Leszczynski: FCC, IEEE and ICNIRP should tighten safety standards

Safety limits on radiation emissions from cell phones, set in late ‘90s by FCC, IEEE and ICNIRP, are insufficient to protect the general public.

Read more in The Washington Times Communities column.

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8 thoughts on “Leszczynski: FCC, IEEE and ICNIRP should tighten safety standards

  1. Anonymous Thomas,
    It seems you are trying to ignore or misinterpret all the documents mentioned. Consider reading the IARC decision and the research papers cited there, they show clearly that the possibility of carcinogenic influence of radio radiation is real and different from that of coffee. There is a real health risk and technical measures to reduce it should be taken. I will not comment further on your thoughts such as that the IARC recommendation to reduce exposure is “personal” or that the very basic and well known physics used in my paper is “imaginary” since such a discussion leads nowhere.

  2. A comment on your ‘facts’:

    1) I believe the classification 2B – ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ is justified. RF-EMF certainly belongs in there with DDT, lead, engine exhaust, coffee, carpentry, talcum powder, nickel, vinyl and the other 300 or so agents that we are exposed to daily.

    2) I appreciate that Christopher Wild made a personal comment that “it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands-free devices or texting.” However, the introductory Note to Reader in all official Monographs includes the following phrases: “Inclusion of an agent in the Monographs does not imply that it is a carcinogen” and “No recommendation is given for regulation or legislation.” Interpret that as you will.

    3) There is no controversy about EMF and biological effects – it is well accepted that they exist. The question is over alleged adverse health effects, which are not proven. Your very imaginative paper on a hypothetical mechanism does not contribute to the evidence in this regard. RF emissions below statutory limits cannot be considered ‘very high energy’ by any credible assessment criteria.

  3. May I list a few facts:
    1. The IARC decision includes a clear explanation how it was reached. It cites high quality research reports which indentified the carcinogenic influence, it states that IARC decided those reports are not an absolute proof and that they justify the 2B carcinogen status.
    2. The IARC decision includes a recommendantion to reduce human exposure to radio radiation.
    3. The worn argument about “low energy” of Radio waves argument is just words, there is no physical theory showing that radio radiation is not expected to have biological effects and biological effects were identified very reliably at the cellular level. The only thing this argument shows is that the mechanism of interaction is not identical to that of other physical phenomena such as ionizing radiation. I explained in the following link one of the reasons why radio radiation can be considered as having a very high energy:
    http://www.sapub.org/global/showpaperpdf.aspx?doi=10.5923.j.biophysics.20120201.01

  4. I know what IARC documents say. I did some reading before IARC meeting 😉

  5. Well, excuse me! I meant my reply for Michael Peleg’s comments. I understood your words and mostly agree with them.

    You may be interested in the words found on page 1 of every IARC Monograph. They read, in part:

    “The term ‘carcinogenic risk’ in the IARC Monographs series is taken to mean that an agent is capable of causing cancer. The Monographs evaluate cancer hazards, despite the historical presence of the word ‘risks’ in the title.

    Inclusion of an agent in the Monographs does not imply that it is a carcinogen, only that the published data have been examined. Equally, the fact that an agent has not yet been evaluated in a Monograph does not mean that it is not carcinogenic.

    Similarly, identification of cancer sites with sufficient evidence or limited evidence in humans should not be viewed as precluding the possibility that an agent may cause cancer at other sites.

    The evaluations of carcinogenic risk are made by international working groups of independent scientists and are qualitative in nature. No recommendation is given for regulation or legislation.”

  6. I do not assume that the sky is falling as you mistakenly suggest. It is you and the industry who are shivering whenever anyone says that it is not yet certain that the RF is safe.

    Read my text. I did not say that anything is proven. I say that we have red flags and that is why there is uncertainty to resolve by further research.

    WHO fact sheet #193 is inconsistent with itself.

    It states the key facts in the beginning of the fact sheet and there is said:
    “The electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

    Later in text it indeed says that ” To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.” But now, we need to consider what the “established effects” are. Cancer? No, also in my opinion it is not yet called “established effect”. It is called a “red flag”. It is a possibility that needs to be examined further.

    So, do not get scared and do not shiever yet.

    So, I think that it is you who does not understand what the fact sheet #193 says.

    As to the perpetual question of energy – go back to school and learn that not everything what happens in cell is caused by breaking chemical bonds…

  7. I think the IARC 2B classification actually has considerably less significance than you appear to believe. Consult the IARC press release #208 for complete details of what the classification really means, and how IARC reached this conclusion. WHO is still working on the next step of the risk assessment process and will in due course issue an Environmental Health Criteria to quantify the risk. Don’t assume the sky is falling until you see this document.

    In the meantime read the WHO factsheet #193 (issued following the IARC finding) where they state: “A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.”

    This will come as no surprise to anyone with a basic knowledge of physics and an understanding of just how little energy is transmitted by mobile phones and other wireless devices we are exposed to 24/7. Hint – it’s less than a night-light!

  8. The IEEE code of ethics.
    The first few lines of the IEEE code of ethics signed by all the members of the organization are:

    “We, the members of the IEEE, … agree:

    1.to accept responsibility in making decisions consistent with the safety, health, and welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment;
    2. … ” end of citation.

    The IARC clasification of radio radiation as a possible carcinogen to humans clearly means it might endanger the health of the public. The IARC decision is based on good science and it is no more possible to claim that the radio radiation is not a health risk. The word “risk” means that there is a possibility of harm, not that harm is certain.
    Thus the code of ethics obligates IEEE to act to reduce the risk identified by IARC.

    Considering that IEEE is an engineering organization, this means adapting the radiation safety standards to the IARC decision and acting to reduce human exposure to radio radiation and to develop alternatives such as optical communication where possible. Also the attempts to charge batteries remotely by strong electromagnetic fields should be abandoned except in critical medical applications.

    I hope this will happen sometime.

    Michael Peleg

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