(The debate post is co-authored with Debora Atwood.)
We who have written this post are the two electrically hypersensitive who are mentioned in The NRK case about radiation refugees on May 17th. In it, and in senior adviser Lars Klæboe's post in New Time June 24nd, the Directorate for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (DSA) states that everything is in its most beautiful order with the way they manage their responsibilities.
We want to address important information that DSA does not mention: DSA refers to expert groups that annually review all research on radiation and health – ie non-ionizing radiation (radiation that does not have enough energy to break chemical bonds in biological material ) from standard wireless technology. DSA also emphasizes on its own Facebook pages that it is not in their mandate to evaluate the research. The DSA claims that their mandate is only to disseminate knowledge status based on ICNIRP and which is confirmed by the WHO, the EU and others.
The fact is that DSA – following its own proposals for regulatory changes – has made sure to lock in to the German, private foundation ICNIRP when radiation limits for mobile technology are to be determined.
What the DSA ignores is that both ICNIRP, WHO and the EU only give reference values to protect against heating damage, and these shall according to the Radiation Protection Regulations only used when other studies of health effects are not used as a basis. Neither the WHO nor the EU prevents countries from setting stricter limit values. This means that Norway is free to make its own, national assessments and set justifiable limit values based on research.
A number of EU countries have understood this, and have set limit values that are based on fractions of ICNIRP's reference values.
When the DSA does not follow up the research to ensure safe radiation limits for the population, it is necessary to look more closely at the advisers they trust in this way.
DSA refers to expert groups organized by the WHO and the EU, as well as the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority's expert committee. This may sound reassuring. But that's misleading. These experts are mainly linked to the private foundation ICNIRP, where new members are appointed by the sitting.
DSA's external advisers – the expert groups they rely on – what should we be able to demand of them? Three things: 1. Relevant professional competence. 2. Transparency. 3. Ability.
- There's something gurgling. WHO's "The International EMF Project" is surprisingly made up of one antenna specialist without medical background and her secretary. When the WHO is to ensure the quality of research on radiation and health, the antenna specialist recruits experts from the aforementioned "commission" for radiation protection, ICNIRP. ICNIRP is led by a psychologist. The 14 members are mainly physicists and engineers with little relevant scientific production.
Where is the biological and medical expertise?
- ICNIRP has also faced harsh criticism for its lack of transparency. The digging journalists at Investigate Europe have described ICNIRP as a one-sided, closed club that only accepts professionals who think the same as themselves – that is, the non-ionizing radiation can impossibly harm health.
- Furthermore, ICNIRP is criticized to disregard large amounts of solid research who finds harmful effects. And they are under massive criticism for serious conflicts of interest og bindings
to the telecom industry.
Norwegians have great confidence in their authorities. DSA's advisers, who in reality are called ICNIRP, whether they are members of the WHO or the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority's advisory committee, are not worth this trust.
At the same time alerts several thousand Norwegians about health problems from radiation, but is not believed by the authorities. Based on surveys from other countries in Europe estimates Dag Markus Eide at the National Institute of Public Health that between 1 and 10 percent of the population notice symptoms they associate with radiation (self-report).
In what other contexts do you take so lightly symptoms that so many in the population report?
DSA's handling and the media's lack of spotlight make the topic taboo, and cause a lack of room for knowledge building. Public health must suffer for this where disease could otherwise be prevented. And taxpayers have to pay, for example in the form of increased expenses for sick leave and disability: In a British study from 2019, it was found that the proportion who are excluded from working life or experience that access to work is limited due to electrical hypersensitivity amounted to 0,65 per cent of the total population. In Norway's case, it will amount to about 35 000 individuals.
Together, the lack of handling constitutes a system failure.
Internationally, ICNIRP should be scrapped and independent, transparent bodies established in the field of radiation protection. Nationally, DSA should be strengthened with expertise and resources dedicated to non-ionizing radiation.
It is not justifiable to place a public health issue in the hands of industry-loyal ICNIRP.