The "electrosmog" that surrounds us--from cell phones, WiFi, and commonplace modern technology--may be seriously harming our health.
Note - This important research is from ten years ago.
Magnetic Field Exposure Associated with Childhood Leukemia
News Release from the University of Toronto
and The Hospital for Sick Children ...
June 15, 1999
Researchers at the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children have found an association between magnetic field exposures in residences and the risk of developing childhood leukemia.
The study, reported in two separate papers in the current issues of the International Journal of Cancer (IJC) and the journal Cancer Causes and Control (CCC), shows that children with higher exposures to magnetic fields in residences are two to four times more likely to develop leukemia compared to children who are less exposed. The study comprehensively measured magnetic field exposures inside and outside the children's homes. Wire code was also assigned to each residence. For some children, EMF exposures were measured by a personal monitor.
The authors report in IJC that overall, wire code -- a surrogate indicator of magnetic field exposure based on the physical characteristics of the line and proximity of the residence to power lines -- was not associated with an increased risk of developing leukemia. However, measured magnetic field exposure was associated with an elevated incidence of leukemia in children under age six who were exposed in residences occupied during the first two years of life.
A subset of the total study population wore a personal monitoring device which measured EMF during usual activities in the home over 48 hours. As reported in CCC, exposure to magnetic fields was associated with a two-fold increase in risk of developing leukemia.
When other factors such as residential mobility, power consumption, child's medical history and other environmental exposures were taken into account, children exposed to higher levels of magnetic fields were 4.5 times more likely to develop leukemia compared to less exposed children. Risks were higher for children diagnosed at less than six years of age and for those with acute lymphoblastic leukemia -- the most common type of leukemia in children.
"As the methods of assessing exposure were refined, we found that the association between magnetic fields and the risk of developing childhood leukemia became stronger, particularly in children diagnosed at a younger age," says lead author Dr. Lois Green, epidemiologist in the department of public health sciences at U of T and at Ontario Power Generation. "But this study does not establish that magnetic fields cause cancer. To date, laboratory research has not shown a plausible biologic mechanism supporting a cause and effect relationship."
Researchers compared 201 children living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) who were diagnosed with leukemia at 0 to 14 years of age between 1985 and 1993 at the Hospital for Sick Children with 406 control children.
Where possible, magnetic field exposures were measured at all the GTA residences occupied by the child during the period of inquiry -- the only study to date to consider several different exposure time periods. A detailed questionnaire was also administered to gather information about other factors such as family history, which might be related to leukemia risk.
"Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is most commonly seen in children two to six years of age. The association we saw with this age group is interesting because the range of exposures to possible risk factors is smaller and shorter," says Dr. Mark Greenberg, professor of pediatrics at U of T and pediatric oncologist at the Hospital for Sick Children. "We don't know what it means however, because there is no good biologic explanation for how such exposure might work."
Another consideration, Green adds, is the possibility that lifetime exposures to magnetic fields may have been measured more accurately for younger children because the interval between diagnosis and measurement was short, thus reducing possible misclassification of exposure.
Funding was provided in part by the Ontario Hydro Services Company (formerly part of Ontario Hydro) and the Canadian Electrical Association.Questions and answers about electric and magnetic fields
and U of T/HSC leukemia research
Now read how the author / scientist, Dr. Greenberg dowplays his own important findings at :
(Dr. Greenberg told Toronto Free Press that the research shows an "association" and that there is no proof that higher exposure rates cause leukemia. He said that many newspaper reports of this study and others like it lack context and fail to relate what exactly the studies show.)
Warning Labels on Cell Phones
Cell phone safety advocates see a glimmer of light
State representative Andrea Boland (D-Sanford) will introduce a bill called the "Children's Wireless Protection Act" in early 2010.
The act was written by Elizabeth Barris, founder of The People's Initiative, a nonprofit organization with the current mission to inform the public about the harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) released by cell phones.
She recently co-authored "Cell Phones and Brain Tumors, 15 Reasons for Concern-Science, Spin, and the Truth Behind Interphone." (thepeoplesinitiative.org/uploads/15_Reasons_Final_Version_v8_USA.pdf)
Lloyd Morgan, a retired electrical engineer, was the primary author of the report.
The report, endorsed by at least 40 doctors, researchers, and specialists in the field of oncology, addresses the urgent need for the general public, media, and government officials to become aware of results from independent studies that find potential dangers of cell phone use.
One major assertion in the report is that both independent and industry-funded studies have found a statistically significant increased risk of brain tumors among people who use cell phones.
According to Morgan, no one in the industry has thus far refuted the report.
The risk of children and young adults using cell phones is of particular import.
One of the 15 concerns in the report is that children and young adults are the most vulnerable users, and the younger a child is when he or she begins to use a cell phone, the greater the risk.
The Interphone Study
Morgan's report also scrutinizes the Interphone study, a 13-country study conducted from 1999 to 2004. Partially funded by the telecom industry, the Interphone study's objective was to assess whether radiofrequency radiation exposure from cell phones is associated with tumor risk.
The Interphone study has been anticipated as the seminal study from which the
World Health Organization would base its stance on cell phone use.
Results of the study have been delayed for five years, and many believe it's due to internal difficulties interpreting the data.
Partial results, however, have been published from a handful of the Interphone studies. Those results found that cell phone use actually protects users from getting cancer.
Morgan alleges that there are two possibilities from these findings, namely, that using a cell phone actually does protect users from brain cancer, or that the study was flawed.
He believes that the latter is more reasonable and identifies 11 design flaws in the Interphone study, including selection bias and funding bias.
Elizabeth Cardis, leader of the Interphone study, met personally with Morgan, who presented each flaw to her in June 2008. According to Morgan, she agreed with him.
Morgan feels he is a victim of EMR exposure. In 1995, he suffered a 45-minute grand-mal seizure because of a brain tumor, and for eight days, was in a critical condition. His doctor said it might have been due to electromagnetic fields.
"I worked as an electronic engineer, so after I was capable of getting around [after the seizure], I researched the science of it," says Morgan. "I've found that the independent research always reports a higher risk [than the industry-funded studies]."
The goal of authoring "Cell Phones and Brain Tumors" is to take the information that's available in the science domain and transfer it to the public, according to Morgan. "I think if the public understands what's going on, then they'll demand that something be done. The goal is not to get rid of cell phones," he says. "All [we] have to do is change the way we use cell phones."
One of his suggestions is that governments mandate that all cell phones sold come with a wired headset rather than a speaker. "This way the device can always be away from the head and body," says Morgan.
Morgan claims that the proximity of a cell phone to the head and body is an enormously important factor, and that placing the device six inches from the head results in 10,000 times less radiation absorbed in the head than when holding the device to one's ear.
Using the speakerphone function is another suggestion. One other recommendation the report gives, which particularly targets men, is to keep the device away from the body, particularly pants or shirt pockets.
He describes the phenomenal popularity of cell phones in the last 10 years as "the largest human health experiment ever conducted without written consent on a billion people."
Morgan is referring to the fact that no private or public agencies conducted premarketing safety testing on cell phones.
"My fear is in the brain tumors," Morgan says. "I think the research is conclusive, with both industry and independent studies [finding] that cell phone use causes brain tumors with over 10 years of usage.
"We have 4 billion people on the planet using cell phones. The latency period [for tumors] is 30 years. If 10 percent of them get a brain tumor, that's 400 million people. If half of them die, that's the biggest pandemic the world has every seen."
Maine to consider cell phone cancer warning
By GLENN ADAMS Associated Press Writer © 2009 The Associated Press
Dec. 20, 2009, 2:16PM
The now-ubiquitous devices carry such warnings in some countries, though no U.S. states require them, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. A similar effort is afoot in San Francisco, where Mayor Gavin Newsom wants his city to be the nation's first to require the warnings.
Maine Rep. Andrea Boland, D-Sanford, said numerous studies point to the cancer risk, and she has persuaded legislative leaders to allow her proposal to come up for discussion during the 2010 session that begins in January, a session usually reserved for emergency and governors' bills.
Boland herself uses a cell phone, but with a speaker to keep the phone away from her head. She also leaves the phone off unless she's expecting a call. At issue is radiation emitted by all cell phones.
Under Boland's bill, manufacturers would have to put labels on phones and packaging warning of the potential for brain cancer associated with electromagnetic radiation. The warnings would recommend that users, especially children and pregnant women, keep the devices away from their head and body.
The Federal Communications Commission, which maintains that all cell phones sold in the U.S. are safe, has set a standard for the "specific absorption rate" of radiofrequency energy, but it doesn't require handset makers to divulge radiation levels.
The San Francisco proposal would require the display of the absorption rate level next to each phone in print at least as big as the price. Boland's bill is not specific about absorption rate levels, but would require a permanent, nonremovable advisory of risk in black type, except for the word "warning," which would be large and in red letters. It would also include a color graphic of a child's brain next to the warning.
While there's little agreement about the health hazards, Boland said Maine's roughly 950,000 cell phone users among its 1.3 million residents "do not know what the risks are."
All told, more than 270 million people subscribed to cellular telephone service last year in the United States, an increase from 110 million in 2000, according to CTIA-The Wireless Association. The industry group contends the devices are safe.
"With respect to the matter of health effects associated with wireless base stations and the use of wireless devices, CTIA and the wireless industry have always been guided by science, and the views of impartial health organizations. The peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk," said CTIA's John Walls.
James Keller of Lewiston, whose cell phone serves as his only phone, seemed skeptical about warning labels. He said many things may cause cancer but lack scientific evidence to support that belief. Besides, he said, people can't live without cell phones.
"It seems a little silly to me, but it's not going to hurt anyone to have a warning on there. If they're really concerned about it, go ahead and put a warning on it," he said outside a sporting good store in Topsham. "It wouldn't deter me from buying a phone."
While there's been no long-term studies on cell phones and cancer, some scientists suggest erring on the side of caution.
Last year, Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, sent a memo to about 3,000 faculty and staff members warning of risks based on early, unpublished data. He said that children should use the phones only for emergencies because their brains were still developing and that adults should keep the phone away from the head and use a speakerphone or a wireless headset.
Herberman, who says scientific conclusions often take too long, is one of numerous doctors and researchers who have endorsed an August report by retired electronics engineer L. Lloyd Morgan. The report highlights a study that found significantly increased risk of brain tumors from 10 or more years of cell phone or cordless phone use.
Also, the BioInitiative Working Group, an international group of scientists, notes that many countries have issued warnings and that the European Parliament has passed a resolution calling for governmental action to address concerns over health risks from mobile phone use.
But the National Cancer Institute said studies thus far have turned up mixed and inconsistent results, noting that cell phones did not come into widespread use in the United States until the 1990s.
"Although research has not consistently demonstrated a link between cellular telephone use and cancer, scientists still caution that further surveillance is needed before conclusions can be drawn," according to the Cancer Institute's Web site.
Motorola Inc., one of the nation's major wireless phone makers, says on its Web site that all of its products comply with international safety guidelines for radiofrequency energy exposure.
A Motorola official referred questions to CTIA.