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Engineer responds to 5G fears

Health fears aired over the potential deployment of fifth generation wireless technology in Bermuda are misinformed, a technology and engineering consultant has said.

Patrick Caton spoke in the wake of a consultation period over the introduction of 5G telecommunications to Bermuda.

Bermuda Advocates for Safe Technology, which opposes called on the Regulatory Authority to extend its consultation period on 5G, charging the high-frequency radio frequency used in the wireless networks could have adverse environmental and health consequences.

Local and overseas speakers gave their reservations over the technology, but Mr Caton said there were “zero cases of radio frequency radiation causing any damage to wildlife or humans, even children”.

The technology is under a moratorium in Bermuda while the RA compiles its ruling, based on studies and feedback from the public.

Mr Caton said the exposure levels set by regulators such as the United States Federal Communications Commission were in place to protect workers on the cellular network towers for 5G.

He added: “Anyone away from the towers has an infinitesimal fraction of the energy dose.”

The island gets more than 1,000 watts of radiation per square metre from the sun, he said, while a cellular tower would deliver “a few microwatts of radio frequency radiation, perhaps as much as 20 microwatts”.

“That’s 50 million times less than you get from the sun. The total broadcast power of a cell tower is less than 100 watts.”

Mr Caton said regulators typically assessed broadcast power limits every three years.

He added: “All of the technical research societies that set the standards have yet to receive any evidence that the current levels are unsafe.

“We have been studying different radio frequency types for over a century since the invention of radio, and the much hyped millimetre wave tech is simply a radar frequency that’s been in use since 1940.”

Millimetre waves are the higher-frequency radio signals employed by 5G mobile phones and other devices.

Several of the speakers at a recent forum said the non-ionising radiation used for 5G had a demonstrable impact on plant, animal and human cells.

Mr Caton said ionising radiation such as ultraviolet light and X-rays was capable of inflicting damage, but the wavelengths used for 5G were unable to interact with cells to cause injury.

He added: “It’s much lower power and range than existing 2 and 3G cellular. It uses much of the existing frequencies of the older tech, just more efficiently.”