HELSINKI, Finland, April 9, 2013 – Current safety standards for the radiation emissions from cell phones are old. FCC standard is from 1996 and ICNIRP from 1998. Since that time, a large number of research studies have been published, some of which pointed towards the possible health risk of exposures to cell phone radiation.
In May 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer invited 30 experts to evaluate scientific evidence concerning the carcinogenicity of cell phone radiation.
As a result of nearly 2 weeks of deliberations, IARC experts voted to classify the cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen, a class 2B carcinogen. In everyday language it means that although we do not have ultimate proof that cell phone radiation is carcinogenic, we have enough scientific evidence to suspect such possibility and be cautious when using these devices.
The decision of the international experts was based mainly on the epidemiological evidence and on the evidence provided by the animal studies. The evidence provided by the laboratory studies was considered too weak to strengthen the classification of carcinogenicity and put it into class 2A carcinogen category, which is a probable carcinogen.
The classification of cell phone radiation as a possible carcinogen came as a great surprise to the scientific community and to the industry alike. Those who disagreed, called the classification flawed and a variety of second-hand “spin” stories were published in the news media denouncing the classification.
Saying that the IARC classification is flawed is incorrect for the following reasons:
Professor Belpomme's opinion on the French EHS study.
"There's no interest in Professor Choudat's clinical study, as the starting point a priori has no causal link between ''hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields'' as we observe it clinically, and electromagnetic fields; in other words, it is affirmed that the patients are hypocondriacs and fall within the realm of psychiatry.
As an industrial physician, the head of this study, furthermore, has no clinical experience with regard to handling such patients or the scientific knowledge needed for a biological understanding of the hypersensitivity phenomenon.
The clinical study planned has been ordered by the public authorities and is today fostered by Public Assistance - Hospital of Paris, with a view to demonstrating the harmlessness of electromagnetic fields with regard to health. It is most likely that this study will not run until the end, as what patients are asking for is to be concretely taken care of. In addition, even negative, this study will not bring anything new, given the abundant international scientific literature that demonstrates the harmful role of electromagnetic fields on health.
Naturally, you can give us your opinion.
Professor Dominique Belpomme
Original Text in French: Pr Dominique Belpomme et l'Étude Française sur l'EHS
"L'étude clinique proposée par le Pr. Choudat en France n'a aucun intérêt car le point de départ est qu'il n'y a à priori aucun lien causal entre "l'hypersensibilité aux champs électromagnétiques" telle qu'on l'observe cliniquement et les champs électromagnétiques. autrement dit, il est affirmé que les malades sont hypocondriaques et relèvent de la psychiatrie.
En tant que médecin du travail, le responsable de cette étude n'a d'ailleurs aucune expérience clinique concernant la prise en charge de tels malades ni les connaissances scientifiques nécessaires à la compréhension biologique du phénomène d'hypersensibilité.
L'étude clinique projetée a été commanditée par les pouvoirs publics et est aujourd'hui promue par l'Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris, avec l'objectif de démontrer l'innocuité des champs électromagnétiques sur la santé. Il est probable que cette étude n'arrive pas à son terme, car ce que demandent les malades, c'est qu'on les prenne en charge concrètement. En outre, même négative, cette étude n'apportera rien de nouveau, compte tenu de l'abondante littérature scientifique internationale démontrant le rôle nocif des champs électromagnétiques sur la santé.
Barrie Trower is a highly trained independent RF scientist who now travels the world speaking (for free) about the dangers of microwave, and calls for the safe use of the technology. In 1960 Barrie commenced in the UK Royal Navy and worked in explosives technology, microwave warfare and radar; he has lectured in advanced physics, and has been commissioned by the UK Police Federation (twice) to report on the safety of their lethal 400 MHz "Tetra" communications system; he interrogated captured spies in the cold war regarding microwave technology of "the enemy", and has had a series of papers published re. microwave. Thus he has been involved in all sorts of activities regarding microwave technology for five decades. He describes microwave weapons as "really sophisticated stealth weapons". Hopefully you will agree that he is more than qualified to speak on the subject.
The INTERPHONE Brain Tumor Study Cindy Sage, Editorial Perspective
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'.
The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, IARC, recently dropped well known bioelectromagnetics scientist Anders Ahlbom from their panel, for fears of conflict of interest. Ahlbom’s brother owned a company which consults to telecom companies, and Anders Ahlbom is a director. Soon thereafter, Ahlbom filed with IARC an amended declaration of “potential conflicts of interest”. Fresh on the heels of that news came this classification from the group who met in Lyon, France for the past week, and it made front page news across the globe.
There is robust scientific evidence that electromagnetic radiation is a Ubiquitous Universal Genotoxic Carcinogen. If this understanding was applied to the data available in 1982, when IARC declared benzene a Human Carcinogen, then the level of data for RF/MW radiation being a human carcinogen was considerably stronger than that for benzene. A large body of laboratory experiments and epidemiological studies now confirm the hypothesis.
Finally, IARC gets to the point where it makes an acknowledgement of what a significant body of scientific literature and experts have articulated for quite some time now: non-thermal levels of EMR, as experienced by users in the operation of a mobile phone, can actually lead to cancer. IARC has given mobile / cell phone radiation a 2B classification indicating that it is “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.
The substantial body of evidence on non-thermal biological effects of EMR has been ignored in a now decades long tradition, and bodies such as WHO’s ICNIRP have cemented the industry protectionism that is wholly against the interests of public health. It has been an industry convenience to ignore these non thermal effects, using this dichotomy of thermal/non-thermal as a convenient barrier from which to adopt a demarcating line of refusal to see, having the effect of allowing industry to maintain high levels of population exposures to wireless technologies. It’s an appalling situation driven by politics and, above all, the economic gain of vested interests.
Of course, if the users of phones were to take seriously the assessment by IARC, this would undoubtedly lead to reduced revenue of the wireless telecommunications sector. As could be expected the industry reaction, by groups such as CTIA, has been to try to throw the ‘rug of uncertainty’ back over this decision by IARC.
Regrettably, the IARC 2B classification is altogether too easy for industry to belittle and obfuscate, and the press—be they gullible, complicit, or just plain lazy—seem quite willing to assist in the task. Industry and others involved in damage control against the IARC classification state that substances such as coffee and pickles (of course which are likely to be seen as highly benign by the population) are also on the list of 2B substances. To be less mendacious in their statement they should have acknowledged other substances that are on the list, such as Aflatoxins, Chloroform, DDT, lead, methyl mercury, diesel fumes and gasoline. Australian media was most notable in its simple regurgitation of these industry damage control statements (e.g., the Sydney Morning Herald) whilst at least the New York Times exhibited a better standard of journalism in giving a clear picture about the 2B list and the industry’s bias in focussing upon pickles & coffee.
So this very serious issue of electromagnetic radiation and health is dumped into a less serious light by its 2B classification. It is a start, but it is wholly inadequate to really address the EMR problem. To reiterate, the literature is warning us that modern pulsed microwave EMR is a far more dire toxin than the natural foodstuffs that industry is so keen for us to see as synonymous with their toxic emissions.
In this EMR issue, the cliché of uncertainty and “more studies required” is usually pronounced whenever those in positions of intellectual or institutional authority are questioned about scientific evidence demonstrating that mobile phones can cause cancer. Given the literature to the contrary, this is pure collective mendacity, and when spoken by those with perceived authority it lends to a psychological inertia about doing anything precautionary. Nevertheless, even on the basis of this facade, it would be thought that in the face of such “uncertainty”, that the precautionary approach would be a strongly advised course of action. However, many in the business of scientific or institutional decision-making seem to view the precautionary approach as quite unfashionable. One notable comment was from Siemiatycki, the head of epidemiological research of IARC, who stated “If we had applied it 2000 years ago, we’d still be in caves, making fires by rubbing sticks together”. Given the indications of harm from EMR, if we had mobile phones back when we were in caves, indeed we might have gone the way of dinosaurs by now—making the point mute. One part of the literature which points specifically at this is the teratogenic effect of radiation on the lifelong quota of ova present in young girls. Exposed to EMR from a young age, these girls might look forward to using an ovum “for practical purposes” later in life that had genetic damage from EMR. This genetic damage would be carried to her offspring and all further offspring down the family line thereafter, as long as the genetic line survived. This fact provoked UK ex-military scientist Dr Barrie Trower to state that it was one of the most disconcerting of things for him in the whole spectrum of harmful effects from “low-level” EMR exposure.
The caveat that has broadly followed from the IARC announcement in the mass media is to use speakerphone, headsets, and limit the use of mobile phones. But this is all just too little and too weak, given the known mechanisms of operation of EMR upon biological systems. Disruption of the blood brain barrier, membrane and metabolic disruption of cells and neurones, and heat shock protein formation by bodily cells are but a few key elements of the evidence that should be causing enormous alarm in the arena of public health—and indeed they would be if the wireless industry was not allowed to subvert the priorities of government. The disturbances of cell metabolism and neural communications that are evident because of EMR are indicated to be not dose-responsive or linear in nature, and operate in windows of function which are not simply variant with amplitude (or frequency, for that matter). No, cellphone industry scientists, this does not mean that the phenomenon does not exist. It is just not properly understood. The damage is still clearly there.
Heat shock proteins are liberated by cells at very low amplitudes of EMR, perhaps even millions of times lower than current guidelines for tower exposure (let alone mobile phone SAR assessment). The potential for cancer or other chronic disorder as a long term effect of constantly stressed cells is clear. This indicates that we are being way too flippant with our approach to the EMR toxin, and many will suffer the consequences of this appallingly uncaring attitude.
COROLLARY OF THE IARC DECISION
The ramifications of this announcement by IARC, as weak and tardy as it is, are profound. It is a step in the right direction from a collective establishment that has engaged in economic interests before public health for way too long. Public health policy and absurdly ineffectual guidance levels set out by entities such as WHO’s ICNIRP, must be completely revised.
Mobile phones pressed to the head are just the first in a long litany of EMR insanities that should be curtailed for prudent precautionary action. EMR is a toxic accumulant. This is a point that seems to be lost on the legislators. When you dig deep enough into the interphone study (actually, the appendix is where you first come across it) it shows a positive correlation for glioma (in 190 cases, OR=2.18, 95%CI 1.43 – 3.31) and meningioma. The “heaviest users” are those who are most accumulated with EMR, and most likely to manifest the increased rates of glioma. They don’t have enough longitudinal data to make assumptions about other groups. Given that toxic accumulation is a factor in the biological expression of EMR, we are creating some very heavy lifetime exposures in the making. Far less emphasis should be placed upon the short term dosage per unit time experienced by individuals, as it obfuscates the danger.
Critical implications of this relate not just to mobile phones, but also to DECT phone base stations and their constant emissions, mobile phone towers and computer wireless networks. Presently, children everywhere—who arguably constitute the most vulnerable members of our community with respect to pulsed microwave electromagnetic radiation (and EMR more generally), are nevertheless exposed for many hours per day to these emissions via wholly unnecessary sources such as the frequent installation of mobile phone towers adjacent to schools, and/or the installation of wireless LANs within the schools themselves. The cumulative exposure of these children across each year, when calculated out and compared against the amounts of EMR that are known to cause damage, is potentially leading us into a public health debacle and tragedy beyond belief in its magnitude. How can such culpability in public health governance and the regulation of wireless technologies exist?
Given the recent IARC classification (and despite its uncertainty) such culpability can be tolerated no longer. It is something we need to proclaim our concerns about more loudly than ever before.
T-MOBILE, the mobile phone giant, has been accused of “burying” a scientific report it commissioned that concluded handsets and masts contribute to cancer and genetic damage.
The report argued that officially recommended limits on radiation exposure should be cut to 1/1000th of those in force. The suggestion has not been taken up by the company or by regulators.
Campaigners claimed T-Mobile’s handling of the report was part of a wider pattern of behaviour by the industry in its efforts to keep discussion of the health risks off the agenda.
The Ecolog Institute, which has been researching mobile phone technology since 1992, was paid by T-Mobile to evaluate evidence on its potential dangers.
But Dr Peter Neitzke, one of the authors of the report, has accused T-Mobile, which has about 17m British customers, of diluting the findings by commissioning other studies from which it knew “no critical results or recommendations were to be expected”.
Guidance from the Health Protection Agency states that, while there is no conclusive evidence phones or masts jeopardise health, the technology has been in existence for only a relatively short time. It recommends that caution should be exercised in siting masts and using phones a lot, particularly where children are affected.
The Ecolog study, drawn up in 2000 and updated three years later, has only been published in Germany and was unknown to British campaigners until it was recently leaked to the Human Ecological Social Economic project (HESE), which examines the effect of electromagnetic fields on health.
Andrea Klein, a member of HESE, said: “T-Mobile tried to dilute and bury it.”
Ecolog’s report, which analysed dozens of peer-reviewed studies, stated: “Given the results of the present epidemiological studies, it can be concluded that electromagnetic fields with frequencies in the mobile telecommunications range do play a role in the development of cancer.
“This is particularly notable for tumours of the central nervous system.”
Neitzke said that once T-Mobile realised the likely outcome of his study it commissioned further research.
The phone company said: “It was the aim of T-Mobile to engage four different institutes with the same questions to guarantee an independent and objective discussion. All the institutes and people involved are well known and respected experts.”
Insurers Balk at Risks of Phones By Sarah Ryle, Consumer Affairs Correspondent Sunday April 11, 1999
Concern about the safety of mobile phones has prompted a leading Lloyd's underwriter to refuse to insure phone manufacturers against the risk of damage to users' health. The move comes amid mounting concern about the industry's influence on research into the long-term effects of using a mobile. The London market provides insurance for everything from aircraft to footballers' legs. But fears that mobile phones will be linked to illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease have prompted John Fenn, of underwriting group Stirling, to refuse to cover manufacturers against the risk of being sued if mobiles turn out to cause long-term damage.
New research published last week by Bristol University scientist Dr. Alan Preece showed a 'highly significant' effect from mobile phone signals on brain function. Some previous studies linked mobiles to increased tumors in rodents, but they have been contradicted by other research. The Government has ordered the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) - responsible for monitoring radiation safety standards in everything from Sellafield to sunlight - to set up an independent group to identify possible areas for research.
Liberal Democrat MP Phil Willis, who is pressing for a fuller parliamentary debate on the issue, condemned the initiative as 'a sop to the public and a sop to the industry'. He said: 'I have asked three network operators if they will give insurance against future health risk. and they have all said they cannot.'
The Federation of the Electronics Industry, which represents mobile phone manufacturers and networks, said there was no proven reason for insurers to refuse cover. Spokesman Tom Wills Sandford said: 'I am surprised. I would be ...confident that there would be people who would cover that risk, because there is no scientific proof of health risk.' But Fenn said: there are people in the insurance market who close their eyes to the issue because they say there is no scientific proof of a problem. If you go back to asbestos, it "wasn't a problem" at one time either.' Asbestos claims helped bring the Lloyd's market to its knees in the early 1990s.
Experts at the NRPB say they cannot give mobile phones a clean bill of health until comprehensive research has been carried out into the non-thermal effects of microwave radiation emitted by handsets. Until now, the vast majority of research has been funded by the industry: there are 78 industry -sponsored studies under way worldwide, while governments fund only [missing data - ed.]. The Department of Health says a new working group will be established, including industry and consumer group representatives, but its membership has yet to be agreed.
Concerns are increasing about the industry's involvement in research. Some of the NRPB's conclusions have been based on research by Dr. Camelia Gabriel, a technical adviser to network operator Orange and head of private consultancy Microwave. Her colleague, Professor Ted Grant - who, with Gabriel, helped draw up Orange's health and safety brochure - was until recently a board member of the NRPB, There is no suggestion that Gabriel or Grant's findings have been biased as a result of their industry links. But Willis, who has won the support of more than 108 other MPs, said he was 'extremely worried'. 'The Government needs to fund proper, independent empirical research into the biological, non-heating effects of mobile phones.' he said. 'I am concerned about the potential influence of multinational companies on these studies.' The NRPB’s budget for mobile phone research is currently just £300,000 per year. The Department of Health has not yet indicated how much funding will be made available for future research.
CONE OF SILENCE The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Fifth Estate Program, from the February 9, 1999 segment entitled "Cone of Silence."
[ Note: numbers in square brackets correlate with actions described at the end of the document. ]
[1.] VICTOR MALAREK (commentator for The Fifth Estate): Welcome to the Fifth Estate. A lot of the inventions of the late 20th century, things we use every day, like cell phones, for example, are so handy, so useful, we sometimes wonder how we ever lived without them. Cell phones in particular have become so much a part of modern life that we just assume that somebody's made sure that they're safe. But in the case of cell phones, that assumption is dead wrong. There's still a lot we don't know about how cell phones held close to the head for long periods might affect us - after all they are powerful electronic transmitters - and they've been linked in some studies with possible DNA damage and other problems. Health Canada recently announced that it was going to investigate cell-phone safety, but for the most part, there's been a kind of cone of silence over the issue, and that's just the way the industry likes it. In fact, the cell-phone industry has conducted a sophisticated and, so far, very successful campaign to accentuate the positive and silence anyone who raises the possibility that their product might have a problem.
[2.] They're everywhere, lots of them. Cell-phone transmitters are sprouting up all across North America and you'll find them almost anywhere you look, from brick walls to rooftops to storefronts. No one even knows for sure where they all are. If you want to install one, there's no better place than a tall building sitting on a hilltop.
[3.] And in Vancouver's Fraserview neighborhood this building looked perfect to one cell company. Two years ago it got permission to put a microwave transmitter right on the roof. The problem: it was a school.
[4.] The bigger problem was this man, Milt Bowling, who has a son in that school. And as far as he was concerned they would put up that antenna over his dead body.
MILT BOWLING (opposed cell-phone transmitter): The cellular company approached the school board and what they made an arrangement to do was to put transmitters and receivers on top of this 85-year-old school in exchange for annual rent.
MALAREK: How much money are we talking here?
BOWLING: Well, I'm not sure exactly - they keep that confidential - but I believe it's around $9,000 or $10,000 a year.
MALAREK: Milt wanted to know if the darn things were safe or not, and to his surprise, he couldn't get a straight answer from anyone.
BOWLING: My concern I guess is worst-case. If the best scientists in the world can't agree that it's safe, who is anybody else to say that it is?
MALAREK: So Milt mobilized the neighborhood and eventually got the school board on side. There would be no antenna on this school.
(to Mr. Bowling) So you won.
[5.] BOWLING: Well, that's what we thought. I mean, the towers are gone and, you know, we won; everything is great. But then we get this: the church across the street is approached by another cellular provider, and they donated this cross to the church, and hidden inside the cross is microwave transmitters and receivers.
MALAREK: You've got to be kidding.
MALAREK: They put a microwave transmitter in the cross.
BOWLING: In the cross, yeah.
MALAREK: Taking on the school board was one thing, but the Almighty? Milt didn't hesitate.
MALAREK: You must have been popular with the church board.
BOWLING: I would doubt that.
[6.] MALAREK: But finally this: a beaming Milt watched as a giant crane took the microwave antenna out of the cross. He had taken on church and state - and won. But the fears about the towers are quite small. The real concern is what's at the other end of those towers - the cell phone itself and the invisible microwaves ... [7.] ... that hover around the small antenna stuck right next to your head. The cell companies will tell you the device is perfectly safe. The booming industry has a lot riding on those claims: today more than 4.9 million Canadians use a cell phone.
[8.] Jo-Anne Basile represents the global cell phone industry. (to Ms. Basile) How large is the cell phone industry? How big is it? What is it worth?
JO-ANNE BASILE (global cell phone industry representative): The industry in United States last year was estimated to be over $29 billion. There are about 67 million customers.
MALAREK: This is big time.
BASILE: This is a large industry that has grown in a very short period of time.
[9.] MALAREK: And David Reynard dared to take it on. He is a St. Petersburg, Florida, businessman whose wife, Susan, died of brain cancer. She had been a chronic user of this type of phone, and Reynard believed the cancer developed right where all those microwaves hit her head.
[10.] DAVID REYNARD (opposed cell phone industry): Her tumor was left- peridal; basically she was right-handed. Now, if you use a cellular phone, you usually put it in the other hand so that you can write. And it was right here, right in line with the antenna, in this part of the brain right here.
MALAREK: And so Reynard launched a lawsuit against the cell-phone industry. Could cell phones really cause cancer? The U.S. media were all over the story after CNN's Larry King Live gave him a national audience.
[11.] LARRY KING (clip from show): Welcome back to Larry King Live. When did you start to think this has something to do with the cellular phone?
REYNARD: I think when I saw the first MRI and saw the location of the tumour....
MALAREK: You created quite a stir: front-page news, even stock market prices were affected.
REYNARD: That's true, that's true, but that wasn't my intent. And Susie would say that if she was here. What we really wanted to do was to make the public aware of what was going on and what they were actually doing. Nowhere on this device does it say that this is a microwave device and that microwaves have been proven to have harmful effects.
[12.] MALAREK: The cell-phone industry admits it was paying close attention to the David Reynard lawsuit.
[13.] (to Ms. Basile) But was there serious anxiety within the cell-phone industry? I mean, when you hear cancer, brain cancer, you've got to think, Oh, my God, this is the last thing we need to hear.
BASILE: Well, I think there was anxiety - I think perhaps it was more concern on the part of the industry.
MALAREK: Do you believe that cell phones are safe?
BASILE: Of course I do. I would say that the mainstream research suggests that there is not a problem with respect to cell phones.
[14.] STEWART FIST (technology writer, Australia): Well, it's just complete balderdash.
MALAREK: Stewart Fist is a technology writer in Australia who has spent years studying the industry. He says a lot of the research raises serious concerns and that the jury is still out on just how safe cell phones really are.
FIST: You've got to remember this is the first time in history we've ever put a transmitter right up against the side of anyone's head, and switched it on.
[15.] MALAREK: And that's what bothers Dr. Ross Adey. He's a prominent research scientist in California who says we have to know more about the possible harm to our health.
ROSS ADEY (research scientist, California): If it's against my head, then about 40 percent of the energy will go into my head and into my hand.
MALAREK: So the problem really is in the antenna pressed up against the head.
MALAREK: ...and the radiation coming from that.
ADEY: Yeah. In using the phone like this, you are in what is called the near field, which means that the oscillations, 800 million times a second, 16 hundred million times a second, are magnetically coupled into your head.
MALAREK: And it's in this near field with this oscillating in your head that we have to be concerned about?
ADEY: Yes. I really believe that.
[16.] MALAREK: Were the concerns raised by the Reynard lawsuit a real danger or a false alarm? The truth was no one knew for sure. The industry had been telling the public that cell phones were proven to be safe, but then had to admit that the science was at best incomplete. The cell phone industry needed to find a way to reassure their customers everything was fine, so they came up with a strategy that would be a textbook case for crisis management.
[17.] The headquarters for the campaign were these quaint offices in Washington, DC, that housed the industry's own private research institute - Wireless Technology Research. They would spend $25 million and five years to get to the bottom of the science, and they made sure that message got out.
[18.] DR. GEORGE CARLO (Wireless Technology Research head): I know that every day we are working our tails off doing science that we believe needs to be done to lay the appropriate foundation.
MALAREK: Dr. George Carlo was in charge, and he was "the right man for the job," according to writer Stewart Fist.
[19.] FIST: WTR was set up under Dr. Carlo, who was fairly well known as a scientist who worked for various industry associations, like the chlorine industry. He was consultant to them on the dioxin problems, and before that he worked on nuclear power, and since then he's worked on breast implants. I mean, Dr. Carlo is the sort of epidemiologist who runs an organization that will produce science for certain industry associations.
[20.] MALAREK: Soon enough the industry had another crisis on its hands. At the University of Washington, Dr. Henry Lai had already been conducting his own research into cell phones. In 1994 he and his partner reported they had evidence that microwaves could cause DNA to destruct. Normal rat DNA looks like this, but when zapped with microwaves, Lai found it could break up. DNA destruction has been linked to memory loss, cancer, and diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
[21.] DR. HENRY LAI (researcher, University of Washington): The data is still preliminary. We still have to do a lot more research to find out exactly what cell-phone radiation will do to people.
MALAREK: It may be preliminary, but it's scary.
LAI: Yes. I think it's alarming that cell-phone radiation can cause DNA damage.
[22.] MALAREK: It also appeared quite alarming to the people who funded WTR. A campaign was launched against Lai's study. They prepared a media strategy, publicly denounced the findings, then brought in their own researcher who said he could not reproduce Lai's results. One internal memo announced victory. Using the vernacular of a military exercise, it said the industry has successfully "war-gamed" the Lai study.
[23.] MALAREK: That must have shocked you.
LAI: Yes. Yes, that is very shocking. We are scientists and we are not going out to do politics, and suddenly we are involved in this... all this war-gaming, so-called.
[24.] MALAREK (to Ms. Basile): One of the memos that came out regarding Dr. Lai's study by Motorola was to war-game him, and a lot of critics are saying that immediately when research comes out that may show a problem, boy, you slam-dunk the researcher.
BASILE: Oh, I don't think you would find that to be the case in general. This industry, as I said before, has been very open, and I believe very responsible in looking at ....
MALAREK: Is the industry acting responsibly when they say, Let's war-game the guy? Is that the way to be going after researchers?
BASILE: That is not the way that we go after - we don't go after researchers.
[25.] MALAREK: In fact, after "war-gaming" him, the industry turned around and decided to hire him. They gave him money to do further research into potential DNA damage. But there was a catch: he could not publish his results without WTR's approval. And so far it looks like they're not any happier with the results of this study than they were with the first one. WTR's Dr. Carlo has told the media that Lai's research was "amateurish" and "unprofessional." And for now they won't let him publish his results.
[26.] LAI: We are not supposed to publish the data until the final report is approved by WTR.
MALAREK: What's the hold-up with your study?
LAI: WTR wants us to change and delete some conclusions that we put into the original versions. And right now we don't quite agree with what they want us to do.
MALAREK: Why would WTR want you to change the content?
LAI: Well that's .... According to the contract, I cannot tell you what data we got, but my impression is that they want to make the data look more preferable for them.
MALAREK: Less damning?
LAI: You can say that.
[27.] MALAREK: WTR seemed to be winning the scientific fight, but the battle against David Reynard's lawsuit was proving more difficult. For a time, Reynard was everywhere in the media, reminding people the industry had turned them all into human guinea pigs.
[28.] MALAREK: Did you ever feel like David going up against Goliath?
REYNARD: Yes I did. I just felt that something had to be done here. And as we got into it more and more, we found that there were a lot more people who supported the issues that we should not be putting microwave devices against our brain without the proper research.
MALAREK: When we come back, Milt Bowling takes on a bigger target.
[29.] BOWLING: I was under the impression when this whole issue started that if you had a Radiation Protection Branch, that it exists to protect Canadians from radiation. But what it really does is it exists to protect the radiation industry from Canadians.
VOICE-OVER ANNOUNCER: And now we return to the Fifth Estate.
[30.] MALAREK: Despite the cell phone industry's attempts to control the science, worrisome results were leaking out. In Sweden a publicly funded study of more than 11,000 cell phone users found that the phones contributed to headaches and fatigue. And in the fall of 1998 a team of independent scientists concluded without a doubt that cell phones had a "biological effect." Still there simply isn't enough evidence to conclude with certainty that cell phones are harmful to human health, and critics say that's just the way the industry wants it.
[31.] Ironically it was an industry-funded report that caused the biggest stir. In Australia scientists at this hospital discovered cancer rates had doubled in mice exposed to radiation similar to that in cell phones. But the results were kept quiet for two years. When it did come out, the industry campaign against it was enormous.
[32.] FIST: Every effort was made to play it down. I mean, it was just incredible the effort that they all went to to more or less say, Don't worry about this, it's only to do with mice. And of course it's not, it's to do with DNA, and DNA is DNA whether it's in mice or humans. So they tried everything they could to play down the results, but it still is now treated around the world as one of the most significant findings that anyone has made. And with very good reason.
[33.] MALAREK: Professor Ross Adey thought he was onto something as well. While doing research for Motorola, one of the world's largest cell phone companies, he discovered microwave radiation had an effect on the brains of rats. It was actually a good effect, but for Motorola any effect at all was bad news. Adey's contract with Motorola was not renewed.
MALAREK: So why did they terminate the support?
ADEY: My colleagues say because we were too inquisitive. We were of a scientific turn of mind, and we'd turn over the rocks to find out what was underneath.
MALAREK: But that's the job of a scientist, to be inquisitive.
ADEY: Of course it's the job of a scientist.
MALAREK: And you're tough as a scientist.
ADEY: Yes, I think I'm tough - too tough some people say.
MALAREK: As a result, you and your team lost your contract.
ADEY: That's correct.
[34.] MALAREK: Motorola claims it had nothing to do with his results, they simply found a better deal somewhere else. That better deal was with Battelle, a private research group well known for keeping its mouth shut. In one celebrated case from the 1960s, Battelle conducted studies showing how nicotine affected the brain, but never talked about it. Technology writer Stewart Fist says it's quite possible industry already has a lot of research it isn't talking about.
[35.] FIST: You have no idea how much. ..how many effects are being found but never published. That's the other thing, you see, is we don't know what isn't published. That's the real big worry there, because it's quite likely that a lot of these problem findings have been replicated, but the replication has never been published.
[36.] MALAREK: And without all, the studies, it's difficult to prove anything about the safety of cell phones. In 1995 David Reynard lost his lawsuit. The judge said he couldn't prove cell phones had caused his wife's cancer. Reynard says leaving research in the hands of the companies that make the products has never been a good idea.
[37.] REYNARD: Are they carrying the how-to tobacco handbook in their back pocket? Yeah. It's almost directly in line with the tobacco industry and all the things that they did to try to keep information from the public, to try to suppress science, to try to only allow us to have the information that they want us to have. When the director of the cellular telephone industry made his statement, he said, We're going to spend this money to prove that we're right. I would have preferred that he said, We're looking to find the truth.
[38.] MALAREK: The organization set up in the wake of the cell phone scare is winding down. But $25 million and five years later, a lot of people are wondering where all that money went and what WTR actually accomplished. Some argue that not only was the science it promoted one-sided, but it actually prevented more independent research from taking place.
[39.] FIST: There's no doubt that the functions of the WTR have been to delay legitimate research in other areas, because you know, when an industry is supposedly funding the research itself, then the government withdraws its own funding from the independents that would have been doing the work in the first place.
[40.] MALAREK: WTR may be leaving the scene, but the industry has invented a new entity to promote good news about the cell-phone industry. It's confidently called WIN -Wireless Information Network - and represents the global industry. Jo-Anne Basile is its public face.
[41.] (to Ms. Basile) When critics say that research is funded by industry... industry has a vested interest, therefore the research must be suspect, how do you respond?
BASILE: I think it's unfortunate that we have gone to such kind of shorthanded ways of trying to explain a very complex issue.
MALAREK: When you hear critics compare the way the cell-phone industry is handling the issue to the tobacco industry's handling ....
BASILE: Oh, I'm so glad you asked me that question. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Again, I'd like to repeat: this industry has never shied away from an issue. This industry has always been up-front. This industry has always been open.
[42.] MALAREK: Ultimately the people with the final say in whether cell phones are safe work for government, and for a long time the Canadian government had been telling us not to worry. The science was well known and cell phones were safe. But that was before a Vancouver parent stirred things up.
[43.] Remember Milt Bowling, the fellow who got rid of those microwave transmitters? Milt would now poke his nose into Ottawa's Radiation Protection Branch. And he did most of the talking.
BOWLING: I was mentioning certain studies, and they'd say, well, where did you get that? Well, where did you get that? Can I get a copy of that? So I mean ...
MALAREK: What did that do to your confidence in health officials?
BOWLING: Well, I was under the impression when this whole issue started that if you had a Radiation Protection Branch, that it exists to protect Canadians from radiation. But what it really does is it exists to protect the radiation industry from Canadians.
[44.] MALAREK: But in this David and Goliath struggle, David won. Faced with an irrepressible Milt Bowling, the government did an about-face. Now, according to internal documents, Health Canada seems as concerned as Milt. Last year they hired Prof. William Leiss to assess the scientific evidence. His first piece of advice to the government: Don't tell the public cell phones are safe if you don't know.
[45.] WILLIAM LEISS (professor hired by Health Canada to review cell-phone studies): We have this latest document which says, geez, we really want to do all this research on all these really interesting and provocative questions about the effects on the brain and things like that, and you're saying, Well, my God, why you appear to have been telling us that it was no problem all along.
[46.] MALAREK: Professor Leiss's review is due out this spring. There's little doubt he'll call for studies that should have been started years ago, and he'll be very clear on one point: keep the research public.
[47.] (to Prof. Leiss): In the United States, the cell phone industry is funding a lot of the research. Is there not a vested interest here?
LEISS: Well, of course there is. This is my main concern. Where you have a technology with massive uncertainties in our knowledge of the risk factors, what you want is the most credible research, and that is always independent research. I think it should always be done in university-based centres, and everything should be out in the open.
[48.] MALAREK: David Reynard's lawsuit is behind him now. He thinks of his wife Susan often and says he's content knowing he helped put the debate on the public agenda.
[49.] (to Mr. Reynard) Do you ever think that the time will come where you will be vindicated, where what you say was a fact, is a fact?
REYNARD: I don't know the answer to that question. I think there's entirely too much money involved here. I think there are a lot of people who want to protect this industry more than they want to find out if there's a serious problem. I think we've allowed the foxes to keep an eye on the hen house a little too long. I think they bought themselves five or six very good years. I think they have it in their budget to buy five, six, ten, 20, 30 more years, until something really comes up and lays claim.
[50.] MALAREK: Stay with us. When the fifth estate returns, . . .
[Malarek closes this section of the Fifth Estate.]
"Cone of Silence" - Brief Descriptions of Actions
1. Victor Malarek introduces the program 2. Various shots of antennae - on roofs, walls, poles, etc. 3. A school in Vancouver 4. 2 men walking toward school (Malarek and Bowling) 5. Bowling points to church across the street 6. Shows cross being dismantled 7. Shows various citizens using cell phones, indoors and out 8. Jo-Anne Basile with Malarek 9. Old still picture of David Reynard and his wife, Susie 10. Reynard now, being interviewed by Malarek 11. Clip showing Reynard watching himself on Larry King Live show 12. Shot of hand dialing a cell phone 13. Basile with Malarek 14. Stewart Fist on camera 15. Ross Adey on camera 16. Malarek with overview, commenting 17. We see WTR headquarters in Washington, DC 18. Shows George Carlo with Malarek 19. Fist again 20. Scene moves to Henry Lai in laboratory (various lab shots) 21. Lai on camera with Malarek 22. Various shots of cell phones, memos, etc. 23. Back to Lai 24. Switch to Basile 25. Back to Lai's lab (various activities shown) 26. Lai with Malarek 27. Other still shots of David Reynard with his wife and child 28. Reynard being interviewed by Malarek 29. Malarek interviews Bowling 30. Malarek overview 31. Shots of memos, Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia 32. Fist on camera 33. Adey comes on camera (working in office) 34. A shot of the Motorola logo and scenes of buildings, cell phones, etc. 35. Fist on camera again 36. Old still photos of Reynard and his wife, Susie, again 37. Malarek interviews Reynard 38. Background scenes of cell phones, WTR headquarters 39. Malarek with Fist, again 40. A background shot of the WTN logo changing to WIN 41. Basile appears again 42. Malarek holding a cell phone (at arm's length) commenting 43. Change to Malarek with Bowling in Vancouver 44. Fade to view of cell phone, memos, etc., then to William Leiss 45. Leiss on camera 46. Various documents shown 47. Interview continues with Leiss 48. Scene showing Reynard leafing through diaries, albums, etc, 49. Malarek interviews Reynard 50. Malarek then closes this "Cone of Silence" section of the Fifth Estate
An essay by EMRStop written for general publication.
It starts around about the time of the cold war, set in the context of America versus the Russians. Russia has long known, officially recognised, and created protective standards for its people around the fact that electromagnetic radiation (EMR, and especially in the form of microwaves) can cause harm to biological life, at levels way below the levels required to heat living tissue. In the 1950's they recognised the numerous cases of sickness that were directly produced due to people's exposure to what is typically called "non-ionising" radiation (which is a misnomer as non-thermal levels of RF spectrum radiation have been shown to be capable of ionisation). Soviet Russia even banned microwave ovens in 1976.
The American military industrial complex (MIC) and technological supporting industries have long tried to cast doubt upon and slander the Russian research as quaint and innacurate since the times of "McCarthyism", but the USA MIC has been caught out in that it produces publications, through no less than the National Academy of Sciences, which clearly admits that microwave radiation, of non-thermal levels, can be used as a weapon (for example, read the bioinitiative report, bioinitiative.org). Indeed the US has long engaged in covert experimentation upon the effects of microwave and other RF on biological systems for military and law enforcement purposes. Meanwhile, Russia used non-thermal microwave weapons against the US's own consulate and made the US diplomats very sick--there are records of this available, including the one entitled "The Moscow Embassy Incident", found here: http://is.gd/RDOn9K .
The condescension that the American Government, ANSI, IEEE, the FCC and so on have always had towards the Russian standards hides a fact that they would rather kept hidden: the demonstrated scientific knowledge that microwave (and other RF) radiation at levels far below those that cause heating in the body, can nonetheless cause damage to the body. The vested interests that control the technology have failed to acknowledge anything that is not a thermal effect. This process has meant flooding the journals with industry sponsored, skewed research to give the impression that the area is one of uncertainty and lack of knowledge, where more research is always needed. And it means keeping out the legitimate (and most often independent) research that finds effects on living tissue from non-thermal microwave.
To explain a little more about thermal effects: These are the same results as those produced by a microwave oven when it is cooking food, and there is no possibility of making a controversy about the fact that this level of microwaves can destroy living tissue--after all, look what it does to your food. Most government standards for microwave exposure are built around thermal effects--and thermal effects only. The WHO's ICNIRP standards for EMR exposure are the same. Effects get more easy to obscure, though, at non-thermal levels--you don't usually have sudden loss of mobility, paralysis, death, etc. (which is what a microwave oven would do to you if active without the door on), but you do tend to get cancer, allergies, autism and other ASDs, cardiac events, blood brain barrier permeation, sleep disruption, and a whole host of other side effects that take longer to manifest, and are easier to hide. But just like with tobacco and asbestos, making it easier to hide doesn't mean that it is not there.
And industry has made a big effort to skew the science. So that every paper that is published showing an association between non-thermal levels is diluted by more than two papers sponsored by industry that show that there is no effect. Professor Henry Lai from The University of Washington has illustrated that 70% of research, industry sponsored, shows only a 30% effect of non-thermal levels of radiation; but 30% of independent research shows 70% effect on living systems, by non-thermal levels of microwave.
The consequence of this brute force consensus--a consensus that is keeping science pegged at "thermal effects alone cause harm to living tissue"--is that it means unimpeded 'business-as-usual' for the microwave (and other RF) polluters in the military, in telecommunications, and for myriad device manufacturers. The military doesn't want to care about its personnel getting toasted whilst serving on the deck of an aircraft carrier, in the very close proximity to numerous sources of radar. "National Security" is more important than individual military personnel's lives. The telcos don't want you to know about the tens of thousands of microwatts per metre (uW/m2) that you put next to your head every time you talk on your phone, and to piece together the knowledge that there are places in the world such as Salzburg, that have guidelines for RF exposure that are thousands of times below this (Salzburg is 10uW/m2 for outdoor exposure to antenna signals; and 1uW/m2 for indoor exposure levels. Other German building biologist standards are even lower (see www.buergerwelle.de for e.g.)). Telcos don't want you to know that SAR levels that are supposed to protect us are a bit of a scam, as they are based upon modelling of radiation penetration to a rather massive man, that bears virtually zero resemblance to the many women and child users of microwave phones. That's why they are fighting tooth and nail against any politician that might want to enforce a more transparent level of SAR marking on mobile phones, as recently threatened to happen in California (but appears to be squashed now by the exit of the politician). Telcos also don't want you to know about the thousands of uw/m2 that they may be pushing into your child whilst they attend that school which is right next to that telco antenna tower.
The setting of "protective" exposure standards around thermal only limits means that telcos (and their lapdogs of government and institution) can point to the standards whenever emissions from cellphone towers are considered, and show that the emissions are only a small fraction of the permissible "safety" standards. This has the deliberate effect of lulling people into a false sense of security about the emissions from cellphone towers. However the incidences of cancer clusters and people with EHS (electrohypersensitivity), appearing where the masts are all around the globe, tells a different story about just how benign these emissions are. Read Sarah Benson ( http://is.gd/aT4kBh ) or view Full Signal ( http://is.gd/3FA2UD ) for more about cancer clusters.
Looking at the Australian situation, there is an interesting and telling story to be told. The country's premier scientific research organisation, the CSIRO, long had deep reservations about the safety of microwave and other EMF, had created protective guidelines that included a precautionary approach to non-thermal radiation, and had published numerous works to this effect. The Standards Australia group set with the task of determining the standard could not come to a consensus, given the industry stacked presence and the influence of people such as Chairman Michael Repacholi, who has a long history of involvement in the WHO and countries standard settings and who mostly refuses to acknowledge the existence of non-thermal effects of EMR. The pro-industry elements were set against the CSIRO and union and community representatives--the latter who wanted to make tighter standards for exposure or at least spell out the limited nature of the thermal only standards that were being developed. With the failure of this group to reach an accord, the country's radiation protection authority ARPANSA set up a puppet commitee that was dominated by a council, all controlled by the CEO, to ensure that industry had free play for its whims. The CSIRO research laboratory that had done so much good work on the dangers of non-thermal radiation was shut down, and the responsibility moved over to the nation's NHMRC (national health and medical research council) where the whole issue was quickly given into the control of a party with significant industry ties. This one example of how to put a cat into the bag. Surely though, this cat will eventually claw its way out.
Already we are seeing the start of an epidemic of brain cancer in users of mobile phones. It seems as if, from the cases of both the UK (visit http://is.gd/EIOHDS ) and the USA (visit http://is.gd/d1ojPU), that these numbers are being suppressed, for obvious reasons. Profits before people, people. The latency of brain cancer appearing--which can be ten, twenty or more years--and the fact that we are already seeing such data in the industry's own science, let alone in the suppressed information, is cause for extreme alarm at the potential health crisis that we are creating here. Ironically the public health bill could easily dwarf the profits made by telecommunications carriers and mobile phone manufacturers now, even if we include the billions money that governments have made from selling spectrum to the telcos. So even in economic terms, completely oblivious to the human cost in terms of decimated lives and families, we have an equation that does not make sense for society to partake in.
What we need now is a sense of perspective that takes the above into account, and reconsiders our addiction to technology and modern convenience. If we do not, we are going to see some very negative consequences, and they are not too far away.
A national charity has today released figures that show more than 40,000 people affected by brain tumours are missing from the UK's official statistics each year.
Brain Tumour UK forecasts that the brain will become "the primary battleground against cancer" in the future, as the treatment of other cancers advances.
In a new report, Register My Tumour, Recognise Me, published to mark Brain Tumour Awareness Month, the charity has warned that thousands of patients each year receive inadequate care because no budget or infrastructure exists to meet their needs, particularly at local level. Furthermore, research into brain tumours is woefully underfunded because they are perceived to be "rare".
Brain Tumour UK is calling on the governments and health services across the UK to ensure that all brain tumours are recorded in the official statistics by the end of 2009, so that effective care can be planned and delivered.
Jenny Baker OBE, Brain Tumour UK chief executive, said: "Brain tumours, by virtue of their dangerous location, can impact on every characteristic that defines us as human beings.
"It is scandalous that thousands of people, many of them suffering very substantial cognitive and physical impairments as a result of their tumour, are largely overlooked because health services have not recognised their existence and complex needs."
The report - supported by experts from around the UK - estimates that 48,000 people develop a primary or secondary brain tumour in the UK every year.
Dr David Levy, consultant oncologist at Weston Park Hospital, Sheffield, said: "There are probably around 1,500 patients with high grade brain tumours missing from the official statistics as well as thousands of patients with lower grade and benign tumours.
"Brain Tumour UK rightly makes the point that unless we record this 'lost' group of patients, we cannot ensure that they benefit from the minimum standards of care they should expect."
Although 8,000 primary brain tumour cases are recorded in the official Cancer Registry, studies have shown that half of all primary brain tumours are missing from the registry. Consequently, another 8,000 tumours are not recorded. Some are malignant, while others that are low grade or benign can nevertheless be as deadly as cancer.
Most surprising of all, secondary brain cancer is not recorded, even though for many cancer patients brain cancer may be the actual cause of death. Brain Tumour UK believes that around 32,000 people affected by secondary brain tumours are not properly recorded in the official statistics each year.
Secondary cancer in the brain is becoming increasingly common as advances are made in treating other primary cancers.
Ms Baker added: "In future, the brain is likely to be the primary battle ground against cancer... It is essential that our health services monitor this growing danger and prepare to fight it."
Register all brain tumour patients, demands Brain Tumour UK
Brain Tumour UK launches new data campaign
Brain Tumour UK has launched a campaign to have all people who are diagnosed with a primary or secondary brain tumour registered in official health statistics. We estimate that more than 40,000 people affected by brain tumours are missed from the UK's official statistics each year.
And we predict that the brain will become 'the primary battleground against cancer' in the future, as the treatment of other cancers advances.
Here's our story:
In a new report published in March 2009 to mark Brain Tumour Awareness Month, Brain Tumour UK warns that thousands of patients each year are getting inadequate care because no budget or infrastructure exists to meet their needs, particularly at local level. Furthermore, research into brain tumours is woefully under-funded because they are perceived to be 'rare'.
Brain Tumour UK is calling on the respective governments and health services across the UK to ensure that all brain tumours are recorded in the official statistics by the end of 2009, so that effective care can be planned and delivered.
'Brain tumours, by virtue of their dangerous location, can impact on every characteristic that defines us as human beings,' says the charity's chief executive, Jenny Baker OBE.
'It is scandalous that thousands of people, many of them suffering very substantial cognitive and physical impairments as a result of their tumour, are largely overlooked because health services have not recognised their existence and complex needs.'
Brain Tumour UK's report - Register my tumour, recognise me - estimates that 48,000 people develop a primary or secondary brain tumour in the UK every year. The report is supported by experts from around the UK. See our campaigns page.
Although 8,000 primary brain tumour cases are recorded in the official Cancer Registry, studies have shown that half of all primary brain tumours are missing from the Registry. Consequently, another 8,000 tumours are not recorded. Some are malignant but others that are low grade or benign can nevertheless be as deadly as cancer.
Most surprising of all, secondary brain cancer is not recorded, even though for many cancer patients brain cancer may be the actual cause of death. Brain Tumour UK's review of post mortem studies leads it to conclude that around 32,000 people affected by secondary brain tumours are not properly recorded in the official statistics each year.
Secondary cancer in the brain is becoming increasingly common as advances are made in treating other primary cancers. 'In future, the brain is likely to be the primary battle ground against cancer because other cancers can hide from chemotherapy behind the blood-brain barrier,' says Mrs Baker. 'It is essential that our health services monitor this growing danger and prepare to fight it.'
Brain Tumour UK welcomes official commitment to record thousands of missing brain tumours
The leading charity Brain Tumour UK today welcomed a new commitment from the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) to record all brain tumours in the national statistics .
Currently, only 4,555 brain tumours are cited each year in official statistics compiled by Cancer Research UK. But our research, published in March 2009, found that more than 40,000 who people develop primary and secondary brain tumours each year in the UK are not recorded .
Jenny Baker OBE, chief executive of Brain Tumour UK, commented:
"Since publishing our report, we have been working in close collaboration with the NCIN and we have now secured agreement to record all primary brain tumours, including those which are defined as low grade or benign . The importance of this commitment cannot be under-estimated. Even benign brain tumours, by virtue of their location, can be fatal. A clear picture of how many people are affected by brain tumours, and where, will allow the NHS to plan effectively for their care.
"In collaboration with leading UK researchers, we are now helping to develop the detailed criteria for these statistics, which in future will provide a vital tool for researchers across the UK.
"A key focus for our research in the future will be the fine molecular genetics of brain tumours. On 8 July, the keynote speaker at our prestigious annual conference  will be Professor David Macdonald , the leading neurology researcher from Ontario, Canada. He will argue that identifying the subtle molecular differences between cancerous and normal brain cells will allow us to attack brain cancer with increasing precision."
The National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) brings together national NHS cancer organisations, cancer registries, clinical champions and health service researchers and works collaboratively with a range of other bodies including Brain Tumour UK, the NHS Information Centre. The NCIN is part of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) and is funded by the NHS and NCRI Partners.
The agreement has just been ratified by the NCIN Site-Specific Clinical Reference Group for Brain and CNS Tumours, of which Brain Tumour UK is a lead charity member.
Brain Tumour UK's 9th Annual Conference takes place in Redditch, West Midlands, from 7-8 July 2009. Speakers include leading researchers from the National Cancer Research Institute and elsewhere. To attend the conference, members of the media should contact Trevor Lawson, Head of Communications, below.
Professor David R. Macdonald MD, FRCPC, is the originator of the Macdonald criteria which describe tumour responses to treatments. These criteria allow us to assess whether new therapies for brain tumours are having a positive effect. Professor Macdonald was also involved in the clinical trials which led to temozolomide being approved as a life-extending treatment for brain tumour patients in the UK and worldwide. He is an Associate Professor of Neurology, in the Department of Oncology and the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada. To arrange an interview with Professor Macdonald, please contact Trevor Lawson, below.
An April edition of the Observer reported a leading Lloyds underwriter as having refused to offer product liability cover to mobile manufacturers for damage to user's health. The firm cited the striking resemblance between the development of the asbestos and tobacco health issues and the current mobile phone problem, both of which will end up costing insurers a fortune.
Recently the giant Insurance group Swiss Re stated in their publication Electro-Smog A Phantom Risk, that on the basis of today's present knowledge alone it must be expected that a EMF claim would succeed. This view has been supported by the recent exit from the re-insurance market of Scandinavia's biggest insurance group, Skandia. They cite reducing exposure (sic.) to potential EMF claims as being one of the reasons.
In this regard, corporate providers should guard against complacency in relying on present day government advice to protect themselves against any future potential liabilities. The experiences of the asbestos industry is a sobering reminder of this. Although a manufacturer will always be ultimately liable for it's product, it is inconceivable that an employer insistent upon it's work force using mobiles, would be totally exempt from involvement in any actions for damages by employees.
From Microwave News Vol. XXVIII No. 8 September 30, 2008
In many ways, last Thursday’s Congressional hearing on cell phone cancer risks, called by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), brought few surprises.
David Carpenter and Ronald Herberman made the case for precaution, especially for children, while the National Cancer Institute’s Robert Hoover countered that he is not persuaded that there’s anything to worry about.
One piece of compelling news did emerge, however—though it never made it into the mainstream press: Brain cancer appears to be on the rise among young adults. Herberman testified that, on looking at government statistics, he was “struck” by the fact that the incidence of brain cancer has been increasing over the last ten years, particularly among 20-29 year-olds. If the latency for brain tumors is more than ten years and cell phone are in fact responsible for the increase, cancer rates might not peak for at least another five years, according to Herberman.
Herberman’s analysis stands in sharp contrast to Hoover’s assessment of the same data. Government statistics show no increase from 1987 to 2005, Hoover said at the hearing. If Herberman is right, he would puncture a central, albeit indirect, argument in favor of the safety of cell phone. The NCI, among others, argues that brain cancer rates are stable, and therefore that cell phones are not doing any harm. “Thus far, brain cancer incidence trends in the U.S. are unrelated to patterns of cell phone use,” Hoover told Kucinich. In response to Herberman, Hoover offered to provide the subcommittee with the most recent government cancer statistics.
Herberman, the director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and his colleague Devra Davis have prepared a paper on their interpretation of the cancer data. “We’re submitting it for publication,” Davis told Microwave News. “We’re looking at increasing trends in brain tumors among those under the age of 39, between 1995 and 2005,” she said.
An uptick in brain cancer among 20-29 year-olds would also add weight to the findings of Sweden’s Lennart Hardell. At a conference held in London earlier this month, Hardell reported that those who started using cell phones before the age of 20 were five times more likely to develop a glioma, a type of brain tumor. The U.K. press had a field day. The Independent warned of a looming brain cancer “epidemic” while the Telegraph reported that the country was facing a “health time bomb.”
In their prepared statements, both Carpenter and Herberman cited Hardell’s new finding. “This observation is consistent with a large body of scientific studies that demonstrate that children are more vulnerable than adults to carcinogens,” Carpenter said. When Kucinich asked what should be done, Carpenter replied that “the evidence is certainly strong enough for warnings that children should not use cell phones.” He warned that, “The failure to take [strong preventive action] will lead to an epidemic of brain cancer.” Carpenter is the director of the Institute for Health and Environment in Albany, NY.
Herberman criticized the NCI and Hoover for failing to cite the Hardell studies. He called this omission in the NCI Cancer Bulletin, released just before the hearing, a “major lapse” (see September 23).
“Certainly Dr. Hardell’s studies have made important contributions,” Hoover said. But then he then went on to assert that Hardell had left out many cases of brain tumors in his early studies. “To Dr. Hardell’s credit, he attempted to do something very fast, [but] he used a method...that effectively ended up eliminating everybody who died quickly.” As a result, Hoover said, Hardell’s first study included “less than 30% of the total number of cases.”
When asked about this, Hardell told Microwave News that he does not know where the 30% figure comes from. “It is not correct,” he said. “We have published all the numbers in different papers.”
Hardell first published his finding that the young have higher brain tumor risks from cell phones back in 2004. Writing in the Archives of Environmental Health, he reported that those who started using cell phones before they were 18 had more than five times the expected rate of brain tumors. At the time, he warned that this finding should be “interpreted with caution” because it is based on a small number of cases and is not statistically significant.
In London, Hardell presented an updated estimate of the risk. This time, he looked at those who started using phones before reaching the age of 20: They had a 5.2-fold increased risk of developing a glioma. This new result is based on 15 cases and is statistically significant. Hardell said that a paper with these new results is “in the pipeline.”
NCI on Interphone
In his prepared remarks, Hoover offered his views of the Interphone results published to date. The individual studies have found “no evidence of an overall increase in the risk of any type of brain tumor associated with the first ten years of cell phone use,” he said. “A somewhat increased risk has been found in some studies for tumors diagnosed on the same side of the head that the cell phone was used for those with more than ten years of cell phone use.” But, Hoover continued, “these are based on small numbers, generally less than 5% of the cases under study, and are not consistently seen across all studies.” He called these “isolated findings” that need to be replicated with different study designs “to sort out the roles of chance and bias.”
The combined Interphone analysis, he concluded, with a larger number of long-term users will hopefully provide “statistically stable estimates” of the risk that will “bring some clarity to the current state of the science.”
With respect to possible risks to children, Hoover acknowledged that, “We do know that cell phone use is increasing rapidly among children and adolescents. They are a potentially sensitive group because of their small head size and [this] could result in a higher RF exposure, and the young brain may be more sensitive.” He said there are at present “no published studies in the peer-reviewed literature” but that a European study should be available “soon.”
Hoover was referring to the CEFALO project, a study on brain tumors in children and adolescents being carried out in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. He predicted that some results would be available by the middle of next year. That may be a bit optimistic. The end of 2009 is more realistic, Switzerland’s Martin Röösli, a member of the CEFALO team, told Microwave News. Few observers believe these findings, like those of Interphone, will settle the question as to whether there are long-term health risks.
Are There RF Non-Thermal Effects?
In the later part of the hearing, Kucinich asked whether cell phone radiation could cause non-thermal effects. Carpenter responded that “there are literally hundreds of experimental studies in animals and cells that show effects without heating.” But, he said, the strongest evidence comes from epidemiology, specifically the increase in brain cancer after ten years of use. Herberman agreed that there are “quite a number of studies” that show effects and damage. “[What] struck me the most,” Herberman said, “are several reports from very experienced credible scientists of damage to the DNA, which we know is the central mechanism for developing tumors and malignant cancer.” Kucinich followed up by asking, “How would that happen?... How could RF radiation conceivably change or damage DNA?” Herberman, who acknowledged that this was indeed “surprising,” responded that his “favorite hypothesis” was that the RF signal generates reactive oxygen species, which can damage DNA.
When Hoover was asked to comment, he raised concerns as to the reliability of the papers on RF-induced DNA breaks. “I know that very recently there have been reports of the ability to do genetic damage,” he said. “Some of them, I guess, are currently under scrutiny, as to whether they might be withdrawn or not. So, I think the area is actually still evolving.”
Julius Knapp of the FCC, who also testified at the hearing, said that he does not have an opinion on the adequacy of radiation standards because no one at the agency has the competence to evaluate the biology. “Our focus is on implementation,” he told the subcommittee.
Kucinich closed the hearing by saying that the cell phone industry “will be given another opportunity to testify.” CTIA, the industry trade group, had declined his invitation to appear. Instead, it issued a statement citing NCI’s view that there is no scientific basis for any concern over brain cancer. Kucinich said that he plans to continue his investigation into cell phone health risks. “We are not going to let this matter rest,” he said.
A video of the entire hearing, called by the Domestic Policy Oversight Subcommittee, can be viewed on its Web site. The prepared statements of all the witnesses, except NCI’s Hoover, are also posted on the Web. Kucinich pressed Hoover to submit a written copy of his testimony.