This post was updated on May 15, 2014…
European Union is in an economic crisis. In Finland, the official (=government) opinion is that the one and the only way to survive is to remain in EU and retain common currency. There are voices that disagree with this official opinion.
Several scientists from the University of Helsinki formed in the autumn 2013, the EuroThinkTank. This group of 12 scientists analyzed advantages and disadvantages of the Finnish membership in the EU. The report of the EuroThinkTank was published on May 6, 2014, unfortunately only in Finnish language.
The leader of the EuroThinkTank, Professor Vesa Kanniainen, in his explanation why the EuroThinkTank was formed, said the following:
”…Yritykset kyseenalaistaa virallinen totuus on nähty vaiettavana toisinajatteluna…” [Attempts to question the official truth were seen as discordant opinions needed to be silenced; free translation DL].
Professor Kanniainen was also quoted in the news report as saying:
”…Suomi on aina yhden totuuden maa, meillä ei ole sellaista traditiota, että arvioitaisiin avoimesti ja analyyttisesti vaihtoehtoisia näkemyksiä…” [Finland is always the place of the single truth only, we have no tradition of an open minded analytical evaluation of different options; free translation DL]
I do agree with this opinion. As one can expect, the prevailing opinions are often the opinions of those with the administrative authority… Those who dare to question this system, are ridiculed and silenced…
Reading about the EuroThinkTank brought me back to another, minute event that also took place on May 6, 2014.
Finnish Parliamentarian, Eeva-Johanna Eloranta, organized and an information event on wireless communication and health. I participated, as a listener, in this well-attended 3-hour seminar.
The issue that got my attention was the new law about sitting of cell phone base stations that is being prepared in Finnish Parliament (HE 221/2013 vp). The process of preparation of this law and hearing of experts is well advanced already as it is planned that the law will be introduced on January 1, 2015.
Looking at the detailed process of preparation of this new law one wonders that The Parliament is interested in opinions of all kinds of experts except – health experts. By looking at the schedule of past hearings, there is no single health expert mentioned…
This brings to mind the opinion of Finland as a place where only a single truth can be accepted at one time. No alternative opinions are permitted…
STUK – Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Säteilyturvakeskus) is currently a place where only a single opinion matters. The contesting opinion was duly dismissed when shutting down the Radiation Biology Laboratory in 2013.
I heard STUK’s opinion in three separate public events in 2014. If this opinion is accepted by the Parliamentarians, without listening to an alternative opinion, then the new law will be accepted, and base stations will be possible to sit anywhere, no need for permission from the building owners. For those living in apartment buildings, it might mean that one day on the wall of their apartment will appear a base station, no questions asked, no explanations needed… all is safe because STUK said so (read: ICNIRP said so).
According to STUK, there is no health problem at all because base stations fulfill safety regulations as recommended by ICNIRP. STUK does not consider at all whether the safety standards are reliable. No such alternative. However, there is evidence that the ICNIRP safety standards are not sufficient to protect cell phone users, and we do not know how reliable are the standards concerning 24/7 exposures to radiation from the base stations.
It is very discouraging that STUK sends to the meetings with the general audience, as these that I participated in 2014, an expert who knows about radiation dosimetry but who is an ignorant in matters of biological and health effects of radiation. STUK should be embarrassed. In the three events where I met this STUK expert, he was unable to respond to questions concerning biological and health effects. His sole answers to such questions were: “these are only some studies unconfirmed by replications” and “there are no proven health effects.” This STUK expert, unable to answer simple questions, only repeated a few slogans from the ICNIRP’s vocabulary.
It is a shame that STUK, the supposedly authority in radiation in Finland, has no expert(s) in biological and health effects of cell phone radiation who could evaluate laboratory studies, animal studies and studies with human volunteers. The only expertise that STUK has is in epidemiology. This is the result of governmental reform that led to the premature and hasty shutting down of the Radiation Biology Laboratory by the irresponsible action of STUK’s bosses. It is really a shame. And it is an objective truth, not a comment of the one and only dismissed STUK’s Professor, as STUK’s Research Director portrayed it in the news media interview. When one has no real arguments, one turns to personal accusations, as STUK Research Director did. The objective truth is that currently STUK has no experts to evaluate biological and health effects of electromagnetic radiation, except for the epidemiological studies. No relevant experts and expertise at STUK now. This is the fact. No matter who says it…
We, citizens, can read ICNIRP reports and do not need to hear ICNIRP opinions from the STUK expert. We would like to hear from the STUK expert opinions why STUK considers some studies as reliable and some unreliable. Why STUK, and other Nordic Countries, dismiss the possibility of health effects, even though IARC in 2011 classified cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen. Why STUK is stubbornly considering that the outdated ICNIRP safety standards from 1998 are still valid, in spite of the research progress. However, such discussions are impossible with the STUK expert because he knows dosimetry only and is ignorant in matters of biology and health.
It is worrisome that after many years (2001-2013) of balanced information, STUK is reversing to its pre-2001 way of informing about the risks associated with the radiation emitted by wireless technology, where the message is given only by STUK dosimetry experts and this STUK message (read: ICNIRP message) is – no worries, no problem, safety standards protect everyone.
The more general question is:
Why the governments of all EU countries, slavishly and meekly, follow the advice coming from the small, by-invitation-only, “private club” called ICNIRP?
What if ICNIRP is wrong and its single-sided and biased evaluation of science, good for business but not necessarily for health of the EU citizens, is wrong? Why politicians and decision-makers, time and again, do not learn from the mistakes of the past – tobacco, asbestos, etc.? Why everything and why right now has to be wireless?
We know so little, but we rush things so much…