Aspects on the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) 2020 Guidelines on Radiofrequency Radiation

Abstract: The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) published 2020 updated guidelines on radiofrequency (RF) radiation in the frequency range 100 kHz to 300 GHz. Harmful effects on human health and the environment at levels below the guidelines are downplayed although evidence is steadily increasing. Only thermal (heating) effects are acknowledged and therefore form the basis for the guidelines. Despite the increasing scientific evidence of non-thermal effects, the new ICNIRP guidelines are not lower compared with the previous levels. Expert groups from the WHO, the EU Commission and Sweden are to a large extent made up of members from ICNIRP, with no representative from the many scientists who are critical of the ICNIRP standpoint.

This article is relevant for the implementation of 5G. The full article is free to download and can be found here.

Robotic Lawn Mower: A New Source for Domestic Magnetic Field Exposure

A robotic lawn mower can be found today in many village gardens, and the sales of these robots are many times higher than that of traditional mowers. However, the robot requires a set of electric boundary wires defining the lawn area to be mowed, and also providing a pulsed magnetic field to be sensed by the robot electronics. This is a new source for domestic environmental magnetic field exposure. We discuss it in this article.

People moving around on the lawn are more or less constantly exposed to a pulsed magnetic field. We have measured the magnetic field from the boundary wires of two different common brands of lawn mowers. In both cases, we found pulsed magnetic field “packages” in the ELF range that pulse frequencies around some tens of kHz. This “household” source of environmental exposure to the magnetic field has not been discussed from a health perspective point of view.

Example of the pulsed field from one lawn mower (B) is given here.

The maximum magnetic field strength recorded for lawn mower A with the probe on the ground close to the cable, positioned to get a maximum reading, was Hrms = 0.17 A/m.

For lawn mower B, the rms values were lower, and a maximum reading with the probe on the ground next to the boundary wire gave Hrms = 20 mA/m. Here, the general level was around Hrms = 10 mA/m. The maximum peak value in the pulses on the ground was around 0.5 A/m.

The peak value exposure is not so far off the values (equals 0.2–0.4 μT, i.e. about 0.2–0.3 A/m) that led IARC in 2001 to classify low‐frequency magnetic field as a class IIB, i.e. “possibly carcinogenic” to humans.

It would be pertinent to point out that many organisms, such as earthworms, snails, and other animals, are sensitive to EMFs in different frequency regions (both DC and AC). We are not aware of any studies relating lawn mower electronic signals to the reactions of these animals, e.g. snail passages above a sling. This is also the case for plant growth and movements, which are sensitive to low‐intensity magnetic fields .

Some advice is to make sure when buying a new machine that the system turns off the pulsed current when the machine is loading the battery. Do turn off the system when children are playing on the lawn, and especially when there is a baby sleeping in a baby carriage placed on the lawn. Do not run the machine at night since with the boundary wire just outside the house, you may have exposure in your bed of up to some tens of mA/m.

Increasing incidence of thyroid cancer in the Nordic countries

During use of the handheld wireless phone, especially the smartphone, the thyroid gland is a target organ. During the 21st century, the incidence of thyroid cancer is increasing in many countries. We used the Swedish Cancer Register to study trends from 1970 to 2017.

During that time period, the incidence increased statistically significantly in women The increase was especially pronounced during 2010–2017. Increasing incidence was found also in men. Similar results were found for all Nordic countries based on NORDCAN.

These results are in agreement with recent results on increased thyroid cancer risk associated with the use of mobile phones. We postulate that RF radiation is a causative factor for the increasing thyroid cancer incidence.

This article is a follow-up to our previous publication on the same issue.

The results show that it is important to protect the thyroid gland from exposure to radiofrequency radiation from wireless phones, e.g. the smartphone. It should be used only for short calls always in the speaker mode or using handsfree.

Lost opportunities for cancer prevention: historical evidence on early warnings with emphasis on radiofrequency radiation

In this open access article lost opportunities for cancer prevention are discussed including tobacco, asbestos, DDT, dioxins, such pesticides such as phenoxy acetic acids and glyphosate.

Mostly there has been a long time period between the first publications on cancer risks until preventive measurements have been undertaken. Thereby the possibility to save lives has been lost.

One more recent example is exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation that in 2011 was evaluated by IARC at WHO to be a possible human carcinogen, Group 2B. Since then the evidence has increased so that RF radiation could be classified as a human cancer-causing agent. Based on published case-control studies the numbers of persons with brain and head tumours that could have been prevented are calculated. The study reports also increasing rates of brain tumours in Sweden based on the hospital in-patient register both in men and women.

ICNIRP, guidelines, conflicts of interest and EU

Two members of the EU Parliament, Claus Buchner and Michèle Rivasi, published on June 19, 2020 a document on ICNIRP. It shows the many conflicts of interest that exist among the ICNIRP members.

It clearly also shows that the ICNIRP guidelines should not be used for radiofrequency radiation. At pages 48-49 this is concluded:

We think that the call for more independent scientific assessment in this area is, for all the arguments mentioned above and in what follows, fully justified. 49 That is the most important conclusion of this report: for really independent scientific advice we cannot rely on ICNIRP. The European Commission and national governments, from countries like Germany, should stop funding ICNIRP. It is high time that the European Commission creates a new, public and fully independent advisory council on non-ionizing radiation. The funds currently allocated to ICNIRP could be used to set up this new organisation. And given the overall rise in R&D funding via Horizon Europe, with a foreseen budget (for 2021-2027) of between 75 and 100 billion euros, funding should in no way constitute an insurmountable hurdle to setting up this new, truly independent, body.”

Radiofrequency radiation, 5G, ICNIRP and conflicts of interest

In a new article the outdated guidelines for radiofrequency radiation by ICNIRP are discussed.

These guidelines are used by many countries. The recent publication by ICNIRP gives even higher levels for exposure compared with the previous ones. Only heating (thermal) effects are considered.

The conclusion in the article is that:

“..the ICNIRP has failed to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of health risks associated with RF radiation. The latest ICNIRP publication cannot be used for guidelines on this exposure.”

Electromagnetic Radiation due to Cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies: How safe are we?

This article by Naren et al informs about electromagnetic radiation from different devices. It is important reading for all concerned. The results are also shown in illustrative figures. The whole article is free to download from internet. A summary by the authors follows here:

“In this work, we determine the radiation concern levels in several scenarios using a handheld radiation meter by correlating the findings with several international standards, which are determined based on thorough scientific evidence. This study also analyzes the EMR from common devices used in day to day life such as smartphones, laptops, Wi-Fi routers, hotspots, wireless earphones, smartwatches, Bluetooth speakers and other wireless accessories using a handheld radio frequency radiation measurement device. The procedure followed in this paper is so presented that it can also be utilized by the general public as a tutorial to evaluate their own safety with respect to EMR exposure. We present a summary of the most prominent health hazards which have been known to occur due to EMR exposure.”

Cell phone radiation and DNA damage

An important part of the NTP study was recently published. The full article can be found here.

Summary:

“Results of the comet assay showed significant increases in DNA damage in the frontal cortex of male mice (both modulations), leukocytes of female mice (CDMA only), and hippocampus of male rats (CDMA only). Increases in DNA damage judged to be equivocal were observed in several other tissues of rats and mice….these results suggest that exposure to RFR is associated with an increase in DNA damage.”

No doubt these results add to the knowledge on the mechanism of radiofrequency radiation carcinogenesis. By now similar tumor types have been found in human and animal studies supported by laboratory studies on DNA damage for RF radiation. These results show that RF radiation should be classified as carcinogenic to humans, Group 1 according to the IARC classification.

New article: Appeals that matter or not on a moratorium on the deployment of the fifth generation, 5G, for microwave radiation

In a new article the history of an appeal sent to EU on a moratorium on the deployment of 5G is described. The full article can be found here.

Excerpt:

In an appeal sent to the EU in September, 2017 currently >260 scientists and medical doctors requested for a moratorium on the deployment of 5G until the health risks associated with this new technology have been fully investigated by industry‑independent scientists. The appeal and four rebuttals to the EU over a period of >2 years, have not achieved any positive response from the EU to date. Unfortunately, decision makers seem to be uninformed or even misinformed about the risks. EU officials rely on the opinions of individuals within the ICNIRP and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), most of whom have ties to the industry……In this article, the warnings on the health risks associated with RF presented in the 5G appeal and the letters to the EU Health Commissioner since September, 2017 and the authors’ rebuttals are summarized. The responses from the EU seem to have thus far prioritized industry profits to the detriment of human health and the environment.

Letter on Expert evaluations on health risks from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) and 5G

Several Swiss citizens have expressed concern that bias and misinterpretation of the science on radiofrequency radiation (RF) and health have influenced the expert evaluations in BERENIS and the subgroup 3. In fact, the conclusion that ‘No health effect has been consistently proven’ does not reflect the evaluation by scientists with no conflicts of interest. These circumstances are further elaborated in the included letter, original in English and with German certified translation. This letter is endorsed by 22 scientists with research in this area and no conflicts of interest.