A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

cell phones: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )

August 15, 2012

Times of India, August 15, 2012. The new limits will be 1/10th the current ones. Also, India will adopt an SAR standard for cell phones like that of the U.S. FCC —1.6 W/Kg, averaged over 1 g.

August 7, 2012

In its much-anticipated report, released today, the GAO told the FCC to take a fresh look at its cell phone exposure standard and the way the phones are tested for compliance with that limit. The 46-page report is available here.

Julius Knapp, the chief of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology, responded that he and...

November 3, 2011

The latest update of the Danish cell phone-cancer study is being touted as the biggest and best ever. It shows "no link between mobile phone use and [brain] tumors," according to the press release.

Don't believe a word of it.

On October 20, the British Medical Journal released the third installment of the Danish Cancer Society's cohort study, which has been tracking some 400,000 mobile phones subscribers since the 1980s. The whole enterprise has been dogged by controversy and political suspicions since the first results were published ten years ago.

August 25, 2011

The Interphone results on acoustic neuroma (AN) are —finally— out. As in the Interphone analysis of brain tumors, there does appear to be a higher risk among the heaviest users of cell phones. Yet, as before, the results are uncertain and open to alternative explanations.

August 18, 2011

At the end of last month, the French National Cancer Institute updated its advisory on "Mobile Phones and Cancer Risks." The istitute's Web site on "Electromagnetic Waves" has links to numerous government reports and other documents.

July 27, 2011

Here's the golden rule for all cell phone cancer studies: Nothing comes easy.

The first study to look at brain tumors among children and teenagers who have used cell phones came out today and it shows no increased risk. Well, actually, the study, known as CEFALO, does indicate a higher risk —the problem is that it found a higher risk for all the kids who used a phone more than once a week for six months, regardless of how much time they spent on the phone. Because the risk does not go up with more use, the CEFALO team argues that the results argue against a true association.

July 6, 2011

The battle over Interphone continues. This time it's in full public view as key players publish papers detailing where they stand on cell phone tumor risks. There haven't been any big surprises since their opinions have long been known. Yet, the diametrically opposing views have led to conflicting stories in the media as each new study is released.

May 19, 2011

A hard-hitting documentary aired on French television last night alleges that René de Seze, a well-known member of the French RF community, worked to delay, if not bury, a study that would be detrimental to the mobile phone industry. The 90-minute show reports that de Seze coordinated a study on behalf of Bouygues Telecom, a leading cell phone operator, and when the results supported a radiation health risk, he did everything he could to discredit it. De Seze works for French National Institute for the Industrial Environment and Hazards (INERIS).

April 18, 2011

Chinese researchers in Beijing are seeing some of the highest rates of cancer ever reported in any cell phone study. They have found that long-term, heavy users have rates of malignant parotid gland tumors that are seven to 13 times higher than might otherwise be expected.

March 8, 2011

"Cell Phones Affect Brain Activity." That headline has appeared all over the world since Nora Volkow published a PET scan of a brain lit up by a cell phone last month. Her colorful graphics, published in the high impact Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), guaranteed Volkow a large and attentive audience. But all the hoopla shouldn't obscure the fact that for more than a decade many others, notably Peter Achermann's group at the University of Zurich, have shown similar types of radiation-induced changes in the brain as well as much more.

March 3, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, the University of Manchester in England issued a press release on a new paper on brain cancer trends in the U.K., under the headline, "Mobile Phone Use Not Related to Increased Brain Cancer Risk." Clear and catchy — but wrong. Frank de Vocht and two collaborators actually saw a statistically significant...

February 22, 2011

A well-regarded and influential team of researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) is on the brink of resolving a long-standing dispute with enormous implications for public health. In a paper due out tomorrow, Nora Volkow and coworkers are reporting that cell phone radiation can affect the normal functioning of the human brain.

Whether these short-term changes will lead to health consequences (and what they might be) is far from clear — though Volkow already has preliminary indications of a long-term effect. Nor is the mechanism of interaction yet known. But the new finding, if confirmed, would at the very least force a rethink of the prevailing orthodoxy, which maintains that low levels of RF and microwave radiation are too weak to have any effect and can be disregarded.

September 28, 2010

Who offers better scientific advice: Lady Gaga or Scientific American ? Okay, it's a trick question. Sometimes Lady Gaga does make more sense.

Two items crossed our desk this morning. A dispatch from Next-Up, the European EM activist group, under the title "Lady Gaga Says No to Radiation from Mobile Phones." That in turn was based on an August 31 story in the U.K. Sun newspaper —admittedly not one of the most reliable sources of news, but then again this is not a complicated story. "Mobiles Send You Gaga," warned the headline (don't miss the Sun's accompanying photo of Lady G. in her retro phone hat). Citing a "source close to the star," the Sun reported: "Even though there's no firm evidence, it's really freaked her out. One of her team has to hold the phone so it isn't too close to her head. She then listens on the phone loudspeaker." That's one way to practice precaution, at least for those lucky enough to have an assistant always at the ready.

June 30, 2010

Users of cell phones have another reason to be cautious. An Austrian team has found that the risk of developing tinnitus, a ringing in the ears, doubled after four years. This is one of the first epidemiological studies to investigate the long-term effects of mobile phones on hearing.

Hans-Peter Hutter of the Institute of Environmental Health at the Medical University of Vienna, and coworkers report that the observed association is "unlikely" to be spurious and could have important implications for public health. Their new epidemiological study, based on 100 cases and 100 controls, will appear in an upcoming issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

May 17, 2010

An essential part of the Interphone story is Appendix 2. Although not included in the paper, it offers a way to look at the risks free of some of the bias that so muddled the published results. It also provides a window on the controversy that deadlocked the Interphone group for four years.

There is a general consensus that the large number of abnormally low risks observed in Interphone is a sign of a systematic problem —selection bias— in the way that the study was carried out. As the Interphone group acknowledges, it is "unlikely" that cell phones could immediately provide protection against brain tumors (see main Interphone Story).

May 3, 2010

Fifteen years ago Om Gandhi pointed out that children are exposed to higher levels of radiation from cell phones than adults. He was right then and he is right today. Yet, no one could blame you for thinking otherwise.

In an article published in the May issue of Harper's, Nathaniel Rich uses this putative controversy, among a number of other examples, to make the case that confusion reigns in all aspects of cell-phone research. "The brain of a child absorbs a much greater amount of radiation from a cell phone than does the brain of an adult," he writes, adding immediately after, "No, it does not."

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.

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.

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