ECERI Meeting with WHO on Electromagnetic Fields
ECERI Newsletter No. 5, March 2017
"Maria Neira, Director, Public Health and the Environment Department, World Health Organisation (WHO) and Emilie van Deventer, Team Leader of the Radiation Programme at the WHO received on March the 3rd, in Geneva, a scientific delegation of the European Cancer and Environment Research Institute (ECERI), composed of Dominique Belpomme (F), Igor Belyaev (SKA), Ernesto Burgio (I), Christine Campagnac (F), David Carpenter (US), Tarmo Koppel (EE) and Lennart Hardell (SE) to discuss the health effects of EMFs.
David Carpenter introduced the talk, reminding that there are numerous significant human health hazards of concern, due to non-thermal effects of EMFs. He expressed the particular concern of the ECERI Group that a new WHO Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) document on radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMFs) is scheduled to be released in 2017, and that the members of the EHC Core Group are in denial of serious non-thermal effects of RF EMFs in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Regarding the particular vulnerability of children and their high exposure, the scientific group urges WHO to address the hazards of RF EMF.
Igor Belyaev pointed at genotoxicity induced by exposure to RF can under specific conditions of exposure (type of cells, type of signal etc) and at all other biological effects of RF (blood brain barrier, melatonin, oxidative stress, gene/protein proliferation) induced under specific conditions of non-thermal RF exposure.
In contrast to the Russian National Committee of Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, the ICNIRP safety standards do not take into account non-thermal effects and prolonged exposures, and are in evident contradiction with classification of RF as possible carcinogen, group 2B, by IARC.
Igor Belyaev delivers to Maria Neira a letter from Oleg Grigoriev, Head of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (RNCNIRP). “Based on multiple Russian studies and emerging number of studies coming from other countries, RNCNIRP has consistently warned against possible health effects from mobile communication” writes Oleg Grigoriev, requesting that WHO balances the RF working group in the evaluation of RF health effects to get more credible conclusions.
Lennart Hardell presented the results of his epidemiological studies on brain tumor risks and exposure to EMF. His data strongly suggest that RF EMF should be classified not as Group IIB, as it is presently the case, ie as possible carcinogenic, but as IIA, ie as probably carcinogenic. His studies were recently confirmed by other independent scientific group (see page 4 of the present letter).
Dominique Belpomme pres.ented the results of his study on electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Based on a series of 1,500 EHS and/or MCS cases, it was found that EHS can be objectively characterized by a battery of biomarkers reflecting oxidative stress, low grade neuro-inflammation and BBB opening.
Presently 1-10% of the investigated population in Europe is estimated to be EHS-self reporting persons. The ECERI group calls WHO to urgently accomplish its humanitarian worldwide public health mission: (1) by reexamining objectively the EHS-related health problem, independent of non- science-based external types of conflicting pressures; (2) by considering EHS and MCS as two new emerging well identified pathological disorders; (3) by including EHS and MCS in separate codes in the next version of the WHO ICD.
Ernesto Burgio pointed at the epigenetics mechanisms by which children are very vulnerable to RF EMF. EMFs (both ELF and RFR) are among the environmental factors already proven to be at the same time constantly increasing in the environment and mostly interfering on the less differentiated cells, on stem cell differentiation and on the early stages of brain development, on cell migration and synaptogenesis, and on the gametes.
This raises concerns for public health, regarding the possible effects (neurodevelopmental disorders, cancer etc.) of long-term exposure to low intensity, environmental daily life levels on the directly exposed subjects and even on the future generations. He concluded that this may impose a drastic reduction of the exposure to EMFs of pregnant women and infants.
Emilie van Deventer invited the ECERI scientific group to provide as many additional publications as possible, particularly peer-reviewed meta-analysis.
Regarding the preliminary monography released last year, she stated that the conclusions were not included given that the document was not final. She added that the Task Group was not defined yet, and that it was still possible to apply. The date for the final release of the monography is not planned yet either.
International EMF Expertise Group
Following the meeting with Maria Neira, the ECERI group defined a new strategy on EMFs for the future. The present members unanimously decided to join efforts to make non-thermal effects of EMF definitely recognized at an international level. The principle of an ECERI collective scientific publication on non-thermal effects of EMFs was agreed. This publication should be issued by June. An International EMF Expertise Group issued from ECERI is under development, aiming at publishing meta-analysis on EMFs health effects, in order to counterbalance ICNIRP’s political influence."
March 1, 2017
The chairman of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (RNCNIRP) sent a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) which criticizes the WHO working group on the evaluation of health effects from radiofrequency radiation (RFR) because the working group is primarily composed of past and present members of ICNIRP, a "private self-selected organization."
The letter asserts that the working group "is not balanced" and does not represent the perspective of the majority of the scientific community that studies the effects of RFR.
ICNIRP does not recognize the non-thermal effects of RFR and upholds RFR guidelines adopted in 1996 that only protect against harmful thermal effects.
"Based on multiple Russian studies and emerging number of studies coming from other countries, RNCNIRP has consistently warned against possible health effects from mobile communication. The point of view of RNCNIRP is supported by hundreds of new publications including well known recent RF studies in human and animals."
May 31, 2013
The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking input on its radiofrequency (RF) policies. Although the WHO is applying a "risk management" framework to this issue, recent presentations by the WHO and by ICNIRP, its standard setting body, suggest these organizations perceive RF radiation to be more of a public relations problem than a public safety issue.
How long will the WHO (and ICNIRP) continue its denialist policy regarding radiofrequency bioeffects and long term health risks from low intensity, microwave radiation associated with use of mobile phones and Wi-Fi? More importantly, what will it take to get the WHO to embrace the precautionary principle?
Announcement of International Stakeholder Seminar on Radiofrequency Policies and call for examples of good risk management practices
The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking the views of stakeholders and interested parties in the process of preparing an Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) monograph on radiofrequency (RF) fields. The monograph will include a scientific review of all studied health outcomes and it will provide an overview of risk management policies and practices around the world.
As part of the EHC process, the WHO is convening a seminar on 5 June 2013 at the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) in Paris, France. The purpose of the seminar is to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to present their views on specific questions to be addressed during the course of this project. The discussions at the seminar and their conclusions will be considered carefully in the development of the WHO monograph.
RF and Health: A WHO Perspective
Emile Van Deventer, ITU Workshop on EMF, May 9, 2013
At the ITU International Workshop on EMF in May 2013, Dr Emilie van Deventer from the WHO provided an overview of the WHO EMF program advising the EHC review process was already underway and was expected to be completed in 2015.
EMF Safety Guidelines -- The ICNIRP View
Rüdiger Matthes, International Commission on Non Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), May 2013
Also at the ITU workshop, Rüdiger Matthes, Chairman of the International Commission on Non Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) presented an overview of the EMF Safety Guidelines and told delegates that the Guidelines would be reviewed following the WHO EHC.
Following are some key quotes from his presentation:
- "no convincing evidence from epidemiology"
- "very few epidemiological data available (no recent studies)"
- "insufficient evidence from animal studies"
- "still insufficient evidence for firm conclusions"
- "data are still too limited for an appropriate risk assessment"
- "biological effects have not been studied very well"
- "recent high quality animal studies consistently report lack of an effect"
IARC Monograph Vol. 102 on ‘Non-Ionizing Radiation, Part 2: Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields PublishedOn the 19th April 2013, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published Monograph Vol. 102 on ‘Non-Ionizing Radiation, Part 2: Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields.‘
Monograph 102 - Non-Ionizing Radiation, Part 2: Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields (April 2013)
- IARC Classification Announcement - On the 31st May 2011, IARC classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use.
- IARC Media Release 31 May 2011
- IARC Monographs Overview
- EMF Explained - IARC Classifications Explained
(EMF Explained is a series developed by three wireless industry associations.)