The Ministry of Health “factsheet” mentions an international agency’s recommendation of the New Zealand standard to imply safety, but it is a con: “5G transmitters are covered by the New Zealand RF field exposure standard,“ and “The New Zealand exposure Standard’s limits are recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection..”
The ancient twenty-year-old New Zealand Standard referred to, NZS 2772.1:1999, is desperately in need of updating to reflect current scientific knowledge. It is based on guidelines published in 1998 by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, (ICNIRP). Even before the New Zealand government adopted the ICNIRP guideline in 1999, whistleblower, Dr Neil Cherry, who is now deceased, warned strongly against it, calling it “fatally flawed.”
Dr Cherry was a senior lecturer at Lincoln University, a physicist, trained in electricity and magnetism, radiation physics, the effects of microwaves on the physical properties of crystals and the use of pulsed microwaves. In his paper ‘CRITICISM OF THE PROPOSAL TO ADOPT THE ICNIRP GUIDELINES FOR CELLSITES IN NEW ZEALAND,’ dated the 10th of February, 1999, he warned that the ICNIRP guideline failed to protect public health from known potential and actual health effects.
Let me emphasize this, the ICNIRP exposure guideline, which is used by many agencies globally, including by the New Zealand government, only provides protection against some short-term, heating effects of radiofrequency radiation. It does not protect against the long-term, continuous non-heating effects that you may be exposed to if you live or work near a cellphone antenna or use radiofrequency radiation emitting devices 24/7, such as cordless and mobile phones, wi-fi modems, laptops, baby monitors and printers, for example. ICNIRP ignores all the known non-thermal biological effects.
The grounds for limiting exposure according to ICNIRP are: ‘Only established effects were used as the basis for the proposed exposure restrictions. Induction of cancer from long-term EMF exposure was not considered to be established, and so these guidelines are based on short-term, immediate health effects such as stimulation of peripheral nerves and muscles, shocks and burns caused by touching conducting objects, and elevated tissue temperatures resulting from absorption of energy during exposure to EMF. In the case of potential long-term effects of exposure, such as an increased risk of cancer, ICNIRP concluded that available data are insufficient to provide a basis for setting exposure restrictions, although epidemiological research has provided suggestive, but unconvincing, evidence of an association between possible carcinogenic effects.’ (http://www.icnirp.org/cms/upload/publications/ICNIRPemfgdl.pdf).
In contrast to ICNIRP, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization, (WHO), in 2011 categorized radiofrequency radiation emitted by cell phones and other wireless devices as a Group 2B (“possible”) human carcinogen. Since then, prominent scientists, including Dr Lennart Hardell, an oncologist and Professor at Örebro University Hospital in Sweden, whose studies found an increase in gliomas and acoustic neuromas in long-term cell-phone users, and Professor Emeritus at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health of the University of Toronto, Dr Anthony Miller, an expert cancer researcher and long-term advisor to the WHO, have argued that there is sufficient evidence for a Class 1 human carcinogen classification, (which means it will be referred to as “carcinogenic to humans” and the public warned to avoid exposure to it).
Evidence to support a Class 1 human carcinogen classification comes from a wide range of sources. Read Miller et als. August 2019 review, ‘Risks to Health and Well-Being From Radio-Frequency Radiation Emitted by Cell Phones and Other Wireless Devices’ for a summary of some of this evidence.
Furthermore, the carcinogenicity of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) is not the only major health issue of concern. According to Miller et al (2019), an extensive review of numerous published studies confirms non-thermally induced biological effects or damage (e.g., oxidative stress, damaged DNA, gene and protein expression, breakdown of the blood-brain barrier) from exposure to RFR, as well as adverse (chronic) health effects from long-term exposure. Indeed, an increasing number of people have developed constellations of symptoms attributed to exposure to RFR (e.g., headaches, fatigue, appetite loss, insomnia), a syndrome termed Microwave Sickness or electrohypersensitivity, (EHS). Based on the accumulated evidence, Miller et al (2019) recommend that as well as IARC re-evaluate its 2011 classification of the human carcinogenicity of RFR, that the WHO complete a systematic review of multiple other health effects.
A draft of the new ICNIRP guidelines for radiofrequency radiation exposure dated April 2019 is online and while it reads: ’DRAFT – DO NOT CITE OR QUOTE,‘ be advised that in spite of evidence from thousands of studies which show that there are proven biological effects related to exposure to radiofrequency radiation, (RFR), including cancer, ICNIRP still only acknowledges thermal effects. Dr Lennart Hardell wrote on June 25th on his blog: “If this draft represents the final version on ICNIRP guidelines it is time to close down ICNIRP since their evaluation is not based on science but on selective data such as only thermal effects from RFR, see also www.emfcall.org…The draft represents a worst-case scenario for public health…”
What happened to the the role of government as gatekeeper and protector of public health? Australian consumer advocate, Lyn McClean writes in her book: ‘The Force, Living Safely in a World Of Electromagnetic Pollution’: “Can we really expect governments to take public health concerns seriously? Can we really expect them to back research that might find this lucrative technology is harmful?
In fact, wherever you look behind the scenes on this issue, you’ll see the far-reaching tentacles of industry influence…” p 234. (2011).
 NZS 2772.1:1999 Radiofrequency fields – Maximum exposure levels – 3 kHz to 300 GHz. See Ministry of Health. 2019. URL: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/environmental-health/non-ionising-radiation/radiofrequency-field-exposure-standard (accessed 24 July, 2019).
Wrote Dr Martin Blank, now deceased, ‘Safety standards based on heating are irrelevant to protect against EMF -levels of exposure. There is an urgent need to revise EMF exposure standards. Research has shown thresholds are very low (safety standards must be reduced to limit biological responses). BioInitiative Report, 2012, p. 74.
ICNIRP. Guidelines for limiting exposure to time-varying electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields (up to 300 GHz). International commission on non-ionizing radiation protection. Health Phys. (1998) 74:494–522. Google Scholar
IARC. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Non-ionizing Radiation, Part 2: Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer (2013). p. 102. Google Scholar
Risks to Health and Well-Being From Radio-Frequency Radiation Emitted by Cell Phones and Other Wireless Devices, Anthony B. Miller et al 2019 , https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2019.00223/full
Green Party, letter to constituent, Date: July 2019
Subject: The Green Party
I’m emailing in response to your enquiry about the Green Party perspective on the 5G rollout in New Zealand. Thank you for getting in touch.
In my capacity as ICT Spokesperson for the Green Party, I’m committed to closely following new developments in technology and their impact on New Zealanders.
The Green Party encourages initiatives which promote network resilience in the provision of internet services and set standard for world-class high speed internet access.
I am aware of questions around the health impact. Based on the evidence we have reviewed, including by the World Health Organisation, whose position is that there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low level electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health, at this stage the Green Party has no intention to intervene or stop the rollout of 5G.
We will continue to closely follow any future research into it.
Gareth Hughes MP | Member of Parliament for the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
Connect, construct and contribute.
Chairperson Social Services and Communities Select Committee, Green Party Musterer (Whip) and Strategist. Green spokesperson for Energy and Resources, ICT, Technology, Science, Research and Development, Animal Welfare, Primary Industries and Biosecurity, Tourism, Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Wellington Issues.
In October, 2008, Ministers for the Environment introduced the “national environmental standards for telecommunication facilities,” which exempt radiofrequency fields generated by all telecommunication antennas (such as cellphone towers), from requiring a resource consent, providing they meet specific terms and conditions. Advises Environmental lawyer, Sue Grey of Nelson, who runs the website, Sue Grey’s World, “The Ministers for the Environment have passed regulations that purport to exempt RFEMR emissions, which I believe are unlawful, and need to be challenged.”
tax revenue, annual licence fees and money from the sale of spectrum. See: Worldwide Telecommunications Industry Revenue to hit $2.4 Trillion in 2020, says Insight Research