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Russian Cell Phone Standards Offer Better Protection than American Standards
The authors of this paper point out that the Russian RF standards were based on studies that demonstrated autoimmune effects of exposure to RF that were not necessarily pathological. In contrast to standards adopted by other governments including the U.S., Russia adopted a precautionary approach in setting the RF standards:
"The general approach to public health protection and setting exposure limits by previous Soviet and current Russian committees is that people should not have to compensate for any effects produced by RF exposure, even though they are not shown to be adverse to health (pathological)
"This is an important difference from the approach used by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), which bases its limits on the lowest RF exposure that causes any established adverse health effect (RFLowest). Limit values in their guidelines are then set by assuming that there is maximum absorption of the RF field by people and then reducing the RFLowest by large safety factors to produce the final limits, normally by a factor of 50 lower than the RFLowest for the general public [ICNIRP, 1998]."
The authors claim that the Russian standards are based on old research that is flawed, but they do not critique this research as the focus of their paper is on the philosophy underlying the standards.
The authors do not discuss the serious limitations of the industry-developed (IEEE and ICNIRP) guidelines that form the basis for the U.S. and European standards. These standards only recognize adverse health effects caused by heating tissue (i.e., thermal effects) and not the various adverse health effects that research has shown to be associated with non-thermal mechanisms.
Unlike the U.S. standards adopted by the F.C.C. in 1996 which treat children like adults, the Russian guidelines for children are more sensible as they take a precautionary approach in protecting children's health:
"Children are not small adults since they are developing organisms with special sensitivities and might be expected to be more sensitive to EMF than adults [Grigoriev, 2005; Kheifets et al., 2005]. Thus, results of studies conducted on adults might not be validly extrapolated to children; therefore, the RNCNIRP [i.e., the Russian committee] considered that children need special consideration when developing exposure limits. According to the RNCNIRP, the following health hazards are likely to be faced in the near future by children who use mobile phones: disruption of memory, decline in attention, diminished learning and cognitive abilities, increased irritability, sleep problems, increase in sensitivity to stress, and increased epileptic readiness. For these reasons, special recommendations on child safety from mobile phones have been incorporated into the current Russian mobile phone standard [Russian Standard, 2003]."
"Recommends limiting mobile phone call time as much as possible and limiting possibility of use by children age < 18 years, pregnant women and pacemaker wearers" (see 2003 Russian standards in Table 2)
The authors of this paper disparage Russia's "philosophy of protection":
"The philosophy of protection of the public—that RF exposure of individuals should not cause any compensatory response—is not used in standards outside of Russia. National authorities in most countries want to know what health effects they are protecting against and not make assumptions about what effects may occur. This is the philosophy of the ICNIRP and IEEE committees."
If the purpose of a nation's RF emission standards is to protect population health, doesn't the precautionary approach seem more prudent? When the F.C.C. conducts the next review of its 16-year old RF standards for cell phone radiation, a precautionary perspective should be applied. The standards should be revised to enable cell phone communications with emissions that are "as low as reasonably achievable" (ALARA), and all non-thermal effects, including auto-immune and reproductive health effects, must be considered.
Michael Repacholi, Yuri Grigoriev, Jochen Buschmann, Claudio Pioli. Scientific basis for the Soviet and Russian radiofrequency standards for the general public. Bioelectromagnetics. Published online Jul 2, 2012.
The former Soviet Union (USSR) and the USA were the first countries to introduce standards limiting exposure to radiofrequency (RF) fields. However, the exposure limits in the USSR standards were always much lower than those in the USA and other countries. The objective of this article is to provide a history of the development of the Soviet and Russian RF standards. In addition, we summarize the scientific evidence used to develop the original USSR RF and subsequent Russian public health standards, as well as the mobile telecommunications standard published in 2003, but we do not critique them. We also describe the protective approaches used by the Soviet and Russian scientists for setting their limits. A translation of the papers of the key studies used to develop their standards is available in the online version of this publication.
Page Updated Last on: Oct 25, 2013