Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News
13 July 2010
Steneck, NH, HJ Cook, AJ Vander and GL Kane. 1980. The Origins of U.S. Safety Standards for Microwave Radiation. Science, Vol. 208, 13 June 1980.
An analysis is made of the scientific research and values influencing the policy decisions that led to the adoption of the 1966 U.S. standard for exposure to microwave radiation. This analysis is used as a tool for understanding the problems faced by those who set standards. An effort is made to unravel the complex motivations that lay behind the adoption of the microwave standard. Based on the past record, it is suggested that standard setting remain distinct from basic scientific research and that adversary procedures be used only as a last resort in seeking consensus over a proposed standard.
Based on published and unpublished literature as well as interviews and questionnaires, the authors of this report pieced together the process that led to the 10 mW/cm2 standard to protect military and occupationally exposed personnel from microwave radiation. For those new to this topic, it is well worth reading.
What is clear is that the original recommended standard (0.1 W/cm2 or 100 mW/cm2) established in 1953 was based on a quick-and-dirty calculation that was grossly flawed and was almost immediately revised downward to 10 mW/cm2. This calculation was based entirely on the ability of a 70-kg man to dissipate heat. The 0.1 W/cm2 was obviously too high so a safety factor of 10 was introduced to reduce it to 10 mW/cm2 (see graph below).
Initially the disagreement about the appropriate safety factor ranged from 10 recommended by the US military to 100 suggested by General Electric to 1,000 suggested by Bell Telephone Laboratories. The military prevailed.
Evidence for non-thermal effects was discounted.
To read more . . . go to
Vogue: Mobile Phones and Health
Yes, Vogue, the fashion magazine runs a good (!) story on mobile phones and health. on page 130 Vouge July, with the picture of Marion Cotillard on the front, seems to me the american Vogue. There it is noted that Devra Davis is about to publish a book in September, called "Disconnect: The truth about cell phone radiation, what the industry has done to hide it, and how to protect your family". The first page of the article looks like this:
Submitted by Iris
Letter to the Ministry of Health, Canada
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2010 11:34 AM
Subject: Regarding Cell phones and towers
When I read your part of the transcript of HESA it made me wonder what planet you are living on. Surely you were brought up to love and protect others as well as your self.
Safety (safe less ) Code 6, which in my opinion, based on my experience of living near a RF transmitter tower in Harrison Hot Springs BC as well as finding many people that are having to leave their homes, as I did, and jobs because of radio frequency hypersensitivity being caused by a radiated atmosphere that is not fit to live in, for humans or animals. By protecting such archaic guidelines you are doing this country of Canada a tragic miss service that is ruining many lives.
I cannot understand how you people at Health Canada can keep saying that CSC 6 is safe when to my knowledge you have never done any surveys of people living close to RF transmitters. I always thought, up till lately, that Health Canada was established, with taxpayers money to protect the health of Canadians, but I can now see how wrong I was when I hear people like you supporting an environmental toxin that is harming our health. One can say that any thing is safe so long as you don't look for the casualties, which is what Health Canada seems to be doing.
I had to leave my home in Harrison Hot Springs back in 1996 which was located near a tower and It looks as though I am going to have to leave my home again here in Mission since they have placed a tower close by which is causing me illness,sleep disturbance,buzzing and pressure in the head, headaches and joint pain.
I am asking for your help to make my home free of EMF so that I can spend the rest of my life here. I have become Hyper Sensitive to radio frequencies and at my age I am unable move to a rural location far from hospitals etc. to get away from towers. I will not be able to live in a seniors home which would be near RF transmitters.
So either you help me by lowering the RF at my home now or be responsible for what ever happens in my life from here on. After all, you are with the Ministry of Health for Canada.
Robert Riedlinger 30199 Silverhill Ave.Mission BC Canada V4S 1H9 Ph 604 826 6791
Is there a link between cell phone technology and Brain Tumour?: Findings of the The INTERPHONE Brain Tumor Study
July 11, 2010
Cindy Sage, Editorial Perspective, BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF)
For at least three years, the largest brain cancer/cell phone study in history has languished under wraps at IARC because of bitter squabbling among contributing researchers over presentation, meaning and conclusions. Implications of the study are truly incendiary.
While we were all waiting, the number of cell phone users doubled to over four billion in 2009. What a great waste of time that could have been used to moderate the rollout of new, potentially dangerous wireless technologies. The wall of denial about whether low-intensity radiofrequency radiation can harm health has collapsed. If cell phones can cause cancer, and INTERPHONE statistics that show they can, then none of these other applications of wireless can be presumed safe either. The standards of ICNIRP and the FCC are obsolete, and the INTERPHONE results substantiate this. But for this inexcusable delay, we could have perhaps prevented millions from giving up their safe landline phones, prevented thousands of classrooms from going wireless, pushed R&D forward into safer product designs, and given parents fair warning about how and where their children may be suffering from the world's newly recognized cancer-causing agent.
There may be another way we should look at this, however. Anyone who watched the WHO EMF Program leadership, and its 'process' from the outside – between about 2003 and 2009 – would have given up all hope of a fair reading of the scientific situation, regardless of the actual data.
Strong industry ties, murky funding and obligations to sponsors, a moving target in its research designs and protocols, shifting obeisance among research teams, stealthy attacks on independent researchers and their work, wondrous and inexplicable changes in attitude on the part of key investigators rising through the scientific ranks, and the usual academic upheavals and personal dramas – all contributed to the general ennui that the 'fix was in'.
However, something else entirely happened. We would not be seeing this at all if some INTERPHONE members had not resolutely dug in, holding out for fair and forthright coverage of the incriminating evidence for risk. One can almost feel the smoke coming off some pages.
So, in balance, and at the end of a harrowing ride, I think we should do two things.
Thank the INTERPHONE teams, deeply thank Elizabeth Cardis for her genuine integrity and grace under pressure for every demure deferral on timing of its release, thank EEA Director Jacqueline McGlade for stepping up early, and thank Christopher Wild of IARC for cracking heads together to get this out.
Wags could argue this is science-at-light-speed in comparison to paradigm shifts of old. Reflect on this. ELF-EMF was listed as an IARC 2B carcinogen in 2001, after a couple of decades of rancorous scientific bashing. RF has barely been around long enough with wireless technology exposures to have anything to study. Yet, we are on the cusp of change in a big way – 4 billion users of what is effectively a toxic drug-delivery device that causes tumors right where you apply it to the head should resolve into quick action now by global health agencies. To do otherwise is to court massive and preventable healthcare costs, loss of productivity, fragmented families, endless litigation and stall out new R&D ventures targeting safer approaches.
Among the findings:
The INTERPHONE study reports increased risk for malignant brain tumors (glioma).
This is stunning news.
The take-home message is that the INTERPHONE study reports with as little as 1640 cumulative life time hours, the risk of glioma is increased somewhere between 40% and 96% (over controls for which their cordless phone exposure was not even factored out). Ironically, the INTERPHONE results lend support to the brain tumor meta-analyses by Hardell et al, Kan et al and Myung et al. INTERPHONE finds similar risks to the Hardell findings but at only 1640 hours – just three-quarters of Hardell's 2000 cumulative hours of cell phone use.
Tumor laterality is significantly correlated with the side of the head the cell phone is predominantly used, as well.
Any reports you hear that "Overall, no increased risk of glioma was observed with use of mobile phones" should be regarded as flagging the wrong bull.
If you look where one REASONABLY could expect to see early indications of glioma risk (at the longest latency we can find, since the technology is new), there is increased risk for glioma at 10 years and longer use.
The latency for brain tumors is 15-30 years. Not seeing risks sooner is meaningless (overall risks not rising). Seeing increasing risk at only ten years means that cell phones are a highly effective carcinogen.
If you look at results for less than ten years latency, there is a reduced risk of glioma (a malignant brain tumor). You may see headlines spinning this to mean cell phones are good for you, or the data are too hinky to interpret. But this kind of reporting sleigh-of-hand is likely based on short latencies, very lightly exposed phone users, controls that have other exposures that blur the distinction between cases and control groups, very low participation rates for controls, or other ways that flaws in the study design dilutes the risk.
And, it just might be true that there is some protective effect for the first years, if the body is launching some adaptive response to a highly bioactive exposure for which the brain is protecting itself as best it can. But, like any adaptive response, like that of the body to adrenal stress for example, it can only go on so long before there is exhaustion of the adaptive response, and ultimately, disease or death.
And, this is early in the game. We shouldn't be seeing ANY increases yet, its too soon – if you look to other carcinogens that induce solid tumors (smoking, asbestos). None of these known carcinogens would have left such an early footprint in the data as has use of cell phones.
The INTERPHONE likely underestimates risk in several important ways.
• The INTERPHONE only presents risks is for middle-aged adults so it is likely the results would be higher if all users were included in these statistics.
• The study ignored children (who are reported to have more than a five-fold increased risk in comparison to a doubling of risk for adults). The study also ignores older people (over 59) that also likely would have upped the risks.
• The definition of an 'exposed' person was as little as one call per week for six months. Clearly this mixes up very light users into the mix, and can cause underestimation of true risks for normal cell phone use that may be hundreds of hours per month.
• Cordless phone use was ignored too, so it is another factor that likely causes underestimation of true risk, since those who are assumed to be unexposed (the controls) in fact may have substantial cordless phone radiofrequency radiation exposures that tend to minimize the differences in cancers between controls and exposed participants.
• Low participation rates for controls can and probably did skew this data toward null results.
• The data only report brain tumors from 2000-2004. This is already old data. What would the results show today? Sitting on the final results for so long means we've lost valuable time to make mid-course corrections.
The commentary by Rodolfo Saracci and Jonathen Samet is a brave attempt to put INTERPHONE results into some plain language. But, they fall into the same old semantic snake pit as most scientists and their embedded assumptions are showing.
Most people don't want or need 'conclusive" evidence. They are not likely to wait to hear 'we have proved a causal relationship' between cell phone use and deadly brain cancer before they shift behaviors to less risky alternatives. How long did it take for smoking? How many lives were lost?
People make choices every day with inconclusive information. Delaying the release of these data prevented an 'early warning' that will likely have global health consequences we cannot even categorize today.
Saracci and Samet err in concluding that the report 'tolerates diametrically opposing readings". In fact, the report finds risks where one would reasonably expect to find them. With longer use. On the side of the head where the phone is most used. The tumors show up more on that side of the head, as well.
Their confusion perhaps is rooted in this false dichotomy of scientists that 'you have nothing until you have proof, so anything in between evidence and proof can be read as nothing or something, depending." If you don't have causal evidence (read, proof according to the highest possible scientific bar for judging the evidence) then, people can take opposite views of the emerging evidence. Chapters 1, 16 and 17 of the BioInitiative Report address this at length.
Most reasonable people who have to make decisions about what to buy, what to expose their heads to – don't want this kind of thinking done by others for them. They'll reject this kind of thinking as a false choice. Or worse, a false assurance of safety where none is warranted, and the data may be pointing in the direction of real hazards. Just not yet rising to the level of clear and convincing evidence, which, in science-speak, is proof beyond doubt.
Involuntary exposure (second-hand radiation) is entirely ignored in this commentary. It is more than just the individuals' choice to use a cell phone or not. It is about the extended consequence of thinking that wireless is harmless, or not harmful enough to matter. The whole portfolio of impacts on mental function, cognition, concentration, attention, behavior, judgment and sleep related to the involuntary and chronic exposure to second-hand radiation that is linked to global reliance on cell phones must become a part of this conversation.
If there is legitimate evidence of emerging risks to health that can result in disease and death, give them the results and let them decide. People are smarter and have more common sense than scientists allow for. People in general use different standards for adoption or aversion, when it comes to personal family decisions about allowable risk.
Certainly they do not gamble with their children.
The "Key Message" at the end of the Cardis et al study still unnecessarily downplays possible risks. If the message from INTERPHONE is 'we wasted ten years and thirty million euros of public money' on a study that says nothing much, then heads should roll. To end on this note is to undermine the real need now for change, for education, and for safer technologies.
It is disingenuous to conclude that "(T)here were suggestions of an increased risk for glioma". The data reveal an odds ratio of 1.4 with a 95% confidence interval of 1.03-1.89) and odds ratio for ipsilateral use of 1.96 (CI=1.22-3.16) for cumulative call time.
Both are clear indications of increased risk for those in the study with the most exposure. There were more than suggestions. There are hard data. And, that data are consistent with earlier studies and meta-analyses by Hardell et al, Kan et al and Myung et al showing the same trends. The work of Hardell et al, in particular has been unfairly maligned; how ironic the INTERPHONE results now mirror this early and prescient work of the Orebro University/Umea team in Sweden.
Since EMF in general has been shown to be effective for therapeutic use at exposure levels below existing public safety standards (proof that EMF is bioactive at low-intensity exposures and can promote health in specific circumstances); why should we be so hesitant to accept the inevitable conclusion that chronic exposure to EMF from cell phones can also be a health risk as well?
What Should Happen Now?
This study serves as an undeniable scientific benchmark that EMF is an environmental toxin.
The biological effects of low-intensity ELF and RF are now inarguably confirmed, although it didn't take the INTERPHONE to establish this; only to help corroborate it.
The existing FCC and ICNIRP public safety limits are clearly inadequate in the face of new technologies across the spectrum.
The standards for public safety around the world have again been shown to be largely inadequate and must be brought current taking into account not only the INTERPHONE results, but the large body of evidence implicating very low-intensity EMF in many kinds of health impacts. The BioInitiative Report addresses this more fully in Chapters 1, 3 and 4.
Chronic exposure to low-intensity ELF and RF appear to be both carcinogenic and neurotoxic; bioeffects and adverse health effects that are now emergent from the scientific literature can be reasonably presumed to result in human diseases and death and should be reclassified by IARC accordingly.
New, biologically-based public exposure standards for ELF and RF are now justified. The BioInitiative Report suggests new public safety limits in Chapters 1 and 17.
The burden of proof of safety now shifts directly back at industries to develop and demonstrate that new wireless technologies for voice and data transmission can be safely used.
New wireless technologies directed at children should be banned, and strong warnings and limitations on use of existing devices (cell and cordless phones, game players, wireless devices of all kinds) should be developed and implemented now. DECT-type phones should be phased out. Wireless antenna facilities have no place on or near school campuses. Wireless computers and educational devices in schools and homes should be eliminated. All places providing medical care should be wired, not wireless, for the protection of patients, families who visit, medical and administrative staff, and newborns.
Second-hand radiation should become a focus for public health actions to provide education, choice and reduction particularly for pregnant women and for children of all ages. The cognitive and behavioral problems among the young are epidemic and should be a national research focus (neurology, pre-natal and peri-natal exposures to ELF and RF, etc).
National wireless programs like SmartGrid/Smartmeter and wireless broadband that are slated to affect millions of people should be discontinued. Fast and secure wired alternatives need to be developed.
Industries should no longer be permitted to dictate US or European policy on public safety limits for ELF and RF, in order to keep rolling out their new merchandise.
It is time for industry groups to stop writing the laws our governmental agencies use in regulating their product emissions.
The elaborate charade of the overall WHO research program on health risks of electromagnetic radiation (both ELF and RF) was thought to be irretrievably lost to the invisible choreography of the entitled – those hand-picked emissaries of industry and government – who spent a decade pushing reams of irrelevant and biased materials out to the unsuspecting public, as proof of their busy-ness and impartiality.
The seemingly impenetrable walls of WHO shut out any inquiry for years. Journalists could not attend to report on meetings of its EMF Program Advisory Group. Independent scientists and public health and policy experts were never given access to the interior workings of these committees. Instead they were provided with assurances from its leaders and window-dressing in the way of progress reports and frameworks for discussion. For years, WHO's EMF Program gave cosmetic appearance of due process, but was clearly exclusionary and intentionally hidden from the mainstream public inspection.
It is time for Andrzej Rys, the Director of Public Health for the European Commission; and Maria Neira, Director, Public Health and Environment, WHO to clean ranks within their staff that have lost the public trust, and prioritize ELF and RF health issues into their global health planning work.
It is time to expand the membership of expert committees that advise governments, even if it means shaking up their established memberships and entrenched attitudes. Expert committees need to clearly and consistently address the question "what is the possibility of risk" and not answer it with "we find no conclusive evidence of harm'.
Cindy Sage, Editorial Perspective, BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF)
If you are interested in reading the bio-initiative report but cannot afford to pay the required 02 dollars, send us an e-mail with your request. We will help you.
HEALTH: Professor says Internet can hurt children
The Peterborough Examiner
posted July 5, 2010
Posted By ANDREA HOUSTON , EXAMINER EDUCATION WRITER
While one Trent University professor warns there are serious health effects caused by exposure to wireless Internet, Peterborough's medical officer of health says the community has nothing to be alarmed about.
Magda Havas, an associate professor at Trent who has been conducting electromagnetic research, says some people are more sensitive to radiation than others and suffer serious health problems as a result.
"We are taking a technology that hasn't been tested, we have no direct evidence if it's safe or harmful, and introducing it into the classroom," she said.
"It does not make any sense to me."
Havas raised the issue at the June 25 Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board meeting to warn local parents before the board installs wireless Internet into every elementary and secondary school.
She said the school board should put the brakes on their proposed multi-million-dollar instructional technology plan until more data can be collected.
At the meeting, several parents also spoke against WiFi, telling the board they don't consent to their children being exposed to the electromagnetic fields, including radio frequencies (RF).
Every electrical or electronic device, produces electromagnetic fields including power lines, computers, microwave ovens, and wireless technologies such as cell phones, WiFi, and radio and TV broadcasting.
"For some people their immune system is impaired," she said. "WiFi is the cheapest, most convenient option to offer, but it's not the most safe."
Dr. Rosana Pellizzari, Peterborough's medical officer of Health, said WiFi uses RF to carry its signal in the same way as radio and television broadcast facilities, radar, mobile phones and their base stations.
RF is described as "non-ionizing radiation," meaning the waves do not break chemical bonds or cause biological effects in users, she said.
"Health Canada has set limits on exposure to RF/electromagnetic energy," she said. "The exposure kids would get from WiFi in the schools are well below the internationally accepted standards."
Pellizzari, who did a comprehensive review of the research with Toronto Public Health, said there is no consistent evidence to date that exposure to RF signals from wireless networks adversely affects the health of the general population, either in the short-or long-term.
The signals from WiFi are very low power, typically 0.1 watt (one-tenth of a watt) in both computer and the router and are well within internationally accepted standards of nine watts, she said.
Havas says that's not actually correct.
"I've measured WiFi and it varies depending on how many people are using the technology at any one time," Havas said. "If you're just sitting in front of a computer and not doing anything then, yes, the levels are going to be low.
"The minute you start streaming video or uploading, the exposure is going to be high."
Pellizzari points to a World Health Organization (WHO) report from 2009 that states RF exposures from base stations and wireless technologies in publicly accessible areas (including schools and hospitals) are normally thousands of times below international standards.
Also, she said, radio and television have been operating for around 50 years using RF.
"We're not aware of any adverse health impacts," she said. "WiFi is very similar because they are radio waves.
"I hope parents will be reassured by the conclusions of very credible bodies like the WHO."
Havas said it's not accurate to compare radio and television to WiFi.
"Radio and television are on a totally different frequency, so totally different guidelines," Havas said. "It's like comparing apples and oranges."
Pellizzari said all this the confusion and somewhat dire warnings against the use of wireless Internet are simply giving local parents a lot of unnecessary fear.
"Legitimately, parents would be concerned by the conflicting news that they're hearing," she said.
Local parent and Adam Scott Collegiate school council member James Burrett, who has been reviewing the research himself, said he's convinced wireless Internet is safe.
Havas is "just completely out in left field," he said, by claiming that WiFi devices are dangerous, especially considering the output of radiation is far less than cellphones.
"From a parent point of view, this person is scaring people needlessly," he said. "There's enough in the world to be afraid of without being unduly alarmed."
Tricia Hinshelwood, a local parent of three children who spoke against the issue at the public board meeting, said her home is virtually technology free.
"I believe we need less of a push on technology," she said. "Let kids just be kids. Why do they need these things so badly?"
Her home contains no wireless Internet, no microwave oven, no cellphones, no cordless phones, no stereo equipment, no television.
She runs a day care out of her home and prefers the children play outside, rather than in front of screens.
"We're not anti-technology, we're just cautious," she said. "I feel the board is rushing into wireless. Let's just step back and look into this more."
Havas said she's not trying to incite panic in the community. She is only trying to give people all the information, she said.
"People don't want to know about this," she said. "They can put their head in the sand and that's fine by me.
"My job, because I'm an expert in this, is to share the information with people who are not experts."
But Pellizzari said international experts, including the Health Protection Agency in the UK and the WHO, have already examined WiFi.
The conclusion of the WHO is that there's no convincing scientific evidence that the "very low exposure levels" from wireless networks cause adverse health effects, she said.
"We have several international and credible bodies that have reviewed the research to date and concluded it is not a risk to our children," she said. "I'm not aware of any research that causes me concern."
Havas said 3% of adults experience severe "electro-hypersensitivity," which is described as having adverse effects to electromagnetic frequencies.
"The percentage among children is much higher," she said, adding it's about 1,000 children throughout the board.
About 35% of the population experience mild to moderate symptoms, she said.
She said exposure to electromagnetic frequencies could lead to headaches, body and joint aches, lethargy, memory loss, reduced sperm cell count and infertility, skin rashes, nausea, depression and anxiety, dizziness, insomnia and loss of concentration, Havas said.
Long-term exposure can lead to heart complications and even cancer, she said.
"I'm not trying to promote fear at all," she said. "I really think it's important for people to be empowered, and you empower them with information."
Havas cites a school in Collingwood where students in a school with WiFi complained of headaches and a racing heart rate.
"Two of them are now on heart medication and one is scheduled for exploratory heart surgery because they can't figure out why this young student's heart is behaving so erratically," she said. "This is very serious stuff."
Although the local school board's plan is to install wireless in all schools, the technology is already being used in several schools and at the board offices on Fisher Dr.
No area school is completely wireless yet.
Havas recommends the board rethink their strategy.
Pellizzari, on the other hand, disagrees.
She said there's no reason for the board to put the brakes on the proposed plan.
Although Pellizzari does make one precaution.
Pellizzari said there is evidence to show that surfing the Internet with the laptop resting on a person's lap, could be problematic because people can absorb the RF.
"So it would be prudent when using WiFi not to have the device on the lap, but instead have it on the table or the desk," she said. "That's really the only precaution that we would recommend."
Pellizzari said the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has agreed to complete a review and internal discussions on the topic.
Also, the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion agency is currently doing research on the issue, she said.
"It's important to continue the dialogue, and that includes discussing with Dr. Havas her research and her findings," she said. "But in the meantime, there's nothing that should alarm parents about WiFi.
"As the technology is being implemented with children, it's coming up," she said. "Whenever you have children involved it's always prudent to be cautious."
Article ID# 2653984
Dr Magda Havas
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