Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Regulators Steamroll Health Concerns as the Global Economy Embraces 5G (Washington Spectator)


Reprinted from The WASHINGTON SPECTATOR.

Joel Moskowitz. Regulators Steamroll Health Concerns as the Global Economy Embraces 5G. The Washington Spectator. 46(9):6, September 2020. ISSN 0887-428X.

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Online version of the article:

Regulators Steamroll Health Concerns as the Global Economy Embraces 5G

by Joel Moskowitz, The Washington Spectator, Sep 18, 2020

In a Washington Post op-ed (June 4), “5G conspiracy theories threaten the U.S. recovery,” Thomas Johnson Jr., the Federal Communications Commission’s general counsel, declared: “Conjectures about 5G’s effect on human health are long on panic and short on science.”

The FCC, however, has been “short on science” for more than two decades. Along with the World Health Organization, the FCC abdicated its responsibility to protect the public’s health from hazards associated with exposure to radio frequency, or RF, radiation. As a result, almost 400 international scientists and doctors have called for a moratorium on deployment of 5G, and 150 community groups have tried to block its rollout in the United States. Recently, the Environmental Health Trust and Children’s Health Defense, along with multiple plaintiffs, sued the FCC over its inadequate RF exposure limits and cell phone testing procedures.

The FCC relies on other agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration, for health expertise. However, without a comprehensive review of all peer-reviewed science and a formal risk assessment, the FDA in a letter advised the FCC that “the available scientific evidence to date does not support adverse health effects in humans due to exposures at or under the current limits.” The letter “concluded that no changes to the current standards are warranted at this time.”

In a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Senator Blumenthal “blasted” the FCC and FDA for “failing to conduct any research into the safety of 5G technology . . . and deferring to industry. . . . We’re kind of flying blind here, as far as health and safety is concerned.”

Last December, the FCC reaffirmed its obsolete RF exposure limits, ignoring critical input from more than 50 scientists, hundreds of scientific studies, and hundreds of people who have suffered illness from RF radiation.

Originally adopted in 1996, these limits were based upon a behavioral change in rats and monkeys exposed to microwave radiation and were designed to protect humans only from short-term heating risks due to RF radiation exposure.

Since 1996, the preponderance of peer-reviewed research—more than 500 studies—has found harmful biologic or health effects from RF radiation exposure at intensities too low to cause significant heating. Thus stringent exposure limits based on biological effects are needed to protect human health.

Citing this body of research, over 240 scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on the biologic and health effects of nonionizing electromagnetic fields, or EMF, signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal, which calls for stronger RF exposure limits. The signatories have published over 2,000 papers and letters on nonionizing EMF in professional journals and arguably constitute the majority of experts in this field.

The appeal proclaims:

Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.

In 2018, a $30 million study conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program reported “clear evidence” that two years of exposure to cell phone radiation increased cancer in male rats and damaged DNA in rats and mice of both sexes. The Ramazzini Institute replicated the NTP’s key finding using much weaker cell phone radiation exposure over the rats’ lifespan.

The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified RF radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” in 2011. We are seeing increases in head and neck tumors in cancer registries from multiple countries, which may be attributable to the proliferation of wireless device use. These increases are consistent with case-control studies that found increased tumor risk in long-term cell phone users.

Moreover, cancer is not even the most common hazard, because there is substantial scientific evidence that RF radiation causes neurological disorders and reproductive harm.

The volume of peer-reviewed scientific evidence on earlier technologies suggests that exposure to microwaves and millimeter waves used in 5G is likely harmful.

According to Johnson, “if we delay 5G deployment based on irrational fears and unproven theories, it will only hurt the American people.” But can we trust the FDA or FCC’s evaluation of the science? Should we gamble on our health and invest hundreds of billions of dollars deploying 5G, a technology that requires 800,000 new cell antenna sites installed next to our homes and workplaces? Or should we develop RF exposure standards that fully protect humans and the environment and institute a risk management system based upon a formal risk assessment?

Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. His Electromagnetic Radiation Safety website, saferemr.com, has served as a resource for scientists, journalists, policy makers, and the public since 2013.

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Original version with links:

Regulators Steamroll Health Concerns as the Global Economy Embraces 5G

by Joel Moskowitz, The Washington Spectator, Sep 18, 2020

In a Washington Post op-ed (June 4), “5G conspiracy theories threaten the U.S. recovery,” Thomas Johnson, Jr., the FCC’s general counsel declared: “Conjectures about 5G’s effect on human health are long on panic and short on science.”

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), however, has been “short on science” for more than two decades. Along with the WHO, the FCC abdicated its responsibility to protect the public’s health from hazards associated with exposure to radio frequency (RF) radiation. As a result, almost 400 international scientists and doctors have called for a moratorium on deployment of 5G, and 150 community groups have tried to block its rollout in the U.S. Recently, the Environmental Health Trust and Children's Health Defense along with multiple plaintiffs sued the FCC over its inadequate RF exposure limits and cell phone testing procedures.

The FCC relies on other agencies such as the FDA for health expertise. However, without a comprehensive review of all peer-reviewed science and a formal risk assessment, the FDA in a letter advised the FCC that “the available scientific evidence to date does not support adverse health effects in humans due to exposures at or under the current limits.” The letter “concluded that no changes to the current standards are warranted at this time.”

In a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Senator Blumenthal “blasted” the FCC and FDA for “failing to conduct any research into the safety of 5G technology … and deferring to industry…. We’re kind of flying blind here, as far as health and safety is concerned.”

Last December, the FCC reaffirmed their obsolete RF exposure limits ignoring critical input from more than 50 scientists, hundreds of scientific studies, and hundreds of people who have suffered illness from RF radiation. Originally adopted in 1996, these limits were based upon a behavioral change in rats and monkeys exposed to microwave radiation and were designed to protect humans only from short-term heating risks due to RF radiation exposure.

Since 1996 the preponderance of peer-reviewed research, more than 500 studies, have found harmful biologic or health effects from RF radiation exposure at intensities too low to cause significant heating. Thus, stringent exposure limits based on biological effects are needed to protect human health.

Citing this body of research, over 240 scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on the biologic and health effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal which calls for stronger RF exposure limits. The signatories have published over 2,000 papers and letters on non-ionizing EMF in professional journals and arguably constitute the majority of experts in this field.

The appeal proclaims:

 “Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.”

 In 2018, a $30 million study conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program reported “clear evidence” that two years of exposure to cell phone radiation increased cancer in male rats and damaged DNA in rats and mice of both sexes. The Ramazzini Institute replicated the NTP’s key finding using much weaker cellphone radiation exposure over the rats’ lifespan.

The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified RF radiation as "possibly carcinogenic to humans in 2011. We are seeing increases in head and neck tumors in cancer registries from multiple countries which may be attributable to the proliferation of wireless device use. These increases are consistent with case-control studies that found increased tumor risk in long-term cellphone users.

Moreover, cancer is not even the most common hazard because there is substantial scientific evidence that RF radiation causes neurological disorders and reproductive harm. 

The volume of peer-reviewed scientific evidence on earlier technologies suggests that exposure to microwaves and millimeter waves used in 5G is likely harmful.

According to Mr. Johnson, “if we delay 5G deployment based on irrational fears and unproven theories, it will only hurt the American people.” But can we trust the FDA or FCC’s evaluation of the science?  Should we gamble on our health and invest hundreds of billions of dollars deploying 5G, a technology that requires 800,000 new cell antenna sites installed next to our homes and workplaces? Or should we develop RF exposure standards that fully protect humans and the environment and institute a risk management system based upon a formal risk assessment?


Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D. is the Director of the Center for Family and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. His Electromagnetic Radiation Safety website, saferemr.com, has served as a resource for scientists, journalists, policy makers, and the public since 2013.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Effects of Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields: Thirty years of research

Feb 1, 2018 (Updated September 16, 2020)

The preponderance of research published from 1990 through May/August 2020 has found significant effects from exposure to radio frequency radiation as well as to extremely low frequency and static electromagnetic fields. Overall, 75% (n=711) of 944 radio frequency radiation studies reported significant effects. Additionally, 87% (n=611) of 705 extremely low frequency and static electromagnetic field studies found significant effects. 

Currently, there are 1,649 studies in Dr. Henry Lai's collection of research on the effects of exposure to non-ionizing electromagnetic fields. The abstracts for these studies can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.

Government and industry-linked scientists often claim that research on the effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) is inconsistent, and that more research is needed before health warnings are issued or regulatory guidelines are strengthened.

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization classified radio frequency radiation (RFR) “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B). The IARC plans to review RFR again by 2024 because most peer-reviewed studies published in the past decade found significant evidence that RFR causes genotoxicity. Thus, the IARC will likely re-classify RFR to either "probably carcinogenic to humans" (Group 2A) or "carcinogenic to humans" (Group 1) at the next expert review.

Cell phones and other wireless devices also produce static and extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields. ELF was classified by the IARC as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B) a decade before RFR received this classification.

Dr. Henry Lai, Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington and Editor Emeritus of the journal, Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, has compiled summaries of the research on the biologic and health effects of exposure to RFR and ELF EMF. His set of abstracts which cover the period from 1990 to July 2020 constitute a comprehensive collection of this research.

Dr. Lai reports that the preponderance of the research has found that exposure to RFR or ELF EMF produces oxidative damage or free radicals, and damages DNA. Moreover the preponderance of RFR studies that examined genetic and neurological effects has found significant effects.

The evidence for DNA damage has been found more consistently in animal and human (in vivo) studies than in studies of cell cultures (in vitro).

The abstracts can be downloaded from the BioInitiative web site by clicking on the link below.

Notes: The comet assay is a sensitive genotoxicity test for the detection of DNA damage and repair. This is a standard technique used in biomonitoring and genotoxicity testing.

The following results correct minor errors in my earlier summary of the findings.


Top Line Results

Radio frequency radiation:

91% (n=240) of 261 oxidative damage (or free radical) studies reported significant effects.

65% (n=226) of 348 genetic effects studies reported significant effects including:
  • 65% (n=72) of 110 DNA comet assay studies reported significant effects.
73% (n=245) of 335 neurological studies reported significant effects.

Overall, 75% (n=711) of 944 radio frequency radiation studies reported significant biologic effects.


Extremely low frequency and static field electromagnetic fields:

89% (n=235) of 263 oxidative damage (or free radical) studies reported significant effects.

78% (n=160) of 204 genetic effects studies reported significant effects including:
  • 73% (n=46) of 63 DNA comet assay studies reported significant effects.
91% (n=216) of 238 neurological studies reported significant effects.

Overall, 87% (n=611) of 705 extremely low frequency and static electromagnetic field studies reported significant biologic effects.


Overall, 80% (n=1,322) of 1,649 studies of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields reported significant effects.