Swiss Update Cellphone Safety Standards for 5G

The Swiss government announced this week that they will be preparing changes to their safety limits on electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emissions in advance of soon-to-be 5G mobile phone network upgrades, according to a Monday article in the Swiss publication telecompaper.

If you aren’t familiar with the lexicon, 5G means the fifth generation of cell phone transmission standards. Those old “bag” phones you may remember were the first generation of mobile phones. The more portable “candy bar” or flip phone cell phones were 2G and later 3G, operating on different frequencies with better range and features. Smartphones like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy use  3G and 4G, employing Internet browsers and computer-like apps.

5G is an emerging technology that promises nearly broadband speeds (think home cable internet) on a mobile phone. 5G uses shorter distance, lower power transmitters—potentially one on the phone pole at every street corner, offering faster access and near-desktop speed. So what’s the problem? Well, those transmitters will be lower power, but also MUCH closer to you as you use your 5G phone. EMR received by your body is a function of both transmitter power and distance from the source. As 5G rolls out, it may end up being virtually everywhere, especially in urban areas.5G transmitter

For that reason, all of the existing EMR standards which are tuned to the type of towers that broadcast two or three miles around the cell tower from the tops of buildings or high antenna towers may, or may not, still apply. Let’s be clear about this: no one believes that there are NO health risks from EMR. The argument is over at what power levels they become dangerous to health.  Technicians and military personnel working close to high-power sources have been hurt when power was not tightly properly turned off, or accidentally turned back on while people were working on them.

The Swiss government is getting out in front of this issue in advance of the arrival of  new network technologies as 5G networks begin to roll out in major cities this year. The new regulation is expected to be adopted by the Swiss by spring 2019. Initially, 5G networks will work in tandem with existing 4G until enough new 5G phones are sold to consumers. In a few years, as we’ve seen with the previous generations of cell technology, the earlier generations will be phased out. Except for your great-uncle Max, who still clings to his 2G candy bar phone. But he also almost never turns it on, so the point is moot.

The Swiss are preparing to update their standards, focusing on the 900 to 1,800 MHz band and the need for new methods to track 5G emissions. It’s also notable that this past spring the Swiss defeated a proposal by mobile operators to relax their current EMR standards.

In the meantime, use mic-equipped earbuds, or phone speakers when you’re chatting for any length of time, to minimize that amount of time the phone is slapped against your cranium. Remember, power and distance affect EMR absorption and work logarithmically. Double the distance from the antenna and you cut the effective power by a factor of four.

NOTE: Esther Brandt, the main character in my novel, “High Ground” believes herself to be an electromagnetic hypersensitive, who finds herself under siege by a nearby defense contractor developing airborne laser weapons.

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