July 13, 2010

Tonight we will be looking a subject that has generated a good deal of controversy: Whether or not cell phones (and other devices that emit electromagnetic radiation) are harmful to your health. Our guest is Dr. Kerry Crofton, who is a health care specialist and who has published a new book called Wireless Radiation Rescue: safeguarding your family from the risks of electro-pollution

Listen to the program.

Background on ElectroPollution This is a highly controversial topic, and it’s clear that not all the evidence is in on the topic. We’ll ask our guest, Dr. Kerry Crofton, to summarize some of that evidence for us.

Meanwhile, close to home, just last week, the City of San Francisco posted a new ordinance requiring stores to post levels of cell phone radiation. Here’s an article from the Washington Post by Cecilia Kang:

San Francisco [has become] the first U.S. jurisdiction to respond to increased concerns over possible links between cellphone use and cancer, adopting a city ordinance requiring retailers to post the radiation levels of mobile phones.

In a 10-to-1 vote, the city’s board of supervisors passed an ordinance that would require stores to post the specific absorption rates (SAR) of phones. Those rates are the levels at which radio frequencies penetrate body tissue. Mayor Gavin Newsom co-sponsored the measure and is expected to sign off on the ordinance to make it official.San Francisco’s action casts new attention on the potential link between cellphone use and cancer and other illnesses caused by the radiation emitted from phones. The issue hasn’t gained as much attention in the United States as it has overseas, where Israel, Great Britain, France and Germany are among a growing number of countries that have begun warning cellphones users of potential risks those devices pose for long-term users and children.

 The cellphone industry, meanwhile, has successfully fought similar legislation in the California legislature. Its trade groups CTIA and TechAmerica also argued against a bill in Maine this year that would require Maine retailers to brandish warning labels of the effects cellphone radiation might have on children. Both bills were defeated, and the industry argued that both would have caused confusion and gone against some scientific studies that don’t show a link between cellphone use and cancer.But there has also been a growing body of research that shows a potential connection between long-term cellphone use and brain tumors. And the risks are greater for children, according to some scientists who participated in a 13-nation long-term study on cellphone use and cancer called Interphone. Kang quotes Representative Edward Markeyt of Massachusetts, who said:

 “It is my hope that [the] vote in San Francisco will spur more research into the possible health effects of radiation emitted by mobile phones, particularly with respect to potential effects on children.” Markey [is former] chairman of the House telecommunications subcommittee. Markey had conducted hearings in the early 1990s into the health impact of cellphones. “No single study is conclusive, and ongoing research is needed to add to the body of knowledge on this important subject. I look forward to following the implementation of the San Francisco ordinance and continuing the work I began in the 1990s when I was chairman of the telecommunications subcommittee, to encourage more scientific studies that advance our understanding in this vital area.”


The Cell Phone industry quickly responded to the San Francisco ordinance. We quote from an article by Kent German in CNET:

Industry groups naturally tend to protect their own, and after playing with San Francisco for several years the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) is now taking its ball and going home.

On Tuesday, the association said in a statement that it would no longer hold its autumn trade show in San Francisco after this year’s event in October. CTIA, which represents the wireless industry in the United States, is not happy that the city’s Board of Supervisors recently voted to require cell phone manufacturers […] to display the specific absorption rate […] for each handset sold.

Kent German quotes a statement from CITA:

 “Rather than inform, the ordinance will potentially mislead consumers with point of sale requirements suggesting that some phones are ‘safer’ than others based on radiofrequency emissions,” the statement said. “In fact, all phones sold legally in the U.S. must comply with the Federal Communications Commission’s safety standards for RF emissions. According to the FCC, all such compliant phones are safe phones as measured by these standards.”

But, Kent German points out:

 It’s ironic that in the process of accusing San Francisco of oversimplifying the issue, CTIA is doing the exact same thing. Though the group is correct that all phones sold in the United States must conform to FCC standards a[n emission rate] of 1.6 watts per kilogram or lower), there is still no scientific consensus that cell phone radiofrequency is or is not harmful. That’s a fact CTIA should face, whether it likes it or not.

 Even the long-awaited Interphone study, which the cell phone industry partially funded, was largely inconclusive. “Overall, no increase in risk of glioma or meningioma was observed with use of mobile phones,” the study said. “There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma at the highest exposure levels, but biases and error prevent a causal interpretation.”

In the lack of scientific evidence CNET has always encouraged readers to stay informed about cell phone radiation and make decisions based on their comfort level. If you are concerned, we offer several recommendations, one of which is choosing a phone with a lower SAR (see CNET’s cell phone radiation charts for more information).

We’ve posted a link to CNET’s cell phone radiation charts on our own website, ecotopiakzfr.net.

http://www.cnet.com/8301-17918_1-20008999-85.htmlell phones and brain tumors.  David Gutierrez writes:

Meanwhile, Natural News reports that evidence is mounting between

A growing body of evidence, dating back to the 1960s, suggests that brain tumors may be only one of the many health problems produced by our new wireless society will produce.

Cell-phone technology “could lead to a health crisis similar to those caused by asbestos, smoking, and lead in petrol,” warned the European Union’s environmental watchdog agency in 2007.

The most ambitious attempt to catalogue the health risks of cell phones to date is the industry-funded Interphone study, carried out by researchers from 13 different countries (not including the United States). Although the study has been criticized for selecting data in a way designed to play down the risks of cell phone use, it continues to turn up alarming findings nonetheless. Among the findings so far are a 40 percent increase in brain tumor risk among adults who use a cell phone for 10 years (especially on the side of the head where the phone is held); a 300 percent increased risk of acoustic nerve tumors; and an increased risk of tumors of the parotid gland. The risk of a brain tumor increases by 400 percent in people who start using a cell phone before the age of 20.

The report in Natural News continues:

Other studies, mostly out of Europe, have linked mobile phone and personal digital assistant (PDA) use to DNA damage, sperm death, and brain damage including early-onset dementia. These findings regularly make big news in the international press, but are by and large played down in U.S. media.

The United States has a long history of hostility toward the claim that the microwave radiation used by microwave ovens, cell phones, cell phone towers and wireless internet (Wi-Fi) can be harmful to human health. U.S. law prohibits challenging the placement of cell phone towers on health grounds, and an industry group (the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is highly influential in setting exposure standards.

The first research on the risks of microwave radiation was actually uncovered by a U.S. researcher, Allan Frey, in the 1960s. Frey discovered that “nonionizing” electromagnetic radiation — previously thought to be harmless — could still produce biological effects. For example, radar waves can produce “sound” even in the absence of actual sound waves by interfering with the brain’s own electromagnetic signals. Frey found that microwaves could damage the organs of lab animals, even stopping their hearts completely. […]

Modern research supports these early findings, with 75 percent of independently funded studies showing health risks from cell phone radiation (in contrast with only 25 percent of industry funded studies). Researchers have also documented dramatic rises in the rate of numerous health problems immediately following the introduction of widespread Wi-Fi and cell phone networks across Europe.

Such concerns have led European governments to consider banning Wi-Fi in government facilities, and to the Austrian Medical Association’s call for a ban on Wi-Fi in schools. The national library of France has already removed all Wi-Fi connections due to health concerns.[…]


Our Discussion with Kerry Crofton

Dr. Kerry Crofton, is author of a new book called Wireless Radiation Rescue: safeguarding your family from the risks of electro-pollution.

Part I: What’s the problem?

  • Let’s start with your background. You’re a health care professional and have worked in a number of areas. But about five years ago, you started researching the dangers of electromagnetic radiation from electronic devices. Please tell us about that journey.
  • What do you see as the dangers? What risk levels are we talking about? (Let’s talk about the risks for, say:

                   –a teenager addicted to cellphoning and texting.
an office internet addict using wireless.
just plain folks who use cell phones, wireless, etc., but not to “excess”

  • What other devices have you studied. (Ans:  PDAs, headsets, cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, fluorescent lights, electric/hybrid cars and more.)
  • As you know, the research data on this topic have been debated (especially by the cell phone industry), and just about everything we’ve seen on the topic suggests that “the evidence is still coming in.” What evidence/data will be required to convince people that there is a danger? Is such research under way? Who is conducting and paying for it?
  • Last week you were in San Francisco, which has just passed an ordinance requiring stores to post cell phone radiation levels. What’s your view of the value of this ordinance (or is it just one more example of SF overreacting to perceived problems)?

Part II: Symptoms and Solutions

  • Please tell us more about the organization publishing your book, Radiation Rescue.
  • One section of your book is called “Signs and Symptoms.” How can we know if we are being affected by electronic radiation? Are there warning signs that (in particular) parents can look for? (How do you distinguish EMF problems from, say, normal teenage hyperactivity and totally normal “ADD”?)
  • You argue that the government has been slow to recognize this problem and slower to institute regulations that would help solve it. What are the current regulations? (How do they differ from what the European Union has already instituted?) What regulations need to be in force? Is anybody in congress working to create these regulations?
  • What precautions/procedures should people take to protect themselves and their children, especially, given that electronic gizmos are obviously here to stay?
  • How can concerned listeners take action? Whom can they contact (especially legislators)? Where can they learn more?
  • What other projects do you have under way with Radiation Rescue?
  • What’s your next writing project?

Our guest has been Dr. Kerry Crofton, author of Wireless Radiation Rescue: safeguarding your family from the risks of electro-pollution. You can learn more about the issue and order a copy of the book at: http://www.radiationrescue.org/

Bibliography (supplied by Kerry Crofton)

Scientific Evidence of Harm — key studies cited by the UK neuroscientist Dr. Sarah Starkey:

Aitken R. J., Bennetts L.E., Sawyer D., Wikiendt A. M. and King B. V., 2005, Impact of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation on DNA integrity in the male germline, Int J Androl, 28(3), 171-179.

Arendt J., Labib M. H., Bojkowski C., Hanson S. and Marks V., 1989, Rapid decrease in melatonin production during successful treatment of delayed puberty, Lancet 1(8650), 1326.

Bio-Initiative Report, 2007, A Rationale for a biologically-based public exposure standard for electromagnetic fields (ELF and RF), http://www.bioinitiative.org/index.htm (accessed August 2008).

Burch J. B., Reif J. S., Noonan C. W., Ichinose T., Bachand A. M., Koleber T. L. and Yost M. G., 2002, Melatonin metabolite excretion among cellular telephone users, International Journal of Radiation Biology 78(11), 1029-1036.

Divan H. A., Kheifets L., Obel C. and Olsen J., 2008, Prenatal and postnatal exposure to cell phone use and behavioural problems in children, Epidemiology 19(4), 523-529.

Johansson, O., 2006, Electrohypersensitivity: Observations in the human skin of a physical impairment, p.107-117, Proceedings of the International Workshop on EMF Hypersensitivity, Prague, 2004, https://www.who.int/peh-emf/publications/reports/EHS_Proceedings_June2006.pdf (accessed August ’08).

Erogul O., Oztas E., Yildirim I., Kir T., Aydur E., Komesli G., Irkilata H. C., Irmak M. K. and Peker A. F., 2006, Effects of electromagnetic radiation from a cellular phone on human sperm motility: an in vitro study, Arch Med Res 37(7), 840-843.

Huber R., Schuderer J., Graf T., Jatz K., Borbaly A. A., Kuster N. and Achermann P., 2003, Radio frequency electromagnetic field exposure in humans: Estimation of SAR distribution in the brain, effects on sleep and heart rate, Bioelectromagnetics 24(4), 262-267.
Lai, H., 2007, Evidence for effects on neurology and behaviour, Bio-Initiative Report http://www.bioinitiative.org/index.htm (accessed August ’08).

Landgrebe M., Hauser S., Langguth B., Frick U., Hajak G. and Eichhammer P., 2007, Altered cortical excitability in subjectively electrosensitive patients: results of a pilot study, J. Psychosom Res., 62(3), 283-288.

Lopez-Martin E., Relova-Quinteiro J. L., Gallego-Gomez R., Peleteiro-Fernandez M., Jorge-Barreiro F. J. and Ares-Pena F. J., 2006, GSM radiation triggers seizures and increases cerebral c-fos positivity in rats pretreated with subconvulsive doses of picrotoxin, Neuroscience Letters 398, 139-144.
Maachi M. M., and Bruce J. N., 2004, Human pineal physiology and functional significance of melatonin, Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 25, 177-195.

Maby E., Le Bouquin R. and Faucon G., 2006, Short-term effects of GSM mobile phones on spectral components of the human electroencephalogram, Proceedings of the 28th IEEE EMBS Annual International Conference 1, 3751-3754.

Maier R., Greter S.-E. and Maier N., 2004, Effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields on cognitive processes – a pilot study on pulsed field interference with cognitive regeneration, Acta Neurol Scand 110, 46-52.

Murcia Garcia J., Munoz Hoyos A., Molina Carballo A., Fernandez Garcia J. M., Narbona Lopezet E. and Fernandez J. U., 2002, Puberty and melatonin, An Esp Pediatr 57(2), 121-126.

Nittby H., Grafstram G., Tian D. P., Malmgren L., Brun A., Persson B. R., Salford L. G., Eberhardt J., 2008, Cognitive impairment in rats after long-term exposure to GSM-900 mobile phone radiation, Bioelectromagnetics 29(3), 219-232.

Pyrpasopoulou A., Kotoula V., Cheva A., Hytiroglou P., Nikolakaki E., Magras I. N., Xenos T.D., Tsiboukis T. D. and Karkavelas G., 2004, Bone morphogenetic protein expression in newborn rat kidneys after prenatal exposure to radiofrequency radiation, Bioelectromagnetics 25(3), 216-227.

Stewart Report, 2000, Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, http://www.iegmp.org.uk/report/index.htm (accessed August ’08).

Vecchio F., Babiloni C., Ferreri F., Curcio G., Fini R., Del Percio C. and Rossini P. M., 2007, Mobile phone emission modulates interhemispheric functional coupling of EEG alpha rhythms, European Journal of Neuroscience 25, 1908-1913. 

Waldhauser F., Boepple P. A., Schemper M., Mansfield M. J. and Crowley Jr W. F., 1981, Serum melatonin in central precocious puberty is lower than in age-matched prepubertal children, J. Clin Endocrimol. Metab. 73, 793-796.

Wdowiak A., Wdowiak L. and Wiktor H., 2007, Evaluation of the effect of using mobile phones on male fertility, Ann Agric Environ Med 14, 169-172.
Wiart J., Hadjem A., Wong M. F., Bloch I., 2008, Analysis of RF exposure in the head tissues of children and adults, Phys Med Biol 53(13), 3681-3695.

WHO (World Health Organisation), 2006, Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, Proceedings of the International Workshop on EMF Hypersensitivity, Prague, 2004, https://www.who.int/peh-emf/publications/reports/EHS_Proceedings_June2006.pdf

Playlist for Ecotopia #93: Electromagnetic Pollution

Technology        4:03        Chorus - Silly Classical Songs & Disney Characters
        Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Laws Of Motion        6:40        The Tiptons Sax Quartet
        Laws Of Motion
Cell Phones Ringing (In The Pockets Of The Dead)        5:14        Willie Nile
        Streets of New York
Cell Phones        3:53        Fig.Mutant
        Fight or Die
Health        2:50        Electric Guitars
Weave Me the Sunshine        4:28        Peter, Paul And Mary
        The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary
Ayusha Sukta - For Health and Long Life        8:31        Inner Splendor Meditation
Music and Yoga Project
        Vedic Mantras for Peace, Health and Protection - With Vedmurti Shri
Narayan Joshi and Vedmurti Shri Dandage Gurugi
Industrial Disease        5:50        Dire Straits
        Love Over Gold