I am heartened to see that the negative effects of technology, such as smartphones and remote learning are now being discussed more publicly. Last Friday on GB News, Bev Turner talked about an ALDI store, to which entry can only be gained via smartphone. Various national newspapers are mentioning the psychological damage done to children through overuse of screens and social media. Addiction is a major problem.
However only a handful of people and organisations seem to be aware of the likely damage to physical and mental health from the radio-frequency radiation (RFR) emitted by smartphones, wi-fi and phone masts. Those who do mention this are quickly labelled as conspiracy theorists, perhaps following the lead of the Counter-Disinformation Unit, which, I suspect, is the “subcommittee” referred to in the official Report for the Broadband and Road to 5G inquiry conducted by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. I have explained this more fully in a previous TCW article, but the implication was that anyone who submitted evidence about possible health harms from RFR was tarred with the same brush as those who thought 5G caused Covid.
Considering how controversial it still is to oppose our Government’s view that RF radiation “should have no consequences for public health”, I am highly appreciative of the open-mindedness of bodies such as The Heritage Party and UsforThem in questioning its safety. Under the heading ‘Preserving the Environment’ in the Heritage Party Manifesto there is a call for a moratorium on 5G, while the UsforThem campaign ‘Safe Screens’ has a comprehensive list of harms, which include the health effects of radio-frequency radiation.
All the more welcome, therefore, is a free event hosted at the Royal School of Medicine by the International Commission on the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (ICBE-EMF) on Wednesday June 14th, with the topic: ‘Radiofrequency Radiation from Wireless Communications Sources: Are Safety Limits Valid?’ For this event, a group of international experts has been assembled.
The safety exposure limits presently followed by our Government are set by the International Commission on Non-ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and are seen as insufficient by certain groups of scientists, and clearly also by many countries such as Italy, Switzerland, Eastern Europe, China and India, who use much stricter guidelines. The event on June 14th will be framed around the problem of divergent evaluations of the same scientific evidence on hazardous agents.
But what exactly will be discussed? Firstly, two scientific papers produced by ICBE-EMF in recent months will be summarised.
One paper lays out 14 false assumptions behind the ICNIRP guidelines. These include ICNIRP’s insistence that biological damage does not occur below a certain heating threshold in the body. Another, is that ICNIRP had only looked at exposures of six and 30 minutes, but did not consider low-level, long-term effects. In addition, the 2011 classification of RF radiation by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as “possibly carcinogenic”, as well as the results of large animal studies in 2018 were not taken into account despite the guidelines being updated in 2020.
The second paper suggests six engineering fixes which can go a long way toward reducing radiation exposure for the individual user of mobile phones.
After this, Dr. Erica Mallery-Blythe will discuss acute (short-term) effects of RF radiation such as electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), which currently affects an estimated 3-10% of the European population, as well as some chronic health concerns. She will also highlight some important related legal cases.
Thirdly, a presentation will be given on the only U.S. state to comprehensively investigate 5G and RFR, New Hampshire, by an expert member of its commission, Kent Chamberlain. Last year New Hampshire lawmakers voted to recommend action on the issue of wireless radio-frequency radiation. The New Hampshire House subcommittee of the Committee on Science, Technology and Energy had held study sessions on RF radiation featuring numerous experts, organisations and residents as well as wireless industry consultants. One significant recommendation was that mobile phone masts should be at least 500 metres away from any place of work, residence, play or education. It was convincingly shown, through two different approaches, that a setback of less than 500 metres would cause a greater risk of cancer and other disease. An excellent summary of the process is here.
Who are the speakers at the upcoming event? James Lin is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Bioengineering, Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Chicago as well as an ex-member of ICNIRP. Since leaving ICNIRP, he has become convinced that the classification for RF radiation by IARC should be “probably carcinogenic” if not “carcinogenic”. His criticisms of ICNIRP were published this month in Health Matters and can be read in full here.
Dr. Erica Mallery-Blythe is a medical doctor specialising in electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) and is the founder of Physicians Health Initiative on Radiation Effects (PHIRE). With her help, legal precedent was created at an Upper Tribunal hearing in July 2022 when a local authority was mandated to make low-EMF educational provisions to accommodate a child with EHS. She also helped Sally Burns, a 59 year-old social worker win her appeal for early ill-health retirement and Ms. Burns will now receive a full pension due to disabling Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS).
Kent Chamberlain is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of New Hampshire and an expert member of the New Hampshire Commission on 5G (2019/20), described above.
The summary of key points and discussion will be led by Professor John Frank MD, who is Professorial Fellow (formerly Chair of Public Health Research and Policy and Director of Knowledge Exchange and Research Impact) at the Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. He is also Professor Emeritus at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. He has called for a moratorium on 5G.
Who will listen? The organisers hope to attract decision-makers such as MPs and local councillors as well as to inform GPs, who seem to know little of EHS and cannot diagnose it, but instead use such labels as ‘Functional Neurological Disorder’, as I heard from Sally Burns. It is also to be hoped that local planning departments will take an interest in this presentation, as they are often unaware of their obligations to look at health concerns surrounding masts, but are encouraged by Government to believe that the siting of masts is purely a visual matter.
Presently many ordinary citizens, aware of the negative health effects of RF radiation, often through personal experience, are forced to take individual action. This may be the time-consuming and arduous task of objecting to planning applications on a mast-by-mast basis, informing themselves through various specialised websites which are of great help on this complex subject. Others go through the expense of asking for judicial review and raising funding for it as in this case in Kent, where a mast is planned within 10 metres of a primary school boundary. In this case funds are needed urgently.
Why should individual citizens have to fight their own corner time after time? Isn’t it time to gather highly qualified experts together to investigate RF radiation and 5G, as New Hampshire has done? In the recent judicial review on 5G led by Michael Mansfield, the Government listed several international organisations on which it relies, but these organisations – ICNIRP, the WHO EMF Project, IARC and SCENHIR/SCHEER – share to a large extent the same somewhat underqualified personnel, as detailed in this lengthy report on conflicts of interest. U.K. groups that were quoted as being relied upon by Government were the Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR), which reported in 2012, but which disbanded in 2017 after being discredited by Dr. Sarah Starkey, as well as the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) at the Department of Health, which unfortunately focuses on ionising radiation and not RF radiation, where it has very little expertise. Thus officially, this subject is badly neglected in the U.K.
This event, therefore, on the 14th provides an unparalleled opportunity in the U.K. to hear these vital issues discussed by well-qualified and experienced experts in this complex field, which covers the disciplines of medicine, biophysics, electronic engineering and more. For those who cannot watch online on the 14th, a video link will be available shortly thereafter from this page.
Postscript (June 26th 2023):
Having recently attended this event online and a then follow-up event in person, I’d like to add my impressions to the preview above. A video and slides from the online event will shortly be available here.
Most compelling was the experience of Professor Kent Chamberlain, who as a previous designer of antennae, had considered the risk to health from RF radiation to be low. On hearing the medical evidence presented at the New Hampshire Commission, to which he had been invited as an electronic engineering expert, he completely changed his mind. He is still in shock at the poor standard of the studies carried out to set safety exposure guidelines.
These studies were based on eight rats and five monkeys, who had been trained to press a lever to get food when they were hungry. They were starved, then irradiated with non-ionising radiation for periods of up to an hour. Their subsequent behaviour disruption was linked to increase in body temperature, which helped to set a heating threshold, below which health damage was assumed not to occur. An arbitrary safety factor was incorporated and safety exposure levels for humans created. This is fully described here.
As we heard from all speakers, the vast majority of studies show health damage well below the heating threshold for the body. Not only that, but the studies relied on by ICNIRP only allow for short-term exposure, not the continuous exposure that is now prevalent. It also ignores long latency disease, which is disease that may take decades to develop after initial exposure. ICNIRP itself admits that the guidelines are not relevant to those with metal implants and some other devices.
Dr. Erica Mallery-Blythe gave a very detailed and convincing lecture. My main take-away was that children are not just little adults, but their absorption of RF radiation is disproportionately greater, e.g. five-fold for the eyes, 10-fold for bone marrow and 30-fold for the hippocampus.
With all humans, there are differences in sensitivity, perhaps due to the combination of environmental pollutants experienced in addition to RF radiation, or to underlying health conditions. There are no separate safety guidelines appropriate to these groups, just as there are none for flora and fauna.
The conference covered existing knowledge about 2G to 4G, since few studies have been done on 5G and the associated apparatus. However, Dr. Mallery-Blythe thought that 5G would be more harmful, since it cannot pass through the body, but deposits its energy on the skin, which it penetrates by a few millimetres. The skin is an important organ. This applies to the eyes too.
The event was presented by David Gee, Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Pollution Research and Policy, Brunel University, London. He had been involved in the European Environmental Agency reports on environmental pollutants, ‘Late Lessons from Early Warnings’ (2001, 2013). He regards the dangers of RF radiation as on a par with asbestos, thalidomide and ionising radiation, though the problem with RF radiation is that all life is now exposed to it. He pointed out that in the early days of X-rays, the excitement about this new technology led to X-ray machines being used to measure children’s feet in shoe shops. Professor Lin had pointed out that the biological effects of RF radiation have been studied for 70 years. When therefore will we learn our ‘late lesson’ and bring together the wide range of experts needed to investigate this complex topic urgently to prevent further irreparable damage to all living beings?