By Annelie Fitzgerald: TruePublica recently ran a piece highlighting the most censored stories in Britain. One story that never made it into the mainstream media or even any independent media outlets in the UK at the time was the disbanding of the UK Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR) in May 2017. This followed the revelation in December 2016 that AGNIR’s latest assessment of the science on the health impacts of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs)—the type emitted by modern wireless technologies—was inaccurate and subject to conflicts of interest, a story that elicited no media interest in the UK either.
In reality, as Starkey demonstrates, the conclusions drawn by AGNIR did not accurately reflect the scientific evidence available: the report contained ‘incorrect and misleading statements’ and omitted significant quantities of relevant research.
For example, although 78% of the studies cited on male fertility described significant adverse effects on sperm, male reproductive organs or changes in male testosterone concentrations, AGNIR’s conclusion was that there was ‘no convincing evidence that low-level exposure results in any adverse outcomes on testicular function’ (p. 495).
‘How can AGNIR report that the scientific literature contains evidence of harmful effects below the current guidelines when several of them are responsible for those guidelines?’ (p. 493).
Furthermore, ICNIRP and AGNIR’s Swerdlow and Feychting are both recognised as ‘leading sceptics’ about the existence of adverse health effects from RF-EMFs, while another member of AGNIR, psychiatrist James Rubin, has published a number of studies all concluding that RF-EMFs cause no adverse health effects.
Swerdlow and his wife also hold shares in wireless and telecommunications companies, an interest he declared in a 2011 paper downplaying brain tumour risks from mobile phone use, but such a disclosure did not feature in the AGNIR report. (The BMJ considers ‘failures of transparency to be forms of misconduct’.)
In 2015 the replication of a German animal study from 2010 confirmed that the incidence of carcinogen-induced tumours (lung and liver) in mice was significantly higher with RF-EMF exposure. Lead author Alexander Lerchl (Jacobs University, Bremen) stated in a press release:
‘Our results show that electromagnetic fields obviously enhance the growth of tumours.’ Lymphomas, he observed, were also found to be significantly elevated by exposure. In the study, the authors noted: ‘The fact that both studies found basically the same tumour-promoting effects at levels below the accepted (and in most countries legally defined) exposure limits for humans is worrying.’
As a scientific appeal of September 2017 made clear, 5G deployment will lead to a massive increase in mandatory exposure to RF-EMFs. Over 180 scientists from 35 countries called for a moratorium on the roll-out of 5G technology in the EU until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry.
With 5G on the horizon, surely a dedicated, truly independent expert advisory group on RF-EMFs is now more necessary than ever.
Far from holding the government and public health agencies to account as they like to claim, the vast majority of the UK media—including outlets that think of themselves as independent—appears to be complicit in turning a blind eye to this vital public health and environmental issue by failing to cover stories such as AGNIR’s dissolution and its inaccurate assessment of the safety of RF-EMF exposures. As a result, the UK public remains largely ignorant of the real health risks that come with the convenience of wireless.