A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

News Center: Main Articles Archive

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).

May 4, 2007

Ted Litovitz, a physics professor at Catholic University in Washington DC, died on May 1 after a long battle with kidney cancer. He was 82. The silver-tongued EMF researcher leaves a mixed legacy.

May 1, 2007

U.K. newspapers ran another batch of power line and Wi-Fi stories last weekend. The BBC, the Guardian and the Times all featured items on EMFs following the formal release of the SAGE report, which presented policy options to address EMF health risks. The Daily Mail profiled Sarah Dacre and her travails with electrosensitivity. And the Independent and the Telegraph continued to focus on public anxiety over the proliferation of Wi-Fi systems, especially in schools.

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.

March 29, 2007

Over the last four years, the number of eight-year-olds in the U.S. with cell phones more than doubled to 506,000 and the number of nine-year-olds ballooned to 1.25 million, according to an analysis by the Yankee Group, a consulting firm in Boston, cited in a "style" piece in today's New York Times. There will be 10.5 million preteen cell phone users by 2010, the Yankee Group predicts. The 31-paragraph Times story does not offer a word about the possible health implications of long-term cell phone use, but there is this view from the deputy director of the Center for Children and Technology in New York City: Cell phones can serve as "transitional objects" for young children suffering separation anxiety from their parents, and that phones with "reasonably interesting games" might have some "redeeming educational value." ... "The only harm is an economic one." What does a preteen use a cell phone for? A mother of a seven-year-old gave this example: "He'd call me from the cafeteria, screaming, 'Mom, I'm at lunch'."

WHO'a Mike Repacholi Chaired the Panel

March 23, 2007

The government of Ireland released a report yesterday that generally dismisses health concerns over RF radiation from mobile phones and base stations, as well as concerns over EMFs from power lines. The report, Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields, was prepared by a four-member panel chaired by Mike Repacholi, the former head of the WHO EMF project. The panel concluded that, "So far no adverse short or long-term health effects have been found from exposure to the RF signals produced by mobile phones and base station transmitters" and that "there are no data available to suggest that the use of mobile phones by children is a health hazard."

February 15, 2007

The Health Council of the Netherlands issued its fourth Annual Update [2006] on EMFs today, concluding that there is no evidence of RF radiation health risks from the country's UMTS (3G) mobile phone network or from DECT base stations. The council also advises that last year's Swiss study — which failed to confirm an earlier Dutch study showing a decrease in "well-being" due to EMF exposure— had an "improved design" and should therefore be given "more weight." The council's 2006 report is in Dutch and in English; the English text begins on p.53. See also its press release.   

February 12, 2007

The Swiss National Science Foundation today officially launched its EMF research program, known as (NRP 57). The 5 million franc (U.S.$4 million) program is sponsoring 11 new laboratory, epidemiological, dosimetric and risk management studies. These include:
• The effects of pulsed mobile phone signals on the human brain and on cognitive function by Peter Achermann of the University of Zurich;
• The effects of 3G phone radiation on blood flow in the brain by Martin Wolf of the University Hospital, also in Zurich;
• An epidemiological survey on the health status of 2,000 people exposed to high-frequency radiation by Martin Röösli of the University of Berne;
In vivo and in vitro experiments on stress responses by Meike Mevissen, also of the University of Berne;
• Genotoxic studies on power-frequency EMFs by Primo Schär of the University of Basel;
• Three projects on dosimetry at the Foundation for Research on Information Technologies (IT'IS) in Zurich, which is run by Niels Kuster.
For the complete details, see the press release available in German and French; the program brochure, in German and French, as well as the program implementation plan in English, German and French.     

 

February 5, 2007

The German Federal Office of Radiation Protection (BfS) has joined its Swedish counterpart in advising caution with respect to the use of mobile phones, following the release of the new Interphone brain tumor paper 

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