A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

Science Concedes an Error

November 27, 2008

Science has conceded the error: More than one lab has in fact shown that cell phone radiation can cause DNA breaks. Back in August, reporter Gretchen Vogel claimed that Hugo Rüdiger at the University of Vienna medical school was the only one (see our September 3 post). Now, Vogel allows that a team from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, had previously observed DNA breaks in cells exposed to GSM radiation.

In a letter published in the magazine's November 28 issue, Vini Khurana, a neurosurgeon in Canberra, Australia, advises that, "[T]here are many other peer-reviewed papers from laboratories in at least seven countries, including the United States, showing that cell phone or similar low-intensity EMFs can break DNA or modulate it structurally." (Others have submitted similar complaints to the magazine's editors.) In her response, Vogel writes, "My intention was not to imply that there were only two papers showing any effects of EMFs. There are many publications that show effects of EMFs on DNA, but the citations listed [by Khurana] do not directly contradict the quoted sentence." That sentence which leads her August 29 article begins: "The only two peer-reviewed scientific papers showing that [EMFs] from cell phones can cause DNA breakage...'' In an exchange with Microwave News, Vogel drew a sharp distinction between DNA "damage" and "breakage," which, she said, allowed her to exclude many other papers, particularly one study by John Aitken.

Khurana made international headlines earlier this year when he predicted that cell phone radiation would turn out to be a worse public-health disaster than either smoking or asbestos (see our April 10 post).