ICNIRP draft on new radiofrequency guidelines is flawed

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 The presentation is freely available at the web although labeled as a ’draft – do not cite or quote’.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.

Deployment of 5G stopped in Switzerland

The implementation of the fifth generation, 5G, for wireless communication has been stopped in three cantons in Switzerland (Jura, Geneva and Vaud) until effects on health and environment have been investigated. This is in line with what we have asked for in the 5G appeal, see www.5gappeal.eu.

Thus, we asked for a moratorium until investigations on adverse effects have been studied by independent scientists. The appeal has been signed by more than 230 scientists and medical doctors.

In the article “World Health Organization, radiofrequency radiation and health – a hard nut to crack (Review) published in 2017 we showed low levels of radiofrequency radiation in the investigated part of the WHO Geneva building. The conclusion was: Ironically enough, whether knowingly or not, the WHO staff seems to protect themselves from high involuntary RF radiation levels at least in the measured areas within the Geneva building.

Those employed at the WHO office in Geneva will now be protected from 5G radiation. The question is if this is justified since people in most parts of the world are not protected and WHO seems not to take action for prevention. As discussed in the article WHO seems to rely on a small group of scientists in the biased ICNIRP group.

Florence will use the precautionary principle for the rollout of 5G

It is written that as the highest local health authority, Mayor Dario Nardella is officially committed “to elaborate an overall plan, in agreement with the competent authorities, for the installations of the 5G technology before issuing individual authorizations in view of the application of the Precautionary Principle and public health”, “carefully evaluating any authorization for 5G installations in the territory of the municipality of Florence”.

Florence, after the Stop5G vote expressed by the XII Municipality of Roma, is therefore the first city in Italy to have formally approved the concerns of the political-institutional world on the dangers originated from the fifth generation wireless, recalled in the motion the ambiguity and the ‘uncertainty of supranational and private organizations (such as ICNIRP) that “have very different positions from each other, despite the huge evidence of published studies”, considering that “it would now be established that 5G causes damage to the human body, such as DNA strand breaks”, as the extensive independent biomedical literature produced by the authoritative American biochemist Martin Pall has evaluated.

See news in Italian here.

Measurements of Radiofrequency Radiation with a Body-Borne Exposimeter in Swedish Schools with Wi-Fi

Our research group published recently a study on radiofrequency (RF) radiation in schools using an exposimeter. RF emissions in the classroom were measured by the teachers in order to approximate the children’s exposure. Teachers in grades 7–12 carried a body-borne exposimeter, EME-Spy 200, in school during 1–4 days of work. Eighteen teachers from seven schools participated. The mean exposure to RF radiation ranged from 1.1 to 66.1 μW/m2. The highest mean level, 396.6 μW/m2, occurred during 5 min of a lesson when the teacher let the students stream and watch YouTube videos. Maximum peaks went up to 82,857 μW/m2 from mobile phone uplink.  The exposure levels varied between the different Wi-Fi systems, and if the students were allowed to use their own smartphones on the school’s Wi-Fi network or if they were connected to GSM/3G/4G base stations outside the school. An access point over the teacher’s head gave higher exposure compared with a school with a wired Internet connection for the teacher in the classroom. All values were far below International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection’s reference values, but most mean levels measured were above the precautionary target level of 3–6 μW/m2 as proposed by the Bioinitiative Report. The length of time wireless devices are used is an essential determinant in overall exposure. Measures to minimize children’s exposure to RF radiation in school would include preferring wired connections, allowing laptops, tablets and mobile phones only in flight mode and deactivating Wi-Fi access points, when not used for learning purposes.

In Table 10 in the article examples of methods to reduce children’s exposure to RF radiation in schools are given

1. Wired connection to both teachers and students and no wireless networks or devices in school is the optimal choice. If this is not possible:
2. Wired connection to each classroom
a. to the teacher’s laptop,
b. for the students to download large files and videos.
3. To reduce exposure from Wi-Fi networks in school:
a. turn off Wi-Fi access points when not used for learning purposes,
b. position Wi-Fi access points outside of classrooms,
c. use directional Wi-Fi access points, which radiate into the direction of the client’s device.
4. Keep laptops and tablets in flight mode when Internet is not needed for learning purposes.
5. Wired connection to a landline telephone in each classroom could minimize the need for mobile phones for contact.
6. Mobile phones, including smart phones, could be left at home or collected in turned off mode. If allowed, they should be carried only in flight mode during school hours.

 

Oxidative effect of low-intensity microwave radiation in the model of developing quail embryos

ABSTRACT

Objective: Exposure of humans to low-intensity microwave (MW) radiation under some circumstances leads to several medical conditions, including headache, chronic fatigue, and even cancer. Mechanisms of these effects in many cases may depend on oxidative stress caused by MW exposure. Our study aims to assess oxidative stress features in embryonic cells under low-intensity MW exposure in the first stage of embryogenesis. Methods: Embryos of Japanese quails were exposed in ovo to low-intensity MW of global system for mobile communication (GSM) 900 MHz (0.25 μW/cm2) during 158-360 h discontinuously (48 c – ON, 12 c – OFF) before and in the initial stages of development. The levels of superoxide (O2•−), nitrogen oxide (NO•), and 8-oxo-2’-deoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG) were assessed in cells of 38-h, 5-, and 10-day exposed embryos and compared to the control group. Lucigenin-enhanced chemiluminescence was used for assessment of GSM modulation role in MW-induced oxidative effects. Results: A significant persistent overproduction of superoxide, nitrogen oxide, and 8-oxo-dG in GSM MW-exposed embryonic cells during all periods of analyses was detected. Conclusion: Exposure of developing quail embryos to low-intensity MW of GSM 900 MHz during the first stages of embryogenesis resulted in a significant overproduction of superoxide and nitrogen oxide and oxidative damages of DNA in embryonic cells. These effects were interpreted to be depended on the GSM modulation of MW.

The article can be found here.

Comment: This is a very interesting and important study. Embryos of Japanese quails were exposed to radiofrequency (RF) radiation using GSM 900 MHz. The average intensity of RF radiation on the surface of hatching eggs in the exposed group was 2 500 μW/m2 (0.25 μW/cm2). SAR was calculated to 3 μW/kg. A control group with no exposure was used. A statistically significant overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative damage of DNA in living cells was reported. The exposure was far below the guideline still provided by ICNIRP for RF radiation as 2 to 10W/m2 depending on frequency and 2 W/kg to the brain. The results in the study show that the ICNIRP guidelines are outdated, see our previous discussion. Moreover, using a safety factor of 10 would give 250 μW/m2 as guideline, a level easily exceeded in many places, see our measurements at Stockholm Central Railway Station and Stockholm Old Town.

World Health Organization, radiofrequency radiation and health – a hard nut to crack (Review)

In a new article by Dr Lennart Hardell health effects from radiofrequency radiation, ICNIRP and the WHO agenda are discussed. The whole article can be found here, see also abstract below.

Abstract. In May 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluated cancer risks from radiofrequency (RF) radiation. Human epidemiological studies gave
evidence of increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma. RF radiation was classified as Group 2B, a possible human carcinogen. Further epidemiological, animal and mechanistic
studies have strengthened the association. In spite of this, in most countries little or nothing has been done to reduce exposure and educate people on health hazards from RF
radiation. On the contrary ambient levels have increased. In 2014 the WHO launched a draft of a Monograph on RF fields and health for public comments. It turned out that five
of the six members of the Core Group in charge of the draft are affiliated with International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), an industry loyal NGO, and
thus have a serious conflict of interest. Just as by ICNIRP, evaluation of non-thermal biological effects from RF radiation are dismissed as scientific evidence of adverse health effects in the Monograph. This has provoked many comments sent to the WHO. However, at a meeting on March 3, 2017 at the WHO Geneva office it was stated that the WHO has no intention to change the Core Group.

 

 

Evaluation of mobile phone and cordless phone use and glioma risk

In a recent article published in a scientific journal we evaluated use of wireless phones (mobile phones and cordless phones; DECT) and glioma risk. Glioma is a brain tumour that is one of the most common types. We used the Sir Austin Bradford Hill nine viewpoints on association or causation published in 1965 at the height of the debate on smoking and lung cancer risk. The same method can be used for other environmental agents and cancer risk.

As Bradford Hill pointed out not all nine viewpoints need to be fulfilled. The current knowledge may not exist in certain aspects. However, certain aspects such as first exposure before the onset of the disease and a dose-response relationship should exist.

Our evaluation was based on human epidemiological studies and findings in laboratory studies on animals and in cell cultures. Our conclusion was all nine viewpoints by Bradford Hill are fulfilled and that glioma is caused by radiofrequency (RF) radiation:

The nine Bradford Hill viewpoints on association or causation regarding RF radiation and glioma risk seem to be fulfilled in this review. Based on that we conclude that glioma is caused by RF radiation. Revision of current guidelines for exposure to RF radiation is needed.

RF radiation as a human carcinogen was evaluated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) at WHO in May 2011. The conclusion was that such exposure is a possible human carcinogen, Group 2B according to the definition by WHO. The scientific evidence has increased since then and RF radiation should now be regarded as a human carcinogen, Group 1. An updated new evaluation by IARC is urgently needed.

We discuss in our article scientific controversy in this area including industry influence and ties between researchers and industry. A key player is the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation (ICNIRP), a private NGO based in Germany that selects its own members and that does not publish funding sources. The ICNIRP guideline for RF radiation is extremely high and only based on short time thermal (heating) effects. Non-thermal effects are disregarded, that is a vast majority of studies on negative health effects from RF radiation not based on tissue heating. This gives in practice a ‘green card’ to roll out this technology since the high ICNIRP guideline is rarely compromised. Several governmental organizations in different countries have adopted the high ICNIRP level for exposure.

A new Health Criteria (Monograph) on RF radiation and health is under production by WHO. As discussed previously this document is biased towards the no-risk paradigm thereby neglecting published health risks from RF radiation. It has turned out that almost all persons in the core group for the WHO Monograph are present or former members of ICNIRP, see Table.

 

Table. Members of WHO Monograph core group and their involvement in other groups

Name WHO ICNIRP UK/AGNIR SSM SCENIHR
Simon Mann X X X
Maria Feychting X X X X*
Gunnhild Oftedal X X
Eric van Rongen X X X
Maria Rosaria Scarfi X X* X X
Denis Zmirou X

*former

WHO: World Health Organization

ICNIRP: International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection

AGNIR: Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation

SSM: Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten (Swedish Radiation Safety Authority)

SCENIHR: Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks

 

Thus, this fact – being member of both ICNIRP and the core group – is a serious conflict of interest. One would rarely expect that the core group members would present an evaluation that is in conflict with their own evaluation in ICNIRP. It has been requested that these persons should be replaced by experts with no conflict of interest, a most reasonable viewpoint.

As a matter of fact the Ethical Board at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, concluded already in 2008 that being a member of ICNIRP may be a conflict of interest that should be stated in scientific publications (Karolinska Institute Diary Number 3753-2008-609). This is not done as far as can be seen in publications by ICNIRP persons such as members of the WHO core group.

The fifth generation (5G) of RF radiation is now under establishment. This is done without proper dosimetry or studies on potential health effects. The major media attention is a ‘love song’ to all possibilities with this technology such as so called self-driving cars, internet of things etc. Consequences for human health and environment such as wild life and vegetation are not discussed. Politicians, governmental agencies and media are responsible for the skewed debate. The layman is not informed about opposite opinions on this development. Health effects from RF radiation in media is a ‘no issue’ at least in Sweden but also in most other countries.