Legal Action Against 5G in the UK: A Review of the Health Risks of Radiofrequency Radiation Employed in 5G Technology and the Implications for UK Policymaking
This short critical review explores the findings of extant research on the health risks posed by 5G technologies that emit radiofrequency radiation (RFR)1. It also provides evidence that the processes by which policy decisions have been made concerning the protection of public health may be significantly flawed, as the overwhelming body of scientific evidence appears to have been ignored by relevant government departments and agencies in arriving at decisions about the introduction of 5G.
This lacuna comes about due to the over-reliance on expert opinion from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), an NGO whose members have traditionally had close ties to industry. It is significant that the UK government and its agencies neither sought nor obtained independent scientific advice on a matter of importance to public health. Consequently, it failed in its duty to identify, assess, and mitigate the risks posed by RFR-based technologies before their introduction, specifically 5G networking and related technologies, thereby protecting public health.
Implications for Policymaking
Independent peer-reviewed research continues to identify significant research deficiencies, omissions, inaccuracies, and distortions in ICNIRP research reviews and guidelines: they also question SCENIHR reports, due to the significant participation of ICNIRP commissioners (Starkey, 2016; Belpomme et al. 2018). It is also significant that five of the six core group members responsible for drafting the WHO’s Monograph on RF fields were directly affiliated with the ICNIRP NGO (Hardell, 2017). Similarly, the chapter on RFR in the WHO’s World Cancer Report 2020 was chiefly authored by ICNIRP member Professor Martin Röösli (see Laurier and
Röösli, 2020). Research has demonstrated that the WHO is deficient in managing conflicts of interest (Wang et al., 2019). This is compounded by what many consider the blatant disregard of the ICNIRP for basic ethical principles and its management of conflicts of interest: Take for example that Pockett (2019, p. 4) finds the “ICNIRP is a self-selected, private (non-governmental) organization, populated exclusively by members invited by existing members. The organization is very concerned to project the image that it is composed of disinterested scientists—indeed all ICNIRP members are required to post on the organization’s website detailed declarations of interest (DOIs). However, a closer inspection of these DOIs reveals that a good many of the sections of a good many of the forms remain unfilled, and a detailed list of undeclared conflicts of interest among ICNIRP members has been published by a group of concerned citizens. The relevant section of WHO is essentially identical to ICNIRP… in spite of their stated rules and protestations to the contrary, there have been persistent allegations that both ICNIRP and the relevant section of WHO are riddled with undeclared conflicts of interest.” These points echo Starkey’s (2016) separate critical analysis of conflicts of interest involving the WHO, ICNIRP, and AGNIR.
Former ICNIRP members now recognise that RFR is a significant risk to human health (see Lin, 2019). Because of the over-reliance on what many scientists consider deeply flawed and biased ICNIRP guidelines, PHE and UK policymakers possess a fundamental ignorance of the large body of extant research on the significant nonthermal health effects of RFR (cf. Starkey, 2016). There is an increasing body of evidence in peer-reviewed academic research that confirms governments and policy-makers (1) may be misled by the ICNIRP (Pockett, 2019); (2) are succumbing to pressures from industry and lobbyists (Michaels, 2008); or (3) are turning a blind eye to scientific and public concerns for economic reasons (Alster, 2015)—which in the UK relate its to digital transformation strategy, lucrative industry licenses, and significant tax revenues. Thus, it may be argued that the decision-making process on the introduction of 5G and its implications for public health are flawed and open to judicial review.
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