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A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

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2004 Articles

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Daily Telegraph vs. Financial Times

January 21, 2005

One of the lessons to be learned from the aftermath of the second Stewart report, released by the UK NRPB last week (see below), is that interpreting the mobile phone health data is much like reading Rorschach inkblots. What you see depends a lot on your mind-set.

Robert Matthews, the Daily Telegraph’s science correspondent, thinks that Sir William made “a bad call.” After noting that there were concerns at the NRPB press conference over last October’s Karolinska study, that showed a doubling of the risk of acoustic neuromas among those who had used a cell phone for more than ten years, Matthews went on to write: “What was not made clear, however, is that the tumor is benign, non-fatal and astonishingly rare: just one person is affected per 100,000 per year.”

1 g vs. 10 g Averaging Volume

January 14, 2005

As the aftershocks from the Stewart report continue to reverberate, the telecom industry is brazenly moving forward with its plan for a major relaxation of the US limit for radiation exposures from cell phones. Yesterday and today, some members of the IEEE International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety (ICES) are meeting to hammer out their revision of the IEEE RF safety standard (known as C95.1).

One of the major planned changes is to replace the current SAR limit of 1.6 W/Kg, averaged over 1g of tissue, with a standard of 2.0 W/Kg, averaged over 10g.

Consumer Reports Discounts Possible Risks

January 13, 2005

The British press has given a lot of ink to the Stewart report, featuring numerous interviews with Sir William. In one of the most detailed of these he told Nic Fleming of the Daily Telegraph that he is “more concerned” about possible health risks today than he was five years when he first called for children to be discouraged from using mobile phones.

Sir William said that, “When it comes to suggesting that mobile phones should be available to three- to eight-year-olds, I can’t believe for a moment that can be justified. It seems to me ludicrous.”

Second Stewart Report

January 11, 2005

In its report, released today, the board of the NRPB reaffirmed its call for a “precautionary approach” to the use of mobile phones. One of the key recommendations is that “particular attention be given to how best to minimize exposure of potentially vulnerable subgroups such as children.” In the NRPB press release, Sir William Stewart, the chair of the board, states that, “The fact is that the widespread use of mobile phones is a relatively recent phenomenon and it is possible that adverse health effects could emerge after years of prolonged use.”

January 8, 2005

Next week two major reports will be released to the public. On Tuesday January 11, the National Radiological Protection Board, or NRPB, will issue a review of the current state of knowledge on mobile phones and health. The report is already being called “Stewart#2.” Sir William Stewart was the chair of the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) that issued Mobile Phones and Health. in May 2000 (see MWN, M/J00, p.1).

January 7, 2005

The 4th International Seminar on EMFs and Biological Effects will be held in Kunming, China, September 12-16. The official language of the meeting is English. The third seminar was held in Guilin in October 2003.

January 7, 2005

Everyone else is doing it so we thought we would try too. Welcome to the Microwave News Blog. In the weeks and months ahead, we will try to give our readers some perspective on the news. As you can see below, we have posted some comments in the past, admittedly on a sporadic basis. We will now try to follow a more regular schedule. As always, comments are welcome.

January 5, 2005

Going through our collection of clips on the new Stewart report this afternoon, we came across the following quote by Paolo Vecchia, the chair of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), in a press release issued by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) on January 11:

“Because EMF exposure guidelines are based on worst-case hypotheses and include reduction factors providing safety margins for possible lack of data, the Commission does not need to create separate guidelines to protect special groups such as children.”

December 21, 2004

The final report of the REFLEX project is now available on the Web site of the Verum Foundation. The report summarizes the work of 12 research groups in seven European countries. The total cost of the project, which investigated the effects low-levels of RF radiation on cellular systems, was approximately $3 million.

Experimental data generated in a number of the labs showed that RF radiation could increase the number of DNA breaks in exposed cells, as well as activate a stress response —the production of heat shock proteins. Many of these effects have been reported at scientific conferences over the last few years (see, for example, MWN, J/A01, p.8; N/D01, p.1; and M/A03 p.7).

December 17, 2004

Epidemiologists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have found no association between the use of cell phones and the risk of brain tumors.

“No increased risk was found for glioma or meningioma related to mobile phone use,” reports Stefan Lönn and coworkers at the Institute of Environmental Medicine. Lönn completed the study as part of his doctoral dissertation under the direction of Maria Feychting. This work is part of the Interphone study being coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France.

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