Epidemiology: ICNIRP hijacked WHO EMF Project

…this post is open for comments…

Epidemiological evidence is considered as the most important evidence when evaluating possibility of health effects induced by radiation emitted by wireless communication devices (RF-EMF). I disagree with this notion because of the intrinsic limitations of epidemiological method. It is too crude method to give reliable answers. I am not alone in this opinion. Notably, Michael Repacholi, former Head of the WHO EMF Project has similar opinion and he said in his Guest Blog on BRHP: “my concern is that there is an over-reliance on epidemiology studies.”

The problem with the, so far, executed epidemiological studies in RF-EMF area is the inadequate radiation dosimetry.

In some studies, like the case-control studies (Interphone, Hardell and CERENAT) the dosimetry is based on what person remembers. It is very crude information. However, in defense of the planners of case-control studies, it is necessary to mention that when the Interphone was being planned, and I participated in these discussions as then Head of Radiation Biology Laboratory of STUK, scientists asked network operators to provide information on the use of cell phones by study subjects. Operators refused, calling the information “trade secret”. So, the scientists had to rely on peoples’ memory…

Situation of dosimetry data in cohort studies is even worse. Scientists attempted to avoid reliance on users’ memory but, instead of improving exposure data, they made it worse. The dosimetry evidence in cohort studies, Danish Cohort and Million Women Study, is absolutely inadequate to use it as proof of no risk of cancer from the use of cell phones.

However, the ICNIRP scientists just do so. They quote Danish Cohort and Million Women Study as the evidence of no cancer risk. At the same time they simply dismiss the evidence provided by the case control studies.

In the past, I wrote critically about the Danish Cohort and the UK’s Million Women Study.

My critical evaluation of the Danish Cohort was published in The Scientist Magazine whereas evaluation of the Million Women Study I published in my blog on The Washington Times Communities site.

In the case of the critical evaluation of the Million Women Study, I did not rely on my own opinion but I also asked opinions of several prominent epidemiologists. Full texts of these opinions were published in the above mentioned blog on The Washington Times Communities site. Here, are just a few very brief quotes from these opinions:

Michael Kundi of the Medical University of Vienna, Austria,:

“…I regret to say that the authors have not put much thought into the issue of mobile phone use and brain tumors…”

Bruce Armstrong of the Sydney University, Australia,:

“…While this study adds to the evidence on the relationship between mobile phone use and intracranial tumours, it does not add sufficiently, in my opinion, to shift in either direction the IARC’s conclusion that there is limited evidence in humans for carcinogenicity of radiofrequency radiation.”

Joel Moskowitz of the University of California at Berkeley:

With regard to investigating the association between cell phone use and subsequent tumor risk (which was not the primary purpose of the “million women” study), this study had several major shortcomings which would undermine its ability to find this association…

Mark Elwood, of the University of Auckland in New:

“…So, another of many studies showing no risk from using cellphones, but like all other studies, it can’t prove that there’s no risk… And the study doesn’t cover men, younger people, or risks beyond about 10 years. So the debate will continue.”

Elisabeth Cardis, of CREAL-Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Spain and formerly Principal Investigator of the Interphone Project:

“…It would be nice to see results by some form of amount of use, but obviously the information collected is very limited – ever use, daily use and number of years – but perhaps looking at categories of daily use in different periods of time since start … but the numbers would get very small.”

From the above comments of prominent epidemiologists the general conclusion can be drawn that despite the size of The Million Women cohort, the numbers of tumors are small and the information about the cell phone use is nonexistent. Therefore, it is not possible to draw any scientifically reliable conclusions based on the results of The Million Women Study. It should be so but…

ICNIRP thinks differently.

The most recent example of “ICNIRP thinking” was presentation of Maria Feychting at the ICNIRP meeting in Wollongong, Australia. In abstract of the presentation Maria stated:

“…Most notably, a new high quality prospective study from the UK…”.

To be sure that we think about the same study, I asked Maria whether she meant the Million Women Study – yes, she confirmed… Maria’s abstract in full is here:

Feychting Wollongong Abstract

Both cohort studies (Danish and Million Women) were mentioned by Maria in her presentation. In conclusions slide was the following statement:

  • “Cohort studies with prospectively collected information about mobile phone use have not found an increased risk of brain tumors or acoustic neuroma – but crude exposure information…”

It looks like on the one hand Maria Feychting considers data from the cohort studies as insufficient because of poor exposure data but, at the same time, she uses both cohort studies as a proof of no cancer risk. To me “something does not add up” here. “ICNIRP thinking“?

The same “ICNIRP thinking” applies to the chapter on cancer in the draft of the Environmental Health Criteria. The reason for this similarity is simple; Maria Feychting was the point-person responsible for writing this chapter.

It looks like ICNIRP dictates the WHO EMF Project what science says. In fact it looks like the WHO EMF Project was “hijacked” by the ICNIRP and the reality is that


ICNIRP prepares guidelines that are recommended for implementation around the world by the WHO EMF Project. Prominent ICNIRP members write draft of the Environmental Health Criteria of the WHO EMF Project. My “wild guess” is that ICNIRP scientists will be prominently on the WHO Task Group that will prepare conclusions and recommendations for the Environmental Health Criteria.

It means that WHO says what ICNIRP says and ICNIRP uses WHO to propagate own message… No accountability, no responsibility…



14 thoughts on “Epidemiology: ICNIRP hijacked WHO EMF Project

  1. Pingback: Is ICNIRP reliable enough to dictate meaning of science to the governmental risk regulators? | BRHP – Between a Rock and a Hard Place

  2. To know your history is to understand your present and shape your future… I have a couple of suggestions for further reading below:

    Nicholas H. Steneck, Harold J. Cook, Arthur J. Vander and Gordon L. Kane: The Origins of U.S. Safety Standards for Microwave Radiation.

    John M. Osepchuk and Ronald C. Petersen: Historical Review of RF Exposure Standards and the International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety (ICES).

    Jerry L. Phillips, Oleg Ivaschuk, Tamako Ishida-Jones, Robert A. Jones, Mary Campbell-Beachler and Wendy Haggren: DNA damage in Molt-4 T-lymphoblastoid cells exposed to cellular
    telephone radiofrequency fields in vitro.

    Michael Repacholi, Jochen Buschmann, Claudio Pioli and Roza Sypniewska: An International Project to Confirm Soviet-Era Results on Immunological and Teratological Effects of RF Field Exposure in Wistar Rats and Comments on Grigoriev et al. [2010].

    Yuri Grigoriev: Comments from the Russian Group on Repacholi et al. ‘An International Project to Confirm Soviet Era Resultson Immunological and Teratological Effects of RF Field Exposure
    in Wistar Rats and Comments on Grigoriev et al. [2010]’.

  3. Pingback: CHALLENGE for Dr. van Deventer of the WHO EMF Project | BRHP – Between a Rock and a Hard Place

  4. It’s not too late to submit a comment to WHO on the content of their draft–or the lack of content. Many significant studies were excluded; some were never even mentioned. It seems that WHO is purposefully missing the point along with the papers. The time is now.

    To provide comments, please go to https://extranet.who.int/datacol/form.asp?id=3092
    User name: RFconsultation
    Password: RFconsultation

    Link to the draft: http://www.who.int/peh-emf/research/rf_ehc_page/en/

  5. It is time to quit relying on the words of “experts” on ALL sides of the EM radiation debate. “Experts” could suck the life out of every being on the planet, and still fail to reach a rational conclusion, because “experts” are paid to say whatever is expedient to their cause. That should be perfectly clear by now.
    Legal “experts” have systematically ruined any chance of believing first hand personal testimony, and will lie or conceal facts until Hell freezes over. That should be rather clear as well. The ICNIRP, the World Health Organization, and all subcategories of the United Nations belong to the same glee club. If you fail to sing the tune in the same key, they drum you into oblivion like they’re trying to do to persons like Olle Johansson.
    Get rid of the nattering slobs who call themselves scientists and “experts”, whilst you still have a planet left to save…

  6. Dariusz, This comment is from Daryl Vernon who can not post it himself right now:

    May 2011 Council of Europe report on dangers of wireless:

    “it is most curious, to say the least, that the applicable official threshold values for limiting the health impact of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields and high frequency waves were drawn up and proposed to international political institutions (WHO, European Commission, governments) by the ICNIRP, an NGO whose origin and structure are none too clear and which is furthermore suspected of having rather close links with the industries whose expansion is shaped by recommendations for maximum threshold values for the different frequencies of electromagnetic fields”

    Daryl also asks–and this is in my own words– if the narrow focus on dosimetry might be misleading in itself as a measure of a study’s merit. I will add: Are the criteria for these RF epidemiological studies different from the criteria for epidemiological studies of other hazardous exposures? Is RF exposure unique in a way that makes it difficult to quantify? And what about supporting the epidemiological studies with studies that show that various effects occur at a multitude of different signal strengths, frequencies, and modulation forms, etc?

    Thank you.

  7. Distrust in the WHO is a perpetual problem.

    The IARC working group that declared wireless technology a Group 2B carcinogen was “hijacked” by Hardell and his sycophants. Hardell’s participation as an expert witness in plaintiff’s cases dates back at least to the 2002 case, $800 million Newman vs. Motorola et al. Still, there was no mention of conflict of interest while others with industry ties were appropriately excluded.

    The exclusion of a conflict of interest from an expert witness, whose testimony’s value is highly correlated with his research results, is inexcusable.

    Yes, there is deep distrust with the WHO.

    FYI, your blog is swarming with sellers of EMF protections devices.

  8. ‘Doubt is a shroud’. Telecom will not give up information for a reason. If the truth remains hidden, doubt continues, and profit continues. The tabaco industry kept their doubt filled dream alive for 90 years. Now they are involved in ‘trillions of dollars’ worth of lawsuites. Telecom will meet the same fate. Who is looking up the ‘disclosure’ or ‘lack there of’ for each individual involved in assessing the real science?

  9. Independent non industry funded scientists are describing our over exposure to EMF radiation as the BIGGEST health threat our planet and its inhabitants have ever faced. See what the experts are saying at http://EMFsummit.com

  10. Is the following statement true or not :Dr Repacholi has been thoroughly discredited because he has received $100,000 from the industry?

  11. Sorry to sound pessimistic,but i would not trust the data – would you?Unless there is same way to ensure that it has not been tampered with.

  12. FDA Form For Reporting Radiation Harm Caused By – Cell Phones)On this doc the FDA lists cell phones
    as a source of harmful radiation – ??

  13. Maria Feychting – the brain tumor stats were under reported in Sweden – so it is higher than claimed – were any studies based on those wrong figures?

  14. Exposure data recording should defintely be implemented on the telecom industry, and scientists should be allowed to get the data that tells the usage summary on cell phones per subject. I think they should now understand that the mobile market is very much developed and mature, and that responsibility for making possible new research would be ethically justified. I think if data from the past is really available, then it should be given up ASAP.

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