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A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

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2009 Articles

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May 28, 2009

Christopher Wild, the director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), announced today that the Interphone study has been submitted for publication. An advisory, "Status of the Interphone Study" has been posted on the IARC,  CREAL and UICC Web sites. Wild does not say to which journal the paper was sent.

As we reported May 11, the  submitted manuscript only addresses brain tumor (gliomas and meningiomas) risks from mobile phones. Still to be completed are the analyses for acoustic neuroma and parotid gland tumors, as well as for tumor location relative to RF radiation exposure. Wild states that, "Work is on-going to prepare subsequent manuscripts for publication."

May 15, 2009

There are many reasons not to use a cell phone in an elevator. The most obvious would be as a courtesy to other passengers. Another is that a phone has to work harder in a shielded space. It's forced to operate at higher power levels for the signal to get out and reach the nearest tower and that leads to more ambient radiation in the elevator.

What most cell phone users would never consider is that a fellow passenger absorbs some of the radiation that would otherwise bounce back off the walls. It turns out, according to some new calculations from Japan, that a lone user can get a maximum exposure of about 1.6 W/Kg, 80% of the ICNIRP standard (2 W/Kg). But be advised that exposures could exceed the current U.S. FCC standard by a wide margin, under worst-case conditions. (This is a rare —no, unique— example of an American EMF standard being stricter than those in other countries.) The FCC limit is averaged over only 1g of tissue and, as Jim Lin, a member of ICNIRP, has often pointed out, increasing the averaging volume from 1 g to 10 g could triple the allowable radiation exposure (see MWN, N/D00, p.3). These new findings appear in the May issue of the IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques.

Much Remains To Be Done

May 11, 2009

The stalemate over Interphone is coming to an end. A project of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) on the possible links between mobile phones and tumors, Interphone has been bogged down for over three years while its members feuded over how to interpret their results. Now, Microwave News has learned, a paper on brain tumor risks is about to be submitted for publication. Christopher Wild, the director of IARC, forced a compromise to resolve what had become a major embarrassment for the agency.

April 25, 2009

Is it possible that the precautionary principle could do more harm than good? Could the mere suggestion of a health risk bring on effects that it was intended to avoid? Such a phenomenon is known as the nocebo effect and has been much discussed in relation to EMFs in general and electrohypersensitivity in particular. For a cogent analysis of all this, check out Stuart Blackman's "Why Health Warnings Can Be Bad," in today's Financial Times Weekend magazine.

April 10, 2009

Shows on cell phone radiation are all over the TV news —at least in Australia and Europe, if not the U.S.

One theme that runs through many of these programs is impatience over the delays in the publication of the Interphone results. In a Swiss documentary, aired on March 31, Christopher Wild, the new head of IARC, expresses his concern over the reputation of IARC and says that he looks forward to its completion "in the coming months." Elisabeth Cardis, the head of Interphone, concedes to that same Swiss TV reporter that Interphone is indeed taking a long time to finish (see "Interphone Project: The Cracks Begin To Show"). A few days earlier in an unrelated e-mail, Cardis stated that the results would be submitted for publication "in the coming weeks."

Professor Armstrong’s Lecture on Interphone

March 9, 2009

Tired of waiting for Interphone? Thanks to Professor Bruce Armstrong, you can now get a good idea of what the final results will show. A world-class epidemiologist and the head of the Australian Interphone study team based at the University of Sydney, Armstrong has combined all the available results published to date and, in a 45-minute lecture, reviews and interprets the potential tumor risks. His meta-analysis includes the as-yet unpublished Australian Interphone data.

March 3, 2009

Getting a handle on EMF and RF effects is a frustrating business. A new paper in the March 9 issue of Mutation Research from Finland's University of Kuopio tells the story. The Kuopio research group found that mobile phone radiation, at 5W/Kg, can amplify the DNA damage caused by a chemical mutagen. This is far from the first time an RF-induced genotoxic effect has been reported (see our September 3, 2008 post).

February 23, 2009

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD), campus is in an uproar over a cluster of cancer cases among those working in the university's Literature Building. Eight women who worked there developed breast cancer between 2000 and 2006, which is significantly more than would have been expected by chance, according to an analysis by Cedric Garland, a UCSD epidemiologist.

In his June 2008 report to UCSD Chancellor Marye Ann Fox, Garland devotes a lot of attention to the possible role played by EMFs, especially transients from the motors of the building's elevators. Garland recommends a strategy of "prudent avoidance," which he calls a "special case of the precautionary principle":

February 13, 2009

C.K. Chou is staying at Motorola after all (see below). A spokesperson for the company told Microwave News that he will serve as chief EME (electromagnetic energy) scientist for Motorola's Enterprise Mobility Solutions division. "CK will continue managing matters related to RF based on solid science," she said. Chou will still be based in Plantation, FL.

February 9, 2009

Call it the end of an era. Motorola, which has by any measure been the dominant force in the RF health arena for more than 15 years, is stepping back from the fray. The field will never be quite the same again.

On Friday, February 13, Motorola will close down its RF research lab in Plantation, FL. C.K. Chou, Mark Douglas, Joe Elder, Joe Morrissey and their support staff have all lost their jobs. A few days later, Ken Joyner, another key player on RF regulatory affairs based in Australia, will leave Motorola after 12 years with the company.

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