On 11/2019, report of a working group set up by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Energy Transport and Communications (DETEC) was published to analyze the needs and risks associated with establishing cellular networks and formulating recommendations. The group included various parties concerned -suppliers, doctors, representatives of cities, industry, and federal offices.

To protect the population from non-ionizing radiation from antennas, the Federal Council has set two levels of radiation protection limitations:

  • Emission limitation - an electric field of 36-61 volts per meter. These values are the same as values existing in most neighboring countries, at frequencies used for cellular communications.
  • Installation limitation - 10% electric field 4-6 volts per meter. This is to apply the precautionary principle in places where a population is regularly located (sensitive areas).

As a result of these installation values, non-ionizing radiation from cellular antennas is more tightly restricted in Switzerland than in most European countries.

The frequencies currently available to the 5G are the same as to the 4th generation. In the future, to launch the 5G, millimeter waves will have to be used. The use of millimeter waves for radio communication is not approved in Switzerland by now.


Is there any health risk?

There are few studies on cell cultures and animals in respect of acute effects (heating). Therefore, the work group was based on studies previously done on generations 2, 3 and 4 and dealt with the frequencies used in the 5th generation. The working group concluded that, as of today, health implications to the radio frequencies used below the ICNIRP’s exposure limitations have not been scientifically proven.

The proof of the association between radio radiation and cancer is limited. There are few studies examining the relationship between development of different types of cancer and cellular communication. There are no established studies to assess the impact of exposure in the range of installation values and above, and health effects cannot be completely ruled out. Accordingly, the working group notes the need for further research. Basing on the scientific uncertainties, the working group suggests to maintain the precautionary principle even though no consensus has been reached as to its specific form.