par HARALD SCHUMANN et ELISA SIMANTKE, tagesspiegel.de, 12 January 2019 -
Mobile communications technology is suspected of damaging health. But governments are steadily promoting the expansion.
|Great uncertainty. Even smartphone manufacturers advise|
distance from the devices.
The planned 5G applications from the "Internet of Things" to autonomous driving do not fit in with the business model of the telecoms industry, reports British telecoms expert William Webb, who is in demand worldwide as a consultant. This is based on the monthly fees paid by users, but this source of revenue cannot be increased. Already with the introduction of 4G, also called LTE, it was not able to collect higher fees for it. The promises of the mobile data future with 5G is "just a myth", warns Webb. "Which applications are ultimately commercially successful for 5G, is currently completely open," confirms Thomas Magedanz, who heads 5G research at the Berlin Fraunhofer Institute for Communication Systems. So far, there have been "no clear business models beyond automation in the factories".
More tumors were detected in laboratory rats
At the same time, there is considerable uncertainty about the possible health risks. In its 2017 Annual Report, the Vodafone Group writes: "Electromagnetic signals emitted by mobile devices and base stations can pose health risks with potential consequences, including: changes in national legislation, a reduction in mobile phone use or litigation.
In 2011, the International Centre for Cancer Research at the WHO (IARC) merely stated that mobile phone radiation was "possibly carcinogenic". However, this assessment is outdated. Both an American research group from the National Toxicology Program and a team led by the renowned Italian cancer researcher Fiorella Belpoggi in Bologna recently reported that they had come across "clear evidence" in elaborate experiments for the tumour-producing effect of radiofrequency radiation in rats. A study commissioned by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection had already shown in 2015 that mobile telephony radiation significantly accelerates the spread of tumors in the body of mice.
Thousands of new transmitters required for 5G network expansion
5G would considerably increase "electrosmog", as critics call it. Because the new technology operates at very high frequencies, its range is far shorter than that of previous transmitters. It is not suitable for the filling of the gaps in phone networks often complained of in Germany. But it multiplies the number of required mobile transmitters. If it comes to an area-wide expansion, tens of thousands of additional transmitters will be required.
"The implementation of 5G threatens serious, irreversible consequences for humans", warn more than 400 physicians and scientists in a recently published appeal for a halt to the expansion of 5G technology, including the long-standing German environmental politician and biologist Ernst-Ulrich von Weizsäcker. We do not know for sure whether mobile data transmission technology entails health risks, but we cannot rule it out either," explained von Weizsäcker. For this reason, politicians must "insist that the health risks associated with the ubiquitous high-frequency radiation for mobile devices be investigated before we expose the entire population to ever higher levels of electromagnetic fields from this technology".
The EU Commission and European governments have so far rejected this demand. The "application of the precautionary principle" to mobile telephony technologies is "too drastic a measure", explains the head of cabinet of the incumbent EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis.
To justify this, the Commission, like the German Federal Government, refers to the recommendations of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), which regards the new studies as irrelevant. However, this is only a private association registered in Germany without any official character, which recruits its members itself and excludes experts with differing opinions. The critics therefore call for the establishment of an independent body and a major research program to assess possible damage to health.
Original article in German: