Are we safe?

June 19, 2023

Are we being protected from the harmful effects of wireless radiation?

One of the world’s most eminent scientists thinks not.

In the June issue of the journal of the IEEE, Professor James C Lin explained just what is wrong with the international standards and guidelines that are supposed to protect us.

Lin reviewed the radiation limits recommended by three influential bodies – the FCC, and the revised limits of the ICNIRP and ICES.*

He concluded that the revised limits are not appropriate to adequately protect us from long-term exposure. ‘The revised RF exposure limits make allowances only to worry about heat with RF radiation,’ he said. ‘These limits are devised for restricting short-term heating by RF radiation and aim to prevent increased tissue temperatures. Thus, they are not applicable to long-term exposure at low levels.’

He refered to the decision made by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to classify wireless radiation as a Class 2B (‘possible’) carcinogen. It was based on research showing increased risks of glioma brain tumours and benign vestibular schwannomas in heavy or long-term mobile phone users.

But what IARC lacked at the time was good supporting evidence from animal studies.

That evidence came a few years later.

In 2018, the US National Toxicology Program published its findings that rats exposed to mobile phone had increased rates of a rare malignant tumour of the heart (schwannoma). This was a significant study. Lin said, ‘The study was the largest health effect animal investigation performed by researchers at the NTP, arguably, the largest animal health study conducted of cell phone RF radiation.’

These findings were confirmed soon after by another large animal study, this time from Italy (the Ramazzini Institute). It, too, found an increased rate of schwannomas of the hearts of male rats exposed to mobile phone radiation.

Together, these studies should have been enough to elevate the IARC’s risk rating for mobile phone radiation. Lin said, ‘The latest animal data should help to upgrade the classification to the “probably carcinogenic” category, if not elevate it to a higher level.’

But that’s not what happened. Instead, the standards-setters ignored it.

Lin also referred to the conclusions of a paper by the International Commission on the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (ICBE-EMF) late last year. It pointed out that numerous assumptions underlying the standards-setting process are, in fact, scientifically flawed.

Lin, too, suggests current the radiation limits have passed their use-by date.

He said, ‘Instead of advances in science, they are predicated on assumptions using outdated exposure metrics, thus their ability to protect children, workers, and the public from exposure to the RF radiation or people with sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation from wireless devices and systems. Furthermore, the limits are based on outdated information and circumvent important animal data. These issues are even more relevant in the case of millimeter-wave radiation from 5G mobile communications for which there are no adequate health effects studies in the published literature. Finally, the guidelines do not adequately address conclusions from scientific organizations, such as the IARC. Thus, many of the recommended limits are questionable from the standpoint of scientific justification for the safety and public health protection.’

Professor James C Lin is an Electrical Engineer, life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and former member of the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

*FCC – Federal Communications Commission (USA)

ICNIRP – International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection

ICES – International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety

J. C. Lin, "RF Health Safety Limits and Recommendations [Health Matters]," in IEEE Microwave Magazine, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 18-77, June 2023, doi: 10.1109/MMM.2023.3255659.

You can see details about the ICBE-EMF article here.

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