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The technology is coming, but contrary to what some people say, there could be health risks
By Joel M. Moskowitz, October 17, 2019
The telecommunications industry and their experts have accused many scientists who have researched the effects of cell phone radiation of “fear mongering” over the advent of wireless technology’s 5G. Since much of our research is publicly-funded, we believe it is our ethical responsibility to inform the public about what the peer-reviewed scientific literature tells us about the health risks from wireless radiation.
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced through a press release that the commission will soon reaffirm the radio frequency radiation (RFR) exposure limits that the FCC adopted in the late 1990s. These limits are based upon a behavioral change in rats exposed to microwave radiation and were designed to protect us from short-term heating risks due to RFR exposure.
Yet, since the FCC adopted these limits based largely on research from the 1980s, the preponderance of peer-reviewed research, more than 500 studies, have found harmful biologic or health effects from exposure to RFR at intensities too low to cause significant heating.
Citing this large body of research, more than 240 scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on the biologic and health effects of nonionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal, which calls for stronger exposure limits. The appeal makes the following assertions:
Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.”
The scientists who signed this appeal arguably constitute the majority of experts on the effects of nonionizing radiation. They have published more than 2,000 papers and letters on EMF in professional journals.
The FCC’s RFR exposure limits regulate the intensity of exposure, taking into account the frequency of the carrier waves, but ignore the signaling properties of the RFR. Along with the patterning and duration of exposures, certain characteristics of the signal (e.g., pulsing, polarization) increase the biologic and health impacts of the exposure. New exposure limits are needed which account for these differential effects. Moreover, these limits should be based on a biological effect, not a change in a laboratory rat’s behavior.
The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified RFR as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” in 2011. Last year, a $30 million study conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) found “clear evidence” that two years of exposure to cell phone RFR increased cancer in male rats and damaged DNA in rats and mice of both sexes. The Ramazzini Institute in Italy replicated the key finding of the NTP using a different carrier frequency and much weaker exposure to cell phone radiation over the life of the rats.
Based upon the research published since 2011, including human and animal studies and mechanistic data, the IARC has recently prioritized RFR to be reviewed again in the next five years. Since many EMF scientists believe we now have sufficient evidence to consider RFR as either a probable or known human carcinogen, the IARC will likely upgrade the carcinogenic potential of RFR in the near future.
Nonetheless, without conducting a formal risk assessment or a systematic review of the research on RFR health effects, the FDA recently reaffirmed the FCC’s 1996 exposure limits in a letter to the FCC, stating that the agency had “concluded that no changes to the current standards are warranted at this time,” and that “NTP’s experimental findings should not be applied to human cell phone usage.” The letter stated that “the available scientific evidence to date does not support adverse health effects in humans due to exposures at or under the current limits.”
The latest cellular technology, 5G, will employ millimeter waves for the first time in addition to microwaves that have been in use for older cellular technologies, 2G through 4G. Given limited reach, 5G will require cell antennas every 100 to 200 meters, exposing many people to millimeter wave radiation. 5G also employs new technologies (e.g., active antennas capable of beam-forming; phased arrays; massive inputs and outputs, known as MIMO) which pose unique challenges for measuring exposures.
Millimeter waves are mostly absorbed within a few millimeters of human skin and in the surface layers of the cornea. Short-term exposure can have adverse physiological effects in the peripheral nervous system, the immune system and the cardiovascular system. The research suggests that long-term exposure may pose health risks to the skin (e.g., melanoma), the eyes (e.g., ocular melanoma) and the testes (e.g., sterility).
Since 5G is a new technology, there is no research on health effects, so we are “flying blind” to quote a U.S. senator. However, we have considerable evidence about the harmful effects of 2G and 3G. Little is known about the effects of exposure to 4G, a 10-year-old technology, because governments have been remiss in funding this research. Meanwhile, we are seeing increases in certain types of head and neck tumors in tumor registries, which may be at least partially attributable to the proliferation of cell phone radiation. These increases are consistent with results from case-control studies of tumor risk in heavy cell phone users.
5G will not replace 4G; it will accompany 4G for the near future and possibly over the long term. If there are synergistic effects from simultaneous exposures to multiple types of RFR, our overall risk of harm from RFR may increase substantially. Cancer is not the only risk as there is considerable evidence that RFR causes neurological disorders and reproductive harm, likely due to oxidative stress.
As a society, should we invest hundreds of billions of dollars deploying 5G, a cellular technology that requires the installation of 800,000 or more new cell antenna sites in the U.S. close to where we live, work and play?
Instead, we should support the recommendations of the 250 scientists and medical doctors who signed the 5G Appeal that calls for an immediate moratorium on the deployment of 5G and demand that our government fund the research needed to adopt biologically based exposure limits that protect our health and safety.
The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Joel M. Moskowitz
Joel M. Moskowitz, PhD, is director of the Center for Family and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been translating and disseminating the research on wireless radiation health effects since 2009 after he and his colleagues published a review paper that found long-term cell phone users were at greater risk of brain tumors. His Electromagnetic Radiation Safety website has had more than two million page views since 2013. He is an unpaid advisor to the International EMF Scientist Appeal and Physicians for Safe Technology.
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Here are a few highlights:
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Dr. Anthony Miller, senior advisor to the WHO IARC reviewed the best available scientific evidence and now concludes that cell phone and wireless radiation is a carcinogen. This excerpt is from a July 31, 2017 lecture he gave in a scientific symposium sponsored by Environmental Health Trust….
The telecom industry aided by the US FCC and Canadian Health Canada and various European agencies are vigorously pushing the 5G roll out because there are possibly trillions of dollars to be made over the next 5 years.
And there is NO research that proves that 5G is safe. In fact, there are many studies that prove that the current 4G is not safe.
Bandara P, Carpenter DO. Planetary electromagnetic pollution: it is time to assess its impact. The Lancet. 2(12):Pe512-e514, December 01, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(18)30221-3.
Download open access paper: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(18)30221-3/fulltext
Since this commentary has no abstract, here are the first and last paragraphs:
“As the Planetary Health Alliance moves forward after a productive second annual meeting, a discussion on the rapid global proliferation of artificial electromagnetic fields would now be apt. The most notable is the blanket of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation, largely microwave radiation generated for wireless communication and surveillance technologies, as mounting scientific evidence suggests that prolonged exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation has serious biological and health effects. However, public exposure regulations in most countries continue to be based on the guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which were established in the 1990s on the belief that only acute thermal effects are hazardous. Prevention of tissue heating by radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation is now proven to be ineffective in preventing biochemical and physiological interference. For example, acute non-thermal exposure has been shown to alter human brain metabolism by NIH scientists, electrical activity in the brain, and systemic immune responses. Chronic exposure has been associated with increased oxidative stress and DNA damage and cancer risk.
Laboratory studies, including large rodent studies by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) and Ramazzini Institute of Italy, confirm these biological and health effects in vivo. As we address the threats to human health from the changing environmental conditions due to human activity, the increasing exposure to artificial electromagnetic radiation needs to be included in this discussion.”
“At a time when environmental health scientists tackle serious global issues such as climate change and chemical toxicants in public health, there is an urgent need to address so-called electrosmog. A genuine evidence-based approach to the risk assessment and regulation of anthropogenic electromagnetic fields will help the health of us all, as well as that of our planetary home. Some government health authorities have recently taken steps to reduce public exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation by regulating use of wireless devices by children and recommending preferential use of wired communication devices in general, but this ought to be a coordinated international effort.”
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Thanks to Joel Moskowitz for sending this out.
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director Center for Family and Community Health School of Public Health University of California, Berkeley Electromagnetic Radiation Safety Website: https://www.saferemr.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaferEMR Twitter: @berkeleyprc
Dear Elected Officials,
For your sake and that of your constituents, please give this “5G” (fifth generation) technology ‘radiation’ the urgent attention it deserves!
Read the Dec. 3, 2018 news release from Washington, D.C.: “U.S. Senator Blumenthal from CT and REP. Eshoo from CA, both members of the Senate Committee that oversees the FCC (Federal Communications Committee), wrote a letter to the FCC demanding PROOF that “5G”is SAFE” to humans!  https://ctmirror.org/2018/12/03/blumenthal-wants-fcc-prove-5g-wireless-technology-safe/
Here in B.C., Telus (with its Nationalist Chinese partner, Huawei) is salivating in anticipation of being able to roll-out its untested “5G,” which will completely saturate, literally, not just every inch of space in the City of Vancouver but all of B.C. (All major Western countries are planning to roll out their 5G as well.)
It should be noted that “5G” has never been tested (independently, free from industry influence) for safety to humans – anywhere in the world!
Also here in B.C., BC Hydro is in the early stages of preparing to build its ‘City of Vancouver-approved’ electrical substation – underground – beneath a downtown public park! And, once the substation is operational, BC Hydro is to build an elementary school on top of the substation! Both BC Hydro’s former and current presidents have volunteered that, under peak demand, the underground substation can produce a magnetic field of 100 milligauss (mG), implying that this is perfectly safe!  
BC Hydro is correct in saying that this level of magnetic field is just 5% of the allowable magnetic field of 2,000 mG, which Health Canada’s historically corrupt Radiation Protection Bureau (RPB) and their equally-corrupt colleagues at the WHO and the industry-biased agency ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) all endorse and promote! 
Contrast this, though, with what the BioInitiative 2012 Report (29 authors including 21 PhDs and 10 health experts from 10 countries) and their subsequent 2017 Report say: a ‘safe’ ambient (normal or constant) level of magnetic field should not exceed even 1 mG! 
So did the 2011 Seletun Statement in Norway recommend <1 mG!  It has been known since 1979, that magnetic fields of 3-4 mG cause leukemia in children! As recently as 2017, it was also shown that pregnant women exposed to magnetic fields of between 2.5 mG and 6.2 mG had 3 times the risk of having a miscarriage! Women exposed to 16 mG or more had a six times greater risk of having a miscarriage! 
Those needing more evidence should read this 1999 document by New Zealand’s world-respected scientist: Dr. Neil Cherry ONZM (1946-2003), who said that magnetic fields of even 0.2 mG or more increase the risk of suicide by 22%! 
Also in 1999, the same Dr. Neil Cherry was the guest speaker at the World Conference on Breast Cancer, held in Ottawa, Canada, 26-31 July. The title of his speech: “Electromagnetic Radiation causes cancer: the implications for breast cancer.” 
Elected officials also need to realize that mainstream news media have, since the late 1960s, been complicit with the U.S. Military-Industrial-Complex (US M-I-C) by remaining largely silent on this whole issue of non-thermal radiation. Their indefensible silence has enabled electric power utilities and wireless and telecom companies to deliberately mislead, deceive and even lie to governments (you and all of your predecessors) to keep governments unaware of the following:
Fifty years ago few people had heard of Autism, ADHD, breast cancer, brain tumors, thyroid cancer, pancreatic cancer, testicular cancer, colon cancer, leukemia and other cancers, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig Disease (ALS), Sudden-Infant-Death-Syndrome (SIDS), suicides, depression, miscarriages, still-births, asthma, etc. Today they are disease epidemics in all industrialized countries! Yet no government has the temerity or courage to do anything!
Fifty years ago, few people had heard of a ‘special needs’ teacher. Today, they’re in most if not all schools.
In 2016, one in 36 children (1 in 28 boys) in the USA was autistic, and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) has increased in lockstep with pediatric cancers! Brain tumors / cancers are said to be the number one cause of children’s death from disease in the USA! It is also estimated that 1 in 2 Canadians and 1 in 3 Americans will get cancer in their lifetime! Yet no country on earth is calling for a national enquiry, let alone a national criminal investigation! This, in and of itself, is a crime!
Health spending is rapidly increasing in every jurisdiction, yet no cancer organization anywhere even mentions EMFs / EMR as being a possible suspect cause of cancer! Maybe now that U.S. Senator Blumenthal has raised the SAFETY issue, Canada will finally have the decency and the guts to look at the pandemic corruption and corporate greed that is harming and literally killing us!
As mentioned above, the above provides further indisputable evidence that Health Canada’s RPB (Radiation Protection Bureau), like their colleagues in the WHO, ICNIRP and the FCC, is irredeemably corrupt! Like the others, the RPB is knowingly and uncaringly sacrificing the public’s health and safety in favour of reaping enormous industrial profit! This was one of, if not the, reason why each agency elected to join the US M-I-C back in the 1960s. (M-I-C = Military Industrial Complex)
In conclusion, because humans – like all living things – are bio-electrical beings, “5G” technology and all wireless RF products must immediately be banned in Canada (ideally, throughout the world).
This includes wireless ‘smart’ meters – each of which contains two microwave radio circuits! But one must not forget that non-industry scientists, globally, also classify extremely low or ‘power line’ (50 Hz/60 Hz) frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields (EMF)s a Category 1A or Known Human Carcinogen; therefore all power lines, substations, power transformers, electrical appliances, power tools and machinery, etc. must be kept at distances which are truly SAFE for humans, i.e., Gaussmeter readings at a school, home, hospital, place of work, etc. must not register a magnetic field greater than 1 mG! This, of course, means that the City of Vancouver must immediately rescind its approval for BC Hydro to build the underground substation in downtown Vancouver, beneath a school!
Let the words: “honor,” “dignity,” “pride,” “honesty,” “decency,” “respect,” “trust,” “compassion,” “consideration,” “responsibility,” and “love for thy fellow man” once again mean something, as they did when I was a boy growing up in the Canada of which I was once proud!
J.G. Flynn, Captain (Retired)
author of book “Hidden Dangers”
Bowser, B.C., V0R 1G0
At the Third International Forum on Protection from Electromagnetic Environmental Pollution three scientists speaking at the city’s Hall of Sessions told the international audience of the threat posed by modern microwave based technology to human life amid the environment of political and corporate corruption.
Krakow remains the only municipality on the planet to protect its citizens from the dangers of electromagnetic radiation pollution.
For those of you that are seriously interested in the world wide assault on human health by the explosion of RF Radiation devices, you should spend 30 minutes to read this report.
see the full report at http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Krakow_final.pdf
See this very informative site for those of you that are inquisitive and wish to understand what is going on in this precious world of ours
CHE has a section on the health problems related to RF Radiation see https://www.healthandenvironment.org/environmental-health/environmental-risks/technology-environment/radiation-environment
Here is the latest email from Joel MOSKOWITZ at CHE
For the U.S. version of this story see the following reports:
Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie. “The inconvenient truth about cancer and mobile phones.” The Guardian, July 14, 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/14/mobile-phones-cancer-inconvenient-truths
Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie. “How big wireless made us think that cell phones are safe: A special investigation.” The Nation, March 29, 2018. https://www.thenation.com/article/how-big-wireless-made-us-think-that-cell-phones-are-safe-a-special-investigation/
Alster, Norm. Captured agency: How the Federal Communications Commission is dominated by the industries it presumably regulates. Cambridge, MA: Edmund J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University. 2015. http://bit.ly/FCCcaptured
Note: The International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection will soon issue an inaccurate summary of the science to reaffirm its obsolete safety guidelines for wireless radiation exposure. See ICNIRP’s Exposure Guidelines for Radio Frequency Fields.
Mobile Phone Cover-up? Gov’t advisory body disbanded – inaccurate and misleading conclusions remain
Annelie Fitzgerald, TruePublica (United Kingdom), Oct 17, 2018
TruePublica recently ran a piece highlighting the most censored stories in Britain. One story that never made it into the mainstream media or even any independent media outlets in the UK at the time was the disbanding of the UK Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR) in May 2017. This followed the revelation in December 2016 that AGNIR’s latest assessment of the science on the health impacts of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs)—the type emitted by modern wireless technologies—was inaccurate and subject to conflicts of interest, a story that elicited no media interest in the UK either.
AGNIR’s role was to provide Public Health England with objective, science-based recommendations and advice on safe public exposure levels to man-made RF-EMFs. PHE is the agency from which the devolved UK nations take their advice, and other public health agencies from around the world also referred to AGNIR’s recommendations.
In 2012 AGNIR published what turned out to be its last report: Health Effects from Electromagnetic Fields (RCE-20).
The report’s executive summary included the following definitive-sounding statement on RF-EMF safety: ‘Taken together, these studies provide no evidence of health effects of RF field exposures below internationally accepted guideline levels.’
While this conclusion might appear to justify the dissolution last year of AGNIR, close examination reveals that the final AGNIR report was a partial one—in every sense of the word.
In December 2016 UK neuroscientist Dr Sarah J. Starkey published a peer-reviewed paper, ‘Inaccurate official assessment of radiofrequency safety by the Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation’, roundly criticising the AGNIR report.
Accuracy, Starkey pointed out, ‘is vital when most people only read the executive summary and overall conclusions from a 348-page report and national and international public health decisions and exposure levels are based on them’ (p. 494).
In reality, as Starkey demonstrates, the conclusions drawn by AGNIR did not accurately reflect the scientific evidence available: the report contained ‘incorrect and misleading statements’ and omitted significant quantities of relevant research.
For some reason, AGNIR set the cut-off date for research to be considered in its report as December 2010. This meant that it excluded reference to the classification in May 2011 of RF-EMFs as a 2B possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and to a paper by the IARC Monograph Working Group published in The Lancet in July 2011.
It is clear, however, that AGNIR’s official cut-off date was not always adhered to: for example, a paper co-authored by one of its members (Maria Feychting) and published in 2011 was included in the report. This paper concluded that there was no causal association between mobile phone use and brain tumours in children and adolescents. Including this ‘no-effect’ paper while excluding reference to the IARC classification might be considered an instance of ‘cherry-picking’.
Indeed, in her study Starkey notes that the executive summary and overall conclusions of the AGNIR report disregarded or excluded much of the evidence of harm to health from RF-EMFs (p. 493).
For example, although 78% of the studies cited on male fertility described significant adverse effects on sperm, male reproductive organs or changes in male testosterone concentrations, AGNIR’s conclusion was that there was ‘no convincing evidence that low-level exposure results in any adverse outcomes on testicular function’ (p. 495).
Starkey’s painstaking analysis of the way AGNIR’s review of the science had been conducted made clear that the report was unsuitable for determining safe public exposure levels, and her conclusion didn’t mince words: ‘Public health and the well-being of other species in the natural world cannot be protected when evidence of harm, no matter how inconvenient, is covered up’ (p. 500).
Starkey’s criticism of the accuracy of the AGNIR report was echoed by Dariusz Leszczynski, an expert on RF-EMFs from the University of Helsinki and a member of the IARC panel that classified RF-EMFs as a 2B possible human carcinogen. Describing reading the report as ‘surreal’, Leszczynski wrote that it appeared that ‘the authors would either not understand the studies they read or had pre-written conclusions. It was like reading a wish list written by someone claiming that there [are] not and will never be any problems related to cell phone exposures.’ He condemned the report as misleading, pointing out that it is ‘not a comprehensive review [as it claimed to be] but it is a biased review.’
According to the British Medical Journal’s website, biases in reviewing science and in conclusions reached can be considered scientific misconduct: the definition of falsification of data ranges from ‘fabrication to deceptive selective reporting of findings and omission of conflicting data, or willful suppression and/or distortion of data.’
Could AGNIR’s partial assessment of the evidence be considered scientific misconduct? Might the omissions and inaccuracies in the report having been brought to light by Starkey’s paper account—at least in part—for AGNIR’s sudden demise, just six months later?
AGNIR’s conflict of interest
As Starkey points out, the AGNIR report also was subject to conflict of interest: AGNIR’s chair, Anthony Swerdlow, and two of its members—Maria Feychting and Zenon Sienkiewicz—were also members of the controversial International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), whose contested RF-EMF exposure guidelines have been adopted by most of the western world, including the UK. In fact, in 2012 Swerdlow was chair of AGNIR and simultaneously chair of the ICNIRP standing committee on epidemiology.
There is an obvious conflict of interest in allowing scientists who are members of the body pronouncing on safe exposure guidelines to sit also on panels tasked with evaluating the science relating to the adequacy of the guidelines.
As Starkey asks:
‘How can AGNIR report that the scientific literature contains evidence of harmful effects below the current guidelines when several of them are responsible for those guidelines?’ (p. 493).
In a recent article George Monbiot pointed out that governments determine the conclusions of reviews in advance through the appointments they make to panels. Although AGNIR was represented as an ‘independent’ advisory body, Starkey revealed that 43% of its members were from the Health Protection Agency (now Public Health England), the government health agency which commissioned the report, and from the Department of Health. AGNIR could therefore hardly be thought of as ‘independent’.
Furthermore, ICNIRP and AGNIR’s Swerdlow and Feychting are both recognised as ‘leading sceptics’ about the existence of adverse health effects from RF-EMFs, while another member of AGNIR, psychiatrist James Rubin, has published a number of studies all concluding that RF-EMFs cause no adverse health effects.
Swerdlow and his wife also hold shares in wireless and telecommunications companies, an interest he declared in a 2011 paper downplaying brain tumour risks from mobile phone use, but such a disclosure did not feature in the AGNIR report. (The BMJ considers ‘failures of transparency to be forms of misconduct’.)
In 2012, the Union of Concerned Scientists published an important report called Heads They Win, Tails We Lose. How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public’s Expense. Noting that ‘Government agencies rely on independent scientific advisory panels to provide objective advice’, the report revealed that ‘panel members often have undisclosed financial conflicts of interest: ties to companies that stand to win or lose based on the findings of these advisory committees.’ Surely having a personal financial stake in a company while being responsible for assessing the safety of the technology developed and commercialised by that company constitutes a serious conflict of interest requiring disclosure.
Any queries addressed to governments or public health bodies in the UK about the safety of wireless technologies continue to be dismissed through reference to the ‘authoritative’ AGNIR report from 2012. Recent research, however, has strengthened IARC’s 2011 classification of RF-EMFs as a 2B carcinogen.
In 2015 the replication of a German animal study from 2010 confirmed that the incidence of carcinogen-induced tumours (lung and liver) in mice was significantly higher with RF-EMF exposure. Lead author Alexander Lerchl (Jacobs University, Bremen) stated in a press release:
‘Our results show that electromagnetic fields obviously enhance the growth of tumours.’ Lymphomas, he observed, were also found to be significantly elevated by exposure. In the study, the authors noted: ‘The fact that both studies found basically the same tumour-promoting effects at levels below the accepted (and in most countries legally defined) exposure limits for humans is worrying.’
This conclusion was given added salience by the fact that Alexander Lerchl had previously been an outspoken sceptic regarding the existence of health effects from RF-EMFs.
Earlier this year, a $25m animal study on RF-EMFs—one of the world’s biggest to date—by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) underwent peer-review. The peer-review panel concluded that the case-control study showed ‘clear evidence of carcinogenic activity’ (exposed rats developed rare heart tumours), and confirmed ‘some evidence’ of a link between RF-EMFs and brain cancer.
The findings made by the Bremen team and the NTP should contribute to a revision of permitted public RF-EMF exposure limits. The formulation of adequately protective public health policies requires the existence of an expert panel such as AGNIR—albeit with radically reformed membership and true scientific independence.
Following the disbanding of AGNIR, the assessment of health risks from RF-EMFs is now the responsibility of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE), another expert committee which is supposed to provide ‘independent’ advice about the health impacts of both ionising and non-ionising radiation.
The UK government website states that COMARE has a watching brief on non-ionising radiation and that Public Health England ‘remains committed to delivering expert review reports on non-ionising radiation topics as and when sufficient new evidence has accumulated.’ No review of research on non-ionising RF-EMFs appears to be on the horizon in COMARE’s work programme for 2018-19, the main focus of which remains ionising radiation.
In a lecture given at the National Education Union Conference in Northern Ireland, in May 2018, Starkey pointed out that the conflict of interest associated with membership of ICNIRP also exists for COMARE. The person responsible for deciding whether to advise COMARE to look at any new evidence of health impacts was an author of the inaccurate AGNIR report and is also a member of ICNIRP’s Scientific Expert Group.
There needs to be an expert advisory group independent of AGNIR, ICNIRP, the wireless communications industry and UK governments. Starkey is calling for the inaccurate 2012 AGNIR report (and government advice based on it) to be retracted and for there to be mechanisms put in place whereby incorrect government information can be corrected or removed, as can occur for peer-reviewed published scientific papers.
While evidence of adverse health effects from RF-EMF exposure below guideline levels continues to accumulate, chronic public exposure to RF-EMFs is also increasing: smart meters are being installed across the UK at the moment and the government is forging ahead with the development and deployment of 5G. Last year it awarded £16m to the universities of Surrey and Bristol and to Kings College, London, to develop and test new 5G networks. (These experimental test-beds appear to include no provision for assessing risks to public health, though ‘commercial risks’ are considered.)
As a scientific appeal of September 2017 made clear, 5G deployment will lead to a massive increase in mandatory exposure to RF-EMFs. Over 180 scientists from 35 countries called for a moratorium on the roll-out of 5G technology in the EU until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry.
A similar appeal was addressed this year to the new Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres (an electrical engineer and former university professor of systems theory and telecommunications signals). Both appeals have fallen on deaf ears.
In this context of increasing public exposure to RF-EMFs, it seems strange indeed to decide that it is ‘no longer viable to support a dedicated standing advisory group to address non-ionising radiation.’
With 5G on the horizon, surely a dedicated, truly independent expert advisory group on RF-EMFs is now more necessary than ever.
Perhaps disbanding ANGIR can be understood as a clumsy bid to pre-empt any discredit or further criticism of AGNIR after the publication of Starkey’s study, despite the latter’s being ignored by the UK media.
Yet closing down AGNIR on the grounds that it had ‘completed its work’ also suggests that the UK government considers—or, more likely, wants—the case to be closed as far as RF-EMFs and health effects are concerned, something that clears the way for the planned deployment of 5G and other so-called ‘smart’ wireless technologies.
George Monbiot recently pointed out that ‘Agencies of the state, newspapers and broadcasters, campaign groups and charities that claim to restrain corporate power fall under its spell.’ Consequently, he noted, their ‘mission becomes confused and their purpose dissipates.’
Far from holding the government and public health agencies to account as they like to claim, the vast majority of the UK media—including outlets that think of themselves as independent—appears to be complicit in turning a blind eye to this vital public health and environmental issue by failing to cover stories such as AGNIR’s dissolution and its inaccurate assessment of the safety of RF-EMF exposures. As a result, the UK public remains largely ignorant of the real health risks that come with the convenience of wireless.
Annelie Fitzgerald is a member of the Safe Schools Information Technology Alliance. SSITA recently sent an open letter to Education Secretary Damian Hinds on the subject of AGNIR’s inaccurate conclusions about the safety of RF-EMF exposure, particularly as they relate to children’s health and well-being.
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Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety