In June 2017 the International Journal of Oncology published a critique of the World Health Organization’s pending review of the adverse health effects of wireless (radio frequency) radiation. The critique was written by Dr. Lennart Hardell, the world’s preeminent researcher on brain tumor risk and long-term cell phone use.

His paper provides an historical overview of WHO’s EMF Project, WHO’s relationship to the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), and the relationships of both organizations to the military and electric and telecom industries.

Dr. Hardell notes that the WHO has relied heavily on members of ICNIRP, a non-governmental organization “with serious conflict of interest.” In their reviews of the scientific evidence for adverse health effects from wireless radiation exposure, ICNIRP dismisses the evidence for biological effects due to non-thermal exposures. By focusing only on short-term  heating effects and ignoring the effects of chronic exposure to non-thermal levels of RF radiation, ICNIRP has been able to adopt RF exposure guidelines about 300,000 times more permissive than otherwise would be required. RF exposure standards in many nations including the U.S. have been heavily influenced by these guidelines. “The ICNIRP guidelines are of huge importance to the influential telecommunications, military and power industries.”

Dr. Hardell calls upon the public, NGOs, and the scientific community “to exert pressure on politicians to change the WHO agenda on RF radiation and health hazards and decide that WHO’s purpose is to support world health instead of industry interests.”

Here are extracts from the paper:


In May 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluated cancer risks from radiofrequency (RF) radiation. Human epidemiological studies gave evidence of increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma. RF radiation was classified as Group 2B, a possible human carcinogen. Further epidemiological, animal and mechanistic studies have strengthened the association.

In spite of this, in most countries little or nothing has been done to reduce exposure and educate people on health hazards from RF radiation. On the contrary ambient levels have increased.

In 2014 the WHO launched a draft of a Monograph on RF fields and health for public comments. It turned out that five of the six members of the Core Group in charge of the draft are affiliated with International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), an industry loyal NGO, and thus have a serious conflict of interest. Just as by ICNIRP, evaluation of non-thermal biological effects from RF radiation are dismissed as scientific evidence of adverse health effects in the Monograph. This has provoked many comments sent to the WHO. However, at a meeting on March 3, 2017 at the WHO Geneva office it was stated that the WHO has no intention to change the Core Group.

The WHO EMF Project

The biophysicist Michael Repacholi from Australia was the first chairman of ICNIRP in 1992. His own research within this field is scanty, although a study on lymphoma incidence in mice exposed to RF radiation published in 1997 has attracted interest (49). Repacholi suggested in 1995 that WHO should start the EMF project. This was adopted by WHO in 1996, see WHO Press office: WHO launches new international project to assess health effects of electric and magnetic fields; 4 June 1996 (50). Repacholi was during 1996–2006 the leader of the WHO department of electromagnetic radiation, the WHO EMF project.

The WHO EMF project is supposed to: 1) provide information on the management of EMF protection programs for national and other authorities, including monographs on EMF risk perception, communication and management; 2) provide advice to national authorities, other institutions, the general public and workers, about any hazards resulting from EMF exposure and any needed mitigation measures. (

Michael Repacholi immediately set up a close collaboration between WHO and ICNIRP (being head of both organizations) inviting the electric, telecom and military industries to meetings. He also arranged for large part of the WHO EMF project to be financed by the telecommunication industry’s lobbying organisations; GSM Association and Mobile Manufacturers Forum, now called Mobile & Wireless Forum (MWF) (51) in addition to WHO, see the International EMF Project, Progress Report June 2005–2006 (

Repacholi acted like a representative for the telecom industry while responsible for the EMF health effects department at the WHO ( Since he left WHO in 2006 he has been involved in industry propaganda video interviews with GSM Association and Hydro Quebec (; where he clearly speaks in favor of the telecommunications and the power industries, respectively.

Michael Repacholi is still the Chairman emeritus at ICNIRP ( and has propagated during almost 20 years worldwide the ‘only thermal effect’ paradigm of health risks from RF-EMF exposure, ignoring the abundant evidence for non-thermal effects or cancer risks.

Repacholi recruited Emilie van Deventer to the WHO EMF Project in 2000. She is the current project manager at WHO for the EMF project. She has been a long time member of the industry dominated organization Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). IEEE is the world’s most powerful federation of engineers. The members are or have been employed in companies or organizations that are producers or users of technologies that depend on radiation frequencies, such as power companies, the telecom and the military industry. IEEE has prioritized international lobbying efforts for decades especially aimed at the WHO, for more information see (

Van Deventer is an electrical engineer. She has no formal or earlier knowledge in medicine, epidemiology or biology, so it is surprising that she was selected for such an important position at the WHO ( (

The very same year she was recruited to the WHO EMF Project Toronto University Magazine wrote about Emilie van Deventer’s work stating that it was ‘invaluable’ to industry: ‘The software modelling done by teams like van Deventer’s is invaluable.’ ‘The industrial community is very interested in our research capabilities,’ says van Deventer. ‘It always needs to be working on the next generation of products, so it turns to universities to get the research done.’ (

The importance of this work is reflected in the research funding van Deventer and her team received from the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Communications & Information Technology Ontario (CITO), and their major industrial partner, Nortel. ‘We are fulfilling a very real need in the industry today, which will only increase as technology creates more opportunity. In the process, consumers will continue to enjoy faster computers, lighter cell phones, smaller electronic organizers and the vast array of other electronic gadgets the high-tech world has to offer.’ (

Full Article:

Download PDF: WHO RFR health Hardell 2017

WHO, RFR and health – a hard nut to crack (review)

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