Hardell L, Carlberg M. Health risks from radiofrequency radiation, including 5G, should be assessed by experts with no conflicts of interest. Oncol Lett. 2020;20(4):15. doi:10.3892/ol.2020.11876

by Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg

Abstract: The fifth generation, 5G, of radiofrequency (RF) radiation is about to be implemented globally without investigating the risks to human health and the environment. This has created debate among concerned individuals in numerous countries. In an appeal to the European Union (EU) in September 2017, currently endorsed by >390 scientists and medical doctors, a moratorium on 5G deployment was requested until proper scientific evaluation of potential negative consequences has been conducted. This request has not been acknowledged by the EU. The evaluation of RF radiation health risks from 5G technology is ignored in a report by a government expert group in Switzerland and a recent publication from The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. Conflicts of interest and ties to the industry seem to have contributed to the biased reports. The lack of proper unbiased risk evaluation of the 5G technology places populations at risk. Furthermore, there seems to be a cartel of individuals monopolizing evaluation committees, thus reinforcing the no-risk paradigm. We believe that this activity should qualify as scientific misconduct.


“Most politicians and other decision-makers using guidelines for exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation seem to ignore the risks to human health and the environment. The fact that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) at the World Health Organization (WHO) in May 2011 classified RF radiation in the frequency range of 30 kHz to 300 GHz to be a ‘possible’ human carcinogen, Group 2B (,), is being ignored. This has been recently exemplified in a hearing at the Tallinn Parliament in Estonia ().”

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“An important factor may be the influence on politicians by individuals and organizations with inborn conflicts of interests (COIs) and their own agenda in supporting the no-risk paradigm (,). The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has repeatedly ignored scientific evidence on adverse effects of RF radiation to humans and the environment. Their guidelines for exposure are based solely on the thermal (heating) paradigm and were first published in ICNIRP 1998 (), updated in ICNIRP 2009 () and have now been newly published in ICNIRP 2020 (), with no change of concept, only relying on thermal effects from RF radiation on humans. The large amount of peer-reviewed science on non-thermal effects has been ignored in all ICNIRP evaluations (,). Additionally, ICNIRP has successfully maintained their obsolete guidelines worldwide.”

Based on the Swiss and ICNIRP experiences, some recommendations can be made. One is to include only unbiased and experienced experts without COIs for evaluation of health risks from RF radiation. All countries should declare a moratorium on 5G until independent research, performed by scientists without any ties to the industry, confirms its safety or not. 2G, 3G, 4G and WiFi are also considered not to be safe, but 5G will be worse regarding harmful biological effects (,,). The authors of the present article recommend an educational campaign to educate the public about the health risks of RF radiation exposure, and safe use of the technology, such as the deployment of wired internet in schools (), as previously recommended by the European Council resolution 1815 in 2011 () and The EMF Scientist Appeal (). Additionally, it is recommended that the government takes steps to markedly decrease the current exposure of the public to RF radiation, (,). Notably, DNA damage has been identified in peripheral blood lymphocytes using the comet assay technique, and in buccal cells using the micronucleus assay, in individuals exposed to RF radiation from base stations ().

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“Finally, an alternative approach to the flawed ICNIRP safety standards may be the comprehensive work of the European Academy for Environmental Medicine (EUROPAEM) EMF working group that has resulted in safety recommendations, which are free from the ICNIRP shortcomings (). Recently, the International Guidelines on Non-Ionising Radiation (IGNIR) have accepted EUROPAEM safety recommendations (). The Bioinitiative group has recommended similar safety standards based on non-thermal EMF effects (). WHO and all nations should adopt the EUROPAEM/Bioinitiative/IGNIR safety recommendations, supported by the majority of the scientific community, instead of the obsolete ICNIRP standards.”

“In conclusion, it is important that all experts evaluating scientific evidence and assessing health risks from RF radiation do not have COIs or bias. Being a member of ICNIRP and being funded by the industry directly, or through an industry-funded foundation, constitute clear COIs. Furthermore, it is recommended that the interpretation of results from studies on health effects of RF radiation should take sponsorship from the telecom or other industry into account. It is concluded that the ICNIRP has failed to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of health risks associated with RF radiation. The latest ICNIRP publication cannot be used for guidelines on this exposure.”

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