NZ Ministry of Health “factsheet” On 5G Protecting Industry, Not Health

24th September, 2019.
In August 2019, the Ministry of Health posted a “factsheet” [sic] on its
website to rubberstamp fifth generation wireless technology (5G) as safe, in an attempt to allay well-founded fears about the dangerous new technology.    This “factsheet,”  as this blog will explain, uses an inappropriate paradigm and carefully crafted wording,  to create the illusion of being health protective and scientific, when it is anything but.
Our government is giving technology precedence over health, using stacked agencies, concealing conflicts of interest, and overlooking the results of thousands of studies.  It is also concealing that current scientific knowledge provides justification to support  measures to reduce all exposures to radio-frequency radiation (RFR), not increase them, as will occur on a massive scale by the introduction of 5G.

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,[1]   and  “The New Zealand exposure Standard’s limits are recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection..”   

Dr Neil Cherry

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.  

               As the logo suggests, ICNIRP protects industry

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…”

Now to the efforts of the Ministry of
Health to suppress, spin and obfuscate evidence of a conflict of interest, which should have been declared to the New Zealand public…
The “factsheet” on 5G claims:

Write Dr Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg  in Comments on the US
National Toxicology Program, (October, 2018), while IARC at the World Health Organization (WHO) is independently financed and has its own governing and scientific councils, which WHO staff only attend as observers, WHO seems to rely on the conclusion of the NGO ICNIRP instead of the IARC evaluation. ICNIRP is even declared to be WHO in-house experts.   ICNIRP is a private NGO based in Germany.   New expert members can only be elected by members of the organization. Many of the ICNIRP members have ties to the industry that are dependent on the ICNIRP guidelines.  This creates a conflict of interest, since the former leader of the WHO International Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Project is also the founder and honorary member of the ICNIRP.   The guidelines are of huge economic and strategic importance to the military, telecom/IT and power industry.
Unfortunately, until governments insist that genuinely independent scientists conduct the research,  information regarding the health effects of radiofrequency radiation will continue to be a political game, played for profit, to protect big business interests at the expense of knowledge and people’s health.    With the 5G roll out imminent, the need for accurately portraying the risks has according to some scientists, become a life and death matter.
In a recent interview for the Global Research News Hour,  (Sept 22, 2019),  Dr Martin Pall, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry & Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University said:  “Without any 5G, without any expansion of 4G, without putting any radar units in cars, all of these things are being planned for us, I  believe we’ll be going…our reproduction will crash essentially to zero within probably about 2-3 years….5G, it could be months… The regulatory agencies around the world have been corrupted by the industry and are serving the goals of the industry, and are not serving the goals of the people that they’re supposed to be protecting.”

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).

As evidence of the risk of 5G technology grows, it is incumbent on all of us to do what we can to create a safer environment for all.
Inform your friends and family about the dangers associated with 5G, hold film meetings, hand out flyers, share  information about 5G on social media sites and with your local representatives.

 

References:

[1]     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).

Related:

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.

World Health Organization, radiofrequency radiation and health – a hard nut to crack (Review)

5G and the Wireless Revolution: When Progress Becomes a Death Sentence

Conflict of Interest: the Wireless Industry and ICNIRP

Cancer Expert Declares Cell Phone and Wireless Radiation as Carcinogenic to Humans

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.

Kind regards,

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.

END

——————————————————————————————————————————-

Wrote the NZ Green Party in 2009:  “There is increasing international evidence, however, that EMR can cause adverse effects even at low exposure levels that are thousands of times below the public safety limits set in our standard. It is therefore imperative that the scientific basis of our standard be reviewed and that a new standard is developed that protects the public from exposure to biological and chronic effects as well as short term, acute effects.  (The Local Government and Environment Committee report, 2009, p 14).
We are also concerned that there has been an exponential increase in our exposure to electromagnetic radiation since the standard came into effect. Yet no one is monitoring the cumulative electromagnetic radiation we are being exposed to, or assessing the cumulative effect it may be having on human health and wellbeing, and particularly children’s health.
Our cumulative exposure to EMR should be measured on an annual basis, and the results
published, and every transmitter site in New Zealand should be monitored on an annual basis.

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.” 

The telecommunications industry is one of the most profitable globally with the 2019  revenue from the worldwide telecommunications expected to reach more than US $2.4 trillion, [1].
One of the primary beneficiaries of this industry are governments, who take in

2 thoughts on “NZ Ministry of Health “factsheet” On 5G Protecting Industry, Not Health

  1. Pingback: Why Vodafone’s claims that 5G is safe are not credible | 5g.org.nz

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