Critique of ICNIRP and WHO Int’l EMF Project

Critic of ICNIRP (International Commission of Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) & WHO International EMF Project


  • Neil Cherry (2000): Criticism of the health assessment in the ICNIRP guidelines for radiofrequency and microwave radiation (100 kHz – 300 GHz)

    “The ICNIRP Game:

    ICNIRP is playing its own game and setting its own rules. It is the game that is played by national authorities which, as a team, they feel very comfortable with it. The name of the team is “The Consensus of Science”. However, it involves quite a small and very select team that includes national experts who come from national authorities who subscribe to the rules of the ICNIRP game.

    In the ICNIRP game the first rule is that there is only a tissue heating effect from RF/MW exposure. You must agree with this rule to play the ICNIRP game. As a consequence of this rule, in the ICNIRP game, all other biological effects are not real and any epidemiological study that shows an effect with non-thermal exposure, must be faulty and will be rejected. In other words, if you break this rule you are out of the game. In this game it is fine to change the rules about acceptable significant, what is evidence, and criteria for how a biological effect is established. In this game a study does not provide evidence until it has been exactly replicated.”

  • Dariusz Leszczynski (2012) “In experts we trust” or … should we?

    “In my opinion, the claims of scientific consensus are false. They are propagated by some expert committees which ignore the fact that some other expert committees disagree entirely. What is worse, experts with the same opinion on the subject usually end up in the same evaluating body. This is the ‘kiss of death’ to any fair scientific debate.

    … Currently, the most prominent and influential evaluation group is the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection – ICNIRP. The influential position of this group stems from the fact that the first chairman of ICNIRP was appointed the head of the WHO EMF Project, and since then the WHO begun to use scientific evaluations and recommendations made by ICNIRP. This, in turn, brought to this evaluation group international recognition, prestige and influence – the WHO recommended what ICNIRP recommended.

    What is ICNIRP? It is safe to say that it is a self perpetuating private club where current members of the Main Commission select new members to the Main Commission.”

  • Council of Europe – Parliamentary Assembly. Doc. 12608 – The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment (2011)

    “… It is most curious, to say the least, that the applicable official threshold values for limiting the health impact of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields and high frequency waves were drawn up and proposed to international political institutions (WHO, European Commission, governments) by the ICNIRP, an NGO whose origin and structure are none too clear and which is furthermore suspected of having rather close links with the industries whose expansion is shaped by recommendations for maximum threshold values for the different frequencies of electromagnetic fields.”




near field/far field

overall duration of exposure (continuous, interrupted), acute and chronic exposures

polarization (linear, circular)

continues wave (CW) and pulsed fields(pulse repetition rate, pulse width or duty cycle, pulse shape, pulse to average power, etc.)

modulation (amplitude, frequency, phase, complex)

static magnetic field at the place of exposure

electromagnetic stray field


Comment: This presentation explains the technical limitation of ICNIRP guidelines. The diashow requires the IE browser.

  • Khurana, V. G., Hardell, L., Everaert, J., Bortkiewicz, A., Carlberg, M. & Ahonen, M. (2010). Epidemiological Evidence for a Health Risk from Mobile Phone Base Stations. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health (IJOEH), Vol. 16, No. 3, 263-267.

    “We found that eight of the 10 studies reported increased prevalence of adverse neurobehavioral symptoms or cancer in populations living at distances less than 500 meters from base stations.

    None of the studies reported exposure above accepted international guidelines, suggesting that current guidelines may be inadequate in protecting the health of human populations.”

  • Michael Kundi and Hans-Peter Hutter (2009). Mobile phone base stations -Effects on wellbeing and health. Pathophysiology. Pathophysiology (2010) Special issue of electromagnetic fields. Pathophysiology. 2009 Aug;16(2-3):71-8

    “Studying effects of mobile phone base station signals on health have been discouraged by authoritative bodies like WHO International EMF Project and COST 281.

    From available evidence it is impossible to delineate a threshold below which no effect occurs, however, given the fact that studies reporting low exposure were invariably negative it is suggested that power densities around 0.5-1 mW/m² must be exceeded in order to observe an effect. The meager data base must be extended in the coming years.

    The difficulties of investigating long-term effects of base station exposure have been exaggerated, considering that base station and handset exposure have almost nothing in common both needs to be studied independently. It cannot be accepted that studying base stations is postponed until there is firm evidence for mobile phones.”

  • Yuri Grigoriev, RNCNIRP (2010) Electromagnetic fields and the public: EMF standards and estimation of risk

    “Numerous peer-reviewed studies covering non-thermal biological effects have been made by scientists in Russia (previously the USSR). Analysis of 28 biological experiments conducted in vitro, in situ, and in vivo by the present author from 1975 onwards in the former Soviet Union, and later in Russia, using modulated RF-EMF allows the following basic conclusions to be made:

    – exposure of biological systems to EMF with higher or lower composite regimens of modulation can lead to the possible development of both physiological and unfavourable biological effects, that are distinct from the biological effects induced by non-modulated EMF;

    – acute exposure to low intensities of modulated EMF (at non-thermal levels) can result in development of pathological effects;

    – there is a dependence of development of a reciprocal biological response on the intensity and directness of the concrete regimen of EMF modulation; this dependence was fixed at all levels of biological systems – in vitro, in situ, and in vivo;

    – as a rule, modulated EMF invokes more recognisable biological effects than continuous EMF regimes.

  • Roger Coghill (2007) A talk about microwave radiation in Royal Society, London

    “This means that ICNIRP is considering only immediate thermal effects, not interference effects. (Interference effects are such as those affecting avionic instruments when cellphones are used inflight. The signals do not heat the plane!). In this conclusion they therefore ignore all 400 plus studies of non-thermal effects reported in the peer reviewed literature.”

  • Gerald Hyland (2002) Response to COST281’s ‘Scientific Comment on Individuals Statements of Concern About Health Hazards of Weak EMF’

    “The COST paper is an ill-considered, deliberate attempt to misrepresent and distort the sense of my text by means of many untruths and inaccuracies – … – The whole tenor of their response betrays the hallmark of a panic, rear-guard action to attempt to maintain the (industry-beneficial) status quo.

    Their tactic is to frame their criticisms in such a way that in many cases they appear eminently reasonable to anyone who has not read my original STOA Report; …

    In arguing why, in their view, certain electronic instruments are more sensitive to electromagnetic radiation than are humans, and so should be better protected, they conveniently choose to ignore the fact (given in my Report) that the human EEG is sensitive to microwave radiation at an intensity as low as 10-15W/cm2, a value well below sensitivities currently realisable technologically!”

    EU STOA Paper:

    Comment: Please, take a look at the COST 281 document by (mostly) ICNIRP members.

  • Don Maisch (2006): Conflict of Interest & Bias in Health Advisory Committees: A case study of the WHO’s Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Task Group

    “Although the above sample of WHO recommendations were in response to Big Tobacco’s attempts to undermine WHO integrity, its direct relevance to other large industrial interests cannot be ignored, be it the power industry or telecommunications. Unfortunately it seems that in this case at least, WHO has forgotten the hard lessons learnt with its previous experiences with Big Tobacco.

    In the case of WHO’s Task Group writing the new Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) for power frequency EMFs, a violation of the above recommendations urgently calls for an independent evaluation to protect both public health and WHO’s integrity.”

  • Andrew Marino (2006): SOBs at WHO

    “In 1996 the World Health Organization began what it said was a program “to assess the scientific evidence of possible health effects of EMF in the frequency range from 0 to 300 GHz” (EMF Project).

    However, the project was corrupted from the start because it was controlled by the power- and cell-phone industries in the industrialized countries. …

    The person placed in charge of the program by the industries was Michael Repacholi, who had been known for more than 16 years to be a paid consultant and spokesman for the companies responsible for producing EMF pollution. It was not realistic to expect that he would conduct an open and honest inquiry, and his performance in office has been even more miserable than could have been anticipated based on what was known about his personal views at the time he was appointed.”


“I mentioned about safe guidelines adopted in various countries and several health hazards occurring at levels as low as 1000 microwatts/m² = 0.001 W/m² for continuous exposure. I also mentioned that ICNIRP guidelines are meant for short term exposure (averaged over 6 minutes) and not meant for long term exposure.” … There were more than 150 people in the audience and most of them were from telecom industry and there were probably only 5 people representing general public. Theme of the International Health Conference was “Ensuring Public Health and Safety in the Mobile Industry”, so where was the public?



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By piotrbein