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  • Over the last three months, the number of people citing fear of 5G due to health concerns has tripled.
  • There is correlation between this spike and media coverage that discusses the inconclusive risks.
  • Searching “5G health risks” leads people to a list of search results with a wide mix of information.

Tracking along with the development and deployment of 5G, we have noticed an interesting public opinion trend in our survey data over the past six months.

The sentiment toward nationwide 5G roll-out is turning negative, with more people than ever citing fear of health concerns as the main contributing factor. Initial excitement over the past year is now declining, and the fear of health risk is rapidly growing.

 

Shown in the below chart, the spike in fear of 5G health risks

 

When tracking consumer sentiment of 5G over the past year, there was a spike in fear of 5G in the middle of 2019. We ran crawlers over trending news about 5G and can correlate this with an increase in mid-year media attention about the potential health risks. Despite the fact that the majority of the news coverage was neutral if not positive and reassuring, there was still a notable spike in people responding that they were now at least somewhat worried about the health risks of the new technology.

 

Seen above: the percentage of people who now report at least “some fear” of 5G posing health risks.

 

This is not a new issue, though. Fear of any new technology, especially that which is misunderstood by the general population, is ripe for misinformation.

When WiFi was first marketed as a new technology, people were nervous about the potential health risks to increased exposure to radioactivity. A famous story of one scientist reporting that WiFi exposed people to risky electromagnetic waves has lingered for the past two decades.

While most people are now less concerned with WiFi, the concept of faster, more accessible internet access somehow posing more risks has reentered the conversation. While most studies have remained somewhat inconclusive about any potential health risks, most researchers do not seem terribly worried.

Quoted from the New York Times article above: “According to experts on the biological effects of electromagnetic radiation, radio waves become safer at higher frequencies, not more dangerous.”

But a quick Google search of “5G health risks” and searchers are presented with whatever information they want to believe. Sites claiming that 5G poses no risk at all, sites that claim 5G will cause DNA mutations, cancer, and worse are mixed together in search results.

 

Methodology

 

  • Survey responses taken online on a rolling basis over a 12 month period.
  • The percentage of responses are based on approximately 1,000 self-reporting US-based respondents averaged per month.
  • +/- 2.5%
Sean Porter is a data scientist interested in a great story. He lives with his wife and three (yes three) dogs. On the weekend you can find him in the mountains, either skiing or climbing.