HCR.20.033 – 5G: health effects, exposure & control

Route: Health care research, sickness prevention and treatment

Cluster question: 079 What is the impact on human beings of electromagnetic fields (EMFs), for example as emitted by wireless devices and high-voltage power lines?

The 20th century witnessed an explosion of technological applications that rely on electricity and thereby produce electromagnetic fields. These technological developments make our lives healthier, wealthier and safer and are major contributions to the economic and societal progress. In consequence, electromagnetic fields have become pervasive, raising societal concern on adverse health effects from everyday exposure.

This research initiative addresses both the technical and societal challenges of novel millimeter-wave communication devices (5G). A multi-disciplinary approach is proposed that combines maintaining, or improving, communication efficiency with possible societal impacts, while keeping exposure as low as reasonable achievable (ALARA principle). Because of the higher efficiency of data transfer and beam forming technology, theoretically exposure could be greatly reduced in novel communication devices, but novel approaches and exposure technology is required to obtain and ensure this reduction in each exposure scenario, and in combined exposure. By exploiting the interdisciplinary expertise of the consortium, ongoing large Dutch population studies (such as the LIFEWORK longitudinal health study with ~90,000 participants) will be supported by novel dosimetric standards. In addition, technology for on-demand 5G exposure adaptation will be developed. Hence, our interdisciplinary project combines cutting-edge technology and addresses exposure and exposure-response questions, to provide more insight and mitigation to the potential risks of everyday exposure.

If successful, this societal and technical challenging project will represent a breakthrough solution by providing exposure assessment and control functionality in emerging communication technology, while also supporting epidemiological research, and postulate the impact for human health.

This project builds on a multidisciplinary team combining (academic researchers, research engineers, industry, exposure scientists and epidemiologists) to establish a solid basis for assessment and exploitation of new innovative merging of wireless technologies in the near future.


5G, control measures, dosimetry, dynamic channel measurement, electromagnetic characterization, electromagnetic fields, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, Emerging technology, exposure assessment, health

Other organisations

Population Health Sciences and Institute for Risk assessment (IRAS), Utrecht University (UU)


Organisation Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
Name Dr. M.M. (Maarten) Paulides
E-mail m.m.paulides@tue.nl
Website www.tue.nl/c3te; www.tue.nl/en/research/research-groups/center-for-wireless-technology-eindhoven