5G, a danger for health? Stéphanie claims to suffer from “headaches, dizziness and tinnitus” because of a nearby installation

5G, a danger for health? Stéphanie claims to suffer from “headaches, dizziness and tinnitus” because of a nearby installation
5G, a danger for health? Stéphanie claims to suffer from “headaches, dizziness and tinnitus” because of a nearby installation

5G, currently being deployed, is the fifth and latest generation of mobile networks. This cutting-edge technology has many advantages. But some point to its possible impact on health. This is the case of Stéphanie who mentions physical problems. Does 5G really represent a danger?

An ultra-fast internet connection even in the middle of the fields: this is the objective of the deployment of 5G. This is the fifth generation of mobile networks. This cutting-edge technology is an evolution of 4G which allows, with a renewal of operators’ antennas and user equipment, for example smartphones, to obtain better access to the internet.

What advantages presents this transition to 5G? This infrastructure offers faster data transfer speeds (up to ten times faster than 4G) as well as improved reliability, capacity and latency. Concretely, this allows you, for example, to download a film or photos much more quickly.

Higher throughput, lower delay, higher density

“We will have a higher throughput, a lower delay, a higher density. We will therefore be able to support a greater number of users with a fixed number of antennas. In terms of network density, it is more interesting. We will be able to support more dialogues, sometimes use video conferencing with your phone. explains Olivier Bonaventure, professor at the UCLouvain polytechnic school.

“The latency is much lower. This makes it possible to have more interactive telecommunications, to control industrial equipment remotely. There are some who have piloted drones remotely via 5G for example. Which would not have been possible. not been possible with 3G, which is difficult with 4G”, adds the professor.

Last February, the Minister of Telecommunications also listed the many benefits of 5G. “It’s more reliable, more efficient, safer, many devices can work simultaneously and at a higher speed. In addition, 5G stimulates a sustainable economy”assures Petra De Sutter.

Our country also wants to catch up with its deployment. According to the minister, on average, 81% of Europeans can surf on their mobile via 5G. And, according to operators, this figure is 60% in Belgium.

Today, 5G continues to be gradually deployed in our kingdom. In 2023, this technology was mainly available in Flanders. “The deployment is much more advanced in Flanders than in Wallonia because the Flemish got started much earlier while Wallonia procrastinated a lot. The operators now need to deploy the antennas”, indicates Olivier Bonaventure. According to the Belgian Institute of Postal Services and Telecommunications (IBPT), thanks to deployment in urban areas, almost 90% of Belgian households currently have 5G outside their homes.

These are the tinnitus, headaches and dizziness that we suffer from.

As the coverage expands, voices continue to be raised to denounce theimpact of this technology on health. This is the case for Stephanie. This Walloon woman contacted us via the orange Alert us to pin button “dangers” of this mobile network. His house is located right in front of 5G antennas. “Since its installation, right in front of my house, we have been suffering from tinnitus, headaches and dizziness. I have witnesses who come here and hear this continuous high pitched sound in their ears.” assures Stéphanie.

Jacques Vanderstraeten, specialist in non-ionizing radiation at the ULB school of public health, is not surprised by this testimony. “In this context, this is part of the somewhat long list of symptoms that have been reported on both sides by people who complain of such sensitivity. Now, the cause and effect relationship between 5G and the symptoms is established by the person and therefore, it is not like a diagnosis that can be established through examinations.underlines this general practitioner.

What are the results of the studies?

Following this type of complaint, various studies have been carried out to try to establish whether such a link holds up and whether certain people are more sensitive to the radiation of 5G, smartphones or telecommunications waves. “This was done through testing symptom provocation studies. So, people are placed in a room where sources of electromagnetic radiation are present which are either on or off. And we hear what people say, what they complain about.” explains the specialist.

And what are the results? The majority of scientific studies believe that 5G does not represent a danger. They indicate that 5G is unlikely to cause significant health risks and is not significantly more dangerous than previous wireless technologies.

“From all the studies, and there have been quite a few, we have not been able to establish such a link, so it remains, until proven otherwise, the perception of an intolerance that people connect to a nearby antenna”underlines Jacques Vanderstraeten.

Today, the available data therefore does not allow us to conclude that 5G presents an increased risk to public health. If the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies electromagnetic radiation as a possible carcinogen, it is at a lower level than the consumption of red meat and night work. And, as long as the limits for exposure to waves are respected, no possible danger is demonstrated. In this regard, you should know that regular checks of the standards to be respected are carried out by the competent organizations.

We cannot say that the frequency on which we transmit in 5G is more harmful

In addition, the 5G network will initially transmit in the same frequency range as the existing 2G, 3G, 4G and wifi networks. And the effects of these frequencies have already been studied. The high frequency range, using millimeter waves, is not yet used. “With 5G, the difference will essentially be marked when we arrive at a development which would lead to small, more local antennas, with what we call the Smart City, where everything is connected, etc. But, at present, we are still left with frequency waves quite close to previous wireless networks. And all these radiations are quite similar in terms of their interaction with the body”, says the doctor. “We cannot say that the frequency on which we transmit in 5G is more harmful than that used for 4G.”confirms Olivier Bonaventure, professor at the UCLouvain polytechnic school.

This specialist also recalls the interest of the majority of users for this type of hyperactive mobile network. “That’s what they’re looking for. They watch video on their smartphone, they try to have more interactivity. The population demands access to mobile networks.”underlines the professor.

We have no reason to be like the Gauls who refuse technological evolution

And according to him, 5G is the solution to meeting increasingly sophisticated demands. “To say that Wallonia would limit itself to 4G or 3G and would not want to go further, that means that we would no longer have access to any of the equipment that is produced throughout the world in 4G or 5G. So, we have no reason to act like the Gauls who refuse technological development”, believes Olivier Bonaventure. “Or we do like the Amish in the United States who always live with horses and carts. I don’t think this is the social choice we want to have in Belgium and Wallonia at the moment.” he concludes.

Despite everything, Stéphanie plans to move. For her, a wifi connection at home is sufficient. And she still thinks her headaches and tinnitus are linked to the 5G installation near her home. At the end of 2022, Walloon Minister-President Elio Di Rupo assured in any case to take into account “everyone, including so-called electrosensitive people” regarding the deployment of 5G. “There will be permanent monitoring of the pylons and the effects of this 5G on both the environment and people”the socialist then commented on the airwaves of bel RTL.

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