Alert ... court ruled a phone caused tumour Exclusive By EMMA LITTLE, Health and Science Editor, and MICHAEL DAY Last Updated: 19th October 2012 MOBILE phones CAN cause brain tumours, according to a landmark court ruling.
Italian businessman Innocente Marcolini, 60, fell ill after using a handset at work for up to six hours every day for 12 years.
Now Italy’s Supreme Court in Rome has blamed his phone. Experts have predicted a flood of legal actions from victims.
Stricken Mr Marcolini last night warned: “People must be told the risks.”
He was diagnosed with a brain tumour after complaining of head and chin pains.
And yesterday his country’s Supreme Court stated there was a “causal link” between his heavy phone use and the growth.
British scientists have claimed there is insufficient evidence to prove any link to mobiles.
But after the Rome court ruling, Mr Marcolini said: “This is significant for very many people. I wanted this problem to become public because many people still do not know the risks.
“I was on the phone, usually the mobile, for at least five or six hours every day at work. I wanted it recognised that there was a link between my illness and the use of mobile and cordless phones.
“Parents need to know their children are at risk of this illness.”
Respected oncologist and professor of environmental mutagenesis Angelo Gino Levis gave evidence for Mr Marcolini — along with neurosurgeon Dr Giuseppe Grasso.
They said electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile and cordless phones can damage cells, making tumours more likely. Prof Levis told The Sun: “The court decision is extremely important. It finally officially recognises the link.
“It’ll open not a road but a motorway to legal actions by victims. We’re considering a class action.
“Tumours due to radiation may not appear for 15 years, so three to five-year studies don’t find them.
“We’ll only realise in years to come the damage phones can cause children.” Mr Marcolini’s tumour was discovered in the trigeminal nerve — close to where the phone touched his head. It is benign but threatened to kill him as it spread to the carotid artery, the major vessel carrying blood to his brain.
Decision ... court building in Rome Rex
His face was left paralysed and he takes daily morphine for pain.
Alasdair Philips of Powerwatch, which campaigns for more research on mobile use, said: “This is an interesting case and proves the need for more studies.
“People should limit mobile and cordless use until we know more.”
The World Health Organisation urged limits on mobile use last year, calling them a Class B carcinogen. But a spokesman for Britain’s Health Protection Agency said: “The scientific consensus is that mobile phones do not cause cancer.”
International radiation biology expert Michael Repacholi said: “Studies show no evidence of cancer. But if you are worried, use a headset, hands-free or loudspeaker.”
Media lawyer Mark Stephens said the verdict could “open the floodgates” — even though there is no direct obligation on British courts to follow the Italians’ lead.
He said: “It is possible people will begin legal action here, but I think the chances of success are less. I think they’ll join any class action in Italy.”
Jury out for 12yrs
MAY 2000: Government’s Stewart Report warns kids to avoid mobiles due to unknown effects of microwave radiation.
October 2005: British Journal of Cancer says no substantial risk of brain tumours in first ten years of mobile use.
October 2007: Britain’s Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme finds no link to ill health.
May 2011: Council of Europe warns mobiles should be banned from classrooms over “potentially harmful” effects.
June 2012: World Health Organisation says “some” cancer risk.
Exposure to radiation from cell phones during pregnancy affects the brain development of offspring, potentially leading to hyperactivity, Yale School of Medicine researchers have determined.
The results, based on studies in mice, are published in the March 15 issue of Scientific Reports, a Nature publication.
“This is the first experimental evidence that fetal exposure to radiofrequency radiation from cellular telephones does in fact affect adult behavior,” said senior author Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, professor and chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.
Taylor and co-authors exposed pregnant mice to radiation from a muted and silenced cell phone positioned above the cage and placed on an active phone call for the duration of the trial. A control group of mice was kept under the same conditions but with the phone deactivated.
The team measured the brain electrical activity of adult mice that were exposed to radiation as fetuses, and conducted a battery of psychological and behavioral tests. They found that the mice that were exposed to radiation tended to be more hyperactive and had reduced memory capacity. Taylor attributed the behavioral changes to an effect during pregnancy on the development of neurons in the prefrontal cortex region of the brain.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is a developmental disorder associated with neuropathology localized primarily to the same brain region, and is characterized by inattention and hyperactivity.
“We have shown that behavioral problems in mice that resemble ADHD are caused by cell phone exposure in the womb,” said Taylor. “The rise in behavioral disorders in human children may be in part due to fetal cellular telephone irradiation exposure.”
Taylor said that further research is needed in humans to better understand the mechanisms behind these findings and to establish safe exposure limits during pregnancy. Nevertheless, he said, limiting exposure of the fetus seems warranted.
First author Tamir Aldad added that rodent pregnancies last only 19 days and offspring are born with a less-developed brain than human babies, so further research is needed to determine if the potential risks of exposure to radiation during human pregnancy are similar.
“Cell phones were used in this study to mimic potential human exposure but future research will instead use standard electromagnetic field generators to more precisely define the level of exposure,” said Aldad.
Other Yale authors on the study include Geliang Gan and Xiao-Bing Gao.
The study was funded by grants from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, and Environment and Human Health, Inc.
GREAT NEWS for the health of Israelis that will hopefully have a flow on effect the world over--The Israeli Knesset has passed a bill requiring mobile phones to be labelled just like cigarettes, and particuarly emphasising the vulnerability of our youth.
Knesset backs bill requiring cell phones to bear health hazard warning The labels will read 'Warning - the Health Ministry cautions that heavy use and carrying the device next to the body may increase the risk of cancer, especially among children.'
By Ronny Linder-Ganz
A bill requiring all cellphones sold in Israel to bear a health-hazard warning label passed its first of three readings into law on Wednesday.
The bill, sponsored by MK Dov Khenin of Hadash and Yulia Shamalov Berkovich of Kadima, won blanket approval in parliament. It also requires all advertisements of mobile phones to bear the warning.
Hang up now! -- ABC censors post from EMRStop responding to "dissent"
08/04/2011 , 1:01 PM by Bronween Bashford
Have a think about how much time you spend talking on your mobile phone.
A new book about the dangers of radiation from mobile phones could make you rethink how and how much you use your phone.
Dr. Devra Davis was the founding director of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the U.S. National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences and Scholar in Residence. Her new book, Disconnect, provides shocking detail about cell phone radiation and your health. Jill talked with Dr Davis about the book.
What a great interview with Dr. Devra Davis . Well done Jill and ABC. It would seem that Sydney Brain Surgeon Dr Charlie Teo is right. In the past on a 60 minutes interview he asserted that the probability of more Brain Cancers would be caused by Mobile Phones. Dr Teo is often branded a radical Brain surgeon and is said by some to be too much of an outspoken cowboy, well think again.
Please note the following was posted by EMRStop on 19th May 2011. It remains unpublished upon the site. The web censors at ABC must have very narrow minds, like the poster that I criticise (either that, or an agenda).
@Stewart McGowan, Your technical prowess is not exactly evident in "mobile phones are little FM radio transmitters". No, Stewart, they are not. They operate at one or many frequencies well above standard UHF FM e.g. 800, 900, 1800, 2100 MHz. And most importantly they are pulsed modulation signals, quite unlike the frequency modulated signals of FM broadcast radio. (Maybe your text is referring to old analog mobile phones which were ~450 MHz and FM.) The pulsed component of the signal has been attributed with significant negative health effects due to it's often correlating with lower frequencies that are distinctly significant biologically--our biochemical cells function at these frequencies. Even with 2G phones, apart from access frequency of 217 Hz plus harmonics, there are control and system signals giving rise to power variations at the frequencies of 2 and 8 Hz. Intra and intercellular communications at the neurochemical level often function at this kind of frequency. As Devra is trying to illustrate (and it would be good if you bothered to read her work before mouthing off) putting this stuff next to your head is simply a bad idea.
Pseudoskeptics always know better, even when faced with insurmountable scientific research to the contrary. There is a plethora of research showing potential damage to biological cells from non-thermal electromagnetic radiation, both in the microwave/millimetre wave range, as well as lower frequencies such as the broadcast ones that you mention, and indeed much research has shown that people occupationally exposed to such EMR are more likely to suffer severe illnesses because of it. However the area is not just about 'science'. It is highly politically charged arena. Economic vested interests dependent upon EMR utilisation, from military and power utilities, through telecoms, are all intent on suppressing or tit-for-tat generation of contrary studies and bad press against the research and the researchers that might dare show that their bread n'butter trillion-dollar-per-annum technology is harmful. Regrettably our government has been almost as weak as the 'best' of them (finger gesture to the USA) in allowing unchecked proliferation of dangerous technology on a mass level. And as Devra notes, brain cancers, which are most typical of the effects of the EMR that we are talking about, can take up to forty years to surface (witness hiroshima/nagasaki survivors exposed to the ionising stuff).
Nevertheless, your secondary school text (which is probably not even referenced properly if at all) is sufficient for you to hold onto your belief sets and spew them forth to the world on the net. I can only hope with all of my heart that the school students (who incidentally are far more vulnerable than you to the effects of EMR) are not quite as gullible as the pseudoskeptics.
For those wishing to know more about the effects of ordinary analog broadcast signals on people's health, we encourage them to see Dr Eklund's work on cancer clusters around broadcast transmitters. One of the most concise precis' of that work appears in Barrie Trower's report to the UK Police force on the dangers of TETRA, as follows (it goes on to make highly relevant comments about the dangers of higher frequency pulsed EMR):
My final paper by a very highly respected New Zealand doctor, Dr Eklund (Appendix 7, Reference 7) which has 37 references shows leukaemia clusters in and around ordinary radio and TV transmitters around the world. She says on page 13 that adult leukaemia within 2 kilometres of a transmitter is 83% above expected and significantly declines within increasing distance from the transmitter. Similarly skin and bladder cancers follow a similar pattern. As a scientist I could argue that if leukaemia's' and cancers are known to exist from ordinary radio and TV transmitters which take many years to form and radio and TV waves are at the long end of the electromagnetic spectrum, and it is known that exposure to gamma rays or x-rays can cause death within a matter of weeks, a hypothetical line could be drawn from the long waves to the short waves to determine the length of time or exposure doses needed to cause such illnesses. Fitting into this pattern would be several years exposure to sunlight causing skin cancer. There are obvious anomalies with this; namely personal health, hygiene and all sorts of other factors, but as a crude estimate I would argue that the further up the electromagnetic spectrum you go, the shorter the time for the serious illnesses to occur. The microwaves used by TETRA are above radio and television waves. Being water-based animals we are particularly sensitive to microwaves; this is why microwave ovens work. Microwave ovens resonate the water molecules in food and when molecules resonate they reemit the energy they absorb as heat. This is why the food warms up and the plate does not, because it does not contain water.
Note that Dr Trower is referring to TETRA at 400 MHz here and that GSM mobile phones operate at higher frequencies (as discussed in the post above); DECT Cordless phones operate at 2400 and up to 5800 MHz (so far). We strongly suggest the reading of the entire Trower report, by clicking here.
How dangerous is your cell phone? The unfortunate reality is that you can’t really know. Even so, only one year ago, progressive San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome proposed an ordinance that would have required that all retailers inform consumers about the amount of radiation that cell phones emit. Material printed in 11pt. type would have been posted next to phones disclosing their specific absorption rate (“SAR”), which is a measure of radio frequency energy (radiation) absorbed by the body. Last Thursday, however, the City postponed enacting the law, which would have been trendsetting in the United States. The San Francisco Chronicle‘s editorial page called the City’s decision “a big disappointment, especially for a city that prides itself as willing to take on powerful interests for a social good.” (May 6, 2011).
According to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), SAR is “a straightforward means for measuring the radio frequency exposure characteristics of all cell phones to ensure that they are within the safety guidelines of the FCC.” The FCC, which has been setting those guidelines since 1996, has set a ceiling of 1.6 watts per kilogram (w/kg) of energy as the highest amount of radiation that a phone may emit and still be sold in the United States. The FCC reports that cell phone manufacturers must conduct their SAR testing under “the most severe, worst-case (and highest power) operating conditions.”
The fact is that the scientific jury is still out on the effects of cell phone-emitted radiation. Several studies suggest that cell phone users have a “significant risk” of developing brain tumors, salivary gland tumors, and eye cancer. Not so, reports the FCC — its maximum SAR exposure standard is set at a level well below that at which laboratory testing indicates, and medical and biological experts generally agree, adverse health effects could occur.
Cell phones have only been part of our daily lives since the mid-1990s. As a result, neither scientists nor the FCC nor cell phone manufacturers have been able to confirm their studies based on even one generation of long-term cell phone users. Such a data set (in crude terms) doesn’t really exist. Yet both the FCC and cell phone manufacturers are concerned. The FCC cautions:
For users who are concerned with the adequacy of this standard or who otherwise wish to further reduce their exposure, the most effective means . . . are to hold the cell phone away from the head or body and to use a speakerphone or hands-free accessory.
The advice continues:
Consider texting rather than talking — but don’t text while you drive.
Why do I feel as though I’ve just opened a dust-covered issue of National Geographic with June Cleaver advertising Whirpool on one side and the Marlboro man riding into the sunset on the opposite fold?
What’s interesting to me, as the Chronicle points out, is that “almost all manufacturers include advice for customers to limit their exposure to radiation in user guides,” including limiting the length of calls. Let’s look at this. Why is it that manufacturers who (1) advise customers to limit exposure to radiation simultaneously (2) defeat what would have been a purportedly “business-killing” law that wouldn’t even have gone that far? How can we reconcile those two positions? In the short-term, their lobbying efforts paid off. San Francisco gave in. Now let’s assume — assume — for the sake of argument that scientific studies within the next 15-20 years demonstrate within the mainstream of scientific thought that radiation from cell phones does indeed cause the negative health effects discussed above.
What then? Are you going to sue the business interests that caused consumer-oriented laws to be pushed aside? But wait, those same interests provided you written information advising you to limit the length of your calls, perfectly in line with guidance provided by the FCC.
Did you not know or should you not have known then (now) about the health risks associated with your cell phone use? Because if so, then your statute of limitations — the time within which you can seek legal remedies — likely will have expired.
American epidemiologist Dr Devra Davis joins Lateline to discuss the health risks associated with mobile phone use.
ALI MOORE: How many minutes or hours a day are you on your mobile phone?
Do you use a headset or hold it close to your ear? Do you keep it in a pocket for easy reach and do you ever think about what it could be doing to your health?
Our guest tonight says you should.
Dr Devra Davis is an epidemiologist and founding director of the toxicology and environmental studies board at the United States National Academy of Sciences. She's written a new book called Disconnect: The truth about mobile phone radiation, what the industry has done to hide it, and how to protect your family.
Devra Davis joined me from Washington earlier.
Devra Davis, welcome to Lateline.
DEVRA DAVIS, EPIDEMIOLOGIST AND AUTHOR: Thank you.
ALI MOORE: The cover of your book states categorically that as research scientists are now demonstrating, mobile phone radiation can damage the human body's cells and yet in the first few pages you write neither the danger nor the safety of cell phones is yet certain, why the apparent contradiction?
DEVRA DAVIS: Well, I think there's a lot of legitimate complexity to the science and I think industry has done a good job of magnifying that complexity so people are terribly confused about it. But the bottom line is a cell phone is a two-way microwave radio and should not be held next to the brain or close to the body.
ALI MOORE: What's convinced you, what evidence do you point to?
DEVRA DAVIS: Well, I think some of the most compelling evidence actually comes from Australia, from the laboratory of John Aitken who has shown that sperm from healthy men when split into two samples will die three times faster and have three times more damage on the DNA on the sperm after exposure to cell phone radiation.
Other work has been done also in Australia by surgeons Vinnie Karona and Charlie Teo who have looked at all the world's literature and have concluded people who use cell phones heavily have a doubled or greater risk of brain cancer overall. And then finally there's the work of Bruce Armstrong among others looking at large studies done over time in 13 different countries which also confirm the views of Dr Karona and Teo that long term regular use of cell phones puts one at risk of brain cancer.
ALI MOORE: A couple of points there. First the study involving 13 countries, there was the World Health Organisation's interphone study which was over a number of years and as we said, involved more than a dozen countries. That study determined that overall there was no increase in risk of glioma, in other words, brain cancer, with the use of mobile phones. They did say it requires further investigation. But more investigation is a lot different to saying big risk, isn't it?
DEVRA DAVIS: Well, let me point something out to you, that study defined a user as someone who made one call a week for six months. I don’t know about you but I certainly use my phone more than that. And the average user in that study hadn't used a cell phone very long. Very recently two of the leaders of that study have broken ranks from that conclusion. Dr Siegal Sadetzki and Dr Elisabeth Cardis who originally was the director of the entire interphone study, have just published an analysis where they say that while more studies are always needed, And I certainly agree we need more data, at this point they think it would be imprudent not to take precautionary actions based on what they have observed which is, as I noted, a doubled or greater risk of brain tumours with long term cell phone users and remember this, the interphone study did not analyse data that they still have on tumours of the cheek and tumours of the hearing nerve and there again several studies in a number of country, Israel and Japan among them, have found a double or greater risk on tumours on the hearing nerve and tumours on the check associated with long term cell phone use. So I do think at this point it's appropriate to take precautionary action because brain cancer can take 40 years to develop in a population that's been exposed. We know that because it took 40 years after the bombings that ended World War II before we saw a measurable significant increase in brain cancer in the general population in Japan.
ALI MOORE: Is that why when you look at the studies even going as far back as the mid-80s when mobile phone use became more common, the rates of brain cancer had been pretty constant, is that how you explain that?
DEVRA DAVIS: Exactly. And by the way in the mid-80s fewer than 3 per cent of all people in most of our countries were using cell phones but if you fast forward to today when almost 100 per cent of people are using cell phones and in Australia you have more than one phone for every person. Some people have two or three phones. So the situation right now today is radically different than in the 1980s, 1990s or even at the beginning of this decade.
ALI MOORE: What about the Danish study of 2006 which is cited by many, more than 420,000 mobile phone users were followed for more than 21 years and no evidence was found of tumour risk with phone use, would you say that's another case of not enough time and not enough usage?
DEVRA DAVIS: Two things, I think that's well said. Not enough time, not enough usage but the average user in that study had used a cell phone for eight years. Again, we know that it seems to be 10 years or more that triggers this measurable increase in risk but there's something else that's very important to understand about that study. That study actually started out with 700,000 cell phone users, mobile phone users and they excluded 200,000 people because they were business users of mobile phones. So they excluded the people that might have been the biggest users, the heaviest users. They then looked at the remaining group and asked whether there was any measurable increase in brain tumours that had occurred in a period of time that included 20 years but very few people in their study had actually used a cell phone for more than 10 years. Now, here's the problem, they looked at less than a million people, the rate of brain cancer in the general population is say four to five per 100,000. So you need to observe many millions of people in a large population over a long period of time before finding anything at all and as you pointed out before we just don't have enough time to observe all that. That's why in my book, Disconnect, I talk about what we know experimentally and what we know experimentally is if you take radio frequency radiation from a cell phone and expose it to brain cells in a culture in the laboratory you can actually measure markers of damage to those brain cells just like that which we see with cancer.
ALI MOORE: If the evidence is so clear why is it that no less an authority than the World Health Organisation says that the current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low level electromagnetic fields and indeed that's a finding that's echoed by other public health organisations?
DEVRA DAVIS: Well, actually the World Health Organisation has said that low level electromagnetic fields are a suspect cause of cancer in humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, and in May they're going to be reviewing the evidence on mobile phone radiation as well which is a form of radio frequency radiation. In fact, it is difficult to view the evidence and the World Health Organisation tends to focus predominantly on human studies and as we indicated at the beginning if you focus only on cancer I think you're missing an important part of the equation. That's why the work on sperm count and male health is so important.
John Aitken's work has been matched by work by the director of the Cleveland Clinic, Professor Ashok Agarwal, one of the world's most distinguished experts in this field, and work by Lukas Margaritas in a laboratory in Greece and by the medical university in Turkey. All of those laboratories working totally independently of one another have shown markers of damage on the DNA of sperm, have shown a production of free radicals which are damaging agents in the blood and those together, I think, indicate that we've got real reason for concern which is why the Israeli government, the Finnish government, the French government and British government have all issued precautionary statements of various sorts. In fact in France right now it would be illegal to sell a cell phone for the use of a child under the age of 12.
ALI MOORE: Wouldn't you imagine though that that in itself would be enough for the WHO and other organisations to issue stronger warnings?
DEVRA DAVIS: I think they will be doing that soon. I've been in contact with senior officials there and in a number of other nations that are very concerned about this. The issue with cell phones is not that hard. It's not that we tell people you shouldn't use them but you need to use them safely which means use a head set, use a speaker phone, don't keep the phone on your body. Be smart and sensible with how you use a phone and don't give a phone to a child to use without a head set or a speaker phone. Children should be encouraged to text and not talk on a phone and all of us should think twice before keeping a phone close to the head or close to the body.
ALI MOORE: And if you take the steps that you recommend does that reduce the risk or remove it?
DEVRA DAVIS: Well you know, there's no such thing as a life without risk and I think phones today are like cars and guns and alcohol, they're things that we become quite accustomed to, they have valuable roles in our society but we've got to be smart about how we use them. Remember when we didn't have air bags or seatbelts and when we weren't quite aware of the needs to take precautions in the way we drove, that's where we are with cell phones today. We've got to take a step back and be sensible to understand that there are safer ways to use cell phones and that's why we're launching the global campaign for safer cell phones.
ALI MOORE: Given the uncertainty while you might argue the absence of proof doesn't equal proof of safety, you go a step further, you warn of a public health catastrophe, is that not alarmist?
DEVRA DAVIS: Well, you know, let me explain where I'm coming from. I worked at the US National Academy of Sciences for 10 years and in that capacity as director of one of their large boards I oversaw the evaluation of the evidence on passive smoke and tobacco and asbestos and in those instances we looked at the data and we said well we're not sure, we think there could be a problem and while we waited and continued to evaluate the issue unfortunately millions of people were exposed and you in Australia now are just starting to recover from the epidemics associated with tobacco and asbestos. In this situation with cell phones I don't think we want to wait. That's why I've written my book, that's why I've taken a step outside of the traditional academic role and say look, we can be sensible about this. Let's take these precautions now, we're going to be better off and my children and grandchildren will be better off as well. I recognise we don't have definitive proof in terms of human harm but for where I sit as someone who evaluated evidence for governments around the world on tobacco and asbestos we have plenty of good solid reasons for concern and there are simple things we can do to protect ourselves so let's just do it.
ALI MOORE: You say not definitive proof but in fact you're implying a cover up, aren't you? You write that the existence of scientific conflict on this subject is in large part a reflection of the successful efforts of some to manufacture scientific doubt?
DEVRA DAVIS: Well, I think the documentation on that is pretty clear. It's in my book, it's in the work of Dr Donald Mache in Australia as well where we trace the paper trail and trace the money trail. One example that will be in my new afterword that is not out yet is that in 1994 when scientists first reported in a scientific meeting that cell phone radiation could damage the DNA inside the nucleus of the brain of rats, those scientists were treated the following way. First the journal that accepted their paper was asked to unaccept it. Then their university was asked to fire them, then the agency that funded them was asked to defund them and when all of that failed then the company hired a public relations firm to "war game the science" and all of that is documented and will be in the afterword to my book as well. So this war game strategy is what industry did in the 1990s and remember, in the 1990s we didn't even have a cell phone in every house, in every person.
ALI MOORE: That would imply, wouldn't it, that the WHO and the other public health organisations that say there's no risk are part of the same conspiracy and where's their incentive to hide the facts?
DEVRA DAVIS: I don't think it's such a simple thing as a conspiracy. Look, cell phones are very convenient, we want to believe that they're going to be safe. I myself started out when writing this book years ago, I had three phones. I thought that people were concerned about this were ridiculous and I learned I was wrong. I learned that Sir William Stuart in Britain in the year 2000 headed up a commission for the government, for the Royal College of Physicians, and concluded that based on what he knew then it would be prudent for teenagers not to use cell phones and by the way the British health authorities have recently reaffirmed that view in a pamphlet you can find from our website. So I don't think it's a matter of a simple conspiracy. Science is more complicated than that and we become scientists because we like to argue and we like to look to look at detail and nuance and there are legitimate uncertainty and questions that can be raised by reasonable people. I think what's happened in this situation is that the industry has taken some advantage of the inherent tendencies of scientists to get into arguments with one another, magnified that, exaggerated uncertainties which are legitimate and as a bottom line consequence the public's terribly confused which I understand.
ALI MOORE: Certainly plenty of food for thought. Devra Davis, many thanks for joining Lateline.
• That manufacturers could make the phones so less radiation would escape into the user’s head, but most are unwilling to do so, apparently because to do so would decrease their profit, and acknowledge the potential risk?
• That different brands and models of phones have widely different levels of emissions?
• That Lloyd’s of London recently refused to underwrite cellular manufacturers against possible future claims of microwave health damage?
Leakage, Standards, and Excessive Exposure
To a first approximation, four times the radiation is going into the side of your head than is actually being used to transmit a signal to the cellular tower. Four times. This level of leakage is disturbing. In one test, 3,000 µW/cm2 has been measured coming out of the ear-piece of a Motorola Micro TAC phone.
In another test, three times that much was measured, and the data for the following graph was collected:
Unshielded maximum radiation level at the given lattitude (in mW/cm2) vs. distance along the vertical axis of the phone (cm) [NOTE: the emissions from the body of the phone were highest near the midline, and in the antenna region they were highest, of course, over the antenna]:
Why all the leakage? It has been postulated that fundamentally, this is about keeping production costs low, that the source of the leakage is poorly matched transmitters, feeds and antennas. It is also related to the techniques used to measure the fields, and the protocols involved. Secondarily, it is about lack of shielding in the phone case.
Because the FCC is primarily concerned with making sure Cellular Phones do not interfere with other devices, they are willing to ignore what is happening in the immediate vicinity of the phone, the so-called near-field, where your head is. In a letter to FCC Chairman, Mr. William E. Kennard, Dr. David Nghiem, Ph.D, and CEO of USA Wireless, describes how none of the phones they tested met the Emissions Mask Requirements of the FCC specification.
Your Cellphone is licensed to operate at a certain frequency; however it also emits radiation at other frequencies as well. The FCC probably due mostly to it's focus on interference, sets a gain measured in decibels, for the harmonics. The third harmonic is supposed to be 1/10,000 of the fundamental frequency, but in testing, USA Wireless discovered none of the phones they tested met this Emissions Mask Requirement.
Because of all this leakage, and the proximity of the antenna, a disproportionate amount of radiation is absorbed directly into the user’s head.
In a test performed for the October 20, 1999 ABC News 20/20 segment on Cellphone Safety by IMST in Germany, they found that four out of five of the phones they tested exceeded the standard in at least one testing position. They determined that a phone would pass or fail the safety standard based upon what angle the phone was held at during the test. The standard was reportedly entirely ambiguous in this respect, allowing phone manufacurers to simply re-orient their phone until it passes the test. One popular model exceeded the standard in both positions tested, and would only pass when a remote earpice was used.
In the ABC test, all phones were tested in Analog mode. They report testing in two positions; one, referred to as the "touch position" yielded lower SARs.
In a follow-up, ABC News says the FCC thinks the ABC test results "warrant closer scrutiny", and the FDA says the industry should design phones to minimize the radiation exposure to users.
Cell-phone Output by Model
Testing has shown a wide range in radiation exposure to the user of various brands and models of cellular phones. Cellular manufacturers aren’t very happy about this, and the manufacturer of the lowest emitting phone in one test was reportedly barred from using that fact to promote their product.
MicroTac Lite XL
6160 w/ earpiece
Output is expressed in Watts per Kilogram Current UK Standard = 1.0W/Kg Current US Standard = 1.6W/Kg
Output is expressed in Watts per Kilogram Current UK Standard = 1.0W/Kg Current US Standard = 1.6W/Kg
Output is expressed in Watts per Kilogram Current UK Standard = 1.0W/Kg Current US Standard = 1.6W/Kg
Note: Different methodologies were used to arrive at the figures in the three tables above, that accounts for the widely different figures. The important thing to note is that within each test, the models were tested in the same way, and the relative output still differs over a very wide range.
Recent studies are showing more significant bio-effects at lower and lower power densities. Dr. Henry Lai has reportedly seen DNA single and double strand breaks at levels below the current FCC exposure standard. Magras & Xenos have reported irreversible sterility in mice after 5 generations of exposure to 0.168 to 1.053 microwatts per square centimeter in an "antenna park." Note that the current, applicable US exposure standard would be 579 microwatts per square centimeter, -- 500 times higher! -- and that this very low exposure level would relate more to a person living near a Cellular Tower, than a phone user.
An underwriter for Lloyd’s of London recently made international news when he refused to underwrite cellular manufacturers against future claims due to cellular health effects. Lloyd’s took a beating on asbestos, and it looks like they are going to play it safe on this one. Lloyd’s stays in business by playing the odds, and by doing it well. That they are taking this seriously, is an indicator that we should be taking it seriously as well.
Sources: • ABC News 20/20 Segment on Cellphones - Their web-site has video clips, but not the full information from the show, which aired Oct 20, 1999. It featured interviews with Dr. George Carlo, Dr. Ross Adey, and others.
Australian journalist Ticky Fullerton dug deep into the mobile phone/brain cancer controversy in 2009, as shown in the transcript below. The most interesting thing about this item is the fact that Australia's supposed watchdog for the people and "protection authority", ARPANSA, put in their website that the results of Interphone showed a result for long term users getting a benign brain cancer, and left off details of the highly malignant one that was also indicated by the Interphone studies in the same breath.
The question is of course, what possible innocent error in the ARPANSA text entry would constitute such a "curious" omission? And how interesting that it is the omission of details regarding the malignant tumours, but not the benign. This appears to be a case of deliberate obfuscation, because it should be the case that ARPANSA would get such a critical matter right in the first place and not have to be reminded to do so by research journalists that stumble across their omission.
The gravity of this omission should not be underplayed. This is a smoking gun.
The relevant part of the transcript is highlighted in bold, below.
Also highlighted is the paragraph before the omission, which we believe is an incredible statement that is being made by the head of ARPANSA in relation to people taking responsibility for safety of mobile device on themselves. Any amount of thought upon this should raise serious concerns about the "protection" and safety service being delivered by this authority.
One other point from this very useful expose that needs to be mentioned, is that it is very fortunate that the journalist/researchers "bullshit detectors" were turned on, so as to also catch out Rodney Croft, with his unbelievable assertion that there was research out there that demonstrated that we are all too stupid to remember what side of the head we use our phone on.
Besides the despicable condescension here, such skewed elements exhibited by those who are supposed to be properly evaluating the circumstances (and in positions of government and/or research authority) casts something of a dark shadow over the hope of actually getting proper public health evaluations and answers in the context of mobile phones and microwave radiation. With the exception of ethical parties such as Armstrong, one could be forgiven for the perception that these Australians seem to be largely functioning as protectors and apologists for the big money industry that is at the centre of this issue. --EMRStop
Scientists speak out on mobile phone, cancer link
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Reporter: Ticky Fullerton
Over half the world now pays to have a mobile phone. But any research into a link between mobiles phones and brain cancer looks like 'unfinished business' especially with children. Some countries like France and even Finland, the home of Nokia, are changing policies on mobile phones and two leading Australian scientists have spoken out.
LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: They've sold in the billions, and now they're even being marketed to five-year-olds.
Along the way the prevailing scientific opinion has been that mobile phones don't really have any significant health effects.
But in the past year some governments including the European Union have suddenly changed their policies on how cell phones should be used, especially when it comes to children.
And they're not the only voices breaking from the orthodoxy that mobiles are safe.
The epidemiologist in charge of Australia's part in the biggest ever study of mobile phone safety is now warning of an increased risk of potentially deadly brain tumours.
And another Australian doctor, whose controversial recent findings of a similar link were attacked by the mobile phone industry, has this month had his research endorsed by peer review.
Even so, the Australian Government is yet to shift its approach to mobile phones and human health.
Ticky Fullerton reports.
TICKY FULLERTON: There are more mobile phones than people in Australia, now a necessity for both the public and the Government.
Mobiles pump $6.5 billion a year into the economy. Many of us grew up about that niggling doubt about the heat of the phone from those half hour calls. But life goes on.
And let's be clear, the World Health Organisation, the US Federal Drugs Administration and Europe's top scientific committee all agree that the weight of scientific evidence does not link mobile phones with any major health problems and that this machine i.e. benign and safe.
So why, then, are some governments warning their citizens and some Australian scientists urging we take precaution, particularly around children.
It's all happened in just the last 12 months.
Two very different Australian voices have questioned the orthodox view. Epidemiologist Professor Bruce Armstrong has broken ranks on the world's largest research study, and top neurosurgeon Dr Vini Khurana has this week published his research review. Both find an increased risk of brain tumours on the side of the head the mobile is used after 10 years of calls, reflecting growing concerns around the world.
PROFESSOR DEVRA DAVIS, UNI OF PITTSBURGH CANCER INSTITUTE: When it comes to proof of human harm, we've kind of been led down a garden path that says the only proof that really counts is enough sick or dead people. And I think that approach has got to change and particularly with respect to something like brain cancer. Brain cancer can take 10, 20 or 30 years to develop. It may affect people 30, 40 years after they've been exposed. Our children are using cell phones in growing numbers. They're marketing cell phones now to five-year-olds.
TICKY FULLERTON: The country's major research centre in any possible link is the Australian Centre for RF Bioeffects Research run by Rodney Croft.
Should we be worried about this?
RODNEY CROFT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ACRBR: No. There really has been a lot of research done to date and the research has very clearly shown that there aren't any effects. With children, I really don't think that there is any evidence suggesting that this might be a problem. There isn't anything to suggest that we may have to be a little bit more cautious.
TICKY FULLERTON: The ACRBR boasts some of our most experiences scientists, but as we'll see, it also has strong links with the industry.
In New York, Louis Slesin runs Microwave News, which has tracked the mobile story for over 20 years. He's become highly critical of those he sees downplaying a link to cancer.
LOUIS SLESIN, MICROWAVE NEWS: The people who are not inside, the insiders if you will, are much more willing to speak out and say, "we've got to be careful." The resistant comes from the people in the field, you know, the so-called expert groups, those who make their bread and butter out of this, and they're saying, "No, no, there's nothing to worry about," which is what they've been saying for 20 years.
TICKY FULLERTON: Last month a survey found over a third of British children had a mobile at eight-years-old.
It was 10 years ago that a British documentary raised concerns about children and mobiles.
10 years on, what more do we know?
The research that was supposed to answer this question was Interphone, a huge $15 million population study. Thirteen different countries, including Australia, compared thousands of tumour cases with healthy people and their use of mobiles.
Interphone completed in 2006 but the conclusions have never been published. Insiders tell Lateline that the scientists can't agree on the results and have refused to talk to the media.
LOUIS SLESIN: The fact that Interphone has not come out yet is a scandal.
TICKY FULLERTON: What has come out are some results for individual countries, particularly northern Europeans.
So far, for people using mobiles for less than 10 years, there's no increased risk of gliomas, the killer brain tumour. That's the message that the industry wants the public to hear.
Chris Althaus runs the industry's peak body.
CHRIS ALTHAUS, AUS MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ASSOC: Having looked at the results of Interphone and having looked at the studies that have been longer than Interphone, there's a Danish study that's two decades long. There is no medical, no biological or statistical substantiation of an adverse health outcome between brain and noble phone use.
TICKY FULLERTON: But the Interphone study tells a different story for people using mobiles for 10 years or more.
LOUIS SLESLIN: It's been a couple of years now that we have data from the Interphone project that indicates that we have a potential problem.
TICKY FULLERTON: Late last year in Melbourne, the scientist running Australia's Interphone study spoke out.
Bruce Armstrong declined an interview with Lateline citing Interphone sensitivities, but his opinion is now on the public record from the keynote speech he made a Rodney Croft's ACRBR conference, streamed on the internet.
Professor Armstrong's conclusions, if correct, are an industry nightmare: for long-term users; suggestions of an increased risk of glioma, the deadly tumour, on the same side of the brain that a mobile is usually used; enough to be a cause for concern; and that we should limit exposure, especially for children, to as low as reasonably achievable.
RODNEY CROFT: Certainly in terms of the research that Professor Armstrong is talking about, I certainly do not believe that it is as strong as what he would think.
LOUIS SLESIN: Armstrong says, "Be cautious." ACBR, which has all these connections to the industry, is saying, "Listen, you know, don't worry, be happy," if you will. He is their keynoter, he is the guy who's putting it all together. So he's not really an outsider, he's just not a member of the club. He is, you know, certainly a card carrying member of the epidemiologist - I mean, he's a world class epidemiologist.
TICKY FULLERTON: The Interphone data has been widely criticised for inaccuracies. After all, can you remember the number of calls and how long you spent on the phone, say, four years ago?
But the link of tumours to the side of the head a mobile is used relies only on people remembering which side that was.
RODNEY CROFT: Well, there are many difficulties with this kind of research, trying to determine what side of the head, for instance, someone uses their phone on, particularly after they've been diagnosed with a brain tumour.
TICKY FULLERTON: Is it really that difficult, though? I mean, how many minutes you might have been on a phone might be difficult, but most people remember what side of the phone they've used over the years.
RODNEY CROFT: You would think so. Someone actually tested this recently to see how difficult it was. And there was very little correlation between the side that they actually used and the side that they reported.
TICKY FULLERTON: Why is that, though? Because certainly the research that Professor Armstrong has done on this supports the view that there isn't recall bias in this particular area, so what was the piece of research that you are talking about?
RODNEY CROFT: I would have to find that for you.
TICKY FULLERTON: When Lateline asked to see the research showing people couldn't remember the side they used the mobile, Rodney Croft admitted to some difficulties. The research was not yet published but he says the conclusions drawn by Armstrong are wrong.
RODNEY CROFT: We're looking at about 50 cases across the entire world. So far all that's been reported in the literature is 23 cases.
TICKY FULLERTON: Bruce Armstrong's findings now sit neatly alongside independent research from a scientist here in Sweden.
Lennart Hardell has been talking about a link between the side of the head and since the lates1990s. Again sample groups are small, but in the same month that Armstrong spoke out, Hardell presented his latest research at the Royal Society in London.
PROFESSOR LENNART HARDELL, UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, OREBRO: What is actually worrying us now is recent analysis of our data where we find that the risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma is highest among those persons who have started their use of a mobile phone or cordless phone before the age of 20.
TICKY FULLERTON: Dr Hardell found that for people who started to use cell phones as teenagers, by the time they were in their really late 20s, they had four to five times more malignant tumours of the brain.
TICKY FULLERTON: Professor Armstrong acknowledged he was delivering the same message about side of head as Hardell, who the industry largely ignores, and that he, too, would be downplayed.
BRUCE ARMSTRONG: Will everyone go away tonight and say, "Well, that stuff about side of the brain and use of mobile phone, that's interesting, but I don't think it can be real."
LOUIS SLESIN: He's basically changed the conversation. He's saying, "We can't accept these denials that there's nothing there anymore." I think this is a watershed moment.
TICKY FULLERTON: Other research by the ACRBR itself has found the power of a mobile does affect the brain.
RODNEY CROFT: We've been exploring effects on mobile phones on very subtle changes to brain function. We have been finding reliable changes in a particular frequency of brain activity called the alpha rhythm.
TICKY FULLERTON: Why is it such a leap of faith to think that if there's a biological change, that that might not be a health impact?
RODNEY CROFT: I think one of the reasons is that the only known mechanism for interaction is heating. But we must remember that it's also possible that holding a block of wood to your head, which is going to increase the temperature by more than the radiofrequencies, could cause a problem.
LOUIS SLESIN: We don't understand the mechanism, but, you know, Croft himself has shown that it does something in there. I find it so interesting that people find facts which could lead them to a breakthrough in terms of understanding basic science and say, "Oh, listen, don't pay attention, it doesn't matter. It's a subtle thing, throw it out." That's completely unscientific.
TICKY FULLERTON: Bad science was behind a YouTube clip in March last year, which got four million hits in its first week.
It looks like radio waves from the four mobiles are strong enough to cook popcorn.
At the ACRBR's conference, Telstra was on board. It was easy to expose the popcorn hoax.
TELSTRA REPRESENTATIVE: I think we have enough phones on the table to successfully prove that at the moment these phones are not cooking the popcorn.
TICKY FULLERTON: Not so easy is explaining close ties with the industry. The ACRBR was created with Telstra funding and Telstra lab equipment. Rodney Croft denies the industry buys influence.
You have Telstra researchers working through the ACRBR. Your board consists of at least one director who's a Telstra board member, who's a former chief Government scientist and a former head of the CSIRO. Can you see the potential for some heavy influence there?
RODNEY CROFT: It would still be very difficult. I mean, you really have a board of six that make the scientific decisions.
Money going into this research comes from a levy on industry, but it goes to Government, Government sends it to National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, they then have independent groups to decide what research is important.
TICKY FULLERTON: Telstra declined an interview with Lateline, leaving the industry peak body to speak on its behalf.
CHRIS ALTHAUS, AUST. MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ASSOC: It's for the scientist to use funds to investigate these subjects. They are very expert at doing so. It's a very complex area. So this industry is responsibly contributing but in no way influences the outcome of the research.
TICKY FULLERTON: Epidemiologist Deborah Davis says industry research has shown that the radiation penetrates the brain of a child more deeply than an adult.
PROFESSOR DEVRA DAVIS: Should we insist, we won't act until we have proof of sick or dead kids before acting? I don't think so, and neither does the European parliament.
TICKY FULLERTON: In September the European parliament voted 522 to 16 to recommend tighter safety standards for mobiles. Five countries have now warned their citizens about the dangers of mobile phones around children - even Finland, where Nokia makes up a third of the Stock Exchange.
There are other players sounding the alarm. In Canberra, neurosurgeon Dr Vini Khurana deals with tumours day to day.
In March last year he made headlines with his review of research. He found that 10 years of mobile use doubles the risk of brain cancer on the same side of the head the mobile is used. He later appeared on Larry King in the US.
VINI KHURANA, NEUROSURGEON (archival footage, 'Larry King', 2008): Just Because we don't know the mechanism or the link, at a molecular level, between how cell phones may generate the milieu at a molecular level that results in a brain tumour does not mean that there is no mechanism. There's no known mechanism, but not necessarily no mechanism. And I'd like to point you to the long term data that's coming out of the Interphone studies.
TICKY FULLERTON: What's your reaction to Vini Khurana's research paper from last year?
RODNEY CROFT: Look, I really don't think it's a good research paper scientifically. There are many limitations with that, and I don't think the conclusion that he reached make any sense.
TICKY FULLERTON: If that paper was peer reviewed favourably by respectable scientists, would you change your view?
RODNEY CROFT: By respectable scientists, yes. There is certainly different levels of peer review.
TICKY FULLERTON: Just this week a peer review of Dr Khurana's research has been published in the international journal 'Surgical Neurology'.
Co-authors include Lennart Hardell and high-profile neurosurgeon Charles Teo.
Dr Teo was asked recently if mobiles had anything to do with the onslaught of brain tumours.
DR CHARLES TEO, NEUROSURGEON: In my view, yes, but not scientifically, no. I think the scariest thing is that we know that when you give radiation for cancer to the brain, you can develop brain cancer from the radiation. So we know that, we know that radiation causes cancer. But it takes about 10 years for it to develop.
TICKY FULLERTON: Elsewhere in the world, eminent scientists have taken very public stands.
Last September, the head of Pittsburgh University's cancer centre put out a memo to 3000 staff warning them about mobiles.
And in France last June, 20 top health professionals used a newspaper to lobby the Government. They were not epidemiologists, but the campaign drew out a clear comment from the then head of the very guarded Interphone group.
LOUIS SLESIN: When the statement came out in the French press saying we should be careful, she endorsed it too. Now, who - is there anybody more central to this than Elizabeth Cardis?
TICKY FULLERTON: So what does the Australian Government make of all this?
DR COLIN ROY, AUST RADIATION PROTECTION NUCLEAR SAFETY AGENCY: There's no real evidence, no convincing evidence that there's any adverse effects from mobile phone exposure. We don't receive here a lot of express concerns about mobile phones, and I think this is because people can take control. You know, it's up to them how they use that phone.
TICKY FULLERTON: For those anxious, the Department website advises shorter calls and using a hands free and a mobile without a built in antenna.
But the website description of Interphone research had a curious omission; it said,"... for prolonged mobile use, there were reports of a small association with the benign tumour, acoustic neuroma, but did not mention the nasty one, glioma.
DR COLIN ROY: That is an emission if it doesn't. Certainly in our briefings and that, we keep the Government and the Ministers up to date with the latest findings from Interphone.
TICKY FULLERTON: After Lateline pointed out the emission, the website was updated.
Besides what the public can do, changes could also be made to the radiation level coming out of a mobile phone, called the SAR. SAR levels are often buried on company websites, but the industry is required to keep the SAR below two watts a kilo.
Yet if mobile phones are causing brain tumours, they're causing them at this level of exposure. I'm a high user, and the ABC mobile that's been given to me has a SAR of at least twice many others on the market.
I asked the industry peak body if it was worried that making SAR levels more prominent might be admitting a problem.
CHRIS ALTHAUS: No, because there isn't a problem. We go back to the rationale around an SAR reading and of course, again, it comes back to standards that have been set with large safety margins.
TICKY FULLERTON: For Devra Davis, as long as industry holds the purse strings, its influence on research will continue.
PROFESSOR DEVRA DAVIS: And I think the motto for how to do this comes from the movie 'Thank You For Smoking'. 'Thank You For Smoking' was all about how you lobbied promote products that are, shall we say, a little questionable. Products like tobacco, and alcohol, and guns.
TICKY FULLERTON: At the end of the movie, the newest recruit is the mobile phone industry.
(Excerpt of film 'Thank You For Smoking')
CHRIS ALTHAUS: And what we know is that there's no medical, biological or statistical evidence of any adverse health outcome from the use of a mobile phone.
But that's not sufficient to just rule a line on research. 10 years and beyond is now a new dimension of research, and industry supports that approach.
TICKY FULLERTON: Yet in reality, there's little effort into new research. The US National Research Council has called for large population studies into the future, and others for long term high users, which is a lot of us these days.
Do you think the research should be done urgently?
RODNEY CROFT: Well, I wouldn't say urgently. I really think it's more a matter of following up some of the reports out there, which don't seem to fit in to our understanding of science.
LOUIS SLESIN: Here's the killer: there is not a single study on cell phone radiation going on in the United States today. Nothing. There's a big study in the wings, but it hasn't started yet. But if that gets under way, we'll have one study. That's it. Now, with four billion people worldwide using cell phones, could we spend a few dollars finding out whether our children are at risk or not?
TICKY FULLERTON: The powers of the mobile reach into governments and business as well as into our brains.
So, after years of trusting that pressing a mobile to our heads is safe, should the growing dissent now be ringing in our ears.
This video news item on Aussie TV illustrates the first hand testimonies of a couple of mobile / cell phone victims, and the opinions of two leading Australian Neurosurgeons, who have to deal with the alarming rising incidence of brain cancer--especially evident in our children.
MOBILE phone radiation causes headaches and interrupts vital sleeping patterns, according to research funded by some of the world’s biggest phone manufacturers.
Researchers from the US and Sweden discovered during the study that participants exposed to mobile phone radiation experienced headaches, change of moods, confusion and trouble sleeping.
In their findings, published in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Progress in Electromagnetics Research Symposium (PIERS), the researchers said 38 of the 71 participants showed symptoms of mobile phone radiation.
“The study indicates that during laboratory exposure to 884 MHz wireless signals, components of sleep, believed to be important for recovery from daily wear and tear, are adversely affected,” the researchers said in the PIERS article.
“Moreover, participants that otherwise have no self-reported symptoms related to mobile phone use appear to have more headaches during the actual radiofrequency exposure as compared to sham exposure.”
The researchers from Wayne State University in the US and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute found mobile phone radiation extended the period of time it took for participants to fall asleep – and even then they were still affected.
“Under the (radiofrequency) exposure condition, participants exhibited a longer latency to deep sleep,” the researchers said.
The Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF), made up of industry giants like Nokia and Motorola, funded the study.
A MMF spokesperson was quoted by UK newspaper The Independent as saying the “results were inconclusive” and “the researchers did not claim that exposure caused sleep disturbance”.
Study leader Bengt Arnetz told the newspaper that mobile phone radiation decreased participants’ ability to wind down and fall asleep.
“We did find an effect from mobile phones from exposure scenarios that were realistic,” Professor Arnetz said.