Just like any other existing mobile technology, or things in everyday use like TVs, home WiFi routers, hairdryers, radios or microwave ovens, 5G emits electromagnetic fields (also called non-ionising radiation), which is covered by international and national exposure guidelines and regulations.
The EU rules on electromagnetic fields are laid down in Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC, which is based on guidelines issued by the ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection).
The recommendation defines the basic restrictions and reference levels for limiting exposure to radiation by setting maximum values that should not to be exceeded. These exposure limits are non-binding for EU Member States. However, some Member States have adopted more stringent limits than those recommended at EU level.
Furthermore, two directives apply to mobile phones: Directive 2014/35/EU establishes uniform conditions throughout the EU for the sale of electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits. For instance, all equipment on sale in the EU has to bear the CE conformity marking to show that it meets the safety requirements, and before obtaining the marking, manufacturers have to perform a safety and conformity assessment.
Directive 2014/53/EU (the Radio Equipment Directive) sets out essential requirements for radio equipment devices, including mobile phones, to be placed on the market. Manufacturers have to ascertain, among other things, that the radio equipment has been constructed in such a way as to ensure the protection of health and safety of persons, including the safety requirements set out in Directive 2014/35/EU.
As there are uncertainties about the potential harm of non-ionising radiation, the Commission conducts and follows studies on an ongoing basis to protect and inform EU citizens. There is a continuous evaluation of whether current radiation thresholds are still valid, and if existing policies must therefore be adjusted.
Currently, the EU follows scientific recommendations made by ITU, BEREC and ENISA, and puts exposure to radiation at a limit which is at least 50 times lower than what international scientific evidence suggests as having any effect on health.
Member States can individually decide if they want to remain at even lower levels through their national regulations and policies. Additionally, the public is kept informed through scientific seminars, studies and publications.