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4G (LTE) & Health - L2

What is 4G (LTE)?
How does 4G (LTE) work?
What does 4G (LTE) offer?
Are there safety limits for 4G (LTE) and radio waves?
Will 4G (LTE) enabled devices comply with the safety guidelines?
What research into health effects has been done?
What do the experts say about 4G (LTE) and health?

What is LTE?

4G (LTE) (Long Term Evolution) is the next major enhancement to mobile radio communications networks. 4G (LTE) is a standard that is part of the evolution of 3G, which incorporates significantly increased data rates (up to 100Mb/s) and better performance to enhance the mobile broadband experience.

4G (LTE), like all other radio communications standards, is based on the use of radio waves or radio frequency (RF) energy to transmit and receive voice and data calls.
 

 
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How does 4G (LTE) work?

4G (LTE) is the next step from 3G & HSPA technologies whilst using similar power to 3G.  4G (LTE) incorporates enhanced coding and optimised data rates for increased capacity.  4G (LTE) supports end user data rates up to 100 Mbps in channel bandwidths from 1.4 MHz to 20 MHz. 

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What does 4G (LTE) offer?

4G (LTE) has the advantage of being backwards compatible with existing GSM and HSPA networks, enabling mobile operators deploying 4G (LTE) to continue to provide a seamless service across 4G (LTE) and existing deployed networks.

4G (LTE) extends the benefits of 3G offering;

  • Greater capacity – more calls possible in the same network
  • Faster data rates - end user data rates exceeding 100 Mbps
  • Enhanced mobile broadband applications for mobiles, laptops, camcorders, cameras and other consumer electronic devices

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Are there safety limits for 4G (LTE) and radio waves?

Yes there are. Comprehensive international guidelines exist governing exposure to radio waves. The limits have been established by independent scientific organizations, such as the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), and include substantial margins of safety to protect all people.

In 2009 and 2010, ICNIRP reaffirmed the EMF safety guidelines following a review of national and international EMF research and published scientific literature.

These guidelines have been widely adopted in standards around the world, and also endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Will 4G (LTE) enabled devices comply with the safety guidelines?

4G (LTE) is intended to be available not only in next-generation mobile phones but also in a variety of consumer electronic devices that will utilise mobile broadband communications. Such devices will include such devices as notebook computers, cameras and camcorders. All these devices will be evaluated to ensure that they conform to the RF safety limits adopted by agencies around the world.

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What research into health effects has been done?

Over 50 years of scientific research has already been conducted into the possible health effects from mobile phones, base stations and other wireless services including 4G (LTE).

The data from this research has been analysed by many expert review groups. Weighing the whole body of evidence, there is no evidence to convince experts that exposure below the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) carries any health risks, for adults or children.

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What do the experts say about 4G (LTE) and health?

In relation to radio frequency emissions and wireless technology and health, the general conclusion from the World Health Organization (WHO) is;

“Despite extensive research, to date there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low level electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health”
WHO - About Electromagnetic Fields – Summary of Health Effects Key Point 6

In relation to wireless networks (including 4G LTE) and health, the conclusion from the WHO is;

“Considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak RF signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects.”

WHO Fact sheet 304

Confirmed as current position in WHO RF and Health Presentation – ITU Workshop on EMF Turin May 2013

On mobile phone safety the World Health Organization advise,

"A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use." 

WHO Fact Sheet 193 June 2011 - Electromagnetic fields and public health: mobile phones
 

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