Socioeconomic pressures and outdated, incorrect scientific beliefs have severely slowed progress toward appropriate protection of the public.
The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines (devised in 1998 1) that we currently use in England, are obsolete 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19. They are based on thermally induced (tissue heating) effects which have been undermined by thousands of papers demonstrating serious biological effects at non-thermal levels, orders of magnitude below current ICNIRP guidelines 20.
More convenient admissions of these low level effects currently justify non-thermal doses of RF used for therapeutic applications 21 22 23 24 and provisionally for military warfare. In addition to neglecting non-thermal effects, these guidelines also fail to take into account cumulative effects 25, modulation effects 26 27 28, interference effects 29, reflection/conduction effects 30, frequency and intensity windows 31 32 33 34 (some studies have shown that lower intensities of radiation can have unexpectedly greater biological disruption), non-linear effects 35 36 , dosimetry 37 38 39 40 , timing of exposure 41 42 43 , radiofrequency/ magnetic field /extremely low frequency synergy 44, chemical synergy 45 46 47 and other important characteristics now known to enhance biological disruption.
Many other countries have chosen to adopt more biologically calculated safety limits orders of magnitude below ours.
Human Rights and Protection
There are clear human rights issues 48, particularly for vulnerable groups, but in essence for any individual who wishes not to be exposed in their home, place of work or public building and yet is being given no choice. Additionally, there are issues with ‘informed consent’ given that the vast majority of individuals and policy makers are not informed.
The application of the Precautionary Principle 49 has been called for by many professional organisations in this case 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59, in order to protect health and right to life first and foremost, but also to protect the economy given the escalating costs to this country 60 61 62. Socioeconomic concerns regarding such dramatic change has led some to suggest the ‘as low as reasonably achievable’ (ALARA) principle 63 64 65. Whilst it is undoubtedly a step forward, the subjective nature of one’s interpretation of ‘reasonable’ renders it ultimately unprotective, unless it is structured with biologically based safety limits. If such limits are integrated, however, it remains an alternative in this situation.