A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

National Academy of Sciences: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )

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.

August 10, 2007

Don't hold your breath waiting for the U.S. to do more research on the possible health effects of mobile phones.

After sitting through two and a half days of briefings at this week's National Academy of Sciences workshop in Washington, we walked away thinking that it's unlikely that the academy's report, due by the end of the year, will put a high priority on initiating any new projects. The panel would have to make some strong recommendations to prompt action because, at the moment, the federal government has neither the will nor the money to revisit the RF-health controversy. For its part, the cell phone industry has long argued that it wants health research to come to an end.

July 2, 2007

Just days before the National Academy of Sciences' newly formed RF radiation committee holds its first meeting —primarily to plan its August 7-9 workshop (see May 24 post) — the Swiss federal environmental agency has issued its own report on what is and is not known about the health effects of high-frequency radiation. This is precisely the mission of the NAS panel: to identify current gaps in knowledge and research needs on the possible impacts of cell phones on health.

May 31, 2007

Rick Jostes of the National Academy of Sciences has advised us that the dates for the RF workshop were posted incorrectly on the NAS Web site. The correct dates are August 7-9. (See May 24 below.)

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.

May 7, 2007

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has tentatively scheduled its RF workshop for August 7-9 in Washington. Its objective is to review the status of health research associated with exposure to RF radiation from wireless devices. See the NAS announcement for further information. The FDA requested the NAS review last March (see our March 30 post).

March 30, 2007

After sidestepping the cell phone health controversy for many years, the FDA announced yesterday that it had asked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to hold a symposium and to advise what additional research needs to be done. It's déjà vu all over again. This is the same do-nothing strategy that George Carlo so successfully pursued for the CTIA, the wireless trade association, in the 1990s to make sure that very little health research got done. Over a six-year period, Carlo held meetings and wrote literature reviews. In the end, he spent $25 million of CTIA's money and had practically nothing to show for it. Neither Carlo nor the CTIA has ever accounted for where all that money went. Now, the CTIA and the FDA are planning to replay the same charade, albeit on a much smaller scale.

January 13, 2005

The British press has given a lot of ink to the Stewart report, featuring numerous interviews with Sir William. In one of the most detailed of these he told Nic Fleming of the Daily Telegraph that he is “more concerned” about possible health risks today than he was five years when he first called for children to be discouraged from using mobile phones.

Sir William said that, “When it comes to suggesting that mobile phones should be available to three- to eight-year-olds, I can’t believe for a moment that can be justified. It seems to me ludicrous.”

January 8, 2005

Next week two major reports will be released to the public. On Tuesday January 11, the National Radiological Protection Board, or NRPB, will issue a review of the current state of knowledge on mobile phones and health. The report is already being called “Stewart#2.” Sir William Stewart was the chair of the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) that issued Mobile Phones and Health. in May 2000 (see MWN, M/J00, p.1).

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