Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cell Tower Health Effects

Federal regulations protect the public only from the thermal risk due to short-term exposure to high intensity, cell tower radiation. The Federal regulations ignore the hundreds of studies that find harmful bio-effects from long-term exposure to non-thermal levels of cell phone radiation.
The federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 does not allow communities to stop the siting of cell towers for health reasons. Nevertheless, landlords may be liable for any harm caused by cell phone radiation emitted by towers situated on their property.
Localities need to organize and change the Federal law to protect public health and wildlife from exposure to microwave radiation emitted by mobile phone base stations.
Following are some resources regarding the health effects of exposure to cell tower radiation.  I will occasionally update this page.

Reviews and Studies
B. Blake Levitt and Henry Lai. Biological effects from exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell tower base stations and other antenna arrays. Environ. Rev. 18: 369–395 (2010). doi:10.1139/A10-018 
URL: http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1139/A10-018?src=recsys
Chronic Exposure Web Site. Research on mobile base stations and their impact on health.
URL: http://www.chronicexposure.org/basestations.html

Yakymenko I, Sidorik E. Risks of carcinogenesis from electromagnetic radiation of mobile telephony devices. Exp Oncol. 2010 Jul;32(2):54-60.  

URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20693976

Yakymenko I, Sidorik E, Kyrylenko S, Chekhun V. Long-term exposure to microwave radiation provokes cancer growth: evidences from radars and mobile communication systems. Exp Oncol. 2011 Jun;33(2):62-70.  
URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21716201

Emad F. Eskander, Selim F. Estefan, Ahmed A. Abd-Rabou. How does long term exposure to base stations and mobile phones affect human hormone profiles? Clinical Biochemistry, Volume 45, Issues 1–2, January 2012, Pages 157-161. 

URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22138021

News

Joel Moskowitz. Press Release: Cell Tower Radiation Affects Wildlife: Dept. of Interior Attacks FCC. Mar 2014. 
URL: http://www.saferemr.com/2014/03/dept-of-interior-attacks-fcc-regarding.html
Ianthe Jeanne Dugan and Ryan Knutson. Cellphone Boom Spurs Antenna-Safety Worries. Wall Street Journal, Oct 2, 2014. 
URL: http://www.wsj.com/articles/cellphone-boom-spurs-antenna-safety-worries-1412293055

Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge Specific Absorption Rates (SAR)

What are the SAR values for Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge? 

What is the manufacturer's recommended minimum body separation distance?  
How should consumers use this information?

The Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for the Samsung Galaxy S6 on the Verizon cell phone network is 0.33 watts per kilogram (w/kg) at the head for cellular transmission. The body SAR is 0.57 w/kg for cellular transmission; the wireless router SAR is 0.91 w/kg, and  the SAR for simultaneous transmission (cellular plus Wi-Fi) is 1.13 w/kg

For the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge on the Verizon cell phone network, the head SAR  is 0.40 w/kg for cellular transmission. The body SAR is 0.55 w/kg for cellular transmission; the wireless router SAR is 0.96 w/kg, and the simultaneous transmission SAR is  1.17 w/kg.

The SARs for these two models vary depending upon the cell phone carrier. All SARs reported above are averaged over one gram.

The SARs for the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are considerably higher. These values can be found in my article on Apple smart phones.

The Samsung Mobile Phone Health and Safety and Warranty Guide for the Samsung Galaxy S6 provides the following information on page 4: (http://bit.ly/1aWb0rB):
"For body-worn operation, this device has been tested and meets FCC RF exposure guidelines when used with an accessory that contains no metal and that positions the mobile device a minimum of 1.5 cm from the body. Use of other accessories may not ensure compliance with FCC RF exposure guidelines."
"This device has a FCC ID number: A3LSMG920T [Model Number: SM-G920T] and the specific SAR levels for this device can be found at the following FCC website: www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/
The SAR information for this device can also be found on Samsung’s website: www.samsung.com/sar."  
At the current time the Samsung web site does not appear to have SAR information available for these two phones.

The Samsung SAR test reports have the following caveat from the testing laboratory:

“Please note that the absorption and distribution of electromagnetic energy in the body are very complex phenomena that depend on the mass, shape, and size of the body, the orientation of the body with respect to the field vectors, and the electrical properties of both the body and the environment.  Other variables that may play a substantial role in possible biological effects are those that characterize the environment (e.g. ambient temperature, air velocity, relative humidity, and body insulation) and those that characterize the individual (e.g. age, gender, activity level, debilitation, or disease).  Because various factors may interact with one another to vary the specific biological outcome of an exposure to electromagnetic fields, any protection guide should consider maximal amplification of biological effects as a result of field-body interactions, environmental conditions, and physiological variables.” (p. 66)  (1,2)


What do SAR values mean to the consumer?

The legal limit for the SAR in the U.S. is 1.60 w/kg (averaged over one gram).

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that all cell phone models be tested for their Specific Absorption Rate or SAR. The SAR is a measure of the maximum amount of microwave radiation absorbed by the head or the body. It is measured in a laboratory using an artificial model of a large adult male with different fluids to simulate human tissue. The SAR, which is measured in watts per kilogram, represents the maximum amount of energy absorbed in any one gram of tissue in the test model. Phones sold in the U.S. typically range in SAR values from about 0.20 up to the 1.60 legal limit. (3, 4)

The SAR test, adopted in 1996 by the FCC, was criticized by the U.S. Government Accountability Office in 2012. (5) The test does not reflect those who currently use cell phones, nor does it correspond to the way people use them. Today many children are cell phone users -- the child’s brain absorbs twice the radiation as the adult’s brain. Moreover, the artificial head does not contain any metal (e.g., dental fillings, earrings, or eyeglass frames) which could increase the radiation absorption beyond the measured SAR in the laboratory. (5)

The FCC assumes that consumers will carry their cell phones in a manufacturer-approved holder that keeps the phone a minimum distance away from the body. However, most people do not keep their phone in a cell phone holder. For the SAR test, the FCC allows the manufacturer to choose the separation distance between the cell phone and the test model as long as consumers are informed about the minimum distance tested. Few consumers are aware of the manufacturer’s recommended minimum body separation distance from their cell phone because this information is often difficult to find. Thus, most consumers are in the dark about precautions they can take to keep their exposure to microwave radiation below the legal limit.

To ensure that the cell phone does not exceed the legal limit, consumers should never keep their cell phone in their pockets or next to their skin. The cell phone is not tested directly against the body because most cell phones would fail the SAR test as the radiation absorption increases dramatically when the cell phone is close to the body.


Is the legal limit sufficient to protect the cell phone user’s health?

Federal policies in the U.S. would lead the public to believe that all legally-marketed cell phones are safe, and that a cell phone's SAR doesn't matter as long as it meets the legal limit: 1.6 watts per kilogram. (3, 4)

However, the Environmental Working Group and experts point out that the SAR only measures the maximum microwave absorption from cell phone use that perfectly matches laboratory conditions. The SAR is not a good indicator of one’s cumulative microwave exposure under naturalistic conditions.  The research evidence suggests that how one uses the phone (e.g., hands-free) and one’s cell phone carrier actually matters more than the phone’s SAR level.  (4, 6, 7)

The SAR standard was developed to protect users only from the acute effects of the heat generated by microwave radiation (i.e., the thermal effect). (5) The SAR limit does not protect users from the non-thermal effects caused by the cumulative exposure over time to cell phone radiation.

Yet, thousands of laboratory studies with animals and cell samples have found deleterious biologic effects from short-term exposure to low intensity cell phone radiation, including development of stress proteins, micronuclei, free radicals, DNA breakage, and sperm damage. (8) Human studies have also found that brief exposure to cell phone radiation alters brain activity and can open the blood-brain barrier which could enable chemical toxins in the circulatory system to penetrate the brain. (9)

Major studies with humans have found increased cancer risk, including a three-fold increase in brain cancer among those who used wireless phones (cell phones and cordless phones) for 25 or more years. (10)  Based upon this research, the World Health Organization in 2011 declared radiofrequency radiation "possibly carcinogenic" in humans (Group 2B). (11)

Other risks from cell phone use include reproductive health damage and male infertility, and neurological disorders (e.g., impaired cognitive functioning, headaches and migraines, and ADHD [attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder]) in children. (12, 13)

Based upon the weight of the evidence from several decades of research including thousands of peer-reviewed published studies, many experts worldwide have signed declarations calling upon government to adopt stronger radiation standards to protect consumers from low intensity, non-thermal exposures from radiation associated with wireless communications, and to alert consumers about how to reduce their risk of harm. (14 -16)

For tips on how to reduce exposure to wireless radiation, see "Some Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to Wireless Radiation". (17) In short, limit your use of the phone, keep the phone away from your body whenever it is powered on, use the phone hands-free, and turn off transmitters not in use (e.g., shut off Wi-Fi or use airplane mode).


Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley


References

(1) PCTEST Engineering Laboratory, Inc. SAR Evaluation Report. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Galaxy S6). FCC ID: A3LSMG920V. Submitted to FCC. March 1, 2015.  

(2) PCTEST Engineering Laboratory, Inc. SAR Evaluation Report. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Galaxy S6 Edge). FCC ID: A3LSMG925F. Submitted to FCC. March 1, 2015.

(3) FCC. Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for Cellular Telephones. Undated. http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/specific-absorption-rate-sar-cellular-telephones

(4) FCC. “Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) For Cell Phones: What It Means For You.” Undated.http://www.fcc.gov/guides/specific-absorption-rate-sar-cell-phones-what-it-means-you

(5) Joel Moskowitz. “"Comments on the 2012 GAO Report: 'Exposure and Testing Requirements for Mobile Phones Should Be Reassessed'.:” http://www.saferemr.com/2013/01/commentary-gao-2012-report-on-mobile.html

(6) Wolchover N. Radiation Risk: Are Some Cellphones More Dangerous Than Others? Life's Little Mysteries. June 23, 2011. http://www.lifeslittlemysteries.com/1550-radiation-risk-some-cell-phones-more-dangerous-than-others.html

(7) Environmental Working Group. EWG’s Guide to Safer Cell Phone Use: Where is EWG's cell phone database? August 27 2013. 

http://www.ewg.org/cellphoneradiation/where_database

(8) Giuliani L. Soffritti M. Non-thermal effects and mechanisms of interaction between electromagnetic fields and living matter. ICEMS Monograph. Bologna, Italy: National Institute for the Study and Control of Cancer. 2010.http://www.icems.eu/papers.htm

(9) Joel Moskowitz. “LTE Cell Phone Radiation Affects Brain Activity in Cell Phone Users.” Sep 20, 2013.http://www.prlog.org/12215083

(10) Joel Moskowitz. “Brain Cancer Risk Increases with the Amount of Wireless Phone Use: Study.http://www.prlog.org/12216483

(11) Joel Moskowitz. “Most Significant Government Health Report on Mobile Phone Radiation Ever Published.”http://www.prlog.org/12125230

(12) Joel Moskowitz. “Cell Phone Radiation, Pregnancy, and Sperm.” Nov 19, 2012.     http://www.prlog.org/12026867

(13) Joel Moskowitz. “Cell Phone Use and Prenatal Exposure to Cell Phone Radiation May Cause Headaches in Children.“http://www.prlog.org/12269207

(14) Joel Moskowitz. “Part I: Why We Need Stronger Cell Phone Radiation Regulations--Key Testimony Submitted to the FCC.” Aug 4, 2014. http://www.saferemr.com/2014/08/why-we-need-stronger-cell-phone.html

(15) Joel Moskowitz. “Part II: Why We Need Stronger Cell Phone Radiation Regulations--Key Research Papers Submitted to the FCC.” Aug 4, 2014. http://www.saferemr.com/2014/08/why-we-need-stronger-cell-phone_43.html

(16) Joel Moskowitz. “Part III: Why We Need Stronger Cell Phone Radiation Regulations--98 Scientific Experts Who Signed Resolutions.” Aug 4, 2014. http://www.saferemr.com/2014/08/why-we-need-stronger-cell-phone_4.html

(17) Joel Moskowitz. Some Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to Wireless Radiation  (one page handout). Undated. http://www.saferemr.com/2015/03/some-tips-to-reduce-your-exposure-to.html


Monday, April 20, 2015

The Incidence of Meningioma, a Non-Malignant Brain Tumor, is Increasing in the U.S.

The age-adjusted incidence rate for meningioma, the most common non-malignant brain tumor, increased from about 6.3 per 100,000 in 2004 to about 7.8 per 100,000 in 2009 before leveling off (through 2011). 

The annual percentage increase between 2004 and 2009 was 2.4% per year. The annual increase was significant for males and females, whites and blacks, and non-Hispanics. Although the incidence of these tumors increased for all age groups except 0-19, the increase was statistically  significant only for 45-54 years of age and 65 and older. 

The case-control research that has examined the association between long-term use of mobile phones and risk of meningioma has yielded mixed results. Some studies have found a significant association whereas others have not.

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Dolecek TA, Dressler EV, Thakkar JP, Liu M, Al-Qaisi A, Villano JL. Epidemiology of meningiomas post-Public Law 107-206: The Benign Brain Tumor Cancer Registries Amendment Act. Cancer. 2015 Apr 14. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29379. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract


BACKGROUND: The current analysis follows the implementation of Public Law 107-260, the Benign Brain Tumor Cancer Registries Amendment Act, which mandated the collection of nonmalignant brain tumors.

METHODS: Meningiomas were selected from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program database for the years 2004 to 2011. Demographic and clinical characteristics, initial treatment patterns, and survival outcomes were evaluated using surveillance epidemiology statistical methods.

RESULTS: The average annual age-adjusted incidence rate per 100,000 population was 7.62 (95 % confidence interval [CI], 7.55-7.68) for all meningiomas, 7.18 (95% CI, 7.12-7.25) for benign meningiomas, 0.32 (95% CI, 0.31-0.33) for borderline malignant meningiomas, and 0.12 (95% CI, 0.11-0.12) for malignant meningiomas. The annual rates increased for benign and borderline malignant tumors but decreased for malignant tumors. The rates for women exceeded those for men, especially for those with benign meningiomas. Black race was associated with significantly higher rates as was advancing age. Greater than 80% of tumors were located in cerebral meninges. Diagnostic confirmation through pathology occurred for approximately 50% of benign tumors, 90% of borderline malignant tumors, and 80% of malignant tumors. No initial treatment was reported for greater than 60% of benign tumors, 29% of borderline malignant tumors, or 31% of malignant tumors. The 5-year relative survival estimates for benign tumors, borderline malignant tumors, and malignant tumors were 85.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 85%-86.2%), 82.3% (95% CI, 79.3%-84.8%), and 66% (95% CI, 60.6%-70.9%), respectively. Predictors of poorer survival were advanced age, being male gender, black race, no initial treatment, and malignant tumor behavior.

CONCLUSIONS: The current analysis demonstrates that there is an increasing incidence.

Excerpts

Population-based studies of meningiomas have been limited because of the benign nature of the histology; and, before diagnosis year 2004, state central cancer registries were not required to collect nonmalignant cases. That changed with the passage of Public Law 107-260, the Benign Brain Tumor Cancer Registries Amendment Act.1 This law mandated the collection of benign and borderline malignant brain tumors beginning with diagnosis year 2004. Our analysis on this common but understudied tumor follows the implementation of this law ...

Meningiomas have the highest incidence rate among all primary brain and central nervous system (CNS) tumors. Nonmalignant meningioma is the most frequently reported histology, accounting for >33% of all primary brain and CNS tumors.

We evaluated population-based data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program 18 registries of the National Cancer Institute. The SEER Program is an authoritative source of cancer incidence and survival in the United States with registries that cover approximately 28% of the US population. Although Public Law 107-260 only applies to state-wide registries, SEER has voluntarily agreed to collect nonmalignant brain tumor data in accordance with the mandate.

In total, 51,065 new meningiomas occurred in the 18 SEER geographic areas during the period from 2004 to 2011. Of these tumors, 50,290 (>98%) were determined to be nonmalignant (benign or borderline malignant) and were collected under the mandate of Public Law 107-260. Greater than 95% of these tumors were benign, and the remaining tumors were classified as borderline malignancies. Only 775 malignant tumors were diagnosed during the 8 study years.

... Statistically significant increases in the annual AAIRs from 2004 to 2011 were apparent for benign and borderline malignant tumors, whereas AAIRs for malignant tumors significantly decreased....

... Statistically significant increases were observed from 2004 to 2009 for benign meningiomas (APC, 3.86; P<.05), with a leveling off and no significant change in AAIRs during 2009 to 2011. The pattern for borderline malignant meningiomas was similar, but the significant increase appeared from 2004 to 2008 (APC, 5.50; P<.05), with no significant change over the years from 2008 to 2011. No joinpoint was apparent for malignant meningiomas, but a significant linear decline (APC, 27.27; P<.05) was observed.
Rising risk over the study period very well may have been an artifact of increasingly accurate reporting associated with implementation of the law. The extent to which this contributed to the increased incidence is unknown. There is also a degree of ascertainment bias because of improving diagnostic techniques, because 50% of patients with benign tumors were registered based on imaging versus pathology, which is required for most other cancers ...

The piece-wise regression trend analyses suggest that benign meningioma rates stabilized at diagnosis year 2009 and had no significant change from 2009 to 2011. Reporting for the diagnosis years 2004 through 2009 may have been influenced by the many factors discussed above, and diagnosis years 2009 through 2011 actually may reflect accurate incidence estimates for meningiomas with more complete registration of nonmalignant tumors ...

Conclusions

The implementation of the Benign Brain Tumor Cancer Registries Amendment Act, Public Law 107-260, afforded an opportunity to gain a better understanding and new insights into nonmalignant brain tumors. This legislative contribution has distinctive relevance to patients with meningioma, because it is known as the most common CNS tumor in which the vast major of patients present with benign histologies. Our current analysis after the implementation of Public Law 107-260 in diagnosis year 2004 demonstrates increasing incidence rates of nonmalignant meningiomas that stabilized around 2009. This trend was undoubtedly because of learning curves associated with registration procedures put into practice to comply with the law. The period of rate stabilization likely reflects meningioma estimates that are closer to its true incidence with more precise behavior classifications in the SEER registries data. Our report, for which we used this improved, high-quality cancer registry data set on brain tumors, represents the most current population-based description of the demographic and clinical characteristics, initial treatment patterns, and survival outcomes for patients with nonmalignant and malignant meningiomas.




Friday, April 17, 2015

Maine's "Cellular Telephone Labeling Act"

April 17, 2015

On a 7-4 vote, the Maine Legislature's Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology rejected the "Cellular Telephone Labeling Act" (LD 883), a proposal to require cell phone manufacturers to place health warning labels on cell phones. 

The bill now goes to the full Legislature as a "divided report." Supporters can try to revive the bill on the Senate or House floor.

For more information about this hearing on April 16, see the Portland Press Herald story.


April 5, 2015

The Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology of the 127th Maine State Legislature held a public hearing on the "Cellular Telephone Labeling Act" (LD 883) on Tuesday, March 31.

The Committee has scheduled a work session for Thursday, April 16, 2015  at 10:00 AM.

The bill requires cell phone manufacturers that include safety notifications in their owner's manuals to ensure that the phone's packaging includes these safety notifications or a label indicating where the safety notifications may be found in the owner's manual. 

The bill prohibits retailers from selling phones without the appropriate labels. It requires manufacturers to provide the safety notifications to retailers at no cost to the retailers. It prohibits retailers from selling phones that do not bear the following label warning that the device emits radiofrequency electromagnetic fields:
"This device emits radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Avoid direct contact."
Finally, the bill  requires retailers to provide an information bulletin to the purchaser informing the purchaser of potential health risks associated with cell phone use. A violation of these provisions is considered a violation of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act.

In March, 2014, a similar bill sponsored by Rep. Andrea Boland passed both houses of the Maine Legislature but was killed by cell phone lobbyists who co-opted the Democratic House leadership to switch their votes when it was returned to the originating body for enactment -- normally a routine vote. For more information on Rep. Boland's bill, see my Mar 21, 2014 press release.

The current bill is sponsored by Rep. Harlow of Portland. Co-sponsors include Rep. Beavers (South  Berwick), Chapman (Brooksville), Chipman (Portland), Dunphy (Embden), and Rykerson (Kittery).

Full text of the "Cellular Telephone Labeling Act": 
http://1.usa.gov/18Orj8N

Status of the bill: http://1.usa.gov/1LANHo7

Public Hearing Testimony, 11 items


Boland, Andrea M. Sanford
Callahan, Kevin TechAmerica
Clegg, Frank Canadians for Safe Technology
Cobb, Kristen Portland
Cotta, H David China, Maine
Friedman, Ed Friends of Merrymeeting Bay
Harlow, Denise Maine State Legislature
Hart, Debra Retail Association of Maine
Keegan, Gerard CTIA-The Wireless Association
Ory, Dr. Howard CTIA
Turner, James Swankin and Turner

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Latest Research on Bioelectromagnetics: BioEM2015

Selected Presentations and Papers from BioEM2015
 Annual Meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society
Asilomar Conference Center, California, June 14-19, 2015

“As the premier international conference in the area of bioelectromagnetics, BioEM2015 is expected to stimulate further research in this field through the exchange of ideas and lively debate on state-of-the-art knowledge, as well as gaps to be filled.”

“With the increased presence of electromagnetic fields (EMF) in our everyday lives, the meeting aims at presenting and advancing high quality research in basic and applied aspects of bioelectromagnetics to address the medical applications, health concerns, and regulations associated with EMF. BioEM2015 will feature invited plenary talks by world-renowned scientists, a variety of special sessions and panel discussions aligned with the most pressing issues in the field of bioelectromagnetics, as well as informative technical sessions, poster sessions, and social functions.”

In the opening plenary session, Kurt Straif, the head of the Monographs Program at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the WHO will raise the question, "Should IARC's Classification of RF-EMF Invoke the Precautionary Principle?."  

Kenneth Foster, a Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania who has been discussing EMF issues since 1971 will argue, "A Case for Precaution in the Application of the Precautionary Principle."  

The rebuttal,"The Precautionary Principle Should be Invoked for RF-EMF," will be provided by Christopher Portier, former Director of the National Center for Environmental Health and the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at CDC.  Prior to his work at CDC, Dr. Portier was the Associate Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at NIH and Associate Director of the National Toxicology Program. Dr. Portier served as the CDC expert on the 31-member IARC expert working group that declared radiofrequency radiation "possibly carcinogenic" to humans in 2011.

The abstracts for a selection of key papers and presentations which have the greatest potential utility for policy makers and the public can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/1IPRgEy.


Monday, April 13, 2015

California Medical Association Calls for Stronger Wireless Communication Safety Standards

The California Medical Association (CMA) adopted a resolution that calls for re-evaluation of the safety standards for wireless communications in the U.S.

The Federal safety standards for wireless communications were designed to protect humans from the heating, or thermal, risks caused by exposure to microwave radiation. However, thousands of peer-reviewed studies have found bio-effects from exposure to low intensity, non-thermal levels of microwave radiation. Moreover, three independent, case-control studies have found a two-fold increased risk of brain cancer among adults who have used cell phones for ten or more years. And one study found a three-fold risk of brain cancer after 25 years of cell phone and cordless phone use.

In 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that radio frequency energy is "possibly carcinogenic to humans", largely based upon the cell phone research.

The CMA’s “Wireless Communications Public Safety Standards Reevaluation” resolution “supports efforts to reevaluate microwave safety exposure levels associated with wireless communication devices, including consideration of adverse non-thermal biologic and health effects from non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation used in wireless communications.” In addition, the CMA “supports efforts to implement new safety exposure limits for wireless devices to levels that do not cause human or environmental harm based on scientific research.”

The CMA House of Delegates and Board of Trustees adopted the resolution, number 107-14, on December 7, 2014.  Cindy Lee Russell, M.D. introduced the resolution which she co-authored along with Ken Yew, M.D.

According to Dr. Russell:
"Physicians and scientists have recognized for years the dangers of ionizing radiation from x rays and nuclear weapons. Tissue is directly damaged causing cancer and a wide range of other health effects. The non ionizing microwave radiation from  wi fi routers, ipads, cell phones and cell towers has been thought to be harmless until the last few decades as a rapidly growing body of peer reviewed research has shown very troubling biological and health effects from even low levels of exposure. The studies have shown negative effects on cell structures, brain function, animals, and plants. Many experts feel this is a looming public health problem as the use of wireless technology swiftly rises in our homes, offices and schools. EMF standards need to be reevalauted and designed for safety based on the biologic effects on living structures not on heat as is now currently being done."

In August, 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics, a professional organization representing 60,000 physicians, sent a letter to the FCC and the FDA urging the FCC to adopt radiation standards that: 
  • "Protect children’s health and well-being ... Current FCC standards do not account for the unique vulnerability and use patterns specific to pregnant women and children. It is essential that any new standard for cell phones or other wireless devices be based on protecting the youngest and most vulnerable populations to ensure they are safeguarded throughout their lifetimes.
  • Reflect current use patterns. The FCC has not assessed the standard for cell phone radiation since 1996 ... Many children, adolescents and young adults, now use cell phones as their only phone line and they begin using wireless phones at much younger ages. Pregnant women may carry their phones for many hours per day in a pocket that keeps the phone close to their uterus. Children born today will experience a longer period of exposure to radio-frequency fields from cellular phone use than will adults, because they start using cellular phones at earlier ages and will have longer lifetime exposures. FCC regulations should reflect how people are using their phones today.
  •  Provide meaningful consumer disclosure. The FCC has noted that it does not provide consumers with sufficient information about the RF exposure profile of individual phones to allow consumers to make informed purchasing decisions. The current metric of RF exposure available to consumers, the Specific Absorption Rate, is not an accurate predictor of actual exposure. AAP is supportive of FCC developing standards that provide consumers with the information they need to make informed choices in selecting mobile phone purchases, and to help parents to better understand any potential risks for their children. To that end, we support the use of metrics that are specific to the exposure children will experience." (http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7520941318 )

Four resolutions signed by scientific experts who have published research on wireless radiation and health in scientific journals were submitted to the FCC. The resolutions call on governments to issue stronger regulations on wireless radiation, especially cell phone radiation. The declarations were signed by 98 scientists. For more information, see “Why We Need Stronger Cell Phone Radiation Regulations--98 Scientific Experts Who Signed Resolutions at http://www.saferemr.com/2014/08/why-we-need-stronger-cell-phone_4.html .”

Since 1997, twenty-two declarations have been signed by scientists and health professionals calling for stronger cell phone radiation regulations. For more information on these declarations, see http://www.magdahavas.com/international-experts-perspective-on-the-health-effects-of-electromagnetic-fields-emf-and-electromagnetic-radiation-emr/.

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Wireless Communications Safety Standards

California Medical Association (CMA) Resolution 107-14, Adopted December 7, 2014

     Resolved 1: That CMA supports efforts to reevaluate microwave safety exposure levels associated with wireless communication devices, including consideration of adverse non-thermal biologic and health effects from non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation used in wireless communications; and be it further

     Resolved 2: That CMA supports efforts to implement new safety exposure limits for wireless devices to levels that do not cause human or environmental harm based on scientific research.

CALIFORNIA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION HOUSE OF DELEGATES 2014

Wireless Communications Public Safety Standards Reevaluation

Introduced by Cindy Lee Russell, M.D.

Authored by Cindy Lee Russell, M.D. Cindyleerussell@gmail.com and Ken Yew, M.D. ken_yew@yahoo.com

resolutions@cmanet.org

The CMA resolution (including 62 references) can be found on the Parents for Safe Technology web site.

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Wi Fi in Schools: Are we Playing it Safe with our Kids? 

Cindy Russell, MD, The Bulletin (Santa Clara County/Monterey County Medical Association), March/April 2015, pp. 16-21.


Dr. Russell discusses the research which led to the adoption by the California Medical Association of the resolution calling for stronger wireless communication standards.



Thursday, April 2, 2015

Wireless Technology Health Risks --The New York Times Fuels the Debate

We are increasingly surrounded at home, in the office, and in public by wireless devices that emit microwave radiation. These include Wi-Fi routers, laptops, and tablets, cell phones, cordless phones, wireless TV cable systems, smart meters, and baby monitors. Now corporations would like us to add wireless wearable technology to this mix. 

The biologic and the epidemiologic research increasingly suggests that many types of non-ionizing, electromagnetic fields (EMF) are producing harmful effects on us as well as animal and plant species. The weight of the scientific evidence produced in the last decade strongly supports the need for precautionary policy measures to be adopted immediately.

Exposure to EMF has been increasing exponentially.  If we continue to allow powerful corporations to manufacture doubt by co-opting journalists, scientists, and policy makers, we will all suffer the consequences of this global experiment.

On March 18, 2015, the New York Times published a column on their web site, "Could Wearable Computers be as Harmful as Cigarettes?" by Nick Bilton. The article has attracted more than 150 comments so far -- both pro and con -- on the New York Times web site, and more than two dozen web-based news sites have published critiques of this column (see below).

Newspaper editors typically write headlines for articles they publish. Perhaps, the original headline was too provocative as the editor changed the headline for the web version of this article the next day to "The Health Concerns in Wearable Tech."  A version of the article also appears in the March 19th print edition of the New York Times on page D2 with the headline, "New Gadgets, New Health Worries."

The New York Times should be commended for publishing the original column even though both sides of the debate about the health risks of wireless radiation can find fault. I hope that the controversy this article has stimulated does not discourage the Times from future coverage of this complex topic.



In my opinion, the backlash on web-based news sites has been disproportionate and bypasses the significant issues that  Bilton's column raised. Read the column and the ensuing media coverage (links below) and decide for yourself. 

Instead, the Times went into "damage control" mode and tried to distance itself from the original opinion piece. 

On March 19, Margaret Sullivan, the Public Editor for the Times, published the following piece, "A Tech Column on Wearable Gadgets Draws Fire as ‘Pseudoscience’."

On March 21, 2015, the Editor for the Styles section of the Times appended the following statement to the opinion piece:
Editors’ Note: March 21, 2015
Editors’ Note
The Disruptions column in the Styles section on Thursday, discussing possible health concerns related to wearable technology, gave an inadequate account of the status of research about cellphone radiation and cancer risk.
Neither epidemiological nor laboratory studies have found reliable evidence of such risks, and there is no widely accepted theory as to how they might arise. According to the World Health Organization, “To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.” The American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have all said there is no convincing evidence for a causal relationship. While researchers are continuing to study possible risks, the column should have included more of this background for balance.
In addition, one source quoted in the article, Dr. Joseph Mercola, has been widely criticized by experts for his claims about disease risks and treatments. More of that background should have been included, or he should not have been cited as a source.
An early version of the headline for the article online — “Could Wearable Computers Be as Harmful as Cigarettes?” — also went too far in suggesting any such comparison.
These arguments are similar to those employed by the CTIA--The Wireless Association: 
“The FCC, the FDA, the National Cancer Institute, and the World Health Organization have each evaluated the scientific research on wireless phones and each has found that the weight of the scientific research has not shown that wireless phone use causes any adverse health effects.” (CTIA, May 27, 2012).

On April 2, 2015, the Editor for the Styles section of the Times appended the following "correction" to the original opinion piece
Correction: April 2, 2015 
The Disruptions column on March 18, about health concerns stemming from wearable technology, referred incorrectly to research conducted by Dr. Lennart Hardell, a professor of oncology and cancer epidemiology at Orebro University Hospital in Sweden, that concluded that talking on a mobile or cordless phone for extended periods could triple the risk of a certain kind of brain cancer. The study was an analysis of two earlier studies that asked people with and without brain tumors to answer questions about cellphone and cordless phone use; it was not a longitudinal study in which patients were followed over time.    

I inserted quotes around "correction" because I don't see the problem with Bilton's description of Hardell's research in his March 18th article. The author did not allege that the research was based upon a longitudinal study:
"Analysis conducted by a group of European researchers and led by Dr. Lennart Hardell, a professor of oncology and cancer epidemiology at Orebro University Hospital in Sweden, concluded that talking on a mobile or cordless phone for extended periods could triple the risk of a certain kind of brain cancer." 

In sum, I believe the public deserves better from the New York Times -- namely a full, unbiased discussion of the research on the health risks of exposure to electromagnetic fields from wireless devices. 



Media coverage of the March 18th NY Times article by Nick Bilton

Support for the column

Ignorance drowns out precaution: NY Times tech columnist has hands slapped
Microwave News
The Conversation (Australia)

ChannelWorld.in (India)

Daniel Engber, Slate Magazine

Phil Plait, Slate Magazine (blog) 

James Cook, Business Insider 

Leah Finnegan, Gawker 

James Cook, Businessinsider India

Russell Brandom, The Verge

Dan Verel, MedCity News

Alexandra Ossola, Popular Science

Andrew Maynard, Risk Science Center
Tanya Campbell, Maine News Online