5G: radiation is low, fears are high

Published: 30 June 2022

The Media Authority and the National Public Health Center carry out regular sample tests with the help of a team of communications and health protection experts. The programme was also presented at the IRPA conference titled “Radiation Protection for Everyone” (Sugárvédelem Mindenkinek). A special session at the event addressed the health and measurement technology issues of radiation from 5G mobile technology. The issue is also timely because public fears in this regard are still being felt. However, compared to the use of previous mobile networks, 5G data traffic is not yet significant in Hungary. For example, the measurement service of the Media Authority has received enquiries from residents about human-perceived 5G radiation in places where 5G services have not yet been launched. In other places, antenna assembly works executed after dark caused fears during the winter, when the mobile operator was forced to execute these works due to a mass network upgrade. Residents are significantly less likely to request measurements for less visible but higher power antennas than for those installed in highly visible locations.

The experts of the Media Authority say: for the above reasons, the sense of safety of the residents living in the vicinity of the transmission towers is of paramount importance, therefore not only information is published on the website at nmhh.hu/elektroszmog, but anyone can also request a free electromagnetic radiation level measurement. This is a far more accurate and reliable measurement than home testing carried out with commercially available uncalibrated measurement devices, costing a few thousand forints.

As 5G network deployment is not yet significant in Hungary, the domestic tests are therefore being carried out as a demonstration in preparation for mass measurement activities. In order to assess the maximum exposure level, which varies very rapidly over time depending on usage, measurements need to be supplemented by calculations or data traffic generation. The joint measurement results – using the techniques presented at the conference – show that the health limits are not exceeded.

In addition to the above, the Media Authority and the National Public Health Center are collaborating on the development of a calculation system that automatically predicts radiation levels. All this was presented at the conference as well.

After eight years of renewed cooperation between the Media Authority and the National Public Health Center, the Media Authority provides the National Public Health Center with measuring instruments related to 5G technology, thus supporting domestic radiation health research.

In connection with the cooperation between the two organisations, Dr. György Thuróczy, Head of the Non-Ionizing Radiation Department of the National Public Health Center, said that the activities of the two national institutions complement each other very well, as the department of the National Public Health Center dealing with radiation related health issues is involved in the development of radiation measurement methods for 5G mobile phone systems, and is also performing research work on the biological and health effects of radiofrequency radiation, concerning which they also participate in international and EU programmes. The complementary professional activities of the two institutes greatly contribute to ensure that the development and deployment of modern mobile communications is carried out in Hungary by taking into account environmental, health and public safety aspects. The National Public Health Center and the Media Authority work together to provide the public and professionals with comprehensive information on health and environmental issues related to the spread and development of mobile technology.

The webpage of the authority available at nmhh.hu/elektroszmog provides further updated content, including information on 5G radiation.