Is 5G an Environmental Health Concern, or Just a Stronger Communication Network?

Kori Williams - Author

Mar. 23 2023, Published 10:41 a.m. ET

Someone On a Smartphone
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So many of us love to have the latest technology. While some need it for work or school, others rely it for recreation. But because it's become a central part of our everyday lives, we sometimes overlook its potentially negative impacts. For example, a common concern is 5G's rumored environmental harm.

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Over time, we've come to rely on the 5th generation mobile network, or 5G. And while we use it all the time, it's possible we don't know exactly how it may impact us. But the subject is polarizing with strong evidence both for and against it.

Person on a Smartphone
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Is 5G harmful to humans?

Thoughts and opinions on 5G vary.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that no health issues have been linked to 5G exposure, citing there isn't enough evidence on the matter.

But Scientific American warns humans should be more cautious with 5G, calling it a "global public health concern."

Some worry 5G could lead to cancer, reproductive system changes, genetic damage, learning and memory issues, and neurological disorders.

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In fact, a group of researchers think more precautions should be in place, and signed the International EMF (electromagnetic field) Scientist Appeal.

They believe these global entities aren't doing enough to address health concerns that are caused by 5G especially since it has become a part of everyday life. So, the consensus is divided.

Smartphones’ Environmental Impact
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Is 5G harmful to the environment?

Many worry 5G could have a negative environmental impact. Back in 2013, A 2013 study reported that 50 house sparrow eggs were damaged after being exposed to 5G. Referring to the waves to as "mobile tower radiation," researchers exposed the eggs for anywhere between five and 30 minutes.

After hatching, the baby birds reportedly dealt with health issues such "reproductive and coordination problems and aggressiveness" and affected "bird breeding, nesting, and roosting" in Spain.

However, it's unclear if other factors were at play.

Some also worry about the effects of 5G on plants — the Australian Parliament House hypothesized that 5G waves could be absorbed by plants, comparing it to "GMOs on steroids."

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A Sparrow
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5G could also be the start of "smart cities" that better co-exist with the environment.

Although some have concerns about 5G, there is evidence that it can play a vital part in helping the environment. The Columbia University Climate School reports that this technology can be used to make life more efficient, lessening the harm people have on the planet.

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5G can create networks in "smart cities" with linked technology and increased efficiency. As a result, we'd use less energy, generate less air and water pollution, and emit fewer greenhouse gases. Our appliances, streetlights, modes of transportation, and other aspects of everyday life would turn off and on more easily, saving both energy and time. Plus, wind and solar energy could be better incorporated as clean power sources.

Over time, these changes would mean less stress on the planet, allowing it to heal from damage that's already been done. Although it's not clear when those cities would come to life. It could be easier than you think.

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