%. It can also increase mobile browsing speeds 100-fold.
The higher speeds are not a big deal if you’re downloading a game or movie (what’s a millisecond here and there?). But if you’re driving an autonomous car or being operated on remotely by a surgeon using robotics, that could mean the difference between life and death.
Opposition to 5G
As mentioned, every new technology faces challenges. And 5G tech is no exception.
Those opposed to the implementation of 5G technology contend that the electromagnetic fields generated by the network can cause health problems. (Source: “About 100 Demonstrators and 200 Scientists Protest Against 5G in Brussels,” The Brussels Times, January 26, 2020.)
Opponents believe it’s not just humans that are at risk; they argue that 5G is a threat to all living things.
The backlash against 5G tech is so great that January 25 was the “Global Day of Protest Against 5G.” Events were held in about 40 countries around the world. (Source: “Global 5G Protest Day,” Stop5G International, last accessed January 29, 2020.)
Furthermore, activists have directed the document “International Appeal: Stop 5G on Earth and in Space” to the United Nations, World Health Organization, the European Union, the Council of Europe, and “governments of all nations.” (Source: “International Appeal: Stop 5G on Earth and in Space,” International Appeal: Stop 5G on Earth and in Space, last accessed January 29, 2020.)
The list of signatories included doctors, scientists, and nurses.
5G Fears Slowing Rollout in Europe
Some of the perceived risks associated with 5G may sound dubious, but the fears have had a direct impact on the rollout of 5G technology (and have hurt some 5G stocks).
In Europe, for instance, health scares around 5G have actually slowed the rollout of 5G towers. In Belgium, strict limits set by regional governments on telecom tower emissions have made it difficult for implementation of 5G tech. (Source: “Health Scares Slow the Rollout of 5G Cell Towers in Europe,” Bloomberg, January 15, 2020.)
Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe’s biggest telecom carrier, has had to modify its 5G program in some regions due to pushback.
In the U.S., however, the head of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, has said that 5G is a national priority. He has made the antenna approval processes much easier and has said it’s illegal for local governments to hold up telecom infrastructure.
Studies Say 5G Technology Is Safe
According to the most widely accepted studies, 5G technology is safe. If anything, because smartphones using 5G find better connections to transmission towers, they do not have to emit signals as far and wide as they did with 3G and 4G technologies. (Source: Ibid.)
Although one study showed that rats who were exposed to very high levels of electromagnetic radiation developed tumors, the FDA says there was weakness in that research. The FDA says the study failed to establish a clear relationship between radiation doses and cancers.
The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (which works with the World Health Organization) agrees with the FDA.
Eric van Rongen, the chair of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, said “there’s no reason to be concerned” about potential health risks from 5G, such as cancer or other diseases.
Moreover, data from hundreds of long-term studies from around the world show no increase in cancer rates since we started using cell phones.
It seems that every time a new technology comes along, people raise health concerns. Years ago, some people believed that electrical towers near residential neighborhoods were dangerous to our health. These same kinds of issues are being raised about 5G technology.
Major studies from around the world continue to show that there’s no connection between 5G tech and health risks. In fact, 5G could be even safer than the currently deployed 3G and 4G technologies.
That’s great news for investors in 5G stocks and Internet of Things stocks.