A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

NIEHS: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )

February 16, 2010

The Washington Post's health section offers its take on the cell phone–tumor story today. In "Not Exactly a Ringing Endorsement," reporter John Donnelly presents a variety of opinions from DC area residents: "Everything is a risk. I'm a bodyguard. That's risky. You got to have a life. Cell phones don't scare me," said one. "It makes me nervous," said a pregnant 26-year-old, "I use the speakerphone as much as I can. I keep it away from my body. I try to use it very little."

January 18, 2010

Lorenzo Tomatis got it. But few others do. Among those who don't are the many managers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) who refuse to allow that the EMF–cancer playbook may be different from the one for chemicals. Even now, when there is ample evidence that power line EMFs can increase the risk of childhood leukemia and there is a growing suspicion that cell phone radiation is associated with three different types of tumors, NIEHS prefers to look the other way. The institute has long resisted endorsing precautionary policies for any kind of EMFs.

September 13, 2008

A number of mainstream newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and the Seattle Post Intelligencer, have picked up the NIEHS–EPRI story on their Web sites (see our September 5 post). The PI's Andrew Schneider reports that some at NIEHS are "outraged" by the tie-in with EPRI.

September 5, 2008

In an unprecedented move, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the research arm of the utility industry, will sponsor a public information booklet on EMFs for a unit of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is working out an arrangement whereby EPRI would pay for the writing and printing of a new edition of the NIEHS booklet, EMFs: Questions & Answers.

November 13, 2006

Just months after leaving his post as the head of the EMF project at the World Health Organization (WHO), Mike Repacholi is now in business as an industry consultant. The Connecticut Light and Power Co. (CL&P), a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, and the United Illuminating Co. (UI) have hired Repacholi to help steer the Connecticut Siting Council away from a strict EMF exposure standard.

The siting council is in the process of revising the state's EMF policies. Last year, it hired its own consultant, Peter Valberg of the Gradient Corp., to review the current state of EMF health research. Valberg's report, submitted in January, proposes a "screening level" of 100 mG to protect against any adverse health effects "even in a hypothetically more sensitive sub-population" —that is, it would also protect young children. (What's a screening level? See below.)

July 30, 2004

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is negotiating a sole source contract with the IIT Research Institute (IITRI) in Chicago to run the National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) RF–animal studies. The studies will cost in excess of $10 million. The NIEHS requested proposals last February, but no one responded.

June 10, 2004

The U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) was ready to spend some $10 million on RF research, but no one wanted it. In February, the NTP issued a request for proposals to carry out a number of animal studies on the possible cancer risks associated with wireless communications. Not a single lab responded by the April 8 deadline. 

February 23, 2004

On February 23, the National Toxicology Program released its request for proposals (No. NIH-ES-04-06) for large-scale animal studies to evaluate the possible toxic and carcinogenic effects of cell phone radiation. The FDA originally asked for these studies more than five years ago (see MWN, N/D99, p.5; J/A00, p.5; M/J01, p.1; and M/J03, p.17). The total cost of the project will be on the order of $10 million. Proposals are due by April 8.

February 1, 2004

Wolfgang Löscher has suffered numerous personal attacks for his work on EMFs and breast cancer. But he struggled on, and now he may have resolved a fundamental problem in EMF research: Why different labs doing what appear to be identical experiments, produce conflicting results.

January 20, 2004

Today it may be more of historical than scientific interest, but EPA’s 1990 evaluation of EMF cancer risks is now available on the Internet at no charge.

Back then, the draft Evaluation of the Potential Carcinogenicity of Electromagnetic Fields was a hot item. A team led by Dr. Robert McGaughy had recommended that power-frequency EMFs should be classified as “probable human carcinogens” and that RF/MW radiation be considered a “possible human carcinogen.”

January 20, 2004

Environmental Health Perspectives is now an open access journal. This means that all research articles in EHP, which is published by the NIEHS, are feely accessible on the Internet.

Among the more than 10,000 research reports now available is the startling paper by the Lund University group in Sweden showing that very weak GSM mobile phone radiation can cause leakage through the blood-brain barrier, leading to neurological damage. The  Lund paper appeared in EHP’s June 2003 issue and was posted on the Web last January (see MWN, J/F03). The studies on the blood-brain barrier by Lund’s Drs. Leif Salford and Bertil Persson prompted a workshop held in Germany in November. Microwave News was there and we will be posting a report on the meeting soon.

July 1, 1995

The irony is astonishing. On the very day that a committee of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) completed its 800-page draft report asking regulatory agencies to pay “serious attention” to EMFs, public television station WGBH aired a one-hour show across the country comparing EMFs to cold fusion. While the NCRP committee called for “a national commitment to further research,” the June 13 Frontline, “Currents of Fear,” asked whether it was time to close down the research effort.

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