A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

ELF EMFs: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )

January 9, 2017

Facts don’t seem to mean much anymore. We live in a “post-truth” time. So much so that post-truth was recently named the international word of the year. As 2017 opened for business, a stark example of the new reality came to our attention courtesy of Paolo Boffetta, an Italian epidemiologist now at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

In an interview with Fox News, Boffetta said that the link between power lines and childhood leukemia had been debunked. In response to a question as to whether it was safe for a pregnant woman to live next to a “huge power line,” Boffetta advised that there was no reason for concern.

According to Boffetta, the 1979 classic study by Nancy Wertheimer and Ed Leeper pointing to higher rates of leukemia among children living near high-current power lines had been contradicted by “newer and better” studies, carried out with improved methodology. Boffetta sent a clear message that “very high exposures” to power line EMFs are safe for pregnant women and children.

Boffetta has lost his truth compass.

May 27, 2016

“Synergism Between Sinusoidal 50 Hz Magnetic Field and Formaldehyde in Triggering Carcinogenic Effects in Male [SD] Rats,” American Journal of Industrial Medcine, posted online May 24, 2016.

“Life-span exposure to MF and formaldehyde induces statistically significant carcinogenic effects in male rats.” From the Ramazzini Institute in Bologna. See also our detailed report on the same project.

February 27, 2016

Once again, power-frequency magnetic fields have been found to act as a cancer promoter.

Eighteen months ago an international team led by Elisabeth Cardis in Spain showed cancer promotion in workers exposed to chemicals and extremely low frequency (ELF) EMFs. Now an Italian team has found essentially the same promotional effect in animals exposed to ionizing radiation and ELF EMFs.

The new study, which was carried out at the Ramazzini Institute in Bologna, Italy, is part of the most ambitious EMF–animal project ever attempted.

October 2, 2014

 “EMFs Mediate Efficient Cell Reprogramming into a Pluripotent State,” ACS Nano, posted online September 23, 2014.

From a Korean-U.S. team: “Interestingly, our results show that [embryonic stem] cells and fibroblasts themselves are not significantly affected by EMF exposure; rather, cells undergoing dramatic epigenetic changes such as reprogramming seem to be uniquely susceptible to the effects of EMFs.” For additional background see this article from C&E News.

July 19, 2014

“Relationship Between Exposure to ELF EMFs and Breast Cancer Risk: A Meta-Analysis,” European Journal of Gynecological Oncology, Vol.35, pp.264-269, 2014.

“[Our analysis] indicated that, for the premenopausal group, the occurrence of breast cancer may be related to exposure to ELF-EMFs, but for the menopausal group it has no relationship. The specific mechanism still requires further study. … It is suggested that premenopausal female should minimize exposure to ELF-EMFs.” From China.

July 8, 2014

Today’s New York Times revisits the EMF controversy, with reporter Kenneth Chang looking back at a Science Times story about power-line EMFs and cancer that ran in July 1989.

Both now and then the Times quoted David Carpenter. Here’...

June 30, 2014

Power-frequency magnetic fields can promote brain tumors, according to the largest epidemiological study of its kind ever undertaken. The study promises to breathe new life into the idea that extremely low frequency (ELF) EMFs are more likely to be cancer promoters than causes of cancer. This hypothesis gained support a generation ago but has lost currency in recent years.

The new results, published online earlier this month by the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, come from INTEROCC, an international project with seven participating countries designed to investigate occupational health risks from chemicals and EMFs. The project is directed by Elisabeth Cardis at CREAL in Barcelona with $1.5 million from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (though none of the tumor cases are from the U.S.).

The INTEROCC team found that those who were exposed to elevated EMF exposures at work during the five years prior to diagnosis had significantly higher rates of glioma compared to those who were least exposed during that time on the job. The greater the exposure, the greater the tumor risk.

June 30, 2014

The new INTEROCC paper raises an intriguing question: Might the ELF component of GSM phone radiation present a brain tumor risk?

To date, all the attention on the cancer risk from mobile phones has been on RF radiation. Now that INTEROCC points to a credible association between exposure to ELF EMFs and brain tumors (see main story), is it possible, we have been focusing on the...

February 4, 2014

“Maternal Residential Proximity to Sources of ELF EMFs and Adverse Birth Outcomes in a U.K. Cohort,” Bioelectromagnetics, posted online January 31, 2014. From Frank de Vocht’s group in Manchester.

“This large population-based study indicates that close (≤50m) proximity to high-voltage cables, overhead power lines, substations or towers is associated with suboptimal growth, and provides some indication … of clinically significant outcomes.”

January 17, 2014

“Magnetic Fields Exposure and Childhood Leukemia Risk: A Meta-Analysis Based on 11,699 Cases and 13,194 Controls,” Leukemia Research, posted online, January 2, 2014.

More support for an association for exposures above 0.2 μT (2 mG) —from a group in China. See also the accompanying editorial which finds that this potential risk factor “deserves our attention.”

November 21, 2013

“Occupational ELF Magnetic Field Exposure and Selected Cancer Outcomes in a Prospective Dutch Cohort,” Cancer Causes and Control, posted online November 16, 2013.

“For lung, breast and brain cancer, we found no evidence of an association.…We did observe associations between ELF-EMF exposure and follicular lymphoma and acute myeloid leukemia in men although AML did not show clear exposure-response relationship.” From the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences at Utrecht University.

November 14, 2013

“Experimental and Numerical Assessment of Low-Frequency Current Distributions from UMTS and GSM Mobile Phones,” Physics in Medicine and Biology, December 7, 2013, from Niels Kuster's group in Zurich.

“The LF fields [<20 kHz] generated by mobile phone battery currents are, thus, not compliant with the ICNIRP reference levels for normal use, i.e., at the head.”

November 8, 2013

Assessment of ELF Magnetic Field Exposure from GSM Mobile Phones,” Bioelectromagnetics, posted online November 6, 2013.

“[M]easurements suggest that mobile phones could make a substantial contribution to ELF exposure [at 217 Hz and associated harmonics] in the general population.” From the Mobi-Kids study team.

November 30, 2012

“Association between ELF EMFs Occupations and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Meta-Analysis,”

PLoS1, published online November 26, 2012. From Zheijang University in Hangzhou, China: "Our data suggest a slight but significant ALS risk increase among those with job titles related to relatively high levels of ELF-EMF exposure."

August 17, 2011

After we ran our story on De-Kun Li's study showing a higher risk of asthma among children whose mothers were exposed to we heard from Ivan Beale in Australia. Beale reminded us of a...

August 2, 2011

De-Kun Li's new study, published yesterday, got quite a bit of news coverage with comments from all over. One of the most surprising, at least to us, was from David Savitz, who some 25 years ago...

August 1, 2011

A mother's exposure to weak power-frequency magnetic fields during pregnancy substantially increases the chances her child will develop asthma, according to a new study by De-Kun Li and coworkers at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA. An average magnetic field exposure of just 2 mG (0.2 µT) during pregnancy more than triples the child's risk of getting asthma by the age of 13, they report in a paper released today by the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, a publication of the American Medical Association (AMA).

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.

November 12, 2010

According to the U.K.'s National Grid, here is ICNIRP's new statement on chronic EMF health risks: "It is the view of ICNIRP that the currently existing scientific evidence that prolonged exposure to low-frequency magnetic fields is causally related with an increased risk of childhood leukemia is too weak to form the basis for exposure guidelines. In particular, if the relationship is not causal, then no benefit to...

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