A new 5G phone network is being introduced to the UK over the next few years, but with concerns over radiation, how safe is 5G?
Ofcom has conducted the first health study into the radiation levels around 5G base towers that were installed last year.
While looking for radiation, the UK broadcast regulator found no identifiable risks from 5G towers.
The regulator was measuring what is called RFR, or radio-frequency radiation, which is anything emitted from the electromagnetic spectrum. This includes everything from smartphones, to microwaves, to the light from the sun.
Why do people think 5G is dangerous?
The tests measured the electromagnetic field around 16 towers in 10 UK cities.
According to Ofcom, only "tiny fractions" of safe limits of radiation were found at the towers, with the highest level detected at 1.5 per cent of the recommended radiation exposure limit.
"The emissions at each site were a tiny fraction of the maximum levels set out in international guidelines," an Ofcom spokesman said.
But, there is public concern around the new technology, mainly spread on social media.
A Facebook group in Devon, has suggested that 5G towers are a cause of the spread of coronavirus in Wuhan, and many believe the towers to be carcinogenic.
Ofcom has been regulating mobile phone towers since 2003, and even Public Health England says in its official guidance that adding 5G, to all other types of telecoms hardware, could cause "a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves.
"However, the overall exposure is expected to remain low relative to guidelines and, as such, there should be no consequences for public health."
However, according to the Financial Times, Switzerland has place an indefinite halt on the roll out of its 5G network due to safety concerns.
Swiss environment agecny, Bafu, raised concerns that there is not worldwide safety criteria to base the assumption that 5G towers are safe.
It said, “Therefore Bafu will examine exposure through adaptive [5G] antennas in depth, if possible in real-world operational conditions. This work will take some time."
The wealthy alpine country has already had 5 proposals for referendums on 5G regulations - one will make telecoms companies legally liable for claims of bodily damage caused by the radiation from the masts.
What is 5G?
The next stage in telecoms technology is 5G, set to gradually replace 4G later this year.
5G is smarter, and faster, than the 4G network and can allow more people to access faster download speeds with wider bandwidths.
Imagine being at a concert and trying to send a message with thousands of people around you. Currently this is difficult, but 5G gives people the capability to send larger amounts of data without the network becoming overloaded and jamming.
This article was updated on Wednesday 27th February, 2020