A special issue of Pathophysiology on the science and public health/policy issues regarding wireless technologies (cell phones) is now on - line at Elsevier ScienceDirect.
New York: March 16, 2009/
International Scientists Find Harmful Effects from Wireless Technologies and Urge New Safety Rules for Cell Phones
Public health concerns and scientific evidence for risks from cell phones and other wireless devices is published today in the journal Pathophysiology. Research professor and Editor Martin Blank, PhD (Associate Professor, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons) says, "This special issue of Pathophysiology is about the human body's sensitivity to EMF signals in the environment, e.g., EMF effects on DNA, effects on the brain from cell phone radiation, and how EMFs in the environment may lead to Alzheimers disease, dementia and breast cancer. The scientific evidence tells us that our safety standards are inadequate, and that we must protect ourselves from exposure to EMF due to power lines, cell phones and the like."
International researchers have urged quick precautionary action to address a possible epidemic of brain tumors and many other health risks www.bioinitiative.org/report/docs/section_17.pdf ). Over four billion people around the world now use cell phones. They are rapidly eliminating the use of traditional land-line phones throughout the world. Health researchers from six countries give findings in fifteen (15) chapters covering health risks to humans and wildlife from electromagnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation. A summary of findings and quotes from authors is available at
Wildlife biologist Alfonso Balmori, PhD of Valladolid, Spain reports that, "Electromagnetic radiation is a form of environmental pollution which may hurt wildlife. Phone masts located in their living areas are irradiating continuously some species that could suffer long-term effects, like reduction of their natural defenses, deterioration of their health, problems in reproduction and reduction of their useful territory through habitat deterioration.
Therefore microwave and radiofrequency pollution constitutes a potential cause for the decline of animal populations and deterioration of health of plants living near phone masts."
Contact: Prof. Martin Blank, PhD Tel: (212) 305-3644 Email: email@example.com
Brain cancer linked to youngsters using cellphones
By Sarah Schmidt, Canwest News ServiceMarch 16, 2009 6:02 PM
An oncologist from Sweden's University Hospital found that after one or more years of cellphone use, there is a 5.2-fold elevated risk of malignant brain tumour in children who begin using mobile phones before the age of 20 years; the odds for other ages was 1.4.
Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, Canwest News Service
OTTAWA — An international group of scientists is calling on Canada and other countries to bring in tougher safety standards for cellphone use after a Swedish team found a fivefold elevated risk of malignant brain tumours in children who begin using mobile phones before the age of 20.
The plea — and the science underlying it — is published in the forthcoming edition of Pathophysiology, devoted to peer-reviewed research about the biological effects of the global explosion of wireless technologies and devices like cellphones, cordless phones, wireless Internet and cell towers.
The findings of 15 studies from health researchers in six different countries, looking at the effects of electromagnetic fields and radio frequency radiation on living cells and on the health of humans, should jolt government agencies into action as a precautionary measure, Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health & the Environment at the University at Albany, and one of the co-authors, said in an interview.
"What stands out is the consistency of the association of exposure and disease. The evidence, as I see it, is sufficiently strong that there needs to be public warnings, there needs to be establishments of exposure guidelines and that the present guidelines — in Canada, the United States or anyone else — are not protective of human health.
"I see us facing a major problem in the future because of the fact that young children are on cellphones constantly, and we may be setting ourselves up for an epidemic of brain cancer, the same thing we did with cigarette smoking and lung cancer."
According to Columbia University physiology professor Martin Blank, who edited the special issue, the laboratory studies "point to significant interactions" of both power frequency and radio frequency with cellular components, especially DNA.
The epidemiological studies "point to increased risk" of developing certain cancers associated with long-term exposure to radio frequency, he said.
Dr. Lennart Hardell is among the scientists who contributed to the special edition of the journal. The oncologist from Sweden's University Hospital found that after one or more years of cellphone use, there is a 5.2-fold elevated risk of malignant brain tumour in children who begin using mobile phones before the age of 20 years; the odds for other ages was 1.4.
"There should be special precaution for children and young persons about the use of mobile phones," Hardell said in an interview.
In Canada, 71 per cent of youth between the ages of 12 and 19 have a cellphone, according to new data compiled by Toronto-based Solutions Research Group. The penetration nears 80 per cent for this age bracket in Toronto and Vancouver, where cells are seen as an essential social tool as well as a matter of safety for parents, according to the research firm specializing in the youth market.
Solutions Research Group estimates that among nine- to 12-year-olds, one in four own cellphones. Also, their research shows 70 per cent of mothers with tweens share the cellphone with their kids occasionally for calls, texts or games.
Overall, there are 21.5 million Canadian wireless phone subscribers, representing a national wireless penetration rate of 67 per cent. And half of all phone connections in Canada are now wireless, according to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association.
A spokesman from that agency, Marc Choma, said these subscribers, including parents of younger users, need to look at all the evidence about the safety of cellphones rather than cherry-picking a few.
"You have to look at the overwhelming amount of research that is out there. It's been done for decades now, and you have vast amounts of scientists around the world that have been studying this issue, and you can't just look at one study or you can't just look at two studies. You have to look at in the totality of all the work that's out there."
Government agencies responsible for compiling and analyzing this body of work — including Health Canada and the World Health Organization — "continue to say that the evidence that is out there that has been reviewed for years and years and years, that there is no demonstrated risk for human health," said Choma.
But Toronto Public Health last year recommended parents take precautions to minimize any potential risks to their children from cellphone use, acknowledging the "uncertainty in the science on health risks from cellphone use, particularly where it concerns children."
After the agency released its position last July on cellphone use and kids, Health Canada issued a statement, reaffirming that the department "currently sees no scientific reason to consider the use of cellphones as unsafe. There is no convincing evidence of increased risk of disease from exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields from cellphones."
Health Canada was not available Monday to comment on the latest research.
In a statement Monday, Toronto Public Health said it's "important that the public is aware of the ongoing debate and research into this area, however inconclusive. Toronto Public Health will continue to monitor emerging research addressing health risks associated with cellphone use, and our position will be informed by any significant new information."
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
filed: March 14, 2009 • Ontario
A proposal to place industrial wind turbines in Lake Erie's Pigeon Bay was the focus of an information open house hosted March 8 by a citizen's group at Kingsville's Lakeside Pavilion.
"It shouldn't happen," said Gord Meuser, a lead member of the Citizens Against Lake Erie Wind Turbines (CALEWT), speaking in opposition to plans to put large-scale turbines just offshore from Kingsville, Union, and Leamington.
Meuser said the 15-turbine project proposed by SouthPoint Wind raises many concerns because it is the first project in Ontario with turbines sited directly in the lake. He said citizens are concerned with many issues, including noise, shadow flicker, health effects, and interruption of migration flight paths, disruption of navigation routes, fish habitat and eco-tourism.
"Our local economy is tied to our bay," said Meuser.
CALEWT member Hazel Tregenza expressed concerns over health issues, related to wind turbines.
"Problems are happening where turbines are too close to humans and animals," said Tregenza, who also attended the public forum on health and safety concerns held Feb. 23 by the Town of Essex.
"You have the province saying 'let's go green', but our concern is that the turbines are being built too quickly," said Tregenza, who was critical of Essex's decision to go forward with turbine developments near more populated areas, such as Colchester.
"That's wrong," she said.
"A health study by the government is essential," she added.
Dick Grolman, a Kingsville lakefront resident and avid birder, expressed concerns over what effect the turbines might have on the migration of about 360 different species of birds, including some species that are endangered.
"A lot of the birds fly at night," he said.
Grolman is concerned that birds may be drawn to lights on the turbines, or fly into the path of the blades when visibility is reduced by weather.
The three residents were among a group of CALEWT members and local politicians who met with Ontario's Minister of Energy and Infrastructure George Smitherman during his visit to an alternative energy conference in Windsor, March 6.
Meuser said he was encouraged by the meeting with Smitherman, and optimistic that any proposal in the lake would have to undergo a full environmental assessment.
"Up to now, not one of the projects in Ontario has got a full environmental assessment," Meuser said.
Speaking to the Free Press during a tour of a Kingsville greenhouse, Smitherman said he was glad to have the opportunity to hear the concerns of the residents. He stressed that the "in lake" turbines were "a proposal" that would be carefully scrutinized by the province.
"There is a substantial amount of regulatory process that would have to be completed before any such proposal comes to fruition," Smitherman said. "We know, of course, that the Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Environment are very, very aware of the specific sensitivities in areas like this, one of the foremost spots in the whole wide world for birds, for example."
By Andy Comber
11 March 2009