Radiofrequency Radiation and Children’s Health – Sustainability Challenges for E- Government
Radiofrequency Radiation and
– Sustainability Challenges
PhD Mikko Ahonen, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall
Researcher Tarmo Koppel, Tallinn Technical University
SWEG 2017 – The 14th Scandinavian Workshop on E-Government
- Work in the world’s biggest mobile learning research project
(EU IST MOBIlearn 2002-2005) + work with schools.
- Risk-management research 2008-2016, together with professor,
MD Lennart Hardell, Örebro University Hospital, Sweden.
Carlberg, M., Hedendahl, L., Ahonen, M.,
Koppel, T., & Hardell, L. (2016). Increasing
incidence of thyroid cancer in the Nordic
countries with main focus on Swedish
data. BMC Cancer, 16, 426.
Hardell, L., Koppel, T., Carlberg, M.,
Ahonen, M., & Hedendahl, L. (2016).
Radiofrequency radiation at Stockholm
Central Railway Station in Sweden and
some medical aspects on public
exposure to RF fields. International
Journal of Oncology, 49(4), 1315–1324.
Some latest work:
- Definition of risks and sustainability
- Special risks of children and RF radiation in schools
- About RF-guidelines dilemma in E-Government projects
- Organisational learning theory and methodology
- Questionnaire to schools
- Further work
In E-government studies risks have earlier studied
mostly from adoption perspective (Belanger & Carter,
2008; Horst, Kuttschreuter & Gutteling, 2006).
In other words, the interest has been on e-services
adoption and risk-focus has been on factors
(usability, trust etc.) that prevent or slow down new
within E-Government studies
What if technology behind all
new E-Government projects is
unhealthy and ecologically
How do you define risks in that
• The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has
classified in 2011 radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields as
possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an
increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer,
associated with wireless phone use.
Focus on all wireless transmitters which produce RF radiation
(radars, mobile phone base stations, DECT-phones/base stations,
Wi-Fi routers, tablets etc).
• Focus on cumulative, chronic (24/7) exposure from all RF-
Why current health discussion?
Microwave (RF radiation)
absorption to head – child vs. adult
Gandhi et al. (1996) , Wiart et al. (2008), de Salles et al. (2008)
“The results show that the locally induced fields in children can be significantly
higher in subregions of the brain (cortex, hippocampus and hypothalamus) and the
eye due to the closer proximity of the phone to these tissues.
The increase is even larger for bone marrow (>10 dB) as a result of
its significantly high conductivity.” Christ et al. (2010); see also Peyman&Gabriel (2010).
Own comment: Now devices used against stomach, soft tissues, high absorption.
Dilemma: RF Radiation Guidelines
New technology is seen safe and ready to be implemented
even in schools by people who design E-Government
What if these guidelines are based on outdated science and
dogmatic views ?
Military radars and microwave ovens
- same guidelines in the USA
Even nowadays RF-radiation guidelines are based on acute thermal effects. Only.
Classics – a book & a thesis
Thermal-based acute (6 minutes) ICNIRP-guideline
Biological, non-thermal 24/7 guidelines/recommendations
ICNIRP Russia Council of
100000 100 10
Please, note: ICNIRP-level is 100-1.000.000 times higher! http://www.icnirp.de
EMF Scientist Appeal. 200 researchers contact in 2015 the UN and require lower levels:
Comparison of guidelines: http://tinyurl.com/RF-Guideline
From reviewer’s comments:
• ” Since RF radiation is a somewhat controversial topic and not yet
fully explored (e.g.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24162060), we suggest you
focus the scientific rigor on how these issues can be understood
and handled in the e-Government context. “
• Anonymous reviewer’s reference & ”State of Art –paper (?)”:
Foster, K. R., & Moulder, J. E. (2013). Wi-Fi and health: review of
current status of research. Health Physics, 105(6), 561–575.
• Financed by the Wi-Fi Alliance
Their other papers financed by Mobile Manufacturers Forum
Moulder has been an expert witness for power and RF industry
for 30 years.
Come on, let’s focus on science, not ’doubt is their product’-
Report of the RNCNIRP (Russian National Committee of
Non-Ionizing Radiation) to the WHO, in 2008:
Stricter view on RF-Guidelines
Paradigm change –study?
Early results from world’s biggest and best-made NTP
animal study show tumor risks below ICNIRP-guideline level.
In 2016 a U.S. National Toxicology
Program (NTP) study found wireless
radiation caused DNA damage, and
brain and heart tumours in rodents
at the non-thermal level (NTP, 2016).,
lower than the current ICNIRP
guideline for mobile phones.
Both the American Cancer Society and the IEEE comment that
RF-guidelines need to be re-evaluated.
Image source: the IEEE
Tissue temperature increase or
ionization is not needed for harmful
Results from Yakymenko et al. (2015) review on RF and
Yakymenko, I., Tsybulin, O., Sidorik, E., Henshel, D., Kyrylenko, O., Kyrylenko,
S., 2015. Oxidative mechanisms of biological activity of low-intensity
radiofrequency radiation. Electromagn Biol Med 1–16.
See also Rüdiger (2009) review of genotoxic effects:
Radio and TV-transmitters:
Effect: Dolk et al. (1997a), Hocking & Gordon (2003),
Ha et al. (2007), Mascarinec et al. (1994, Michelozzi et al.
(2002), Morton & Phillips (1983), Park et al. (2004)
[Mostly increased leukemias and lymphomas]
No effect: Dolk et al. (1997b), Mersenich et al. (2008)
Mobile Phone Base Stations:
Effect: Abdel-Rassoul et al. (2007),
Eger et al. (2004), Hutter et al. (2006),
Navarro et al. (2003), Santini et al. (2003),
Wolf & Wolf (2004), Blettner et al. (2008), Dode et al. (2011),
Shahbazi-Gahrouei (2013) [great variety: from headaches to breast
No effect: Meyer et al. (2006), Berg-Beckhoff et al. (2009)
Our review: Khurana et al. (2010)
+ own interest: http://www.chronicexposure.org
Theoretical background behind problem-solving:
Concepts of organisational learning and learning organisation are rooted
into many perspectives of management, and its practices recognise a wide
range of factors, such as organisation strategy, culture, structure,
absorptive capacity, problem‐solving ability, employee participation,
etc. determining the learning results (Wang and Ahmed, 2003).
All these factors should be included in the questionnaire.
Would include a long-term problem-solving exercise, even workshops
& Delphi-panels with schools.
Picture 1. Basic organisational learning theory –framework,
loosely based on Argyris & Schön (1996).
Need to change
to RF sources
- Current risky
usage culture in
-Best RF Risk-
Picture 2. Adapted organisational learning framework,
with risk-management steps included.
- Questionnaire and statistical
- Contacting schools in
Sweden, Finland and Estonia
- Understanding organisational
learning from schools’
PhD Mikko Ahonen, mikko . ahonen [ät] miun . se
PhD candidate Tarmo Koppel, tarmo [ät] koppel . ee
Questions and comments welcome!