False claim: meter reading proves 5G masts emit toxic levels of radiation

A video posted on social media makes the unfounded claim that a meter reading proves a 5G masts in the UK  is emitting toxic levels of radiation ( here ) .

The video features a radio frequency (RF) meter being used to make a reading in front of what is described as a mobile phone mast with “5G panels at the top”.  A device similar to the one in the video can be seen here. (here)

Professor Jie Zhang, Chair of Wireless Systems at the University of Sheffield, told Reuters that an RF meter like the one shown in the video measures “the level, or more specifically, electrical field strength and power density, of electromagnetic (EM) wave generated by RF radiation”.

The narrator in the video claims the meter reading shows “very toxic radiation for the people who live in this area”. This claim is false.

Radiation is energy that travels and spreads as it goes. Radio waves are the lowest-energy form of radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum. At the highest end are gamma-rays and X-rays, both used in medical imaging. (imagine.gsfc.nasa.govt/science/toolbox/emspectrum1.html)

Gamma- and X-rays are both types of ionising radiation, meaning that they carry sufficient energy to detach electrons from atoms or molecules. Radio waves can’t do that – they are non-ionising.

At high levels, Zhang said, ionising radiation can be toxic. But the meter shown in the video can only detect RF radiation with a frequency lower than 8 GHz (gigahertz), which he noted was much lower than ionising frequency.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that although exposure to very high RF intensities can result in the “heating of biological tissue and an increase in body temperature”, low levels are not considered dangerous. (here)

“At relatively low levels of exposure to RF radiation, i.e., levels lower than those that would produce significant heating, the evidence for production of harmful biological effects is ambiguous and unproven,” the FCC states.

According to Zhang, the level of RF radiation detected on the meter shown in the video, which appears to display a highest ‘average’ meter reading of 26,293 microwatts (or 0.026293 watts) per square metre, would be too low to produce an increase in body temperature.

Health  bodies like the World Health Organisation and Public Health England have stated that no adverse health effects have so far been linked to 5G frequency exposure. (here)

Reuters has previously debunked online claims that 5G technology caused the global coronavirus outbreak. (hereherehere


False: the video does not prove 5G masts are emitting toxic levels of radiation.