Wednesday, 8 May 2019
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
1238. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if extensive research has been carried out into the possible health and environmental implications of 5G; and if his Department commissioned research in jurisdictions in which 5G technology is already widely available. [19056/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1217 and 1238 together.
The roll-out of 5G in Ireland is a matter for private mobile network operators, operating on a commercial basis. Mobile network operators function in a liberalised market in Ireland, regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). The regulation of these service providers, to the extent permitted by law, is a statutory function of ComReg in accordance with the Communications Regulation Act 2002. This role includes the monitoring of compliance by licensed operators with terms and conditions with respect to non-ionising radiation levels. ComReg is statutorily independent in the exercise of its functions.
Irish policy on the public health effects of non-ionising radiation is informed by a substantial volume of internationally recognised scientific research and evidence. This includes the guidelines set down by the (ICNIRP).
These guidelines provide scientifically-based exposure limits that are applicable to both public and occupational exposure from electromagnetic fields (EMF), including 5G. ICNIRP guidelines apply up to a frequency of 300 gigahertz (GHz), well above the maximum frequencies being considered for 5G . ICNIRP guidelines are based on evidence gathered from all peer-reviewed scientific literature and not on the conclusions of any single scientific paper, event, or other source.
In 2015, the Irish Government commissioned a report by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment of the Netherlands (RIVM). This was published in 2016 and is entitled “Electromagnetic Fields in the Irish Context”. It examined and synthesised existing peer-reviewed research into clear findings, with particular focus on the potential health effects of electric and magnetic fields arising from high voltage power lines, and electromagnetic fields from base stations for mobile communication. This report reaffirms the overall conclusion of an earlier 2007 report, “Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields” , that there is insufficient evidence to establish a causal relationship between exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields and adverse health effects.
This Department continues to monitor scientific developments in this area.