In 2020, ICNIRP has published an updated safety guidelines for EMF exposures that consider solely thermal effects of radiation exposure as the source of any health effects. In ICNIRP’s opinion, prevention of thermal effects, by the currently used safety limits, is sufficient to protect health of the users.

However, there is a long list of experimentally observed biological effects, induced in animals or cells grown in laboratory, by exposures to radiation levels that are well below the current exposure limits, set by ICNIRP. These effects should not happen. So, unless all scientists that observed these effects are hallucinating, there is something wrong with ICNIRP’s opinion. These observed biological effects, if occurring in humans, might lead to health effects.

Safety guidelines, besides being based solely on the notion that only thermal effects are induced in living matter by the EMF exposures, also refer solely to the short term exposures, and do not provide information on whether safety guidelines are protective for the continuous and long lasting exposures (from months to tens-of-years). While there is available published research on the effects occurring immediately, during or shortly after exposure, there is practically very little of research on long-term chronic exposures. How ICNIRP knows what is safe when there is no research?

Safety guidelines of ICNIRP are advertised as protective for all users, no matter of age and no matter of the health status. It means that the growing and developing body of baby child or the ailing body of an old person suffering from potentially lethal disease, are equally protected, to the same degree, as the bodies of young and healthy adults. For ethical reasons, experimenting on humans is limited. The biological effects and the health effects demonstrated by the epidemiology studies are the only ones that examine long term effects of RF-EMF exposures in people. This means that there is not much of scientific evidence assuring that the ICNIRP safety guidelines apply to all persons, no matter their age or health status and no matter how long they used RF-EMF-emitting devices. How ICNIRP knows what limits are safe when there is no research?

Interestingly, evaluations by ICNIRP are frequently contradicted by researchers not involved in ICNIRP activities. Even more interestingly, ICNIRP members, when placed on various national scientific committees, might arrive at conclusions that are contradicting ICNIRP opinions.

The currently ongoing deployment of the new generation of wireless communication, the 5G, has further stimulated debate on the validity of the safety guidelines provided by ICNIRP.

What will be new in the 5G wireless communication is the use of millimeter-waves, with frequencies from over 20 GHz up to 300 GHz. Millimeter-waves, while can transfer large amounts of data, have problem of how far they can be transmitted and limits to their penetration ability. This will cause a very dense deployment of base stations throughout neighborhoods (roughly, small base station on every second lamppost) and will require base stations inside buildings. It means that in few years, when the 5G is fully deployed, environment of cities will be somewhat saturated with the millimeter-waves.

ICNIRP assures that safety guidelines will protect users, no matter what. However, how ICNIRP knows it?

The research on millimeter-waves and health is very limited. Several recently published reviews, through searching in various data-bases have found only very limited number of studies dealing with health effects of millimeter-waves. The vast majority of science published on 5G millimeter-waves’ deals with radiation dosimetry, not with biological and health effects.

The majority of this research are small in vitro or animal studies that are practically useless when developing public health protection opinions.

How ICNIRP knows that ICNIRP’s safety guidelines are protective when ICNIRP itself, through opinion expressed by its chairman, Rodney Croft admits – there is no research but… we, ICNIRP, don’t need research.

ICNIRP provides guidelines that are vital for telecom industry. Anyone claiming there is no influence and interaction between these entities is naïve.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place – Dariusz Leszczynski