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ALTON reassures on safety of telecom towers on public health


Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has once again debunked insinuations of health hazard of telecommunications towers.

In a statement made available to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, and signed by Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman of ALTON, the telecommunications body for operators, said that contrary to rumours, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever supporting any causal connection between the spread of COVID-19 and 4G, 5G or electromagnetic waves in general.

“In fact, according to a seven-year-long scientific study published last month, 5G has no detrimental health effects in general. In these unprecedented times, we need to ensure the resilience of telecommunications networks to support the delivery of vital health services and sustained economic recovery.


“Digital connectivity has become essential to the social and economic development of the 21st century. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), 5G networks and the Internet of Things (IoT) generate great opportunities, but also raise questions for businesses and citizens. One of these concerns is public health.

“In recent years, questions about health and safety concerning electromagnetic frequencies produced by telecommunication towers have been raised: What are the health implications of this proliferation of antennas and the frequencies they emit? What effects do they have on humans and animals? Can they cause any disorders?

“Public exposure to these frequencies is not new. On the contrary, these radio signals are nearly omnipresent as they have been produced by electric currents or telecommunication antennas for decades. The average household deploys various sources of these signals such as home appliances (microwaves, TVs, refrigerators) or internet connections repeatedly throughout the day.

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the low intensity of cell site emissions is estimated to be between 0.002% and 2% of the levels of safe exposure and is lower than those produced by a radio or TV transmission. Studies carried out by the WHO and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) agree there are no health risks related to radio signals,” the statement added.

ALTON added that the next generation of mobile technology, 5G has also been a cause for concern over the increased deployment of towers it will require.

“Radio signals for 5G technology is similar to those already generated by 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi networks. By using small cells, or low-power, low-range transmissions, 5G smart antennas send signals where required. These cells enable localized use of signals while increasing coverage and efficiency.

“The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) recently published its updated guidelines to provide improved protection for higher frequency ranges.

“The new guidelines, which include time and body exposure restrictions, provide protection against all adverse health effects from exposure to electromagnetic frequencies, including for frequencies above 6 GHz, such as those emitted by 5G and future technologies. Compliance with these new guidelines ensures the safe use of 5G.

“The unanimous conclusion of international public health organizations and more than 25,000 articles on biological and health effects reaffirm the safe use of wireless technologies such as telecommunication antennas necessary for connectivity and social and economic development, ALTON noted.


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