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22/12/2004 - New Study shows Mobile Phones could cause cancer
Twelve institutes in seven countries have found genotoxic effects and
modified expressions on numerous genes and proteins after Radio frequency and
extremely low frequency EMF exposure at low levels, below current international
safety guidance, to living cells in-vitro. These results confirm the likelihood
of long-term genetic damage in the blood and brains of users of mobile phones
and other sources of electromagnetic fields. The idea behind the REFLEX study
was to attempt replicate damage already reported to see if the effects were real
and whether, or not, more money should be spent of research into the possible
adverse health effects of EMF exposure. They concluded that in-vitro damage
is real and that it is important to carry out much more research, especially
monitoring the long-term health of people.
"Project Leader Franz Adlkofer advised against the
use of a mobile phone when an alternative fixed-line phone was available and
recommended using a headset whenever possible.
"He said: "We don't want to create a panic but it is good to take
Page 21, Tuesday 21st December 2004 Issue,
- New Scientist Report
- BBC News Report
- Download the whole
291 page scientific report (10.8MB)*
* Please be aware that this is a large file and may take some time to
Ross Adey's FOREWORD to the report should be read - it contains much wisdom. It is reproduced in full below.
The REFLEX project (QLK4-CT-1999-01574 / REFLEX / Final Report) has made a
substantial contribution to the database on biological effects of both ELF-EMF
and RF-EMF on in vitro cellular systems. The study was designed to investigate
whether or not EMF exposure below the energy density reflected by the present
safety levels generates in vitro critical cellular events. Gene mutations,
deregulated cell proliferation and suppressed or exaggerated programmed cell
death (apoptosis) that are caused by or result in an altered gene and protein
expression profile are such critical events, the convergence of which is
required for the development of chronic diseases. Genotoxic effects and a
modified expression of numerous genes and proteins after EMF exposure could be
demonstrated with great certainty, while effects on cell proliferation, cell
differentiation and apoptosis were much less conclusive. Since all these
observations were made in in vitro studies, the results obtained neither
preclude nor confirm a health risk due to EMF exposure, but they speak in
favour of such a possibility. Because of their fundamental character the
findings will be presented to WHO, IARC and ICNIRP. It will be up to these
organisations to make use of them for risk evaluation, in combination with
findings from animal and epidemiological studies.
FOREWORD by Professor Ross Adey
Ross Adey, who made fundamental contributions to the emerging science of the
biological effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs), died in May 2004. In memory
of his achievements as a scientist and in recognition of his support of the
REFLEX work, the consortium decided that his message would be an inspiration to
all those scientists who are willing to accept the challenges posed by EMF
research, and in addition, make a fitting introduction to the final report.
The Future Of Fundamental Research In A Society Seeking Categoric
Answers To Health Risks Of New Technologies
The Challenge to Conventional Wisdom
The history of bioelectromagnetics epitomizes a range of problems that arise
whenever a community of sciences is confronted with a frontier that delves
deeply into the established orthodoxies of biology, the physical sciences and
engineering. These conflicts have become even more sharply defined when emerging
new knowledge in bioelectromagnetics research has challenged the conventional
wisdom in each part of this trinity.
Thirty-five years ago, we, who first voiced our observations of physiological
responses to a spectrum of environmental EMFs at levels below thresholds for
significant tissue heating, were promptly challenged by acolytes of orthodoxies
in the biological and physical sciences. At best, we were euphemistically
described as "controversial", a designation that persists to this day. A Yale
physicist recently added the charming term "crackpot" to describe a highly
qualified biophysicist investigator.
What is the basis of this deep thorn of discontent? Historically, excitation
in biological systems has been modeled and tested in terms of equilibrium
thermodynamics. In this classic tradition, it was assumed that the potential
effectiveness of an exciting agent could be assessed by its ability to transfer
energy to the receptor in excess of its random thermal atomic and molecular
collisions. Thus, the physical expression kT, the union of the Boltzmann
constant and temperature, has been regarded as an expression of an immutable
threshold below which an exciting agent would not be physiologically effective.
In like fashion from the quantum realm of the physicist, photon energies of
low-frequency magnetic fields, now known to act as effective physiological
stimuli, would also fall below this thermal barrier.
Here is one example: The human auditory threshold involves a hair cell
vibration of 10-11 meters, or about the diameter of a single hydrogen atom. But,
by an as-yet-unknown mechanism, the ear suppresses the vastly larger noise of
its thermal atomic and molecular collisions, functioning as an almost "perfect"
amplifier close to 0°K.
Clearly, we face a profound paradox, with answers to be sought in cooperative
states and nonequilibrium thermodynamics, as first suggested in a biological
context almost 60 years ago by Herbert Frohlich.
The lesson is clear. The awesome complexity of biological organization
demands our most careful consideration.
The Recent History of Technology Applications
We also find the heat of controversy in the recent history of technological
applications in western societies. At no point in the last 20 years has public
school education ensured that a majority of citizens has even a basic
understanding of sophisticated communication devices and systems, such as
telephones, radio and television. Similarly, automotive engineering remains a
sea of vast ignorance for most users. Nor is such knowledge considered
appropriate or necessary.
In summary, we have become superstitious users of an ever-growing range of
technologies, but we are now unable to escape the web that they have woven
Media reporters in general are no better informed. Lacking either
responsibility or accountability, they have created feeding frenzies from the
tiniest snippets of information gleaned from scientific meetings or from their
own inaccurate interpretation of published research. In consequence, the public
has turned with pleading voices to government legislatures and bureaucracies
Public Concerns and the Evolving Pattern of Research Funding
We face the problem brought on by the blind leading the blind. Because of
public pressure for rapid answers to very complex biological and physical
issues, short-term research programs have been funded to answer specific
questions about certain health risks.
Participating scientists have all too often accepted unrealistic expectations
that, in a matter of a few years, they will provide answers to pivotal questions
in cell and molecular biology that can only be achieved slowly, painstakingly
and collaboratively over a decade or more.
Using EMFs as tools, we have launched our ship on a vast, uncharted ocean,
seeking a new understanding of the very essence of living matter in physical
processes at the atomic level. This is an awesome and humbling prospect, surely
not to be ignored or forgotten in the pragmatic philosophies of most risk
In many countries, and particularly in the USA, the effects of such harassing
and troublesome tactics on independent, careful fundamental research have been
near tragic. Beguiled by health hazard research as the only source of funding,
accomplished basic scientists have diverted from a completely new frontier in
physical regulation of biological mechanisms at the atomic level. Not only have
governments permitted corporate interests in the communications industry to fund
this research, they have even permitted them to determine the research questions
to be addressed and to select the institutions performing the research.
These policies overlook the immutable needs of the march of science. In their
hasty rush to judgment, they have sought a scientific consensus where none can
yet exist. Such a consensus will occur only after experimental convergence
emerges from a spectrum of related but certainly not identical experiments.
Defining the Role of Epidemiology in Current Controversies
Much in the fashion of ancient Romans, standing four-square and reading the
auguries of future events by noting flight patterns of passing birds, the
modern-day epidemiologist has become the high priest in the search for
correlates of disease processes with a constellation of environmental
observables. It is rare for them to be competent in delving into questions of
causality, particularly where no exposure metric has been established for a
suspected environmental factor. Nevertheless, in courts of law, in legislatures,
and among a concerned public, epidemiological opinions have become a gold
standard, typically outranking evidence based on a balanced and often cautionary
review of current medical science.
We should remind ourselves that their professional tool is biostatistics -
they build endless Byzantine edifices of levels of statistical risk, with little
or no commitment to the underlying science or medicine. Their mutual discussions
have produced the technique of meta-analysis, the pooling of statistical
analyses from a series of epidemiological studies. The method ignores the
nuances of both experimental design and epidemiological findings in the separate
studies, and blinds us to options for further research based on the possible
uniqueness of these separate observations.
It appears reasonable that there should be no more large epidemiological
studies on human EMF exposures until essential exposure metrics are established,
based on mechanisms of field interactions in tissues.
Repairing the Body Politic of Science: Some Personal Reflections
The passage of time across the years has not diminished in any way the
importance, even the urgency, that one feels towards the growing edifice of
science. We must not fail to engender in younger minds a passionate curiosity
and an imagination sufficient to kindle their commitment to all that is great
and good in the scientific method.
As I reflect on major changes wrought in the U.S. national research scene
over the past 40 years, I sense a deep and growing concern that research
training and the culture of research accomplishment have stifled the burning
thorn of personal discontent that should be the creative option of all young
minds entering on a research career.
Graduate students are assigned a project that is typically a segment of their
advisor's grand vista. They may not deviate to ask creative "what if?"
questions. They emerge from the chrysalis of their training, bearing a parchment
for the professional market place, affirming proficiency in certain techniques,
but in no way proclaiming the arrival of that precious citadel of a creative
Please allow me to conclude with an urgent proposal that comes from my own
research experience. Formal instruction in physics, theoretical and applied, has
become the weakest link for those entering on a career in medical research.
Bioelectromagnetics research has opened the door to a new understanding of
the very essence of living matter in physical regulation at the atomic level,
beyond the realm of chemical reactions in the exquisite fabric of biomolecules.
Without versatility in biophysics that matches their typical knowledge in
molecular biology and biochemistry, none of these students may cross this
threshold to the cutting edge of in future medical research. Let us not see this
opportunity lost prematurely through prostitution of mechanistic research in the
market place of possible health risks.
Thank you for the great privilege of offering these personal reflections.
From 7.12 Summary
... the omnipresence of EMF's in infrastructures and consumer products have
become a topic of public concern. This is due to the fear of people that based
on the many conflicting research data a risk to their health cannot be excluded
with some certainty. Therefore, the overall objective of REFLEX was to find out
whether or not the fundamental biological processes at the cellular and
molecular level support such an assumption. For this purpose, possible effects
of EMFs on cellular events controlling key functions, including those involved
in carcinogenesis and in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, were
studied through focussed research. Failure to observe the occurrence of such key
critical events in living cells after EMF exposure would have suggested that
further research efforts in this field could be suspended and financial
resources be reallocated to the investigation of more important issues. But as
clearly demonstrated, the results of the REFLEX project show the way into the
(Comment: i.e. more funding for important research is urgently needed)
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