He has sat on the working group of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an intergovernmental agency inside the World Health Organization which categorised electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic” in 2011.
Professor Leszczynski is 63 years old and in his retirement from research is editor of the radiation and health section of the Swiss-based scientific journal Frontiers in Public Health.
Before that, and despite a long career at the apex of molecular biology, he found himself unemployed for four years, a victim he says of controversial findings he published while research professor at STUK, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. His study showed that there are effects of cell-phone radiation on cells, and that stress response is being activated in cells. A radical departure that did not gown well.
“This was not what everyone wanted, expected and was waiting for,” says Professor Leszczynski. “From that moment the problems started. With every next study we published, and that showed there are effects under the levels that are permitted by safety levels, there was a problem.”
In an interview with Investigate Europe he argues that huge risks are being taken, with too little research conducted so far on the effects of radiation from electromagnetic fields on the body. And he calls for research to be carried out on humans, within accepted ethical boundaries.
Dariusz Leszczynski, “I don’t believe that every cell-phone user is doomed and will develop cancer. But some of us might. The problem is we don’t know who. We have no science to diagnose what the combination of genes and environmental factors is, such that it will make a person more prone to respond to this radiation in a way that would lead for instance to brain cancer.”
“5G radiation does not penetrate the human body, in contrast to 2, 3 and 4G, which penetrate quite deeply into our bodies. 5G radiates so-called millimetre waves, and they don’t penetrate deeper than skin, they expose only the skin.
“This is being used as assurance: ‘It’s only the skin, it doesn’t go into the brain, everything is fine.’ But it is not so fine. The skin is our largest organ and our largest immune-response organ. It is full of cells that regulate our immune response. If we mess up the immune response in our skin, we mess up the immune response of our bodies altogether.”
Dariusz Leszczynski, “The coming 5G revolution – and next step, which is already being prepared, 6G – will mean that we don’t anymore live in society without being exposed to this radiation. We will have the mobile phone in our pocket and these mini base stations all over.
“The radiation that will be used in 5G does not go through walls or windows, it doesn’t go through rain nor leaves on trees. If there is a tree between you and the cell tower, the phone will not work. So you have to be close to the cell tower; base stations have to be everywhere so that you can be connected.
“Right now, it is possible to find sanctuaries without cell towers where you can live in peace with nature. But those places will not be available for much longer. There will be no place to hide from this radiation because it will be everywhere, and we are being forced to use it in order to function in society, because all services will have to be accessed via a gadget and the internet.”
Dariusz Leszczynski, “The…question was asked 20 or 30 years ago, when the cell phone came, ‘will there be a health problem?’ The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said no, it is not necessary to test them for risk before they are put on the market, because they emit only low power.
“30 years later, in 2011, this radiation was classified as a possible human carcinogen. Here again we are doing exactly the same thing. Engineers are saying 5G is low power and penetrates only skin, so no problem. Let’s wait 30 years and see whether it is really no problem. Hopefully.”
Professor Leszczynski says critical knowledge is lacking and that needs to be rectified.
Dariusz Leszczynski, “We want to know if the radiation will affect human health. We have a few epidemiological studies of human populations. But we should take a person, irradiate them, of course in ethical ways and with radiation levels permitted so that we don’t cause serious harm to this person, and see what kind of biochemical processes are being affected in this person. We should take samples of skin, saliva, urine, blood, whatever is possible to take ethically. We cannot sample brain, but other things we can sample.
“Practically no such studies are done. There are two studies on human brain glucose metabolism changes by cell-phone radiation, and there is one study, by my research group, on the effect of radiation on skin proteins. This is more or less everything.
“We are talking about radiation that can affect DNA, so our genes are endangered. If it can affect genes, can it cause mutation? Cancer? We don’t know at all. Because these observations that we have on DNA effects are done in laboratory studies, which are of course artificial circumstances, different from a normal environment in our bodies.
He explains in more detail the nature of his group’s study. And what happened after it was presented.
Dariusz Leszczynski, “We did this in our lab: We exposed small areas of skin to cell phone radiation. We cut out small pieces of exposed skin, with anaesthesia. From the other not-exposed arm we cut a control piece. Then we looked at how much of the proteins we had in each of the samples. Our study was published in 2008. We found changes in amount of protein caused by cell phone radiation.
“This was a very small study with 10 people, a so-called pilot study. The result might be correct. But when we want wanted to repeat it in a larger group of 50, our funding was cut down.
The internet of Things, the Nature of Things
Investigate Europe, “What then of the people who question the Internet of Things and the direction society is taking?”
Dariusz Leszczynski, “They are being ridiculed. It seems the majority either like it or simply don’t care – until they get a problem. The problem will probably be caused by cyber security and misbehaving machines. But also the radiation that will swamp us.
“Politicians are completely mesmerized by sales pitches for this wonderful smart world. There will be so many advantages. And they are right, there will be many advantages. It will make a lot of money. Ericsson estimates that it will produce profits of 3 with 12 zeroes behind after a few years.
“Politicians go for that because it provides jobs and wealth. Who would oppose this? Politicians must be elected. Those who question philosophical and ethical issues like whether this radiation may be harmful, and whether cyber security may be weak, and whether we really need machines to do everything for us, are being pushed away. These people are often being ridiculed as foil hats.”