A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

News & Comment

Germany’s Alex Lerchl Does a U-Turn

Friday, March 13, 2015
Last updated March 14, 2015

The RF–cancer story took a remarkable turn a few days ago. A new animal study challenged many of the assumptions which lie at the heart of claims that RF radiation —whether from cell phones, cell towers or Wi-Fi— are safe.

The new study, from Germany, a replication of an earlier experiment, also from Germany, found that weak cell phone signals can promote the growth of tumors in mice. It used radiation levels that do not cause heating and are well below current safety standards. Complicating matters even further, lower doses were often found to be more effective tumor promoters than higher levels; in effect, turning the conventional concept of a linear dose-response on its head.

Big Score for Industry Scientists

Monday, December 1, 2014
Last updated December 25, 2014

”Still worried about power lines and cancer? That’s so retro, says the New York Times. You’re just stuck in the 1980’s.  

This is what the “newspaper of record” wants you to know about the risk of childhood leukemia from power lines: A “fairly broad consensus among researchers holds that no significant threat to public health has materialized.”

The full message is told in a new 7+ minute video, produced by the Times’ RetroReport, which boasts a staff of 13 journalists and 10 contributors, led by Kyra Darnton. The video even credits a fact checker. What was missing is the common sense to do some digging when reporting on a controversial issue.

First Federal Agency To Acknowledge Risk Soon Backs Down

Saturday, August 16, 2014
Last updated January 1, 2016

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention —CDC— is the first U.S. health agency to call for precaution in the use of cell phones.

But not for long. As soon as word of the CDC’s new outlook spread, the precautionary advice was withdrawn. Our original story is below, followed by an August 20 addendum.

“Along with many organizations worldwide, we recommend caution in cell phone use,” the CDC stated on its Web site’s FAQ About Cell Phones and Your Health and followed up with a call for more research to answer the unresolved cancer question.

Large Study Shows Recent, But Not Lifetime, Exposures Lead to Brain Tumors

Monday, June 30, 2014
Last updated November 25, 2015

Power-frequency magnetic fields can promote brain tumors, according to the largest epidemiological study of its kind ever undertaken. The study promises to breathe new life into the idea that extremely low frequency (ELF) EMFs are more likely to be cancer promoters than causes of cancer. This hypothesis gained support a generation ago but has lost currency in recent years.

The new results, published online earlier this month by the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, come from INTEROCC, an international project with seven participating countries designed to investigate occupational health risks from chemicals and EMFs. The project is directed by Elisabeth Cardis at CREAL in Barcelona with $1.5 million from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (though none of the tumor cases are from the U.S.).

The INTEROCC team found that those who were exposed to elevated EMF exposures at work during the five years prior to diagnosis had significantly higher rates of glioma compared to those who were least exposed during that time on the job. The greater the exposure, the greater the tumor risk.

Featuring Dan Krewski, the Royal Society and Health Canada

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Last updated April 24, 2014

In 2011, Health Canada found itself in a tough spot. The public was becoming more and more uneasy over exposure to RF radiation from the proliferating number of cell phones, cell towers and Wi-Fi routers. After holding hearings in the spring and fall of 2010, Parliament asked the health agency to investigate whether its exposure limits —the Canadian national RF standard known as Safety Code 6 (SC6)— were too lenient and needed strengthening. Soon afterwards, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) added urgency to the assignment by classifying RF radiation as a possible human cancer agent, or, in the vernacular, a 2B carcinogen.

Health Canada’s dilemma was that it had no interest in tightening SC6. Yet IARC’s 2B designation could not be easily ignored, especially after France and Belgium, among other European countries, had responded by adopting precautionary policies. Last year, for instance, Belgium banned the sale of cell phones to children. How would Health Canada find a way to stick with the status quo?

The answer was to commission a review of SC6 by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC)

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Short Takes

May 26, 2016
Last updated May 27, 2016

This evening, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) released a draft of the report on its two-year cell phone cancer study. Linda Birnbaum, the director of the NIEHS, and John Bucher, the leader of the study, will present the report at a teleconference tomorrow, Friday. They are the director and associate director of the NTP, respectively. [Birnbaum did not...

March 18, 2016
Last updated March 19, 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...

January 1, 2016
Last updated January 12, 2016

In August 2014, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued and then rescinded precautionary advice on the use of cell phones. See our story, “CDC Calls for Caution on Cell Phones, Then Gets Cold Feet.”

Today,* Danny Hakim, an investigative reporter at the New York Times, has published a behind-the-scenes look at what was going on at the time, based on more than 500 pages of CDC internal documents, including e-mails, together with follow-up interviews. His story,...

June 25, 2015

Lancet Oncology, the journal which published the official announcement of IARC’s decision to designate RF radiation as a possible human carcinogen, has issued a correction to the conflict of interest (COI) statement it had included for...

October 20, 2014
Last updated April 16, 2015

Some leading epidemiologists have been saying that cell phones don’t pose a brain tumor risk because cancer rates are not going up. Now comes word that Swedish cancer registry data are in disarray and official statistics may be masking a disquieting trend.

Since 2008, there has been a close to 30% increase in patients with a brain tumor of an “unknown nature” and that increase is not reflected in the national cancer registry, according to a new analysis by...

July 8, 2014
Last updated July 19, 2014

Today’s New York Times revisits the EMF controversy, with reporter Kenneth Chang looking back at a Science Times story about power-line EMFs and cancer that ran in July 1989.

Both now and then the Times quoted David Carpenter. Here...