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A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

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News Center: Main Articles Archive

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Featuring Dan Krewski, the Royal Society and Health Canada

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

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

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

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

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.

Fourth Study To Show Tumor Link
Is This Really Prospective Epidemiology?

May 10, 2013
Last updated October 6, 2013

A new study from the U.K. is adding support to the still controversial proposition that long-term use of a cell phone increases the risk of developing acoustic neuroma, a tumor of the auditory nerve. No higher risk of glioma or meningioma, two types of brain cancer, was observed.

Women who used a mobile phone for more than ten years were two-and-half-times more likely to have an acoustic neuroma than those who never used a phone. The finding is statistically significant. This is the fourth epidemiological study that shows an association between long-term use of a cell phone and acoustic neuroma.

An Industry Insider Speaks Out

April 2, 2013
Last updated August 21, 2013

The Federal Communications Commis- sion (FCC) has never levied a fine against a cell phone company for exceeding its RF exposure limits from a base station antenna.

That's not because all of the 300,000 cell sites in the U.S. comply with the FCC rules, according to an Industry Insider with years of training and experience measuring RF radiation. He told us that he has found RF levels higher than those allowed under the FCC rules at sites across the country. The real reason there have been no fines, he said, is "because there's collusion between the companies and the government." The insider, an RF engineer, calls himself "EMF Expert"; he asked that his real name not be used.

"The carriers and the FCC have an extremely cozy relationship," said the engineer. "Whenever there's a problem, someone in the FCC's RF safety office warns the carrier and the company then puts the 'fire' out."

Squashing the Cheshire Cat 

March 12, 2013
Last updated March 14, 2013

Lucas Portelli just ran over the Cheshire cat. He didn't know it was there. He's too young to appreciate how this fictional feline has held sway in the EMF-health controversy.

In a systematic measurement survey, Portelli has shown that the ambient static and time-varying magnetic fields in laboratory incubators are large and variable: He found that they can differ by a factor of a hundred or more within and between incubators.

"These variations can be observed within the same incubator in locations that are centimeters apart," he writes in a paper published in Bioelectromagnetics earlier this month. Such magnetic fields could be a "potential confounder" of cell culture studies, he warns.

ICEMS vs. ICNIRP; Hardell vs. Interphone

October 23, 2012
Last updated October 24, 2012

The Supreme Court of Italy has affirmed a ruling granting worker's compensation to a businessman who developed a tumor after using a cell phone for 12 years. This is the first time that a high court —in any country— has ruled in favor a link between mobile phone radiation and tumor development.

Innocente Marcolini, a financial manager at an industrial plant in Brescia in northern Italy, used cell and cordless phones for five-to-six hours a day for 12 years. Then, one morning ten years ago, Marcolini sensed an unusual tingling in his chin while shaving. He was soon diagnosed as having a benign tumor on the trigeminal nerve, which controls facial muscles and sensations.

Marcolini filed for workers' compensation alleging that his wireless phones were responsible for the tumor. At first, his claim was rejected. But, in December 2009, the Court of Appeals in Brescia reversed that decision and, on October 12, Italy's Supreme Court affirmed the Appeals Court's ruling. No further appeals are possible.

 McGill University Professor Proposes Radical New Outlook

September 27, 2012
Last updated August 12, 2013

Paul Héroux has a problem. He believes he has identified a way to control the growth of cancer cells, but he can't get his ideas into print. "We think we have the Rosetta Stone that will allow us to unravel the intricacies of cancer physiology," says Héroux, a professor at McGill University in Montreal.  Yet, one scientific journal after another has refused to publish what he has found.

Part of Héroux's problem is that his argument is based on an even more controversial proposition than a possible cure for cancer: That extremely weak magnetic fields can bring about major changes in DNA. That is a tough sell. Héroux ups the ante another notch by claiming to show that those changes are so easy to spot that you don't need hi-tech instruments to see them, just a standard issue microscope. All you have to do is count chromosomes, admittedly with close attention to detail.

And that's not all. Héroux says he has pinpointed where and how the magnetic field acts on the cell.

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