A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

Frank Barnes: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )

August 27, 2017

Today is Abe Liboff’s 90th birthday. Liboff is a physicist —he was the chairman of the physics department at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, for many years, and, before that, a professor at NYU. He used to be a coeditor of the journal, Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine.

As long as I have known him, Liboff has been asking questions about the world he sees all around. When possible, he runs experiments to test out his ideas. He continues to have a lively correspondence with those who share his interests in electromagnetic field effects, especially the role of the Earth’s magnetic field.

Back in 1984 when I first got to know him, Liboff had recently completed a two-year fellowship at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. He was back at Oakland but continued to collaborate with a psychologist at NMRI, John Thomas, who was doing research for the New York Power Line Project.

Liboff’s work at NMRI led to two startling experimental findings.

May 25, 2016

The cell phone cancer controversy will never be the same again.

The U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) is expected to issue a public announcement that cell phone radiation presents a cancer risk for humans. The move comes soon after its recently completed study showed statistically significant increases in cancer among rats that had been exposed to GSM or CDMA signals for two-years.

Discussions are currently underway among federal agencies on how to inform the public about the new findings. NTP senior managers believe that these results should be released as soon as possible because just about everyone is exposed to wireless radiation all the time and therefore everyone is potentially at risk.

March 18, 2016

Weak RF fields may indeed be able to promote cancer, according to two leading members of the EMF/RF research community. Frank Barnes and Ben Greenebaum are offering theoretical arguments to explain how low-level RF radiation can alter the growth rates of cancer cells. They present their ideas in an article which has just...

March 12, 2013

Lucas Portelli just ran over the Cheshire cat. He didn't know it was there. He's too young to appreciate how this fictional feline has held sway in the EMF-health controversy.

A little background for newcomers: the Cheshire cat is a metaphor for the lack of reproduciblity of EMF effects observed in some laboratories —but not others. It’s a favorite of those who see the study of EMFs as pathological science. The effects come and go, like the Cheshire Cat. Sometimes you see them, sometimes you don’t. EMF effects are not thought as being robust. Or more plainly, they are not to be believed.

But what if there was an unregognized confounding factor that was playing havoc with the EMF experiments? Portelli may well have found such a confounder.

September 27, 2012

Paul Héroux has a problem. He believes he has identified a way to control the growth of cancer cells, but he can't get his ideas into print. "We think we have the Rosetta Stone that will allow us to unravel the intricacies of cancer physiology," says Héroux, a professor at McGill University in Montreal.  Yet, one scientific journal after another has refused to publish what he has found.

Part of Héroux's problem is that his argument is based on an even more controversial proposition than a possible cure for cancer: That extremely weak magnetic fields can bring about major changes in DNA. That is a tough sell. Héroux ups the ante another notch by claiming to show that those changes are so easy to spot that you don't need hi-tech instruments to see them, just a standard issue microscope. All you have to do is count chromosomes, admittedly with close attention to detail.

And that's not all. Héroux says he has pinpointed where and how the magnetic field acts on the cell.

June 6, 2008

Frank Barnes of the University of Colorado in Boulder is calling for more studies on the effects of cell phones on children. "There are definitely unknowns and there are definitely experiments that have been done —including some in my own lab— where I clearly don't know what the implications are biologically," he told KCNC, the CBS TV station in Denver.

"What we don't know is what long-term exposures may or may not do," he said.

January 25, 2008

"Are there any biological effects that are not caused by an increase in tissue temperature (nonthermal effects)?" That was one of the "overarching issues" considered by the NAS-NRC committee at the workshop it hosted last August (see p.11 of the its final report, as well as our August 10, 2007 and January 17, 2008 posts). At the time, France's Bernard Veyret, the member of the committee who led the discussion, expressed skepticism that such effects had been reliably documented.

January 17, 2008

The NAS-NRC report, released today (see our January 15 post), presents a laundry list of research needs to better understand the possible health effects of RF radiation. What's missing is any sense of priorities. The NAS-NRC committee that prepared the report fails to indicate whether characterizing a child's exposure from a cell phone is more important than doing an epidemiological study of children who use them; or whether mechanistic studies are more important than laboratory toxicology experiments.

January 15, 2008

On Thursday, January 17, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council (NAS-NRC) will release its report on what types of research, if any, are needed to address potential health effects of radiation used for wireless communications.

The report, which was requested by the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), marks the closing chapter of the cooperative research agreement (or CRADA) between the CTIA, the trade association of the cell phone and wireless industries, and the CDRH.

May 24, 2007

Rick Jostes at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has announced his picks for the members of the committee that will review the current state of cell phone health research and identify future needs. Frank Barnes of the University of Colorado, Boulder, will chair the panel. Of the other six members, three are with ICNIRP: Finland's Maila Hietanen, Germany's Rüdiger Matthes and France's Bernard Veyret. The other members are Om Gandhi of the University of Utah, Leeka Kheifets of UCLA and EPRI and David McCormick of IITRI in Chicago. Kheifets, who serves on ICNIRP's epidemiology panel, used to be Mike Repacholi's sidekick at the WHO EMF project in Geneva. McCormick is planning some large-scale RF-animal experiments for the National Toxicology Program. The FDA requested these studies back in 1999.

February 25, 2004

Dr. Frank Barnes, of the University of Colorado, Boulder, has been awarded the Bernard Gordon prize by the National Academy of Engineering. The honor comes with a check for $500,000. Barnes, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, was cited for “pioneering an interdisciplinary telecommunications program,” which helps engineering students master economics and policy issues.

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