A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

News & Comment

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has invited three industry operatives to sit in on its weeklong assessment of the cancer risks associated with exposure to wireless radiation and other sources of RF/microwave radiation. Representatives from CTIA, the Wireless Association, the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) and the GSM Association will all be allowed to attend the IARC review. The meeting will be held in Lyon, France, May 24-31.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Cell Phones Affect Brain Activity." That headline has appeared all over the world since Nora Volkow published a PET scan of a brain lit up by a cell phone last month. Her colorful graphics, published in the high impact Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), guaranteed Volkow a large and attentive audience. But all the hoopla shouldn't obscure the fact that for more than a decade many others, notably Peter Achermann's group at the University of Zurich, have shown similar types of radiation-induced changes in the brain as well as much more.

Low-Level Effects Get a Boost

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A well-regarded and influential team of researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) is on the brink of resolving a long-standing dispute with enormous implications for public health. In a paper due out tomorrow, Nora Volkow and coworkers are reporting that cell phone radiation can affect the normal functioning of the human brain.

Whether these short-term changes will lead to health consequences (and what they might be) is far from clear — though Volkow already has preliminary indications of a long-term effect. Nor is the mechanism of interaction yet known. But the new finding, if confirmed, would at the very least force a rethink of the prevailing orthodoxy, which maintains that low levels of RF and microwave radiation are too weak to have any effect and can be disregarded.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's only a short letter buried in the back pages of a journal, but it could change the entire cell phone–cancer controversy.

A group at Hebrew University in Jerusalem has reported a sharp increase in the incidence of parotid gland tumors in Israel over the last 30 years. Rakefet Czerninski, Avi Zini and Harold Sgan-Cohen found that these tumors have quadrupled since 1970, "with the steepest increase" after 2001 (see plot below). Their letter appears in the January 2011 issue of Epidemiology; it's a free download. They are with the Hadassah School of Dental Medicine at the university.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

John Snow is known as the father of modern epidemiology, best remembered for helping end the 1854 cholera epidemic in London. At the time no one yet knew that cholera is caused by bacteria, but Snow had long suspected that it was transmitted by food or water. In the hard-hit neighborhood of Soho where hundreds had died, Snow mapped the location of the homes of the victims and could see that most lived near the Broad Street water pump (see image below). Snow was able to persuade local officials to remove the handle of the pump and soon the epidemic subsided.

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Short Takes

November 26, 2013

EirGrid, the Irish state-owned power line company, is planning to build three new 400 kV lines and to upgrade 2,000 km of existing power lines at a cost of €3.2 billion to help provide reliable service in the years to come. But there's nothing new about its approach to addressing the public's concerns about EMFs.

Take a look at this new 35-minute “Prime Time” video from RTÉ, a local TV station. It illustrates, once again, the double talk endemic to...

October 6, 2013
Last updated October 8, 2013

The research group at the University of Oxford that reported a link between long-term use of a mobile phone and an elevated risk of acoustic neuroma (AN) in May now says that it is no longer there. In a short letter to the International Journal of Epidemiology (IJE), the Oxford team advises that when the analysis was repeated with data from 2009-2011, "there is no longer a significant...

September 25, 2013
Last updated September 27, 2013

Using a new data set covering 2007-2009, Lennart Hardell and his research team have reaffirmed their previous findings that long-term use of a wireless phone leads to higher rates of both malignant brain tumors and acoustic neuromas (AN), but not of meningiomas, a type of benign brain tumor. In general, they report, the longer the use, the greater the risk for AN and malignant brain tumors.

All three new papers are open access. For the malignant brain tumor paper, click here; for the AN paper...

July 1, 2013

Gro Harlem Brundtland very rarely uses a cell phone, contrary to the impression promoted by the Norwegian Minister of Health that she is no longer electrosensitive, according to a message from Brundtland herself. Brundtland, a medical doctor, is a former prime minister of Norway and was the director of the WHO from 1998 to 2003.

“In her daily work, Gro Harlem Brundtland uses a PC with a cabled, not wireless, Internet connection. Second, she uses a mobile device —a...

June 28, 2013

The world's best-known electrosensitive, Gro Harlem Brundtland, is now using a mobile phone, according to a former top aide. The news, which will likely undermine the credibility of this controversial condition, was reported today by Thomas Ergo in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenbladet. Ergo...

April 19, 2013

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has released its detailed evaluation of the cancer risks associated with RF radiation, which serves as the rationale for designating RF as a possible human carcinogen.

The IARC monograph comes close to two years after an invited panel of experts from 14 countries reached this conclusion following an eight-day meeting at IARC headquarters in Lyon, France (see our...