Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Why is there a left laterality of melanoma and
breast cancer? 7th World Congress on Melanoma, Vienna, Austria, May 12-15, 2009 (abstr.)
Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Why is there a left laterality of melanoma and breast cancer?", 2nd World Cancer Congress 2009, Beijing, China, June 22-25, 2009 (abstr.)
Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Cancer and broadcasting radiation. Facts from radio engineering and cancer epidemiology", 2nd World Cancer Congress 2009, Beijing, China, June 22-25, 2009 (abstr.)
Please, also see this article:
(Olle Johansson, assoc. prof.
The Experimental Dermatology Unit
Department of Neuroscience
171 77 Stockholm
The Royal Institute of Technology
100 44 Stockholm
Radiation Review: Some People May be 'Allergic' to Cell Phones, Computers
May 15th, 2009
By Lisa Zyga
How exactly does the radiation from electromagnetic fields (EMF) affect the human body? Is it possible that cell phones, computer monitors, TVs, and other electronic devices - which operate within current EMF safety standards - cause illnesses, or are the people who claim to be sensitive to these devices just paranoid? The topic is one of the most controversial subjects in technology today, having important consequences in politics, consumerism, human rights, and health costs.
Olle Johansson, an associate professor and head of the Experimental Dermatology Unit, Department of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, has been investigating the effects of electromagnetic fields on human physiology since the early 80s. Johansson¹s research has led him to become an outspoken supporter of the view that the dangers of EMF radiation from our gadgets are real, and that existing safety standards, which are based on acute thermal effects only, do not adequately protect public health.
In a review to be published in an upcoming issue of Pathophysiology, Johansson has summarized the results from dozens of studies that have investigated the effects of EMFs on the immune system in particular. As he explains, EMFs can act like an allergen, disturbing immune function by eliciting various allergic and inflammatory responses. Johansson hopes that this review, along with the reviews in the extensive Bioinitiative Report
published in 2007 that have identified harmful effects from wireless technologies, will urge policymakers to create new public safety limits and
limit the future deployment of untested technologies.
³The paper acts like a very strong warning signal and should evoke action,² Johansson told PhysOrg.com, noting that the Bioinitiative Report has already had an influence. For example, in the ³European Parliament resolution of 4 September 2008 on the mid-term review of the European Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010 (2007/2252(INI)),² the European Parliament acknowledges that exposure levels need to be based on biological factors, not just heating effects. A report from the European Parliament on February
23, 2009, ³On health concerns associated with electromagnetic fields,² also investigates stricter exposure limits.
In the current review, Johansson explains that the human immune system has evolved to deal with its known enemies, and not with electromagnetic³ allergens² (e.g. TV signals, radiowaves, microwaves from cell phones or WiFi, radar signals, X-rays, artificial radioactivity, etc.) which have been introduced within the last 100 years. Our immune systems have developed under the influence of the sun¹s radiation and the practically static geomagnetic field, he explains, but not under electromagnetic waves at other frequencies, or the magnetic and microwave pulses generated, for example, by cell phones.
As Johansson explains, antigens are substances that cause the immune system to react in an excessive manner, so that the immune system becomes damaging to local tissue and the entire body in general. Such hypersensitivity reactions can be caused by environmental disturbances that are small enough to enter the immune system. Examples can include dust and drugs, which can enter the respiratory tract or at site-specific locations. Another example is EMFs, which penetrate the entire body.
Different electronic devices produce EMFs that vary in strength, frequency, and pattern. While some studies have found associations between, for example, power lines and leukemia, or brain tumors and cell phones, other studies point out that no biological mechanism causing these illnesses has
been identified. As Johansson argues, many studies assume that the only biological mechanism that causes adverse effects is the acute heating of cells and tissues, although he says that non-thermal effects, such as EMFs acting as antigens in the immune system, can occur before heating can be detected, especially after long-term exposure.
In some of the studies that Johansson summarizes, people claim to suffer from subjective and objective symptoms when exposed to electronic devices. Electrohypersensitivity (EHS) affects an estimated 3% to 10% of the population, he says, and often leads to lost work and productivity. In Johansson¹s review, some studies hypothesize that people who claim adverse skin reactions after exposure to computer screens or mobile phones may actually have a correct avoidance reaction to the radiation. As he explains, the skin contains mast cells, which are known to react to external radiation such as radioactivity, X-rays, and UV light. Studies have found that skin samples of EHS people after radiation exposure have a higher number of mast cells in the upper dermis, and mast cells infiltrate other layers of the skin that don¹t normally have them. EMFs may also cause mast cells to ³degranulate,² releasing inflammatory substances that are involved in allergic hypersensitivity, itching, and pain. In previous theoretical studies, Johansson has proposed a model for how a proliferation of mast
cells (mastocytosis) could explain sensitivity to EMFs. As in an allergic reaction, EMFs likely affect people differently based on varying immune functions due to variations in genetic make-up.
Johansson points out that some of the studies in his and other¹s papers have not been included in surveys by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), suggesting that these organizations have ignored relevant research due to incorrect assumptions of the levels of EMFs that can have a biological influence.
Johansson¹s overall argument is that more research needs to be done on possible non-thermal mechanisms of EMFs¹ damage to the human body, and investigations into immune system response in particular could lead to the discovery of a specific mechanism for biological damage. Considering that hundreds of thousands of individuals are estimated to have electrohypersensitivity, there is a lot at stake in the issue, including how to accommodate people with this functional impairment. Understanding the biological effects of EMF also makes economic sense, Johansson says, in terms of future public health costs. Importantly, he argues for a biologically based EMF exposure limit that can be presumed to cause no adverse impacts on human health. A completely protective safety limit based
on today¹s information, he says, would be zero.
³Of course, philosophically we can discuss this forever, but practically one has to allow for a certain level of uncertainty if a specific gadget or technique has unique advantages,² Johansson said. ³If such unique advantages cannot be proven, then maybe the consumers should demand for a complete ban? It quickly boils down to if, for example, the future public health is less important than people's freedom today to use wireless technologies.²
More information: O. Johansson, Disturbance of the immune system by electromagnetic fields – A potentially underlying cause for cellular damage and tissue repair reduction which could lead to disease and impairment,
Pathophysiology (2009), doi: 10.1016/j.pathophys.2009.03.004.
Copyright 2009 PhysOrg.com.
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com.
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May 26, 2009
Mobile phones to be banned in French primary schools to limit health risks
Charles Bremner in Paris
Are the French trying a sneaky classroom mobile ban?
Mobile telephones are to be banned from French primary schools and operators must offer handsets that allow only text messages under new government measures to limit the health risk for children.
Companies will also be required to supply telephones that work only with head-sets in order to limit the danger to the brain from electromagnetic radiation, Roselyne Bachelot, the Health Minister, said.
The measures, which emerged from a six-week review of mobile phone and wi-fi radiation, have been attacked as inadequate by campaigners who accuse the state of playing down dangers from phones and transmitter masts.
The campaign groups, which walked out on the government consultation on Monday, wanted a ban on mobile use by children under 14 and drastic measures to limit the power and location of transmitter masts.
The Government refused to act against masts, citing the absence of any evidence that they affected human or animal health. Experiments are to be carried out in three cities to test the feasibility of reducing the power of transmissions. The Government will limit children¹s use of mobiles pending the results of international and French studies later in the autumn. The Education Ministry is to issue a decree on the primary school ban. At the moment, most French schools only bar the use of mobile phones in classrooms.
The Government and telephone operators have been put on the defensive by the actions of hundreds of groups around the country that are demanding the removal of phone masts near schools, hospitals and homes. Radiation is commonly blamed for insomnia, headaches, fatigue and cancer. Libraries and other public spaces in several cities have switched off wi fi internet cover after reports that the radio waves are harmful.
The operators are especially alarmed by court orders to remove phone transmitters despite the absence of evidence that they cause harm.
The appeal court in Versailles shocked the industry in February when it ordered Bouygues, one of the three French operators, to dismantle a mast at Tassin-la-Demi-Lune, near Lyons, because families there feared for their health. The judges acknowledged that there was no existing evidence of a threat, but there was no guarantee that a risk did not exist. The ³feeling of anxiety² of the inhabitants was therefore justified, they said.
Their reasoning is known as the ³principle of precaution², a doctrine that was proclaimed by the Socialist Government in the late 1990s as an argument for refusing to import British beef after it had been declared safe. The principle, which is also behind France¹s rejection of genetically modified crops, is deplored by scientists and ministers in President Sarkozy¹s Government.
Martin Bouygues, whose family owns the telephone operator, said that the French state must decide ³whether it wants mobile telephones or not². Fear of unproven dangers risks taking France back to the Middle Ages, said Jean de Kervasdoue, a former national director of French hospitals. ³It¹s dangerous thinking . . . like the medieval inquisitors who demanded that heretics prove their innocence,² he said. ³You cannot always prove your innocence.²
Road safety investigation - MOBILE PHONES
Think you're safe while making a mobile phone call while driving? Think again. A laboratory simulation showed that the risks are greater than you might imagine.
By Mike Rutherford
Last Updated: 5:45PM BST 22 May 2009
Picture the scene: an exasperated pub landlord asks the police for assistance after disturbance involving two of his regulars. One has imbibed several beers and is drunk. The other has been sipping orange juice and is sober. A cop arrives and diplomatically persuades them to quietly head off home in opposite directions. Job done, thinks the officer.
But then he sees the intoxicated customer climbing behind the wheel of a car before driving it away. At the same time he spots the sober customer driving off with the wheel in one hand and a mobile phone in the other.
The policeman can only pursue one offender, so who's it to be - the drunk driver or the motorist on the phone? I'm certain that he who drives sozzled is a more dangerous beast than he who motors along while on the phone. Or at least, I used to be certain of that. If we're to believe the giant, highly respected Transport Research Laboratory, tucked away in the forests of Berkshire, using a mobile phone while driving is even more hazardous than drink-driving.
TRL researchers don't disapprove of mobile phones. They just want all drivers to switch them off and ignore them until journey's end. And it's not just hand-held mobiles that the organisation has a major issue with. Surprisingly, it concludes that hands-free versions are almost as dangerous. To prove the point, TRL invited me in for the night (our session started at 9pm) to let me loose on its latest, full-sized driving simulator. With help and funding from the car insurance giant Direct Line, this facility is doing more than any other in Britain - and possibly the world - to ram home the message that driving and phone calls don't mix.
My first solo run on the rolling road-based simulator was deliberately free of interruptions (I didn't even have the car radio on) and I was being closely monitored by senior researcher, Dr Nick Reed, from a neighbouring room. Dr Reed's conclusion was that I "drove very well". So far so good. But minutes later, on my second run, I unwittingly transformed myself into a bad, dangerous driver by talking on a hands-free mobile. During a lengthy call, Dr Reed observed that I was "less able" to deal with basic driving tasks and that my lateral positioning (where I placed the car on the road) deteriorated. I lost the ability to maintain constant speed and, worse still, the longer the call went on the faster I got, at one point reaching 85mph on a simulated motorway run.
Dr Reed has put countless guinea pig drivers in his simulator but he observed that my behaviour was particularly "unusual" and "impatient" when I attempted deep and long phone conversations while driving. He said that if I'd been on the road instead of in a simulator, I would have been four times more likely to have an accident on my second drive than my first one, which had no interruptions.
If you believe the research results, there is no doubt that using a hand-held phone while driving is potentially lethal and using a hands-free phone is almost as dangerous. Dr Reed has plenty of data to back up his views. The Mobile Phone Report by Direct Line, based on TRL research, spells out the dangers with alarming clarity.
The majority of drivers aged 21-45 who took part in the study admitted that it was "easier" to drive drunk than while using a mobile. The tests proved - in line with my own - that while drunk drivers are worse at staying in lane, drivers distracted by mobiles are much worse at maintaining speed and a safe distance from vehicles in front. Drivers' reaction times were, on average, 30 per cent slower when talking on a hand-held mobile compared with being drunk, and nearly 50 per cent slower than under normal driving conditions.
If that's not enough, drivers using a hands-free or hand-held phone miss "significantly" more road signs than when over the drink-drive limit.
On average i t takes hand-held mobile users half a second longer to react to a hazard, says the study. At 70mph this means travelling an extra 46 feet
(14 metres) before reacting.
The distractions caused by making or receiving a call while driving aren't as obvious as you might think, and can be broken down into four categories, says the Direct Line report. They can be visual, auditory, mental (cognitive) or physical - or a combination of all four at once.
To make matters worse, drivers often take their eyes off the road when making and receiving calls. But isn't talking on your phone the same as talking to a passenger? No. Passengers tend to let the conversation ebb and flow, enabling the driver to concentrate on negotiating hazards.
Company car drivers are the worst offenders for phoning while driving, says the report and it's a myth that a quick call "doesn't matter".
A quarter of all mobile phone calls are made from vehicles and about 10 million drivers have admitted using a hand-held mobile while driving.
Frighteningly, up to one in four young drivers use their mobile to send text messages, guaranteeing maximum physical distraction.
New evidence from the AA this week suggests that drivers are only too aware of the phoning-while-driving problem, but that many are unwilling to change their behaviour. The motoring organisation's latest research shows that two thirds of drivers expect to go to jail if they cause a fatal accident while using a phone. But at any one time 100,000 drivers are using a hand-held phone.
So is a driver who's talking on the phone really more dangerous than a drunk driver? I have my doubts. But either way, TR L has gathered apparently damning evidence that proves using a phone while driving is scarily close to the top of the danger league along with other serious motoring crimes and transgressions such as drunk driving, tailgating, travelling inappropriately fast, failing to wear a seatbelt and falling asleep at the wheel.
The Government's tired, over-simplistic "Speed Kills" campaign gives the impression that drivers who aren't speeding will be safe.
Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. You show me a motorist who's driving under the speed limit but talking on the phone and I'll show you a person who's heading to the scene of his own accident.
The fixed penalty for using a hand-held mobile phone is £60 plus three points. If the police or the driver chooses to take a case to court rather than use a fixed penalty notice, the maximum fine is £1,000, or £2,500 for drivers of vans, lorries, buses and coaches.
A Department for Transport-endorsed research study says: "There is strong experimental evidence that engaging in a mobile phone conversation impairs
drivers' ability to react to potentially hazardous road situations. The impairment appears to be greater than that associated with listening to a radio."
Motorists can also be fined up to £2,500 and given from three to nine points in court if convicted of Careless and Inconsiderate Driving. This could include using a hand-held mobile phone but also actions such as eating, drinking, smoking, or even fiddling with a radio or satellite navigation device while driving.
If these actions led to a death on the road, the driver could be charged with Causing Death by Careless Driving, an offence carrying an unlimited
fine and up to five years in prison.
Police can opt to prosecute motorists caught using hand-held mobile phones under the last two charges, if they believe a fixed penalty of £60 does not reflect the seriousness of the offence.
Circulated by Sarah Dacre