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# Posted: 26 Feb 2008 15:13


I'm trying to write a fact sheet about the rising concern about adverse effects from microwaves (in Swedish). I will send it informally to people and journalists I know (I work as a consultant in journalistics).

I'm not very good at the technical part of the problem - my knowledge is lousy, as a matter of fact. Does someone have the time, kindness and knowledge to help me out when it comes to the WHO review of the health implications of ELF fields (2007).

It seems to me that WHO is only talking about electrical appliances, power lines and cables when they recommend governments to take (low cost) precautionary measures. They are not talking about microwaves and EMF at all - are they?

Have I understood it correctly?

If that's correct then I can't use WHO as a good argument for countries to take precautionary actions when it comes to microwaves....


# Posted: 26 Feb 2008 16:24

Hi Maria,

"ELF" stands for "Extremely Low Frequency" and represents electromagnetic fields from mains power and electrical appliances. Such fields are typically oscillating at 50-60Hz.

The WHO does speak of microwave EMF such as mobile phones, basestations, wireless internet etc. Their factsheet is here:

The WHO supports exposure guidelines set by the ICNIRP. There is a reason for this. The same man who ran the WHO EMF project also founded ICNIRP. His name is Mike Repacholi and he is a controversial character. For more info, click here: "It's Official: Mike Repacholi Is an Industry Consultant".

In 2006 Jean-Luc Guilmot, a french bio-engineer, published a fact sheet showing that 80% of epidemiological studies on people living close to mobile phone basestations showed they were a health hazard. Get the fact sheet here: http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/20061115_health_studies_guilmot.pdf
Mike Repacholi, from WHO & ICNIRP, dismissed all epidemiological evidence as unusable for setting exposure limits.

The journal "The Ecologist" ran an article last year called "The Gathering Brainstorm" about how the ICNIRP / WHO guidelines are under heavy industry influence and points out some of the obvious flaws. We have archived the article here: http://www.mast-victims.org/resources/docs/ecologist_wi-fi_article.pdf
Note the "Weight of evidence" fact box in page 3 (marked as 45) in the article for published studies on mobile phone basestations that show health hazards. ICNIRP and WHO choose to ignore that evidence.

In the field of EMF and health effects you speak of two kinds of effects: "thermal" and "non-thermal" effects. Thermal effects occur when exposure is intense enough that heating of tissue occurs. Non-thermal effects occur at levels below the threshold of tissue heating. The debate centers around the existence of non-thermal effects.
ICNIRP guidelines only acknowledge thermal effects from electromagnetic fields and they have a safety factor of 50 to make sure you don't get cooked. You can download the official document here:
The ICNIRP guidelines were established in 1998 and have remained unchanged since even though the science in the field has progressed with leaps and bounds. The ICNIRP guidelines are stoneage by now as they seem to refuse to reflect this progress.

It has been shown through scientific study that non-thermal effects do exist and among these are (and this is just a short list):
DNA damage
Descrease in immune system efficiency
Stress induction
Oxidative damage
Descrease in fertility
Increased Cancer risk

Last year the BioInitiative Working Group released the largest review of scientific litterature related to EMF and health and concluded that the ICNIRP / WHO guidelines are set thousands of times too high for safety.
Be sure to read the reports Section 1: "Summary for the Public" for an introduction.

This is just a quick taste of the controversial area of EMF and health and just go ahead and ask if you need more information.

Best regards,

# Posted: 26 Feb 2008 19:51

Hi Henrik!

WOW! Thank you very much! Tack!

OK, that's what I suspected when it comes to the WHO material I had come across.

I'll look into the WHO factsheet about EMF. And I will certainly look into the other links you provided.

There probably is a strong conflict of interest here (industry - people's health), but I feel I have to avoid that field right now if I'm going to raise awareness about the question at the newspapers. A lot of people have never even thought about this before...
(Doesn't keep me from looking into it and to give more information if some journalists have the time to start digging into it.)

In my list I have so far chosen to include the Bioinitiative report, the EU risk analysis (very interesting), the 12 appeals (to governments and EU) from health care personel, the paper "Will we all become electrosensitive" and a website that has gathered papers and reserach about how EMF and microwaves affect animals and nature (www.livingplanet.be).

Well, I agree that the guidelines do protect us from being grilled on the spot! But yes, that's also all they protect us from...

I try to learn more about frequencies and effect as I dig deeper into the question...

Thank you once again and thank you for creating and maintaining this website!


# Posted: 4 Mar 2008 15:17

Has anyone seen the article in the magazine New Scientist about the tobacco companies and how they suppressed the publication of scientific results about the harmful effects of smoking?
The same is happening now. The mobile phone companies are paying people to suppress any publicatins that show the harmful effects of microwave radiation given off by masts and phones. And the media go along with it because they fear that they will lose advertising revenue if they write anything detrimental about these technologies. So it seems there is a conpiracy of silence. When the subject is brought up, say with colleagues, you are seen as an odd person. I have even been mocked when I mentioned that they give me a headache, even though I know this is true of other colleagues, no one wants to know. And if you make the suggestion that it could be the mobile phone making them ill then you are just regarded as very strange. My family get very cross aboout the whole subject to the point that I cannot mention anything about it. The microwaves are making them bad tempered but would not listen to me.

Remember the Panorama programme on the subject last year? That is the reaction you get. One worker from the industry wrote on the bbc website that they were advised to write to the bbc to complain about the programme.
Its the money stupid! The fact that we are becoming brainless does not count. And sadly some people do seem to get affected whereby they lose their memory. Its all very sad and I feel totally helpless to know what to do for the best. But this website needs more advertising to get it into the public domain. Also less of the "everybody around me is dying". Although this may happen sometimes generally the effects are much more subtle: headaches, weariness, sleeplessness, memory problems, bad temper, and just a fuzzy unclear head, craving for a coffee.
And I think this lack of caring for anything "I don't give a ....... has become very common in rcent years - made popular by Kathrine Tate with her "I'm I bothered". I think this is becoming a real problem with people. The microwaves just mess up with our thought processes. I am just an observer and it worries me what I see.

# Posted: 4 Mar 2008 16:58

Conspiracy? Come on get real.

And that Panorama programme! What a load of nonsense. I'm delighted to see that Panorama have had the complaints against them upheld and that have had to make an apology. Serves them right for being taken in by that delightful Mr Phillips. Is he a millionaire yet by the way? Look no further if you want to see where the lies and the money are.

# Posted: 5 Mar 2008 15:57


Get real yourself. There were 2 viewer complaints plus Repacholi himself.

The Guardian did a piece on it:
"Two viewers complained that the programme, Wi-fi: A Warning Signal, which aired on BBC1 in May, had given an unbalanced impression of the state of scientific opinion and had wrongly suggested that wi-fi installations give off a higher level of radiation than mobile phone masts."

Two (2) people, plus poor Mike Repacholi objected to the programme - and counting you of course, even though you didn't manage to write the BBC and express your disgust.

So what about Sir Willam Stewart going public on that Panorama programme and claiming that the HPA's and Repacholi's (and thereby the WHO's) conclusions about EMF and health do not reflect the current state of science. Is that just unscientific drivel? Why do you think Stewart was replaced with that sock puppet figure Lawrie Challis as head of the MTHR.

The BBC being "put in it's place" over Panorama is just a stunt in attempt to manage public opinion.

Conspiracy or not ... there sure are enough people in your industry and the HPA acting like complete idiots to make it all look like a concerted effort at hiding the truth about the health hazards of wireless.

# Posted: 6 Mar 2008 13:49

Hi Henrik,

You're right, I didn't complain myself, but I did comment on their website along with hundreds of other people. The vast majority of comments were aghast at the incompetence of the Panorama journalist concerned. Particularly since it is such a respected programme. The programme was a serious blow for the Pamorama's credibility.

It is my understanding that Sir William Stewart felt that his remarks were taken out of context. I believe that he was just stating that his findings were based on studies made at the time and that more studies had been made since that had not been considered. However, the programme presents this as him suggesting that he believes that there is a quantifiable risk, which is being ignored. I don't believe that is what he thinks nor that that is what he said.

# Posted: 6 Mar 2008 17:01


Snippet from the Panorama transcript:
KENYON (the presenter):
You'd think our government would base its decisions on the advice of their top man, the one it employed to protect our health, Sir William Stewart, but instead it seems to have turned to others. First the World Health Organisation. It's robust in its language saying there were no adverse health effects from low level long-term exposure.
Is that an accurate reflection of the science do you think?

STEWART: I think they are wrong.

KENYON: How are they wrong?

STEWART: Because there is evidence, and the Stewart Report pointed out some of that evidence.

KENYON: So why do you think it is that the WHO, one of the most influential public health bodies in the world continues to put out that message?

STEWART: I think that they've got to review the statement that they're making.

KENYON: But in your view, not an accurate reflection of the science that's out there?

STEWART: I think it is not an accurate reflection.

KENYON: Then there's this. It's unlikely you'll have heard of ICNIRP but it's an international group of scientist which our government relies on to set our radiation limits. But here's the problem, it doesn't recognise any biological effects so it bases our exposure limits on a thermal effect. In other words, the radiation has to be so strong it heats up your organs before it's restricted. That's why our safety limits are so high.

Bryan, can you point to a reference where Sir Stewart upholds that his remarks were presented out of context in the Panorama programme?

# Posted: 10 Mar 2008 15:16


I can only refer to my last paragraph again. Nothing you are quoting here changes my opinion. Mr Steward is simply stating that his report was based on studies available at the time and that there have been more studies since. My view on this is based on his words as you quote them and also on comments in the press at the time. Mr Steward has always advocated continued reference to new studies, it's included very strongly as one of the recommendations in his report. I acknowledge that the way it was cut into the programme alongside snippets of comment from the presenter was intended to make it sound like Mr Steward now believes there is a proven health problem. But you can do anything in the cutting room and I don't believe that is at all what he is saying here.

The presenter is simply regurgitating sensationalist rhetoric; probably fed to him by our friend Mr Phillips. Indeed his last statement contains a completely false assertion. We all know the basis for ICNIRP levels. I don't think anyone would try to argue that they are based on anything other than heating. But there is a good reason for that isn't there! You and I will have to disagree on what that reason is.

# Posted: 10 Mar 2008 17:47


You write:
"It is my understanding that Sir William Stewart felt that his remarks were taken out of context."

Ok now, you won't supply a credible reference where Sir Stewart upholds that he "felt" he was being remixed by Panorama so what you are claiming is just your personal interpretation of it.
Come on... Scientists at the level of Sir William Stewart aren't supposed to "feel" a thing - they are supposed to know exactly what they are talking about. The health of entire nations depend on them.

You mention being influenced by "comments in the press at the time" then why is it so difficult for you to just google up a handful of those and serve them up.

Speaking of remixing.. let's break it on down, like Fatboy Slim would put it.

In reponse to the Panorama presenter quoting the WHO (read: Repacholi's) claim that there are "no adverse health effects from low level long-term exposure"
Sir Stewart says:
"I think they are wrong"

Panorama presenter asks how the WHO are wrong and Sir Stewart responds:
"Because there is evidence"

Sir Stewart does become more specific about what kind of evidence he is concerned about. Quote from Panorama transcript:

STEWART: It means that basically there may be changes for example in cognitive function. Secondly there was some indications that there maybe cancer inductions. Thirdly there were some molecular biology changes within the cell and these were issues that we had to bear in mind as one came to one's broad conclusions.

You write:
"Mr Steward is simply stating that his report was based on studies available at the time and that there have been more studies since."

My question to you is: do you claim that those "more studies since" have refuted the evidence pointed out in the Stewart report ?

# Posted: 11 Mar 2008 14:17

The whole Panorama 'reaction', illustrates what happened over the years with other health issues and commerce. The pharmaceutical companies and health charities is a less well known partnership, to suppress scientific evidence, in favour of drugs for an illness. However, the tobacco industry is the most obvious example. Only yesterday there was a clip on the news about passive smoking and respiratory probelms in children - as though it was something new. It took 50 or 100 years to accept the most obvious - that filling your lungs with smoke is going to cause health problems. But we really cannot afford this to go on for 50 years before microwaves are accepted as a health hazard. They are making too many people ill already - and it is not just cancer we need worry about. It it their affect on the nervous system that are rather concerning. Something messing with your brain is more serious than with your lungs.
Bryan definitely illustrates the overreaction of people just as I said before, where they get angry that you should feel any of these effects. And regard you as odd to feel ill due to microwaves.
Count yourself lucky that you are not affected with headaches etc.(although I think you have anger problems). However with microwave technology permeating every aspect of our lives, even you will become affected. I think it is dose related - we can all cope with some exposure- but continue, all day, night, mobile phones, Wifi, satnav, ovens. And what does not use microwave technologies now?
They will soon put sensors in front of cars to monitor the distances between them.
Prisoners are tagged to monitor their whereabouts. The very people that often have anger management problems are given technologies to immerse them in microwaves day and night. To get them even more angry
Where is it going to end?
Also it is funny how scientific evidence becomes so important when it suits their point of view. If you are going to be so keen on scientific evidence, then you must accept the evidence that does not propagate your cause. Some of the scientific experiments I read are not even good enough for an A level project - but that is another story!

# Posted: 17 Mar 2008 14:27


I am constantly impressed by your tenacity and depth of research. What a pity that talent is not better applied for the good of society. However, you can quote all you like but you are still misinterpreting what he is saying. Many times I have agreed that there are studies that appear to show biological effects. This is surely what he means when he says 'there is evidence'. But I've also pointed out many times that there is a gulf between a biological effect and a proven health risk. So far we only have the former. This programme was deliberately and shamefully put together to be sensationalist.


An Anger problem... me? I'm so laid back I can hardly reach my computer keyboard. What have I got to be angry about? I just think it's all so silly. There are so many radio technologies out there and society just carries on as it always has. The evidence that this is not a problem is staring you in the face.

But even if you are proved right eventually and there does turn out to be some minor health risk that affects a minority of the population. I still don't see any need to do anything about it. The benefits of radio technologies far outweighs any possible health risk. It would be ridiculous to consider restricting the development of communication. Would you seriously consider not putting a crash avoidance safely device on cars because of your perceived worries about radio? If so, you are madder than a box of frogs. Have you any idea how many people die on the roads? How many people have died from exposure to microwave signals do you think? I'll tell you. None!

You are also wrong by the way about smoking. It hasn't taken decades to come to terms with smoking risks it had taken centuries. King James VI was famously opposed to smoking and spoke out strongly about the health risks at the start of the 17th Century. Nevertheless, people make their own decisions about smoking and many decide that the benefits outweigh the risks (although I'm not one of them).

# Posted: 21 Mar 2008 13:02

Hi Bryan,

"The evidence that this is not a problem is staring you in the face."

I sometimes think the same when I look at the healthy, energetic people around me. It is true that there are a lot of people that don't seem to be affected by wireless technologies (or chemicals and other toxins we are exposed to).

At other times I think that something is very wrong.

The local media in Scandinavia reports that:

Sleeping problems increase.

People are much more tired today than ten years ago.

The sick-leave has risen with 57% in sex year's time in the public sector.

More than 60% of the 7-year old children report that they have tinnitus (the number was 12% seven years earlier).

etc etc

I also see a lot of strange things going on with people. They experience hair loss (I've even seen eybrows falling off), heavy migraines when working many hours by the computer, problems understanding what they are writing, tinnitus, and even quite young people are showing signs of a very poor memory. Not to mention that four of my formerly very healthy friends have died of aggressive cancer in two year's time (all of them about 40 year's old).

So, I just don't know... time will tell.


# Posted: 5 Feb 2020 11:53

I know it's an old post, but Bryan

It would indeed be ridiculous to consider restricting the development of communication but lets have it done with the greatest known margin of safety. Oh sorry yes I see that would cost more money to do.

You state: "There are so many radio technologies out there and society just carries on as it always has. The evidence that this is not a problem is staring you in the face."

In the sixties it could have been argued that the evidence that smoking was harmless was "staring you in the face" because so many happy healthy looking people partook of that particular past-time. But to try and say that D. UK was wrong about it for the reason you gave does makes you appear angry. or more likely the one who is "mad as a box of frogs"

# Posted: 6 Feb 2020 02:46

Well, twelve years down the line and it's all worked out really great hasn't it.

Just look at the changing attitudes of PHE and the media...exemplified by a marvellous piece yesterday about warning parents of the harm phones can do to children, via the "waves" (this is how they presented it, as some vague phenomenon....waves...in quotes) they use.

But as for adults, they can be exposed and left in ignorance and misdirection because they are "old enough to make their own informed decisions".


And all of this was accompanied by a stock photo of someone (child? adult?) holding the kind of cell-phone nobody has used in about a decade.

But as some were saying in 2008, the dangers of this technology being so widely deployed and imposed on the population simply isn't a problem. As can be seen all around us now.


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