Comment from Mona Nilsson in response to Eric van Rongen’s comment on BRHP

On March 30, 2018, I published a blog “Aftermath of the peer-review of the NTP study: Do not hold your breath…”

In this blog post I wrote:

When group of experts is assembled and the experts’ careers do not depend, in either direct or indirect way, on the telecoms, then the real scientific evaluation takes place. Not just a rubber-stamping of an opinion that is convenient for the telecoms, as it is done by the ICNIRP, WHO EMF Project and ICES. Because in ICNIRP and WHO EMF Project and ICES careers of the scientists are industry-dependent, even when the scientists are not directly employed by the industry. However, at ICES, the majority of the scientists is either employed by the industry or are consultants for the industry.”

“In response to this opinion expressed in my blog, Eric van Rongen, Chairman of the ICNIRP commented as follows:

What an utter nonsense to state that the careers of the scientists involved in ICNIRP and the WHO EMF Project depend on industry. You may not agree with the positions taken by us, but please do not spread such unfounded allegations. Declarations of interest that are available for all of us indicate just the opposite: no industry involvement or connections.”

In response to this comment from Eric van Rongen, Mona Nilsson from Sweden posted the following, well worth considering, comment.

Mona Nilsson wrote:

“May I remind Eric van Rongen and the readers here that many declarations of interests and claims to be free from ties to industry in the past have later been proven to be false.

One such recent example is prof. Anders Ahlbom who never reported as a conflict of interest that his brother was a long term lobbyist for the major Swedish Telecom operator Telia in Brussels. while Anders Ahlbom was an “independent expert” for years to EU, ICNIRP, WHO and dominated all Swedish expert opinions on the issue. He also omitted his involvement in the lobbying firm of his brother.
Other example from other issues is professor Ragnar Rylander who secretly had a non-declared contract with Philip Morris for 30 year – until it was discovered.

We who work seriously with this issue cannot see any other logic than that your career as expert must be dependent of industry and that your “positions” all along have been to the benefit of industry when doing a “who-benefits” analysis of your statements that ignores or downplays the massive amount of data and research results that clearly and repeatedly show negative health effects..Also when analyzing the industry positions we can clearly see that they appreciate and make use of your “positions”.

You never declare that your “position” is in fact a minority position::over 200 other scientists do not agree, Neither do we who are checking the facts.

That your career is industry dependent is particularly striking in view of the following facts:
1. your clear lack of own research merits from the issue of health effects from EMF
2. your position as influential expert on ICNIRP, EU, WHO, Sweden, Holland and more….(why in view of 1?)
3. your constant denial of any health risks although evidence of harm is abundant (why? see for instance
4. your close involvement in the WHO EMF project while it was not clearly and openly declared as funded by GSM Association and MMF – or did you declare that in your declarations of interests?
5 your many years of involvement in IEEE/ICES – an industry organization.

And still although you make HIGHLY dubious statements that are clearly false (see example below) you are not prepared to take personal responsibility for the statements.

I asked you 1 year ago:
“Are you prepared to take full responsibility for the statement in the report of the Health Council of the Netherlands, in view of the fact that 75% of Swedish teenagers (girls) use their smartphones for over 3 hours a day” ? Are you thereby prepared to take full responsibility that there are no observed (or appeared) health and cancer risks for a normal use of a smart phone today among Swedes i.e. 3 hours a day or even lower (1 hour a day) for a period of up to 15 year s of mobile phone use”?

You had claimed:

“Altogether it (research results”) provides no or at most little indications for a risk for up to approximately 15 years of mobile phone use.”

This is clearly false – to claim “no indications for a risk up to 15 years” or even that there is “little”. Four meta-analysis published 2017 concludes that altogether studies on mobile phone use show increased risks for brain tumors.
Many brain tumors are deadly.

Most teenagers use the mobile phone for hours today. Much more than what has been shown in repeated studies to increase the risk of brain tumors (i e from 20-30 min/day)

The responsibility of denial of brain tumor and cancer risks from all the evidence available today for a clear increased risk should be huge.”


7 thoughts on “Comment from Mona Nilsson in response to Eric van Rongen’s comment on BRHP

  1. Please do listen to what Eric van Rongen claims during the first 45 seconds of this video from Stockholm May 2016: Eric van Rongen, who has no experience from own laboratory research on EMF.s claim that studies in the field are “such a low quality”, “such poor studies”, “a waist of money” and that he therefore “cannot draw any firm conclusions” from the available scientific results.

    This is in striking opposition to over 200 scientists:

    “Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.” (EMF Scientist appeal)

    Eric van Rongen has no merits from past research that explains his influential position as judge over what is good or bad research with world-wide consequences in terms of harm and no protection of the public.

    We are not only talking about cancer risks, There is abundant evidence for many kinds of serious harms ,for instance Alzheimers from low frequency EMF:s.

    Anke Huss at the same seminar in Stockholm 2016 showed that a clear majority of epidemiological studies showed increased risk for Alzheimers, ALS and cancer from exposure to EMF:s far below the ICNIRP-recommended “safety limits”. When asked about why do they not recommend precautions in view of the clear evidence, she referred to the claims of Eric van Rongen who claimed to be incapable of drawing any “firm conclusions”

    The consequence of Eric van Rongens “positions” is that the whole world population can legally be exposed to EMF levels that are known to be harmful and increasingly so, to the benefit of a few (the industry). We see in Sweden the consequences during recent yeras in terms of a sharply increasing trend of mental illness (= microwave syndrome) and a rise in neurological diseases and cancers.

    In a well functioning system persons given influential positions as Eric van Rongen should be held personally accountable for the consequences of dismissing all the abundant evidence of harm below ICNIRP levels and dishonestly claim that ICNIRP limits protect against all known effects (as Eric van Rongen and his friends in the ICNIRP industry biased cartel do).

  2. Pingback: Publications by Eric van Rongen, Chairman of ICNIRP | BRHP – Between a Rock and a Hard Place

  3. Mona Nilsson pointed out that Eric van Rongen has not published original research on EMF. Indeed, the majority of Eric van Rongen’s publications are reviews or opinions but not original research. For those unfamiliar, Eric van Rongen worked for the WHO EMF Project (on a “loan” from the TNO).

    PubMed database lists only 12 articles by Eric van Rongen and here is the list:
    1. Supporting non-experts in judging the credibility of risk assessments (CORA). Wiedemann PM, Boerner F, Dürrenberger G, Estenberg J, Kandel S, van Rongen E, Vogel E. Sci Total Environ. 2013 Oct 1;463-464:624-30. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.06.034. Epub 2013 Jul 6.
    2. WHO research agenda for radiofrequency fields. van Deventer E, van Rongen E, Saunders R. Bioelectromagnetics. 2011 Jul;32(5):417-21. doi: 10.1002/bem.20660. Epub 2011 Mar 14.
    3. Exposure classification of MRI workers in epidemiological studies. Hansson Mild K, Hand J, Hietanen M, Gowland P, Karpowicz J, Keevil S, Lagroye I, van Rongen E, Scarfi MR, Wilén J. Bioelectromagnetics. 2013 Jan;34(1):81-4. doi: 10.1002/bem.21728. Epub 2012 Apr 24.
    4. Do people with idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields display physiological effects when exposed to electromagnetic fields? A systematic review of provocation studies. Rubin GJ, Hillert L, Nieto-Hernandez R, van Rongen E, Oftedal G. Bioelectromagnetics. 2011 Dec;32(8):593-609. doi: 10.1002/bem.20690. Epub 2011 Jul 18. Review.
    5. Health Council of The Netherlands: no need to change from SAR to time-temperature relation in electromagnetic fields exposure limits. van Rhoon GC, Aleman A, Kelfkens G, Kromhout H, Van Leeuwen FE, Savelkoul HF, Wadman WJ, Van De Weerdt RD, Zwamborn AP, Van Rongen E; Electromagnetic Fields Committee Of The Health Council Of The Netherlands. Int J Hyperthermia. 2011;27(4):399-404. doi: 10.3109/02656736.2010.534528.
    6. Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields on the human nervous system. van Rongen E, Croft R, Juutilainen J, Lagroye I, Miyakoshi J, Saunders R, de Seze R, Tenforde T, Verschaeve L, Veyret B, Xu Z. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2009 Oct;12(8):572-97. doi: 10.1080/10937400903458940. Review.
    7. Rapporteur’s report on Session 3: Biology and mechanisms. van Rongen E. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2011 Dec;107(3):408-11. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2011.09.015. Epub 2011 Sep 22. No abstract available.
    8. A Closer Look at the Thresholds of Thermal Damage: Workshop Report by an ICNIRP Task Group. Sienkiewicz Z, van Rongen E, Croft R, Ziegelberger G, Veyret B. Health Phys. 2016 Sep;111(3):300-6. doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000539.
    9. Mobile phones and children: is precaution warranted? van Rongen E, Roubos EW, van Aernsbergen LM, Brussaard G, Havenaar J, Koops FB, van Leeuwen FE, Leonhard HK, van Rhoon GC, Swaen GM, van de Weerdt RH, Zwamborn AP. Bioelectromagnetics. 2004 Feb;25(2):142-4.
    10. Static fields: biological effects and mechanisms relevant to exposure limits. van Rongen E, Saunders RD, van Deventer ET, Repacholi MH. Health Phys. 2007 Jun;92(6):584-90.
    11. COMAR technical information statement: expert reviews on potential health effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields and comments on the bioinitiative report. Committee on Man and Radiation (COMAR). Health Phys. 2009 Oct;97(4):348-56. doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e3181adcb94
    12. International workshop “effects of static magnetic fields relevant to human health” Rapporteurs report: dosimetry and volunteer studies. van Rongen E. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2005 Feb-Apr;87(2-3):329-33. No abstract available.

  4. Thank you for publishing the truth about the hidden conflicts of interest in these regulating agencies. Health Canada and the American FDA/FCC are just as riddled with industry influence.

  5. Another example of conflicts of interest is Sir Richard Doll. It was revealed that he was a secret paid consultant to Monsanto while defending Agent Orange, a TCDD-contaminated herbicide used e.g. during the Vietnam war. History seems to be repeating now regarding the carcinogenicity of radiofrequency radiation. Many of those propagating the ‘no risk paradigm’ seem to be tied to e.g. ICNIRP. It should be noted that the Ethical Board at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden concluded already in 2008 that being a member of ICNIRP may be a conflict of interest that should be stated officially whenever a member from ICNIRP makes opinions on health risks from EMF (Karolinska Institute Diary Number 3753-2008-609).
    For more reading see: Walker MJ (ed): Corporate Ties That Bind: An Examination of Corporate Manipulation and Vested Interest in Public Health. Skyhorse Publishing 2017.

  6. This delusional rant does not seem to address, let alone rebut the simple fact that Eric stated in his comment. Maybe this missive from Mona is a bad translation from Swedish? And, perhaps Dariusz could distill it down into a summary in plain English.

    I’m particularly interested in the Philip Morris reference. Is that somehow relevant – or just part of the usual anti-wireless smoke and mirrors?

  7. Yes, its highly questionable that Public Health authorities choose a minority report authored by a closed group of people with little documented expertise in that field.

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