A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

Maria Feychting: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )

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...

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.

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.

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,...

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.

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.

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.

May 31, 2011

A day-by-day blog of the IARC RF–Cancer Review, May 23-30.

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.

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.

May 17, 2010

There's an old saying that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. Welcome to Interphone.

The good news is that the Interphone paper has finally been made public after a four-year stalemate within the 13-country research team. But it comes at a price. A series of compromises over how to interpret the results of the largest and most expensive study of cell phones and brain tumors ever attempted has left the paper with no clear conclusions other than more research is needed.

October 28, 2009

Saturday's lead story in the Telegraph made believe that the U.K. daily had gotten hold of the much-delayed and much sought-after final results of the Interphone study — and that they showed that using a cell phone does indeed increase the risk of developing a brain tumor. Under the headline "Mobiles: New Cancer Alert," the newspaper proclaimed that, "Long-term use of mobile phones may be linked to some cancers, a landmark international study will conclude later this year." In its inside pages were a number of related stories, notably "People Must Be Told About Mobile Phone Dangers, Say Experts" and a sidebar about Larry Mills who had developed a tumor "exactly where he held the phone." The story was pitched as an "EXCLUSIVE" and was soon picked up by many other newspapers and Web sites.

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:

January 23, 2009

The new year brought two fresh initiatives to protect children from cell phone radiation. On January 7, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) recommended that parents limit their children's use of mobile phones and, on the same day, the French government announced a series of environmental health proposals which includes a ban on cell phones designed specifically for children younger than six and of advertising that promotes the use of cell phones among those under 12.

November 17, 2008

It's not just childhood leukemia anymore. Alzheimer's Disease is poised to take center stage in the long-simmering EMF-health controversy.

A couple of weeks ago, a group led by Martin Röösli at Switzerland's University of Bern reported that people living within 50 meters of a high-voltage power line were more likely to die with Alzheimer's. The longer they lived near a 220-380 kV power line, the greater the risk: After 15 years, the odds of dying with Alzheimer's were double the expected rate. It is this striking dose-response —with the risk increasing over time— that makes the Swiss study compelling. Röösli told Microwave News that he himself found the consistency of this increase "surprising." Other members of the Röösli team are Anke Huss, Adrian Spoerri and Matthias Egger.

June 19, 2008

The divisions within the Interphone project are coming out into the open. As the delay in releasing the final results approaches the three-year mark, the tensions within the study team are no longer much of a secret. It's even becoming clearer who is in which camp —who believes that cell phones present a tumor risk and who thinks the phones are safe.

March 14, 2008

The Interphone saga gets weirder and weirder. The latest chapter comes with the release, earlier this week, of a status report on EMFs and health by the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority (SSI).

Recent Research on EMF Health Risks, the fifth annual report by an independent expert group, covers what was learned about various types of EMFs, from ELF to RF, in 2007. Here we address only what it says about the latest Interphone results —or more precisely, what it does not say.

May 9, 2007

More health research is needed for all EMF frequency bands, according to the newly-released report by the EC's Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR). (See also the press release and news item.) Anders Ahlbom of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm is the chair of the committee.

January 26, 2007

The latest Interphone findings pointing to a link between brain tumors and long-term use of a mobile phone (see January 22) should not be dismissed, according to members of the European research team that published the new results. "This is something you have to take seriously," Maria Feychting of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm told the Expressen, a Swedish national tabloid. Feychting advises those who are concerned to use a hands-free set to reduce radiation exposures.

March 10, 2005

The Karolinska group’s paper showing no increased risk of brain tumors among those who used a cell phone for ten or more years appears in the March 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. We first reported this result in December based on a brief announcement from Stockholm, but the published paper offers many more details.

One interesting item is the finding of a somewhat elevated risk of developing a glioma (a 60-80% increase) on the same side of the head as the phone was used. But, the Karolinska researchers also saw a lower than expected glioma risk on the opposite side of the head.

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