These days, we’re surrounded by electromagnetic radiation. It pulses all around us in the form of radio waves from cell phones, wireless networks, bluetooth devices and household appliances. But are these electromagnetic fields (EMFs) dangerous to our health? Many scientists would answer with a resounding yes. The evidence has become so compelling, in fact, that in the past few years more and more experts have come out calling for stricter guidelines and stronger safety measures, including a recent United Nations appeal on EMF radiation.
The 2015 United Nations Appeal on EMF
One of the most noteworthy examples of this took place in 2015. 190 scientists from all around the world jointly made their United Nations appeal on EMF, urging for the health risks of EMFs to be taken seriously. The appeal — which was also submitted to the UN member states and the World Health Organization (WHO) — was led by Martin Blank, PhD, of Columbia University.
“We have created something that is harming us, and it is getting out of control,” said Blank in a video accompanying the appeal:
“Before Edison’s light bulb there was very little electromagnetic radiation in our environment. The levels today are very many times higher than natural background levels, and are growing rapidly because of all the new devices that emit this radiation.”
Dr. Blank’s opinions have been formed over a long career in the field. A former president of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, he has published over 200 papers and reviews, authored numerous books, and spent 30 years conducting EMF-related research. “An example that a lot of us have in our pockets right now is the cell phone,” he continues in the video. “One study shows that as cell phone usage has spread widely, the incidence of fatal brain cancer in younger people has more than tripled.”
The cell phone example given by Dr. Blank is a strong one, but it’s not the only technology that’s contributing to the problem. Along with cell phone towers Blank quotes technology like wireless utility meters and even powerlines, which are “damaging the DNA in our cells” with their radiation. “It is clear to many biologists that this can account for the rising cancer rates,” says Blank, adding that we’re also putting future generations at risk.
Blank is far from alone in his beliefs. The original 2015 United Nations appeal on EMF was signed by 190 experts. Since then, more have added their voices. Now, more than 230 scientists from 41 nations have signed on as part of the ongoing appeal.
Not just anyone in the field of science can add their name. The appeal’s website states clearly that, to be qualified to sign the appeal as an EMF scientist, each person must “have published peer-reviewed papers in science journals on the biological and health effects of non-ionizing radiation.”
That so many highly qualified researchers, doctors, professors and respected scholars are willing to publicly express their concerns points to one thing: they can no longer ignore the mounting evidence that EMFs pose a health threat.
Part of the problem, says Blank, is that safety limits are much too high. And those who have the power to change them simply aren’t listening to the facts. “These biologists and scientists are not being heard on the committees that set safety standards,” he says, noting that rising exposure to electromagnetic fields is a global problem that impacts us all. “The World Health Organization and international standard setting bodies are not acting to protect the public’s health and well-being.”
In their written United Nations appeal on EMF, the scientists highlight the wide range of negative effects from EMFs: increased cancer risk, genetic damage, changes to the reproductive system, learning and memory issues, and neurological disorders among them.
Concerns for the earth itself are also at the heart of the appeal’s agenda. “Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.”
EU 5G Appeal
Two years after the International EMF Scientist Appeal, ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) submitted a similar appeal to the European Union. However, their primary focus was to request a moratorium on the rollout of new 5G networks. It’s one of the most prominent examples of the mounting global opposition to 5G technology.
The letter submitted by Rainer Nyberg, EdD, Professor Emeritus, and Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD, Professor, was signed by more than 180 scientists from 36 countries.
They say that “5G will substantially increase exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on top of the 2G, 3G, 4G, WiFi, etc. for telecommunications already in place,” and add that “RF-EMF has been proven to be harmful for humans and the environment.”
These scientists believe that if we add the 5G infrastructure to our environment without further independent research studies, we’ll be putting ourselves in a risky situation. This is why the appeal requests the EU to temporarily halt the 5G rollout until full investigations are conducted by scientists “independent from industry”.
Massive Mandatory EMF Exposure with 5G
5G operates in the millimeter-wave (mmWave) range, which transfers data incredibly fast from point A to B.
However, it has a downside. The faster the EM waves move, the shorter distance they can cover, and minor obstructions like solid materials and trees can easily disrupt the transmission.
This means that we have to add multiple towers within a short distance, so 5G can travel freely. Due to this, experts estimate that there will be at least 10 to 12 antennas installed in a small territory, which will increase massive mandatory exposure.
With the increasing use of wireless tech, no one can avoid EMF exposure. And on top of that, there will be an estimated 10 to 20 billion connections, including the IoT (Internet of Things). This kind of exposure is nowhere near “safe” for people, say the scientists.
You can read more about 5G and its health risks here.
What The ICNIRP Is Calling For
ICNIRP urges the EU:
1) To take all reasonable measures to halt 5G deployment until independent scientists can conclude that 5G will not be harmful to EU citizens.
2) To recommend that all EU countries and their radiation safety agencies inform citizens about the health risks of EMF radiation, including how and why to avoid wireless communication.
3) To appoint an EU task force of independent, truly impartial EMF-and-health scientists with no conflicts of interest to re-evaluate the health risks and:
a) To decide new, safe “maximum total exposure standards”.
b) To study the total and cumulative exposure affecting EU citizens.
c) To create rules within the EU around keeping within these new “maximum total exposure standards”.
4) To prevent the wireless/telecom industry through its lobbying organizations from persuading EU officials to make decisions about further propagation of RF radiation, including 5G in Europe.
5) To favor and implement wired digital telecommunication instead of wireless.
2019 Update on the International EMF Scientist Appeal
On October 15, 2019, Elizabeth Kelley, MA (Director, EMFScientist.org) resubmitted the 2015 International EMF Scientist Appeal on behalf of 240 scientists in 43 nations.
Kelly addressed this letter to the Secretariat of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, and OHCHR at the United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland.
The resubmission calls upon the United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the UN Member States to address the global public health concerns related to EMF.
Through this letter, the signatories alert the authorities about the hazards of EMF exposure. Children, pregnant women, and electromagnetically hypersensitive people are at a high risk of developing adverse health conditions because of our highly EMF-infused surroundings, they added.
They painted the need for urgent intervention, as ignoring this can potentially be highly dangerous.
The appeal also encourages the UN Human Rights Council to partake and be a strong voice for all people’s human rights within the UN. Suppose the necessary actions are not taken immediately. In that case, it can result in humankind and both flora and fauna facing severe harm because of the increasing levels of EMF radiation in our environment.
Kelley further explains how EMF emitting devices and appliances in residential homes, schools, communities, and businesses puts people at high risk.
There are also three points in this letter which explains what actions are needed from the UN, UNEP, and WHO.
Key Points in the Letter
1. The World Health Organization needs to build strong EMF-exposure guidelines. Additionally, they need to educate the public about EMF-induced health issues and EMF’s risk to children and fetal development. By not acting, WHO is “failing to fulfill its role as the preeminent international public health agency”.
2. The UN should ask the UNEP to evaluate scientific evidence currently present on EMF and start assessing alternative exposure standards and practices that could substantially lower environmental exposures to non-ionizing electromagnetic fields.
3. The last point quotes the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: “Protect, Respect and Remedy.” Before allowing the deployment of 5G wireless communication technology on a large scale, it should be subjected to an independent health and safety assessment. This kind of assessment is already required for newly-developed drugs, which helps a lot in preventing the distribution of potentially harmful drugs to the public. The same should be mandatory for all non-ionizing electromagnetic fields to which a large population is or is going to be exposed.
The letter concludes by saying:
“There is a rapidly growing body of scientific evidence of harm to people, plants, animals, and microbes caused by exposure to these technologies. It is our opinion that national and international health organizations are ignoring adverse health consequences of chronic and involuntary exposure of people to non-ionizing electromagnetic field sources despite our repeated inquiries and inquiries made by many other concerned scientists, medical doctors, and advocates.”
This constitutes a clear violation of human rights, says the letter, as defined by the United Nations:
“Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education.”
Does all of this mean that hundreds of scientists around the world are calling for all smartphones to be thrown on a junk heap, or wireless internet to be outlawed? Not at all. Rather, it’s about recognizing the existing evidence, committing to deeper research, and putting the right guidelines in place for better protection.
“International exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields must be strengthened to reflect the reality of their impact on our bodies, and in particular, on our DNA,” says Dr. Blank. He likens our current situation to a mass biological experiment that we’ve all inadvertently become a part of — without our informed consent.
Because future impacts are still uncertain, it’s important that we approach new or proliferating technologies with care. And from what we already know of the risks, we should aim to reduce exposure “by establishing more protective guidelines.”
The EMF Scientist Appeal calls for the UN and World Health Organization to provide global leadership on what they term an “emerging public health crisis.” As of January 21, 2021, the number of signatories has increased to 255, including EMF scientists from 44 nations and 15 supporting scientists from 11 nations. They recommend that the UN “convene and fund an independent multidisciplinary committee to explore the pros and cons of alternatives to current practices that could substantially lower human exposures to RF and ELF fields.”
In other words, they’re calling for the UN to study our options, and lead the way towards a healthier future — for us, our children, and our ecosystem.