The MWF has updated its Privacy Policy, including the information on how we use cookies. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the better experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the MWF websites. However, you can change your Cookie Settings in your browser settings at any time which you will find as part of our privacy policy, which also outlines the information we collect and how we use it.
5G and Health

5G is the 5th generation of mobile networks, a significant evolution of the current 4G networks. It is being designed to meet the very large growth in data and connectivity of today's modern society, the internet of things with billions of connected devices and tomorrow's innovations. In addition to delivering faster connections and greater capacity, a very important advantage of 5G is the fast response time referred to as latency, which for 5G will be around 1 millisecond which is virtually instantaneous. This enables the widespread connection of devices for our smart cities and homes, autonomous and safer vehicles, enhanced health care and education.

In relation to the health and safety of 5G, the wireless industry relies on the advice of health agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and adopts the guidelines on electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and other standards bodies. The ICNIRP guidelines form the basis of many national regulations and of the European Council Recommendation on EMF.1

WHO has published a Q&A on 5G, where they answer the question of "What are the potential health risks from 5G?" as follows:
To date, and after much research performed, no adverse health effect has been causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies. Health-related conclusions are drawn from studies performed across the entire radio spectrum but, so far, only a few studies have been carried out at the frequencies to be used by 5G.

Tissue heating is the main mechanism of interaction between radiofrequency fields and the human body. Radiofrequency exposure levels from current technologies result in negligible temperature rise in the human body.

As the frequency increases, there is less penetration into the body tissues and absorption of the energy becomes more confined to the surface of the body (skin and eye). Provided that the overall exposure remains below international guidelines, no consequences for public health are anticipated.2

In March 2020, ICNIRP published a revision of these guidelines which "provide protection against adverse health effects to humans under realistic exposure conditions".3 The review of the research carried out over the last 20 years in this area, confirmed that the guidelines first set in 1998 are still valid and protect the whole population, including more vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women and the elderly, from established health risks. Changes have been made in the 2020 guidelines to the frequencies above 6 GHz which are also relevant for 5G.

"We know parts of the community are concerned about the safety of 5G and we hope the updated guidelines will help put people at ease. The guidelines have been developed after a thorough review of all relevant scientific literature, scientific workshops and an extensive public consultation process. They provide protection against all scientifically substantiated adverse health effects due to EMF exposure in the 100 kHz to 300 GHz range," said Dr Eric van Rongen, Chairman of ICNIRP, when the new guidelines were published.

ICNIRP was very clear on that there is 'no evidence that RF-EMF causes such diseases as cancer' and 'no evidence that RF-EMF impairs health beyond effects that are due to established mechanisms of interaction'.4 This statement fits with the large number of statements published over the past months by health authorities and national regulators around the world to stem the wild speculations and conspiracy theories circulated about 5G.5

Given the heightened public interest, many health authorities have carried out risk assessments and analysis of the existing body of knowledge on human exposure to electromagnetic fields used in mobile communications. Have a look at the "Expert Opinion" section to see a list of recently published reports.

For more information on how technical details such as massive MIMO, beam steering and what 5G devices will have to offer, have a look at the EMFexplained website, which has a dedicated section on 5G:


1 Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0 Hz to 300 GHz)

2 WHO Q&A on "5G mobile networks and health":

3 ACEBR's Science & Wireless December 2nd, 2019, Rodney Croft: ICNIRP Radiofrequency Guidelines, Public Consultation version,:

4 Media Release, New Guidelines Released by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), 11 March 2020:

5 5G conspiracy: Hundreds of articles now debunking it:

Additional Resources:

MWF Viewpoint on "5G: Health and Safety":

EMFexplained brochure: 5G et EMFexplained:

ITU: 5G, human exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and health:

European Commission on "Electromagnetic fields and 5G":

GSMA brochure: 5G, EMF Exposure and Safety: