ICNIRP will debate ‘Thresholds of thermal damage’

On May 26 – 28, 2015, ICNIRP will meet in Istanbul, Turkey, to revisit its own old ideas on thermal and non-thermal effects of cell phone radiation. According to the ICNIRP’s announcement, the scope of the meeting on “Thresholds of thermal damage” is as follows:

In view of updating the guidance on limiting exposure to high frequency (HF) fields, ICNIRP will review the current scientific knowledge on the thresholds of thermal damage. The current workshop will revisit the ICNIRP 1998 concept, namely that the health relevant increase of body core temperature is approximately 1° C and a whole-body exposure with an average SAR of 4 W/kg result in a core temperature increase of less than 1°C within 30 min. Details of this concept as well as thresholds for partial/local body exposures are subjects to review.”

Closer look at the program gives an impression that the aim of the meeting is to re-confirm that exposures, causing increases of tissue temperature by less than 1 degree Celsius, are harmless.

By organizing such workshop, ICNIRP, seemingly attempts to deal with the piling up evidence, indicating that exposures at levels below the current safety limits may cause biological and health effects in cells, animals and humans.

ICNIRP, urgently needs to address the problem: Are biological effects, caused by exposures below safety limits, harmful or not?

According to the “ICNIRP-made” draft of the WHO Environmental Health Criteria review, cell phone radiation causes only thermal effects. Non-thermal effects do not exist because… we do not know mechanism that could cause them.

Meeting in Istanbul might be just a way to re-confirm that thermal effects are the only effects and to re-assure that the effects are harmless, as long as the temperature rise does not exceed 1 degree Celsius. I think that we know that temperature increase by up to 1 degree Celsius is relatively harmless, and we know it before and without the Istanbul meeting of ICNIRP.

I think ICNIRP thinking on thermal and non-thermal effects goes in wrong direction. ICNIRP considers only macro-scale effects and bulk heating of the tissue. In my opinion, ICNIRP should turn its attention to the micro-scale effects, happening on level of cells, organelles and molecules.

I will participate in the ICNIRP meeting on “Thresholds of thermal damage” and write blog on what has happened in Istanbul.