Original article in Dutch:
Frequentieveiling 5G gestart ondanks serieuze waarschuwingen en nieuw kritisch rapport over ICNIRP
Published: 29 juni 2020
Translation by: Antoinette Janssen
Despite all serious warnings, the government has today started auctioning the 5G frequencies. Let’s Talk About Tech has sent a press release to all media informing them of recent developments, including the publication of a highly critical report on the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
This report, released by two MEPs, shows that the members of the powerful ICNIRP have many ties to the Telecom industry and that it is a scientifically biased committee. Is it sensible for the Dutch government to adopt the recommendations of this committee one-to-one as safety guidelines? Read the press release from Let’s Talk About Tech below.
Today the government starts auctioning 5G frequencies. The outcome of the appeal in the case of the Stop5GNL Foundation against the State is not awaited. The results of the Health Council’s investigation into the safety of the untested 5G network commissioned by the House of Representatives are also not awaited. A very critical report by two MEPs on ICNIRP, the committee advising the radiation exposure limits of wireless technology, was published last week. Nevertheless, the 5G auctions are reminiscent of what previously happened with, for example, asbestos, climate change and pesticides.
The title of the report is “The ICNIRP: Conflicts of interest, corporate capture and the push for 5G“. After previous criticisms of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and a critical article by Investigate Europe, they examined the working method of the total 45 members of the ICNIRP, and the participants of the ICNIRP Scientific Expert Group. The aim was to establish whether the committee “operates completely independently and whether […] its members are in conflicts of interest”.
The ICNIRP is a relatively unknown, but powerful scientific NGO, based in Germany. ICNIRP works closely with the European Commission and draws up safety guidelines for mobile phone radiation. The Dutch government also bases the safety guidelines on the advice of the ICNIRP. The report, commissioned by two MEPs, French Michèle Rivasi (Europe Ecology) and German Klaus Buchner (Ecological Democratic Party), concludes that the ICNIRP is a scientifically biased organization with links to the telecom sector.
The investigation conducted by investigative journalists Hans van Scharen and Tomas Vanheste puts a bomb under the authority of the ICNIRP, its independence and the reliability of the safety guidelines. The results give Rivasi and Buchner an awkward déjà-vu: EU Member States turn a blind eye to real scientific facts and early warnings. This makes the same scenario as in the debate about tobacco, asbestos, climate change and pesticides visible. They argue that governments do not question the self-declared legitimacy of the ICNIRP and that the mobile phone industry sets its own limits through the ICNIRP.
Two prominent experts, Prof. Hans Kromhout (Chair of the Dutch Electromagnetic Fields Committee of the Health Council and involved in the research into the safety of 5G on behalf of the House of Representatives) and Prof. Chris Portier (University of Maastricht, design, analysis and interpretation of environmental health data with an emphasis on carcinogenicity) confirm in the Rivasi-Buchner report:
“as concluded earlier, a close circle of like-minded scientists from ICNIRP has created a complacent club, with a lack of biomedical expertise and a lack of scientific expertise in risk assessment and risk management philosophies, which could lead to tunnel vision”
The biography and activities of all members of the ICNIRP have been examined. Eric van Rongen, the current vice-chairman of the ICNIRP and also secretary of the Dutch Health Council, notices that with his position, memberships and activities he not only creates the appearance of a conflict of interest with industry. Concrete examples show that he and many other members of the ICNIRP have ties to the telecom industry.
The authors of the report indicate that more and more scientific publications are emerging about the hazardous and harmful biological effects of electromagnetic fields, but are largely ignored and denied in the public discussion of the introduction of 5G. The ICNIRP also does not include the biological effects.
Commenting on the report, online IT magazine AG Connect wrote:
“The claim that the ICNIRP can do its job selflessly and free from the telecom sector is a lie. It is true that the support that the institute receives does not come directly from the telecom industry, but from governments. However, they are not an independent party to this because of the high amounts that telecom providers offer in frequency auctions and the economic stimulus that the telecom networks provide. In addition, the telecom industry is doing everything it can to convince the public and governments through sponsored research, brochures and websites that there is no risk whatsoever.”
Just like the Dutch government, which plans to launch a public campaign.
The report is yet another warning to the Dutch government. Many interest groups and scientists have already sounded the alarm earlier, because they are very concerned about the impact of the wireless networks on the health of humans, flora and fauna. In addition, there are also far-reaching privacy aspects to this technology and CO2 targets are at stake due to the enormous energy consumption.
The critical voices are getting louder and louder, as evidenced by the recently established Scientific Platform EMF Netherlands. This initiative by 35 professors and other academics urged the government in May to start a national research program into the effects of 5G EMF frequencies in humans and to suspend the roll-out of 5G.
Internationally, doubts about the further implementation of 5G with the installation of millions of antennas and possibly more than 10,000 satellites in low orbit, in the ionosphere, part of our atmosphere, are increasing. Switzerland was at the forefront of the roll-out of 5G, but has decided to halt the further roll-out due to health and safety issues. The 5G auctions have been postponed in other countries. In France, last week, the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Health called on the government to “await the evaluation of the ANSES (the National Agency for Food, the Environment and Occupational Safety) before deploying 5G”. This is because citizens ask for an assessment of the consequences for health and the environment.
Let’s Talk About Tech finds the auctions of 5G frequencies premature, irresponsible and unethical. When introducing a new technology that involves radiation and where the quality of life and freedom of choice are at stake, a social debate must first be held about the desirability and necessity.
View PDF version of the press release including contact details, editorial note, attachments and additional information from the Rivasi-Buchner report on Van Rongen’s alleged conflict of interest with the Telecom industry.
ICNIRP guidelines do not protect against harmful health effects