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ICNIRP Chairman, Eric van Rongen, clarifies issues from ‘The Telegraph’ interview
Finland Created: 20 Mar 2019
On March 3rd and 9th, 2019, British ‘The Telegraph’ has published two articles by Margi Murphy, US Technology Reporter, San Francisco, titled: Do smartphones cause cancer? World Health Organisation to assess brain tumour link and Mobile safety standards relaxed ahead of 5G networks.

Writing this article Margi Murphy interviewed Chairman of the ICNIRP, Dr. Eric van Rongen. After reading the articles I have sent few questions to Dr. van Rongen, and he graciously provided responses that further clarify his opinions published by ‘The Telegraph’.

Both, my questions and Dr. van Rongen answers are unedited, copied directly from our e-mail exchange.

Related news:
Mar 2019, United Kingdom: Do smartphones cause cancer? World Health Organisation to assess brain tumour link

On relaxing recommended safety limits

Leszczynski: As I understood from your comments for The Telegraph, ICNIRP plans to relax limits for cell towers. If indeed it will happen, please, kindly advise when and what is the specific science basis for it. I understand the technology part where the relaxed limits make it easier to locate cell towers in very close proximity to where people live, but what is the scientific rationale that is used to justify the lack of the health hazard?

van Rongen: As you know, ICNIRP is currently working on the revision of the RF guidelines and we hope to publish them in the course of the year. We will discuss them with the Commission during our Spring meeting early April, and I hope we can finalize them. So the information below is currently only preliminary.

In the GHz frequency range, there will likely be some changes. The relaxation I was talking about in the interview with the Telegraph is not exactly the factor 2 as it might seem from the article. I forgot to mention that we changed the exposure parameter in that frequency range. In the old (current) guidelines it is the incident power density, i.e. the amount of energy that falls upon the body, so a factor external from the body. In the new guidelines it is the absorbed power density, i.e. the amount of energy absorbed in the body; that is not equal to the incident power density, since part of that will be reflected and thus not enter the body. From a biological perspective of course only the power density inside the body is of relevance, hence the change. In addition, we also changed the area over with the power density is to be measured from 20 cm2 to 4 cm2 (up to 30 GHz, and to 1 cm2 >30 GHz) and the averaging time to 6 min (while in the 1998 guidelines these were time-dependent). Overall, there is possibly some relaxation, but that depends on how much of the power density gets reflected, which in its turn depends on the frequency and on the surface upon which the power density falls. Any relaxation will be between none and a factor of 2, I suppose. In any case, the goal was not to change the limits in order to get relaxation, the goal was to provide a better biological rationale and dosimetric background to the limits. And these are described in detail.

I regret that I was not accurate enough in providing information to ‘The Telegraph’.

On selection of scientific studies for the review of scientific evidence

Leszczynski: From your interview it also appeared as if ICNIRP and WHO would be in the process of selecting studies that will be used for evaluation of health risk by ICNIRP (?) and by WHO (?). Is it indeed so that there will be pre-selection of studies that are considered as “suitable” and the rest will be simply thrown out? This is risky, in my opinion, as such action may be considered as excluding “inconvenient” research. I am certain that it will be the interpretation of activists, no matter what explanation/justification ICNIRP and WHO will provide.

van Rongen: For the WHO review we have drafted exclusion criteria based on the quality of the studies, e.g. lack of a sham-exposed group in experimental studies, or lack of information on the exposure or exposure level. Studies of insufficient quality will not be included in the analysis (which will, by the way, be done by a WHO Task Group, and not by the Core Group that is preparing the review). There is no ‘inconvenient’ research. All studies of sufficient scientific quality are included, no matter what the topic. The WHO review is as objective and transparent as possible; the exclusion criteria will of course also be published as part of the review. The same is the case for ICNIRP. We use the 2014 public draft of the WHO review, the 2015 SCENHIR review, more recent SSM reports and even more recent studies not included in any of these as basis for our own review of the science. That is described in an appendix to the guidelines. In the guidelines, a concise description and rationale is provided of the biological basis of the proposed exposure limits and the choices made.

On the lack of pre-market testing for health hazard – safety recommendations based solely on assumption, not on actual test results

Leszczynski: you were quoted in ‘The Telegraph’ article as saying (emphasis added DL):

“…“It is not set up as a public health experiment but of course you can consider it as such. It will be necessary to gain more information about the exposure and any health problems that might come from an effect of that exposure,” however, he added, “this is not any different to monitoring prescription drugs that we rely on”…”

This statement is completely incorrect. Any and all medicines are extensively tested for their effects on humans, as well as on animals and in vitro cells. Fact that the use of medicines is being followed up after they are put on market is just a logical follow-up to pre-market testing.

However, cell phones and any other wireless devices are sold on assumption that low power will not cause health effects. This was in 70’s and 80’s when 1G phones were marketed… but over time research has shown that there is possible hazard and radiation, the “harmless low-power”, was classified as possible human carcinogen.

The same seems to be happening with 5G devices. When I asked at BioEM in Hangzhou whether any health research is being conducted on 5G radiation emitting devices, Joe Wiart stated simply that these devices emit low power so… again no problem. Time will show what research on 5G will reveal in coming years…

van Rongen: I disagree with you. Mobile telecommunication systems are brought on the market with the assumption, based on available knowledge at the time of introduction, that they are safe. If they have not been tested specifically, this inference is made from general knowledge of effects of exposure to EMF. However, also in this case, post-market surveillance is useful to perform (by the way, you might consider the relevant case-control studies such as Interphone –that are by design retrospective- as some sort of pms). The classification of RF as a possible human carcinogen does not change anything in this, but indeed provides even more reason for doing these sort of studies. I think it is not correct if one considers the monitoring of possible health effects resulting from exposure to RF EMF from mobile telecommunication systems as a human health experiment. It is not an experiment, since it was never the intention to expose people and see what happens. The exposure is a by-product of the system, which, as I explained, was considered to be safe at the time of introduction, for which the monitoring of any effects is a useful (and indeed necessary) thing to do.

On the dismissal of inadequate evidence with another, inadequate, evidence

Leszczynski: ICNIRP and WHO seem to criticize case-control studies showing increased risk of developing glioma, by saying that the design and execution had flaws and, therefore result is unreliable. However, to dismiss these case-control studies, ICNIRP and WHO use other inadequate studies, as e.g. Danish Cohort or trend-studies. So, dismissal of inadequate evidence with another inadequate evidence? What is logical justification?

van Rongen: We do not generally dismiss case-control studies. Unfortunately there is no ‘perfect’ study, so there will always be some criticism or comment to any study of whatever type, case-control or cohort.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Telegraph, Margi Murphy, 15 Mar 2019

ICNIRP’s public consultation of the draft of the RF guidelines is just a gimmick
Finland Created: 26 Jul 2018
Recently, with several years of delay, ICNIRP finally put out their newest draft document for public consultation: ‘Guidelines on Limiting Exposure to Time-Varying Electric, Magnetic and Electromagnetic Fields (100 kHz to 300 GHz)’.

Reading the ICNIRP’s announcement one might be misled by its candor:

“As part of the development of the guidelines, ICNIRP has regularly given draft guidelines presentations to encourage critique and discussion from the many experts who are not members of ICNIRP. From this interaction we believe that the draft guidelines have developed substantially, and in particular into a logical, rigorous and transparent means of providing safety for both general public exposures and workers exposed to radiofrequency fields as part of their occupational duties. Now we expect through this Public Consultation to receive the detail required for further robust critique of this public health document.”

Readers of these words may get an idea that ICNIRP is genuinely interested in the opinions of the general public and that the submission of comments will matter.

Well, from my experience, nothing could be farther from the truth.

*SNIP* read the entire blog via the source link below...
Click here to view the source article.
Source: BRPH blog, Dariusz Leszczynski, 25 Jul 2018

Open Letter on the Electromagnetic Hyper-Sensitivity Research
Finland Created: 5 Feb 2018
Research funding and reviewing agencies should re-consider their stance on the importance of the research on EHS/IEI-EMF - Research should continue but the approach should change. The dominant study protocol till now, provocation studies, need to be replaced with studies examining molecular level physiology changes. Continuation of the research using provocation studies will not provide reliable scientific answers concerning EHS/IEI-EMF. Continuation of research using provocation studies approach is simply a waste of time and scarce resources.

*SNIP* Read the entire article via Dariusz' blog via the source link below
Click here to view the source article.
Source: BRHP blog, Dariusz Leszczynski, 04 Feb 2018

Cool body, hot mitochondria… is there a lesson for wireless radiation exposures?
Finland Created: 16 May 2017
There is a dogma, propagated by ICNIRP and opposed by BioInitiative, concerning the possible existence, or lack of it, of the non-thermal effects induced by the exposures to cell phone radiation.

There are numerous studies showing biological effects induced by cell phone radiation exposures that should not cause temperature increase. According to ICNIRP such studies are a “glitch” and such effects do not exist, but according to BioInitiative such studies prove existence of non-thermal effects of cell phone radiation.

I am of the opinion that it would be too big of a coincidence that all studies suggesting effects at the so-called non-thermal exposure levels would be a “glitch”. In my opinion such studies indicate that non-thermal exposures cause biological effects but…

*SNIP* read the entire article via the source link below...
Click here to view the source article.
Source: BRHP Blog, Prof. Dariusz Leszczynski, 10 May 2017

Wi-fi OFF Switches Installed In Finnish School To Reduce Wireless Radiation Exposure to Children
Finland Created: 7 May 2017
Elementary school parents long campaigned against wireless device rollout due to research evidence of health risks.

In the Fiskars primary school located in Raasepori in Southern Finland parents have long struggled against Ipad and Wifi based learning. They couldn’t prevent the installation of Wifi hot spots, but their struggle resulted in a compromise: in every class room there is a switch by which the radiation emitting hot spot can be turned off.

Most parents and teacher of the Fiskars school opposed the plan of Raasepori city administration to use tablets and microwave based wireless network in the school. Their critical stand was based on the recommendations of the Council of Europe, documented health risks, pedagogy, the limitations of tablets as computers, and the desire to keep children’s screen time reasonable.

In spring 2016 names were collected to a petition demanding postponement of the Wifi and tablet school project. The petition was signed by parents whose children are in Fiskars school now or will be in the near future. As the city was not forthcoming to the demand of parents and teachers, they suggested a compromise: let us install switches to the Wifi hot spots so that there wouldn’t be radiation when tablets were not in use. City officials initially maintained that installing the switches is technically impossible but in December 2016 switches were installed to every classroom.

Before the switches were installed the wireless microwave network was on 24/7 as in numerous other schools in many countries. Now, the Wifi Hotspot is generally turned off. The teacher turns it on only when tablets are used and the Internet connection is needed. The switches are set on a timer which turns it automatically off after 30 or 60 minutes so that you cannot accidentally leave the hot spot radiating for a long time.

Teachers have been satisfied with the new switches and find the installation of the switches sensible especially considering that in the first grades tablets are only rarely used.

The city administration did not support the project financially but after long negotiations it gave permission for the installation of the switches by a professional electrician and financed by a local child welfare association.

More information: Olli Tammilehto (one of the parents), tel. +358-19-237 035, email: olli@tammilehto.info Katri Pailos (the head of the Fiskars school), tel. +358-400-578 907 or +358-19-289 3575, email: katri.pailos@raasepori.fi
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Environmental Health Trust, Press Release by by Olli Tammilehto, 24 Mar 2017

Where science and big money collide…
Finland Created: 30 Apr 2017
Where science and big money collide, we enter a strange “twilight zone” of science politics, where various methods are applied to neutralize “inconvenient” science.

One of the examples of such collision between science and big money is presented in, as always, a very good story from Louis Slesin: ‘Peer Review in the Raw’. From his long-time perspective as Editor of the ‘Microwave News’ Louis is showing, yet again, that science and politics in EMF are a “toxic mix” for science.

The story of Henry Lai and N.P. Singh reminded me of my first publication in EMF arena.

In 2002 my research group published article that made worldwide headlines: ‘Non-thermal activation of the hsp27/p38MAPK stress pathway by mobile phone radiation in human endothelial cells: molecular mechanism for cancer- and blood-brain barrier-related effects.’ by Leszczynski D, Joenväärä S, Reivinen J, Kuokka R; Differentiation. 2002 May; 70(2-3):120-9.

*SNIP* read the entire article via the source link below...
Click here to view the source article.
Source: BRHP blog, Dariusz Leszczynski, 28 Apr 2017

How single-sided, outdated and obsolete will be the EHC RF-EMF when it will be, hopefully, published in 2018?
Finland Created: 26 Feb 2017
WHO EMF Project, under the ICNIRP’s “supervision”, is preparing the Environmental Health Criteria for radio-frequency modulated electromagnetic fields (EHC RF-EMF). This document will evaluate all possible health risks from the radio-frequency modulated electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) emitted by the wireless communication devices.

The EHC RF-EMF is delayed for some 10 years now. As I wrote on BRHP, partial draft of the EHC RF-EMF document, written by the group of scientists with a dominating presence of ICNIRP members, was released for the general public comments in 2014.

The next steps were to update the text using comments received, to select group of experts that will review the EHC draft document and to prepare the final version of EHC.

Now, in the end of February 2017, the progress seems to be slow and no end in sight.

*SNIP* read the entire article via the source link below...
Click here to view the source article.
Source: BRHP blog, Prof. Dariusz Leszczynski, 26 Feb 2017

Finnish Professor of Physics Talks Nonsense on Biological Effects of Cell Phone Radiation
Finland Created: 3 Nov 2016
I consider myself expert in biological effects of cell phone radiation - I have two doctorates and docentship in biochemistry - I worked at STUK for nearly 22 years, including as Head of Radiation Biology Laboratory and most recently, for 13 years, as Research Professor. I do research on cell phone radiation and health since 1996. My expertise in this area was recognized by my peers when e.g. I was invited to testify before a committee of the US Senate, Finland’s Eduskunta, Canadian Parliament or Health Minister of India. I was member of the group of 30 scientists who, at invitation of IARC, classified in 2011 cell phone radiation as a possible human carcinogen (group 2B in IARC scale). For those interested my full experience is available from this link.

I read carefully recent interview with Professor Tapio Ala-Nissilä published in ‘Voi hyvin‘ journal and in ‘Turun sanomat’ newspaper and I got very confused. Professor of physics at the Aalto University in Helsinki is serving very strong, partly false and misleading, one-sided opinions on biological effects of cell phone radiation.

*SNIP* read the entire article via the source link below...
Click here to view the source article.
Source: BRHP Blog, Dariusz Leszczynski, 03 Nov 2016

Dariusz Leszczynski goes after ICNIRP
Finland Created: 12 Apr 2016
In a series of blog posts, Dariusz Leszczynski questions the setup of ICNIRP and whether the groups closed, self-selection, member process can lead to "balanced" views of the science - and it even made Mike Repacholi respond from his retirement home.

1). ICNIRP did it again…
For many years I have been complaining about the unbalanced expert composition of the Main Commission of ICNIRP.
ICNIRP can, and should, be considered as a “private club” where, members of the new Main Commission are selected by the members of the outgoing Main Commission. It is a self-perpetuating and self-promoting German NGO that is not accountable for its actions at all. Nobody controls it. Nobody supervises it. Nobody checks it for conflicts of interests. Nobody checks it for the scientific accuracy. In all what and how ICNIRP does we, the general public, must rely on the self-assurances, from the ICNIRP, that all is in order.
*SNIP* https://betweenrockandhardplace.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/icnirp-did-it-again/

2). Mike Repacholi responds to “ICNIRP did it again…”
Following yesterday’s (April 4, 2016) publication of the blog “ICNIRP did it again…“, I received today (April 5, 2016) message from Mike Repacholi, Chairman Emeritus of ICNIRP. With Mike’s permission I am posting his entire message with my responses and clarifications. List of persons “CC” in Mike’s message I covered, out of my own desire of preserving privacy.
*SNIP* https://betweenrockandhardplace.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/mike-repacholi-responds-to-icnirp-did-it-again/

3). Is ICNIRP reliable enough to dictate meaning of science to the governmental risk regulators?
In my two last blog posts, last two blog posts ‘ICNIRP did it again…’ and ‘Mike Repacholi responds to ICNIRP did it again…’, I presented several reasons why the current modus operandi of ICNIRP is prone to provide unreliable and skewed evaluation of the scientific evidence on EMF and health. I was strongly opposed by Mike Repacholi, Chairman Emeritus of the ICNIRP, scientist who is responsible for the “birth” of this organization.
*SNIP* https://betweenrockandhardplace.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/is-icnirp-reliable-enough-to-dictate-meaning-of-science-to-the-governmental-risk-regulators/
Click here to view the source article.
Source: BRHP blog, Dariusz Leszczynski, 8 Apr 2016

Amateurish radiation protection!
Finland Created: 11 Mar 2016
Corporate influence on Science, government and the military, Tobacco science and the art of spin by EMFacts

This posting is not about the Australian Radiation Protection & Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) nor the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research (ACEBR) but it could well be considering the consistent spin inherent in their information and advice…..

Don
******************

The following is from Dariusz Leszczynski’s blog; Between a Rock and a Hard Place:

Säteilyturvakeskus (STUK) in Finland: Amateurish radiation protection

Excerpt:

In the past, on several occasions, I wrote about the amateurish conduct of STUK experts, those responsible for protecting Finns from the dangers of radiation, any radiation. Links to these posts are here:

STUK in Finland: How trustworthy is information on smart phones and… nuclear power plants…
August 10, 2015 — Finland’s STUK is hiding important radiation exposure information from the general public, the Government and the Parliament. What else is being hidden by the arbitrary decisions of STUK staff? How comprehensive and trustworthy is the information we, the general public, … SNIP

Untruthful statement from Director General of Finland’s STUK: Scientific arrogance or incompetence?
April 20, 2015 — On June 18, 2014, was posted BRHP blog “STUK in Finland misinforms the Government, Parliamentarians and the general public”. In this posts I criticized STUK for providing false information on radiation exposures caused by the ‘smart’ phones: “The experts form … SNIP
STUK in Finland misinforms the Government, Parliamentarians and the general public SNIP
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Don Maishe. Emfacts.com/Agnes Ingvarsdottir

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