A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

2007 Articles

June 14, 2007

Another passing: Bill Wisecup died of a cerebral hemorrhage on May 28 at the age of 77. A vet by training, Wisecup spent much of the 1980s and 1990s administering the EMF research program for the U.S. Department of Energy. He was also the executive director of the Bioelectromagnetics Society (BEMS) from 1986 until his retirement in 2000. He then devoted most of his time to photography and his Welsh corgis.

June 11, 2007

Norm Sandler is dead at the age of 53. He was found in his Washington, DC, apartment last Monday; the cause has not yet been determined. Until recently, Sandler had been Motorola's principal spokesman on the cell phone health issue. He had previously worked for UPI and Powell Tate, a Washington PR firm.

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.)

Some Startling Results from Finland

May 29, 2007

Every now and then a new paper comes along that gives hope that one day we'll make sense of the conflicting results that have become the hallmark of EMF research. A team of Finnish researchers from the University of Kuopio has published such a paper. It's in the June issue of the International Journal of Radiation Biology.

Anne Höytö, Jukka Juutilainen and Jonne Naarala have shown that the type of cells used in in vitro studies can determine whether they will respond to RF radiation. They ran the same experiment with primary cells —those taken directly from an organism— and with secondary cells —those that have been grown in a petri dish. They exposed both types of cells to two different RF signals, CW and modulated (GSM), at various intensities (SAR =1.5, 2.5 or 6 W/Kg) for various amounts of time (2, 8 or 24 hr), and then measured the activity of ODC (ornithine decarboxylase), an enzyme related to cellular growth and differentiation.

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.

Schüz Defends ICNIRP’s 1,000 mG Limit

May 21, 2007

It's the murky disconnect that undermines public confidence in EMF exposure standards: While epidemiological studies point to an increased risk of childhood leukemia at exposures as low as 3-4 mG, the ICNIRP exposure standard is over 200 times higher. That is, ICNIRP sees nothing wrong with exposing kids to 999 mG, 24/7. One reason this disparity is baffling is that Anders Ahlbom of Sweden's Karolinska Institute is both the chair of ICNIRP's committee on epidemiology and the person whose work —more than anyone else's other than Nancy Wertheimer's— has established the plausibility of the 3-4 mG threshold. The IEEE standard is even more out of sync: At over 9,000 mG: it's more than nine times higher than the ICNIRP limit.

May 9, 2007

More health research is needed for all EMF frequency bands, according to the newly-released report by the EC's Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR). (See also the press release and news item.) Anders Ahlbom of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm is the chair of the committee.

May 8, 2007

A study that stirred worldwide uneasiness last fall —as well as quite a bit of disbelief— is now in print. In October, Ashok Agarwal of the Cleveland Clinic presented a paper at a fertility conference showing that men who used their cell phones for more than four hours a day had poorer semen quality than those who went phone-free (see our October 26, 2006 post).

Agarwal's paper has been posted on the Fertility and Sterility Web site and will appear in a forthcoming issue of the journal. Here is his conclusion: "Use of cell phones decrease the semen quality in men by decreasing the sperm count, motility, viability, and normal morphology. The decrease in sperm parameters was dependent on the duration of daily exposure to cell phones and independent of the initial semen quality." 

May 7, 2007

We have to admit that we are skeptical about the much-hyped hypothesis that mobile phone radiation is at least partially responsible for the disappearance of bees —if only because of the timing of these colony collapses. If microwaves are involved, bee disorientation would most likely be an acute effect. Yet mobile phones and their towers have been around for many years. So, why are the bees flying away, never to return, now?

That said, we were nevertheless taken aback when we read in this morning's Wall Street Journal that the National Wildlife Federation has inaugurated its own cell phone service. NWF Mobile is "tailored to wildlife enthusiasts and activists," the Journal reports, with such features as "ringtones that croak like frogs and chirp like birds" and the ability to provide updates on environmental news. Can a "buzz" ringtone be far behind?  

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).