A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

2007 Articles

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.

August 3, 2007

The American Cancer Society is misleading the public —while alleging that Americans are perilously ill-informed about cancer risks. Thanks to the ACS, the front page of this week's Washington Post Health section tells the 30% of the population who believe that "cell phones cause cancer" that they are "wrong."

August 2, 2007

Physicists are taking notice of the new Israeli work showing that weak electric fields can be used to treat cancer (see our June 15 post). Physics Today, published by the American Institute of Physics, features a detailed article on the Israeli breakthrough in its August issue. 

August 1, 2007

John Leonowich died on May 21 in Las Vegas at the age of 53. He worked on both ionizing and non-ionizing radiation for the U.S. Air Force and the Battelle Pacific Northwest Labs. He was a member of the IEEE's standards committee C95 (ICES). At the time of his death, Leonowich was the radiation safety office at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His obituary makes note of his "particular affinity towards Godzilla, collecting all sets of memorabilia... [he] even flew to Tokyo, Japan for the premiere of the new Godzilla movie." 

July 30, 2007

Mike Repacholi has now revealed that up to half of the funds raised for his EMF Project came from industry. This admission comes in an interview with Resource Strategies Inc. in an effort, he states, to “set the record straight.” Repacholi is circulating the text of the interview far and wide because, he says, he wants “the truth about WHO” to be known.

July 28, 2007

The "methods" paper for the Interphone study on mobile phone tumor risks has been posted on the European Journal of Epidemiology's Web site. The full text of the 18-page paper can be downloaded free of charge. IARC's Elisabeth Cardis is the lead author; she has 47 coauthors. There is still no word on when the long-awaited results of the study will appear —they were originally scheduled to be ready as early as 2003-2004.

RFI Tops Health in U.S. AM Tower Siting Battle

July 13, 2007
Last updated April 2, 2011

When the residents of the Oak Hill Park community in the Boston suburb of Newton fought the expansion of a local 5kW AM station, WNUR, they complained about radiofrequency interference (RFI)—to their telephones, stereos, VCRs, wheelchairs and baby monitors. They also objected to the possible effects on local wildlife, particularly to the blue-spotted salamander. And they worried about the visual blight posed by the towers.

What community activists hardly mentioned were the possible impacts on their health.

July 10, 2007

We don't spend much time writing about microwave ovens, but the "Really?" column in today's New York Times science section prompts a few comments.

The columnist, Anahad O'Connor, asks whether people face a radiation risk from standing too close to a microwave oven and concludes that it's "not dangerous." That's about the same finding reached a couple of years ago by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) —see "Microwave Myths" which appeared in its newsletter, Nutrition Action.

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.

Current EMF Paradigm at Risk

June 15, 2007
Last updated December 15, 2015

It’s become axiomatic that wide acceptance of non-thermal effects will come from developing biomedical therapies rather than from studying potential hazards. The health effects work is mostly sponsored by those who don't want to find any. And they usually don't (cf: the USAF, EPRI, CTIA, FGF, MMF, etc.) So no one should be surprised that the latest advance comes from a small high-tech Israeli company, Novocure, which is looking for innovative ways to treat cancer. It's a breakthrough —most likely a major breakthrough.

Novocure uses weak 100-200 kHz electric fields —the company calls them tumor treating fields or TTFields— to stunt the growth of cancer cells, either by slowing down their proliferation or by killing them off entirely. The company has now demonstrated this in four different cancer cell lines. Even more impressive is that tumor growth has been curtailed in mice, rats and, in a small pilot project, ten human patients with recurrent brain tumors (glioblastoma).