Doctors Urge Research On Cell Phone-Cancer Issue
Scientists debate possible cell phone link to brain cancer
September 26, 2008
Studies have indicated that long-term cell phone use may be associated with brain cancer, according to Dr. Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and Dr. David Carpenter, director of Institute for Health and the Environment at University of Albany. They both testified in front
of the House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy.
"I cannot tell this committee that cell phones are definitely dangerous. But, I certainly cannot tell you that they are safe," Herberman said.
Herberman and Carpenter cited the results from a study recently presented by Dr. Lennart Hardell of Örebro University in Sweden.
The results indicated that people who use cell phones have double the chance of developing malignant brain tumors and acoustic neuromas, which are tumors on the hearing nerve. The study also said people under age 20 were more than five times as likely to develop brain cancer.
But Dr. Robert Hoover, director or Epidemiology and Biostatistics Program at the National Cancer Institute, said the study has not yet appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, so has not come under sufficient scrutiny. The evidence for the connection between cell phones and cancer is inconclusive and more research is needed, he said.
"Larger studies are needed to sort out chance and bias," Hoover testified.
Some findings show an increased risk of tumors diagnosed on the side of the head that the cell phone is pressed against, but this pattern has not been seen consistently, Hoover said.
CTIA, the International Association for Wireless Telecommunications, declined the invitation to testify, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a former Democratic presidential candidate from Ohio, who led the hearing, said.
Steve Largent, CEO of CTIA, issued a statement Wednesday saying the industry has supported scientific research on these issues and supports the Federal Communications Commision's safety guidelines.
"The available scientific evidence and expert reviews from leading global health organizations such as the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, United States Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization reflect a consensus based on published scientific research showing that there is no reason for concern," Largent's statement said.
The overall evidence for the cancer-phone link has not been statistically significant at a 95 percent confidence level, a standard in science, Carpenter said. But he also noted that U.S.-funded research is very scarce.
"Are we at the same place we were with smoking and lung cancer 30 years ago?" he asked.
Carpenter and Herberman testified that the risk of brain cancer for children is far greater than for adults. Herberman demonstrated a model showing that the radiation from cell phones would penetrate far deeper into a 5-year-old's brain than an adult's. See models from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh »
The Federal Communications Commission limits cell phone radio frequency energy emissions, called the specific absorption rate (SAR), at 1.6 watts per kilogram, as measured over one gram of tissue.
The standard was developed in 1997 in consultation with Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a professional association open to everyone, including
manufacturers and health specialists.
But the SAR standard reflects a biological response to cell phone radio frequency energy heating tissue, Kucinich said.
Many experiments show that radio frequency energy does cause "biological effects" without heating tissue, although not all of those effects are harmful, Carpenter said. Hoover agreed that there could be such effects related to cancer risk, but they have not been properly vetted in a laboratory.
The FCC itself does not have the expertise to evaluate whether this standard is appropriate protection for possible heath risks, Julius Knapp, director of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology, testified.
The hearing took place just a week after the Cleveland Clinic reported a study showing that keeping a cell phone on talk mode in a pocket can decrease sperm quality.
Herberman had issued a warning to physicians, scientists, and staff at the University of Pittsburgh in July advising them to limit cell phone use because of the possible risk of cancer. The Israeli Health Ministry endorsed this recommendation within a week, he said.
Ellen Marks of Lafayette, California, whose husband found out he had a brain tumor on his right frontal lobe in May, attended the hearing.
The tumor is on the same side of his head where he held his cell phone, which he used about 30 hours per month. She believes the tumor is the result of cell phone use.
"I often threatened to throw it in the garbage, and how I wish I had," she said. "This horror could have been avoided with a simple warning."
On 8th & 9th September http://www.radiationresearch.org/conference/ continues to attract an incredible amount of news around the globe. Attention has focused on Lennart Hardell, Professor of Department of Oncology,
Professor Lennart Hardell concluded his presentation saying: "there is a consistent pattern of increased risk for acoustic neuroma & glioma after 10 years ipsilateral mobile phone use. Current standard for exposure to microwaves during mobile phone use is not safe for long term tumour risks and needs to be revised."
David O. Carpenter, M.D, Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany & Co-Author of the Bioinititive Report has given evidence at the
Professor Yury GRIGORIEV, Chairman of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection,
Lloyd Morgan, Director of the Central Brain Tumour Registry of the United States (USA) also gave a presentation at the Radiation Research Trust conference. Based on a 30 year latency time for brain tumours, he projects there could be up to 1.6 million mobile phone brain tumours in the
Also please read enclosed important statement from ICNIRP Chairman, Paolo Vecchia , see below:
"Info taken from PowerPoint presentation - Professor Paolo Vecchia:
Open letter to all members of the European Parliament's Committee for the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) <http://www.europarl.europa.eu/comparl/envi/default_en.htm>
18th September 2008
Food supplements and mobile phones: are their respective risks to public health being managed proportionately?
Most technologies with which humans interact are now heavily influenced by risk assessment. Following the assessment, risks are generally managed via regulation and communication strategies. The alleged justification of all of this is to achieve a high level of consumer protection. The recent changes in health and safety requirements in many people's working environment and the ever-growing attention to safety measures in motor vehicle design are just two areas that readily spring to mind.
In some areas, the amount of regulation appears to be disproportionate to the known risk, while in others, the lack of concern for risk or the tolerance of risk because of an assumed benefit derived from exposure to the source of risk, appears to expose the public to substantial risk.
The raft of regulation emanating from Brussels and targeting natural health products is an example of the former, while the reliance by the orthodox medical profession on pharmaceuticals is an example of the latter. Pharmaceutical-based healthcare continues despite evidence that mortality associated with the use of "properly prescribed" medicines is the fourth biggest killer after heart disease, stroke and cancer (JAMA. 1998; 279(15): 1200-5). The situation is comparable elsewhere, especially in the industrialised world. Another less well know example relates to the public health risks of low intensity electromagnetic fields (EMF) from cellular (mobile) phones and wireless devices.
This begs the question: is this tolerance or intolerance of risk really the result of a careful weighing up of risks and benefits to public health? Or has it perhaps got more to do with the sheer gravity of corporate influence on policy makers and regulators?
We urge you, as a Member of the European Parliament, to consider carefully two issues about which we have just submitted petitions to the European Parliament Petitions Committee. These affect risk assessment and management methodologies for vitamin and mineral food supplements and sources of EMF respectively.
The first of these sectors is being pressurised to such an extent, that if regulatory initiatives, particularly in Europe, are not altered, the maximum amounts of vitamins and minerals allowed in food supplements will be lower than those found in a single junk food meal. To give you just one example, European citizens are critically short of selenium since we stopped importing North American wheat grown in selenium-rich soils. This essential mineral supports numerous vital enzyme functions in the body and helps reduce cancer risk, yet the most influential risk assessment body in Germany wants consumers to be limited on a daily basis to the amount of selenium found in just one-third of a brazil nut!
Food supplements are taken by around half the population of most western countries, and increasing amounts of research—as well as experience from the practice of clinical nutrition—shows that increased vitamin and mineral intakes can substantially improve wellbeing, at very little cost to government.
On the other hand, the radiation emitted by cellular phones, cordless DECT phones and WIFI systems far exceeds those levels considered safe by the majority of scientists researching the risks of very low intensity electromagnetic radiation from such devices. Children and foetuses are most susceptible, yet the public are told nothing about these risks. Just how well are these risks being managed or communicated?
Most people are exposed to multiple sources of radiation from these devices on a daily basis and their overall exposure has increased dramatically over just the last five years as more and more wireless technologies are rolled out.
We, at the ANH, argue that regulators or standard setting bodies have seriously misappropriated the risks—especially the relative risks—of these contrasting technologies. The risks of food supplements appear to have been dramatically overstated. Any analysis of food safety data indicates that risks associated with vitamin and mineral supplements are the lowest of any product consumed orally, being substantially less than that of conventional foods. Yet, food supplements, especially within the European Union, are facing regulatory pressure that could see the vast majority of beneficial dosages of nutrients banned.
Poly-herbal products originating from non-European traditional medicinal cultures, such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, are also set to have a particularly rough ride in the years ahead, many potentially falling between the two stools of European law designed for traditional herbal medicines and food supplements respectively.
We also argue, and are supported in this by a group of leading researchers in the field, that the risks from very low intensity electromagnetic fields (EMF) emitted by a wide range of wireless telecommunications technologies have been dramatically understated by regulatory and standard setting bodies.
Alive to our concerns, Irish MEP Kathy Sinnott, has agreed to host two petitions by the ANH which focus on each of these issues.
The European Parliament, the only vestige of a democratic system within the law-making environment of the European Union, has a significant responsibility to its electorate to ensure that risks are assessed objectively and accurately, while being managed proportionately.
The ANH petitions, submitted yesterday to the European Parliament Petitions Committee, are calling for urgent and independent re-evaluation of risk assessment and management approaches affecting both the food supplement and telecommunications sectors, given recent evidence and published science that suggests the models used in both sectors are seriously flawed and not fit for purpose.
The ANH petitions can be downloaded from the following links:
· Food supplement petition <http://www.anhcampaign.org/files/080916-ANH-petition_RISK-VMS-MPLs.pdf> ;
· Telecommunications petition <http://www.anhcampaign.org/files/080911-ANH-petition_EMR-final.pdf> .
Please forward these petitions to those you know who may be concerned. We would also very much like to hear from organisations wishing to lend their support to either or both of our petitions. Please email us at email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Thank you for your consideration of these important public health issues.
Yours, in health, naturally
Robert Verkerk BSc MSc DIC PhD
Executive and Scientific Director
Alliance for Natural Health
Supporting the sustainability of natural health in Europe and beyond
Updated: 18 Sep 2008
Informant: Dorothee Krien