- The Straits Times
While 5G might herald the arrival of a super-fast digital age, Singaporeans are mainly concerned about whether or not its radiation will be harmful to peoples’ health.
This was one of the key issues raised by members of the public at the IMDA’s second public consultation with companies and individuals on how the country should roll out 5G networks.
Of the 62 responses received, 25 were from individuals, all of whom raised the issue of the potential negative health impact of 5G radio waves, particularly for young children and pregnant women.
Many commenters – including several medical professionals and a health coach – called for the Government to wait for conclusive tests to be done on the impact of 5G radio waves on human health before rolling out the network here.
Most raised examples of other countries across the world that had delayed the rollout of 5G networks due to concerns from the scientific community, and mentioned the possibility of radiation being linked to cancer or damage to the nervous system.
“We already know about various studies linking electromagnetic frequencies to various health issues, and there just isn’t enough data to convincingly say that a 5G network would not have similar health issues,” wrote Vahidha Shaik Naina.
Another commenter, Peter Chan, wrote that he was concerned about the long-term impact of 5G radiation, which might not be “immediately noticeable in the short-term”.
“Singapore is a small city… implementation will inevitably result in insidious health issues impacting everyone,” he added.
A third commenter, who only listed her name as Joanna, said that the Government should not sacrifice health safety “for the sake of convenience and productivity”.
In response to these concerns, IMDA said the ambient level of radio frequency (RF) radiation in Singapore was “very low”.
It added that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had found no convincing scientific evidence of adverse health effects from very low RF exposures to populations or individuals.
It also promised to work with the National Environment Agency to closely monitor developments and consult health experts where appropriate.
The agency said it was committed to ensuring that mobile services here were “safe”, and that Singapore would use guidelines from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) in considering the safety of 5G services.
The ICNIRP is an international organisation recognised by the WHO, and its safety guidelines on public exposure to mobile antenna radiation have been accepted by several countries, including Australia, Germany, Norway, South Korea, and Sweden.
Of these, South Korea and Sweden have already rolled out 5G services.
Other key suggestions raised during IMDA’s public consultation included allowing all four local telcos to be assigned 5G spectrum, ensuring that 5G networks did not interfere with satellite systems, and having all operators share one single network in the initial years of deployment, instead of building two.
The IMDA said it would announce its decision on 5G rollout around the end of this year.