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To give credence to a claim in conflict with science, ICNIRP authors cite themselves…

by Einar Flydal, Master political science, Master telecom strategy, retired, former researcher and strategy adviser in telecom

Recently, the news came that the paper has been published that Else Nordhagen, my former collegue in telecom research and development, and I have been working on for a long time. You may download it for free. It is a strictly formal analysis, but tells about behavior reminding of dressing up the bride, selling snake oil, or the creation of delusions by the use of smoke and mirrors.

You may download our paper for free:  https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/reveh-2022-0037/html

We analyzed in great detail the authorships on which the ICNIRP 2020 guidelines for radiation protection against “non-ionizing” radiation are founded. Our analysis shows that the new guidelines from ICNIRP, still based on the myth that radiation from radio and lower frequencies may only cause harm when causing overheated tissue, are underpinned and justified by the authors referring to themselves and their co-authors in their own small network, constituting a narrow circle of ICNIRP affiliated co-authors – though hidden behind a variety of first authors. In a way like sending Christmas cards to oneself to create the impression of having a lot of friends. 

In stead of being based on broad and accepted science, ICNIRP’s recommendations are in conflict with the dominant view in the professional environment, which is that even exposures way below the guidelines’ recommended upper limits may produce health effects, including many detrimental ones. In fact, the intensity of a signal might be almost irrelevant if only its pulses are sharp and «rightly» timed, a fact that by now is well documented, e.g. in the variety of sources reviewed and underpinned in (Panagopoulos et al 2021), by findings using various methodologies, and with biophysics in its strictest and most formal form. 

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To defend its position, ICNIRP is therefore in need of debunking all scientific results demonstrating effects at lower, non-thermal, levels, something which ICNIRP does, whether by leaving them unmentioned or uncommented, or by misinterpretations and other dubious behavior. Whether this is a trick or just a result of unqualified behavior, we can only guess.

Whatever the reason, motives and strategy thinking behind, a delusion is built by the ICNIRP 2020 authors’ selective use of literature references of a professional basis for the guidelines that seems broad, while in fact being very narrow. This is clearly exemplified by comparing the network positions of the most often occurring co-authors of the referenced literature, with that of the first authors’. (See the two versions of the graph, where nodes are (co-)authors and lines represent their relations.) 

ICNIRP and IEEE affiliates are the larger, central nodes in the graphs, reflecting that they are co-authors of the literature referenced in the ICNIRP 2020 guidelines, while the first authors of that very same literature are the small dots along the peripheries, reflecting their few authorships and that they are not affiliated neither with ICNIRP, nor IEEE. Those who are familiar with the names of ICNIRP/IEEE affiliates, will recognize all the names in the left version of the graph, while most of the names at the right are unknown. The spread on unknown authors obscures the strong presence of the few ICNIRP affiliated authors.

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The ICNIRP 2020 guidelines (issued a year after, and in concordance and partly co-authored with the US norm IEEE C95.1 2019) are simply in conflict with ICNIRP’s own requirements for knowledge used as a basis for such guidelines: The requirements state that the knowledge base must be «established», i.e., widespread and accepted among the professionals, and be in line with current professional understanding of the subject. It is not.

We show it all through a series of analyzes: In practice, all reference given in ICNIRP 2020 to supporting literature, are to papers from a tiny network of co-authors with just 17 researchers at its core, most of them affiliated with ICNIRP and/or the IEEE, and some of them even being ICNIRP 2020 authors themselves. Moreover, literature reviews presented by ICNIRP 2020 as being from independent committees, are in fact products of this same informal network of collaborating authors, all committees having ICNIRP 2020 authors as members. To exemplify, we site our paper’s conclusion about one such literature review:

[I]t was highly unexpected to find that the WHO report [11] described in ICNIRP 2020 as “an in-depth review from the World Health Organization on radiofrequency EMF exposure and health” [2 p. 486] and presented in these words: “This independent review is the most comprehensive and thorough appraisal of the adverse effects of radiofrequency EMFs on health” [2 p. 517], is in fact a retracted draft where 5 out of 6 WHO core group members were ICNIRP affiliates, of whom 3 are among the authors of ICNIRP 2020. Such a claim and circularity of authorship is encroaching upon something very similar to fraud.

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The ICNIRP 2020 Guidelines simply fail to meet fundamental scientific quality requirements and are therefore not suited as the basis on which to set RF EMF exposure limits for the protection of human health. ICNIRP contrasts with the majority of research findings, and would therefore need a particularly solid scientific foundation. Our analysis demonstrates the contrary to be the case. Hence, the ICNIRP 2020 Guidelines cannot offer a basis for good governance.

You may download our paper for free:  https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/reveh-2022-0037/html

 

Einar Flydal, July, 2022

References

International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). Guidelines for Limiting Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (100 kHz to 300 GHz). Health Phys. 2020 May; 118 (5): 483-524. doi: 10.1097 / HP.0000000000001210. PMID: 32167495.

Nordhagen, Else K. and Flydal, Einar. «Self-referencing authorships behind the ICNIRP 2020 radiation protection guidelines»  Reviews on Environmental Health , vol. , no. , 2022.  https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2022-0037

D J Panagopoulos, A Karabarbounis, I Yakymenko og G P Chrousos: Human-made electromagnetic fields: Ion forced-oscillation and voltage-gated ion channel dysfunc-tion, oxidative stress and DNA damage (Review), fra INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ONCOLOGY 59: 92, 2021, download for free: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8562392/pdf/ijo-59-05-05272.pdf 

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https://ehtrust.org/new-paper-on-how-icnirp-authors-cite-themselves-to-support-their-claims-in-conflict-with-science/ Source: Environmental Health Trust