In the late-1990s, the FCC and ICNIRP adopted radiofrequency radiation (RFR) exposure limits to protect the public and workers from adverse effects of RFR. These limits were based on results from behavioral studies conducted in the 1980s involving 40–60-minute exposures in 5 monkeys and 8 rats, and then applying arbitrary safety factors to an apparent threshold specific absorption rate (SAR) of 4 W/kg.
The limits were also based on two major assumptions: any biological effects were due to excessive tissue heating and no effects would occur below the putative threshold SAR, as well as twelve assumptions that were not specified by either the FCC or ICNIRP. In this paper, we show how the past 25 years of extensive research on RFR demonstrates that the assumptions underlying the FCC’s and ICNIRP’s exposure limits are invalid and continue to present a public health harm.
Adverse effects observed at exposures below the assumed threshold SAR include non-thermal induction of reactive oxygen species, DNA damage, cardiomyopathy, carcinogenicity, sperm damage, and neurological effects, including electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Also, multiple human studies have found statistically significant associations between RFR exposure and increased brain and thyroid cancer risk. Yet, in 2020, and in light of the body of evidence reviewed in this article, the FCC and ICNIRP reaffirmed the same limits that were established in the 1990s.
Consequently, these exposure limits, which are based on false suppositions, do not adequately protect workers, children, hypersensitive individuals, and the general population from short-term or long-term RFR exposures.
Thus, urgently needed are health protective exposure limits for humans and the environment. These limits must be based on scientific evidence rather than on erroneous assumptions, especially given the increasing worldwide exposures of people and the environment to RFR, including novel forms of radiation from 5G telecommunications for which there are no adequate health effects studies.
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