Although no research has been published on the bioeffects or health effects from exposure to 5G radiation, the IEEE Committee on Man and Radiation (COMAR) has published an “expert statement” in the journal Health Physics that claims “(w)ithin current exposure limits, there appears to be little or no risk of adverse health effects related to radiofrequency (RF) exposure from 5G system.”

According to the IEEE press release (below): 

“… COMAR is an organization composed of physicians, biologists, epidemiologists, engineers and physical scientists who are experts on health and safety issues related to electromagnetic fields who work voluntarily and collaboratively on a consensus basis.”

Is COMAR qualified to issue an “expert statement” regarding health effects? By my count, the membership of COMAR consists of nineteen engineers, four physicists, two physiologists, one psychologist, and one M.D. Almost all of COMAR’s members work for industry or rely on industry funding for their research. 
How many members of COMAR have published peer-reviewed research on the health effects of non-ionizing radiation? How many do not have conflicts of interest?

How can COMAR assume that current exposure limits ensure our safety when the International EMF Scientist Appeal claims these limits are inadequate? This appeal has been signed by more than 240 scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on the bioeffects or health effects of non-ionizing radiation, totaling more than 2,000 papers and letters in professional journals.
Finally, the 5G Appeal calls for a moratorium on the rollout of 5G “until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry.” This appeal has been signed by more than 200 scientists and over 170 medical doctors.
‘Very low’ risk of unknown health hazards from exposure to 5G wireless networks
Expert statement in health physics journal seeks to counter online misinformation

News Release, Wolters Kluwer Health, Jun 24, 2020



June 24, 2020 – Experts weigh in on recent online reports that warn of frightening health consequences from new fifth generation (5G) wireless networks. Within current exposure limits, there appears to be little or no risk of adverse health effects related to radiofrequency (RF) exposure from 5G systems, concludes an evidence-based expert review in the June issue of Health Physics, official journal of the Health Physics Society. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.


“While we acknowledge gaps in the scientific literature, particularly for exposures at millimeter-wave frequencies, [we judge] the likelihood of yet unknown health hazards at exposure levels within current limits to be very low, if they exist at all,” according to the statement by the Committee on Man and Radiation (COMAR) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). As outlined by its Chair, Richard A. Tell, COMAR is an organization composed of physicians, biologists, epidemiologists, engineers and physical scientists who are experts on health and safety issues related to electromagnetic fields who work voluntarily and collaboratively on a consensus basis.


5G Networks Unlikely to Cause Exposure Above Current Safety Limits


The consensus statement seeks to counter the rise in alarming messages regarding mysterious health effects of 5G technology. “This misinformation together with activist websites expressing even more ominous consequences of 5G – ranging from cancer induction to being responsible for the current coronavirus pandemic – has created substantial and unnecessary public anxiety,” comments Jerrold T. Bushberg of the University of California Davis School of Medicine and Vice-Chair of COMAR.


Fifth-generation wireless systems are expanding worldwide to meet the rapidly increasing demand for wireless connectivity. The new technology can transmit much greater amounts of data at much higher speeds, compared to previous 2G to 4G systems. That’s in part because 5G uses the greater bandwidth available at higher frequencies, including the so-called millimeter-wave (MMW) band. Expansion of 5G “will produce a more ubiquitous presence of MMW in the environment,” according to the report.


Because MMW do not penetrate foliage and building materials as well as lower-frequency signals, many lower-power “small cell” transmitters will be needed to provide effective indoor coverage. Some 5G systems will have “beamforming” antennas that transmit signals to individual users as they move around, which means that nonusers will have less exposure.


Tissue heating is the main potential harmful effect of exposure to RF fields. Most countries, including the United States, have adopted exposure limits similar to those recommended by the recent standards (2019) published by IEEE International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety (ICES) or the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). These guidelines seek to avoid harmful effects by setting exposure limits far below the threshold at which any adverse human health effects would be expected to occur. These standards only allow for low levels of public RF exposures for which the energy is deposited in the form of thermal heating.

The COMAR statement provides perspectives to address concerns about possible health effects of 5G exposure:
  • In contrast to lower-frequency fields, MMW do not penetrate beyond the outer layer of the skin – and thus does not produce heating of deeper tissues.
  • The introduction of 5G is unlikely to change overall levels of RF exposure. As is currently the case, most exposure will be mainly due to “uplink” from one’s own cell phone or other devices – not from transmission from base stations.
  • In nearly all publicly accessible locations, RF exposures from cellular base stations, including 5G stations will remain small – a fraction of current IEEE or ICNIRP exposure limits.

“[S]o long as exposures remain below established guidelines, the research results to date do not support a determination that adverse health effects are associated with RF exposures, including those from 5G systems,” concludes the COMAR statement. The Committee acknowledges limitations of the current evidence on possible health and safety effects of 5G exposure and identifies key areas for further research, including high-quality studies of the biological effects of MMW.
Click here to read “IEEE Committee on Man and Radiation–Comar Technical Information Statement: Health and Safety Issues Concerning Exposure of the General Public to Electromagnetic Energy from 5G Wireless Communications Networks.”
DOI: 10.1097/HP.0000000000001301

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IEEE Committee on Man and Radiation—Comar Technical Information Statement: Health and Safety Issues Concerning Exposure of the General Public to Electromagnetic Energy from 5G Wireless Communications Networks
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Bushberg JT, Chou CK, Foster KR, Kavet R, Maxson DP, Tell RA, Ziskin MC. 
IEEE Committee on Man and Radiation—Comar Technical Information Statement: Health and Safety Issues Concerning Exposure of the General Public to Electromagnetic Energy from 5G Wireless Communications Networks. Health Physics: June 22, 2020. doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000001301.

Abstract

This COMAR Technical Information Statement (TIS) addresses health and safety issues concerning exposure of the general public to radiofrequency (RF) fields from 5G wireless communications networks, the expansion of which started on a large scale in 2018 to 2019. 5G technology can transmit much greater amounts of data at much higher speeds for a vastly expanded array of applications compared with preceding 2-4G systems; this is due, in part, to using the greater bandwidth available at much higher frequencies than those used by most existing networks. Although the 5G engineering standard may be deployed for operating networks currently using frequencies extending from 100s to 1,000s of MHz, it can also operate in the 10s of GHz where the wavelengths are 10 mm or less, the so-called millimeter wave (MMW) band. Until now, such fields were found in a limited number of applications (e.g., airport scanners, automotive collision avoidance systems, perimeter surveillance radar), but the rapid expansion of 5G will produce a more ubiquitous presence of MMW in the environment. While some 5G signals will originate from small antennas placed on existing base stations, most will be deployed with some key differences relative to typical transmissions from 2-4G base stations. Because MMW do not penetrate foliage and building materials as well as signals at lower frequencies, the networks will require “densification,” the installation of many lower power transmitters (often called “small cells” located mainly on buildings and utility poles) to provide for effective indoor coverage. Also, “beamforming” antennas on some 5G systems will transmit one or more signals directed to individual users as they move about, thus limiting exposures to non-users. In this paper, COMAR notes the following perspectives to address concerns expressed about possible health effects of RF field exposure from 5G technology. First, unlike lower frequency fields, MMW do not penetrate beyond the outer skin layers and thus do not expose inner tissues to MMW. Second, current research indicates that overall levels of exposure to RF are unlikely to be significantly altered by 5G, and exposure will continue to originate mostly from the “uplink” signals from one’s own device (as they do now). Third, exposure levels in publicly accessible spaces will remain well below exposure limits established by international guideline and standard setting organizations, including ICNIRP and IEEE. Finally, so long as exposures remain below established guidelines, the research results to date do not support a determination that adverse health effects are associated with RF exposures, including those from 5G systems. While it is acknowledged that the scientific literature on MMW biological effect research is more limited than that for lower frequencies, we also note that it is of mixed quality and stress that future research should use appropriate precautions to enhance validity. The authorship of this paper includes a physician/biologist, epidemiologist, engineers, and physical scientists working voluntarily and collaboratively on a consensus basis.

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Conclusion
The emergence of 5G cellular networks into widespread usage has attracted public attention. This development is due in part to the necessary reliance of 5G sources of MMW on many small cells installed near subscribers (densification), as well as to the introduction into the environment of RF fields from a part of the spectrum to which the public has not previously been exposed to any significant extent. Though research efforts have begun, the effect of 5G networks on population exposures to RF signals has not been as thoroughly researched as have RF exposures at lower frequencies. However, we anticipate that in all cases, exposure levels will remain well below major international exposure limits and that network operators will be aware of their obligation to maintain their systems within compliant operating parameters. When exposure levels are maintained below current exposure limits, neither health agencies nor guideline/standards setting organizations have identified hazards from exposure to millimeter waves or RF signals in lower frequency bands used in previous generation technologies. Given the limited bioeffects literature on millimeter wave exposure, however, COMAR recommends more high-quality research on MMW, together with ongoing surveillance by health agencies of relevant scientific developments. This effort should result in systematic reviews of the literature done under established protocols, with appropriate selection and evaluation criteria for research papers. Such efforts will serve the public interest and assist our society’s adaptation to 5G with minimal, if any, disruption. Finally, COMAR is comprised of career professionals who deal with environmental and health issues associated with electromagnetic exposures from across the non-ionizing spectrum, including power delivery, RF broadcast, and wireless technologies. The advent of 5G technologies has been accompanied by a steady stream of media pieces expressing various opinions on 5G ranging from the ominous to the exculpatory. Given the background and commitment of its members, we feel a unique responsibility to provide an objective assessment of where 5G technologies stand with respect to health and safety issues. COMAR concludes that while we acknowledge gaps in the scientific literature, particularly for exposures at millimeter wave frequencies, the likelihood of yet unknown health hazards at exposure levels within current exposure limits is considered to be very low, if they exist at all.
Acknowledgments—This statement was prepared by the IEEE EMBS Committee on Man and Radiation (COMAR) with significant contributions from the following: Jerrold T. Bushberg, C-K Chou, Kenneth R. Foster, Robert Kavet, David P. Maxson, Richard A. Tell, and Marvin C. Ziskin. It was revised and approved by COMAR, the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society’s Committee on Man and Radiation. It represents a consensus of COMAR, a committee that is composed of experts on health and safety issues related to electromagnetic fields, from power line through microwave frequency ranges. The mission of COMAR is to disseminate authoritative information to the public relating to the safety of nonionizing electromagnetic fields and to correct misinformation that relates to public health on this topic.

COMAR

(Committee on Man and Radiation)

IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society

The Committee on Man and Radiation (COMAR) is a group of experts on health and safety issues related to electromagnetic fields, from powerline through microwave frequency ranges.

COMAR is a Technical Committee of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). It reports to the EMBS President and Administrative Committee.

COMAR’s primary area of interest is biological effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. It examines and interprets the biological effects and presents its findings in an authoritative manner, usually in Technical Information Statements (TIS’s) or Position Papers.
 

These papers are subject to an extensive review process within the Committee and represent the consensus of the Committee.


COMAR does not establish safety standards, but it has an interest in the standards activity within its scope.

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