ICEMS Non-Thermal effects of Electromagnetic Fields. Now available for free download..

July 4, 2012.  Are there non-thermal effects of electromagnetic fields?

Health Canada says, “NO“.   They state on page 9 of  Safety Code 6,

For frequencies from 100 kHz to 300 GHz, tissue heating is the predominant health effect to be avoided. Other proposed non-thermal effects have not been conclusively documented to occur at levels below the threshold where thermal effects arise.


Perhaps Health Canada scientists should read this two part document prepared by the International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS).  Although this document was published in 2010, one year after the most recent Health Canada Safety Code 6 was updated (2009), much of the information it was based on was readily available to the review committee of Health Canada when they released their 2009 guideline.

The entire two part set is now available for free download at the ICEMS website.  It consists of :

a.  a Summary document (click here for download).
b.  Part One (click here to download).
c.  Part Two (click here to download).

The 24 original contributions, all peer-reviewed, are in 4 sections as follows:

Section A. Biophysical Mechanisms
Section B. Cellular Mechanisms and Tissue Effects
Section C. In vivo Effects
Section D. Epidemiology

Do non-thermal biological effects occur below existing international guidelines?  The definitive answer to that questions is “YES“!

In 1999, Health Canada asked the Royal Society of Canada to address this important questions.  The Royal Society stated the following about “non-thermal” effects.

page 3:  There are documented biological effects of RF fields even at low, non-thermal exposure levels, below Safety Code 6 exposure limits. These biological effects include alterations in the activity of the enzyme ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), in calcium regulation, and in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. (These effects are discussed in more detail in the body of the panel’s report.) Some of these biological effects brought about by non-thermal exposure levels of RF could potentially be associated with adverse health effects.

We have even more evidence available  in the ICEMS Monograph 2010.

ICNIRP and countries like Canada, who still have only thermal guidelines, need to lower their guidelines to levels that are in line with those proposed in Salzburg in 2000.

For preventive public health protection a preliminary guideline level for the sum total of exposures from all ELF pulse modulated high-frequency facilities such as GSM base stations of 1 mW/m (0.1 μW/cm.) is recommended.

ICNIRP and Health Canada’s guidelines for GSM base station frequencies are 10,000 times higher than the Salzburg recommendation!

Debates about non-thermal and thermal  effects made sense back in the 1970s but we have learned much to recognize that non-thermal effects occur below existing international guidelines; that we understand many mechanisms involved; and that these non-thermal biological effects have some serious human health consequences.

Further debate about thermal vs non-thermal effects is a  red herring – a divertion of attention from the real issue of protecting public health and safety.  The only protection that ICNIRP and countries like Canada are providing is to the telecom industry.  Enough is enough!  It is time for Health Canada to live up to its name and for ICNIRP to come clean or commit apoptosis.

As Thomas Paine once wrote:  Either lead, follow, or get out of the way!