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Parliamentary questions
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10 July 2020
P-002498/2020(ASW)
Answer given by Ms Kyriakides
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: P-002498/2020

The Commission gave its independent Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks(1) a mandate for the assessment of potential health risks that may be associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields. The Committee has produced five opinions(2), none of which justify a revision of the limits set by Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC(3).

This Council Recommendation follows a precautionary approach: exposure limits for the public include a reduction factor of 50 against adverse health effect thresholds to account for biological variability, uncertainties and variation in external factors.

The matter remains nevertheless under constant research. The limits set by the recommendation are based on independent guidelines from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection(4), which take into account all relevant scientific studies.

Following the recent review of this guidance published on 24 March 2020(5), the Commission is now reassessing the situation, in collaboration with the Scientific Committee, and, if needed, with the Scientific Advice Mechanism(6). This will include an in-depth review of the scientific evidence currently available.

5G networks are expected to use smaller cells with lower power levels and therefore lower exposure levels than existing (large) cells in 4G networks. The overall exposure with the roll-out of 5G networks should be comparable to existing levels and remain well below the safe health limits for public exposure defined at international level and recommended at EU level.

5G will also generally use lower emission powers in frequency bands that have already been in use for other applications for a long time.

(1)https://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/scheer_en
(2)https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/scientific_committees/emerging/docs/scenihr_o_041.pdf
(3)Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields: https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/9509b04f-1df0-4221-bfa2-c7af77975556/language-en
(4)https://www.icnirp.org/
(5)https://www.icnirp.org/cms/upload/publications/ICNIRPrfgdl2020.pdf
(6)https://ec.europa.eu/research/sam/index.cfm?pg=about
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