Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News
23 June 2011
Carcinogenicity of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields.
Robert Baan et al, June 22, 2011 Lancet
Oncology DOI:10.1016/S147-2045 (11)70140-4
30 scientists from 14 countries met in Lyon, France, at the end of May, 2011, to discuss the evidence surrounding RF-EMF and cancer. The working group was chaired by Dr Jonathan Samet, Chair of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine.
Human exposures to RF-EMF (frequency range 30 kHz300 GHz) can occur from use of personal devices (eg, wireless phones, Bluetooth, and amateur radios), from occupational sources (eg, high-frequency dielectric and induction heaters, and high-powered pulsed radars), and from mobile-phone base stations, broadcast antennas, and medical applications.
The IARC Working Group concluded:
"In view of the limited evidence in humans and in experimental animals, the Working Group classified RF- EMF as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" (Group 2B). This evaluation was supported by a large majority of Working Group members."
"(T)he Working Group concluded that the (Interphone Final Report) findings could not be dismissed as reflecting bias alone, and that a causal interpretation between mobile phone RF-EMF exposure and glioma is possible."
June 22, 2011
Perspective by Cindy Sage, MA, Sage Associates, Co-Editor, BioInitiative Report, CHE-EMF
WHAT IS THE 'SO WHAT' OF THE IARC RF-EMF REPORT?
This represents a major scientific and public health shift. To date, the scientific evidence for an association between RF-EMF and ELF-EMF (which was classified by WHO IARC in 2001 as a 2B Possible Human Carcinogen) has been contested, and declared inconsistent and contradictory by both the US FDA and FCC. Both agencies have deferred on taking meaningful public health action. The FCC continues to ignore calls for a re-assessment of its outdated public safety limits for wireless technologies. The FDA and FCC routinely thwart public inquiries and calls for preventative action by throwing the 'authority ball' back and forth, each saying the other has the responsibility.
Consider that the FDA has announced it will require placement of graphic warning labels (cartoons and explicit photos) on cigarette packages. There are 21 million smokers in the US. There are triple that number who are exposed to second-hand smoke. But, essentially every person in the US has some RF-EMF exposure, which dwarfs the smoking/second-hand smoke numbers.
Today, there are nearly three hundred million Americans who are wireless subscribers (262 million in 2008). And, with no explicit warnings about the risk of wireless phones, Americans - and perhaps more importantly, their children - are suffering needless and potentially carcinogenic exposures that could be avoided with FDA warnings and FCC revisions to public safety limits.
The RF-EMF exposures to which the American family is exposed on a chronic and largely involuntary basis comes mostly from cell towers, WI-FI and WI-MAX. There were 220,500 cell sites in the US in 2008, up from only 600 in 1985. Each affects community health. The wireless industry alone is seeking another 20,000 new cell sites.
The use of wireless devices by others, and other wireless technologies built into transportation, shopping, medicine, education and schools, etc. puts millions at risk. Wireless technologies that require WI-FI saturation in schools at all age levels should be targeted for remedial action to remove RF-EMF exposures for children, who cannot protect themselves. These actions fall to local agencies and school districts, who rely on the FDA and the FCC and other sources for unbiased information.
The Department of Justice Americans With Disabilities (ADA) standards need to be revised to incorporate protections for the 20 million or so Americans who have medical or metal implants which make them particularly vulnerable to RF-EMF interference and health harm. They will rely on the FDA and FCC as well.
Most recently, electric utilities are mandating wireless transmitting devices ('smart meters') on every home and electrified building. These wireless meters produce RF-EMF subject to this IARC classification (a possible human carcinogen) at frequencies and intensities equivalent to wireless phones. Wireless 'smart' meters can produce RF-EMF at intensities that actually exceed FCC public safety limits, depending on how close to occupied space within a dwelling they are installed and how they are operated. In most instances, they will produce RF-EMF at intensities that have been reported for the last 20 years to cause bioeffects and adverse health impacts including cancer, neurological impairments and diseases, immune system disfunction, sleep disorders and negative effects on memory, cognition, and behavior. There is no reasonable justification now for such wide-spread new exposure to RF-EMF from 'smart meters' given the clear indication that we are going to expose virtually our entire population to a new source of continuous RF-EMF, at the same time the global expert health agency, the WHO IARC has classified this exposure to be a possible human carcinogen. It is unthinkable.
Because public utility commissions and public safety commissions that oversee electric utilities rely on the FDA and FCC on this matter, it is imperative that the IARC Report be considered in all proceedings on new wireless metering, and the warnings from IARC should be sufficient to stop deployment of wireless meters, and warrant the replacement of the older (and safe) analog 'spinning dial' electric meters.
We are looking at the opportunity to address preventable exposures. There are other options for energy conservation that do not involve perpetual exposures to possible human carcinogens across the entire population of every state.
The rush to deploy RF-EMF (i.e., wireless technologies) in general is running far ahead of public health planning and public education about health risks. There has been no proportionate FDA health oversight relevant to the RF-EMF exposure levels of concern to date. This should change.
Without further delay, the FDA and FCC need to update their website advice to consumers and all others who must act on the information at hand.
The last time the FDA addressed the cell phone issue in any significant way was to incorrectly report in 2010 that the Interphone Final Report - the largest study of its kind - found "no evidence linking cell phone use to risk of brain tumor". Despite letters of protest from experts in the field, the FDA ignored requests to correct its webpage.
The FDA should be giving updated information and advice to consumers to reduce RF-EMF exposures based on the recent IARC report. And, this advice should extend to all forms of RF-EMF exposures, in accord with the Chair of the IARC Working Group Committee, Jonathon Samet, who clarified that "The 2B designation was not limited to cell phones. It has "broad applicability" to all sources of RF radiation."
A look at the FDA website this morning found only an FDA promotion of the iPhone as a way to relay medical information to a healthcare provider (FDA Consumer Updates at: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/default.htm).
The FCC needs to re-assess and update public safety limits in accord with new evidence that low-intensity (non-thermal) RF-EMF exposure can cause cancer. The FCC needs to adopt new, biologically-based public exposure standards that protect people from chronic, wireless exposures, including those populations who may be at higher risk for environmental toxins (children, the elderly, those with pre-existing medical problems, people with medical and metal implants, etc).
This is a perspective piece by Cindy Sage and does not reflect the opinion of any other party or entity.
The discrepancies in cause-effect relationships in the epidemiological studies - how do they arise?
Levis AG, Minicuci N, Ricci P, Gennaro V, Garbisa S
Environmental Health 2011, 10:59 (17 June 2011)
Provisional PDF http://www.ehjournal.net/content/pdf/1476-069X-10-59.pdf
By Karl Flinders on June 21, 2011 3:07 PM | 1 Comment The Government's Smart Metering Implementation Programme (SMIP) aims to have smart energy meters in 30
15:12 20 June 2011 by Andy Coghlan
Childhood autism is two to four times as common in Eindhoven, the centre of the Dutch information technology industry, as it is in two comparably sized Dutch cities with far fewer IT employees.
The result supports the suggestion that people who work in hi-tech engineering and computing industries, which demand the kinds of systemising and analytical skills often seen in people with autism, are more likely to have autistic children too.
Rising autism has also been seen in regions such as Silicon Valley, California. But the Dutch study claims to be the first to directly ask whether concentrations of IT workers mean more children with autism too.
City of geeks
Researchers analysed data on autism prevalence on 62,000 schoolchildren in three Dutch cities, each with populations of around quarter a million.
In Eindhoven, where 30 per cent of all jobs are in IT and computing industries, there were 229 cases of autism-spectrum disorders per 10,000 school-age children. This was more than double the corresponding figure of 84 in Haarlem and four times the figure of 57 in Utrecht. Each city has half as many IT jobs as Eindhoven.
By contrast, all three cities had the same prevalence of two other childhood psychiatric conditions unrelated to autism, namely attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyspraxia.
"These figures are pretty striking," says Rosa Hoekstra of the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK.
In the family
Hoekstra says that she and her team leader, Simon Baron-Cohen of the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, UK, decided to examine childhood autism systematically following anecdotal reports that cases were abnormally common in Eindhoven.
"The city is the technology hub for the Netherlands," says Hoekstra. It has two universities devoted to high technology, and is the Dutch base for giants of the IT industry including IBM, ASML and Philips, which opened its first factory there in 1891.
In previous studies, Baron-Cohen has demonstrated that fathers and grandfathers of children with autism are unusually likely to be engineers and scientists. Likewise, mathematicians are more likely to have siblings with autism than the population at large, and studies in the UK, Japan and the Netherlands have demonstrated a higher-than-normal rate of autistic traits among engineering, science and mathematics students.
"Systematisation is the drive to predict how systems work, and to build and control them," says Hoekstra. "So if you're good at that it might mean you're at increased risk of having a child with autism."
In a second phase to the project, Hoekstra and colleagues hope to explore other possible explanations for the results.
One is that autism is overdiagnosed in Eindhoven and underdiagnosed in the other cities. Or there may be raised awareness of autism and better services for it in Eindhoven.
But she says that the results reflect trends in other hi-tech hubs, including California, where rates of autism-spectrum disorder soared 12-fold between 1987 and 2007, according to figures compiled by the California Department of Developmental Services in Sacramento.
More than a third were 9 or younger, and 82 per cent 19 or younger, suggesting a growing problem among children in California.
"Similar concerns have been raised in Silicon Valley," says Hoekstra.
In the light of the new data, Hoekstra says it's vital for hi-tech companies, universities and local governments to be on the alert for autism among both employees and their children. "They should be open to these possible difficulties and accommodate them," she says.
Fukushima: It's much worse than you think
Scientific experts believe Japan's nuclear disaster to be far worse than
governments are revealing to the public.
"Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind,"
Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Al