A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

Telecoms and RF Research

February 10, 2005

Microwave News has long advocated more research on the potential health effects of power-frequency EMFs and RF radiation. It’s been an uphill battle.

EPRI and the CTIA, the two key industry players, are more interested in shutting down research labs than sponsoring those who might be able to make sense of the conflicting results that bedevil this whole business. With respect to mobile phones, Motorola and Nokia have been among the most outspoken in asserting that they have done enough RF studies. (One exception is Sony-Ericsson: Mats Pellback-Scharp recently (January 24) told the Financial Times that “Every report that comes out calls for more research. I have never heard anyone say on anything, ‘This is fully researched.’” Clearly, Mr. Pellback-Scharp has not been hanging out with Mays Swicord, the director of Motorola’s EMR programs.)

Today we received a press release from the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) in Washington that puts industry’s failure to spend any money on health in perspective. The TIA projects that U.S. spending on wireless communications will reach $159 billion this year and will grow to $212 billion by 2008. That’s only in the U.S. By the end of the decade the worldwide total could easily top $1 trillion a year. Five years ago, we humbly pointed out (MWN, M/A 2000, p.19) that if each of the then 87 million cell phone users in the U.S. chipped in just one cent a month, we would have $10 million a year for health research. Nothing approaching that has ever been spent in a single year. Today, there are more than twice as many American subscribers: 175 million, according to the CTIA. That same penny a month per user would now bring in $20 million a year. But don’t expect anything to happen.

The industry’s “no conclusive proof” mantra is working so well, there is no hope that a research initiative will find any support among telecom executives.