Leszczynski: Abstract of the forthcoming Key-Note Presentation at the ARPS2017

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Art of Radiation Protection in the Wireless Era

Dariusz Leszczynski, PhD, DSc, Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry, University of Helsinki, Finland

Wireless communication devices and its infrastructure, emitting man-made modulated radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMF), is omnipresent in our lives and environment.

This technology, developed for the US military, was not tested for human health hazard before it was commercially deployed. The US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) justified permission for such deployment by the “low-power exclusion rule” – the radiation was assumed to be unable to affect human health.

However, afterwards, epidemiological case-control studies and studies examining the sleep EEG have provided a compelling, though indirect, evidence that this low-power radiation affects human physiology.

In 2011, epidemiological case-control studies, together with animal studies, were the basis for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to classify low-power RF-EMF emitted by the wireless communication devices as a possible human carcinogen.

Because the appropriate scientific studies in human volunteers remain to be not executed (!) we do not know the biophysical mechanism how low-power RF-EMF elicits physiological responses.

In the vast majority of the human volunteer studies the study subjects were acutely exposed to low-power RF-EMF and either already during, or shortly after the exposure, asked to describe their feelings; including whether they recognized when the RF-EMF exposure was on or off. Such a set-up of experiments is too crude and biased, by the potential emotional stress of the study subjects, to prove or disprove the existence of any physiological effect. Furthermore, such studies do not provide any answers about delayed responses or outcomes of chronic exposures.

The lack of the acute effects does not automatically mean that low-power RF-EMF has no impact on human physiology. Only studies examining changes in the biochemistry of human body, in response to low-power RF-EMF exposure, will provide scientifically valid information on the potentially affected physiological processes.

It is very likely that individual sensitivity to low-power RF-EMF affects part of the population. The unanswered question is, what is this RF-EMF power level?

Epidemiological case-control studies indicate that the current safety limits for the radiation emitted by the wireless communication devices do not protect all users. Results of these studies are based on experimental data where people used cell phones that were in full compliance with the current safety limits. However, avid use of such cell phones has been shown to increase risk of developing brain cancer.

This means that the safety limits, set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and by the International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety, are insufficient to protect all users and need to be revised.

The new 5th generation technology for wireless communication (5G) and the internet of things (IoT) are being fast developed by the industry. Again, technology is to be implemented without knowledge of its impact on human health. There is a complete lack of biomedical research on effects, if any, of the 5G radiation (millimetre-waves) on humans. Industry’s only justification for such hasty and premature deployment of 5G and IoT is that it will emit only low-power radiation.

But we know, from the past experience when the US FDA permitted deployment of untested for human health hazard RF-EMF emitting devices, the low-power emissions alone is an insufficient reason to justify deployment.

Concluding, in the current situation of scientific uncertainty, shown by the 2011 IARC carcinogenicity classification, the Precautionary Principle, as defined by the European Union, should be invoked for the currently deployed wireless communication technology: “…Whether or not to invoke the Precautionary Principle is a decision exercised where scientific information is insufficient, inconclusive, or uncertain and where there are indications that the possible effects on environment, or human, animal or plant health may be potentially dangerous and inconsistent with the chosen level of protection…”.

Furthermore, the lack of research on the biological effects of radiation emitted by the 5G and IoT technologies should be the reason for a temporary moratorium on the preparations for the massive deployment of 5G and IoT and for urgent setting up research projects to examine biological effects of 5G- and IoT-emitted radiation on humans.


12 thoughts on “Leszczynski: Abstract of the forthcoming Key-Note Presentation at the ARPS2017

  1. Hi all,
    I have only just started looking at this issue and the points raised here seem like simple common sense to me when our brains are wired electrically. My question is “Has there been any work done to determine if EMR can affect or change a persons (or any other organism for that matter) DNA?”
    Regards Rod

  2. Pingback: Leszczynski: Free Public Lecture at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia | BRHP – Between a Rock and a Hard Place

  3. Safety limits are for cancer and for any other health hazard… Cancer is one example that I used because epidemiological studies on brain cancer show that safety limits are insufficient to protect everyone. There are no such good examples of harm for other physiological functions of human body as the brain cancer.

  4. Dear Dariusz,
    Your answer is a possible explanation of the facts. Some cellphone users get cancer and most do not. But sheer luck of the healthy users seems to be another possible explanation of the same facts. And the current radiation limits were not even influenced by protecting people from cancer. I think that with both the alternative explanations, when a large number of people are exposed to radiation a certain proportion of them will get cancer and nobody knows in advance which people those will be. So with the current state of knowledge it seems reasonable to reduce radiation exposure of everyone regardless of which explanation is the right one.
    I guess its an unknown mix of luck and personal sensitivity, it does not matter unless such a sensitivity could be diagnosed before the exposure.
    Best regards,
    Michael Peleg

  5. Prof. L — You say: “Safety limits are implemented to protect people from carcinogens. Level of exposure matters. In the case of RF-EMF, in my opinion, it is likely that the majority of population is protected by the current safety limits but there is a minority that might not be protected because of their higher sensitivity to RF-EMF.”

    Why are safety limits only focused on carcinogens, and why is this seen as the measure for whether people are protected or not?

    True safety protections should protect against all injury, not just cancer. Take the physical safety features of cars – airbags, for example – these are not designed to protect occupants from cancer, but from other kinds of harm to passengers and the public.

    So why is carcinogenicity the only measure for RF-emitting technologies? This seems extremely short-sighted — not least given the many, many disease areas that are burgeoning in this modern age — dementia, autism, etc.

    We know from JAMA 2011 that cell phones can cause changes in brain glucose chemistry. What about sperm damage, too? Why are safety levels not protecting this? After all, these sperm contain tomorrow’s scientists!

    Measuring RF against carcinogenicity only? This sounds like a red herring and a means of controlling the argument around RF harm. We need to zoom out and look across the board.

  6. Dear Michael,
    Safety limits are implemented to protect people from carcinogens. Level of exposure matters. In the case of RF-EMF, in my opinion, it is likely that the majority of population is protected by the current safety limits but there is a minority that might not be protected because of their higher sensitivity to RF-EMF.

  7. Dear Dariusz,
    Thank you for the interesting note.
    You wrote: “Epidemiological case-control studies indicate that the current safety limits for the radiation emitted by the wireless communication devices do not protect all users.”
    Does it imply that some users are protected? Can we say about any carcinogen that some people are protected from it if some of the exposed do not get cancer?
    I think that it is possible to label the users who did not get cancer as “not sensitive to RF radiation” or “lucky”. But do we know which label is the correct one?

    And of course you did not write that some users are protected.

    Best regards,
    Michael Peleg

  8. Unfortunately, in controlled experiments in laboratory conditions this didn’t happen. And this is a problem. Published scientific studies do not show such “feeling of EMF” effect.

  9. I am so damaged from this technology that I can tell (feel pain) when a jet is coming BEFORE I CAN HEAR OR SEE IT. I CAN PROVE ELECTRO-MAGNETIC WAVES CAN BE FELT!

  10. It would seem that Tom Whitney’s linked “Safe for Generations to Come” primarily resides in the realms of presuming harm can only really come from heating. This reasoning is tiresome and flawed.

  11. Thanks Tom, will read it and include in my soon forthcoming brief report on 5G and health. This review is, yet again, arguing whether there are non-thermal effects. This debate is , in my opinion, obsolete. We need to look whether low-power exposures cause biological effects. No matter whether these effects are caused by small changes in temperature or not. For now we do not know how radiation affects real living cell, with all the hydrofilic compartments delineated by hydrofobic membranes that are very selectively permeable for ions and molecules. Without this knowledge the continuous yes-or-no arguments about thermal and non-thermal effects is pointless as it is missing scientific justification. Also, I looked at the specialized database of EMF Portal and there are not many experimental studies on mm-waves. Furthermore, the majority of them is useless for determining human health hazard and risk of it. There is not enough of studies on human skin interaction with mm-waves. So, there are studies on biological effects of mm-waves but they are not enough to say for sure that there is and will not be biological effects. Pertinent research has not been done.

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