Is microwave (non-ionising) radiation safe?


A little historical context – during the development of radar by all the so-called super-powers from the 1930s onwards, it was well known and documented that exposure to microwave radiation initiated many adverse biological effects including cancers. Between the 1940s and up to the present day, militaries around the world have been catalouging these effects. The question to ask the telecoms industries and their regulators – are they not aware that as far back as the 1930s, occupational exposure to microwave radiation led to many observed adverse biological as well as thermal effects. In fact, it was the norm to assess biological effects because the causes of the observed cancers needed to be understood much better.  Hard to believe? Download and check out this US military review of the available literature up to about the mid-1980s – you will be shocked to understand that even though many scientists defined microwave radiation as ‘non-ionising’ they knew exposure to these frequencies initiated cancers of different types. Click here.

All the devices using wireless technology (WIFI) to connect to the internet, as well as certain other devices such as microwave ovens, mobile phones, DECT phones, many baby monitors etc. use microwave frequencies. It is astonishing that this chosen band of frequencies has not been tested for safety on children, young adults, pregnant women and the elderly.

The organisation responsible for bringing these devices to market and into the home of consumers is the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation (ICNIRP). The ICNIRP is not even a government department. It is staffed by a group of physicists who have strong links to the telecommunications industries. This private company has no medical expertise it could call on to determine whether or not these devices are safe to use. Its sole reason for existence is to provide a convenient legislative ‘entry’ for the use of microwave frequencies in the use of cell phones, smartphones and other wifi-enabled devices.

Exposure to microwave radiation was recently classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (a scientific body of the World Health Organisation) as a Class 2B Carcinogen i.e. a Possible Human Carcinogen.  More recently, scientific and medical data from the National Toxicology Programme (NTP – a world renowned research arm of the US government) clearly shows that exposure to microwave radiation initiates cancers of the heart and brain. Medical evidence indicates that over the past 20 years or so, various so-called ‘rare’ cancer types are increasing massively. See my blog for this evidence.

Much of the hazards and dangers associated with the use of cell phones etc. are hidden deep in the small print and many individuals, including those who should know better such as employees working in the industry, have no idea that their smartphone and smart-TV use the same frequencies used in microwave ovens.

The advice from government regulators such as Public Health England is irrelevant because (a) they are looking for the wrong symptoms and (b) the position of Public Health England was scientifically compromised with conflicts of interest when it was shown that members of their advisory group, the Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR), were also part of the standards setting organisation, the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation (ICNIRP). 

The ICNIRP is responsible for ensuring exposure safety from these devices. The ICNIRP and telecom regulators the world over further argue that initiation of biological effects is theoretically impossible because the devices they regulate use non-ionising radiation.  Significantly, note that current-day regulatory advice related to exposure of non-ionising radiation extends up to 300 GHz. This means that the next development of telecommunication devices known as 5G (which operates up to 300GHz) will not be safety tested for non thermal or biological effects. Why? The telecoms industry will argue that because these frequencies are non-ionising, there is no need to test for carcinogenic processes.

Whichever way you look at it and particularly in relation to safety, regulatory and legislative matters, the wolf does lie in the same bed as the sheep.


Remember what happened with smoking, asbestos and DDT?

There are many historical cases where products which were introduced to the market were forcibly removed many years later due to adverse environmental or biological effects on the population. Consumer products such as DDT and asbestos followed the example of the dodo, yet at the time of their production, were hailed as wonderful and wondrous. Crucially, these products were not withdrawn overnight either because industry would insist they were safe to use even in the face of damning medical evidence. It took a long time to gather evidence of harm and even then, industry fought long and hard to keep its products on the market. Cigarettes, refined sugars and glyphosphate have been brought to the attention of the public as being biologically harmful. Arguably it is but a matter of time before these products and their uses will dwindle to the point of extinction.

We are in that same situation with regard to microwave-enabled consumer products and gadgets. From a historical perspective a certain amount of time is needed for health issues to come up, be recognised and legislated for. My blog shows that over the past 15 years or so many thousands of peer-reviewed articles and studies have been published, showing a causal association between exposure to microwave radiation and induction of so-called ‘rare’ brain tumours such as glioblastomas.

Brain tumours are rising among individuals using mobile phones on a daily basis. However our telecommunication regulators Public Health England does not recognise cancers and other adverse biological diseases as being caused by microwave radiation. Significantly, it has not even carried out any scientific research to test its own scientific hypothesis. It relies solely on the advice of the private organisation called International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation (ICNIRP). This is the same organisation that has, over the years, worked closely with the telecommunications industries. It is the ICNIRP which has ultimate responsibility in deciding whether these consumer items are safe to use. Asking the telecoms industries to say whether or not their products are safe is like asking a wolf whether their favourite snack is meat or grass. 


The precautionary principle

Of course, there are monied interests at work here; industry wishes us to buy its latest gadgets. However, it also has a duty of care in ensuring its products do not us cause adverse health effects. As part of the authorisation process by government, industry should provide robust data on many aspects of that product’s use, including toxicological and health-related data. The onus is on the regulators to ensure they are asking industry the right questions regarding consumer safety. Industry should be forthcoming on all the available data on its products’ use and not mislead regulators and consumers by NOT presenting data showing, for example, adverse biological effects.

The major stumbling block here is that ‘non-thermal’ (biological) effects, such as cancer, DNA-breakages, disruption in cellular transport and other adverse biological processes, do not form part of the initial authorisation and safety-standards process, which means industry and regulators can completely ignore these issues. Industry would love to shove all mention of non-thermal adverse biological effects under the carpet. It has managed to do just that so far, but it cannot ignore the weight, importance and scientific status of evidence busting out all over the world: exposure to microwave radiation 1000s of times lower than allowed induce cancers, particularly gliomas.

As a society, we should not wait for direct cause-effect data to be carried out, evaluated, observed and discussed ad nauseam. Science and evidence-based policy decisions will always be behind the curve and far too late for many people. In any event we cannot expect any study funded by the telecoms industry to be free from bias. It is clear that a precautionary principle should be enacted. The precautionary principle says that until all the safety data is evaluated properly, we should voluntarily limit our use of these devices to the absolute and bare minimum. At the same time, industry and its government regulators should not allow any new products to market until proven safe and they have a responsibility to ensure that consumers understand the risks from these devices as fully as possible.

Don’t believe the hype – Public Enemy


Read through some selected medical study abstracts on the adverse effects of microwave radiation on our biology.