On Monday 190 scientists and engineers from 39 nations submitted an appeal to the United Nations, UN member states and the World Health Organization (WHO) requesting stricter standards for electromagnetic fields (EMF) and wireless technology. Martin Blank, PhD, of Columbia University, says, “International exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields must be strengthened to reflect the reality of their impact on our bodies, especially on our DNA. The time to deal with the harmful biological and health effects is long overdue. We must reduce exposure by establishing more protective guidelines.”
The group behind the appeal has collectively published over 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on the biological health effects of non-ionizing radiation, part of the EMF spectrum that includes Extremely Low Frequency fields used for electricity, or Radio Frequency radiation used for wireless communications. They urge the UN and WHO to reassess current standards in order to address what they call an “emerging public health crisis.” On the contrary, public health organizations such as the FDA say that the biological effects of radiofrequency energy should not be confused with the effects from ionizing electromagnetic energy. Officially, WHO reports that “no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by cell phone use,” but they plan to conduct a formal assessment of health risks associated with EMF exposure by 2016.
Current standards follow guidelines for limiting exposure to high frequency fields (up to 300 GHz) that were set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) in 1998. Monday’s appeal criticizes ICNIRP for having industry ties that create a conflict of interest. The appeal points out that ICNIRP only sets exposure standards for high-intensity, short-term, tissue-heating thresholds, but there are not enough guidelines for low-intensity, long-term exposures. The group of scientists requests an impartial assessment of standards and urges stricter limits on EMF exposure, especially for children and pregnant women.