Cell Phones, Wifi, Electric & Magnetic Fields
France Law Bans Wi-Fi in Daycares:
European Leaders call for Wi-Fi Ban in Schools:
Cell Phones & Sleep - Townsend Letter:
Cell Phone Usage Affects Sleep, Researcher finds - Oct. '07:
Dr. Frederick Gilbert, President of Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, decided to avoid using wireless technology on his campus seven years ago. He was and remains concerned about possible health effects from exposure to even the low levels of RF radiation emitted by Wi-Fi equipment.
What’s Happening In Nature?
Audio Interview with B. Blake Levitt
Award-winning science journalist and Author, Electromagnetic Fields,
A Consumer’s Guide To The Issues And How To Protect Ourselves,
the classic book in this field. Member, Bioelectromagnetics Society.
Deceptions with Science
Audio Interview with Magda Havas, PhD
Associate Professor, Environment & Resource Studies, Trent University,
Canada. Expert in radiofrequency radiation, electromagnetic fields, dirty
electricity and ground current.
Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Fields
What the Power and Telecom companies would prefer us not to know
(scroll down in blog)
By Andrew Goldsworthy
UK: Electric Fields Can Make You Sick
“A Government agency has acknowledged for the first time that people can suffer nausea, headaches and muscle pains when exposed to electromagnetic fields from mobile phones, electricity pylons and computer screens. The condition known as electrosensitivity, a heightened reaction to electrical energy, will be recognised as a physical impairment. A report by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), to be published next month, will state that increasing numbers of British people are suffering from the syndrome. While the total figure is not known, thousands are believed to be affected to some extent. The report, by the agency�s radiation protection division, is expected to say that GPs do not know how to treat sufferers and that more research is needed to find cures. It will give a full list of the symptoms, which can include dizziness, irregular heartbeat and loss of memory…”
Read more on Times online..
11 Sep 2005 Times online
Will NIEHS Ever “Get” EMFs?
January 18… Most managers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) 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.The latest case in point involves John Bucher, a senior NIEHS official who runs the National Toxicology Program (NTP). During his 27-year career at NTP/NIEHS, Bucher has evaluated the dangers of any number of chemicals. He is currently taking the lead on BPA, the controversial plastic additive, as well as radiation from cell phones.In a story featured on the front pages of North Carolina’s leading newspapers earlier this month, Bucher declared that he doesn’t believe that cell phones can cause cancer. “I anticipate either no correlation or, if anything is seen at all, it won’t be a strong signal,” he said. Bucher was referring to a massive NTP project designed to see whether long-term exposure to cell phone radiation can cause cancer in rats and mice. It is the largest single cancer study ever undertaken by the NTP/NIEHS with a budget of $25 million, maybe more. NIEHS spent ten years planning the project.What’s not explicitly stated in the news article is that the long-term study has not actually started.
US: What do brain surgeons know about cell phone safety that the rest of us don’t?
“Last week, three prominent neurosurgeons told the CNN interviewer Larry King that they did not hold cell phones next to their ears. ‘I think the safe practice,’ said Dr. Keith Black, a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, ‘is to use an earpiece so you keep the microwave antenna away from your brain’…”
Read more on The New York Times…
03 June 2008 The New York Times
EMFs – Beyond Risk and Reason
February 6… Assessing health risks is a tricky business. Teaching others how to do it is no easier. To see this, you need to look no further than a recent report from the Geneva-based International Risk Governance Council (IRGC), a self-described “independent” group run by a group of government, industry and academic leaders. The title of the report is a mouthful: Risk Governance Deficits: An Analysis and Illustration of the Most Common Deficits in Risk Governance. A better title would have been, Common Pitfalls in Risk Analysis, or perhaps, Risk: A Guide to Better Decision Making.The handbook runs 91 pages with case studies on hot-button issues, including genetically modified food, mad cow disease and EMFs. It offers some sensible recommendations, such as: Don’t provide biased, selective or incomplete information about potential risks, especially from stakeholders who may seek to advance their own interests (pp.22-23). Just about everybody would agree with that advice, but when the report turns to EMFs, forget about it. Once again, the basic rules governing conflicts of interest don’t apply to EMFs.Here’s the summary of the EMF case study reprinted in the IRGC report:
We conclude that risk management of EMFs has certainly not been perfect, but for power-frequency EMFs risk management has evolved and can be largely considered a success. Lessons from the power-frequency experience can benefit risk governance of radiofrequency EMFs and other emerging technologies. (p.68)
A success? Hardly. The only EMF success stories over the last 30 years tell how the electric utility and cell phone industries have prevailed —largely by suppressing research and marginalizing the health issue. We have made very little progress understanding what power-line or cell phone EMFs do to us over the last 25 years, and that owes a lot to the success of their game plan.The case study itself paints an even rosier picture:
The main lesson to be learned from power-frequency experience is that an open and proactive approach to research allowed for a successful management of a potentially volatile issue that could have had tremendous societal costs. While some uncertainty remains, it is widely accepted that the health effect, even if real, is not of major public health significance.
If this reads like industry propaganda, that’s because it is. The case study was written by two long-time operatives of the electric utility industry: Leeka Kheifets and John Swanson (together with Shaiela Kandel, an Israeli associate). Anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of the EMF health issue would be aware that Kheifets has been associated with EPRI for most of her professional career and that Swanson is an employee of the National Grid, one of the world’s largest electric utilities. Clearly, they are “stakeholders” of the utility industry and IRGC should have asked a more neutral party to write the EMF case study, if it had operated under its own rules. (For more on Kheifets and Swanson’s activities, see “The Real Junk Science of EMFs.”)
If those who teach us the rules of conduct can violate them with such ease, what hope can there be for evenhanded risk assessment?
One of the four principal authors of the IRGC report is John Graham, who is himself a controversial figure in the risk business. He was the founder of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, whose corporate sponsors read like a roster of the S&P500. More surprising is that the chair of the IRGC’s Scientific and Technical Council is Granger Morgan of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Morgan was a coauthor of an influential EMF report back in 1989 —the first to introduce the concept of precaution for EMF health risks; they called it “prudent avoidance.” (One lesser known fact: Morgan was Graham’s thesis advisor at CMU.) Graham is no stranger to EMFs either. He provided cover for George Carlo’s research project for the cell phone industry. Carlo paid Graham’s Center for Risk Analysis over $400,000 to help him camouflage the fact that Carlo’s enterprise, known as WTR, was a scam, whose primary objective was to avoid doing health research.
Swiss Re, a large reinsurance company, was a sponsor of the IRGC report. Some 15 years ago, Swiss Re issued its own report on EMFs, Electrosmog A Phantom Risk, which warned that the EMF problem could “threaten [the insurance industry's] very existence” (see MWN, J/A97, p.8). That won’t happen as long it’s so easy to break the most basic rules of risk and reason.
Jan. ‘08 $10 million cancer cell phone link study riddled with flaws
Jan. ‘08 New study finds Chromosome Aberrations within 72 hours of Radio Frequency Exposure
January 22, 2007 International Journal of Cancer
… An international team of researchers has found new evidence that long-term use of a mobile phone may lead to the development of a brain tumor on the side of the head the phone is used. In a study which will appear in an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Cancer, epidemiologists from five European countries report a nearly 40% increase in gliomas, a type of brain tumor, among those who had used a cell phone for ten or more years.
March 11… The CBS Evening News took on the brain tumor-cell phone story tonight with “Maine Considers Warnings for Cell Phones.” The focus was on State Representative Andrea Boland’s bill, the Children’s Wireless Protection Act, which would require cell phones be sold with warning labels. That bill has practically no chance of getting through the legislature. Members of the Health and Human Services Committee unanimously (13-0) opposed it earlier in the week, according to the Associated Press. And even if the legislature were to pass the bill, Gov. John Baldacci would likely veto it.
Last night, CNN’s Campbell Brown ran a segment, “How Safe Is Your Cell Phone?” on her prime time news show. Her guests were Time magazine’s Bryan Walsh who has a cell-phone feature in this week’s issue and John Boockvar, a neurosurgeon at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. Boockvar, who appeared on the CNN set wearing his scrubs and white coat, expressed skepticism that there might be any link between cell phones and brain tumors. The RF radiation emissions, he said, “probably do not cause any significant tissue damage that would cause brain tumors to form.” He went on to note that the incidence of brain cancer in the U.S. has stayed “relatively stable over the last ten years” as the use of cell phones has risen exponentially. Boockvar joins Ted Schwartz as the second Weill Cornell neurosurgeon to take the national stage to downplay public concerns over cell phone risks.
March 4… Time magazine has posted a piece on “Cell-Phone Safety,” which will appear in next week’s print edition (March 15).
Also, in its March issue, Popular Science offers a detailed look at the EMF controversy. “Disconnected” runs a full ten pages, with a promo on the cover: “Killer Cell Phones: The Real Science Behind the Health Scare.” The magazine’s Web site pitches the story as an exploration of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS): “The Man Who Was Allergic to Radio Waves.” The “man” is Per Segerbäck, a former Ellemtel telecom engineer who now lives deep in the Swedish countryside.
To see, once again, how little has been learned about EMFs and health over the last generation, take a look at David Kirkpatrick’s article, “Do Cellular Phones Cause Cancer?, which ran in Fortune magazine 17 years ago this week (it too was promoted on the cover). In a sidebar, “Maybe the Swedes Are Right,” Kirkpatrick cited Segerbäck’s case of EHS —though not his name. Years later, Kirkpatrick reported that his 1993 article “caused quite a ruckus,” adding that, “Motorola was not thrilled.” That was an understatement. Motorola got so ticked off, it pulled all its advertising from Fortune for a long time. The magazine lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
February 16… 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.”
Donnelly offers a similar wide range of views from those who are more directly involved. “I absolutely believe there is a risk, said Andrea Boland, a lawmaker who has introduced the Children’s Wireless Protection Act in the Maine legislature. It would require cell phones be sold with warning labels. “The peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk,” countered John Walls, VP for public affairs at CTIA.
NIEHS’ Michael Wyde, who is running the $25 million cell phone animal studies for the National Toxicology Program (NTP), took the middle ground: “Everyone has to make their own decision on whether to limit exposures or not,” he told the Post.
February 14… Tomorrow’s Los Angeles Times features a package of four stories on the EMF–health controversy:
• “On Different Wavelengths over EMFs“
• “Victims of Electrosensitivity Syndrome Say EMFs Cause Symptoms“
• “Electromagnetic Field Studies Reach Different Conclusions“
• “How Strong Are Different Magnetic Fields?“Chris Woolston, the Times reporter, does not take a stand, leaving the usual cast of scientists to voice their now well-known opinions. On the there’s-nothing-to-worry-about side:
• NCI’s Martha Linet: She says studies so far suggest a weak connection [between EMFs and cancer], so weak that it might not exist at all.
• University of Pennsylvania’s Ken Foster: “You have a whole population of people that are scared to death of electromagnetic fields; People latch on to fears that mainstream science doesn’t take seriously.”
• Robert Park, the former DC rep of the American Physical Society: “I don’t understand how anyone with a knowledge of science could believe this stuff.”
And, on the side favoring precaution:
• New York’s Institute for Health and Environment’s David Carpenter: “It’s apparent now that there’s a real risk; The evidence is growing stronger every day.”
• Cleveland Clinic’s Ashok Agarwal: Agarwal says there’s not enough evidence to tell men with fertility problems to give up their cellphones, although he personally believes that spending 10 hours a day on the phone isn’t exactly a fertility-friendly lifestyle, radiation or no.No sign anywhere of a meeting of the minds.
Healthy Space, Healthy You