A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

WHO: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )

November 17, 2006

Mike Repacholi is circulating a response to our November 23 News & Comment on his consulting work for two U.S. electric utilities. After you've read his letter, please take a look at our response to Repacholi

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.)

October 29, 2006

Richard Saunders of the U.K. Health Protection Agency has been elected to ICNIRP. Saunders leads the non-ionizing radiation group at the HPA (formerly the NRPB). His predecessor at the NRPB/HPA, Alasdair McKinlay, served on the commission from 1992 to 2004 and was the chairman for four years beginning in 2000. In 2004, Saunders spent a year working with Mike Repacholi, the chairman emeritus of ICNIRP, at the WHO EMF project in Geneva.    

September 8, 2006

The WHO EMF Project may close down early next year unless more money is received soon.

According to its 2005-2006 progress report, the project had a deficit of $430,000 in its last fiscal year. Between July 2005 and June 2006, it spent $1,155,000 but raised only $750,000. (As in the past, the report does not give any details on where its money came from, though cell phone manufacturers have regularly chipped in $150,000 each year.) The annual report states that all its reserve funds have been depleted and that "if sufficient funds are not received by the end of 2006, the activities of the EMF Project will cease early in 2007."

Emilie van Deventer took over as the head of the project earlier this summer after Mike Repacholi stepped down.

July 31, 2006

Radiation Research is a scientific journal whose primary focus is on ionizing radiation, with only a minority of papers devoted to the non-ionizing side of the electromagnetic spectrum. Its June issue, however, features five papers, all of which claim to show that EMFs of one type or another have no biological effects.

July 10, 2006

It's official. Mike Repacholi has left the WHO. The EMF project is now in the hands of Emilie van Deventer. You can reach Mike at mrepacholi@yahoo.com

July 7, 2006

Being a member of ICNIRP or the WHO EMF project means having a ticket to ride. A couple of days ago, the traveling road show was in Malta. Mike Repacholi, Bernard Veyret and Paolo Vecchia showed up at a forum organized by the local communications authority, titled "The Reality Behind EMFs."

July 3, 2006

The RF problem is a result of our misperceptions, according to the WHO's EMF project. The WHO would have us believe that everything would be better if we would just focus on all the good things that wireless technology is bringing into our lives instead of on those trifling health risks. As Mike Repacholi told Gregor Dürrenberger of the Swiss Research Foundation on Mobile Communications: "As technology progresses, people's understanding of it is weak, causing a fear of the unknown, and, in their minds, that EMF health effects may occur from long-term low-level exposure."

May 25, 2006

RMIT University has announced that environmental surveys have identified "no anomalies" on the top two floors of the Melbourne building where a cluster of brain tumor cases had been identified (see our May 13 and May 19 posts).

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 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.

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 3, 2005

Remember this: The next time Mike Repacholi tells you something, it probably means nothing at all.

A couple of years ago, he advocated precautionary policies for EMFs from power lines and RF radiation from mobile phones, but soon afterwards he backed off, saying it was all a misunderstanding (see MWN, M/A03, p.1 and M/J03, p.1).

Now he’s done it again.

August 3, 2005

When asked by a Canadian who is electrosensitive for a response to our July 5 commentary, “Time To Stop the WHO Charade,” here’s part of what Repacholi replied:

“As you know WHO has built the highest possible reputation in public health matters among the public and governments world wide and the EMF Project will not be deviating from the sound science course that sustains this high esteem, no matter what the pressures from self interest groups or individuals. Louis appeals to people who do not believe in the scientific method for resolving issues. He, like others who are unable to argue a scientific case always claim WHO decisions are industry biased—a completely untrue position.” [our emphasis]

July 12, 2005

In a major change of policy, Mike Repacholi is now advising children to reduce their radiation exposure from mobile phones. Repacholi, who leads the World Health Organization’s EMF project, has told CTV (Canadian television) that the “WHO recommends that children should use hands-free headsets.”

July 5, 2005

Now we know what Mike Repacholi has been doing since the infamous Mike-and-Leeka flip-flop of 2003. Back then Repacholi and his assistant Leeka Kheifets decided that there was no need to apply the precautionary principle to EMFs—soon after telling everyone that the time for action had finally arrived.

It appears that for the last two-and-a-half years, when not shuttling from one meeting to another, Mike has been cataloguing ways the WHO can avoid taking precautionary steps to reduce EMF exposures.

Mike’s apologia will be presented next week at a three-day workshop in Ottawa, July 11-13. He calls it a policy framework. We call it a sham. Mike has assembled a list of reasons for doing nothing. Electric utilities and telecom companies could have written the WHO plan. They may well have played a leading role.

January 5, 2005

Going through our collection of clips on the new Stewart report this afternoon, we came across the following quote by Paolo Vecchia, the chair of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), in a press release issued by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) on January 11:

“Because EMF exposure guidelines are based on worst-case hypotheses and include reduction factors providing safety margins for possible lack of data, the Commission does not need to create separate guidelines to protect special groups such as children.”

December 7, 2004

Precautionary policies to protect children from power line electromagnetic fields (EMFs) should have been adopted years ago. It’s a no-brainer, yet health officials continue to sit on their hands.

There has long been widespread agreement that EMFs are linked to childhood leukemia. They are also likely to play a role in both brain and breast cancer as well as in miscarriages and in neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

But health agencies have been unwilling to move against these largely preventable risks. It’s astonishing that those charged with promoting public health —not just electric utility executives— are the roadblocks to change.

November 2, 2004

The World Health Organizationís EMF Project is advising national governments against setting stricter exposure limits for exposures to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) to protect children from leukemia.

Pages

Subscribe to WHO: Microwave News Article Archive (2004 - )