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.
In a new article the outdated guidelines for radiofrequency radiation by ICNIRP are discussed.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.”
At a meeting in Paris on 17 April 2019 Eric van Rongen, the present ICNIRP chairman presented a draft on new ICNIRP guidelines for radiofrequency radiation (RFR) exposure. The presentation is freely available at the web although labeled as a ’draft – do not cite or quote’.
Most remarkable is that the science on health effects is still based on thermal (heating) effect from RFR just as the evaluations published 1998 and updated in 2009.
In the draft only thermal effects are considered for health effects (page 7). Van Rongen states there is ’No evidence that RF-EMF causes such diseases as cancer’ (page 8).
These comments are based on the power point presentation. However, there is no evidence that non-thermal effects are considered and thus a large majority of scientific evidence on human health effects, not to mention hazards to the environment. Thus the basis for new guidelines is flawed and the whole presentation should be dismissed as scientifically flawed.
If this draft represents the final version on ICNIRP guidelines it is time to close down ICNIRP since their evaluation is not based on science but on selective data such as only thermal effects from RFR, see also www.emfcall.org.
The draft represents a worst-case scenario for public health and represents wishful thinking.
The well known Swedish daily newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet, has published an article that does not give correct information on the risk for brain tumours from use of wireless phones. The newspaper has refused to publish our rebuttal. It is now published in the medical journal, Medicinsk Access (only in Swedish).
A court in Rome has judged that people must be informed on health risks from use of wireless phones, both mobile and cordless phones. The decision has not been appealed and the information campaign must start by July 16, 2019.
No doubt this is a victory for public health. Similar decision should be made in all countries. We have the knowledge of health risks but the population is not informed due to negligence by government and media like in Sweden. We have the scientific evidence on risks to human beings and also the environment by no action in undertaken. Instead, the 5th generation, 5G, of wireless communication is implemented without proper scientific studies on the risks (www.5gappeal.eu; www.emfcall.org).
More on the Italian verdict can be found here.
The mission of this Agency is according to their home page:
The Public Health Agency of Sweden has a national responsibility for public health issues and works to ensure good public health. The agency also works to ensure that the population is protected against communicable diseases and other health threats.
However, when it comes to radiofrequency radiation and health their report from 2017 gives a wrong evaluation of the state of knowledge. Cancer risks are denied. It was written by a former and a present member of ICNIRP so no doubt the message is not different from that provided by ICNIRP. Our critique is published only in Swedish but can be read here.
This Italian study on exposure to radiofrequency radiation and cancer in rats was started in 2005. It was a whole life-span study including 2448 animals. They were divided into 4 groups; 0 exposure (control group), 5 V/m, 25 V/m or 50 V/m. It has now been published and interestingly the results are similar as in the NTP study.
A statistically significant increase in the incidence of heart Schwannomas was observed in treated male rats at the highest dose (50 V/m). Furthermore, an increase in the incidence of heart Schwann cells hyperplasia was observed in treated male and female rats at the highest dose (50 V/m), although this was not statistically significant. An increase in the incidence of malignant glial tumors was observed in treated female rats at the highest dose (50 V/m), although not statistically significant.
The RI findings on far field exposure to RFR are consistent with and reinforce the results of the NTP study on near field exposure, as both reported an increase in the incidence of tumors of the brain and heart in RFR-exposed Sprague-Dawley rats. These tumors are of the same histotype of those observed in some epidemiological studies on cell phone users. These experimental studies provide sufficient evidence to call for the re-evaluation of IARC conclusions regarding the carcinogenic potential of RFR in humans.
Considering this study, the NTP study, increasing incidence of glioma, and human epidemiology studies showing increased risk for glioma and vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma) for persons using wireless phones it is time for International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to make a new risk assessment. The results indicate that radiofrequency radiation should be a Group 1 carcinogen to humans (sufficient evidence).
This study is now under peer review during March 26 to 28, 2018; the reports can be found here (NTP TR 595; rats) and here (NTP TR 596; mice). It has been able to submit comments and our views can be found here.
Our overall evaluation of levels of evidence of carcinogenic activity are:
Glioma: Clear evidence
Meningioma: Equivocal evidence
Vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma): Clear evidence
Pituitary tumor (adenoma): Equivocal evidence
Thyroid cancer: Some evidence
Malignant lymphoma: Equivocal evidence
Skin (cutaneous tissue): Equivocal evidence
Multi-site carcinogen: Some evidence
Based on the IARC preamble to the monographs, RF radiation should be classified as Group 1: The agent is carcinogenic to humans.
’This category is used when there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans. Exceptionally, an agent may be placed in this category when evidence of carcinogenicity in humans is less than sufficient but there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals and strong evidence in exposed humans that the agent acts through a relevant mechanism of carcinogenicity.’ (http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Preamble/currentb6evalrationale0706.php)
A recent article describes increasing incidence of the most malignant type of brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in England during 1995-2015. The number of patients increased from 2.4 to 5.0 per 100,000 during that time period. In total the yearly increase was from 983 to 2,531 patients, thus a substantial number. The incidence of low-grade glioma decreased but was stabilized from 2004, see figure 2. Thus the increasing incidence cannot be explained by low-grade glioma transforming to high-grade (GBM). The authors conclude that a general environmental factor must be the cause.
The increasing incidence is most pronounced for GBM in temporal or frontal parts of the brain, see figure 6. That is parts with highest exposure to radiofrequency radiation from the handheld wireless phone.
The increasing incidence of GBM was seen in all age groups but was most pronounced in those aged more than 55 years.
We published incidence data on brain tumours for the time period 1998-2015 based on the Swedish Cancer Register. In the age group 60-79 years the yearly incidence of high-grade glioma increased statistically significant in men with +1.68% (+0.39, +2.99 %) (n = 2,275) and in women with +1.38% (+0.32, +2.45%) (n = 1,585), see figures. Few patients were diagnosed in the age group 80+ yielding analysis less meaningful. High-grade glioma includes astrocytoma grades III and IV. Astrocytoma grade IV is the same as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) with bad prognosis, survival about one year or less.
Our results are similar to those now published from England. All results are in agreement with wireless phones (mobile phones and cordless phones) causing glioma.
Recently we published a new article on brain tumor rates in Sweden using the Inpatient Register for the time period 1998-2015. Also incidence data using the Swedish Cancer Register were analyzed for the same time period. The full article can be found here, see also abstract below.
We used the Swedish Inpatient Register (IPR) to analyze rates of brain tumors of unknown type (D43) during 1998-2015. Average Annual Percentage Change (AAPC) per 100,000 increased with +2.06%, 95% confidence interval (CI) +1.27, +2.86% in both genders combined. A joinpoint was found in 2007 with Annual Percentage Change (APC) 1998-2007 of +0.16%, 95% CI -0.94, +1.28%, and 2007-2015 of +4.24%, 95% CI +2.87, +5.63%. Highest AAPC was found in the age group 20-39 years. In the Swedish Cancer Register the age-standardized incidence rate per 100,000 increased for brain tumors, ICD-code 193.0, during 1998-2015 with AAPC in men +0.49%, 95% CI +0.05, +0.94%, and in women +0.33%, 95% CI -0.29, +0.45%. The cases with brain tumor of unknown type lack morphological examination. Brain tumor diagnosis was based on cytology/histopathology in 83% for men and in 87% for women in 1980 in the Cancer Register. This frequency increased to 90% in men and 88% in women in 2015. During the same time period CT and MRI imaging techniques were introduced and morphology is not always necessary for diagnosis. If all brain tumors based on clinical diagnosis with CT or MRI had been reported to the Cancer Register the frequency of diagnoses based on cytology/histology would have decreased in the register. The results indicate underreporting of brain tumor cases to the Cancer Register. The real incidence would be higher. Thus, incidence trends based on the Cancer Register should be used with caution. Use of wireless phones should be considered in relation to the change of incidence rates.