A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

David Savitz: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )

December 1, 2014

”Still worried about power lines and cancer? That’s so retro, says the New York Times. You’re just stuck in the 1980’s.  

This is what the “newspaper of record” wants you to know about the risk of childhood leukemia from power lines: A “fairly broad consensus among researchers holds that no significant threat to public health has materialized.”

The full message is told in a new 7+ minute video, produced by the Times’ RetroReport, which boasts a staff of 13 journalists and 10 contributors, led by Kyra Darnton. The video even credits a fact checker. What was missing is the common sense to do some digging when reporting on a controversial issue.

June 30, 2014

INTEROCC and INTERPHONE have a lot in common —more than their first five letters. So much in common that it’s a bit freaky. Or, maybe it just shows, once again, how small, insulated and polarized the EMF community is.

The most obvious parallels are that Elisabeth Cardis is the principal investigator of both the...

June 30, 2014

Power-frequency magnetic fields can promote brain tumors, according to the largest epidemiological study of its kind ever undertaken. The study promises to breathe new life into the idea that extremely low frequency (ELF) EMFs are more likely to be cancer promoters than causes of cancer. This hypothesis gained support a generation ago but has lost currency in recent years.

The new results, published online earlier this month by the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, come from INTEROCC, an international project with seven participating countries designed to investigate occupational health risks from chemicals and EMFs. The project is directed by Elisabeth Cardis at CREAL in Barcelona with $1.5 million from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (though none of the tumor cases are from the U.S.).

The INTEROCC team found that those who were exposed to elevated EMF exposures at work during the five years prior to diagnosis had significantly higher rates of glioma compared to those who were least exposed during that time on the job. The greater the exposure, the greater the tumor risk.

September 25, 2013

"Now it is enough!" claims Maria Feychting of Sweden's Karolinska Institute. Feychting wants to stop wasting money on any more epidemiological studies of breast cancer risks from power-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF EMFs).

"We can be confident that exposure to ELF magnetic fields does not cause breast cancer," she writes in an invited commentary published last week in the influential American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE). Feychting's call to stop research was prompted by a new study of breast cancer among Chinese textile workers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, which found no association with ELF magnetic field exposures. Feychting's confidence is based in large part on the exposure assessment used in the textile study, which, she believes, was "better than in previous studies."

If Feychting's call to halt research is heeded, she will have shattered a key driver for EMF–cancer research that has held sway for the last 25 years: the melatonin hypothesis.

July 27, 2012

De-Kun Li is the last man standing. Not long ago, many of the leading environmental epidemiologists in the U.S. were working on EMFs of one kind or another. They've all moved on —all except De-Kun Li, and he continues to break new ground in one study after another.

Li, a senior researcher at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA, has now shown that EMF exposures in the womb are linked to an increased risk of childhood obesity.

"Maternal exposure to high [magnetic fields] during pregnancy may be a new and previously unknown factor contributing to the world-wide epidemic of childhood obesity/overweight," Li writes in a paper posted today by Scientific Reports, a peer-reviewed, open access journal owned by the group that publishes Nature.

August 2, 2011

De-Kun Li's new study, published yesterday, got quite a bit of news coverage with comments from all over. One of the most surprising, at least to us, was from David Savitz, who some 25 years ago was the first...

June 3, 2011

It's not easy to reach unanimous agreement on anything to do with cell phone radiation. And when it comes to cell phones and cancer, forget about it. But the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) nearly pulled it off. On Tuesday, May 31, more than two dozen scientists and doctors from 14 countries —a group IARC Director Christopher Wild called “the world’s leading experts”— issued a joint statement that cell phone and other types of radiofrequency (RF) and microwave radiation might cause cancer.

July 14, 2009

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has released two new reviews on RF radiation: (1) Exposure to High-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields, Biological Effects and Health Consequences (100 kHz-300 GHz), and (2) Epidemiologic Evidence on Mobile Phones and Tumor Risk: A Review."

The first is a 372-page review that addresses all aspects of RF interactions, from dosimetry to in vitro and in vivo experiments to epidemiological studies. It was prepared by the full commission and its advisory committees. The full text of the report is available at no charge from the ICNIRP Web site. Here is the conclusion on the plausibility of non-thermal effects:

June 2, 2008

Editors and reviewers at Epidemiology thought long and hard before publishing the new paper suggesting that a child's behavioral problems can be traced, at least in part, to the mother's use of a cell phone use during pregnancy (see our May 14 post). This comes across in an editorial by David Savitz that appears the same issue (July) as the paper.

The study is "a nearly perfect recipe for 'inflammatory epidemiology'," acknowledged Savitz, an editor at the journal who has long been involved with EMF research. But, he went on, "reviewers and editors believe that these findings are worth consideration by the scientific community.

October 18, 2004

Members of each of the teams that have reported links between mobile phones and acoustic neuromas have recently published reviews of the RF epidemiological literature.

October 12, 2004

Mobile phones may present a cancer risk after all. Epidemiologists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have found that the phones can increase the incidence of acoustic neuromas, benign tumors of the auditory nerve. The nerve is exposed to radiation during the normal use of a cell phone.

Those who used mobile phones for at least ten years, had close to twice the risk of developing acoustic neuromas, according to a team led by Dr. Maria Feychting and Prof. Anders Ahlbom of the Karolinska’s Institute of Environmental Medicine. Ahlbom is the deputy director of institute.

July 1, 1995

The irony is astonishing. On the very day that a committee of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) completed its 800-page draft report asking regulatory agencies to pay “serious attention” to EMFs, public television station WGBH aired a one-hour show across the country comparing EMFs to cold fusion. While the NCRP committee called for “a national commitment to further research,” the June 13 Frontline, “Currents of Fear,” asked whether it was time to close down the research effort.

Subscribe to David Savitz: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )