A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

RF: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )

June 12, 2023

Unremarkable science can sometimes tell a remarkable story. Two papers that were published in the last few weeks —and passed mostly unnoticed— have important, though very different, backstories.

One offers a surprising glimpse of change in the usually static field of RF research, while the other shows how much has stayed the same over the last many years.

Yet, in the end, they offer the same well-worn message, always worth repeating: Those who sign the checks, run the show.

The two papers come 30 years after Henry Lai and N.P. Singh began an experiment at the University of Washington in Seattle that would set off alarm bells across the still-young cell phone industry —and the U.S. military. Lai and Singh would show that a single, two-hour exposure to low-level microwave radiation (today, we’d say RF) could lead to breaks in the helical strands of DNA in the brains of live rats.

June 6, 2023

“Do EMFs Used in Telecommunications Affect Wild Plant Species? A Control Impact Study Conducted in the Field,” Ecological Indicators, June 2023. Some specific species of wild plants exposed to low-level RF (~867 MHz at 1-2 μW/cm2) showed “permanent and irreversible” effects. Open access.

March 8, 2023

“Theta Band Brainwaves in Human Resting EEG Modulated by Mobile Phone RF,” International Journal of Radiation Biology, March 3, 2023. From INERIS (France). Concludes: “This work contributes to the growing literature that suggests the potential modulation of human spontaneous EEG by exposure to RF-EMF.”

 

February 28, 2023

The precautionary principle should be applied to public exposures to RF radiation. So say four senior academic scientists —including the former director of the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP)— in a strongly worded appeal, published today.

Writing in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research, Paul Ben Ishai, Linda Birnbaum, Devra Davis and Hugh Taylor point to a “plethora of both experimental and epidemiological evidence establishing a causal relationship between EMF and cancer and other adverse health effects.”

December 12, 2022

UPDATE: Other Monograph meetings have now been scheduled for March, June and November 2024. The next possible slot for RF radiation is in early 2025.

On November 23, Elisabete Weiderpass, the Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), revealed that a new assessment of the evidence linking radiofrequency (RF) radiation to cancer would likely take place in early 2024. A formal decision could come within a few months.

Calls for a new IARC evaluation have been mounting for some years following the release of two large animal studies showing elevated tumor counts after lifelong exposure to RF radiation. Many believe that the animal experiments leave the Agency little choice but to increase the cancer risk classification at least one notch to “probable” from the current “possible,” or perhaps to its highest classification, a known human carcinogen.

But, as Weiderpass made clear on making the announcement at a conference in Paris, the RF–cancer risk might instead be downgraded and the “possible” classification removed.

The stakes are high.

November 16, 2022

ANSES, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety, has issued a request for proposals for studies on RF radiation.

October 19, 2022

Two influential health agencies, both based in France, will host a one-day meeting on RF–health research, November 23 in Paris. The public is invited to attend in person or online. Registration is free.

The conference, organized by ANSES, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, and IARC, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, will focus on potential effects of RF radiation on the brain and on cancer risks. The theme is “Research in a Fast-Moving Environment.”

July 10, 2022

“Interagency Committee on the Health Effects of Non-Ionising Fields: Report to Ministers,” New Zealand Ministry of Health, June 28, 2022. Report runs 107 pages: offers a full-throated endorsement of ICNIRP (on both RF and ELF EMFs) and recommends adoption of ICNIRP’s 2020 RF exposures guidelines. Strangely, committee members not named and they are not allowed to speak to the media.

March 8, 2022

“Changes in the Excitability of Primary Hippocampal Neurons Following Exposure to 3.0 GHz RF EMFs,” Scientific Reports, March 3, 2022. The results show that RF-EMF exposure can alter neuronal activity after a 60-minute exposure to 3.0 GHz at a low dose (SAR <1 W/Kg). From the U.S. Air Force. Open access.

December 10, 2021

“Radiofrequency Radiation and Cancer: A Review,” by David Grimes, JAMA Onclology, December 9, 2021. Incomplete and inaccurate. Astonishing that this was published by an AMA journal. [More here]

October 31, 2021

“RF Exposure of the Yellow Fever Mosquito (A. aegypti) from 2 to 240 GHz,” PLoS Computational Biology, October 28, 2021. “For a given incident RF power, the absorption increases with increasing frequency between 2 and 90 GHz with a maximum between 90 and 240 GHz.” Open access.

September 27, 2021

A detailed examination —likely the most exhaustive ever attempted— of the environmental effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation has been published in Reviews on Environmental Health.

“Effects of Non-Ionizing Electromagnetic Fields on Flora and Fauna” is in three parts, the last of which was posted today.

Taken together, the three papers run over 200 pages in the journal and include more 1,000 references.

August 25, 2021

“Threshold of RF EMF Effect on Human Brain,” International Journal of Radiation Biology, posted August 23, 2021. Lowest SAR threshold for effect on EEG is more than a 1,000 times lower than level deemed safe by ICNIRP and the U.S. FCC. Also the changes in EEG are similar to those seen in depression.

July 18, 2021

“Development of Health-Based Exposure Limits for RFR from Wireless Devices Using a Benchmark Dose Approach,” Environmental Health, posted July 17, 2021. From the Environmental Working Group (EWG). “The analysis presented here supports a whole-body SAR limit of 2-4 mW/Kg for adults... and 0.2-0.4 mW/Kg for young children.” Open access.

June 11, 2021

A new analysis from the radiation group at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) calls into question the agency’s own classification of wireless radiation as a possible human carcinogen.

On May 27, IARC’s Isabelle Deltour presented the new analysis of the incidence of malignant brain tumors (glioma) in the Nordic countries —Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden— over the last several decades. She spoke at an online colloquium hosted by the German Federal Office of Radiation Protection, known as the BfS.

Deltour argued that the trends are mostly not “compatible” with those seen in the epidemiological studies —principally, Interphone and Lennart Hardell’s— that were the basis of IARC’s 2011 designation of RF radiation as a possible, or 2B, human carcinogen.

February 16, 2021

Alexander Lerchl wanted a seat at the table and wanted it bad. It was 2010 and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) was setting up a working group to assess the cancer risks of RF radiation. The meeting would be a landmark event with major long-term implications for the cell phone industry.

As it turned out, in May 2011, the working group voted, by a large margin, to classify RF, including cell phone radiation, as a possible human carcinogen. But that outcome was far from assured before its 30 members —from 14 countries— deliberated for eight days at IARC headquarters in Lyon, France.

Lerchl, a professor at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, was making a name for himself as a self-appointed debunker of claims of radiation health effects. Lerchl craved to be invited to Lyon, but IARC would not have him.

March 11, 2020

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has issued updated guidelines for exposures to RF/microwave radiation.

“The guidelines have been developed after a thorough review of all relevant scientific literature, scientific workshops and an extensive public consultation process. They provide protection against all scientifically substantiated adverse health effects due to EMF exposure in the 100 kHz to 300 GHz range,” according to...

February 10, 2020

Review of Published Literature between 2008 and 2018 of Relevance to Radiofrequency Radiation and Cancer, U.S. FDA, released February 10, 2020.

“[T]here is insufficient evidence to support a causal association between RFR exposure and tumorigenesis. There is a lack of clear dose-response relationship, a lack of consistent findings or specificity and a lack of biological mechanistic plausibility.”

November 4, 2019

UPDATE: With no public notice or any formal announcement, the World Health Organization (WHO) held the first meeting of its RF Working Group in Geneva March 14-16, 2023.

The group is preparing a review of health effects, as part of a process that has been ongoing for close to a decade.

Our latest chapter, “RF Review Shrouded in Secrecy,” is posted here.

___________

After eight years of work, the WHO is reopening its review of the health effects of RF radiation for a summary report intended to serve as a benchmark for its more than 150 member countries. The report will be used as a guide to respond to widespread concerns over the new world of 5G.

The WHO issued a public call in October for detailed literature reviews on ten types of RF–health impacts from cancer to fertility to electrohypersensitivity. Some see the move as a sign that the health agency is interested in opinions beyond those of its long-time partner, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). They hope that the WHO is finally ready to recognize evidence of low-level effects, in particular the link between cell phones and cancer. Others are far from convinced.

The skeptics see the new reviews as little more than a ruse.

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