New Zealand's safety regulatory situation is claimed to have checks and balances
Our safety standards fall under a number of different government ministries and bodies, however as you will see here, they all refers to the guidelines determined by a private organization based in Germany—the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), or the IEEE. and WHO committees which include ICNIRP members. Counter to its claims, this group is not transparent (as you can see in the Microwave news reports)and does not represent the point of view of the majority of the scientific community studying the effects of radio frequency radiation. An international team of journalists under the banner of Investigate Europe describe it as a cartel. While claiming its science reviews are consistent with current scientific understanding, there only fifteen actual peer-reviewed papers on EMF research papers included, that are not from its select co-authorship group. in its 2020 review.
Regulations relating to the amount of radiation allowed to be absorbed by the body:
this is set out by the New Zealand standard NZS 2772.1:1999 Radiofrequency fields – Maximum exposure levels – 3 kHz to 300 GHz which is put out by Standards New Zealand which is a business unit within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The limits in the Standard are based on guidelines published in 1998 by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and advises, and has members of its organisation on some of the World Health Organization (WHO) groups in charge of interpreting and conveying risk.
Until recently this NZ standard was shared with Australia and the second part of the standard AS/NZS 2772.2:2016 Radiofrequency fields – Part 2: Principles and methods of measurement and computation – 3 kHz to 300 GHz still is. NZ standards were still guided by the Australian standards association in creating the standard. To obtain the standard you have to pay fa non-trivial amount for a copy. We feel it is strange to have to pay for access to our own laws, why is this standard inaccessible?
The Ministry of Health convenes a technical advisory committee, the Interagency Committee on the Health Effects of Non-ionising Fields (the Committee) who supposedly monitor and review research on the health effects of electromagnetic fields, in order to determine if they are still fit for purpose. Despite a environmental radiation increase of 1000000000000000000 or a quintillion times more than background radiation levels, and dramatic changes to our (unconsented) exposure, these remain functionally the same. These standards set ,were based on a large number of assumptions. These assumptions include that effects from exposure for 6 mins would be the same as for chronic exposure, that observable changes in a small number of animals behaviour weren't seen, and the use of an large adult male proxy to determine exposure levels to create these standards.
The Committee reports to the Director-General of Health, their last report was in 2022, the report was an update of their 2018 report for 5G frequencies. The committee's composition includes industry members, and no biophysics specialists. Its membership is something of a closed shop, and a Wellington-based PhD publishing research in this area was denied inclusion. The committee's task is perfunctory, they follow reviews of the science determined by ICNIRP reviews, they have not been in the habit of looking at individual studies including the 30 million dollar, 10 year study by foremost toxicologists at the National Toxicology Program, or the large animal study by the Italian Ramazzini Institute scientists who performed the long-term (whole of life) animal studies on Radio frequency exposures which both showed a risk of cancer. To be fair, exposures of the whole bodies of the rats were at four times the levels that exposures from the same source of RFR is allowed to be. Studies of multiple frequency exposures as we are now subjected to, are few. Based on a review by the committee, of the ICNIRP 2020 Guideline, the Ministry of Health Manatū Ora (MoH) believes the 1999 standard still applies (MoH update: 31 January 2022). The Ministry of Health Manatū Ora contributes money to the ICNIRP.
Regulations relating to the Installing of cell phone transmitters:
Installation and operation of a telecommunication facility (such as a mobile phone transmitter) that generates radio frequency fields as a permitted activity, provided it complies with the New Zealand Standard (NZS 2772.1: 1999 Radiofrequency Fields Part 1: Maximum Exposure Levels 3kHz to 300 GHz) (as above).
Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication Facilities NESTF Regulations 2016 ME 1379 under MBIE/Ministry for the Environment and advised by a Technical Advisory Group TAG (consisting of: Local Government New Zealand, Wellington City Council, New Zealand Telecommunications Forum, Tasman District Council, Porirua City Council, Chorus Ltd, Northpower Fibre Ltd, Enable Network Services Ltd, Spark New Zealand Ltd, 2Degrees Mobile Ltd, Vodafone New Zealand Ltd, Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou, Crown Fibre Holdings, Nga Pu Waea and Auckland City Council). This legislation makes it much more difficult for locals to oppose the siting of telecommunications structures.
The specification of most equipment:
These conform to Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.(IEEE) standards. IEEE standards are all based on avoiding the heating effect, once again, a regulation developed in 1998 prior to a lot of research being completed. "Several members of ICNIRP are also members of ICES that form the safety committee of the IEEE. In addition there is a link between those who develop the military weapons and the IEEE. For example Michael Murphy who worked at the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Armstrong Lab was director of the , directed energy bio-effects division at the lab and helped write the current IEEE/FCC exposure limits. THE USFA sponsored research, about which the late Dr Ross Adey stated "As far back as I can remember, the USAF had a reputation for “buying” research to counter results that point to ill effects. Someone was always willing to take the money and do what’s needed, whether it’s running experiments or writing literature reviews".
The allocation of the different frequencies available to aircraft, short wave radio, long wave radio, cell phones etc comes under the portfolio of the Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications created in 2020
Setting digital policy and standards
Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO)
Digital Government Leadership Group (DGLG) partnership of agencies for an all-of-government digital system (this includes digital information sharing between all agencies).
Digital Executive Board is under the Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs drives the implementation of the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa. Though the Digital Communications minister we (New Zealand) are also members of Digital Nations, a network of advanced digital nations.
Currently, performance of measurements to check compliance relating to exposure is done by a business that both reports to the NZ MoH and the the telecoms Industry. A conflict of interest. The person who checks compliance also determines to some degree what is to be complied with, determining what is to be reviewed by the Interagency Committee, and what is ignored, or left out. This business person is also on the ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) committee. As noted earlier on this page, we pretty much share standards with Australia. This committee has been found to do a review of the science that was actually a cheat from an UK review and missed out the studies in its own database, therefore misconsturing the amount evidence against health effects occuring from non-ionizing radiation.
Note, it is also important to determine compliance is actually measured over times of maximum exposures which fluctuate hugely over the course of a day. In a typical pattern of use, the exposure from base stations shows a distinct diurnal pattern, characterized by lowest values during the night and by two maxima during the day, the first from 1000 hrs to 1300 hr and the second from 1800 hrs to 2200 hrs.
Also that the maximum situation is addressed and not reduced by the sleight of hand of averaging.
Conflict of Interest report
ICNIRP has a conflict of interest in the scientific evaluation of health hazards from RF radiation through its ties to both the military and to industry. It has been the subject of a number of reports regarding this, including this 2020 one written by European Parliament members Klaus Buchner and Michèle Rivasi.
The late Dr Neil Cherry Associate Professor of Environmental Health was invited by the Ministry of Health/ Ministry for the Environment of New Zealand to carry out a peer-review of the proposal to adopt the ICNIRP guidelines for cell sites in New Zealand, in November 1999. He found bias, systematic errors and rejection of evidence. For example he found they cited two studies saying that they did not show any significant increased effects of Brain/CNS cancer from microwave exposures when the actual published papers, Grayson (1996) and Beall et al. (1996), both do show significant increases of Brain/CNS cancer.
IC IRP continue with the same ploys over two decades later.
Scientists trained in epidemiology and oncology, bio-electricity/physics, not the least in medicine, and publishing in the area, without conflicts of interest should be determining our safety standards. Members of watch-dog groups, should be included so that there is robust discussion, not rubber-stamping. As one reviewer of ICNIRP, Professor of Administrative Law at University of Valencia Gabriel Doménech-Pascual has stated, in the 2013 European Journal of Risk Management paper that ICNIRP recognises that compliance with its guidelines may not preclude interference with, or effects on, medical devices such as metallic prosthetics, cardiac pacemakers, defibrillators, and cochlear implants. Professor Doménech-Pascual says that publishing of empirical evidence that a product or activity is more dangerous for human health than has been considered according to a "well established" theory, nay be a sound justification for amending regulations, even if the theory itself isn't discredited
World Health Organisation (WHO)
Dismissal of non-thermal effects
"Interestingly and importantly, ICNIRP (The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) advisory group to WHO, dismisses completely the existence and significance of 'non-thermal' effects. They dismiss the existence of the risk of cancer in long term avid users of mobile phones, They dismiss the International Agency for the Research on Cancer (IARC)’s classification of RF as a possible human carcinogen. The IARC review of science was not included in the list of science reviews used by ICNIRP in preparation of the new guidelines.—Dariusz Leszczynski (Invited Reviewer to the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP); biological effects of radiation emitted by the security devices; 2000)
2011 unanimous agreement RF radiation possible carcinogen
In 2011, a group of international experts agreed unanimously in advising the WHO to classify non-ionizing radiation as a possible carcinogen. Instead of updating this categorisation to probable carcinogen as members of that group believe should happen, recent appointments to the advisory have returned to a message of not enough consistent evidence to conclude harm. There is even a picture on the 2014 WHO website of a very young child with a working phone. Experts in the field see this interpretation of the science as showing an industry preferred interpretation. (It has parallels with the tobacco Industry claims of not enough consistent evidence to conclude harm.) Regarding independence from industry and impartiality, there are claims by WHO of independence, but this amounts to signing a paragraph on a contract, and some refuse to be involved with ICNIRP because of this lack. You can see the thermal effects argument in their latest standards document put out in March 2020. ICNIRP also doesn't properly comply with their own charter and this has been documented by ORSSA secretary Dr Victor Leach, who has listed the claims versus the actions.
ICNIRP Lack of transparency
Dariusz Leszczynski also says "On the contrary to ICNIRP claims, there is a complete lack of transparency of their activities and their decisions in matters of the interpretation of the scientific evidence. There is a complete lack of supervision of its activities, that is being purported by the self-claim of scientific independence."
ICNIRP's Dismissal of the findings and methods of the NTP report unsubstantiated
You can read a rebuttal of ICNIRP dismissal of the National Toxicology Programme's findings here by the NTP study designer Dr Ronald Melink. He says “At the very least, ICNIRP should promote precautionary advice for the general public rather than trying to justify their decision to dismiss findings of adverse health effects caused by RF-EMFs and thereby retain their 20+-year-old exposure guidelines that are based on protection against thermal effects from acute exposures.” It is clear that ICNIRP has made "unsubstantiated" claims about the NTP study.
Lancet report on the WHO
In 2007 The Lancet published a report on WHO, saying "When developing "evidence-based" guidelines, the World Health Organization routinely forgets one key ingredient: evidence."
The study was conducted by Dr. Andrew Oxman and Dr. Atle Fretheim, of the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for Health Services, and Dr. John Lavis at McMaster University in Canada. They interviewed senior WHO officials and analyzed various guidelines to determine how they were produced. What they found was a distinctly non-transparent process.
"If countries do not have confidence in the technical competence of WHO, then its very
existence is called into question," said Horton, the journal's editor. "This study shows that
there is a systemic problem within the organization, that it refuses to put science first."
Excerpt from Alison Katz leader of The Independent WHO
Open letter to Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization
". The private sector has no place in public health policymaking at a global or national level...As you know, public-private partnerships have become the policy paradigm for
global health work despite the evident conflict of interest which would have outlawed such arrangements thirty years ago.
Agencies and organizations with public responsibilities are "partnering" with the private sector for one reason. It (appears to have) become the only source of funds. This situation has arisen because under neo-liberal economic regimes, public sector budgets have been slashed and tax bases destroyed. Those developments are themselves the result of the influence of transnational corporations on governments and the international financial institutions".
Note at the end of the open letter, Alison is now the leader of The Independent WHO fighting for it to be transparent and accountable. "My post was abolished three weeks after the work stoppage and three weeks before the normal renewal of my two-year contract, after 17 years service. This has been qualified as retaliation for industrial action (a violation of human rights) by Swiss unions and staff association lawyers". http://independentwho.org/en/
In the European Union's Reflex Report the late Dr Ross Adey laments the evolving pattern in research funding:
"Not only have governments permitted corporate interests in the communications industry to fund this research, but they have also even permitted them to determine the research questions to be addressed and to select the institutions performing the research.
Participating scientists have all too often accepted unrealistic expectations that, in a matter of a few years, they will provide answers to pivotal questions in cell and molecular biology that can only be achieved slowly, painstakingly and collaboratively over a decade or more."(page 17)
Adey (one of the most esteemed researchers in this field) also says "Formal instruction in physics, theoretical and applied, has become the weakest link for those entering on a
a career in medical research....without versatility in biophysics that matches their
typical knowledge in molecular biology and biochemistry, none of these students may cross this threshold to the cutting edge of in future medical research".
Rationale and Evidence for Russian standards being safer sidelined by WHO's EMF Project
Olga Sheean who worked for WHO and also suffers electro-sensitivity and had a brain tumor removed has done a lot of research to determine how this happened to her. She has written a document called "World Health Organization Setting the standard for a wireless world of harm" discussing the EMF Project by WHO.
In this document she highlights how the Chinese and Russian scientists work: important primary research studies, and papers describing the rationale and evidence for the Russian standards being 100 times more stringent (safer) than those of ICNIRP, Canada, the USA and most European countries, have been made to 'un-happen'
She writes: "UN documents are translated into the official UN languages of French, Spanish, Chinese and Russian, among others. The UN has translators in all languages and ample expertise at its disposal. Yet, in Appendix X of the draft RF EHC monograph, Under X.1, Relevant studies, line 46, WHO claims that, “due to restricted language competence of available experts and restricted options for translations, none of the identified Russian papers and only epidemiological Chinese papers have been included”.
Furthermore, only “...experimental studies with laboratory animals and
observational studies on domestic animals were considered, ruling out "...elegant, well designed and blinded study conducted on the European robin,26 clearly demonstrating non-thermal effects of ambient radiofrequency radiation, will be excluded—as will the many studies on insects and plants, which
unequivocally show non-thermal effects at below international standards."
The BioInitiative organisation wrote to the WHO recommending the experts in the field so that their aims of appropriate safety were not compromised.
The Insurance Industry has serious concerns about the health effects, and exclude cover for EM and RF from their policies.
Our most experienced and well-trained risk assessors are in the insurance industry are they not?
Insurance underwriter's Lloyd’s of London excludes coverage for injury from RF-EMR exposure claims, they say:
"We will not
a) make any payment on your behalf for any claim, or
b) incur any costs and expenses, or
c) reimburse you for any loss, damage, legal expenses, fees or costs sustained by you, or
d) pay any medical expenses . . . for . . .[damage from]
32. Electromagnetic fields (General Insurance Exclusions –Page 7 of the policy): directly or indirectly arising out of, resulting from or contributed to by electromagnetic fields, electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetism, radio waves or noise.”
These details are from a post on Scientists for Wired Technology
Interestingly, this also includes the use of electromagnetic radiation emitted from Smart Meters (AMR, AMI, PLC), from Home Area Network devices and appliances (including thermostats), from Wi-Fi transmitters, from wireless devices in schools, offices, and homes, and from wireless sensors and wireless-connected fire alarms.