ICNIRP did it again…

For many years I have been complaining about the unbalanced expert composition of the Main Commission of ICNIRP.

ICNIRP can, and should, be considered as a “private club” where, members of the new Main Commission are selected by the members of the outgoing Main Commission. It is a self-perpetuating and self-promoting German NGO that is not accountable for its actions at all. Nobody controls it. Nobody supervises it. Nobody checks it for conflicts of interests. Nobody checks it for the scientific accuracy. In all what and how ICNIRP does we, the general public, must rely on the self-assurances, from the ICNIRP, that all is in order.

One may ask whether such self-assurances are sufficient when ICNIRP is preparing advisories “enforced” world-wide by the WHO and applied by the numerous governments and by the multi-billion industry.

Industry must be lobbying on its own behalf. It is certain that lobbying happens, as it happens with any other industry, where billions are at stake. How the lobbying happens and in what forms, I do not know… but it certainly happens in some way or another. It would be irresponsible of the industry managers not to lobby on behalf of own products and services.

Looking at the composition of each new Main Commission of ICNIRP it is clear that the new members are selected for the similarity of their opinions on the subject of RF-EMF. This helps getting consensus, but this is just an “ICNIRP consensus” that does not represent the diversity of the scientific opinions existing outside of this “private club”.

The membership of the ICNIRP Main Commission that will end its operations in May 2016 is as follows:

  • Rüdiger Matthes, (Chair), Germany
  • Maria Feychting, (Vice Chair), Sweden
  • Rodney Croft, Australia
  • Adèle Green, Australia
  • Kari Jokela, Finland
  • James Lin, USA
  • Brian Lund, USA
  • Carmela Marino, Italy
  • Agnette Peralta, Philippines
  • Zenon Sienkiewicz, United Kingdom
  • Per Söderberg, United Kingdom
  • Bruce Stuck, USA
  • Eric van Rongen, Netherlands
  • Soichi Watanabe, Japan,

…and the above listed ICNIRP Main Commission members selected and approved the new members for the 2016-2020 term, shown below.

The composition of the ICNIRP Commission for the term of office 2016-2020, starting on May 13, 2016 is as follows:

  • Eric van Rongen (Chair), Netherlands
  • Maria Feychting (Vice Chair), Sweden
  • Rodney Croft, Australia
  • Guglielmo d’Inzeo, Italy
  • Adele Green, Australia
  • Akimasa Hirata, Japan
  • Brian Lund, USA
  • Carmela Marino, Italy
  • Sharon Miller, USA
  • Gunnhild Oftedal, Norway
  • Tsutomu Okuno, Japan
  • Martin Röösli, Switzerland
  • Zenon Sienkiewicz, United Kingdom
  • Soichi Watanabe, Japan

All members of the outgoing and the incoming Main Commission of ICNIRP are known for the same opinions:

  • RF-EMF does not cause any adverse health effects
  • Individual sensitivity to RF-EMF does not exist
  • The only mechanism of RF-EMF effects is thermal
  • the non-thermal effects do not exist.

In such opinion-unified group, finding scientific consensus is not necessary – it exists from the starting point of selecting the new members – the “scientific consensus” is pre-defined. Therefore, instead of the real scientific debate about the possible health effects there will be discussion about providing a convincing demonstration of the lack of any effects.

The scientific evidence will be looked from the view point of the, set a prori, notion of the lack of effects.

This is wrong and misleading scientifically. The evidence should be looked at more open-mindedly, to determine whether the existing scientific evidence of the possible health effects is credible and reliable. Such open-minded debate was conducted at IARC when the carcinogenicity of the RF-EMF was evaluated in 2011. It was possible because IARC, unlike ICNIRP and the WHO, invited group of scientists representing a much larger breadth of opinions. Besides those claiming lack of any effects, there were also those allowing such consideration (Armstrong, Belyaev, Blackman, Cardis, Hardell, Leszczynski, Portier).

What is also worrisome, scientists of the ICNIRP’s outgoing and incoming Main Commission (marked above in bold red) were and are the major players in preparation of the WHO Environmental Health Criteria for the RF-EMF. Among the scientists preparing EHC are no scientists considering the health effects exist or the non-thermal effects exist. This unbalanced representation of the scientific opinions is a great challenge for the WHO, as I wrote previously. How it will be handled, time will show…

I am NOT SAYING that the members of the ICNIRP Main Commission lack expertise. I am NOT SAYING that the newly selected members of the ICNIRP Main Commission should not be on the ICNIRP Main Commission. What I am SAYING is the current ICNIRP Main Commission and the Environmental Health Criteria draft preparatory group of experts do not represent all of the existing scientific opinions on the effects of EMF on human health.

The “ICNIRP consensus” is not yet the scientific consensus. ICNIRP did it again – selected scientifically unbalanced Main Commission.

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