Tighter standards needed

Do current standards for wireless radiation adequately protect our families?

Not according to Uloma Igara Uche and Olga Naidenko, writing in the July issue of the journal Environmental Health.

‘Radiofrequency radiation can elicit carcinogenic, genotoxic, reproductive, developmental, neurological, and cognitive effects,’ the authors said. ‘Continuously increasing exposure to radiofrequency radiation from wireless communication devices and sources brings urgency to the question of health-protective limits for such exposures.’

In their paper, the authors analysed data from two large, long-term animal experiments—one by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the other by Italy’s Ramazzini Institute. The NTP study found that rodents exposed to wireless radiation prenatally and long-term (for two years) had increased rates of cardiac, genetic and cancerous damage. The Ramazzini study found that rats exposed for their entire lifetime (prenatally and to death) had higher rates of schwannomas of the heart.

Using this data, the authors calculated the exposure dose at which these problems developed. They applied the ten-fold safety factory that is usually applied to translate data from animals to humans; another ten-fold safety factor to account for differences in the human population, and a 5-fold safety factory to apply the data to children, who are generally thought be more sensitive to environmental stresses than adults.

The results showed that current US standards are not sufficiently protective.

The limits Uche and Olga V Naidenko derived are very much lower and are given as Specific Absorption Rates (SARs), ie how much radiation is absorbed by tissues.

For adults, they arrived at a limit of 2 to 4 milliWatts per kg (mW/kg), 20 to 40 times lower than the existing US limit and less than international limits of the International Commission on NonIonizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), followed by Australia.

For children, they arrived at a limit of 0.2—0.4 mW/kg.

‘Both technology changes and behavior chances may be necessary to achieve these lower exposure levels. Simple actions, such as keeping the wireless devices farther away from the body, offer an immediate way to decrease RFR [radiofrequency radiation] exposure for the user.’

Uloma Igara Uche and Olga V. Naidenko, ’Development of health-based exposure limits for radiofrequency radiation from wireless devices using a benchmark dose approach ‘, Environ Health (2021) 20:84 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12940-021-00768-1https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s12940-021-00768-1.pdf

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