A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

Martin Röösli: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )

February 24, 2014

“Did not find evidence of an association between RF EMF epxosuure from broadcast transmitters and incidence of childhood leukemia.” Note that only 7 of the 283 leukemia cases were exposed to >0.2 V/m (~0.01 µW/cm²).

October 26, 2012

Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, posted online October 24, 2012.  “This study demonstrates that personal RF-EMF exposure is affected by one’s own mobile phone in stand-by mode because of its regular location update.” From the University of Basel, Switzerland.

March 9, 2012

A new analysis from the U.S. National Cancer Institute has found that the rates of brain tumors (glioma) in the United States are inconsistent with the results of Lennart Hardell's group in Sweden. The NCI team, led by Mark Little, does allow that "the U.S. data could be consistent with the modest excess risks in the Interphone study."

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...

July 29, 2011

We pose two questions about the new children's study on cell phone tumor risks, known as CEFALO:

(1) How many of the health and science reporters who filed stories actually read the paper beyond the press release and abstract? An even cursory look at the paper would have tipped them off that there was something...

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.

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 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.

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.

September 24, 2007

The Swiss National Research Program on Non-Ionizing Radiation (NRP57) will hold a one-day wokshop, Dosimetry Meets Epidemiology, on January 11 in Zurich. The focus will be on exposure assessment in EMF epidemiology. Anders Ahlbom, Jørgen Bach Andersen, Alexander Borbély, Elisabeth Cardis and Yngve Hamnerius, all members of NRP57's steering committee, will chair the three sessions. Among those on the program are Joe Bowman of U.S. NIOSH, Niels Kuster of IT'IS, Mike Kelsh of Exponent and Martin Röösli of the University of Bern. There is only room for 60 attendees and we are told that half the spots are already taken. For more information, contact Christian Mottas at the Swiss National Science Foundation.

February 12, 2007

The Swiss National Science Foundation today officially launched its EMF research program, known as (NRP 57). The 5 million franc (U.S.$4 million) program is sponsoring 11 new laboratory, epidemiological, dosimetric and risk management studies. These include:
• The effects of pulsed mobile phone signals on the human brain and on cognitive function by Peter Achermann of the University of Zurich;
• The effects of 3G phone radiation on blood flow in the brain by Martin Wolf of the University Hospital, also in Zurich;
• An epidemiological survey on the health status of 2,000 people exposed to high-frequency radiation by Martin Röösli of the University of Berne;
In vivo and in vitro experiments on stress responses by Meike Mevissen, also of the University of Berne;
• Genotoxic studies on power-frequency EMFs by Primo Schär of the University of Basel;
• Three projects on dosimetry at the Foundation for Research on Information Technologies (IT'IS) in Zurich, which is run by Niels Kuster.
For the complete details, see the press release available in German and French; the program brochure, in German and French, as well as the program implementation plan in English, German and French.     


December 21, 2006

It's long been known that children with Down's syndrome have a much greater chance of developing acute leukemia —up to 20 times greater or even higher. Now, in the first study of its kind, a group of Mexican researchers have shown that Down's children exposed to magnetic fields of 6 mG (0.6 µT) or more had close to four times the risk of developing acute leukemia compared to other Down's children. (The analysis was based on spot measurements, rather than the more commonly used 24-hour readings.) Writing in the January 2007 issue of Epidemiology, Juan Mejia-Arangure and coworkers conclude that genetic susceptibility to leukemia may well modify the effects of EMFs.

September 18, 2006

There's an old English saying that goes "He who pays the piper calls the tune."

This also applies to cell-phone health studies according to a new analysis by a team from Switzerland's University of Basel. In a paper accepted for publication in Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), Matthias Egger and Martin Röösli and coworkers found that: "Studies exclusively funded by industry reported the largest number of outcomes but were least likely to report a statistically significant result...compared to studies funded by public agencies or charities."

Their analysis is based on 59 experimental studies published between 1995 and 2005. They note that a majority (68%) of these studies reported biological effects. Egger and Röösli advise that "the interpretation of the results from existing and future studies of the health effects of [RF] radiation should take sponsorship into account."

June 6, 2006

A Swiss research team led by Peter Achermann of the University of Zurich has failed to replicate the Dutch TNO study (see yesterday's post). Achermann and his collaborators, Martin Röösli of the University of Bern and Niels Kuster of the IT'IS Foundation in Zurich, found no consistent effects on well-being or cognitive performance following a 45-minute exposure to 3G RF radiation, at either a 1 V/m or a 10 V/m.

The radiation signals were designed to mimic those from a mobile phone base station. The experiments were run double blind —that is, neither the subjects nor the investigators knew when the power was turned on.

June 5, 2006

The results of the attempted replication of the TNO study will be announced tomorrow in Zurich. The Dutch TNO study, caused quite a stir when it was released in the fall of 2003. It suggested that 3G RF fields as low as 1 V/m could be detrimental to a person's sense of well-being and has been widely cited by those opposed to the siting of mobile phone towers near schools and in residential neighborhoods.

Peter Achermann of the University of Zurich, Niels Kuster of IT'IS (see June 2, below) and Martin Röösli of the University of Bern will present their findings at a press conference scheduled to begin at 10:30am Swiss time. Their paper has been accepted for publication and will be posted on the Internet after the press conference. The word on the street is that they failed to repeat the TNO findings —but no one expected the TNO to find such effects in the first place. More tomorrow.

September 22, 2004

A Swiss research team will attempt to replicate a Dutch study which showed that exposure to very weak (1 V/m) 3G mobile phone radiation had a negative effect on a subject’s feeling of well-being. The Swiss Research Foundation on Mobile Communication, based in Zurich, has awarded a team led by Peter Achermann of the University of Zurich €485,000 (approx. $600,000) to repeat the study at both 1 V/m and 10 V/m. Niels Kuster of IT’IS, also in Zurich, and Martin Röösli of the University of Bern will be collaborating with Achermann. The replication effort is scheduled to be completed by next September.

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