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A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

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2004 Articles

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July 22, 2004

When three cases of male breast cancer showed up in the same small office in Albuquerque in 2001, a lawsuit was quickly filed. “The odds of three men in one specific office getting breast cancer are a trillion to one,” said Sam Bregman, the plaintiffs’ attorney. He argued that the cancers were caused, at least in part, by EMFs from an electrical vault that was next to the basement office where the men worked.

Controlling Research, Setting Standards and Spinning History

July 1, 2004

If you had any doubts that the wireless industry is in total control of the RF health debate, you need only to have gone to the workshop held at the FCC’s Washington headquarters on June 28. By the end of the day, the fog would have lifted.

Motorola’s Joe Elder told the assembled delegates from the U.S., the EU, Japan and Korea that the health issue is just about settled. There is no credible evidence that casts doubt on the current 4 W/Kg threshold for ill effects from mobile phone radiation, he said.

June 10, 2004

The Swiss Research Foundation on Mobile Communications, based in Zurich, is asking for proposals for research on a host of EMF related topics, including health and safety studies, dosimetry projects and work on risk perception. 

June 10, 2004

The U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) was ready to spend some $10 million on RF research, but no one wanted it. In February, the NTP issued a request for proposals to carry out a number of animal studies on the possible cancer risks associated with wireless communications. Not a single lab responded by the April 8 deadline. 

NRPB To Become HPA

May 25, 2004

Sir William Stewart has been reappointed the chairman of the U.K. National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB). Sir William, who also heads the Health Protection Agency (HPA), will now lead the board through March 31, 2005. (The government plans to make the NRPB part of the HPA.)

May 20, 2004

W. Ross Adey died on May 20th at the age of 82 after a long battle against a series of bronchial infections.

Adey, a medical doctor, was a towering figure in the EMF community, who was equally at ease talking about the most recent papers in the biological and medical literature or dissecting the arcane engineering details of an experimental setup. He is perhaps best known for discovering, with Suzanne Bawin, the first non-thermal effect of electromagnetic radiation during the 1970s: They showed how ELF-modulated RF signals can lead to the release of calcium ions from cells.

May 14, 2004

Very weak radiation can have a profound influence on a robin’s magnetic compass. A group led by Prof. Thorsten Ritz has shown that 7 MHz signals of less than 100 nanowatts per square centimeter can disorient the bird’s migratory flight. The new findings appear in the May 13 issue of Nature.

Only 6 of 25 Pass

May 12, 2004

After testing 25 different models of mobile phones, TCO Development, an arm of the Swedish white-collar union TCO based in Stockholm, is recommending only six of them. Seven of the phones failed to meet TCO's SAR standard of 0.8 W/Kg averaged over 10 g of tissue (see MWN, J/F01, p.6).

TCO Development states that its SAR limit is less strict than the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) SAR standard for certifying phones for sale in the U.S. (It is not clear how many of these models are available in the U.S. marketplace.) 

March 31, 2004

The U.K. National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) is recommending the adoption of the ICNIRP limits for human exposures to EMFs in the 0-300 GHz frequency range. In its Advice, issued on March 31, the NRPB cites its “review of the science, the need to adopt a cautious approach and recognition of the benefits of international harmonization” as the rationale for tightening the U.K. standards, which are among the least restrictive in the world.

The board stresses that it may be necessary to adopt “further precautionary measures” for the exposure of children to power-frequency magnetic fields.

First Prospective Study

March 30, 2004

A prospective epidemiological study —the first of its kind— has failed to find an association between a woman’s melatonin level and her risk of developing breast cancer. Ruth Travis and coworkers at the University of Oxford in the U.K. report in the March 17 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that, while they cannot rule out a “moderate” association, their results are a setback for the hypothesis that “endogenous melatonin concentration is a major factor in breast cancer etiology. ”

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