A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

News & Comment

Featuring Dan Krewski, the Royal Society and Health Canada

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In 2011, Health Canada found itself in a tough spot. The public was becoming more and more uneasy over exposure to RF radiation from the proliferating number of cell phones, cell towers and Wi-Fi routers. After holding hearings in the spring and fall of 2010, Parliament asked the health agency to investigate whether its exposure limits —the national RF standard known as Safety Code 6 (SC6)— were too lenient and needed strengthening. Soon afterwards, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) added urgency to the assignment by classifying RF radiation as a possible human cancer agent, or, in the vernacular, a 2B carcinogen.

Health Canada’s dilemma was that it had no interest in tightening SC6. Yet IARC’s 2B designation could not be easily ignored, especially after France and Belgium, among other European countries, had responded by adopting precautionary policies. Last year, for instance, Belgium banned the sale of cell phones to children. How would Health Canada find a way to stick with the status quo?

The answer was to commission a review of SC6 by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC)

Industry Treads Water; Conflicts Abound

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Last updated February 27, 2014

Five years ago we reported on what we thought was an important clue in the search for understanding the well-documented association between childhood leukemia and EMF exposure. A team based in Shanghai presented evidence that children carrying a genetic variation linked to DNA repair were four times more likely to develop leukemia than those without that genetic marker. We called the finding a “major breakthrough” and predicted, “It simply cannot be ignored.”

We were wrong. So wrong.

What happened next —or rather, what did not happen— sheds light on why EMF research treads water and never moves forward.

Video Illustrates the Wonders of Nature and Teaches Us a Lesson About Our EM World

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

When asked what he had learned about God from his studies of evolutionary biology, J.B.S. Haldane replied that the Creator has “an inordinate fondness of beetles” — after all, there are 400,000 different species of beetles and only 8,000 species of mammals. Take a look at this video and you might wonder whether red foxes are another of God’s favorite creatures. (Be sure to watch the clip in full screen mode.)

The red fox hunts by jumping up in the air and diving for its prey. As the narrator tells us, the fox can locate a mouse even when hidden under a deep pile of snow. It’s tempting to attribute a fox’s success to a keen sense of hearing or smell, but it turns out to be more complicated than that. A German-Czech team of researchers has found that red foxes have an added advantage: They can use the Earth’s magnetic field to home in on their target.

Danish Cancer Society Plays Games with Brain Cancer Rates

Friday, December 13, 2013
Last updated December 20, 2013

Just over a year ago, the Danish Cancer Society (DCS) issued a news advisory with some alarming news: The number of men diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most malignant type of brain cancer, had doubled over the last ten years. Hans Skovgaard Poulsen, the head of neuro-oncology at Copenhagen University Hospital was quoted in the release as saying that this was a “frightening development.”

At the time, Christoffer Johansen, a senior researcher at the DCS told us: “I think the data is true and valid.” And Joachim Schüz, a long time collaborator of Johansen’s at the DCS who is now at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon told Microwave News that the news was “indeed a concern.” He said that he could not explain it. (See our report here.)

After that, there was silence.

The Melatonin Hypothesis Revisited

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Last updated October 7, 2013

"Now it is enough!" claims Maria Feychting of Sweden's Karolinska Institute. Feychting wants to stop wasting money on any more epidemiological studies of breast cancer risks from power-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF EMFs).

"We can be confident that exposure to ELF magnetic fields does not cause breast cancer," she writes in an invited commentary published last week in the influential American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE). Feychting's call to stop research was prompted by a new study of breast cancer among Chinese textile workers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, which found no association with ELF magnetic field exposures. Feychting's confidence is based in large part on the exposure assessment used in the textile study, which, she believes, was "better than in previous studies."

If Feychting's call to halt research is heeded, she will have shattered a key driver for EMF–cancer research that has held sway for the last 25 years: the melatonin hypothesis.

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Short Takes

November 26, 2013

EirGrid, the Irish state-owned power line company, is planning to build three new 400 kV lines and to upgrade 2,000 km of existing power lines at a cost of €3.2 billion to help provide reliable service in the years to come. But there's nothing new about its approach to addressing the public's concerns about EMFs.

Take a look at this new 35-minute “Prime Time” video from RTÉ, a local TV station. It illustrates, once again, the double talk endemic to...

October 6, 2013
Last updated October 8, 2013

The research group at the University of Oxford that reported a link between long-term use of a mobile phone and an elevated risk of acoustic neuroma (AN) in May now says that it is no longer there. In a short letter to the International Journal of Epidemiology (IJE), the Oxford team advises that when the analysis was repeated with data from 2009-2011, "there is no longer a significant...

September 25, 2013
Last updated September 27, 2013

Using a new data set covering 2007-2009, Lennart Hardell and his research team have reaffirmed their previous findings that long-term use of a wireless phone leads to higher rates of both malignant brain tumors and acoustic neuromas (AN), but not of meningiomas, a type of benign brain tumor. In general, they report, the longer the use, the greater the risk for AN and malignant brain tumors.

All three new papers are open access. For the malignant brain tumor paper, click here; for the AN paper...

July 1, 2013

Gro Harlem Brundtland very rarely uses a cell phone, contrary to the impression promoted by the Norwegian Minister of Health that she is no longer electrosensitive, according to a message from Brundtland herself. Brundtland, a medical doctor, is a former prime minister of Norway and was the director of the WHO from 1998 to 2003.

“In her daily work, Gro Harlem Brundtland uses a PC with a cabled, not wireless, Internet connection. Second, she uses a mobile device —a...

June 28, 2013

The world's best-known electrosensitive, Gro Harlem Brundtland, is now using a mobile phone, according to a former top aide. The news, which will likely undermine the credibility of this controversial condition, was reported today by Thomas Ergo in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenbladet. Ergo...

April 19, 2013

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has released its detailed evaluation of the cancer risks associated with RF radiation, which serves as the rationale for designating RF as a possible human carcinogen.

The IARC monograph comes close to two years after an invited panel of experts from 14 countries reached this conclusion following an eight-day meeting at IARC headquarters in Lyon, France (see our...

 

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