A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

News Center: Main Articles Archive

November 21, 2005

Radio (TV) Canada’s news program Decouverte [Discovery] broadcast a two-part news show on EMFs last night.

You can watch both shows on Radio Canada’s Web site. They are in French.

The first part is on cell phones and kids and their risk of developing acoustic neuromas and brain tumors. Also cited is the University of Lund work showing that microwave radiation can lead to leakage through the blood-brain barrier. The second part is on electrosensitivity.

October 2, 2005

The Sun-Sentinel, a major Florida newspaper, is featuring a series of stories on “ Cell Phones & Your Health: The Radiation Question” in today’s editions.

October 1, 2005

As members of the WHO Task Group make their way to Geneva for next week’s meeting to complete its Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) document on power-frequency EMFs, new information has emerged showing that the electric utility industry has played a major role at every stage of developing the review document.

Microwave News has learned that Mike Repacholi, the head of the WHO EMF project, recruited utility representatives to help write the original draft of the document and later asked them to review the completed draft. Then, as we reported last week, Repacholi invited eight utility representatives to attend next week’s task group meeting —the only observers who were invited (see our September 22 post). The task group and the industry observers will assemble at a WHO conference room in Geneva on Monday, October 3 to recommend exposure limits.

September 29, 2005

Research scientists in China have found that relatively low-level RF radiation can lead to DNA breaks, according to a briefing paper prepared for the cell phone industry obtained by Microwave News.

At the 4th International Seminar on EMFs and Biological Effects, held in Kunming China, September 12-16, Zhengping Xu of the Zhejiang University School of Medicine reported that cells exposed to a pulsed 1800 MHz RF radiation at an SAR of 3 W/Kg for 24 hours showed a statistically significant increase in DNA damage. The Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF), an industry lobbying group based in Brussels, circulated the news in a September 22 Research Briefing.

September 22, 2005

The week of October 3 in Geneva, the World Health Organization (WHO) will set its recommendations for public exposures to power-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs).

A 20-member task group from 17 countries, assembled by Michael Repacholi, the head of the WHO EMF project, will finalize an Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) document, which is designed to guide the development of standards for extremely low frequency (ELF) EMFs all over the world. It will likely represent WHO’s official position on EMF health risks for years to come.

September 14, 2005

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association, better known as NEMA, has posted information on EMF standards and regulations from 25 countries on its Web site.

Much of the information was adapted from the WHO EMF Web site and reformatted on an Excel spreadsheet. You can download a free copy here. NEMA, which is based in Washington, plans to post updates on a periodic basis.

At least until a new generation of researchers give us some answers

August 13, 2005

The inside back cover of the August issue of Wired has an ad with a picture of a model who has a laptop on her belly. She’s got a big grin on her face —apparently because her computer is protected with Symantec’s anti-spyware and anti-virus software.

Putting a laptop on your body may be okay for a photo shoot, but it’s probably not such a good idea to leave the computer there for a long time. In addition to delivering heat to sensitive organs, there can be significant exposure to EMFs.

August 9, 2005

UCLA School of Public Health and Leeka Khefiets received $50,000 from EPRI for her work on the WHO workshop on EMF risks to children. UCLA calls it a “ joint WHO/EPRI” workshop.

That’s a lot money for a review paper (250 hours @$200/hour). Or is this another way for Mike Repacholi’s EMF project to skirt WHO rules prohibiting direct industry funding?

August 8, 2005

EPRI, the Electric Power Research Institute, the research arm of the electric utility industry, has lots of money and is not shy about using it to push its agenda.

Today, EPRI is the only source of research funds on power line EMFs in the U.S. In recent times, practically all of EPRI’s money has been devoted to pushing the idea, championed by staffer Rob Kavet, that contact currents —not EMFs— are responsible for the oft-observed increase in childhood leukemia. Kavet may be on to something, but at the moment only Kavet himself and his contractors embrace this hypothesis.

August 5, 2005

A literature review on the topic by Luc Martens of Belgium’s Ghent University was posted on the Bioelectromagnetics Web site a few days ago. Anyone who doubts how little we know about all this should check it out.

Not counting the abstract, references and acknowledgments, the review runs just three pages —that’s it. There’s not much to say because we don’t know much.

Even the relatively long-running controversy over whether children absorb more radiation than adults due to their thinner skulls and whether the radiation penetrates deeper into their heads —sometimes referred to as Salt Lake City vs. Zurich or Gandhi vs. Kuster— remains unresolved (see MWN, N/D01, p.8). Or as Martens puts it, “There is still an inconsistency in the literature.”

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