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A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

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News Center: Main Articles Archive

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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. ”

March 10, 2004

A U.K. panel has thrown some cold water on the idea that charged particles (ions) created by power lines could increase cancer rates among those living nearby. In a report issued on March 10, the advisory group on non-ionizing radiation (AGNIR) to the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) concludes that “it seems unlikely that corona ions would have more than a small effect on the long-term health risks associated with particulate air pollution.”

March 10, 2004

Sir William Stewart, the chairman of the U.K. Health Protection Agency as well as the chairman of the NRPB, will give the opening address at the International Scientific Conference on Childhood Leukemia. The meeting, to be held in London, September 6-10, will examine all the possible risk factors including genetics, ionizing radiation, EMFs, chemicals and viruses. Those signing up before June 30 will get close to a 20% discount on the registration fee.

March 10, 2004

Prof. Kwan-Hoong Ng of the University of Malay in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, attempts to debunk the idea that there are any health risks associated with mobile phones in a new 30-page pamphlet. Radiation, Mobile Phones, Base Stations and Your Health reassures that there are no established nonthermal effects resulting from exposure to RF radiation and warns that science can never “prove that something is absolutely safe and harmless.”

March 3, 2004

On March 15, Richard Saunders, head of the non-ionizing radiation effects group at the U.K.’s National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), will join the WHO’s EMF project in Geneva for an 11-month sabbatical. Saunders, who received his doctorate in zoology and comparative physiology in 1973, has spent most of the last 30 years at the NRPB. He is a member of ICNIRP’s standing committee on biology.

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