Aussie No-effects team finds no effects from 5G
Aussie No-effects team finds no effects from 5G
There’s nothing to worry about from the high-frequency radiation used by 5G. Or is there?
Two papers on 5G radiation, by scientists from Swinburne University of Technology and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), were published online on 16 March.
On the one hand the authors of these papers claim that there is ‘no confirmed evidence’ that this radiation can be ‘hazardous’ to human health. On the other hand, they base their conclusions on some dubious assumptions.
In the first, Karipides et al 1 conducted a review of 107 experimental studies and 31 epidemiological studies on the effects of radiofrequency radiation above 6 GHz. This includes some 5G frequencies (other 5G frequencies are below 6GHz) and millimetre waves (30—300 GHz) that are expected to be used in future generations of technology.
The authors concluded that their review ‘provided no confirmed evidence that low-level MMWs [millimetre microwaves] are associated with biological effects relevant to human health.’
In the second paper, Wood et al 2 conducted a meta-analysis of 107 studies on millimetre microwaves in which exposures were lower than the occupational limits of international guidelines published by ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection).
They concluded ‘there is little consistent evidence to support the notion of biological effects from MMWs at levels below the INCIRP occupational limits.’
Commenting on the papers, Dr Gillian Hirth ARPANSA’s Deputy CEO and Chief Radiation Health Scientist said, ‘ARPANSA is proud to continue our contribution to research and assessment of 5G radiation safety. The work is core to our involvement in the Australian Government’s Electromagnetic Energy Program and helps us deliver on our vision of a safe radiation environment for the Australian Community.’
So both papers give 5G a clean bill of health – apparently.
But here are some of the problems with the papers and reasons why we shouldn’t be too quick to accept their conclusions that 5G is safe.
Problem 1: ICNIRP
The authors of the two papers assume that radiation exposures are safe, as long as they comply with limits of the radiation guidelines published by the International Commission on Nonionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
But who or what is ICNIRP?
While ICNIRP promotes itself as an international authority on radiation protection, the body enjoys anything but universal respect. It is a private organisation that has been described as ‘a privately constituted group, with self-appointed membership’ 3 and as a ‘cartel’ that ‘systematically discredits all studies that show possible dangers to human health’ 4 and its members have links to the telecommunications industry.
Problem 2: ICNIRP Guidelines
Not surprisingly the Guidelines published by ICNIRP allow higher exposures than have been shown to cause harmful effects on the human body.
This is because ICNIRP argues that the only effects on the body of concern are those that occur when radiation causes a temperature rise in tissues of over 1 degree Celsius.
This is despite the fact that there is a large body of science showing that a considerable number harmful effects occur at exposures below these limits that could cause serious health problems and unpleasant symptoms.
There are other problems with the assumptions underlying the ICNIRP Guidelines which have been discussed extensively in previous issues of EMR and Health.
Because of problems such as these, hundreds of scientists from over 40 nations have endorsed an appeal to the World Health Organisation calling for stricter radiation standards. 5
So, complying with ICNIRP Guidelines is no guarantee of safety at al.
Problem 3: Confirmed evidence
The Karipidis paper says that there was no ‘confirmed evidence that low level MMWs are associated with biological effects relevant to human health’.
In other words, there was evidence, but not evidence that it was willing to accept or that has been ‘confirmed’.
However, it’s not always easy to confirm studies that have found evidence of harm, partly because funding is not made available to do so. An Australian study by Dr Pam Sykes is a case in point. Dr Sykes conducted a pilot study which found genetic changes in mice exposed to mobile phone radiation. The National Health and Medical Research Council, which included an advisor from Motorola, did not make funding available for a follow-up study to help ‘confirm’ the results.6
Ignoring evidence of risk because it has not been ‘confirmed’ is to court disaster. The history of science teaches us the risk of ignoring scientific studies showing evidence of risk because they’ve failed to meet an arbitrary benchmark for conclusiveness and rolling out products that have later been found to be harmful. Asbestos, lead, thalidomide, tobacco, DDT are just a few examples.
Problem 4: Bias
Four of the five authors on the papers are employed by ARPANSA.
ARPANSA is anything but an impartial organisation. It has consistently denied evidence of risk, even though there is plenty of it.
The ARPANSA website says, ‘There is no substantiated scientific evidence to support any adverse health effects from low-level exposure to RF EME associated with telecommunications and wireless technology below the limits set within the ARPANSA RF Standard.’ 7 Yet, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classed wireless radiation as a Class 2B carcinogen.
In stakeholder meetings, ARPANSA consistently argued that there was ‘no evidence of risk’ even when handed papers showing evidence of risk.
So the fact that ARPANSA’s no-effects team has found no effects is hardly surprising.
Is 5G safe?
Does this mean that millimetre waves are safe?
Not according to some researchers.
In 2020, Professor Dariusz Lezczynski conducted a review of the relevant research on millimetre waves and concluded that there is insufficient scientific evidence to make definitive judgements about the safety of these exposures and that precautionary measures should be put in place to protect against potential risks. 8
‘At the heart of the controversy is the importance of the skin to overall health and well-being. On the one hand, the ARPANSA paper appears to regard exposure of the skin as of little consequence. ‘…for frequencies above 6 GHz the depth of penetration is relatively short with surface heating being the predominant effect,’ Karipides et al wrote.
However, the skin plays an important role in health, according to Vic Leach from the Oceania Radiofrequency Scientific Advisory Association (ORSAA).
He says, ‘Skin as an organ is rich in nerves and is the body’s first defence from chemical or mechanical exposures. The skin has receptors that carry out abundant innervation associated with the central nervous system and blood vessels which, in turn, are interconnected with other organs. Skin innervation is carried out by both branches of the peripheral and autonomic nervous systems. Skin also plays a role in regulation of immunity. The surface of the skin is a natural environment for thousands of protective microbial species.
‘Skin performs endocrine functions and produces vitamin D in a chemical reaction that occurs when sunlight hits it. Ultra -Violet (UV), another form of non-ionising radiation, is used to make Vitamin D that our bodies need for health. Is this man-made 5G radiation going to change Vitamin D production? We don’t know because nobody has studied this.
‘Currently, it is difficult to predict the effects of millimetre waves on many skin diseases (eg eczema, psoriasis, abscesses) or on the development of tumour processes (e.g. melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma). ICNIRP or ARPANSA’s guidelines ignore all bioeffects except heating as having any health impact. I believe the current power density levels cannot be justified. Much lower intensity levels need to be adopted before the densification of the EMF background with the role out of 5G smalls cells on approximately every third power pole.’ 9
ARPANSA’s papers attempt to assure us that the rollout of 5G technology that has been allowed by the federal government and is being undertaken by industries that will profit from it, is not going to harm us.
The reality is that it will take more than these reviews to establish whether 5G is, in fact, safe and that no one, however young, old, pregnant, ill or sensitive will suffer as a result of exposure.
Time will surely tell.
1. Ken Karipidis, Rohan Mate, David Urban, Rick Tinker, Andrew Wood, ’5G mobile networks and health—a state-of-the-science review of the research into low-level RF fields above 6 GHz’, Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology https://doi.org/10.1038/s41370...; https://www.nature.com/article...
2. Andrew Wood, Rohan Mate, Ken Karipidis, ‘Meta-analysis of in vitro and in vivo studies of the biological effects of low-level millimetre waves’, Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology https://doi.org/10.1038/s41370..., https://www.nature.com/article...
3. ‘Health, science and wireless radiation’, EMR and Health, May 2021
4. ‘German Lawyer on 5G’, EMR and Health, April 2021
5. The EMF Appeal, https://www.emfscientist.org/
8. Dariusz Leszczynski, ‘Physiological effects of millimeter-waves on skin and skin cells: an overview of the to-date published studies’, Reviews on Environ Health, 35(4): 493-515, 2020.
9. ARPANSA’s misinformation, Victor Leach, correspondence
What can you do
- Don’t buy 5G devices until there is certainty that 5G is safe.
- Download our free White Paper on 5G here to find out more.
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