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A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation


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News Center: Main Articles Archive


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April 14, 2010

Men's Health has gotten into the act too. The May issue offers its take on cell phone radiation health risks with "Is Your Life on the Line?" by Paul Scott. He covers much of the same ground as Nathaniel Rich in Harper's —except his is shorter. Like Rich, Scott begins with the story of Lloyd Morgan, a brain tumor survivor and cell phone activist, who, Scott says, "has made it his mission to spread the message that cell phone radiation is carcinogenic."

April 13, 2010

Out today: The May issue of Harper's magazine with a cover story on mobile phone and other EMF health risks: "For Whom the Cell Tolls: Why Your Cell Phone May (or May Not) Be Killing You" by Nathaniel Rich.

April 4, 2010

The bone marrow of young pigs has a higher water content than adult bone marrow and, as expected, Peyman and Gabriel found that it has a higher conductivity. A little math might help understand why a higher water content in tissues this leads to higher SARs. Start with the basic equation for calculating the SAR:

SAR = σ E2 / ρ

where σ = conductivity of the tissue; E = electric field, ρ = density of the tissue

More simply, this means that the SAR is proportional to the conductivity:


and therefore as the conductivity increases, so does the SAR.

March 11, 2010

The CBS Evening News took on the brain tumor-cell phone story tonight with "Maine Considers Warnings for Cell Phones." The focus was on State Representative Andrea Boland's bill, the Children's Wireless Protection Act, which would require cell phones be sold with warning labels. That bill has practically no chance of getting through the legislature. Members of the Health and Human Services Committee unanimously (13-0) opposed it earlier in the week, according to the Associated Press. And even if the legislature were to pass the bill, Gov. John Baldacci would likely veto it.

March 4, 2010

Time magazine has posted a piece on "Cell-Phone Safety," which will appear in next week's print edition (March 15).

Also, in its March issue, Popular Science offers a detailed look at the EMF controversy. "Disconnected" runs a full ten pages, with a promo on the cover: "Killer Cell Phones: The Real Science Behind the Health Scare." The magazine's Web site pitches the story as an exploration of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS): "The Man Who Was Allergic to Radio Waves." The "man" is Per Segerbäck, a former Ellemtel telecom engineer who now lives deep in the Swedish countryside.

February 16, 2010

The Washington Post's health section offers its take on the cell phone–tumor story today. In "Not Exactly a Ringing Endorsement," reporter John Donnelly presents a variety of opinions from DC area residents: "Everything is a risk. I'm a bodyguard. That's risky. You got to have a life. Cell phones don't scare me," said one. "It makes me nervous," said a pregnant 26-year-old, "I use the speakerphone as much as I can. I keep it away from my body. I try to use it very little."

February 6, 2010

Assessing health risks is a tricky business. Teaching others how to do it is no easier. To see this, you need to look no further than a recent report from the Geneva-based International Risk Governance Council (IRGC), a self-described "independent" group run by a group of government, industry and academic leaders. The title of the report is a mouthful: Risk Governance Deficits: An Analysis and Illustration of the Most Common Deficits in Risk Governance. A better title would have been, Common Pitfalls in Risk Analysis, or perhaps, Risk: A Guide to Better Decision Making.

January 18, 2010

Lorenzo Tomatis got it. But few others do. Among those who don't are the many managers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) who refuse to allow that the EMF–cancer playbook may be different from the one for chemicals. Even now, when there is ample evidence that power line EMFs can increase the risk of childhood leukemia and there is a growing suspicion that cell phone radiation is associated with three different types of tumors, NIEHS prefers to look the other way. The institute has long resisted endorsing precautionary policies for any kind of EMFs.

December 18, 2009

Pity those who are trying to follow the cell phone–brain tumor story. Their sense of the cancer risk is most likely a reflection of the last thing they read or saw on TV —It all depends on whose sound bite they happen to catch.

Take, for example, a paper published earlier this month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) by a team of Scandinavian epidemiologists, under a rather bland title — "Time Trends in Brain Tumor Incidence Rates in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, 1974–2003." But its message is anything but: Because there has been no increase in brain tumors between 1998 and 2003, a period when the use of cell phones "increased sharply," cell phones are cancer safe.


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