5G New Radio Requires the Best Possible Risk Assessment Studies: Perspective and Recommended Guidelines

Mattsson M-O, Simkó M and Foster KR (2021) 5G New Radio Requires the Best Possible Risk Assessment Studies: Perspective and Recommended Guidelines. Front. Comms. Net 2:724772. doi: 10.3389/frcmn.2021.724772

The development and establishment of mobile communication technologies has necessitated assessments of possible risks to human health from exposures to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF). A number of expert committees have concluded that there is no evidence for such risks as long as exposures are at or below levels that do not allow tissue heating. These assessments have been based primarily on studies investigating frequencies up to 6 GHz including frequencies similar to those used by two of three major bands of fifth generation (more accurately 5G New Radio or 5G NR) of mobile communication. Bioeffects studies in so-called high-band at 25–39 GHz are particularly sparse. Future assessments relevant for these frequencies will need to rely on still unperformed studies. Due to few available studies at 5G NR “high band” frequencies, and questions raised by some existing studies, a recent review recommended a wide range of RF biostudies be done at 5G NR “high band” frequencies. It is of importance that such studies be done using the best possible science. Here we suggest factors to consider when performing future studies in this area. The present focus is on laboratory studies to clarify biological effects of radiofrequency (RF) energy at 5G “high band” frequencies and, more generally at millimeter wave (mm-wave) frequencies (30-300 GHz) which will be increasingly used by communications technologies in the future. Similar comments would apply to epidemiology and exposure assessment studies, but those are not the focus of the present Perspective.

Conflict of Interest

Author M-OM and MS were employed by the company SciProof International AB. KRF receives minor research support on an unrelated topic (thermal dosimetry) from an industry group (Mobile and Wireless Forum).


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