My wife and I spent a few days in Basel, Switzerland, earlier this month. We came for its many exceptional museums, and they didn’t disappoint. One afternoon as we were walking through town, not far from the complex that is home to Art Basel, the annual contemporary art fair, I spotted a carefully crafted warning on the side of an otherwise unremarkable building on Drahtzugstrasse. “The Odious Smell of Truth,” it called out.
With a little Googling, I learned that the expression comes from the title of an exhibition held at the Royal College of Art in London in the spring of 2017. The show was organized by Peter Kennard, a noted British political artist, and his students. They called themselves the Rage Collective. What does it mean, they wanted to know, to tell the truth in a world of false news and social media misinformation.
As it happens, a few days later while I was making my way home to New York, I received an email from Peter Hensinger, the scientific director of Diagnose Funk, a German-Swiss environmental and consumer protection group. It took me right back to those words above Drahtzugstrasse.
Last year, Röösli was the lead author of a health review for physicians on the state of RF science and what might be expected from the latest generation of wireless technology, known as 5G. The message is that there’s nothing to worry about. “According to current knowledge,” Röösli advises, 5G “would not represent a health risk.” The open access paper is in German, with an abstract in English.
“Röösli’s paper is full of misleading half-truths,” Hensinger told Microwave News. “It reminds me of the work of David Michaels,” he said, referring to the author of Doubt Is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Affects Your Health. “Röösli is manufacturing uncertainty.” Michaels, an American epidemiologist, was the head of OSHA under President Obama.
A Prominent Member of the RF–Health Community
Few people are as influential in RF/microwave public policy circles as Röösli. He is a full member of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), and has been since 2016. He serves on a number of committees, including those that advise the German, Swedish and Swiss governments. Indeed, he chairs the Swiss group, called BERENIS, which prepares regular updates on new research for the Federal Office of the Environment. He sits on a number of editorial boards of scientific journals, including Bioelectromagnetics and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH).