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Review of 138 mmWave studies finds “no evidence” of 5G health risks

ARPANSA radiation monitoring.
(Image credit: ARPANSA.)

In a bid to try and make sense of the 100+ studies that have been undertaken into the health effects of 5G millimeter wave technology, two new scientific reviews have been carried out by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and Swinburne University of Technology.

Both reviews found no evidence of adverse health effects from the radio waves used in 5G.

"A review of all the studies provided no substantiated evidence that low-level radio waves, like those used by the 5G network, are hazardous."

“In conclusion, a review of all the studies provided no substantiated evidence that low-level radio waves, like those used by the 5G network, are hazardous to human health,” said Dr Ken Karipidis, assistant director of assessment and advice at ARPANSA.

Review of 138 studies

The review of 138 pieces of research, which included 107 experimental studies, investigated potential effects of 5G technology on genotoxicity, cell proliferation, gene expression, cell signalling, and membrane function, finding no significant evidence of a health risk.

“This meta-analysis of the experimental studies also presented little evidence of an association between millimeter waves and adverse health effects,” said Dr Karipidis. “Studies that did report biological effects were generally not independently replicated and most of the studies reviewed employed low-quality methods of exposure assessment and control.”

According to ARPANSA, the findings of these reviews remain “consistent with national and international radiation health and safety guidelines”, which have already deemed that low-level 5G radio waves are safe for public exposure. However, it did recommend that the quality of the research it reviewed varied, and that future experiments into 5G dangers should be improved upon.

“Future experimental research would benefit from investigating bioeffects at the specific frequency range of the next stage of the 5G network roll-out."

Dr Ken Karipidis, ARPANSA.

“Future experimental research would benefit from investigating bioeffects at the specific frequency range of the next stage of the 5G network roll-out in the range 26–28 GHz and higher designated bands above 30 GHz. The estimated quality of studies has increased in recent years, so more weight should be attached to the more recent studies,” the review concluded.

The ARPANSA review identified 107 in vitro and in vivo studies investigating millimeter waves and biological effects, in which the power density employed was below 100 W/m2, which is below the current standards for occupational local exposures. Where possible, the research team estimated the magnitude of exposure, but also the quality of individual studies, based on methodology used in previous analyses.

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.