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A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

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Ron Melnick Corrects ‘Misinformation,’
Rebuffed by the New York Times

June 10, 2016

On May 31, the New York Times ran a piece in what it calls “The Upshot” on the National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) cell phone animal study. The column is a regular feature in the Times that seeks to give readers context for stories in the news. This one was titled “Why It’s Not Time to Panic About Cell Phones and Cancer.” It was written by Aaron Carroll, a pediatrician at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Carroll outlined reasons for his skepticism over the cancer results, calling the $25 million NTP study “imperfect.” This prompted a response from Ron Melnick, who led the study’s design team before he retired in 2009. In an eight-point rebuttal, Melnick corrected what he called “numerous and misleading statements.” The full text of his letter is reprinted below.

Are More People Getting Brain Tumors?
GBMs, the Most Virulent Type, Are Rising

May 31, 2016
Last updated June 2, 2016

Senior managers at the National Toxicology Program (NTP) released the preliminary results of their cell phone radiation study late last week. They were so concerned about the elevated rates of two types of cancer among exposed rats that they felt an immediate public alert was warranted. They considered it unwise to wait for the results to wend their way into a journal sometime next year. Not surprisingly, the NTP report generated worldwide media attention.

There were some startling reactions. Both the American Cancer Society (ACS) and Consumers Reports immediately shelved their long-held, wait-and-see positions. In a statement issued soon after the NTP’s press conference, Otis Brawley, ACS’ chief medical officer, called the NTP report “good science.” Consumer Reports said that the new study was “groundbreaking” and encouraged people to take simple precautions to limit their exposures.

However, much of the mainstream media saw it very differently. The Washington Post ran its story under the headline, “Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer? Don’t Believe the Hype.”

U.S. Government Expected To Advise Public of Health Risk

May 25, 2016

The cell phone cancer controversy will never be the same again.

The U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) is expected to issue a public announcement that cell phone radiation presents a cancer risk for humans. The move comes soon after its recently completed study showed statistically significant increases in cancer among rats that had been exposed to GSM or CDMA signals for two-years.

Discussions are currently underway among federal agencies on how to inform the public about the new findings. NTP senior managers believe that these results should be released as soon as possible because just about everyone is exposed to wireless radiation all the time and therefore everyone is potentially at risk.

Italians Call for a “Reevaluation of the
Safety of Non-Ionizing Radiation”

February 27, 2016
Last updated May 24, 2016

Once again, power-frequency magnetic fields have been found to act as a cancer promoter.

Eighteen months ago an international team led by Elisabeth Cardis in Spain showed cancer promotion in workers exposed to chemicals and extremely low frequency (ELF) EMFs. Now an Italian team has found essentially the same promotional effect in animals exposed to ionizing radiation and ELF EMFs.

The new study, which was carried out at the Ramazzini Institute in Bologna, Italy, is part of the most ambitious EMF–animal project ever attempted.

You Say “Caution,” We Say “Precaution,”
Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

January 13, 2016

The NCRP was the driving force behind the removal of cautionary advice in a CDC fact sheet on cell phone use. Senior officials at the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements pressured the Centers for Disease Control into deleting the cautionary language in August 2014.

The NCRP is an influential policy-setting group, chartered by the U.S. Congress to serve the public health.

Skirts Freedom of Information Act

November 30, 2015
Last updated December 1, 2015

NIEHS really doesn’t want to talk about it. Ten years into a $25+ million project to assess the cancer risk of wireless radiation in laboratory animals, the staff at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences remains tight-lipped and refuses to release project documents.

NIEHS has many reasons for keeping a low profile. The RF project, the most expensive in National Toxicology Program history, is years late and two-to-three times over budget. A more immediate concern is that it could force the institute into a position it would desperately prefer to avoid: Being at the center of the ever-contentious controversy over cell phone radiation and cancer.

NY Times Tech Columnist Has Hands Slapped

March 20, 2015
Last updated April 19, 2015

The New York Times went into damage control mode yesterday after Nick Bilton, a tech columnist and a rising star at the newspaper, suggested that precaution is the best approach to the use of cell phones and wearable electronics.

No sooner had Bilton’s column hit print than Margaret Sullivan, the Times’ Public Editor, chastised Bilton for his naive analysis. (It was posted on the Web a day earlier.) Sullivan targeted the lack of “sophisticated evaluation of serious research.”

Germany’s Alex Lerchl Does a U-Turn

March 13, 2015
Last updated March 14, 2015

The RF–cancer story took a remarkable turn a few days ago. A new animal study challenged many of the assumptions which lie at the heart of claims that RF radiation —whether from cell phones, cell towers or Wi-Fi— are safe.

The new study, from Germany, a replication of an earlier experiment, also from Germany, found that weak cell phone signals can promote the growth of tumors in mice. It used radiation levels that do not cause heating and are well below current safety standards. Complicating matters even further, lower doses were often found to be more effective tumor promoters than higher levels; in effect, turning the conventional concept of a linear dose-response on its head.

Big Score for Industry Scientists

December 1, 2014
Last updated December 25, 2014

”Still worried about power lines and cancer? That’s so retro, says the New York Times. You’re just stuck in the 1980’s.  

This is what the “newspaper of record” wants you to know about the risk of childhood leukemia from power lines: A “fairly broad consensus among researchers holds that no significant threat to public health has materialized.”

The full message is told in a new 7+ minute video, produced by the Times’ RetroReport, which boasts a staff of 13 journalists and 10 contributors, led by Kyra Darnton. The video even credits a fact checker. What was missing is the common sense to do some digging when reporting on a controversial issue.

First Federal Agency To Acknowledge Risk Soon Backs Down

August 16, 2014
Last updated January 1, 2016

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention —CDC— is the first U.S. health agency to call for precaution in the use of cell phones.

But not for long. As soon as word of the CDC’s new outlook spread, the precautionary advice was withdrawn. Our original story is below, followed by an August 20 addendum.

“Along with many organizations worldwide, we recommend caution in cell phone use,” the CDC stated on its Web site’s FAQ About Cell Phones and Your Health and followed up with a call for more research to answer the unresolved cancer question.

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