5G is the next generation of mobile communications and has the potential to deliver hugely enhanced connectivity.
The potential health impacts of exposure to non-ionising radiation are addressed in a substantial volume of internationally recognised scientific research and evidence. This includes the guidelines set down by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). These guidelines have been endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Commission and provide scientifically-based exposure limits that are applicable to both public and occupational exposure from electromagnetic fields (EMF).
The ICNIRP Guidelines apply up to a frequency of 300 gigahertz (GHz), well above the maximum frequencies being considered for 5G. ComReg, the independent telecoms regulatory authority, ensures that licensed mobile operators comply with their licence conditions and do not exceed these guidelines.
An Irish Government commissioned report published in 2016 reaffirmed the conclusions of an earlier 2007 report, that there is insufficient evidence to establish a causal relationship between exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields and adverse health effects.
Nevertheless, public exposure to non-ionising radiation is an issue that is kept under review. As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I assigned a new statutory function to the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year to provide general information to the public in this regard, to monitor international scientific developments and provide independent advice to my Department in this area. Information is published on the EPA’s website at www.epa.ie/radiation/emf.