This is part 3 of my blog Taking A Stand
In my previous blog I shared with you all a letter I wrote to ARPANSA challenging them on the validity of our RF standards in providing long term health assurances to RF exposures. What I received in response from ARPANSA’s CEO did not fully acknowledge my concerns and failed to answer any of the questions I had posed to them.
ARPANSA has given me permission to post their letter on this website on the condition I do not change their response or misrepresent them. So I wish to make two things clear. Firstly I have obscured my personal details only for privacy reasons and the points made in this blog are my own personal views on the matter. ARPANSA’s response to my original letter and critical review from blog part 2 can be found here –>ARPANSA’s response.
Of course I was extremely disappointed with their thin response that only selectively dealt with my concerns. It also appeared that they had intentionally avoided answering my questions, questions that I believe the public has a right to know the answers to. As such, I decided to respond with a much shorter hard hitting letter along with updated questions.
My response letter can be found here –> ARPANSA response to CEO – 16-3-2013 – Public
The list of questions from blog 2 was revised to take into account ARPANSA’s response letter and resent with my letter above. ARPANSA Questions – Revised
The key points I would like to make people aware of in this blog are as follows:
- Testing of microwave emitting devices is performed against tissue-simulant material in the shape of a person (usually a large adult male) that does not represent the majority of people.
- These tests are not biologically based and are limited to thermal measurements (for measurement of SAR). They do not test whether microwaves impact cell wall or blood brain barrier permeability nor do they test impacts on internal cell processes or whether it has impacts on the integrity of our genetic code i.e. DNA
- ARPANSA’s RF standards do not provide adequate details on RF safety that take into consideration a typical home environment where there are a multitude of RF devices all operating simultaneously i.e. wireless security, wireless network, mobile phone, DECT cordless phones which are always emitting, baby monitors, smart meters etc. Remember the standards are used for testing single device compliance only.
- There appears to be no personnel on the Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council that I could see that has a background in medical sciences which might explain why there is no consideration for non-thermal biological effects.
- It is my opinion that ARPANSA releases often incorrect or conflicting and confusing statements, all of which, individually and collectively, are irresponsible. This is most evident when they make authoritative announcements such as: “The weight of national and international scientific opinion is that there is no substantiated evidence that exposure to low level RF causes adverse health effects”. By making such statements ARPANSA appears to have completely ignored all recently amassed evidence that contradicts this finding. There are literally 1000’s of peer review research that shows biological effects below the thermal threshold. Of course the main problem with statements like this from ARPANSA are:
- First it weighs up opinion which is based on the evidence at hand. Evidence that at the time the standards were developed (11 years ago) has predominantly come from those who market wireless equipment (telecommunication companies like Motorola) or those who use it extensively and is critical to their operations (e.g. Defence agencies). One cannot look at the evidence and make a sweeping generalized statement that Microwaves do not cause health effects without taking into consideration ALL evidence. To use the famous example by Karl R. Popper, no number of confirming observations can verify a universal generalization, such as “All swans are white” or in our case “RF is safe” or “RF does not have adverse health effects” which is suggested by ARPANSA’s RF standards and fact sheets, yet it is logically possible to falsify it, as by finding only one black swan. The reality of course is that there are a large number of studies that have found “black swans”, i.e. adverse effects below present ICNIRP guidelines yet they appear to be conveniently ignored or worse, rubbished.
- The second problem is the use of the word “substantiated” which suggests there is an element of proof that is required before wireless is deemed to be unsafe. This goes against scientific principles espoused by ARPANSA. Refer to page 80 in ARPANSA’s RF standards http://www.arpansa.gov.au/Publications/codes/rps3.cfm where it specifically says “Scientific studies are designed not to give ‘proof’, but are designed to disapprove or ‘falsify’ the current hypothesis or accepted viewpoint on an issue”. So, given that ARPANSA says scientific studies are not designed to give proof and we know from the statement made in point 5 above that ARPANSA will only recognise the potential dangers of wireless if substantiated evidence (proof) is provided, we are therefore stuck in a quandary. Wireless will never be recognised by ARPANSA as being potentially unsafe while they continue to require proof of harm and disregard mounting evidence that clearly challenges (falsifies) their current view point.
- There is a complete lack of transparency when it comes to making such a statement. What research papers were investigated and by whom in order to reach such a conclusion? No supporting evidence has been provided to back up this statement. There has also been no justification from ARPANSA as to why they are ignoring the 1000’s of peer reviewed research that do show effects.
- ARPANSA relies on opinion from international organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and ICNIRP. WHO has been previously found to have been conflicted and colluding with the Tobacco industry when it came to research on tobacco smoking and cancer – refer to this article written by Don Maisch (page 15 A forgotten lesson? Big Tobacco and WHO Decision Making) http://www.emfacts.com/download/IARC_2011_IARC_May_5_FINAL.pdf.
- Professor Anders Ahlbom and Dr. Alexander Lerchl were excluded from the IARC RF Working Group because of the ‘possible perception of conflict of interest’. In Prof. Ahlbom’s case it was due to his links to the telecom industry through his brother and their common company. Prof. Anders Ahlbom was also chairman of the ICNIRP Standing Committee on Epidemiology until 2008 and has been an ICNIRP member from 1995 until 2008. This begs the question of whether ICNIRP is truly independent.
Rather than putting the onus on individuals such as myself to prove that microwaves are dangerous, the element of proof should be on the purveyors of this technology to prove that it is safe. Which of course they are unwilling to do i.e. Powercor will not give any health and safety assurances with regards to smart meter wireless emissions. I do wonder whether the power company’s public liability insurance will cover them when people start taking them to court suing for damages?
The big issue we all face today is that we have to now wait 15 to 20 years for the collection of data from areas of ongoing exposure, then we have to wait for someone to perform an analysis of the collected data before scientists will have a clear sign of whether the dangers exist or not. This is because wireless smart meters are a very recent technology and there have been no research studies to date on the health effects that smart meters may have. Even if they do find some evidence of impaired health in the future, it is likely to be indifferently brushed aside as being caused by some other environmental factor.
In part 4 of my blog I will include a synopsis of ARPANSA’s response to my questions (yes they finally did respond a couple of weeks ago). This will be followed by a blog detailing what the supposed role of the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) is with respect to regulating and enforcing our RF standards.
PS: It is important to note that although all of my blogs to date have had a health focus – simply because it is a personal issue for me and many others – privacy, security, billing errors and impingement on our freedom of choice are equally important issues. I will try to find the energy to cover some of these topics in future blogs as well.