We need CONSENSUS, not another COMMISSION…

Today morning, Oct. 18, 2022, I received message from Devra Davis with a surprising and puzzling subject line “Major New Paper by International Commission on Wireless Technology Presents Case For Revision of Human Exposure Limits“. The puzzling part was this ‘International Commission on Wireless Technology‘ that I never heard of… and for good reason.

This ‘International Commission on Wireless Technology‘ is in fact a new commission established in 2021 under the name of The International Commission on the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (ICBE-EMF).

The reason for e-mail from Devra Davis was that this new commission, ICBE-EMF, has published a paper “Scientific evidence invalidates health assumptions underlying the FCC and ICNIRP exposure limit determinations for radiofrequency radiation: implications for 5G“, that is in fact a comment (according to the journal website) that:

is challenging the safety of current wireless exposure limits to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) and is calling for an independent evaluation.

So far so good, as also I have, in my many writings (peer-reviewed and blogs) questioned the reliability of the current safety limits and called for re-evaluation of the ICNIRP safety guidelines. For example here, in my blog published on February 18, 2021: ‘Clear indication that ICNIRP review of science is skewed and should be independently validated‘, or in another blog published on December 10, 2020: ‘Leszczynski: Statement on the need for validation of ICNIRP’s review of science‘ with this image:

However, the look at the website of the ICBE-EMF was not anymore so good.

Firstly, the origin of the Commission:

Founded in 2021, ICBE-EMF was commissioned by the advisors to the International EMF Scientist Appeal.

Secondly, the Commissioners, the Executive Board, the Experts, and the Managers – we know many of them from the past attempts to challenge the hegemony of the ICNIRP and the IEEE-ICES, as participants of the the International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS), and its numerous ‘Resolutions‘, and the BioInitiative (I declined invitations and I was not involved in ICEMS or BioInitiative).

Thirdly, even that I agree with some of the scientific claims made by the ICBE-EMF in their comment-article, these are the same opinions and claims that were already published over the many years in a variety of peer-reviewed articles by numerous scientists, including myself, but – sadly – without any significant impact on ICNIRP or IEEE-ICES.

Why now, this new Commission would matter more?

  • Because they mimic in their publication ICNIRP style of authorship and there are no individual scientists listed but the authorship is on the behalf of ICBE-EMF?
  • Because the website mimic ICNIRP website?
  • Because they published a fact sheet, like the WHO?

Sorry, but I don’t “buy it”.

Even though they are clearly more efficient administratively (website, press release) than the earlier attempts by ICEMS and BioInitiative, what matters in the end is not only the science but also who is backing it.

ICNIRP and IEEE-ICES have very powerful and influential backers from the industry. Hence, these groups are very influential with the WHO and with the Governments

How about ICBE-EMF? Who is backing it? Who is funding it? Many questions – time will tell the answers, hopefully.

To me the ICBE-EMF looks like an “old guard” of the same scientific experts “re-packaged” under a new, more flashy name and website.

Why now ICNIRP/IEEE-ICES or WHO would listen to ICBE-EMF science? The simple answer is – they will not. I am pessimist.

In my opinion this is not what we need. We don’t need “new” Commission. We need consensus re-evaluation of the ICNIRP/IEEE-ICES safety guidelines and safety limits as I stated above. We need a consensus debate, inclusive of diverse view points and opinions, that would assure that the safety guidelines and safety limits are indeed safe.

Such consensus debate is possible. The proof of it is the 2011 IARC evaluation of the carcinogenicity of the RF-EMF, where the Working Group of the invited scientists included a large diversity of scientific opinions.

This is what we need – a serious consensus debate that would assure the reliability of the safety guidelines and safety limits based on scientific evidence and not on assumptions.



15 thoughts on “We need CONSENSUS, not another COMMISSION…

  1. Who gains from the discussion “new comission” or “gentleman style”. The polarizisation in the discussion reminds me of a principle the Roman empire was built on: “Divide et impera” = “Divide (the others) and Rule (their fragments)”.

    The goal of reaching a “consensus” would be to integrate “non thermal adverse health effects” into the views of the Bishops that preach the dogma “thermal”.
    It reminds me of the Vatican bishops who prefered the earth as “flat”. After Galileo Galilei it needed generations for the new perspective to become part of our life. And surprise, at that time there was no industry using the “flat earth” for their business.

    I do not have to go back to the middle ages. As students we had academic teachers who taught us theirs opposing views. Despite they were teaching at the same University “Consensus” was no option. We knew our answer at the exam, and knew that the settlement requires one Professor to retire or die. ICNIRP et al. will never die, as long it serves (and is backed by) a worldwide successful industry.

    Being in the field since over 20 years my question is: “who backs a consensus?”, and “can it be reached?”, and “how can it be reached?” I very much support the consensus concept – in an ideal world. However, I understand the yearning for alternatives, i.e. an alternate commission. If the polarizing discussion brings us any further, I am grateful to the initiator and the contributors?

  2. There is a time for each of the various tools in the box:
    The “war” on health effects of tobacco smoking was not won by setting up a “balanced” commission to reach a compromise supported by the industry. Only later, after the industry being defeated and the playground redefined, compromises and some support from the industry were possible.
    And yes, a war has to be transformed into a situation where compromises and a common ground can be created. A war without attempts to get the opponents to the table, leads nowhere but more destruction. But no common ground can be found when one of the parties – or both – fight to defend mutually exclusive views.
    Hence, we need the confrontational fight for the acceptance of athermal effects, as well as negotiations/cooperative efforts if there are any fora open for such. After some years of attempting a dialogue with the authorities in my country, I have found no such fora and given up. Remains the use science, of law/courtrooms and media confrontations to prove their policy is unfounded/misfounded, unscientific, foolish and damaging for the health of the population at large, as well as the environment.

  3. While it’s true that forming new commission may not force ICNIRP, ICES, WHO to the consensus table, what’s especially needed is tremendous public pressure. Any credible group that gets publicity and raises public awareness re EMF dangers is helpful. I applaud the new commission and wish it well.

  4. The only thing likely to force ICNIRP, ICES, WHO to the consensus table, is legal action, otherwise they will ignore all scientific proof, the “victims” are the real evidence, but little is done in bringing them to the table, I have said many times experts who only read the work of others to form their opinions, but never try exposure at “Legal levels ” for themselves, don’t know what the truth is, as we have seen from the opinions of the organizations above. Until we all come together as one, to confront the lies, nothing will change

  5. I like the idea of ICBE-EMF, the format being somewhat similar to ICNIRP and the main difference being that ICBE-EMF does not ignore scientific findings. So people are invited to compare the two aproaches.

  6. Unfortunately, it is likely they will end up as ICEMS and BioInitiative.

  7. Concerning “We need CONSENSUS, not another COMMISSION…”

    The opposite is the case! Consensus can only appear if ICNIRP completely disappears.

    Congratulations to the new comission on EMF:

    The International Commission on the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (ICBE-EMF)

  8. You seem to be stuck on the idea that any effort of value has to directly “force ICNIRP, ICES, & WHO to the consensus table.” That is false. Increasing more widespread awareness and understanding among the public and other scientists and professionals can build a force that is much stronger than any of them, and that can keep a watchful eye on the activities and connections of members of those groups. Wasn’t it investigative journalists who helped bring about the conditions that led to the successful and less conflict-of-interest laden IARC meeting of 2011? You have to get the word out. You have to educate people. Get their attention. You can’t just wait for the perfect situation.

  9. Forming new commission will not force ICNIRP, ICES, WHO to consensus table. It didn’t before. It won’t now. Something else is needed.

  10. BTW, the list of scientists participating on the commission is at the end of the paper.

  11. Keep in mind, Dariusz, you are now “an ‘old guard’ of the same scientific experts.” Your voice is no fresher, no more perfect, and not more effective than the others. Everyone strives in their own way to get the message out, to do what can be done to move the issue forward and get the public protected. When you talk about the perfection of IARC, you are talking about the good old days again. Remember they occurred under certain journalistic/political circumstances that may or may not be repeated. Be glad when others take the time and initiative to fight the good fight, one that you have dedicated yourself to, as well–even if it is not the way you would do it. And continue your own efforts to find or create the perfect vehicle for the kind of consensus meeting you want to see happen.

  12. I tried to post this comment and it wouldn’t take it so perhaps you can help me here.

    Or tell me what to do.

    By logging in you’ll post the following comment to We need CONSENSUS, not another COMMISSION…:

    In an ideal world there would not be a need for a new commission. Darius with all due respect, you and I and Martin Blank and Reba Goodman and Henry Lai and Franz Adlkofer and Wilhelm Mosgöller and Igor Beliaev have all been saying the same thing for a long time. ICNIRP has been completely tone deaf to our music.

    The psychiatrists say the definition of insanity is when you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    You are correct of course. In a level playing field where science worked democratically in a free and open society Through a marketplace of ideas, a consensus could be reached. The WHO of today is not the WHO of 2011 when the IARC took a brave and bold position. Because of these facts I think it’s important to give considerable attention to the message from chairman Ronald Melnick who is a new voice on this issue and new and younger champions like Erica, Mallery-Blythe, and Claudio Fernandez as well as more seasoned public health specialist like Joel Moskowitz of Berkeley. None of them was part of the bio initiative report. Let’s hope that the message they are sharing today is much more broadly distributed. Only when that happens will there be the kind of true open consensus that you and I agree is much much overdue.

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