5G is harmful to health...and other misconceptions

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"5G kills birds", "5G kills bees", "5G is the cause of Corona", "5G causes cancer", "5G is a catastrophe for our environment", etc. No other technology is causing so much commotion as 5G. But is 5G really that harmful? We'd like to list some of the biggest misconceptions.

Answer: On 31 March 2020, Proximus presented its #inspire2022 strategy. A crucial pillar in this strategy is our ambition to build the best gigabit network for Belgium with fiber and 5G as essential building blocks. The two are inextricably linked and the accelerated roll-out of both technologies is a prerequisite for the success of this ambition. To offer the best network to our customers wherever they are, our complementary technologies are necessary: fiber to connect at home or at the workplace & 5G to connect when they are on the move.

Preparations for the launch of 5G have been underway for a long time and have nothing to do with the current situation. Proximus already carried out 5G indoor tests back in 2016 and was the first operator to perform a successful outdoor test in Leuven in 2018. In February 2020, Proximus clearly stated that it was a candidate for a temporary 5G license and that it would launch 5G for its customers as soon as possible. Because 5G is a true revolution, which goes beyond just an improvement in speed. 5G opens up new possibilities, whether in terms of smart cities and industrial applications, or at home, through connected objects and augmented reality.

The European Commission, too, has announced a digital, global strategy, laying the foundations for a digital, European economy based on data, accessibility, reusability and exchange between economic partners. 5G plays an important role in this.

On the Internet, wild stories circulate claiming that 5G kills birds, drives ducks crazy, confuses the navigation of honeybees, increases the temperature of insects, etc. The mass mortality among a starling colony in the Netherlands is claimed to have been caused by secret 5G tests near a park. Further investigation revealed that the birds were poisoned. Ducks in that park were said to have kept their heads under water longer because they were bothered by the radiation…


Once again, these are false stories, hypotheses and vague conclusions that have no scientifically based evidence. The research into the disruption of bee navigation also turned out to be based on very shaky ground and yet it was gladly distributed and shared. The line between fact and fiction is often very thin.

Mobile technology has become an essential part of our lives and work, this for almost 20 years now. In all this time, there has never been clear evidence of any real impact on our health or the environment. The radiation levels of the mobile and Wi-Fi networks are far below the strict limits set, which have already built in wide safety margins. For 5G this is no different and although more (smaller) antennas are needed for this technology, the radiation is almost the same as that of your Wi-Fi at home and even has a lower intensity than the current 3G and 4G networks. In addition, 5G will eventually make use of "smart" antennas that broadcast in a targeted manner to active users so that "accidental" passers-by are less exposed to radiation. 5G is also more efficient than 2G, 3G and 4G because the 5G technology requires less power to transmit the same quantity of data.

Proximus launched the first 5G network in Belgium on 31 March 2020. This caused a lot of commotion as if 5G was very harmful to our health and the environment.


Over the past 30 years, countless studies have been carried out on the radiation of mobile and Wi-Fi networks and all qualitative studies show that, within current standards, there is no evidence of any harmful effect of these technologies on our health. Despite the explosive increase in mobile phones, transmission masts, Wi-Fi and other wireless applications over the last 20 years, no increase in cancers associated with electromagnetic radiation has been observed and no evidence of health complaints caused by mobile applications has been provided from all studies. Also specifically for 5G, the World Health Organization (WHO) has clearly stated that there is no convincing evidence that the technology on which 5G is based poses health risks. In fact, 5G even has a lower intensity than the current 3G and 4G networks. In addition, 5G will eventually make use of "smart" antennas that broadcast in a targeted manner to active users so that "accidental" passers-by are less exposed to radiation. For Proximus, the health and safety of our customers remains a top priority and the emission levels of our networks comply with the strictest exposure limits. This will also remain the case for our 5G network. Moreover, the standards set in Belgium are considerably stricter than the international limits and the latter already offer considerable safety margins.

More information on 5G and health is available here

On the Internet and social media, this theory is widely shared, whether or not supported by world maps showing the spread of the virus in relation to the introduction of 5G technology. It is sometimes even claimed that Corona is an excuse to cover up the damage caused by 5G.


Here we can safely speak of "fake news". These reports are complete fantasy, have no scientific basis whatsoever and are part of an apparently coordinated campaign. Unfortunately, people get carried away by these fables - even (local) "celebrities"- which results in this theory becoming widespread. Of course the coronavirus really exists and of course there is no, even vague, evidence that it has anything to do with 5G. In these uncertain times in which the lives of all of us are being abruptly turned upside down, a scapegoat is quickly sought to accommodate the fear and uncertainty.

[Music. A text in french is shown. Here follows the translation of that text.]

The truth about 5G

Birds and bees do not suffer from 5G. They continue to fly as before.
[In the background groups of birds fly through the sky.]

Our health will not be affected by 5G.
[In the background, a father holds his son in his arm. They both point to something in a blurry landscape of hills.]

On the contrary, 5G will help health care progress.
[A man with futuristic glasses looks at a transparent screen. He makes a sliding movement with the arm. A medical scan of a head appears. Layer by layer disappears until the brain is visible.]

The Coronavirus was not created by 5G.
[A young child with a curly head is lying in a bed. Next to the child is a teddy bear. A woman drips disinfecting hand gel in the child's hands. The child rubs the gel in the hands. Woman, child and toy bear are wearing a green medical mouth mask.]

Our radiation levels are below set limits.
[In the background is an antenna mast. Around the antenna at the top, expanding circles are drawn, symbolizing a transmission signal. Behind the mast is a cloudy orange-colored evening sky. The sun sets above a row of trees.]

Proximus, Think Possible.
[The Proximus logo appears. While it rotates around an imaginary vertical axis, it changes into the text 'Think Possible'].