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26 July 2022

5G Tests the Limits of Trust

5g tests the limits of trust
by Dariusz Leszczynski, Tekniikka & Talous, 20.1.2022 (Google translation from Finnish)

Lisää dataa. 5g-verkkojen kuuluvuus kasvaa koko ajan. KAI TIRKKONEN

Lisää dataa. 5g-verkkojen kuuluvuus
kasvaa koko ajan. KAI TIRKKONEN
In 2020, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation (ICNIRP) updated its safety guidelines regarding exposure to radio frequency radiation (RF-EMF) emitted by wireless communication devices such as mobile phones and their base stations. The previous standard was from 1998.

The World Health Organization WHO recommends the mentioned guideline, which has been adopted by  a large part of the world's countries and has become part of the wireless regulatory framework. Although the US uses IEEE/ICES and FCC standards, it also seeks to "harmonize" with Icnirp.

Icnirp's safety instructions are based on one basic principle, according to which the only proven health effect caused by radiation exposure is the thermal effect. It appears when the temperature of the skin tissue rises above 1 degree Celsius, and when the temperature rise falls below one degree Celsius, the radiation is considered harmless to health. Icnirp's view is that the radiation level of wireless devices according to its safety guidelines is not sufficient to produce a temperature rise in skin tissue. Furthermore, according to Icnirp's science review, without that temperature rise there can be no proven effects. Icnirp has drawn up its safety instructions to protect consumers only from possible thermal effects, which the commission considers sufficient.

However, there are a large number of experimentally observed thermal-independent, non-thermal effects in both animals and laboratory-grown cells caused by exposure to wireless radiation well below the current exposure limits set by Icnirp. The researchers are concerned that similar, non-thermal reactions would also occur in users of mobile devices. This could lead to health problems. According to Icnirp's scientific position, this could not happen. Is the assessment of scientific evidence biased? Not all observations made by researchers about non-thermal effects can be "pure hallucinations".

Icnirp's instructions therefore only prevent the occurrence of an acute heat effect lasting from minutes to hours, but not repeated and long-lasting from months to decades. Although there have been published studies on acute effects that occur during or shortly after exposure, there are very few publications on long-term chronic exposure. The application of Icnirp's standards to the real situation seems to be based on a mere safety assumption without a scientific basis.

The standard is advertised as sufficient for every user regardless of age or health. Icnirp assures that all population groups are equally protected, whether it is the growing and developing body of a small child, or an elderly person suffering from a chronic, potentially fatal disease, or a young, healthy, robust adult man.

Since human experimentation is limited for obvious ethical reasons, we need to look at epidemiology to determine long-term effects. Studies of long-term biological effects or health effects can take years and have limitations, so information is scarce. That is, there is no evidence to guarantee that Icnirp's safety instructions would cover everyone, regardless of age or health status, also taking into account how long people have been using wireless devices. It's all about assumptions without a scientific basis.

Looking at the ICNIRP commission, it is easy to see that the members have very similar views on key issues. They have expressed almost the same opinion; "wireless networks are absolutely safe within all security limits set by Icnirp." The scientific assessments prepared by Icnirp's experts are often in conflict with the assessments of researchers outside the organisation's operations. It is even more interesting to observe how the members of the commission act when they are placed in national scientific committees in the company of scientists from outside the organization. In this case, they may draw conclusions that conflict with Icnirp's views. Recently, these dissenting opinions were published by, among others, the Berenis Committee in Switzerland,

For most users of wireless technology, Icnirp is just an abbreviation. Consumers are told that it acts only as a committee on science with no other influence, be it industry or a government radiation regulatory body. However, many users are not aware of how Icnirp works in practice. For your consideration:

1. Icnirp is a group of about a dozen scientists who do not claim to represent anyone but themselves.

2. It presents itself as outside the lobbying influence of industry and national radiation protection organizations.

3. Retired members will be replaced by new members elected by the current members.

4. Icnirp's selection criteria and their justifications for selecting new members are not publicly available. Only members know why a person has been selected for their group.

5. Icnirp is not responsible for the scientific decisions it makes to any party.

6. No one can control the methods used by Icnirp to achieve the safety guidelines it recommends.

7. No one supervises its operation.

8. It is not legally responsible for its scientific statements. Legal liability is limited to what members say. It's just a matter of instructions and no one is legally obliged to use them. Even if the instructions turned out to be incorrect, no one could legally sue Icnirp.

However, the telecommunications industry and national radiation protection organizations have ended up using Icnirp's safety instructions. By doing so, they are legally responsible for any health risks caused by the devices they manufacture, even if they meet Icnirp's guidelines. In other words, the Commission avoids the legal responsibility that remains with the operators in the field if the use of the equipment causes health problems. The members themselves are responsible only to "God and history" for all the right or wrong decisions they make.

In order to fully understand the great significance of this complete lack of oversight of Icnirp's operations, it must be remembered that the safety guidelines developed by Icnirp are the only guidelines used by the industry that manufactures and operates wireless communication equipment and infrastructure in most of the world.

Basically, Icnirp's security guidelines legitimize the operation of the telecommunications industry, which in 2019 had an annual value of approximately $1.74 trillion worldwide. The Icnirp in question is an organization that claims to be completely independent of all outside interests and operates without any kind of supervisor or control, without responsibility for its scientific decisions.

The introduction of the new 5th generation wireless communication, 5g, which is currently underway, has further raised the debate about the validity of Icnirp's standards. New in wireless 5g communication is the use of millimeter waves and frequencies above 20 GHz – 300 GHz. Although millimeter waves can transfer large amounts of data, they have the problem of how far the data can be sent within the limits of short wavelength bandwidth. This causes very frequent deployment of base stations (cell antennas) in different areas. Roughly estimating, one small base station would be placed on every other lamp post, and base stations would also be required inside buildings. In practice, this leads to the fact that in a few years, urban environments will be saturated with millimeter waves, when 5g has been fully implemented.

In its 2020 guidelines, Icnirp assures that consumers' health is fully protected. How does the Commission know that? Research on millimeter waves and health is limited. Recently published scientific reviews have selected various databases and found only a small number of studies on the health effects of millimeter waves. Most of the publications deal with radiation measurements and dosimetry, not biological or health effects. In 2019 Simkó and Mattsson published a review that included only 97 experimental studies and in 2020 Leszczynski published a review of 99 experimental studies. In 2021, Karipidis et al. published a review that included 107 experimental studies. Most millimeter wave studies consist of small, laboratory or animal experiments,

The lack of research causes confusion and problems in communities. When users ask for scientific evidence about the health effects of 5g millimeter waves, they get no answers. Research has not yet been done sufficiently and the safety of 5g cannot be scientifically proven. However, it would be possible to conduct a sufficient number of studies on 5g that would either show whether the health effects are minor or even insignificant.

It is interesting, but also worrying, to note what Rodney Croft, chairman of Icnirp, a professor of psychology at the University of Wollongong, Australia, stated in an interview on Australian TV on June 16, 2020: "There is no harm associated with 5g". "Look, it's quite true that the amount of research looking at 5g is very limited, but from a science perspective, this is simply not relevant."

In this scientifically and legally complex situation, there is an urgent need to carry out an independent validation of the results of Icnirp's scientific review and the validity of its safety guidelines.

The author is PhD, DSc, docent of biochemistry at the University of Helsinki and editor-in-chief of the Radiation and Health section of Frontiers in Public Health (impact factor 3.709). He has worked from 2000 to 2013 as a research professor at the Radiation Protection Center.

Original article in Finnish:

This article was sent by Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., via the EMF Group, Collaborative on Health and Environment.

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.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaferEMR
Twitter: @berkeleyprc

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