Work on 5G updated following a public consultation

Today, ANSES is publishing an updated version of its expert appraisal on the potential health effects of 5G, following the public consultation on its first opinion, organised between April and June 2021. The further details provided from the analysis of the contributions and the inclusion of recent exposure measurements confirm the expert appraisal's initial findings. Based on current knowledge, the Agency believes it unlikely that the deployment of 5G will lead to new health risks with regard to previous telephone generations.

Over 200 contributions collected

In April 2021, ANSES published its opinion and expert appraisal report on the assessment of the health effects associated with the deployment of 5G. Given society’s interest in the topic and in order to collect any additional data, the Agency decided to organise a public consultation on these documents. Between 20 April and 1 June 2021, more than 200 contributions were received from associations, citizens and industry, reflecting a need for clarification or further details on this complex topic. Each comment was analysed by the Agency. The opinion and report have now been supplemented or amended to take relevant new information into account. The responses to the comments received are available as downloadable annexes.

"For several years now, we have been engaged in dialogue with stakeholders on assessing the health effects of radiofrequencies. Besides the additional information provided, this consultation also enabled us to explain our approach better, while clarifying the arguments that support our conclusions, for a better all-round understanding

Olivier Merckel
Head of the Unit for assessment of risks related to physical agents

Findings of the initial expert appraisal confirmed

The updated opinion and report published today include further information in response to the comments received. They also take into account the latest data available from the French National Frequency Agency (ANFR) on exposure to electromagnetic fields measured in the vicinity of 5G base stations.

This information confirms the initial findings of the expert appraisal, namely that:

  • With the deployment of 5G technology in frequency bands already used by 3G and 4G technologies, between 700 MHz and 2.1 GHz, or in the 3.5 GHz frequency band, the overall levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields will be comparable to or slightly higher than those of existing technologies. It is unlikely that this deployment will lead to new health risks, as compared to the results of expert appraisals of previous telephone generations;
  • For the 26 GHz frequency band, which is not yet used in France for the deployment of 5G, exposure differs in that the wave penetration is far lower. However, there are too few data currently available to confirm whether or not there are health effects;
  • There is a need to continue generating data, in particular to monitor changes in population exposure as the number of base stations expands and the use of 5G networks increases.
  • More generally, it is also essential to acquire new knowledge, especially on the links between exposure and health effects. Indeed, although ANSES's successive studies on radiofrequencies, on which this latest expert appraisal is based, indicate that there is no evidence to date of health effects associated with current digital uses, other effects such as cancer development and impaired brain function or fertility continue to be studied.

In addition to its initial findings, ANSES stresses in this updated opinion the importance of identifying as early as possible the environmental and societal impacts of digital technology, which 5G will probably accelerate.

Continue generating new data and knowledge

To promote the emergence of new data, the Agency is funding 12 research projects on radiofrequencies under the National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health (PNR EST). These projects are mainly seeking to acquire new knowledge on the mechanisms of action at cellular level, the physiological and health effects of radiofrequencies, electromagnetic hypersensitivity and characterisation of exposure.