08 January 2020

5G signals won't make men infertile, sighs UK ad watchdog as it bans bonkers scary poster

A group of Luddites who think 5G causes everything from cancer to lack to sleep have had an advert promoting their views banned from public display.

Electrosensitivity-UK, a group of people who think “all forms” of electromagnetic radiation could be dangerous to your health, put up posters in July and August last year with the headline “How safe is 5G?” over a picture of a family walking a dog, presented with lots of scare quotes about the digital cellular tech.

Unfortunately for ES-UK, it was unable to back up its scary claims that 5G will cause infertility in men, make your head to hurt and treat users of 5G as "guinea pigs". It also, hilariously, said "that the millimetre waves planned for 5G were used in military warfare and some civilian crowd control, which confirmed that this type of 5G radiation could cause adverse reactions in the ordinary population."

By "millimetre waves planned for 5G" the group appears to be referring to the use of spectrum between 24GHz and 100GHz in the next generation of the spec, 5G SA, bands that are much less congested than the lower frequencies. New 5G devices will need specialised MMwave chipsets for deployment - and a wider spread of optimised beamforming antennas and componentry to deal with signal degradation associated with its shorter wavelength. The standalone spec, aka fullfat 5G, now has a freeze date of March this year and is due to be completed in June 2020.

As for their capacity to do harm, millimetre waves are not ionising radiation, and thus don't have the capacity to break molecular bonds or damage biological tissue. This is all a simple matter of basic chemistry.

Ruling that the ad was misleading and unsubstantiated, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) declared: "We told Electrosensitivity-UK to ensure they did not make claims which implied there was robust scientific evidence that demonstrated negative human health effects caused by 5G signals or that specific medical conditions had been shown to be caused by 5G signals."

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