Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cell phone health concerns continue to spread / Magnetic-particle imaging / Wireless phones and tumor diseases

Cell phone health concerns continue to spread

March 10, 2009 by Mi Kai Lee

Humans are not the only ones affected by cell towers. This tree in front of Kaslo's downtown tower is not taking it very well.

A court in France has ordered the dismantling of a cell phone mast based on the 'precautionary principle' because there is insufficient proof that cell phones are harmless. The suit was initiated by residents in the vicinity of the tower against cell phone company Bouygues Telecom. Following the judgements of the Nanterre TGI (District Court) and the Versailles Appeal Court  Bouygues Telecom began dismantling its phone mast  in the early morning of March 6, 2009.

The Columbia Valley can consider itself blessed that fibre is coming to town. High-speed fibre-optic Internet connections can also be used for voice over IP phone services, such as Skype, and for video conferencing like Webex. The existence of fibre in the valley will in many cases eliminate the need for wireless Internet and the accompanying radio-frequency pollution.

Residents of the Slocan Valley in West Kootenay are not so fortunate. But local activists fought and won a struggle to keep Telus from installing cell phone towers in the Slocan. They now keep a constant watch on the CBC tower on Red Mountain for any future installation activity by Telus. The Valhalla Wilderness Society was a major contributor to the Slocan's success. Many took up the cause after local politician Colleen McCrory died of brain cancer, which the community attributed to her cell phone use.

On September 24, 2007 the chairperson of the Valhalla Committee for Environmental Health, Richard Caniell, wrote this to Telus:

"At 12:00 noon this date on the CBC radio you were heard once again in your tape-loop assertion that you couldn't understand why there was any opposition in New Denver to the Telus cell phone transmitter installation as cell phone towers were safe and many studies had shown this. Be advised, this is false, and a knowing deception as you have been repeatedly shown the existence of adverse scientific reports which you find it advantageous to pooh-pooh.

"Take notice that this letter and the one copied below, the former previously sent to Steve Jenkins, Brock Enderton, Health Canada and others, sets forth the substantive factors connected to health hazards and potential fatalities about which you can no longer deny
knowledge. Any further claims you make as aforesaid, which have been repeated by you through the last weeks after your superiors were put on notice as to the adverse reports, will make you a central figure in ongoing misrepresentation.

"It does not behoove anyone in your position to continue being blind and deaf to factors which may seriously impact the public health and especially that of children. Telus does not escape potential liability, or the public impact of refusing to implement precautionary principles, because it relies on Health Canada. Telus is indisputably apprised of the adverse science (as reflected in the letter copied below, sent to Steve Jenkins and others). Your continuance with your deceptive, self-serving statements to promulgate your product in the face of this represents a wanton disregard of the health hazards which may impact persons here; a fact which may greatly contribute to your company's liability and that of your own."

In 2007 Germany declared that cell phone usage is hazardous to humans.

The BioInitiative Report published in September 2007 by the University of Albany, New York brings together extensive findings by medical doctors and research scientists from the US, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, China and the UK.

Valhalla highlighted this from the report:

The report states, in connection with wireless devices (cell phones), "there is enough evidence of increased risk of brain tumors to warrant intervention with respect to their use . . . good public health policy requires preventative action." An important section in the Report sets forth substantive evidence that transmitter radiation is particularly harmful to children and teenagers. The result especially noted by research in other countries is childhood leukemia.

Research published by Professors Mild and Hardell of Orebro University, Sweden, in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, identified 1,429 people living in central Sweden identified with brain tumours in a 2 and 1/2 year period. Those who live in a rural area and used cell phones had a 56% greater likelihood to have been diagnosed with a brain tumour over city users. For those using cell phones for 5 years the rural user's risk was four times greater. [from Valhalla]

Professor Mild, who is a biologist at Orebro University, states "Mobile phones can use up to 1,000 times more power when they are far away from a base station." Those using cell phones in rural areas at a distance from the transmitter "absorb far more energy from the handset."

Valhalla criticizes Health Canada, who have taken the stand that cell phone radiation is harmless, despite strong evidence of health risks.

The Precautionary Principle is increasingly recognized by law courts and governments world-wide. This safeguard is a moral and political principle which states that "if an action or policy might cause severe or irreversible harm to the public, in the absence of a scientific consensus that harm would not ensue, the burden of proof falls on those who would advocate taking the action". This principle was adopted by the European Union and other nations.

The EU version states that "preventative action should be taken and damage should, as a priority, be rectified at the source and that the polluter should pay." Telus does not escape responsibility for its actions simply because they rely on Health Canada, as effective notice of extensive adverse science showing health hazard has been given to them directly, and they are the active parties.

More information:

Collected by Eloise Charet

BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF)
The Government and the phone masts: "An unforeseen crisis" (photos)
Protect your health from Electromagnetic Radiation (petition)
You Don't Deserve Brain Cancer - You Deserve Facts!
Children and Wireless Technology - Electro - Magnetic Radiation the Invisible Hazard
Information on the Effects of Electromagnetic Fields
The EMR Policy Institute - Wireless Communications and Health
Electrosmog – What Price Convenience?
Analysis of Health and Environmental Effects of Proposed San Francisco Earthlink Wi-Fi Network
Summary of a Public Hearing held in Jersey, Channel Islands
Jersey Telephone Mast Review (Jersey, 2007)
Cancer clusters at phone masts
Telus cell phone coverage map - BC
Telus cell phone coverage map - Alberta

Tags: Cancer, Cell phones, Mobility, Radio frequency pollution, Wireless


Medical imaging

Tracing the bloodstream

Mar 11th 2009

Magnetic-particle imaging shows how blood flows

OVER the past three decades it has become possible to peer inside the human body and discern ever finer details of its functions. The technology for this relies on magnetism, namely, magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI). Now a new type of scanner is being developed to work alongside MRI that will also use magnetism to allow doctors to watch how blood flows through organs. This will yield even more informed pictures and help improve medical diagnosis and treatment.

MRI works in an ingenious way, winning Nobel prizes for its architects. It relies on the fact that the human body is mostly water, and that different organs contain different arrangements of the wet stuff. Placing a person in a strong magnetic field causes the hydrogen nuclei of water to align with the magnetic field. The person is then zapped with a carefully chosen pulse of electromagnetic radiation—specifically, radio waves. This causes the hydrogen nuclei to flip over. As they subsequently realign themselves with the magnetic field, they emit radio signals that have the same the frequency as the radiation they had just absorbed. These signals are detected and interpreted by the scanner, which uses them to build up a picture of the person's insides.

The new technology, called magnetic-particle imaging, is being developed by J├╝rgen Weizenecker of Philips Research in Hamburg, Germany, and his colleagues. It measures the magnetic properties of tiny particles of iron oxide that are injected into the bloodstream. Iron oxide, or rust, to give its common name, is already used in medical imaging to enhance the contrast between damaged and undamaged parts of the liver, for example, in an MRI scan. The new technique creates a three-dimensional image of the flow of the magnetic particles injected into the bloodstream. This can then be overlaid on an anatomical map of the body provided by an MRI scan.

As the iron-oxide particles move through the body, their magnetisations are aligned to the static magnetic field of the scanner. This field is shaped such that it is strong in most places, but its strength falls to zero at a particular point. At this point, the iron-oxide particles lose their magnetism. The researchers then introduce a second, oscillating field generated by small coils. This second magnetic field is strong enough to magnetise the particles nearby, flipping their magnetisations to-and-fro and getting them to emit characteristic radio signals as they do so. Those iron-oxide particles at the point where the static magnetic field is zero can be distinguished from the particles elsewhere because their magnetic flipping is unaffected by the static magnetic field. The strength of the signal reveals the concentration of iron-oxide particles at that point. Adding two more sets of coils placed at right angles to the first enables the researchers to create a three-dimensional picture.

Dr Weizenecker and his colleagues recently used a mouse to show that the technique works. They placed the creature in a tiny scanner and traced the flow of magnetic particles through the four chambers of its beating heart. The chambers showed up as bright signals in the image, with a new image captured 50 times a second. By calculating the concentrations and flow of the particles, the researchers reckon that it would be possible to carry out a range of cardiovascular measurements. They reported the results in a recent issue of Physics in Medicine and Biology.

Scaling up the technology from the murine to the human scale calls for a considerable feat of engineering. But Philips, which makes MRI scanners, is confident it can be done. Besides working with MRI, such a machine could also complement the results from other scanners, including computerised-tomography (CT) machines, which use X-rays. Both MRI and CT can produce three-dimensional pictures out of lots of two-dimensional slices through the body. When it becomes possible to view the blood flowing within them, these images will also spring to life


Pathophysiology. 2009 Mar 4. [Epub ahead of print]  

Epidemiological evidence for an association between use of wireless phones and tumor diseases.
Hardell L, Carlberg M, Hansson Mild K.
Department of Oncology, University Hospital, SE-701 85 Orebro, Sweden.

During recent years there has been increasing public concern on potential cancer risks from microwave emissions from wireless phones.

We evaluated the scientific evidence for long-term mobile phone use and the association with certain tumors in case-control studies, mostly from the Hardell group in Sweden and the Interphone study group.

Regarding brain tumors the meta-analysis yielded for glioma odds ratio (OR)=1.0, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.9-1.1. OR increased to 1.3, 95% CI=1.1-1.6 with 10 year latency period, with highest risk for ipsilateral exposure (same side as the tumor localisation), OR=1.9, 95% CI=1.4-2.4, lower for contralateral exposure (opposite side) OR=1.2, 95% CI=0.9-1.7.

Regarding acoustic neuroma OR=1.0, 95% CI=0.8-1.1 was calculated increasing to OR=1.3, 95% CI=0.97-1.9 with 10 year latency period.

For ipsilateral exposure OR=1.6, 95% CI=1.1-2.4, and for contralateral exposure OR=1.2, 95% CI=0.8-1.9 were found.

Regarding meningioma no consistent pattern of an increased risk was found.

Concerning age, highest risk was found in the age group <20 years at time of first use of wireless phones in the studies from the Hardell group.

For salivary gland tumors, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and testicular cancer no consistent pattern of an association with use of wireless phones was found. One study on uveal melanoma yielded for probable/certain mobile phone use OR=4.2, 95% CI=1.2-14.5.

One study on intratemporal facial nerve tumor was not possible to evaluate due to methodological shortcomings.

In summary our review yielded a consistent pattern of an increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma after >10 year mobile phone use.

We conclude that current standard for exposure to microwaves during mobile phone use is not safe for long-term exposure and needs to be revised.