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As this website is developed we'll explain the detail of why all of these are mistaken beliefs. Meanwhile, you will find some of the detail of this below and on our other pages.

Myths about safety of our current technology

Myth 1

Cell phones were proven not to give you cancer in the Interphone study that was done a few years ago.

Myth 2

Non-ionizing radiation cannot do any harm, because it has no mechanism to do so, nor enough power to do so.

Myth 3

Our cell phones conform to the limits of radiation our laws require.

Myth 4

Newer cell phones are safe even though the older ones mightn't have been.

Myth 5

Brain cancer is the only thing to worry about with cell-phones and hardly anyone gets brain cancer.

Myth 6 

Cancer rates are not going up, so we are safe. 

Myth 7 

New Zealand Regulatory standards protect the user.

Myth 8

Cell phones are only as dangerous as coffee, i.e. not very dangerous.

When the Interphone Study Report came out, headlines in newspapers claimed that cell phones were found to be safe. What the study actually showed—is that very light users of cell phones are unlikely to get brain cancer.
Interphone study flawed
Myth 1.
Phones were proven safe by the Interphone study

This was an expensive study with 13 countries taking part. Research began in 2000 and a partial report was released in 2012. The report from the study was published 5½ years after the Interphone data collection ended. According to some scientists taking part, it only included about 40% of the study results published. These scientists believe that other scientists had a clear conflict of interest.


After the report was published, news media around the world reported there was no risk of brain cancer from cell phone use, as the findings of the report implied:

"Overall no increase in the risk of glioma or meningioma was observed with the use of mobile phones. There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma at the highest exposure levels, but biases and error prevent a causal interpretation. The possible effects of long-term heavy use of mobile phones require further investigation."―Interphone Study 


There were serious flaws in the study:

  • it relied on remembered data, people had to remember their usage ten years ago. The actual usage of phones was not allowed by the telecom companies.

  • what the study counted as "regular user'' was, in fact, people with very low usage, especially by today's standards: people who had made one phone call per week, for six months.

  • it disallowed corporate users to take part: at the time these users would have represented people with the highest usage.

  • 41% of users declined to take part.

  • It disallowed young people: these are people whose cell diversion rate is higher and therefore whose cancer risk is higher.

  • the period of time the study was taken would be unlikely to find cancer because it has a long latency period, even with ionizing radiation such as the radiation from x-rays, the latency period for cancer to develop is longer than the Interphone study period It can be 20-30 years before the exposure results in cancer. At the time there were only a small group of heavy long term users, this is because making calls at the time, was much more expensive and there was also less cell-tower coverage available, also people did not spend their leisure time on their phones. 


Parts of the study show significant concerns:

  • Parts of the research did show an increase cancer of the auditory:  A 5-country wide study, within the Interphone study, found cancers of the auditory nerve had an 80% higher risk on the side of the head the cell-phone was used. (The final report did not show an increase in this type of cancer).

  • Salivary gland cancers developing on the same side of the head as the phone was held: In Israel, the study was conducted by Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, Director of the Cancer Epidemiology and Radiation Unit at the Gertner Institute, at the Sheba Hospital. The results of the study conducted by Dr Sadetzkifound were a statistically significant connection between relatively long use (over 10 years) and the development of tumours in the salivary glands. This research found tumours developing on the same side of the head as people held their phones too.

What the Interphone study actually showed is that users who hardly use their phone, will not get brain cancer, certainly not in the time period studied.  

Source: Overpowered, What the science tells us about the Dangers of Cell Phones and other Wi-Fi-Age Devices. Dr Martin Blank.

Myth 2

Non-ionizing radiation cannot do any harm to our biology,  because it has no mechanism to do so, nor enough power to do so

Because non-ionizing radiation hasn't the power to knock an electron off an atom doesn't mean it doesn't have an effect since atoms are electromagnetic themselves, therefore it is somewhat arbitrary to say this.  The research is there to prove biological effects, Russia celebrated back in 2017, their pre-eminence in this field, with 120 years of research into the effects of EMF on biology. The early research focussed on the response of the nervous system to non-ionizing radiation.

Myths 3 and 4

Our cell phones conform to the limits of radiation our laws require, 

newer cell phones are safe even though the older ones mightn't have been.

Researchers in France and America have found many phones do not conform the current safety standards and in fact, do not conform to the Specific Absorption of Radiation Standards stated by their manufacturers, this includes upmarket phones like the highly popular iPhone7 and the latest iPhone11, as well as downmarket phones such as the Pixi4 (The Pixi4 was changed after being exposed as not conforming, but did expose people at a higher level before a manufacturers update). Phonegate Alert estimates 6 billion users have been deceived about the true level of radiation coming from their phones. Note please these standards only protect from heating effects and Safe ICT NZ does not consider them adequate protection.

Myth 7

New Zealand Regulatory standards

protect the user

Standards do not protect the user the way we actually use phones

The regulation does not actually protect the user, for the way they use their phones, because, in use, phones are rested against the head, not kept at a distance: which is how the testing for safety is done, and how the phones comply with the standards. When rested against the head the phones are well over the limit for absorbed radiation. 

Brain cancer risk is higher after 10 years of avid use and phones under current safety regulations

The Interphone and Hardell studies, both have shown an increase in brain cancer risk after 10 years of avid use of cell phone. All participants of these epidemiological studies used regular cell phones that meet all ICNIRP safety standards, which are what our standards are based on. In fact, all these phones emit radiation levels that are much below the ICNIRP safety standard. These phones were to be safe, yet the over 10 years use of them led to increased risk of brain cancer. So here is a question – is this a “proof” of validity of the New Zea land/ICNIRP safety standards or rather is it the opposite?


Our standards prevent us from cooking

The standards set are to avoid whole-body heat stress and local heating of their subject’s brain after a 6min phone call. In the original test to set this standard in 1989, the military used the head of approximately 100kg male at the top 98% of their recruits. The vast majority of people have a different sized head than this, especially children. The majority of the recorded biological effects from chronic lifetime exposure are non-thermal.

In 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised the FCC that its guidelines “do not account for the unique vulnerability and use patterns specific to pregnant women and children.”

New Zealand Regulation: 

New Zealand Regulation for the frequencies from  3 kHz to 300 GHz is: 

For exposures of the public: the SAR (Specific Absorption of Radiation) averaged over the whole body must be less than 0.08 W/kg.

For exposure close to the body, i.e. a cell phone: 2 W/kg over any 10g of body tissue are allowed.

Differences in standards

According to Kenneth R. Foster, Ph.D, a professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, these regional standards are roughly based on 3 different models of reasoning:


1. Thermal Effects

New Zealand, Australia, US, The European Union, Japan, and many other countries in the world follow ICNIRP SAR standards. The United States, Canada, and Korea follow FCC SAR standards, created by the United States FCC. 

2. Evidence of Multiple Biological Effects
Russia, China, and many Eastern European countries have limits well below those of the U.S

3. Precautionary principle.

Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium have created exposure standards “specifically intended to minimize the yet unknown risks” of Radio Frequency.

World Health Organization Country Comparison Chart

You will see that New Zealand standards are a whole lot less protective than Russia, Italy and Israel.


Thee standards look roughly the same in many places either following the ICNIRP guidelines or the FCC guidelines, but standards vary in important ways, such as having lower limits near schools or hospitals or homes. 

In Greece 2017-05-31: The regulation sets limits for power density at 70% of those in the EU Recommendation (ICNIRP 98) (1.4) and 60% when antenna stations are located closer than 300 metres from the property boundaries of schools, kindergartens, hospitals or eldercare facilities. 


In 2008, India adopted the ICNIRP guidelines. In 2011, based on recommendations from the Inter-Ministerial Committee, the exposure limit for base stations was reduced to 1/10th of the international limits.

In Israel 2017: The stated value is the maximum allowed (10% of ICNIRP limit). In addition, it is mandatory for each base station to obtain a specific permit with the minimum exposure possible that enables provision of the needed coverage and capacity.

In Italy 2017: The exposure limit is 1 W/m^2. Moreover, in homes, schools, playgrounds and places where people may stay for longer than 4 hours, an 'attention value' of 0.1 W/m^2 is applied and averaged over any 24 hour period

In Turkey 3 V/m: limit per antenna for schools and hospitals (for hospitals a 3 V/m limit (not frequency dependent) is required inside the building for EMC reasons); 14.5 V/m: limit for a single installation; 58 V/m: limit for cumulative exposure from multiple antenna locations. The total exposure cannot exceed ICNIRP and per antenna it should not exceed 1/4 of ICNIRP field limits (1/16 power density).


In Korea the average is taken over a period of 30 minutes.

See our New Zealand Safety Regulations in relation to why ICNIRP should not be the basis of all our standards as it currently is. Also, Dr Susan Pockett outlines conflict of interest here

Myth 2
Myth 3
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