Silencing an ‘inconvenient’ voice in the Czech Republic
And now a brief look at the Czech Republic’s 2001 acquiescence to ICNIRP. The following is extracted from my thesis, The Procrustean Approach. Chapter 4: IEEE’s thermal paradigm spreads internationally, pp. 173 – 175. Unfortunately this is how modern science works on behalf of ICNIRP. Just replace the word ‘science’ with ‘economics’ and its more to the point.
The Czech Republic
Like Russia and China, the Czech Republic (formerly part of Czechoslovakia) for many years maintained a strict RF/MW exposure standard for both the public and workers. In collaboration with Soviet scientists, Czechoslovakia had conducted much of the research on the bioeffects of RF exposure, both thermal and non-thermal, and their standard was based on eliminating both these effects. This research was conducted at the Institute of Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Diseases and the Occupational Diseases Clinic in Bratislava and in both research laboratories a wide range of non thermal bioeffects were found that reinforced their strict RF standard. However, in January 2001, the Czech Republic replaced its former strict Soviet based COMECOM90 RF limits with much relaxed limits based on the ICNIRP Guidelines. The reason for the change was an apparent political decision made in favour of economic considerations against the expert advice of the Czech National Institute of Public Health”ôs Advisory Board on Non- Ionizing Radiation.
Dr. Jan Musil, chair of the Czech Republic”ôs National Institute of Public Health”ôs Advisory Board on Non-Ionizing Radiation had opposed the adoption of the ICNIRP limits. In early 2000, on behalf of the ten member board, Dr. Musil sent a statement to the US based publication Microwave News expressing concerns that that the WHO had failed to apply the precautionary principle adequately in its evaluation of EMFs. Musil also asserted that the 1999 EU Council of Ministers recommendations to accept ICNIRP limits ignored the opinion of the European Parliament that ICNIRP”ôs “basic restrictions”Ě adopted by the council “include large safety factors only with respect to the thresholds for acute effects.”Ě The statement went on to say:
“Emphasis on the need for more caution in words only, without introducing more stringent limits for chronic exposure in numerical form, can be intended only for an ideal world with ideal people. The Italian and Swiss governments are taking a more practical approach to real-world situations, with stringent limits for long-term exposure. We also welcome the concerns expressed last year by the U.S. government”ôs Radiofrequency Interagency Work Group on the revision of the ANSI/IEEE RF/MW exposure standard. We refer particularly to the sections on acute and chronic exposures…on pulsed or frequency-modulated RF radiation (“Exposure guidelines based on thermal effects…and concepts…that mask any differences between intensity-modulated RF radiation exposure and CW exposure…may not adequately protect the public”Ě) and on time averaging (The 0.1 hour approach historically used should be reassessed.).”Ě
In an open letter to colleagues around the world, Dr. Musil explained that he opposed the adoption of ICNIRP Guidelines and that he had been removed as the chair of both the National Reference Laboratory and the Advisory Board on Non-Ionizing Radiation. Dr. Musil said that he “was replaced by a person with no research experience in this area, who was willing to accept ICNIRP limits without biophysical qualification.”Ě Musil stated that he was against the ” hurried harmonization of standards without objective verification of the facts.”Ě
From the viewpoint of the Czech government they had to respond to the economic dilemma also faced by the Russian Federation with their strict RF limits. These very low limits, especially for long-term exposure of general public, were introduced in the country in early seventies and re affirmed by the Czech ministry in 1990. However, with the rapid rollout of new wireless technology, difficulties in conforming to these limits soon appeared. In one case, TV and FM transmitters installed on a new TV tower in Prague were not allowed to broadcast for several months, as the limit for 24 hours resident exposure (0.01 W/m2 for the frequency range 30 MHz to 300 MHz) was slightly violated on a nearby square, and the ban was lifted only after the power radiated by these transmitters was lowered. With the introduction of mobile phones in the 1990″ôs it became apparent that emissions from mobile phone technology violated the maximum power densities allowed by the 1990 regulations, making the use of the technology technically illegal. Thus the conclusion that can be drawn from the Czech experience is that the government”ôs decision to adopt ICNIRP was not based on a balanced assessment of the scientific literature but more on economic and military considerations with Musil and his committee”ôs expert advice sacrificed for the sake of ICNIRP harmonization. Another factor in the Czech Republic moving away from its previous strict RF standard would be a popular desire to move away from conformity to dominant Soviet perspectives during the Cold War era, even though much of the research had in fact been conducted by Czech scientists. An unintended consequence of this, however, is the likely introduction of high power US military radar on Czech territory that conforms to ICNIRP RF standard limits. Under the former Czech national standard this introduction would have been illegal. In addition this has made the proposed Czech radar sites a potential nuclear target for Russia.
[And also relevant to getting rid of all those inconvenient voices is the next section of the chapter]:
The military dimension of harmonization : The Asia-Pacific 2004 EMF Conference
Besides IEGMP, ICNIRP and the telecommunications industry having a big stake in promoting global RF standard harmonization, a brief examination of the January 2004 Asia-Pacific EMF Conference titled: “Electromagnetic Fields, Research, Health Effects, and Standards Harmonization”Ě, in Bangkok, Thailand, is illustrative of the heavy involvement of the U.S. military in pushing the harmonization line for its own purposes. One of the objectives of the conference was to summarise a framework for the harmonization of international EMF exposure standards and present and discuss a model for EMF exposure regulation and compliance. The conference was organized by the WHO”ôs International EMF Project (IEMFP), the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory -Directed Energy Bioeffects Division – Radio Frequency Radiation Branch, at Brooks City-Base, Texas and the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand. Out of the 11 member International Organizing Committee, 8 members represented various sectors of the US Air Force, these being the Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development (AOARD), which is a foreign detachment of the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research ; the European Office of Aerospace Research and Development (EOARD), a sister office to AOARD with its areas of interest being Europe, the mid-East, Africa, and countries of the former Soviet Union; the Air Force Research Laboratory at Brooks City-Base, Texas and “Advance Information Systems, Inc”Ě, also located at the Brooks City-Base, Texas. The three non-military representatives were Michael Repacholi (WHO), a member from the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand, as well as a representative from Health Canada. Of the three editors of the proceedings of the conference, two were from Advanced Information Engineering Services, Inc, Brooks City-Base, Texas, one from Air Force Research Laboratory, Brooks City-Base and the person in charge of the proceedings website from the Air Force contractor, General Dynamics.
The US Air Force has a very important reason to be actively involved in the world harmonization process. The U.S. has long been maintaining an interlocking web on overseas bases that supports U.S. objectives for securing access to markets, and obtaining natural resources, especially oil. As part of a new strategy, many of the old massive bases dotted around the world are being replaced by a global network of what the Pentagon planners call “lily pads”Ě “” small forward bases in remote, dangerous corners of the world that can act as jumping-off points when crises arise. In the past couple of years, US bases have been established in the former Soviet republics of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and in former Eastern Bloc states, Bulgaria and Romania. This presence has increased tensions between these nations and Russia who has asked these countries to ask the U.S. forces to leave. With Russia, China and other former Eastern block nations having strict RF standards, the very existence of these standards can act as an impediment to global deployment of U.S. bases as RF/MW emissions of US military radar equipment would in all probability be in excess of stricter national RF limits, in nations where they apply. This could cause local public opposition to the bases if it were known and could be used as an excuse for governments to ask the bases to leave. From the U.S. military point of view, as well as civilian contractors who manufacture their equipment, it would be far better to simply have just one global RF standard that was high enough to make the maximum military use of the RF spectrum possible, without the embarrassment of violating someone”ôs RF standard. ICNIRP limits, as well as the U.S. IEEE C-95 RF standard, conveniently meet that requirement, at least at the moment.
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