Why could it be dangerous to break into Germany?

Close to the cell phone mast - that's not dangerous!

Radio masts are nice neighbors: They behave quietly, make themselves useful - and ideally they don't attract much attention. Many citizens are now getting new neighbors. In order to bring 5G mobile communications to every part of the country, existing radio masts are being converted and new ones are being built. In addition, the network of transmission systems is becoming more and more dense in order to close white spots and improve network coverage. This causes concern among some citizens. Because radio communication takes place via high-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF). Their possible effects on human health have been discussed and researched for years. We clarify one after the other in five questions and answers.

What frequency do the masts transmit?

So far, the frequencies for the cellular network have been below 2.6 gigahertz. However, some of the new 5G networks require different frequencies. In this way you can guarantee a higher speed of the mobile internet. These frequencies reach up to 3.8 gigahertz. In perspective, they can be increased to 24.25 to 27.5 gigahertz, in some cases even up to 60 gigahertz. The frequency is measured in Hertz. One hertz corresponds to one oscillation per second - one gigahertz is therefore already one billion oscillations per second. The higher the frequency, the shorter the range of the fields. Only additional locations prevent dead spots.

What kind of radiation is used in cellular communications?

Physics differentiates between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. High-frequency electromagnetic fields that are used for data transmission in cellular networks belong to the group of non-ionizing radiation. Cellular communications cannot trigger ionization on atoms and molecules. This means: it does not change atoms and molecules. The other group, i.e. ionizing radiation, on the other hand, carries significantly more energy. It is able to change matter and break chemical bonds.

Rays that are used in cellular networks only have a Proven effect on the human body: They are converted into heat. This happens because the body absorbs and absorbs part of the radiant energy. The charged molecules oscillating in the cell phone frequency generate the heat, this is called the thermal effect. How much energy the body absorbs depends on the frequency level and the strength of the electromagnetic field. Basically, the higher the frequency, the lower the penetration depth of the rays into the human body.

Which laws regulate the maximum radiation exposure from radio masts?

For fixed mobile radio systems, i.e. radio masts, clear limit values ​​apply from a certain transmission power. They are based, among other things, on recommendations fromInternational Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), the GermanRadiation Protection Commission (SSK) and desFederal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS). The limit values ​​regulate the degree to which people can be exposed to high-frequency electromagnetic fields without having to fear health impairments. These limit values ​​are inFederal Immission Control Act and defined in its ordinances and depending on the frequency range used.

The strength of the electromagnetic fields continues to decrease rapidly with every meter of distance from the cell phone system (distance law). People who are in the vicinity of such a system are usually only exposed to a weak electromagnetic field. Radio masts are usually located on towers, so a large distance is guaranteed. When the radiation reaches the citizens, the legally stipulated limit values ​​are usually only used up to less than one percent of the permitted strength.

Nobody can predict yet whether this will change with 5G. It is true that more small-cell systems will probably be used that move closer to people. But the later significantly higher frequencies from 20 gigahertz have a much shorter range and are slightly shielded. In addition, so-called beamforming enables the radiation to be emitted in a much more targeted manner. But even if the exposure increases, it will continue to be well below the limit values.

Why is the mobile phone the strongest source of radiation?

Anyone who actively uses a cell phone, for example to make a phone call, is exposed to much stronger electromagnetic fields than from a nearby cell phone system. If the cell phone rests directly on the ear, the radiation acts directly on the user's head. However, a distance of just a few centimeters reduces the effect enormously. This can be easily achieved, for example, with a headset or hands-free system.

So are cell phone calls unhealthy? This conclusion is hasty. A few observational studies link frequent cell phone calls to an increased risk of brain tumors. That's why the gradedInternational Cancer Research Agency (IARC) Using a cell phone to make calls is potentially carcinogenic. However, the majority of the studies carried out on this topic could not prove a connection between cell phone calls and cancer. You should also know that this classification is the same risk level as when eating red meat or eating pickled vegetables. Drinking very hot beverages is even classified at a higher level. Mind you, this is about cell phone radiation from a device on the head or ear, this classification does not apply to cell phone masts.

How can I reduce the radiation exposure from my mobile phone?

For cell phones, too, security is usually ensured by restricting the so-called SAR value proven. This stipulates that the energy absorbed by the body must not exceed 2 watts per kilogram of body tissue in the head and torso. An energy consumption below this value is considered harmless.

Anyone who is still concerned and wants to take precautionary measures can further reduce his or her exposure without having to do without the cell phone. The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) recommends using a headset for longer conversations. So the cell phone stays further away from the head. The Federal Office also advises simply replacing shorter conversations with a text message - this, too, reduces radiation.

The radiation exposure from the mobile phone is also lower, the better the reception. If the reception is poor, the cell phone needs stronger radio signals to reach the next cell phone system. A good mobile network expansion is therefore to be rated positively for the users, because the end device does not have to transmit as much when the transmission mast is nearby.

What is the bottom line

A well-developed network is twice as good. A higher density of radio masts reduces the exposure to high-frequency electromagnetic fields for the user with the same intensity of use, because the cell phone emits less radiation when transmitting. Either way, legal rules apply to cell phone masts as well as to mobile devices. The conscious handling of cell phone radiation is nevertheless correct and sensible. Research also continues. According to current studies, there is no evidence of an increased health risk for the population due to the expansion of 5G technology.