21/02/2002 - Various EMF News stories
New stories added on 21st February 2002
These are now added as and when they come and then uploaded to the web site every few weeks.
We do not have the time or energy to do more, but we hope you find them interesting and helpful.
Drs Ray Tice and Graham Hook found human blood cell changes following exposure to four different types of cell phone signals. Bioelectromagnetics (23, pp 113-126) - Microwave News Jan/Feb 2002 (website listed under Further Resources)
The Federal Radiation Protection Office in Germany is considering proposals on 15 projects in its new research program on mobile phone safety. These will include:
- effects on the pineal gland;
- effects on cells exposed to pulsed radiation;
- an epidemiological analysis, beginning with a pilot study, of health complaints and radiation from mobile phone base stations, with a study population of approximately 2000.
The deadline for submitting applications was 5th January 2002.
January 2002 - The strong power-frequency fields found in hospital incubators used for premature babies are not associated with an increased risk of childhood leukaemia, according to new research by Dr Maria Feychting, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Epidemiology (13, pp 45-49, January 2002)
January 2002 - A team led by Dr De-Kun Li of Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California report in Epidemiology (January 2002) that exposure to high peaks of magnetic field exposure can result in early miscarriage, especially for women who are more vulnerable because of a history of previous miscarriages or infertility. The risk level can be up to six times higherthan those who are not exposed to these high peaks. This is especially concerning for pregnant women travelling on trains on electrified rail networks where intermittent exposure will often exceed the sort of levels (1.6 microtesla) investigated by the American team.
Confounding factors such as nausea (associated with lower risk of miscarriage) which were thought possibly to inhibit pregnant women's inclination to travel around, were allowed for and made no difference to the relative risk.
There is ongoing controversy about whether it is more meaningful to use Time Weighted Averages (TWA), the most commonly used metric to date or Maximum Magnetic Field (MMF) such as used in this study. MMF has been proposed as the more important metric for some time by researchers, who believe that absolute measures (and the variation in field levels) may be more important than averaged field strength, and this is one of the few relatively large studies that has used this metric.
Canadian Dr T Muc, of Radiation Health and Safety Consulting, notes that exposures over 0.1 microtesla are common and that "relatively little scientific investigation of transportation system EMFs has been carried out to date." (Microwave News)
The California EMF Program on the draft assessment of EMF health risks concluded that EMFs are more likely than not to cause childhood leukaemia, adult brain cancer, ALS and miscarriages. It was received with scepticism by industry, but many researchers found the report valuable. All the comments, along with the EMF Program's responses, will be posted on the Internet in late February. Professor Denis Henshaw has written a brilliant new commentary on this important Californian report - to read this visit the excellent Bristol University electric-fields website and choose "Latest updates" link.
24 January 2002 Computers, chemicals and cancer
When Trish Balon, who worked on the crowded third floor of Bell Canada's Hamilton headquarters, developed breast cancer, it seemed like bad luck. But when the disease hit her colleagues Maureen Steeves and Lorna Wilson too, the three started to suspect that the office in which they worked, especially the electrical office equipment caused their illness. Lorna, the third to be diagnosed, triggered their concern. Maybe it wasn't just a coincidence. Normally, women in Canada have a one in 60 chance of getting breast cancer before menopause. Yet, in just over a year, breast cancer touched three women on a floor of about 50 female employees. Lorna's and Maureen's sisters also worked there.
They were all hired seven years ago to work in a stuffy office jammed with computers, fax machines, telephones and electrical wiring. Maureen sat between two rows of computers. Lorna sat between a computer and a printer, with a fax machine within easy reach. On Trish's desk there were two computers, four telephones and a multitude of phone and electrical lines. A printer and a fax machine sat within arm's length.
Both breast cancer activists and environmentalists are trying to convince governments and the medical establishment that chemicals and radiation in the environment are behind the 28 percent increase in breast cancer over the past 30 years. The standard risk factors for all breast cancers apply to fewer than 50 percent of cases. The newly discovered breast cancer genes explain a mere 5 percent - or less.
Industrial and agricultural chemicals, along with radiation in the form of electromagnetic fields, help promote breast cancer by disrupting hormones (including melatonin) that play a vital role in the growth and control of mutant cancer cells. Prominent Washington State cancer epidemiologist Richard Stevens, believes that EMFs may suppress melatonin, an anticancer agent, thus triggering breast cancer.
24 January 2002 - UK Daily Mail
There has been a 40% decline in demand in phones across Europe. Europe's largest mobile phone retailer, Carphone Warehouse, with 1,138 stores across Europe is losing customers hand-over-fist and City analysts do not believe that new services such as fast Internet access will make enough of a difference to halt their tumbling share values.
21 January 2002
A prototype instrument, designed by Alasdair Philips, due to be made publicly available this year, was tested in Scotland this month. It identifies areas of high 'pulsing' from microwave sources, using an auditory signal. One of the people experimenting with the instrument was able to demonstrate how the body absorbs and screens EMFs by placing her body in between the sources (including 15 of them on three roofs right outside her 8th floor room at a hotel) whilst her colleague walked about with the new prototype device. The row was terrific! Many hotspots were found in the towns and cities measured, including Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. The leather case actually reverberated in high amplitude areas.
21 January 2002 Proposal to underground electricity cables in NSW Australia - Lyn McLean EMRAA)
The NSW government is proposing to underground electricity cables, whilst this has been greeted with approval in principle, concern is being expressed about whether building will be allowed too close to the buried cables. Further safeguards may be requested. Submissions are due in by February 4
The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), which was intending to relax the current RF standard (the idea was abandoned in January 2002), is one of the defendants in a $1.5 billion lawsuit filed by a former Motorola Inc. employee who alleges mobile-phone use caused his brain cancer.
Lawyers in Maryland and Michigan say they plan to file a public-interest lawsuit against the FDA and other federal regulators for failing to protect the health of the nation's 123 million mobile-phone subscribers.
18 January 2002 A Research Project by the University of East Anglia, Norwich, funded by the UK Department of Health
"Understanding your views about natural and man-made radiation in your environment"
This is a new 3-year study seeking expert views from 2,250 lay people on natural and man-made radiation in the environment and people's perception of hazards, especially radon and EMFs from powerlines. It is an attempt to improve the way that lay perceptions of the potential hazards of natural and man-made radiation are understood. As a result of this they hope to improve the way in which health authorities and others can promote public awareness and can target self-protection behaviour in the general public.
17 January 2002 Dr. Neil Cherry ill - Lyn Milnes in New Zealand
Dr Neil Cherry ( a top researcher and activist on EMF and microwave adverse health issues has sadly been diagnosed with motor neurone disease a very serious disease. "Dr Cherry said there was no medical treatment for his disease but large doses of "love, joy and pleasure" could possibly slow the onset."
12 January 2002 - The Guardian - Phone masts start child cancer scare - Giles Tremlett in Madrid
Four children, aged between five and 10, at the Garcia Quintana primary school in Valladolid, central Spain, have been diagnosed with cancer, 3 with leukaemia and 1 with Hodgkin's disease. These have been linked to 36 mobile phone transmitters on a building 50 metres away.
A local court backed a parental demand to switch off and dismantle the transmitters.
Luis Martin, a doctor and parent, said: "In 32 years there had never been a case of cancer at the school but since they installed the antennas in 2000 four children have fallen seriously ill".
Juan Represa, a government adviser, said: "If the antennas were the cause then, taking into account the number across Spain, we would have hundreds of thousands of cases of cancer." Other chemicals may have caused the illnesses, he added.
Yesterday the regional authorities began a study of possible causes, but they admit that they may never find out why the four children, and two more who live in nearby buildings, fell ill.
The parents point to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which has finally shown a link between child cancer and the electromagnetic fields produced by power lines.
10 January 2002
The NRPB is to be subsumed in April 2003 into a new government agency which is to provide an integrated approach to protecting the health of the public against infectious diseases, chemical and radiological hazards. Dr Michael Clark, somewhat surprised at the news, as are the other staff at the NRPB, has been assured that the NRPB will retain its distinct identity within the new organisation.
Russia is selling RF weapons to wealthy buyers.
Two electronic warfare weapons were on show in Malaysia in October 2001.
One uses 10-20 nanosecond pulses at around 30GHz with an output power of more than 500 MW, and can disable a missile's guidance system within a range of 10 kilometres. The other, in the same frequency range, with an output power of 5-10 kW can zap radar systems at 500 kilometres. Jan/Feb 2002 Microwave News for more details
David de Pomerai et al. at Nottingham University (the team that have just received funding from the MHTR) found changes in growth rate and maturation to the reproductive stage in nematode worms, were increased by exposure to weak microwave fields. This is in contrast to heating which has the opposite effect. This completely eliminates explanations of biological consequences that invoke the bulk heating of tissues by microwaves - these are real 'non-thermal' effects. Enzyme and Microbial Technology(30, pp 73-79)
January 2002 Cape Cod
PAVE PAWS - Researchers new round of study - Doreen Leggett, & Shawn Murray
The Air Force are funding another study, though not an independent one, of the PAVE PAWS facility (the East Coast radar site that can provide early warning of ballistic missile launches), even though they have $10 million worth of studies that say the facility is safe. This is in response to the community's concerns about the high rate of certain cancers (including childhood leukaemia and central nervous system tumours), birth defects and diseases like lupus, which they believe may be caused by the radar that scans the sky for missiles, and tracks satellites and space junk. "The fact that the medical problem worsens with time of residence in the area, strongly supports the concept that there is an environmental agent causing, or at least potentially causing, the diseases under study" says San Antonio's Dr. Richard Albanese, a military researcher, who helped Vietnam veterans in the investigation of Agent Orange.
Some residents are particularly interested in a " time domain " study which measures the " fronts " of the waves and whether they are steep and follow each other rapidly. Some scientists believe that the effects of the phased array radar go beyond thermal, or heating, effects. Studies show that the facility is not heating cells, but some people are concerned that the successive wave fronts are, in a way, shaking cells and causing damage. The Electromagnetic Health and Safety report was designed with PAVE PAWS in mind and sets a risk level. " At this time we surely feel that one volt per meter per nanosecond and faster pulses surely pose a biological and medical threat, " Albanese wrote. Whether PAVE PAWS has pulses in that category is unclear. As this report is classified, it won't be allowed in the environmental impact statement.
Albanese had hoped that the team would take measurements further down the Cape, because the wave front arrival rate increases as it moves further out. Initially the team will do a small test using eight sights on Upper Cape Cod, close to the facility, because the wave is easier to map.
The National Academy of Sciences - National Research Council (NAS - NRC) has been brought in by the Air Force to conduct a literature review of existing studies. Only 2 out of the panel of 10 have clearance to see all the material. Albanese said there are at least 14 non-classified articles, from several researchers, that back up the premise that PAVE PAWS is not safe. DLEGGETT@CNC.COM
10 January 2002 - Kitchen appliances linked to miscarriage -
based on New Scientist article reported in the Telegraph and The Guardian
STRONG magnetic fields produced by trains and household appliances increase the risk of miscarriage by up to three times, according to a new study. Dr De-Kun Li, of the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute at Oakland, California studied women in the first trimester of pregnancy and their exposure to magnetic fields. He found that pregnant women exposed to peak radiation levels greater than 1.6 microteslas - 100 times less than permitted by NRPB guidelines - were nearly twice as likely to miscarry. The highest peaks carried a higher risk level than this. Radiation within 70ft of a 400,000 volt pylon as used by the National Grid is eight microteslas. Dr Li speculated that high levels of radiation might cause miscarriages by subtly disrupting cell-to-cell communication, supporting other scientists' views that significant changes occur at much lower levels than those at which heating effects can be detected. The team measured peak radiation levels rather than time weighted averages which are the ones usually used. Many scientists have argued that these averages eliminate the variation in field levels which is the factor that is significant with respect to biological effects. The findings held true after allowing for 30 potentially confounding factors.
The National Radiological Protection Board said "If true, there would have to be precautionary advice to pregnant women," said a spokesman.
Dr Li's study is published in the journal Epidemiology, 2002, Vol.13;1;pp.9-20
See also the study by G. Lee et al., Epidemiology, 2002, Vol.13;1;pp.21-31
04 January 2002 Wisconsin Farmers Sue Power Companies Over Electrical Pollution
Seven farmers in Clark and Marathon Counties have commenced lawsuits alleging electrical pollution against Northern States Power Company and Clark Electric Cooperative.
The farmers are alleging that despite repeated requests, both electrical providers are causing damage to their dairy operations. The farmers retained the services of an industrial electrician in 1998 and 1999 and have for the most part continued to monitor the electrical current on their farms, particularly the areas in and around the barns where the livestock are maintained.
The farmers allege that electrical current from powerlines has caused significant damage to the herds resulting in lost milk production, aborted calves, and various other physical ailments, all documented by veterinary care.
Most if not all of the farms had previously been top producers in both Marathon and Clark Counties. Both lawsuits have been filed in Marathon County, because of fears that they would not get a fair trial in Clark County.
3 January 2002 Sleep disruption due to EMF exposure in people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Sleep impairment with night time exposure to 50 Hz magnetic fields was observed in an Australian pilot study of 49 people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Out of the 49, 11 had night time exposures over 0.2 microtesla and 7 exposures over 0.4 microtesla. The results are to be published in the Journal of the Australasian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine (ACNEM).
These findings support the general study by Akerstedt et al., Journal of Sleep Research (1999) Vol 8, pp.77-81, who carried out a study of 18 healthy subjects, comparing sleep with and without exposure to a 50 Hz 1 microtesla magnetic field. We found that the EMF condition was associated with reduced:
- total sleep time (TST)
- sleep efficiency
- stages 3 + 4 slow wave sleep (SWS)
- and slow wave activity (SWA).
Circulating melatonin, growth hormone, prolactin, testosterone or cortisol were not affected. The results suggest that commonly occurring low frequency electromagnetic fields may interfere with sleep.
03 January 2002 - Funds for Health Tracking
The American Congress agreed in late December, 2001 to provide almost $30 million in 2002 for health tracking. This year's funding is a downpayment on the $ 275 million needed to support nationwide tracking and monitoring of diseases. It may be the way to track the effects of mobile phones on children's health.
For more information on the appropriations see the below press releases from Senator Clinton (D-NY) and Senator Reid (D-NV) at:
02 January 2002 Jerusalem Post
The Science and Technology Committee of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, has adopted a recommendation that the use of cell phones by children should be kept to a minimum.
01 January 2002 - The Ecologist
An article in the Ecologist levels accusations at the Government of putting market forces before the health of the young. £22.5 billion is rather more than 30 pieces of silver, but is the price justified when research is showing that mobile phones are exposing the young to levels of microwave radiation that may seriously damage their developing brains and nervous systems? Dr Gerard Hyland, a leading expert in describing the potential health problems that our young people may have to face, is quoted as saying that scientific voices which put forward contrary views are 'at worst silenced, at best studiously ignored.' The media have focused on findings of 'no effects' instead of a balance of the scientific research showing those which have effects and those which don't.
He argues that existing safety guidelines relating to mobile phone masts are completely inadequate, since they focus only on the thermal effects of exposure to electro-magnetic fields. People living in the vicinity of mobile phone masts literally have 'nowhere to hide'. In addition, given the short time for which humans have been exposed to it, we have 'no evolutionary immunity against any adverse effects'.
The fact that the following effects have not been studied in laboratory conditions or as part of a research study as yet; headaches, sleep disruption, impairment of short-term memory, nosebleeds and, more seriously, an increase in the frequency of seizures in some children already suffering from epilepsy, does not constitute grounds for dismissing them out of hand.
A recently re-analysed analysis of the Lilienfeld report on the Moscow US Embassy irradiation during the 'cold' war shows that long-term (involuntary) exposure to microwave radiation of intensities in between that of an active phone and that of living near a base-station does causes serious illness, such as leukaemia and lymphoma, in certain exposed people.
According to Hyland: 'If the same level of uncertainty and debate as currently surrounds the safety of human exposure to GSM radiation obtained in the case of a new drug or foodstuff they would most certainly never be licenced.'
In Russia, biological sensitivity of living organisms to ultra-low intensity microwave radiation was first discovered over 30 years ago, so their exposure guidelines are approximately 100 times more stringent than those of the UK.
If you were the UK government, what would you do?
Germany's six telecommunications service providers have agreed to sponsor a 4-year health research program in exchange for the government's pledge not to reduce exposure limits for mobile phone towers to below ICNIRP guidelines. In addition, the companies promised to give local officials and the public a greater role in decisions on siting base station antennas, to avoid the placement of antennas near schools or kindergartens and to install a network of measurement stations to monitor RF/MW radiation from their systems.
Microwave news Jan/Feb 2002
Wolfgang Löscher found several key factors in determining whether and how many tumours were found in rats when exposed to EMFs. These factors included a) the duration of exposure, as the data strongly indicated that exposure affected tumour growth rather than incidence; b) a critical window of exposure seemed to be clearly indicated rather than the frequently looked for dose-response effect; c) the location of tumours, with the cranial thoracic complexes being most sensitive to EMF exposure. He concludes that if EMF effects of similar magnitude were found in human populations, it would represent a critical adverse health effect because of the high incidence of female breast cancer. Bioelectromagnetics (22, pp 603-614)
31 December 2001
Whales' Deaths Linked to Navy's Sonar Tests - By Rick Weiss, Washington Post
16 whales were stranded in the Bahamas in March 2000 as a result of U.S. Navy tests. The test involved middle-frequency (about 3,000 to 7,000 cycles per second) sonar studies in which underwater noises of about 230 decibels were generated. Tissue damage in sea animals is known to occur at about 180 decibels, and a 230-decibel sonar sound is about 100,000 times louder than that.
X-rays of the heads of the whales that died showed bleeding around the inner ears, trauma to the auditory system and parts of the brain and throat sensitive to intense pressures. "There's no question that these tactical mid-range sonars were the sound source that caused the trauma," said Roger Gentry, who heads the acoustical research team for the National Marine Fisheries Service, an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The report's conclusions mark the first time that underwater noise other than from an explosion has been shown to cause fatal trauma in marine mammals.
The Navy is expected to get federal permission to conduct tests of a low-frequency (100 to 500 cycles per second) sonar system early next year -- permission that environmental groups have promised to fight.
27 December 2001 - Sunday Mirror
Scientists have discovered that a mobile phone call lasting just two minutes can alter the natural electrical activity of a child's brain for up to an hour afterwards.
The study, due to be published in The Lancet next year, by Spanish scientists at the Neuro Diagnostic Research Institute in Marbella has prompted leading medical experts to question whether it is safe for children to use mobile phones at all.
Doctors fear that disturbed brain activity in children could lead to psychiatric problems, aggressive behaviour, a lack of concentration, memory loss, and an inability to learn. This could have implications for classroom behaviour if they have been using a phone during break time at school, for instance. Previously it had been thought that interference with brain waves and brain chemistry stopped when a call ended.
Dr Michael Kliefsen, who conducted the study, said: "We are worried that delicate balances that exist - such as the immunity to infection and disease - could be altered by interference with chemical balances in the brain."
3 December 2001
RCR NEWS - WASHINGTON - by JEFFREY SILVA
Research to be published in February 2002 in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry by Professor Theodore Litovitz and his team, will report that heavy mobile-phone use can cause brain cancer, Alzheimer's, and other diseases by interfering with DNA repair, a finding which has implications for youth-targeted marketing when combined with another new study showing that children absorb twice as much mobile-phone radiation as adults.
This research supports findings that show that adverse biological effects occur at much lower levels of microwave radiation than current safety standards protect us against.
The Litovitz study, coupled with the study by University of Utah researcher Om Gandhi, could have major economic and legal implications for the wireless industry.
Gandhi's research found the younger the child, the more radiation is absorbed in brain tissue. Some fear children may be more susceptible to mobile-phone radiation than adults because their nervous systems are still developing, reinforcing the concern expressed by the conclusions of the Stewart Report in May 2000, which suggested children under 16 should use a mobile phone in emergencies only. The Department of Health repeated this precaution in their leaflet which was widely distributed to mobile phone outlets. Sir William Stewart has re-iterated his determination that he will not allow his 4 & 5 year-old grandchildren to use a mobile phone.
Mobile-phone use by children and teenagers is on the rise, and firms see huge growth potential in the youth market. "We're pretty bullish on increased usage by teenagers. ... Usage penetration is exploding," said Adam Guy, a senior analyst at the Strategist Group.
December 2001 - ICNIRP has concluded that EMFs may be a risk factor for childhood leukaemia. The subcommittee, led by Dr Anders Ahlbom of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm concludes "A doubling of the risk among children with average exposures above 0.4 microtesla is unlikely to be due to chance". For Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a form of Motor Neurone Disease, they find the data "intriguing and point toward a possible risk increase, especially among workers in electrical occupations." Environmental Health Perspectives (109, Supplement 6, pp 911-933, December 2001)
REVOLT continues to fight the proposed NGC Yorkshire powerline. Professor Mike O'Carroll has submitted a second addendum to his proof of evidence, as new and stronger evidence continues to mount, both on need [for the powerline] (or lack of it) and on health. The original proof and first addendum were circulated with news99 and news100.
- Professor O'Carroll makes some very telling points about the changes in need for power in view of some closures of high power-use firms, changes in transmission technology and the government-initiated preference for small-scale generation. Abandoning the line would bring significant further benefits in removing some 35 km of existing line in Teesside and around York.
- With regard to health effects, Professor O'Carroll reminds us of some of the more recent research and a mysterious and apparently deliberate lack of acknowledgement by the NRPB and the Planning Inspectors of research brought to their attention.
Professor O'Carroll's updates on research findings associating powerline EMFs with increased health risk are further reinforced by comments and references from Professor Henshaw of Bristol University. Professor Henshaw is acknowledged to be one of the foremost experts in this field, his work on corona ions emitted from high voltage power lines, and their effect on cancer development and increased asthma incidence having taken the health issues forward in a substantive way.
Comments from Alasdair Philips, director of Powerwatch, point out further information about the inefficiency of powerline transportation, and offers suggestions about how the power could be distributed (e.g. undergrounding) without risking the health of the residents through whose land the cables would be passing.
Further comments from Professor O'Carroll suggest steps which could be taken to support people who are concerned about health effects to be compensated for proximity to the lines.
For further information please see the REVOLT website (see Further Resources)
This also details the appalling way National Grid Co has been behaving.
30 November 2001 - Fleet news
TRYING TO TAKE THE MOBILE OUT OF MAKING TELEPHONE CALLS
Hampshire County and Rusmoor Borough councillor, Mike Roberts, former chairman of road safety, is in full support of a Private Member's Bill, submitted to Parliament by Janet Anderson, calling for a complete ban on the use of mobile phones whilst driving. Coun Roberts confirmed that he thought a minimum fine of £1,000,- would be an acceptable penalty for offences such as driving without a license. "Responsibility and safety on the road for all users and those nearby must be paramount."
The issue of using a phone whilst driving is one of the policy areas on the agenda of MEP Mark Watts, Labour's spokesman at the European Parliament. It is part of the debate before the European Parliament discussing the co-ordination of legislation and regulation over a number of key areas, such as making sure those banned from driving in one EU member country cannot, as in some countries, continue to drive."
27 November 2001
Olle Johansson, Karolinska Institute, Sweden
Look out for the following important papers by Olle Johansson
- Johansson O et al. "Cutaneous mast cells are altered in normal healthy volunteers sitting in front of ordinary TVs/PCs - results from open-field provocation experiments", J Cutan Pathol 2001; 28: 513-519
- Södergren L, Johansson O, "Commentary: Mobile telephones - will the golden goose become the mad cow?", Journal of the Australian College of Nutrition & Environmental Medicine 2001; 20: 29-30
- Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Melanoma incidence and FM broadcasting", 2001
- Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Har tusentals personer offrats i onödan sedan 1955?" ("Have thousands of people unnecessarily been sacrificed since 1955?"; in Swedish), 2001