Posted: June 26, 2006 Cell Phone Emissions Excite The Brain Cortex
Electromagnetic fields from cell phones excite the brain cortex adjacent to it, with potential implications for individuals with epilepsy, or other neurological conditions. This finding is published in Annals of Neurology, a journal by John Wiley & Sons. The article is also available online via Wiley Interscience.
More than 500 million people in the world use cell phones which emit electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Though many studies have looked at the effects of EMFs on the body, few have focused on their effects on the brain. Such effects could be harmful, neutral, or beneficial and might be particularly important for individuals with conditions involving cortical excitability, such as epilepsy.
Researchers in Italy, led by Paolo M. Rossini, M.D., Ph.D. of Fatebenefratelli, used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to investigate brain function under exposure to electromagnetic fields from a common type of cell phone. Their study reports the effects of EMF exposure on brain physiology for the first time.
The researchers developed a double-blind study in which 15 young male volunteers were exposed to EMF signals from a GSM 900 cell phone for 45 minutes. They measured Motor Evoked Potentials (MEPs) during motor cortex TMS before, and immediately after EMF exposure, and also one hour later.
In 12 of the 15 subjects, the data showed an excitability change in the motor cortex adjacent to the cell phone. "Intracortical excitability was significantly modified, short intracortical inhibition was reduced and facilitation enhanced," the authors report. They found that the effects of the EMF were transient and the subjects' brains tended to return toward baseline conditions one hour after the exposure.
It would be premature to presume that this work implies that using a cell phone is bad for the brain in any way. Much more work needs to be done to understand whether these electrical changes in the brain make any difference whatsoever in the way we think or in any disease process in which cortical excitability is affected.
"It should be argued that long-lasting and repeated exposure to EMFs linked with intense use of cellular phones in daily life might be harmful or beneficial in brain-diseased subjects," they conclude. "Further studies are needed to better circumstantiate these conditions and to provide safe rules for the use of this increasingly more widespread device."
Article: "Mobile phone emissions and human brain excitability." Ferreri, Florinda; Curcio, Giuseppe; Pasqualetti, Patrizio; De Gennaro, Luigi; Fini, Rita; Rossini, Paolo. Annals of Neurology; July 2006; (DOI: 10.1002/ana.20906 ).
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident."
Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860
"In the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet, breathe the same air, and we all cherish our children’s future."
Need A Cooker? Use Your Cell Phone By Sue Mueller 6-28-6
Many organizations including the cell phone industry often downplay the risk of cell phone radiation to the brain. Results from short-term studies were used to convince consumers that use of a cell phone is not associated with brain tumors or cancer, which only develop decades after exposure.
To be fair, no one knows exactly how much harm a cell phone can do to a person. Howe
Recently, new media has reported a study showing the radiation from cell phones is so full of energy they can be used to cook eggs.
In the experiment, researchers placed one egg in a porcelain cup (because it is easy to conduct heat), and put one cell phone on one side and another cell phone on the other. The researchers then called from one cell phone to another and kept the cell phones on after connecting.
During the first 15 minutes, nothing changed. After 25 minutes, however, the egg shell started to become hot and at 40 minutes, the surface of the egg became hard and bristled. Researchers found the protein in the egg had become solid although the egg yolk was still in liquid form. After 65 minutes, the whole egg was well cooked.
The study shows how scary cell phone radiation is. People should try to avoid use of cell phones. Although so far no one has proved the radiation from cell phones can cause something clinically significant. By the same token, there has been no one who can disprove the existence of such a risk.
Children should be forbidden from cell phone use because they still grow their brains and are particularly vulnerable to radiation.
Heavy mobile use 'damages sperm' Heavy use of mobile phones may damage men's fertility, a study has suggested.
Researchers found those men who used a phone for four hours or more a day had fewer sperm and those they had moved less well and were of poorer quality.
The Ohio study involving 364 men was presented to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in New Orleans.
But a UK expert said it was unlikely the phones were to blame, as they were in use and not near the testes, and it may be being sedentary was the cause.
If you are holding [the phone] up to your head to speak a lot, it makes no sense that it is having a direct effect on your testes Dr Allan Pacey, British Fertility Society
The team from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio tested the sperm of 364 men who were being treated at fertility clinics in Mumbai, India, with their partners.
It was found that the heaviest users, those who used their phones for more than four hours a day had the lowest average sperm counts, at 50 million per millilitre (ml) and the least healthy sperm.
Men who used their phones for between two and four hours a day averaged sperm counts of 69 million per ml and had moderately healthy sperm.
Those who said they did not use mobile phones at all had the highest average sperm counts, of 86 million per ml, and their sperm was of the highest quality seen.
'Used without thinking twice'
Dr Ashok Agarwal, who led the research, told the New Orleans conference the study did not prove mobiles damaged fertility, but said it showed more research was warranted.
"There was a significant decrease in the most important measures of sperm health and that should definitely be reflected in a decrease in fertility, which is seen worldwide.
"People use mobile phones without thinking twice what the consequences might be.
"It is just like using a toothbrush, but mobiles could be having a devastating effect on fertility.
"It still has to be proved, but it could be having a huge impact because mobiles are so much part of lives."
He suggested radiation from mobile phones might harm sperm by damaging DNA, affecting the cells in the testes which produce testosterone or the tubes where sperm is produced.
But a British expert cast doubt on the suggested link between mobile phone use and infertility in the men studied.
Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, said: "This is a good study, but I don't think it tackles the issue.
"If you're using your phone for four hours a day, presumably it is out of your pocket for longer.
"That raises a big question: how is it that testicular damage is supposed to be occur?"
Dr Pacey, who is honorary secretary of the British Fertility Society, added: "If you are holding it up to your head to speak a lot, it makes no sense that it is having a direct effect on your testes."
He added that people who use phones for longer might be more sedentary, more stressed or eat more junk food, which might be more likely explanations for the link found in the study. Story from BBC NEWS: news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/6079782.stm
Published: 2006/10/24 09:51:21 GMT
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident."
Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860
"In the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet, breathe the same air, and we all cherish our children’s future."
Mobiles 'cleared' of cancer risk Long or short-term mobile phone use is not associated with increased risk of cancer, a major study has found.
Mobile phone antennas emit electromagnetic fields that can penetrate the human brain.
But a Danish team found no evidence that this was linked to an increased risk of tumours in the head or neck as had been feared.
The study, of more than 420,000 mobile phone users, appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
We can have some confidence in the results Professor Tricia McKinney University of Leeds
The researchers, from the Danish Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen, looked at data on people who had been using mobile phones from as far back as 1982.
More than 56,000 had been using a mobile phone for at least 10 years.
They found no evidence to suggest users had a higher risk of tumours in the brain, eye, or salivary gland, or leukaemia.
Professor Tricia McKinney, Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Leeds, said: "The results of this Danish cohort study are important as they have analysed data from mobile phone company records and do not rely on users remembering for up to 10 years in the past how often they used their phone.
"The large numbers of subscribers in the study mean we can have some confidence in the results that have not linked mobile phone use to a risk of any cancer, including brain tumours."
The study follows a report published earlier this year by the Institute of Cancer Research, which concluded that mobile phone use was not associated with a greater risk of brain cancer.
An independent group for the UK government, led by Sir William Stewart, that looked into the safety of mobile phones in the late 1990s also concluded mobile phones did not appear to harm health.
However, expert advice is still to limit mobile phone use among young people as a precautionary measure, as their head and nervous systems may still be developing.
And the government currently advises mobile phone users to keep their call times short.
There are more than one billion mobile phone users worldwide.
By Rob Beschizza| Also by this reporter 02:00 AM Dec, 12, 2006
Electromagnetic field sensitivity is an empirical chimera.
Riding in on peer-reviewed research, but flunking every major test, the idea that wireless technology amounts to a modern health threat presents a conundrum to proponents and skeptics alike. With Wi-Fi networks blanketing homes, schools and even whole cities, they've become the latest flash point in a struggle that's arced from power lines to microwaves, cell phones and even computers, spanning decades of debate.
To sufferers of EMF sensitivity, however, such academic battles are exasperating. To them, it's as if their symptoms, and even their sanity, are under attack.
"A professor called it Compulsive Risk Assessment Psychosis, otherwise known as CRAP,'" said Rod Read of ElectroSensitivity-UK, a registered charity in Britain. "He says everyone is deluded. It insults and abuses people who are sick. I thought that went out with the Victorian era."
British author Kate Figes recently described a sensation akin to being "prodded all over your body by 1,000 fingers" when in the presence of a Wi-Fi signal. When Michael Bevington fell ill, he blamed a network recently installed at the prestigious school where he'd worked for 28 years: "Over the weekend, away from the classroom, I felt completely normal."
Plans for a Wi-Fi network at an Illinois school were scuppered after parents filed a lawsuit. The president of Canada's Lakehead University banned Wi-Fi on campus, likening it to second-hand smoke. In March, Toronto's public health department questioned plans to install a citywide network.
"It's the whole insidious and invisible exploitation of the EM spectrum," said Read, who estimates between 1 percent and 3 percent of the population may be susceptible. "To the sensitive, it's like being shouted at all the time."
Sufferers report headaches, nausea, stomach upsets, tinnitus, brain fog and short-term memory among the symptoms, Read said. Skeptics, however, suspect that blaming EMF sensitivity for their ills amounts to an easy answer to almost any medical problem.
"There is no known mechanism by which EMF from any source -- power lines, cell phones or Wi-Fi networks -- can cause health problems of any kind," said Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine. "In fact, there is nothing that even needs explaining."
While some groups focus on nonspecific symptoms, others claim links to more severe conditions such as cancer.
"We're in it for a long fight," said Cindy Sage of Sage EMF Design, a California environmental consulting firm that profiles locations for their EMF characteristics. "Around the world, we've seen the affected giving up hope. But they're burning down cell towers in Israel, dismantling them in Ireland, taking it to a civil disobedience level when they can't get their governments to respond."
Scientists recognize the dangers of high-frequency ionizing radiation, such as gamma rays unleashed by nuclear fallout. Non-ionizing radiation, however, such as Wi-Fi signals, cellular networks, television broadcasts and visible light, cannot break down atomic bonds and has long been considered safe.
"The fields that are induced by Wi-Fi transmissions are well below those that could cause problems to humans," said Chris Guy, head of The University of Reading's School of Systems Engineering. "The maximum power that is allowed to be transmitted by any Wi-Fi unit is one-tenth of a watt."
EMF sensitivity advocates, however, believe studies reveal that even these low-frequency, low-power fields can cause subtle damage to human tissue, citing evidence of cell death, faster-growing tumors and DNA damage.
Sage, who published a 30-page critique of San Francisco's decision to pursue a citywide wireless network, said the proven effects on biological systems caused by EMF do not diminish with signal strength.
"The trend is looking like there is no lower limit," Sage said.
Graham Philips of Powerwatch, which seeks to highlight the alleged dangers of EMF, said no peer-reviewed research demonstrates dangers specific to Wi-Fi. That said, he claimed that the vast majority of studies into EMF indicate a negative health impact, and that a precautionary approach should be adopted.
"What isn't yet agreed upon is whether or not it is attributable to the electrical devices being accused of being the problem," he said, "or whether it is psychological."
The precautionary principle is misapplied here, skeptics say, pointing out that whatever evidence exists for biological effects, it does not amount to proof of biological harm.
"We don't even need to study Wi-Fi networks in terms of health concerns, because there are no health concerns that need explaining," Shermer said. "All we have are anecdotes, and anecdotes do not make a science."
Epidemiological studies consistently fail to uncover negative health effects. On Wednesday, a Danish study, tracking a cohort of 420,000 over 20 years, reported no increase in cancer among cell-phone users.
It's as if death forgot to return their calls.
"What do you do with uncertain science, where there is evidence but not proof?" Sage asked. "We don't have the kind of science process that would provide conclusive evidence."
"There is no such thing as truly conclusive evidence," Philips said, "and nothing can really be done to provide any."
To others, the lack of such evidence, after years of attempts to find it, sends a clear signal. "It was codswallop then, and it's codswallop now," Shermer said.
And yet the lines of the battle seem fluid. Most mainstream scientists may consider EMF sensitivity unlikely, but more studies are under way. Some governments are taking a cautious tack, reviewing exposure limits and recommending that youngsters, at least, avoid habitual use of cell phones. And on the other side, the virtues of wireless technology are not lost on its critics.
"We don't see us doing away with mobile phones or Wi-Fi," Read said. "We suspect there are frequencies that don't have any effect on people at all.... That's the research that really has to be done."
"It's a problem we've created with science, and we can uncreate it with science."
Cancer study ordered into mobile phones Philip Webster, Helen Rumbelow and Alice Miles # Government expert warns of 'hint of a link' # 200,000 join research into long-term users A mass study of the long-term impact of mobile phones is to be undertaken amid fears that people who have used them for more than ten years are at greater risk from brain cancer.
More than 200,000 volunteers, including long-term users, are to be monitored for at least five years to plot mobile phone use against any serious diseases they develop, including cancer and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Professor Lawrie Challis, who is in the final stages of negotiation with the Department of Health and the mobile phone industry for the £3 million that he needs to fund the study, told The Times that research has shown that mobiles are very safe in the short term but that there is a “hint of something” for people using them longer.
In an interview, Professor Challis, a world expert on mobile phone radiation, and chairman of the government-funded mobile telecommunications health research programme, emphasised that the “hint” was just that. One European study has found a slight association and using a mobile for more than ten years. The few long-term users developed more acoustic neuroma brain tumours which were found close to the ear used for phoning.
But, because of the tiny numbers involved, “it could be by chance,” he said. Asked whether the mobile phone could turn out to be the cigarette of the 21st century in terms of the damage it could inflict, he replied: “Absolutely.”
He said that the study was necessary because all the important breakthroughs in what caused cancers had shown that the effects often took more than ten years to show. “You find absolutely nothing for ten years and then after that it starts to grow dramatically. It goes up ten times. You look at what happened after the atomic bombs at Nagasaki, Hiroshima. You find again a long delay, nothing for ten years. The same for asbestos.”
He made plain that he was not put off because many existing studies had shown no dangers. “The fact that you don’t see anything in ten years is also more or less what you would expect if there is something happening,” he said.
Announcing the new study, he said: “Because there is a hint and because the professional epidemiologists who I trust and who do this all the time feel there is a chance that this could be real, they can’t rule out the possibility. And because we all know that most cancers don’t show up for more than ten years, I think you have to carry on. It’s essential we carry on.
“Otherwise what are we going to do? If in ten or fifteen years’ time people start getting trouble it won’t show up until it’s a really big effect.”
The move was welcomed by the Conservatives. Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, said: “It’s not scare-mongering to ask these questions for future generations. At the moment there is little evidence to suggest that use of mobile phones has any impact on health, but it is vital that there is continuing research to establish if long-term use is a danger.”
Professor Challis is planning a separate study monitoring the impact of mobile phone use on children. He disagreed with the claim of some scientists that there was no cause to believe mobiles affected them differently from adults.
“We all know that if you’re exposed to sunlight as a kid you are much more likely to get skin cancer than if you’re exposed as an adult.”
He insisted that there was nothing irresponsibly alarmist about his message. Even if a risk were found, people would not have to stop using phones, but perhaps reduce their use.“I do it because I think it’s worthwhile,” he said.
A science of ifs, buts and maybes . . .
2006 Largest study yet, of 420,000 Danish users for up to 21 years, ruled out any large effect on any cancer after short or long-term use
# It suggested there could be a very slightly raised risk of acoustic neuroma, a rare, benign cancer of the inner ear, among users of more than ten years
# A raised risk on the side on which sufferers said they used their phones was balanced by a decreased risk on the other side — which led the scientists to suggest recall bias as the likely explanation. They said no firm conclusions could be drawn
2006 US study suggested lower sperm counts among heavy users. It is widely thought that this reflects another aspect of heavy users’ lifestyles, such as stress or a lack of exercise
2005 Interphone international study finds no effect on acoustic neuroma for ten years of use. It was unable, however, to rule out an effect for longer-term use, because of insufficient data
2004 Study suggests users have a higher risk of brain cancer if they live in rural areas. It has been suggested that this could reflect the higher strength of signal in areas with few base stations
2003 Swedish study suggests higher risk of acoustic neuroma among heavy users of analogue mobile phones, which have since been phased out. Scientists criticised the methodology of the research
2002 Finnish research suggests that phone emissions can cause abnormalities in blood vessel cells in the laboratory. Scientists that said it was not possible to draw conclusions for phone safety for real people
After you have read the following, think about a couple of points - how long have cell phones been in general use AND how cell phones have assumed such importance that young children let alone adults have to have one. The following press release is a genuine cause for concern:
Europe cell phone study focuses on tumors
LYON, France, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- A European study suggests people using cell phones for 10 or more years have a higher risk of developing brain tumors than do non-cell phone users.
The five-nation study involving more than 4,500 people found a statistically significant increase in the incidence of tumors on the side of the head where the users hold their cell phones, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
"Although our results overall do not indicate an increased risk of glioma in relation to mobile phone use, the possible risk in the most heavily exposed part of the brain with long-term use needs to be explored further before firm conclusions can be drawn," the researchers said.
The study covering the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland is to be published next month in the International Journal of Cancer.
The research is part of a larger 13-nation research program coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, the newspaper reported. Results from all 13 countries are expected to be analyzed and made public later this year. The United States is not included in the research.
NewsTarget.com printable article Originally published February 22 2007
Mobile phones boost brain tumor risk by up to 270 percent on side of brain where phone is held by M. T. Whitney
Using a cell phone regularly – even a modern one – raises the risk of developing a brain tumor for many users, a new Finnish study published online in the International Journal of Cancer. The study, done by a collection of researchers from many universities and led by Anna Lahkola of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland, found firm corollary evidence that using a cell phone causes the risk of getting a brain tumor called a glioma to rise by 40 to 270 percent on the side of the head preferred for using the phone.
What you need to know - Conventional View • The study compared 1,521 cellular phone users who received a glioma to 3,301 control participants without tumors.
• For people who have used a modern cellular phone for more than 2000 hours in their lifetime, the risk of getting a brain tumor rose by 270 percent.
• The study is considered the second that firmly correlates cell phone usage with an increased risk of developing certain brain tumors.
• The risk was highest among people under the age of 20.
• Older-style analog cell phones already have been shown as a source of brain tumors, but even with the development of digital cellular phones, the risk is still there.
• According to a scientist associated with the web site foodconsumer.org, the study results should not make readers assume that ten years of cell phone use will correlate to an immediate tumor, but that the tumor will show up later than that.
What you need to know - Alternative View • Mobile phone manufacturers have tried to suppress the dangers of mobile phones by funding their own distorted research that concludes the phones are perfectly safe.
• All people -- but children and teens especially -- should be warned against using mobile phones due to the increased risk of brain tumors.
Bottom line • Cell phone usage is shown to increase your risk of a brain tumor.
"Neither radiofrequency (30kHz-300MHz) nor microwave fields (300-3000 MHz) exist as significant components of the natural terrestrial electromagnetic environment. In consequence, our human generation is the first to voluntarily expose itself to artificial RF/microwave fields that cover a wide spectrum of frequencies and intensities.
Typical mobile phones radiate an average power of 0.2-0.6 W. When hand-held and operated close to the head, background levels are sharply distorted, with 40 percent of radiated phone energy absorbed in the hand and the head ([Kuster et al., 1997]). In this mode of operation, a mobile phone may be regarded as a quite powerful radio transmitter. Its emission at the head surface is typically 10,000 times stronger than fields reaching the head of a user standing within 30m of the base of a typical mobile phone relay transponder mounted on a tower 30m above ground." W. Ross Adey, International Encyclopedia of Neuroscience
What is the effect of the radiation?
While industry sponsored studies have failed to show a clear link between cell phone usage and brain tumors (there are other effects which have been ignored by industry studies), independent scientific studies show that the radiation from hand held mobile phones do pose serious health risks and can increase the incidence of brain tumors. Microwave signals travel through human tissue, glass, metal and plastic. Human tissue also absorbs microwave radiation. The effect of even minute levels of microwave radiation have been shown to:
* open the blood-brain barrier * heat head & brain tissue * disrupt brain activity * reverse cell membrane polarity * alter brain waves * alter brain chemistry * damage DNA
The effects of the radiation can produce a wide range of physical symptoms. Some symptoms may take years to show up. Some of the effects can be short-term while other effects can be long-term or permanent. Opening the blood-brain barrier allows toxins into the brain that cause a wide range of ailments - many of which are currently unknown or poorly understood. Some symptoms of cell phone usage:
* headaches * memory loss * mood swings (rage) * fatigue * loss of concentration * lack of coordination * pain in hands or arms * nausea * sleep disorders
If you use a cell phone you could be at serious risk for delibitating and life threatening illness. Following are just a few of the studies that document the risks associated with exposure to the radiation from cell phones:
Cell Tower Radiation Shown to Cause Headaches and Nausea
Three Dutch ministries recently conducted a study that found that the radiation from the next generation cell phone towers can cause headaches and nausea. The study is the first of its kind and compared the impact of radiation from base stations used for the current mobile telephone network with that of cell towers for new third generation (3G) networks. The study used lower a dose of radiation than cell phones. Hand held phones emit stronger radiation when they are used, while cell towers transmit more constant levels of radio signals, exposing everyone within range.
"If the test group was exposed to third generation base station signals there was a significant impact... They felt tingling sensations, got headaches and felt nauseous," a spokeswoman for the Dutch Economics Ministry said.
Cell Phone Radiation Opens the Blood-Brain Barrier
A study headed by Leif Salford, Department of Neurosurgery at Lund University in Sweden and published in Environmental Health Perspectives suggests cell phone use can damage neurons in the brain. A number of studies have looked at potential links between cell phone use and cancer, most finding little or no effects. This study found that exposure to electromagnetic fields emitted by certain phones was associated with the leakage of albumin through the blood-brain barrier and neuronal damage that increased in response to the amount of exposure. While the study sample was small, researchers said the combined results are "highly significant and exhibit a clear dose-response relation."
The Head Absorbs Radiation
Headaches, nausea, dizziness, short-term memory problems, fatigue, and other complaints resulting from cellular phone use are not due to low-level heating of the brain; instead, they're apparently caused by the head serving as an "antenna" and brain tissue as a radio receiver, according to two Jerusalem researchers. Zvi Weinberger, a physicist who heads the applied physics department at the Jerusalem College of Technology, and Dr. Elihu Richter, head of the occupational medicine unit at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health, suggested this in the latest issue of the journal Medical Hypotheses. Mobile phones, they explained, "broadcast specifically at frequencies at which the head serves as an antenna and brain tissue serves as a demodulating radio receiver." Thus, precaution must be taken in the use of cell phones, they wrote. Jeruselem Post 12/02/02
Mobile Phone Signals Affect Brain Activity
A study reported in the Journal of Sleep Research (Blackwell Publishing) found that 30 minutes exposure to electromagnetic fields, as from GSM mobile phones, caused changes to brain activity which lasted long afterwards. Dr Peter Achermann and colleagues from the University of Zurich, and ITIS, in Zurich, found that blood flow increased in areas of the brain on the side nearest the phone, and that this effect lasted for over half an hour afterwards. They also discovered that the brain?s electrical activity (?brain waves?) was not only affected immediately after the exposure, but that this lasted through much of the subsequent night?s sleep.
Radiation From Cell Phones Can Make Cancer Grow Faster
"Italian scientists have raised new health concerns about the safety of using mobile phones, with research showing radio waves from the handsets makes cancerous cells grow more aggressively.." Reuters, 10/23/02
Cell Phone Radiation Can Cause Brain Tumors
An epidemiology study conducted by Dr. Lennart Hardell found a higher incidence of brain tumors on the sides of heads used by mobile-phone subscribers to make and receive calls. The study was published in the August, 2002 issue of the European Journal of Cancer Prevention.
The body of evidence showing the hazards of cell phones is more than sufficient to cause alarm, yet, public health organizations continue to stall while the cell phone industry builds more towers and makes Billions selling more phones. Just as the tobacco industry was able to hold back the truth regarding the health effects of smoking, the cell phone industry has prevented the truth about cell phone safety from reaching mass media. If you care about your health and the health of your family, take the time to educate yourself and have the courage to act on what you find.
What you can do to reduce your risk:
* Simply don't use a cell phone or stand close to someone who is. Humans have survived up to this point without them. We can continue to survive without them.
* If you must use a cell phone use it only in places with a strong signal. This allows the phone to transmit at low power (up to 100 times lower than its maximum value), reducing exposure accordingly.
* Minimize the length of calls.
* Extend the antenna and hold it away from the head. Hold the phone away from your head whenever possible.
* Use a hands-free kit with an external antenna and keep the phone away from your body.
* Do not use an earphone unless it is one made of fiber optic cable. Studies have shown that a metal earphone wire can act as an antenna and direct radiation into the head from the ear canal.
For more information visit - The Swedish Association for the ElectroSensitive www.rfsafe.com
State Police talk about the time they pulled up to a guy in a fender-bender on Interstate 290 with his airbags deployed and the interior spattered in red. They rushed for their medical kits, only to find it wasn't blood they were looking at, but tomato sauce. The driver had been dining on pasta behind the wheel.
Just last week, State Police Lieutenant James A. Jones noticed a man trying to pull his dress shirt over his head, then continuing a wardrobe change, all while driving on Route 24. "I was about to turn on my blue lights when he stands up," Jones said. "He's taking off his pants."
Other motorists are doing crossword puzzles or reading books in stop-and-go traffic on Route 128, styling their hair while navigating the Massachusetts Turnpike, or pecking away on laptops perched on the passenger seat on the Southeast Expressway.
Troopers also say they often pull over teenagers for text messaging while driving. One motorist was spotted watching a DVD on his laptop. And there was the driver pulled over on Interstate 93 while trying to eat a bowl of cereal.
With an average commute of nearly 30 minutes each way in the Boston area and the growing popularity of BlackBerries, text messaging, iPods, and in-dash navigation systems complete with Zagat restaurant guides, law enforcement officials, safety researchers, and insurance executives are increasingly worried that the very technology designed to make life easier is actually endangering drivers.
As more gadgets come on the market, the problem is becoming more pervasive, said Rob Foss, a researcher at the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center.
Researchers are particularly worried about young drivers, who grab on to every new technology, Foss said.
Said David Melton, director of transportation safety services at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in Hopkinton: "In our society, in our culture, we tend to think that driving is our time to do all of the other things associated with life in general, whether it be eating, shaving, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or working on a BlackBerry."
Take the case of Daniel Cence, a prominent political consultant whose greatest feat of multitasking behind the wheel was drinking a cup of coffee while eating a breakfast sandwich while talking via his Bluetooth headset while text messaging while doing 75 miles per hour on the Pike.
Cence, 34, of Medway, is wedded to his Treo smartphone, a device his wife calls "that thing."
In December on Centre Street in West Roxbury, he was headed from a client meeting to a political fund-raiser. " I was stopped at a red light; someone texted me," he said. "I responded back that I was on my way. The light turned green, so I started moving. They responded back to me. I looked down to read the message and respond and -- "
The pickup in front of him stopped, Cence rear-ended him, and the front end of his Volvo crumpled. The other driver was fine, as was Cence. "I felt a little foolish," he said.
He now drives a BMW, no longer reads long e-mails behind the wheel, and says he "really tries" not to text message..... (continued)
So, I wonder how Mr. "Really-Tries-Not-To-Text-While-Driving" would "feel" if he ran into a pedestrian crossing the street instead of merely rear-ending a truck.
I was once on the receiving end of a bumper while halfway into a crosswalk on my green light while the woman at the wheel, gabbing away on her cell, was completely oblivious to the fact that her vehicle was moving forward and right into my left side. She didn't even acknowledge her thoughtlessness let alone apologize and in fact just kept right on talking. Unbelievable.
I have absolutely no patience with people who seem to think it's their God-given right to do as they please behind the wheel even if their preoccupied state puts others at risk.
My dad once told me, "Driving takes all your attention." He was right.
Microwaves from wireless mobile phone transmitters may be more potent than lower frequency electromagnetic fields in promoting cancer
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho
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Evidence linking weak electromagnetic radiation (EMR) to leukaemia and other cancers has been fast accumulating in recent years [1-3] ( Electromagnetic Fields Double Leukemia Risks , Mobile Phones & Cancer , SiS 18; Electromagnetic Fields, Leukaemia and DNA Damage , SiS 24). Such ‘non-thermal' effects of EMR – due to levels well below that sufficient to bring about any heating - have been observed even before World War II  ( Non-Thermal Effects , SiS 17).
During the cold war period, a four-fold excess of cancer cases was diagnosed among the staff of the American Embassy in Moscow that had been secretly irradiated with microwaves at well below the threshold set in current guidelines. The US State Department study on this episode was described in a paper published in 1997 . This was among the earliest evidence for non-thermal effects of microwaves, and many studies are now confirming the high cancer risks of people exposed to microwaves from mobile phone base stations and transmitters around the world. Microwaves are no different from EMRs in the lower frequency range in that respect; except that microwaves may be even more potent in promoting cancer and other illnesses  ( Drowning in a Sea of Microwaves, the Wi-Fi Revolution , SiS 34). Ten year study in a German city found cancer risk trebled
In June 1993, a GSM transmitter antenna was set up in the Southern Germany city of Naila, and became operational since September 1993. The transmitter antenna has a power of 15dbW (31.6W) per channel in the 935 MHz range. In December 1997, an installation from another company was added.
Several doctors living in Naila decided to respond to the call by Wolfram König, President of the Federal Agency for Radiation Protection, to collaborate in assessing the risk posed by mobile phone radiation. They carried out a study to examine whether people living close to transmitter antennas had increased risk of cancer .
They found that the proportion of newly developed cancer cases was significantly higher among those who had lived during the past ten years at a distance of up to 400m from the cellular transmitter site, compared to those living further away, and the patients fell ill on average 8 years earlier. In the years 1999-2004, five years after the transmitter has been installed and operating, the relative risk of getting cancer had trebled for the residents within 400 m of the installation compared to inhabitants outside the area.
For the purpose of the study, an inner and an outer area were defined. The inner area covered the land within a distance of 400 m from the transmitter, the outer area comprise land further than 400 m. In the inner area, additional emissions come from the secondary lobes of the transmitter. Thus, the outer area has significantly reduced radiation intensity. Computer simulation and measurements both show that radiation in the inner area is 100 times higher compared to outer area. The measurements of all transmitter stations show that the intensity of radiation from the cell phone transmitter station in Naila in the inner area was higher than the electromagnetic fields from radio, television, or radar, according to measurements made in previous studies.
Data gathered from nearly 1 000 patients covered almost 90 percent of the local residents, and all patients had been living during the entire observation period of 10 years at the same address. The social differences are small, there is no ethnic diversity, no heavy industry and in the inner area there are neither high voltage cable nor electric trains. The average ages of the residents are similar in the inner and outer areas.
For the entire period from 1994 to 2004, the odds ratio (OR) for getting cancer in the inner, strongly exposed area compared to the outer area was 2.35. The average age of developing cancer was 64.1 years in the inner area, whereas in the outer area it was 72.6 years, a difference of 8.5 years. The average for Germany as a whole for developing cancer is 66.5 years, among men, 66 and women 67.
The new cancer cases showed a high annual constant value. Considering only the first 5 years, there was no significant increased risk of getting cancer in the inner area. However, for the period 1999 to 2004, the OR for getting cancer was 3.38 in the inner area compared to the outer area. Breast cancer topped the list, with an average age of 50.8 year compared with 69.9 years in the outer area, but cancers of the prostate, pancreas, bowel, skin melanoma, lung and blood cancer were all increased Four fold cancer risk in Israel
Researchers from Tel-Aviv University, Israel, compared 622 people living near a cell-phone transmitter station for 3-7 years who were patients of one health clinic in Netanya, with 1 222 controls who get their medical services in a clinic located nearby, with very closely matched environment, workplace and occupational characteristics . The exposure to mobile phone radiation began one year before the start of the study.
The cell-phone transmitter came into service in July 1996, and people in the first health clinic live within a half circle of 350 m radius from the transmitter. The antenna has a total maximum transmission power of 1 500 W at 850 MHz, with a 50 Hz modulation. Both the measured and the predicted power density in the whole exposed area were far below 5.3 mW/m 2 , and hence far below the current guidelines.
There were 8 cases of different kinds of cancer diagnosed in a period of just one year (July 1997 to June 1998): 3 cases of breast cancer, one of ovarian cancer, lung cancer, Hodgkin's disease (cancer of the lymphatic system), osteoid osteoma (bone tumour) and kidney cancer. This compares with 31 cases per 10 000 a year in the general population of Israel, and 2 per 1 222 in the matched controls of the nearby clinic.
The relative risk of cancer was 4.15 for those living near the cell-phone transmitter compared with the entire population of Israel. As seven out of eight cancer cases were women, the relative cancer rates for females were 10.5 for those living near the transmitter station and 0.6 for the controls relative for the whole town of Netanya
One year after the close of the study, 8 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the microwave exposed area and two in the control area. Mobile phone use in Sweden
Sweden has a long history of mobile phone use in a relatively uniform population, which is ideal for studying the health impacts of exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
Analogue phones operating at 450 MHz were introduced in Sweden in 1981, and was at first used only in the car with fixed external antenna. Portable analogue 450 MHz phones were introduced in 1984, and analogue 900 MHz phones came into use between 1986 and 2000 .
The digital system GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) started in 1991 and has increased sharply in recent years to become the most common phone type. This system uses dual band, 900 and 1800 MHz. From 2003, the third generation of mobile phones, 3G or UMTs (Universal Mobile Telecommunication System) started operating in Sweden at 1 900 MHz.
Desktop cordless phones also depend on wireless technology. The 800-900 MHz analogue system was introduced in 1988, and digital cordless telephones (DECT) that operate at 1900 MHz have been in use since 1991.
The Nordic radiation protection authorities as well as the Swedish work environmental board recommend hands free devices for employees, but very few workplaces offer them.
Almost everyone has a cell phone today in Sweden, and the country very likely saturated with mobile phone transmitters. The use of cellular and cordless telephones has increased dramatically during the past decade, and with it, concern over the health impacts of microwave exposure, and the brain is the main target organ. Increased risk of brain tumours
Since the latter half of the 1990s, cancer researchers at the University of Örebro, Sweden, have carried out six case-control studies: three on brain tumours, one on salivary gland tumours, one non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and one testicular cancer. Exposure level was assessed by self-administered questionnaires .
The results showed that the odds ration (OR) of acoustic neuroma (a non-malignant tumour of the auditory nerve) was 2.9 for analogue cellular phones, 1.5 for digital cellular phones and cordless phones. The corresponding OR for astrocytoma (a tumour of astrocyte nerve cell) grade III-IV was 1.7, 1.5 and 1.5. The ORs increased with latency period, with the highest estimates at >10 years from first use. Lower ORs were found for astrocytoma grade 1-II, and no association was found with salivary gland tumours, NHL or testicular cancer, although as association with NHL of T-cell type could not be ruled out.
In a further review of 18 studies on brain tumours , two cohort and 16 case-control, the results show that mobile phone use for more than 10 years give a consistent pattern of an increased risk for acoustic neuroma and glioma (a tumour that begins in a glial cell), and risk is highest for the side of the brain next to the mobile phone.
The increased risk of glioma with mobile phone use for more than ten years was confirmed by other scientists in a population case control study in three regions of Germany, the odds ratio was 2.2 .
Before the complaints start, I'm only posting this study so as to give both sides of the story. This effort is no different to certain corporations suggesting that cigarettes have no harmful side-effects in the short-term. However it is the long-term side-effects of these towers that are the significant issue in this particular regard. Having said this, please bear in mind the report can only be as good as its data and the principles employed:
Source: University of Essex Date: July 30, 2007
Health Symptoms Aren't Linked To Cell Phone Tower Emissions, Study Finds
One of the largest studies into the short-term health effects of mobile phone technology has found that reported symptoms such as anxiety, tension and tiredness are not caused by the typical emissions from phone masts (cell phone towers).
The top of a cell phone tower. (Credit: iStockphoto/Jane Norton)
A team of independent scientists at the University of Essex tested 44 people who had previously reported symptoms or sensitivity to mobile phone technology, and 114 people who had not reported any health effects (controls), at a specially-designed laboratory.
The three-year study found that physiological measures such as heart rate, blood pressure and skin conductance were not affected by whether the mast was switched on or off, and did not detect any significant effects in either sensitive or control participants between GSM (conventional) exposure and no exposure.
When both sensitive and control participants were exposed to a 3G (UMTS) signal, neither the physiological measures nor the number of reported symptoms increased. However, the sensitive group did report increased levels of arousal when exposed to 3G, but further analysis suggested that this was related to the fact that a higher proportion of sensitive people received the UMTS signal during their first 50-minute testing session. All other measures did not differ between the 3G and the sham conditions.
All participants were tested in several different sessions. In open provocation tests, when both participant and experimenter knew whether the signal was on or off, sensitive individuals reported lower levels of well-being and more symptoms when the signal was on. This confirmed that the laboratory conditions did not prevent them from experiencing typical symptoms in response to mobile phone masts.
However, when tests were carried out under double-blind conditions, where neither experimenter nor participant knew whether the signal was on or off, the number of symptoms reported was not related to whether the mast was on or off. Two of the 44 sensitive individuals correctly judged whether the mast was on or off in all six tests, compared with five out of 114 control participants. This proportion is what is expected by chance and was not increased in the sensitive group.
The study found that, compared with controls, sensitive individuals reported more symptoms and greater severity of symptoms, as well as higher skin conductance (which is a good measure of physiological response to environmental stressors), regardless of whether the signal was on or off. Hence, the range of symptoms and physiological response does not appear to be related to the presence of either GSM or 3G signals.
Principal investigator Professor Elaine Fox explained: ‘It is clear that sensitive individuals are suffering real symptoms and often have a poor quality of life. It is now important to determine what other factors could be causing these symptoms, so appropriate research studies and treatment strategies can be developed.’
The results are consistent with the only other published large-scale study of the effects of short-term exposure to mobile phone masts with sensitive individuals (published in Environmental Health Perspectives by Regel et al, 2006).
Dr James Rubin, of the Mobile Phones Research Unit at Kings College London, who has reviewed 31 blind and double-blind studies carried out under controlled laboratory conditions, said: ‘The Essex study is one of the largest and most detailed of these experiments and its findings, that mobile phone signals are not responsible for the symptoms that some people describe, are in line with those from most other previous experiments. This should be reassuring news for anyone who is concerned about the possible short-term health effects of masts.’
The multi-disciplinary scientific research team at Essex included cognitive psychologists, electronic and biomedical engineers and a medical doctor. Testing took place in the Electromagnetics and Health Laboratory at the University’s Colchester campus. The exposure system was provided by Red-M, and the accuracy of both the exposure system and the testing environment was confirmed by the National Physical Laboratory.
The study was funded by the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) programme ( www.mthr.org.uk ). The results are published online today by the journal Environmental Health Perspectives ( www.ehponline.org ).
The Essex research team is now undertaking an MTHR-funded study into the short-term health effects of exposure to TETRA mobile radio masts, which are used for the emergency services’ communications systems.
In the wee hours of July 14, a 45-year-old Australian named John Patterson climbed into a tank and drove it through the streets of Sydney, knocking down six cell-phone towers and an electrical substation along the way. Patterson, a former telecommunications worker, reportedly had mapped out the locations of the towers, which he claimed were harming his health.
In recent years, protesters in England and Northern Ireland have brought down cell towers by sawing, removing bolts, and pulling with tow trucks and ropes. In one such case, locals bought the structure and sold off pieces of it as souvenirs to help with funding of future protests. In attempts to fend off objections to towers in Germany, some churches have taken to disguising them as giant crucifixes.
Opposition to towers usually finds more socially acceptable outlets, and protests are being heard more often than ever in meetings of city councils, planning commissions, and other government bodies. This summer alone, citizen efforts to block cell towers have sprouted in, among a host of other places, including California, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, North Dakota and north of the border in Ontario and British Columbia. Transmitters are already banned from the roofs of schools in many districts.
For years, towers have been even less welcome in the United Kingdom, where this summer has seen disputes across the country.
Most opponents cite not only aesthetics but also concerns over potential health effects of electromagnetic (EM) fields generated by the towers. Once ridiculed as crackpots and Luddites, they're starting to get backup from the scientific community.
It's not just cell phones they're worried about. The Tottenham area of London is considering the suspension of all wireless technology in its schools. Last year, Fred Gilbert, a respected scientist and president of Lakehead University in Ontario, banned wireless internet on his campus. And resident groups in San Francisco are currently battling Earthlink and Google over a proposed city-wide Wi-Fi system.
Picking up some interference?
For decades, concerns have been raised about the health effects of "extremely low frequency" fields that are produced by electrical equipment or power lines. People living close to large power lines or working next to heavy electrical equipment are spending a lot of time in electromagnetic fields generated by those sources. Others of us can be exposed briefly to very strong fields each day.
But in the past decade, suspicion has spread to cell phones and other wireless technologies, which operate at frequencies that are millions to tens of millions higher but at low power and "pulsed."
Then there's your cell phone, laptop, or other wireless device, which not only receives but also sends pulsed signals at high frequencies. Because it's usually very close to your head (or lap) when in use, the fields experienced by your body are stronger than those from a cell tower down the street.
A growing number of scientists, along with a diverse collection of technology critics, are pointing out that our bodies constantly generate electrical pulses as part of their normal functioning. They maintain that incoming radiation from modern technology may be fouling those signals.
But with hundreds of billions in sales at stake, the communications industry (and more than a few scientists) insist that radio-frequency radiation can't have biological effects unless it's intense enough to heat your flesh or organs, in the way a microwave oven cooks meat.
It's also turning out that when scientific studies are funded by industry, the results a lot less likely to show that EM fields are a health hazard.
Low frequency, more frequent disease?
Before the digital revolution, a long line of epidemiological studies compared people who were exposed to strong low-frequency fields -- people living in the shadow of power lines, for example, or long-time military radar operators -- to similar but unexposed groups.
One solid outcome of that research was to show that rates of childhood leukemia are associated with low-frequency EM exposure; as a result, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has labeled that type of energy as a possible carcinogen, just as they might label a chemical compound.
Other studies have found increased incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (commonly called ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), higher rates of breast cancer among both men and women, and immune-system dysfunction in occupations with high exposure.
Five years ago, the California Public Utilities Commission asked three epidemiologists in the state Department of Health Services to review and evaluate the scientific literature on health effects of low-frequency EM fields.
The epidemiologists, who had expertise in physics, medicine, and genetics, agreed in their report that they were "inclined to believe that EMFs can cause some degree of increased risk of childhood leukemia, adult brain cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease, and miscarriage" and were open to the possibility that they raise the risks of adult leukemia and suicide. They did not see associations with other cancer types, heart disease, or Alzheimer's disease.
Epidemiological and animal studies have not been unanimous in finding negative health effects from low-frequency EM fields, so the electric-utility industry continues to emphasize that no cause-and-effect link has been proven.
Now the most intense debate is focused on radio-frequency fields. As soon as cell phones came into common usage, there was widespread concern that holding an electronic device against the side of your head many hours a month for the rest of your life might be harmful, and researchers went to work looking for links to health problems, often zeroing in on the possibility of brain tumors.
Until recently, cell phones had not been widely used over enough years to evaluate effects on cancers that take a long time to develop. A number of researchers failed to find an effect during those years, but now that the phones have been widely available for more than a decade, some studies are relating brain-tumor rates to long-term phone use.
Some lab studies have found short-term harm as well. Treatment with cell-phone frequencies has disrupted thyroid-gland functioning in lab rats, for example. And at Lund University in Sweden, rats were exposed to cell-phone EM fields of varying strengths for two hours; 50 days later, exposed rats showed significant brain damage relative to non-exposed controls.
The authors were blunt in their assessment: "We chose 12-26-week-old rats because they are comparable with human teenagers -- notably frequent users of mobile phones -- with respect to age. The situation of the growing brain might deserve special concern from society because biologic and maturational processes are particularly vulnerable during the growth process."
Even more recently, health concerns have been raised about the antenna masts that serve cell phones and other wireless devices. EM fields at, say, a couple of blocks from a tower are not as strong as those from a wireless device held close to the body; nevertheless many city-dwellers are now continuously bathed in emissions that will only grow in their coverage and intensity.
Last year, the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia closed off the top two floors of its 17-story business school for a time because five employees working on its upper floors had been diagnosed with brain tumors in a single month, and seven since 1999. Cell phone towers had been placed on the building's roof a decade earlier and, although there was no proven link between them and the tumors, university officials were taking no chances.
Data on the health effects of cell or W-Fi towers are still sparse and inconsistent. Their opponents point to statistically rigorous studies like one in Austria finding that headaches and difficulty with concentration were more common among people exposed to stronger fields from cell towers. All sides seem to agree on the need for more research with solid data and robust statistical design.
San Francisco, one of the world's most technology-happy cities, is home to more than 2400 cell-phone antennas, and many of those transmitters are due to be replaced with more powerful models that can better handle text messaging and photographs, and possibly a new generation of even higher-frequency phones.
Now there's hot-and-heavy debate over plans to add 2200 more towers for a city-wide Earthlink/Google Wi-Fi network. On July 31, the city's Board of Supervisors considered an appeal by the San Francisco Neighborhood Antenna-Free Union (SNAFU) that the network proposal be put through an environmental review -- a step that up to now has not been required for such telecommunications projects.
In support of the appeal, Magda Havas, professor of environmental and resource studies at Trent University in Ontario submitted an analysis of radio-frequency effects found in more than 50 human, animal, and cellular-level studies published in scientific journals.
Havas has specialized in investigating the effects of both low- and high-frequency EM radiation. She says most of the research in the field is properly done, but that alone won't guarantee that all studies will give similar results. "Natural variability in biological populations is the norm," she said.
And, she says, informative research takes time and focus: "For example, studies that consider all kinds of brain tumors in people who've only used cell phones for, say, five years don't show an association. But those studies that consider only tumors on the same side of the head where the phone is held and include only people who've used a phone for ten years or more give the same answer very consistently: there's an increased risk of tumors." In other research, wireless frequencies have been associated with higher rates of miscarriage, testicular cancer, and low sperm counts.
Direct current from a battery can be used to encourage healing of broken bones. EM fields of various frequencies have also been shown to reduce tissue damage from heart attacks, help heal wounds, reduce pain, improve sleep, and relieve depression and anxiety. If they are biologically active enough to promote health, are they also active enough to degrade it?
At the 2006 meeting of the International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety in Benevento, Italy, 42 scientists from 16 countries signed a resolution arguing for much stricter regulation of EM fields from wireless communication.
Four years earlier, in Freiburger, Germany, a group of physicians had signed a statement also calling for tighter regulation of wireless communication and a prohibition on use of wireless devices by children. In the years since, more than 3000 doctors have signed the so-called "Freiburger Appeal" and documents modeled on it.
But in this country, industry has pushed for and gotten exemption from strict regulation, most notably through the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Libby Kelley, director of the Council on Wireless Technology Impacts in Novato, California says, "The technology always comes first, the scientific and environmental questions later. EM trails chemicals by about 10 years, but I hope we'll catch up."
Kelley says a major problem is that the Telecommunications Act does not permit state or local governments to block the siting of towers based on health concerns: "We'll go to hearings and try to bring up health issues, and officials will tell us, 'We can't talk about that. We could get sued in federal court!'"
Industry officials are correct when they say the scientific literature contains many studies that did not find power lines or telecommunication devices to have significant health effects. But when, as often happens, a range of studies give some positive and some negative results, industry people usually make statements like, "Technology A has not been proven to cause disease B."
Michael Kundi, professor at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria and an EM researcher, has issued a warning about distortions of the concept of cause-and-effect, particularly when a scientific study concludes that "there is no evidence for a causal relationship" between environmental factors and human health. Noting that science is rarely able to prove that A did or did not "cause" B, he wrote that such statements can be "readily misused by interested parties to claim that exposure is not associated with adverse health effects."
Scientists and groups concerned about current standards for EM fields have criticized the World Health Organization (WHO) and other for downplaying the risks. And some emphasize the risk of financial influence when such intense interest is being shown by huge utilities and a global communications industry that's expected to sell $250 billion worth of wireless handsets per year by 2011 (that's just for the instruments, not counting monthly bills). Microwave News cited Belgian reports in late 2006 that two industry groups -- the GSM Association and Mobile Manufacturers Forum -- accounted for more than 40 percent of the budget for WHO's EM fields project in 2005-06.
When a US National Academy of Sciences committee was formed earlier this year to look into health effects of wireless communication devices, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Sage Associates wrote a letter to the Academy charging that the appointment of two of the committee's six members was improper under federal conflict-of-interest laws.
One of the committee members, Leeka Kheifets, a professor of epidemiology in UCLA's School of Public Health, has, says the letter, "spent the majority of the past 20 years working in various capacities with the Electric Power Research Institute, the research arm of the electric power industry."
The other, Bernard Veyret, senior scientist at the University of Bordeaux in France, "is on the consulting board of Bouygues Telecom (one of 3 French mobile phone providers), has contracts with Alcatel and other providers, and has received research funding from Electricite de France, the operator of the French electricity grid." The NAS committee will be holding a workshop this month and will issue a report sometime after that.
A paper published in January in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that when studies of cell phone use and health problems were funded by industry, they were much less likely to find a statistically significant relationship than were publicly funded studies.
The authors categorized the titles of the papers they surveyed as either negative (as in "Cellular phones have no effect on sleep patterns"), or neutral (e.g., "Sleep patterns of adolescents using cellular phones"), or positive, (e.g., "Cellular phones disrupt sleep"). Fully 42 percent of the privately funded studies had negative titles and none had positive ones. In public or nonprofit studies, titles were 18 percent negative and 46 percent positive.
Alluding to previous studies in the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries, the authors concluded, "Our findings add to the existing evidence that single-source sponsorship is associated with outcomes that favor the sponsors' products."
By email, I asked Dr. John Moulder, a senior editor of the journal Radiation Research, for his reaction to the study. Moulder, who is Professor and Director of Radiation Biology in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Wisconsin, did not think the analysis was adequate to conclusively demonstrate industry influence and told me that in his capacity as an editor, "I have not noted such an effect, but I have not systematically looked for one either. I am certainly aware that an industry bias exists in other areas of medicine, such as reporting of clinical trails."
Moulder was lead author on a 2005 paper concluding that the scientific literature to that point showed "a lack of convincing evidence for a causal association between cancer and exposure to the RF [radio-frequency] energy used for mobile telecommunications."
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has questioned Moulder's objectivity because he has served as a consultant to electric-power and telecommunications firms and groups. Moulder told me, "I have not done any consulting for the electric power and telecommunications industry in years, and when I was doing consulting for these industries, the journals for which I served as an editor or reviewer were made aware of it."
A year ago, Microwave News also reported that approximately one-half of all studies looking into possible damage to DNA by communication-frequency EM fields found no effect. But three-fourths of those negative studies were industry- or military-funded; indeed, only 3 of 35 industry or military papers found an effect, whereas 32 of 37 publicly funded studies found effects.
Magda Havas sees a shortage of public money in the US for research on EM health effects as one of the chief factors leading to lack of a rigorous public policy, telling me, "Much of the research here ends up being funded directly or indirectly by industry. That affects both the design and the interpretation of studies." As for research done directly by company scientists, "It's the same as in any industry. They can decide what information to make public. They are free to downplay harmful effects and release information that's beneficial to their product."
Meanwhile, at Trent University where Havas works, students using laptops are exposed to radio-frequency levels that exceed international guidelines. Of that, she says, "For people who've been fully informed and decide to take the risk, that's their choice. But what about those who have no choice, who have a cell-phone tower outside their bedroom window?
"It's the equivalent of secondhand smoke. We took a long time to get the political will to establish smoke-free environments, and we now know we should have done it sooner. How long will it take to react to secondhand radiation?"
For more information, visit Environmnental Health Perspectives; Microwave News; the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Stan Cox is a plant breeder and writer in Salina, Kansas. His book Sick Planet: Corporate Food and Medicine will be published by Pluto Press in Spring 2008.
Orange to remove mobile mast from 'tower of doom', where cancer rate has soared Last updated at 00:42am on 7th August 2007
A mobile phone company is to remove a mast from a block of flats after seven residents were struck down by cancer.
Three have died and another four have battled the disease since two masts were erected on the roof of the five-storey block which has become known locally as the Tower of Doom.
The cancer rate on the top floor - where residents of five of the eight flats have been affected and the three who died all lived - is 20 per cent, ten times the national average.
Residents of Berkeley House in Staple Hill, Bristol, also complain of terrible headaches and other ailments which they blame on radiation from the masts.
Orange has agreed to remove its mast after a five-year campaign by residents and pressure from the local authority. But it has caused anger with plans to move it to a residential street nearby.
The other mast belongs to Vodafone, which has no plans to move it.
The most recent death was that of John Llewellin, 63, who lost his battle against bowel cancer two weeks ago.
Anger: The mast (circled) on the block known to locals as the Tower of Doom
Two years ago, Barbara Wood died in her 70s from breast cancer. Two years earlier Joyce Davies died, also from breast cancer.
The other victims on the top floor are Hazel Frape, 63, who has had breast cancer, and 89-year-old Phyllis Smith who moved out after she contracted the same disease.
On the fourth floor Bernice Mitchell, 69, has battled womb cancer. On the second floor, 78-year-old Barbara Watts, who has lived in the block for 31 years, is in remission from breast cancer.
Many of the 110 residents, including Doreen Sheppard, 74, have complained of headaches and other health problems.
She said: "The masts are bound to be doing something. I get terrible headaches and I've started suffering from Meniere's disease, where I lose my balance. I'm worried about the children on the estate as there are so many of them now."
Both masts were erected in 1994. South Gloucestershire Council served a notice asking for them to be removed when the ten-year contract expired three years ago.
But because current guidelines say there is no risk from radiation the council does not have a legal right to force their removal.
After a long legal battle Orange has submitted a planning application to put the mast on top of a shopping precinct in a street near homes, a primary school and a public library.
Jeanette McCormack, 69, who has led a campaign against the mast, said a petition against the new location had gathered more than 200 names.
She added: "People of all ages who live and work near the mast will be exposed to the radiation and so there's a lot of anger about it."
World Health Organisation guidelines have dismissed the risks of masts despite other evidence which has found they are harmful.
A spokesman for Orange said the company takes health and safety very seriously.
He added that the company was satisfied its mobile phone base stations do not present a health risk.
Vodafone is working on a new longterm lease from South Gloucestershire Council. A spokesman said the company took residents' concerns "extremely seriously" and would continue to work with them and the council to provide reassurance.