A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

News & Comment

Featuring Dan Krewski, the Royal Society and Health Canada

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Last updated September 25, 2016

In 2011, Health Canada found itself in a tough spot. The public was becoming more and more uneasy over exposure to RF radiation from the proliferating number of cell phones, cell towers and Wi-Fi routers. After holding hearings in the spring and fall of 2010, Parliament asked the health agency to investigate whether its exposure limits —the Canadian national RF standard known as Safety Code 6 (SC6)— were too lenient and needed strengthening. Soon afterwards, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) added urgency to the assignment by classifying RF radiation as a possible human cancer agent, or, in the vernacular, a 2B carcinogen.

Health Canada’s dilemma was that it had no interest in tightening SC6. Yet IARC’s 2B designation could not be easily ignored, especially after France and Belgium, among other European countries, had responded by adopting precautionary policies. Last year, for instance, Belgium banned the sale of cell phones to children. How would Health Canada find a way to stick with the status quo?

The answer was to commission a review of SC6 by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC)

Industry Treads Water; Conflicts Abound

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Last updated February 27, 2014

Five years ago we reported on what we thought was an important clue in the search for understanding the well-documented association between childhood leukemia and EMF exposure. A team based in Shanghai presented evidence that children carrying a genetic variation linked to DNA repair were four times more likely to develop leukemia than those without that genetic marker. We called the finding a “major breakthrough” and predicted, “It simply cannot be ignored.”

We were wrong. So wrong.

What happened next —or rather, what did not happen— sheds light on why EMF research treads water and never moves forward.

Video Illustrates the Wonders of Nature and Teaches Us a Lesson About Our EM World

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

When asked what he had learned about God from his studies of evolutionary biology, J.B.S. Haldane replied that the Creator has “an inordinate fondness of beetles” — after all, there are 400,000 different species of beetles and only 8,000 species of mammals. Take a look at this video and you might wonder whether red foxes are another of God’s favorite creatures. (Be sure to watch the clip in full screen mode.)

The red fox hunts by jumping up in the air and diving for its prey. As the narrator tells us, the fox can locate a mouse even when hidden under a deep pile of snow. It’s tempting to attribute a fox’s success to a keen sense of hearing or smell, but it turns out to be more complicated than that. A German-Czech team of researchers has found that red foxes have an added advantage: They can use the Earth’s magnetic field to home in on their target.

Danish Cancer Society Plays Games with Brain Cancer Rates

Friday, December 13, 2013
Last updated February 23, 2016

Just over a year ago, the Danish Cancer Society (DCS) issued a news advisory with some alarming news: The number of men diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most malignant type of brain cancer, had doubled over the last ten years. Hans Skovgaard Poulsen, the head of neuro-oncology at Copenhagen University Hospital was quoted in the release as saying that this was a “frightening development.”

At the time, Christoffer Johansen, a senior researcher at the DCS told us: “I think the data is true and valid.” And Joachim Schüz, a long time collaborator of Johansen’s at the DCS who is now at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon told Microwave News that the news was “indeed a concern.” He said that he could not explain it. (See our report here.)

After that, there was silence.

The Melatonin Hypothesis Revisited

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Last updated October 7, 2013

"Now it is enough!" claims Maria Feychting of Sweden's Karolinska Institute. Feychting wants to stop wasting money on any more epidemiological studies of breast cancer risks from power-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF EMFs).

"We can be confident that exposure to ELF magnetic fields does not cause breast cancer," she writes in an invited commentary published last week in the influential American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE). Feychting's call to stop research was prompted by a new study of breast cancer among Chinese textile workers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, which found no association with ELF magnetic field exposures. Feychting's confidence is based in large part on the exposure assessment used in the textile study, which, she believes, was "better than in previous studies."

If Feychting's call to halt research is heeded, she will have shattered a key driver for EMF–cancer research that has held sway for the last 25 years: the melatonin hypothesis.

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Short Takes

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.

May 3, 2021
Last updated May 5, 2021

Italy’s 6 V/m RF exposure standard, one of the strictest in the world, may soon fall victim to 5G.

The Italian limit, adopted more than 20 years ago, is widely perceived as standing in the way of the build-out of 5G infrastructure, which will require the installation of many more RF antennas. The proposed solution is to bring it in line with ICNIRP and follow its 61 V/m guideline.

February 8, 2021

Alexander Lerchl’s bogus campaign against the REFLEX project and members of Hugo Rüdiger’s lab did nothing to harm his career. Just the opposite, Lerchl thrived as he gained stature and a succession of rich research grants from the German government.

Over the last 20 years, Germany’s Federal Office of Radiation Protection —the Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz, or BfS for short— has given Lerchl $5 million in contracts. Lerchl has been the best-funded RF lab researcher in Germany, Europe, and, most likely, the world.

January 6, 2021
Last updated January 7, 2021

Robert K. Adair, the former chairman of the physics department at Yale University and a leading critic of any and all claims that weak EMFs can have biological effects, died on September 28. He was 96.

A particle physicist, Adair held one of Yale’s prestigious Sterling professorships. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

November 11, 2020

An advisory panel to the Health Council of the Netherlands is recommending a “cautious approach” to 5G radiation exposures.

The committee is also advising that the 26 GHz frequency band (millimeter waves) not be used “for as long as the potential health risks have not been investigated.”

October 10, 2020

“A safe level of microwave exposure was arbitrarily established —no dissent from the arbitrary safe standard was tolerated— in a largely thermal (i.e., high-exposure level) microwave research program … [It] and the averaging provisions … may represent a directed verdict rather than a culmination of objective and unbiased scientific judgment.”  

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