Episode 3: What are the exposure limits and who sets them?

Slide 1

Governments, advisory bodies, scientists – they all talk about exposure limits. But who sets those limits? And are the experts setting them acting neutrally and without bias? We will zoom in on this issue in the current episode.


Slide 2

Governments generally set exposure limits for man-made electromagnetic fields. Within the European Union, member states are still responsible for setting such limits, but they do so within the framework of European Union law. But Union law gives a lot of leeway to its member states. In 1999 the European Union merely issued a non-binding recommendation which is still used today.


Slide 3:

In setting national limits, governments often refer to recommendations from organisations like the World Health Organisation and the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection or ICNIRP. In addition, national governments and the European Union set up their own scientific advisory boards such as SCENIHR and SCHEER.


It is especially the ICNIRP guidelines that are influential with both the World Health Organisation, national governments and, for instance, the European Union. This is why, in this episode, we focus on that organisation.


Slide 4.

ICNIRP is not an international organisation. It is a private non-governmental organization headquartered in Munich.


Though very influential, it is also a very closed group. Its scientists are not appointed by any government. ICNIRP itself decides which scientists are granted admittance.


Slide 5:

Investigative journalists and independent researchers increasingly question ICNIRP independence. Over the past years Investigate Europe, members of the European Parliament and other research groups pointed to deep conflicts of interest between ICNIRP and industry. As a result of these conflicts the ICNIRP recommendations are heavily biased in favour of industry interests.


Slide 6

(clip Investigate Europe)


Slide 7:

ICNIRP not only appoints its own members, but the profiles of ICNIRP scientists are imbalanced and inappropriate. 


To aptly decide about the health effects of man-made electromagnetic fields, we need biologists, epidemiologists and other people specialised in matters of health. ICNIRP scientific committees are, however, dominated by physicists and engineers. 


For example, only 1 out of 14 members of the ICNIRP commission is medically qualified. How can such a group provide sound advice on the impact of man-made radiation on health and the environment?


Yet, when journalists, scientists and citizens ask critical questions, governments continue to refer to ICNIRP. 


Slide 8:

In considering the health effects of electromagnetic fields, ICNIRP only looks at the risk of thermal heating. As long as our tissues do not heat up, they say there is no danger. 


Slide 9:

Many scientists disagree with such a point of view. Over the past 50 years, independent science pointed time and again to severe biological damage far below heating thresholds. That is why independent groups of scientists propose exposure limits that are much stricter than those proposed by ICNIRP. Limits that not only avoid tissue heating but also prevent wireless technology from causing biological damage.


Slide 10:

Comparing ICNIRP standards with guidelines accounting for biological effects, ICNIRP standards turn out to be gravely insufficient. 


For example, ICNIRP standards allow up to 100 billion times more man-made radiation compared to the natural background radiation on the earth. 


Slide 11:

Yet, despite massive evidence to the contrary, ICNIRP scientists continue to dispute the biological activity of man-made radiation. That might be why ICNIRP continues to be very popular with industry and governments eager for well-stocked treasury coffers.


Slide 12:

There are many reasons why ICNIRP recommendations make no sense whatsoever:

  1. ICNIRP research is based on exposure periods of 6 or 30 minutes, while in reality people are exposed 24/7; 

  2. ICNIRP does not take into account the cumulative effect of multiple radiation types and sources. They use averaged measurements that do not conform to real life conditions;

  3. ICNIRP recommendations only focus on heating effects or SAR and not on other biological effects caused by pulsation, modulation or frequency;

  4. ICNIRP recommendations do not differentiate between vulnerable groups such as children or people who are hypersensitive;

  5. ICNIRP recommendations lack any form of epidemiological or other long-term analyses. They are not concerned with environmental effects to plants and animals.


Slide 13.

That is why independent science advises exposure limits taking all effects of wireless technology into account. They propose limiting exposure to man-made electromagnetic fields to maximum 0.6 volt per meter. Most governments in Europe and around the world set exposure limits exponentially above such a threshold.


Slide 14:

In the next episode we discuss how over the past 150 years exposure to wireless radiation has increased by a million to a billion-fold.


Slide 15: lawsuit

By contributing to our crowdfund you can support our lawsuit against the Belgian government and the European Union.


In this way we strive together for a low-radiation living environment for ourselves and our children.

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