Are Wireless Devices REALLY Harming Us?
POSITION PIECE by Professor Rodney Croft (Director of the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research)
On the 14th of October 2015, the UNSW Faculty of Law, under the auspices of their Continuing Professional Development program, held a seminar aimed at providing, with reference to exposure to emissions from wireless devices, “employers, employees, school administrators, staff, school principals and union representatives, who are responsible for workplace safety and the safety of their students, with essential information on scientific and legal developments which will affect them”.
As an attendee of the seminar I was very disappointed with the failure to provide any such science or scientific developments related to wireless devices, and consequently with the misleading messages that were given to the attendees. I thus believe that it is important to clarify a few of the misconceptions that the audience may have acquired during the ‘learning’ experience.
However, before doing so it is equally important to provide some overarching comments on the structure of the event. The main limitation, which I believe is substantial, is that although advertising that it would provide important information on ‘risk’ and ‘regulation’, it did not have any experts in either area. For example in terms of the science of risk (for example, ‘do mobile phones harm you?’), in place of such experts it had presenters who not only failed to provide the views of mainstream science (such as from the World Health Organisation, WHO, the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, ICNIRP, and the local peak radiation body the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, ARPANSA), but provided views contrary to mainstream science and failed to disclose this to the audience. It is thus difficult for me to imagine how the audience, who presumably would not have sufficient background in ‘Bioelectromagnetics’ to evaluate what they were told, could leave with anything other than the erroneous conclusion that what they were told by the presenters was in fact the view of mainstream science. I hope that the following will provide the reader with a clearer picture of the scientific consensus on wireless devices and health.
The science of the relationships between emissions from wireless devices and health is indeed a very important domain and one that science takes very serious, so I find it a great shame when events such as this fail to provide a balanced view of the science. I note too that there is another UNSW Faculty of Law event planned for 18th of November 2015 on “Wireless devices & Biological Effects”, that claims to provide education for attendees on ‘What we know’, ‘What we do not know’, and ‘What can we do now’. This is to be presented by an academic who historically has rejected the standard science perspective on wireless devices and health. Although this is a free event and so at least won’t cost attendees $440 for the misinformation, I hope that the UNSW Faculty of Law will ensure that the attendees understand which of the ‘educational’ material is indeed scientific consensus, and which is the presenter’s own or others’ views.
About the Author
Professor Croft is the Director of the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research (ACEBR), and was Executive Director of its forerunner, the Australian Centre for Radiofrequency Bioeffects Research (both National Health & Medical Research Council Centres of Research Excellence), is a Commissioner on the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), which sets the principal International Guidelines on the radiofrequency emissions relevant to wireless devices, and has contributed to a number of other international bodies in terms of the radiofrequency-health debate, such as the World Health Organisation, Health Canada, and the US Academy of Sciences.