A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

ICNIRP: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )

January 21, 2017

By Jim Lin, a former member of ICNIRP (2004-2016) on the NTP $25 million animal study.

February 25, 2014

Five years ago we reported on what we thought was an important clue in the search for understanding the well-documented association between childhood leukemia and EMF exposure. A team based in Shanghai presented evidence that children carrying a genetic variation linked to DNA repair were four times more likely to develop leukemia than those without that genetic marker. We called the finding a “major breakthrough” and predicted, “It simply cannot be ignored.”

We were wrong. So wrong.

What happened next —or rather, what did not happen— sheds light on why EMF research treads water and never moves forward.

November 14, 2013

“The LF fields [<20 kHz] generated by mobile phone battery currents are, thus, not compliant with the ICNIRP reference levels for normal use, i.e., at the head.”

October 23, 2012

The Supreme Court of Italy has affirmed a ruling granting worker's compensation to a businessman who developed a tumor after using a cell phone for 12 years. This is the first time that a high court —in any country— has ruled in favor a link between mobile phone radiation and tumor development.

Innocente Marcolini, a financial manager at an industrial plant in Brescia in northern Italy, used cell and cordless phones for five-to-six hours a day for 12 years. Then, one morning ten years ago, Marcolini sensed an unusual tingling in his chin while shaving. He was soon diagnosed as having a benign tumor on the trigeminal nerve, which controls facial muscles and sensations.

Marcolini filed for workers' compensation alleging that his wireless phones were responsible for the tumor. At first, his claim was rejected. But, in December 2009, the Court of Appeals in Brescia reversed that decision and, on October 12, Italy's Supreme Court affirmed the Appeals Court's ruling. No further appeals are possible.

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 23, 2011

ICNIRP has announced the results of its most recent elections. Rüdiger Matthes and Maria Feychting are the new chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the commission. They will take over in May 2012. Three new members were also elected to ICNIRP and will take their seats in May: Rodney Croft,...

October 25, 2011

Last year, sensing that the upcoming IARC assessment might undercut his legacy at both the WHO and ICNIRP, Mike Repacholi assembled a team to prepare its own assessment of the possible tumor risks from RF radiation: That review has just been released by the journal...

October 18, 2011

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is raising objections to a draft EC directive on EM safety standards for workers. The ETUC does not agree with the directive's reliance on the ICNIRP exposure limits...

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 27, 2011

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe today called on European governments to "take all reasonable measures" to reduce exposure to EMFs, especially for RF from mobile phones and particularly for children "who seem to be most at risk from head tumors." The adopted...

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).

November 26, 2010

For a completely different perspective of the ELF-EMF genotox literature (from ICNIRP's), take a look at a review by an Italian group led by Livio Giuliani. It appears in a just-released monograph, "Non-Thermal Effects and Mechanisms of Interaction Between Electromagnetic Fields and Living Matter," ...

November 15, 2010

If you want to see just how misguided the ICNIRP enterprise really is, take a look at its new EMF exposure guidelines in the December issue of Health Physics. [See also our November 10 post.]

Start at the end with the footnote that discloses the composition of its five-member ELF Task Group (p.830...

November 12, 2010

According to the U.K.'s National Grid, here is ICNIRP's new statement on chronic EMF health risks: "It is the view of ICNIRP that the currently existing scientific evidence that prolonged exposure to low-frequency magnetic fields is causally related with an increased risk of childhood leukemia is too weak to form the basis for exposure guidelines. In particular, if the relationship is not causal, then no benefit to health will accrue...

June 9, 2010

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has recruited Joachim Schüz to lead its Section on Environment. Among his duties in Lyon, Schüz will supervise the still-unfinished work of theInterphone project. He will also play an advisory role in next year's IARC review of the possible cancer risks associated with RF radiation. Schüz, who begins at the agency on August 2, will report to Christopher Wild, the director of IARC.

November 23, 2009

A decade after some of the world's leading epidemiologists agreed that exposure to power line EMFs could lead to childhood leukemia, the denial continues. Some people still believe that the studies that link EMFs to cancer are nothing more than junk science. Even those who should know better refuse to acknowledge the risks. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the association is so weak that it can be pretty much ignored, and the leading radiation protection group, ICNIRP, has refused to endorse precaution. Here in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scarcely acknowledges that EMFs are even a health issue.

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 11, 2009

At a time when there are calls for tightening EMF power-frequency exposure standards to address cancer risks, Australia is moving in the opposite direction. In mid-May, a committee working under ARPANSA, the national radiation protection agency, distributed a draft proposal that would triple the permissible exposure levels for the general public. If these rules are adopted, children could be exposed to up 3,000 mG, 24/7 —that’s one thousand times higher than the 3 mG threshold for childhood leukemia indicated by epidemiological studies, and three times higher than the ICNIRP recommended limit of 1,000 mG.

May 15, 2009

There are many reasons not to use a cell phone in an elevator. The most obvious would be as a courtesy to other passengers. Another is that a phone has to work harder in a shielded space. It's forced to operate at higher power levels for the signal to get out and reach the nearest tower and that leads to more ambient radiation in the elevator.

What most cell phone users would never consider is that a fellow passenger absorbs some of the radiation that would otherwise bounce back off the walls. It turns out, according to some new calculations from Japan, that a lone user can get a maximum exposure of about 1.6 W/Kg, 80% of the ICNIRP standard (2 W/Kg). But be advised that exposures could exceed the current U.S. FCC standard by a wide margin, under worst-case conditions. (This is a rare —no, unique— example of an American EMF standard being stricter than those in other countries.) The FCC limit is averaged over only 1g of tissue and, as Jim Lin, a member of ICNIRP, has often pointed out, increasing the averaging volume from 1 g to 10 g could triple the allowable radiation exposure (see MWN, N/D00, p.3). These new findings appear in the May issue of the IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques.

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