Curriculum Vitae and List of Publications of Dariusz Leszczynski

5G & Health with Dariusz Leszczynski

In 2020, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) published updated safety guidelines for exposures to radio-frequency radiation (RF-EMF) emitted by wireless communication devices and networks, such as mobile phones or mobile phone base stations. This publication replaced the ICNIRP 1998 RF-EMF guidelines.

These guidelines, recommended by the World Health Organization, have been adopted by a majority of countries around the world, becoming part of their wireless regulatory framework. US uses IEEE/ICES and FCC guidelines, but seeks to “harmonize” with the ICNIRP guidelines.

Safety according to ICNIRP

The basic principle underlying these safety guidelines is that, according to ICNIRP, the only proven health-related effects induced by this kind of radiation exposure are those that occur when the temperature of human tissue is increased by more than 1 degree Celsius — the so-called thermal effects.

When the temperature of human tissue does not increase by more than 1 degree Celsius, the radiation is considered by ICNIRP to be harmless to human health. In their opinion, the level of radiation emitted by wireless devices meeting ICNIRP safety guidelines is insufficient to cause a health-affecting increase in temperature in human tissue. Furthermore, according to ICNIRP’s review of science, there are no proven effects occurring without such a temperature increase.

Given that ICNIRP considers that only thermal effects of radiation exposure can cause health effects, ICNIRP has designed safety guidelines to protect users from any thermal effects that could affect health. In ICNIRP’s opinion, prevention of thermal effects by the currently used safety limits is sufficient to protect the health of all users.

However, there is a long list of experimentally-observed biological effects in animals or in cells grown in the laboratory, that have been induced by exposures to wireless radiation at levels well below the current exposure limits set by ICNIRP. Scientists are concerned that if such non-thermal effects were to occur in users, they might lead to health effects.

According to ICNIRP’s understanding of science, these non-thermal effects should not be happening. However, unless all scientists observing non-thermal effects are hallucinating, there is something wrong with ICNIRP’s evaluation of the scientific evidence.

ICNIRP’s guidelines, in addition to being set to prevent only thermal effects, are also based only on short-term, acute exposures (from minutes to hours). The guidelines do not provide information on whether they will be protective for continuous and long-term exposures, those lasting from months to decades. Thus, while there is available published research on the acute effects, those that occur during or shortly after exposure, there is very little research on long-term chronic exposures. This suggests that applying ICNIRP guidelines to long-term exposures is based on an assumption of safety and not on the scientific evidence.

The ICNIRP guidelines are also being promoted as protective for all users, no matter their age or health status. ICNIRP claims that whether it be the growing and developing body of a small child, the ailing body of an old person with chronic or potentially lethal diseases, or the robust body of a young and healthy adult — all are equally protected.


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