Wednesday, November 2, 2022

International Commission on the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (ICBE-EMF)

Oct 18, 2022 (Updated Nov 2, 2022)

Wireless Technology Not Adequately Assessed for Hazards to Human Health and Environment

New peer-reviewed paper presents scientific case for revision of limits

TUCSON, AZ – October 18, 2022 – The International Commission on the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (ICBE-EMF) is challenging the safety of current wireless exposure limits to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) and is calling for an independent evaluation.

Published today in the journal Environmental Health, “Scientific evidence invalidates health assumptions underlying the FCC and ICNIRP exposure limit determinations for radiofrequency radiation: implications for 5G,” demonstrates how the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the International Commission on Nonionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) have ignored or inappropriately dismissed hundreds of scientific studies documenting adverse health effects at exposures below the threshold dose claimed by these agencies, which was used to establish human exposure limits. The authors argue that the threshold, based on science from the 1980s – before cell phones were ubiquitous -- is wrong, and these exposure limits based on this threshold do not adequately protect workers, children, people with electromagnetic hypersensitivity, and the public from exposure to the nonionizing radiation from wireless data transmission.

“Many studies have demonstrated oxidative effects associated with exposure to low-intensity RFR, and significant adverse effects including cardiomyopathy, carcinogenicity, DNA damage, neurological disorders, increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier, and sperm damage,” explains Dr. Ronald Melnick, Commission chair and a former senior toxicologist with the U.S. National Toxicology Program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “These effects need to be addressed in revised and health-protective exposure guidelines. Furthermore, the assumption that 5G millimeter waves are safe because of limited penetration into the body does not dismiss the need for health effects studies.”

Dr. Lennart Hardell
, former professor at Örebro 
University Hospital in Sweden and author of  more than 100 papers on non-ionizing radiation, added, “Multiple robust human studies of cell phone radiation have found increased risks for brain tumors, and these are supported by clear evidence of carcinogenicity of the same cell types found in animal studies.”

The Commission believes that an independent evaluation based on the scientific evidence with attention to the knowledge gained over the past 25 years is needed to establish lower exposure limits. The Commission is also calling for health studies to be completed prior to any future deployment of 5G networks.

Elizabeth Kelley, the Commission's managing director, noted that “ICBE-EMF was commissioned by the advisors to the International EMF Scientist Appeal, a petition signed by more than 240 scientists who have published over 2,000 papers on EMF, biology, and health, and that “The commissioners have endorsed the Appeal’s recommendations to protect public and environmental health.”

For background on the paper and its co-authors see:

Media contact: 
Joel M. Moskowitz, PhD
email to:

Key points
  • ICBE-EMF scientists report that exposure limits for radiofrequency (or wireless) radiation set by ICNIRP and the FCC are based on invalid assumptions and outdated science, and are not protective of human health and wildlife.
  • ICBE-EMF calls for an independent assessment of the effects and risks of radiofrequency radiation based on scientific evidence from peer-reviewed studies conducted over the past 25 years. The aim of such assessment would be to establish health protective exposure standards for workers and the public.
  • The public should be informed of the health risks of wireless radiation and encouraged to take precautions to minimize exposures, especially for children, pregnant women and people who are electromagnetically hypersensitive.
  • ICBE-EMF calls for an immediate moratorium on further rollout of 5G wireless technologies until safety is demonstrated and not simply assumed.

International Commission on the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields. Scientific evidence invalidates health assumptions underlying the FCC and ICNIRP exposure limit determinations for radiofrequency radiation: implications for 5G. Environmental Health. (2022) 21:92.


In the late-1990s, the FCC and ICNIRP adopted radiofrequency radiation (RFR) exposure limits to protect the public and workers from adverse effects of RFR. These limits were based on results from behavioral studies conducted in the 1980s involving 40–60-minute exposures in 5 monkeys and 8 rats, and then applying arbitrary safety factors to an apparent threshold specific absorption rate (SAR) of 4 W/kg. The limits were also based on two major assumptions: any biological effects were due to excessive tissue heating and no effects would occur below the putative threshold SAR, as well as twelve assumptions that were not specified by either the FCC or ICNIRP. 

In this paper, we show how the past 25 years of extensive research on RFR demonstrates that the assumptions underlying the FCC’s and ICNIRP’s exposure limits are invalid and continue to present a public health harm. Adverse effects observed at exposures below the assumed threshold SAR include non-thermal induction of reactive oxygen species, DNA damage, cardiomyopathy, carcinogenicity, sperm damage, and neurological effects, including electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Also, multiple human studies have found statistically significant associations between RFR exposure and increased brain and thyroid cancer risk. 

Yet, in 2020, and in light of the body of evidence reviewed in this article, the FCC and ICNIRP reaffirmed the same limits that were established in the 1990s. Consequently, these exposure limits, which are based on false suppositions, do not adequately protect workers, children, hypersensitive individuals, and the general population from short-term or long-term RFR exposures. 

Thus, urgently needed are health protective exposure limits for humans and the environment. These limits must be based on scientific evidence rather than on erroneous assumptions, especially given the increasing worldwide exposures of people and the environment to RFR, including novel forms of radiation from 5G telecommunications for which there are no adequate health effects studies.

Open access paper: 


Ronald L. Melnick: National Toxicology Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (retired), Ron Melnick Consulting LLC, Logan, Utah, USA (corresponding author)
Igor Belyaev: Cancer Research Institute, Biomedical Research Center, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia
Carl Blackman: US Environmental Protection Agency (retired), North Carolina, USA
Kent Chamberlin: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of New Hampshire, USA
Suleyman Dasdag: Biophysics Department, Istanbul Medeniyet University, Medical School, Turkey
Alvaro DeSalles: Graduate Program on Electrical Engineering (PPGEE), Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil 
Claudio Fernandez: Division of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Federal Institute of Rio Grande do Sul (IFRS), Canoas, Brazil
Lennart Hardell: Department of Oncology, Orebro University Hospital (retired), The Environment and Cancer Research Foundation, Orebro, Sweden
Paul Héroux: Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Canada
Elizabeth Kelley: ICBE-EMF and International EMF Scientist Appeal, and Electromagnetic Safety Alliance, Arizona, USA
Kavindra Kesari: Department of Applied Physics, School of Science, Aalto, University, Espoo, Finland
Don Maisch: EMFacts Consultancy; The Oceanic Radiofrequency, Scientific Advisory Association, Tasmania, Australia
Erica Mallery-Blythe: Physicians’ Health Initiative for Radiation and Environment; British Society of Ecological Medicine; Oceania Radiofrequency Scientific Advisory Association, UK
Anthony Miller: Dalla Lana School of Public Health (Professor Emeritus), University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Joel M. Moskowitz: School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA
Wenjun Sun: School of Public Health, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China
Igor Yakymenko: National University of Food Technology, Kyiv Medical University, Ukraine

About the International Commission 

on the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields

Founded in 2021, ICBE-EMF was commissioned by the advisors to the International EMF Scientist Appeal. The Commission is dedicated to ensuring the protection of humans and other species from the harmful effects of non-ionizing radiation. Our primary purpose is to make recommendations, based on peer-reviewed scientific research, that includes and goes beyond establishing numerical exposure guidelines to ensure safety. ICBE-EMF is made up of a multidisciplinary consortium of scientists, doctors, and related professionals who are or have been, involved with research related to the biological and health effects of electromagnetic frequencies up to and including 300 GHz.


Selected News Stories

"New Challenge to ICNIRP: Dissident Scientists Seek Tighter Health Limits. Will They Succeed Where Others Failed?" Microwave News, November 1, 2022.

André Fauteux."Hundreds of studies on wireless radiation toxicity 'inappropriately ignored or discounted'." La Maison du 21e Siecle, Oct 18, 2022. French: