Friday, July 18, 2014

Welcome to EMR Safety

News releases:  PRLog
Twitter updates: @berkeleyprc

"Some Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to Wireless Radiation" (a one page handout)
http://bit.ly/1kVHRug

Overview

"New Federal Policy Needed for Cell Phone and Wireless Radiation Safety"
Prepared for "Oakland Voices: A Town Hall on Our Right to Communicate" (Jan 9, 2014)
http://bit.ly/1cH1Yvf

"Cellphones and Health" by Joel Moskowitz (Oct/Nov, 2013)
http://www.saferemr.com/2013/09/cellphones-and-health_9.html

Teléfonos Celulares y Salud por Dr. Joel Moskowitz
http://www.saferemr.com/2014/02/telefonos-celulares-y-salud.html

"Cell Phones and Cell Biology: Are We Selling Out?"
By David Katz, M.D., Huffington Post (Dec 12, 2013)
Based upon my press releases.
http://huff.to/1gtpcsX

Radio Programs

"Wireless Revolution: Research/Policy Implications" 
Host: Layna Berman, Your Own Health and Fitness, KPFA - FM, Apr 22, 2014 (1:00-2:00 PM)
Guest: Joel M. Moskowitz, UC Berkeley


Available for listening or download at: http://bit.ly/QwhjbB

"Today on Your Call: What are 'best practices' for using digital devices?"
Ali Budner, KALW - FM, Mar 13, 2014  (53 minute audio)
Guests:  Joel Moskowitz, director and principal investigator with The Center for Family and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
                Levi Felix, founder The Digital Detox and director of Camp Grounded
Available for listening or download at:  http://bit.ly/1dWdnJs or http://n.pr/1l41WCz

"Cell Phones and Health"
KPFA-FM, Jan 31, 2014 (1:00-1:30 PM)
Moderator: Laura Garzon Chica
Guests:  Josh Hart, Director, StopSmartMeters
                Dr. Joel Moskowitz, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley 
Kevin Kunze, Director, "Mobilize: A film on cellphone radiation and health"
Available for listening or downloading at: http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/99666

"What Do You Need to Know about Cellphone Radiation?"
An interview on KAHI radio news (Nov 22, 2013) (11 minutes).

Transcript: http://bit.ly/1heyOFv
Download at:       http://bit.ly/J2XAf9 

"Everything you and your 'Friends and Neighbors' need to know about cellphone radiation and how to protect yourselves"
A 2-part program aired on Calvary Radio Network in Dec, 2013 (50 minutes).

Download at:     http://bit.ly/18xbulT

Community Presentations

"Mobile Phone Radiation and Health: Recent Research and Policy Developments"
Joel Moskowitz, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley (Jun 19, 2014)
Slides:     http://bit.ly/1lFp9vc

"Brain Tumor Risk from Wireless Phone Use: Recent Research and Policy Implications"
Joel Moskowitz, Commonwealth Club of California (Part II: Dec 9, 2013) 
Slides:    http://bit.ly/1k9PeRQ
Video:     http://bit.ly/1kxkpto or http://bit.ly/1hx3t5j

"Cell Phones & Brain Tumors What Does the Science Show?"
Joel Moskowitz, Commonwealth Club of California (Part I: Nov 18, 2010)
Slides:                       http://bit.ly/W5tNCN
Video (15 minutes): http://vimeo.com/17266112

"Expert Roundtable: Skeptical about Cell Phones and Health?"
Forum at Commonwealth Club of California (Dec 9, 2013)
Other presentations will be available soon. 
Agenda : http://bit.ly/1aqek9K

Mobilize, a Film about Cell Phone Radiation

Mobilize, a feature-length documentary about cell phone radiation, will be released in September, 2014. The film explores the potential long-term health effects from cell phone radiation and examines recent scientific research and the challenges politicians face trying to adopt precautionary legislation. Featuring interviews with experts, wireless industry representatives and prominent politicians, the film illuminates how industry’s economic and political influence can undermine public health. The film was directed by Kevin Kunze and co-produced by Devra Davis, Ellen Marks, and Joel Moskowitz. The trailer for the film and ordering information are available at http://bit.ly/TenYZt.

The 17th Annual California Independent Film Festival has accepted the film. Mobilize will be shown at the New Rheem Theatre in Moraga, CA on Friday, September 12 at 1:00 PM and at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco on Saturday, September 13 at 1:00 PM. Both screenings will be followed by a Q&A session.  Information about the Festival is available at http://bit.ly/1oERxy9.

Latest News Releases

Scientists Call on Government to Protect Public from Wireless Radiation Exposure
http://bit.ly/ScientificDeclaration

Hybrid and Electric Automobiles Should Be Re-Designed to Reduce Electromagnetic Radiation Risks

Google Glass Alert: Potential health risks from wireless radiation

Dept. of Interior Attacks FCC regarding Adverse Impact of Cell Tower Radiation on Wildlife
http://www.prlog.org/12299815

Cell Phone Radiation Label Bill Passes Maine Legislature Before Dying
http://www.prlog.org/12299052


Compilation of my press releases submitted to the FCC (Nov 5, 2013)
http://bit.ly/1b9FG37

Cell Phone Use and Prenatal Exposure to Cell Phone Radiation May Cause Headaches in Children
http://www.prlog.org/12269207

The Top Cell Phone Radiation Safety Stories of 2013
http://www.prlog.org/12262295

Everything You Wanted to Know about Cell Phone Radiation: Key submissions to the Federal Communications Commission
http://www.prlog.org/12245111

Did Tom Wheeler, the Nominee for Chairman of the FCC, Subvert Research Showing Harm From Cell Phone Radiation? http://www.prlog.org/12146045

Belgium Adopts New Regulations to Promote Cell Phone Radiation Safety

French Health Agency Recommends Children and Vulnerable Groups Reduce Cell Phone Radiation Exposure
http://www.prlog.org/12226630

Brain Cancer Risk Increases with the Amount of Wireless Phone Use
http://www.prlog.org/12216483

LTE Cell Phone Radiation Affects Brain Activity in Cell Phone Users

Cell Phone Use, Acoustic Neuroma and Cancer of the Pituitary Gland
http://www.prlog.org/12135511

Most Significant Government Health Report on Mobile Phone Radiation Ever Published
http://www.prlog.org/12125230

More News Releases

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Berkeley Cell Phone Radiation Warning Ordinance

Berkeley pushes for cancer warning stickers on cell phones

Carolyn Jones, SFGate, Jul 15, 2014 (updated)

Print version: "CELL PHONE ORDINANCE: Berkeley will fight for cancer warnings," San Francisco Chronicle, Jul 15, 2014, pg. A - 1

Berkeley, undaunted by abandoned efforts in San Francisco, is attempting to become the first city in the nation to require retailers to put stickers on cell phone packaging warning people that the devices may emit cancer-causing radiation ...
Joel Moskowitz, head of UC Berkeley's Center for Family and Community Health, has no such indecision. He's been studying the issue since 2009, and has concluded that cell phones are "one of the top emerging public health risks." 
Studies cited by the cell phone industry are outdated, he said. Newer and more complex wireless technology, coupled with people spending increasing amounts of time on their phones, is almost certain to lead to an uptick in brain cancer, he said.
"It's just a matter of time," he said. "The evidence is a lot more compelling than it has been."
Radiation from cell phones penetrates the skin and skull and absorbs into the brain tissue, having an adverse affect on cells, he said. Phone radiation can also affect sperm count among men who carry phones in their pockets, he said.
Consumers should wear headsets, use the speaker feature and otherwise keep phones away from their bodies, he said.
"With cell phones, distance is your friend," he said.
Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable, he said.
A warning sticker should advise consumers that some studies link cell phones to rare but serious cancers, and they should take precautions, he said ...


Other media coverage


Seattle Times (SF Chronicle)


WCVB News (ABC5 Boston) (SF Chronicle)

Yahoo! Screen (CBS)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why do many scientists around the world believe mobile phone use increases cancer risk?

Given  the international media attention generated by the City of Berkeley's proposed cell phone warning law, I have been questioned by journalists and others why I believe that mobile (cell and cordless) phone use increases brain cancer risk.

My colleagues and I published a meta-analysis on mobile phone use and tumor risk five years ago in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (Myung et al. 2009). When we grouped the 23 studies based upon the quality of the research, we found strong differences. In the thirteen studies which failed to meet scientific best practices, we found what appeared to be reduced tumor risk. However, in the ten higher-quality studies we found increased tumor risk among mobile phone users, especially in brain tumor studies. Increased brain tumor risk was generally found in studies where individuals had used mobile phones for ten or more years. The risk was stronger on the side of the head where people predominantly used their mobile phones.

Interestingly, the higher quality studies had no funding from the cellular industry, whereas the lower quality studies had at least partial industry funding.

In May, 2011, thirty-one experts were convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization. After a review of the epidemiologic and toxicology research, the expert group classified radiofrequency radiation as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" (Group 2B carcinogen), largely based upon the epidemiologic studies of long-term mobile phone use.

Since 2011, several new, major epidemiologic studies have been published which provide further evidence that long-term mobile phone use is associated with increased risk of glioma, a type of malignant brain tumor, and acoustic neuroma, a nonmalignant tumor of the nerve from the ear to the brain. Moreover, the risks increase with the amount and duration of mobile phone use and are stronger on the side of the head where the mobile phone was predominantly used. 

A careful review of the research strongly suggests that long-term mobile phone use increases the risk of glioma and acoustic neuroma. Furthermore, although more research is needed, there is some evidence that mobile phone may increase the risk of other head and neck tumors (e.g., meningioma and parotid gland tumors). Currently, many scientists in the U.S. and in many other nations share this belief. Some, however, will not express this belief publicly in order not to jeopardize industry funding for their research. Many researchers are funded largely by industry, and some are now conducting 30-year cohort studies. 

Industry,of course, prefers we wait until these studies are concluded before governments issue precautionary safety warnings or alter public policies that regulate mobile phones and other wireless devices. This is a tactic that was used successfully for decades by the tobacco industry as well as other industries to delay regulation at the expense of public health. 

See the three recently published review papers cited below for the supporting evidence that long-term exposure to the non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones increases tumor risk.

Additional resources can be found on this Electromagnetic Radiation Safety website.

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Hardell L., Carlberg M. Using the Hill viewpoints from 1965 for evaluating strengths of evidence of the risk for brain tumors associated with use of mobile and cordless phones. Rev Environ Health. 2013;28(2-3):97-106. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2013-0006.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Wireless phones, i.e., mobile phones and cordless phones, emit radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) when used. An increased risk of brain tumors is a major concern. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) at the World Health Organization (WHO) evaluated the carcinogenic effect to humans from RF-EMF in May 2011. It was concluded that RF-EMF is a group 2B, i.e., a "possible", human carcinogen. Bradford Hill gave a presidential address at the British Royal Society of Medicine in 1965 on the association or causation that provides a helpful framework for evaluation of the brain tumor risk from RF-EMF.

METHODS:

All nine issues on causation according to Hill were evaluated. Regarding wireless phones, only studies with long-term use were included. In addition, laboratory studies and data on the incidence of brain tumors were considered.

RESULTS:

The criteria on strength, consistency, specificity, temporality, and biologic gradient for evidence of increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma were fulfilled. Additional evidence came from plausibility and analogy based on laboratory studies. Regarding coherence, several studies show increasing incidence of brain tumors, especially in the most exposed area. Support for the experiment came from antioxidants that can alleviate the generation of reactive oxygen species involved in biologic effects, although a direct mechanism for brain tumor carcinogenesis has not been shown. In addition, the finding of no increased risk for brain tumors in subjects using the mobile phone only in a car with an external antenna is supportive evidence. Hill did not consider all the needed nine viewpoints to be essential requirements.

CONCLUSION:

Based on the Hill criteria, glioma and acoustic neuroma should be considered to be caused by RF-EMF emissions from wireless phones and regarded as carcinogenic to humans, classifying it as group 1 according to the IARC classification. Current guidelines for exposure need to be urgently revised.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=24192496

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Levis AG, Minicuci N, Ricci P, Gennaro V, Garbisa S.Mobile phones and head tumours. The discrepancies in cause-effect relationships in the epidemiological studies - how do they arise? Environ Health. 2011 Jun 17;10:59. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-10-59.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Whether or not there is a relationship between use of mobile phones (analogue and digital cellulars, and cordless) and head tumour risk (brain tumours, acoustic neuromas, and salivary gland tumours) is still a matter of debate; progress requires a critical analysis of the methodological elements necessary for an impartial evaluation of contradictory studies.

METHODS

A close examination of the protocols and results from all case-control and cohort studies, pooled- and meta-analyses on head tumour risk for mobile phone users was carried out, and for each study the elements necessary for evaluating its reliability were identified. In addition, new meta-analyses of the literature data were undertaken. These were limited to subjects with mobile phone latency time compatible with the progression of the examined tumours, and with analysis of the laterality of head tumour localisation corresponding to the habitual laterality of mobile phone use.

RESULTS

Blind protocols, free from errors, bias, and financial conditioning factors, give positive results that reveal a cause-effect relationship between long-term mobile phone use or latency and statistically significant increase of ipsilateral head tumour risk, with biological plausibility. Non-blind protocols, which instead are affected by errors, bias, and financial conditioning factors, give negative results with systematic underestimate of such risk. However, also in these studies a statistically significant increase in risk of ipsilateral head tumours is quite common after more than 10 years of mobile phone use or latency. The meta-analyses, our included, examining only data on ipsilateral tumours in subjects using mobile phones since or for at least 10 years, show large and statistically significant increases in risk of ipsilateral brain gliomas and acoustic neuromas.

CONCLUSIONS

Our analysis of the literature studies and of the results from meta-analyses of the significant data alone shows an almost doubling of the risk of head tumours induced by long-term mobile phone use or latency.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=21679472

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Davis DL, Kesari S, Soskolne CL, Miller AB, Stein Y. Swedish review strengthens grounds for concluding that radiation from cellular and cordless phones is a probable human carcinogen. Pathophysiology. 2013 Apr;20(2):123-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pathophys.2013.03.001. Epub 2013 May 7.

Abstract

With 5.9 billion reported users, mobile phones constitute a new, ubiquitous and rapidly growing exposure worldwide. Mobile phones are two-way microwave radios that also emit low levels of electromagnetic radiation. Inconsistent results have been published on potential risks of brain tumors tied with mobile phone use as a result of important methodological differences in study design and statistical power. Some studies have examined mobile phone users for periods of time that are too short to detect an increased risk of brain cancer, while others have misclassified exposures by placing those with exposures to microwave radiation from cordless phones in the control group, or failing to attribute such exposures in the cases. In 2011, the World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) advised that electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone and other wireless devices constitutes a "possible human carcinogen," 2B. Recent analyses not considered in the IARC review that take into account these methodological shortcomings from a number of authors find that brain tumor risk is significantly elevated for those who have used mobile phones for at least a decade. Studies carried out in Sweden indicate that those who begin using either cordless or mobile phones regularly before age 20 have greater than a fourfold increased risk of ipsilateral glioma. Given that treatment for a single case of brain cancer can cost between $100,000 for radiation therapy alone and up to $1 million depending on drug costs, resources to address this illness are already in short supply and not universally available in either developing or developed countries. Significant additional shortages in oncology services are expected at the current growth of cancer. No other environmental carcinogen has produced evidence of an increased risk in just one decade. Empirical data have shown a difference in the dielectric properties of tissues as a function of age, mostly due to the higher water content in children's tissues. High resolution computerized models based on human imaging data suggest that children are indeed more susceptible to the effects of EMF exposure at microwave frequencies. If the increased brain cancer risk found in young users in these recent studies does apply at the global level, the gap between supply and demand for oncology services will continue to widen. Many nations, phone manufacturers, and expert groups, advise prevention in light of these concerns by taking the simple precaution of "distance" to minimize exposures to the brain and body. We note than brain cancer is the proverbial "tip of the iceberg"; the rest of the body is also showing effects other than cancers.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23664410

Monday, July 14, 2014

Consumer Reports warns readers to reduce cell phone radiation exposure

Consumer Reports (CR), in their 2010 annual cellphone issue, cited our meta-analysis on mobile phone use and tumor risk published in late 2009. And In their 2011 annual cellphone issue, CR continued to provide a precautionary health warning about cell phone radiation. 

Shortly after the 2011 annual cellphone  edition was published, I did an hour phone interview with two of their staff and began sending CR periodic updates about the emerging science and policy developments. 

CR wrote several blog pieces during 2011 (see below). However, with the exception of the current piece and a story in 2012, CR stopped covering the health risks of cell phone radiation exposure in October, 2011. 

Hence, the 2012, 2013, and 2014 annual cellphone issues of CR failed to mention cellphone radiation health risks or the need to reduce exposure.

Hopefully, the new piece that CR posted on July 12 is a sign that CR has decided to once again warn its readers to take precaution to reduce their cell phone radiation exposure. Also, I hope CR will once again inform its readers about the latest scientific evidence. Moreover, CR should warn its readers that the research evidence for carcinogenicity that has been published since WHO declared cell phone radiation "possibly carcinogenic" in 2011 is now considerably stronger. 

Following are comments I sent to CR today:
"... Although I approve of CR's recent post (7/12/2014), "How to cut your exposure to cell-phone radiation," it does not go far enough. Based upon the research, I have generated a more extensive list of risk reduction tips.  At the very least, I would recommend that CR forewarn its readers not to keep their cell phones near their genitals. We have substantial evidence that cell phone radiation damages sperm in males and some evidence of reproductive health effects  (i.e., neurological disorders) in human offspring as well as mice for females exposed to cell phone radiation during pregnancy.  We also have preliminary evidence of increased breast cancer risk for women who kept cellphones in their bras."
A search of the CR web site found the following ten articles on cell phone radiation published since 2009.  To read some of these stories on the CR website requires a subscription to CR.



Jul 12, 2014 - ...your exposure to cell-phone radiation Find Ratings Cell phones Q. Is it true that cell phones emit dangerous levels of radiation?
" Possibly ... Some studies have suggested that cell-phone use alters brain function and may increase the risk of some cancers, although the overall evidence hasn’t found a clear link. More study is needed to determine the health effects of cell-phone use, and what constitutes a safe level of use.
For now, you can reduce radiation exposure by:
  • Limiting talk time;
  • Using a speakerphone or headset;
  • Holding the phone away from your ear; and
  • Replacing some calls with text messaging or e-mail."
Aug 9, 2012 ...Commission set a limit on how much low-level radiation cell phone users are exposed to. It's time for a... 
"... Current limits may be based on out-of-date research, and its test requirements may underestimate the maximum exposure users experience when holding phones against the body, according to the GAO review, done at the request of members of Congress ...
The agency has also not reassessed its testing procedures used to certify cell phones' compliance with SAR limits to ensure that they measure the maximum exposure a user could experience ... 
Bottom line. "We agree with the recommendations and concerns raised by the GAO report," says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., director of Consumer Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports. "Consumers who want to take precautions should be aware of the ways to reduce their radiation exposure while using their mobile phones." Here's how: • Limit cell-phone use, particularly by kids. • Hold the phone away from your head and body, especially when a call is connecting.• Text or use a speakerphone or headset to reduce absorption in your head.:
Oct 19, 2011 ...s “safe exposure” limits for low-level radiation absorbed from cell phones operating at their highest possible power level—known as...
"Bottom line: Despite the many questions this article raises about SAR values and whether they adequately protect cell phone users from the potential effects of cell phone radiation, the Food and Drug Administration, which shares regulatory responsibilities for cell phones with the FCC, maintains that the "weight of scientific evidence” has not linked cell phones with harm except through heating tissue. 
However, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently classified cell-phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The IARC action is based on limited evidence and doesn't convincingly link typical cell-phone use with cancer. But it does increase the need for further study, as well as better and more visible guidance to consumers on the issue. (We contacted the FCC for this article but did not hear back by the time of publication.) "
Details emerge on possible cell-phone radiation risk
Jun 23, 2011 ...on Cancer, which last month classified low-level radiation from cell phones as "possibly carcinogenic to humans," provided more details yesterday... 
"A group of scientists at the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which last month classified low-level radiation from cell phones as "possibly carcinogenic to humans," provided more details yesterday about how they arrived at their conclusions in a report published online in The Lancet Oncology.
Jun 1, 2011...for Research on Cancer yesterday classified low-level radiation from cell phones “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based on limited evidence linking...
"The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer yesterday classified low-level radiation from cell phones “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based on limited evidence linking cell-phone use with an increased risk of glioma, a type of brain cancer. While that's certain to raise the level of discussion about the health effects of cell phones, government regulators remain reassuring about the potential risks ...
In a statement released yesterday, John Walls, vice president of public affairs for CTIA The Wireless Association, said that the IARC classification “does not mean cell phones cause cancer.” ...
Bottom line: The IARC action is based on limited evidence and doesn't convincingly link typical cell-phone use with cancer. But it does increase the need for further study, as well as better and more visible guidance to consumers on the issue.
We will continue to monitor the research on cell-phone safety. In the meantime, if you’re concerned about radiation, you can minimize exposure by using a speakerphone or hands-free headset, holding the phone away from the head and body (especially when a call is connecting), and reducing use, especially by children. Of course, you can also text."  
Feb 23, 2011...a new wrinkle to a long-standing concern of cell phone users, the Journal...that low-level radiation from cell phones...
"...Although, as the FDA has stated, the "weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems," consumers continue to be concerned. The city of San Francisco recently enacted an ordinance requiring that cell phones disclose the amount of radiation emitted, and Consumer Reports has called for a national research program and more guidance for cell phone users on potential risks."
Feb 22, 2011 -Low-level radiation from cell phones can affect brain function during short-term use, according to a report in the Feb... 
"Low-level radiation from cell phones can affect brain function during short-term use, according to a report in the Feb. 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association...
Bottom line: We will continue to monitor the research on cell-phone safety. In the meantime, if you’re concerned about radiation, you can minimize exposure by using a speakerphone or hands-free headset, holding the phone away from the head and body (especially when a call is connecting), and reducing use, especially by children."
How risky is cell-phone radiation?
January 2011
"The Food and Drug Administration says the "weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems," including brain tumors from the low-level radiation that phones emit in normal use. Yet in the past year San Francisco lawmakers have enacted an ordinance requiring that cell phones disclose the amount of radiation emitted, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) announced plans to push for radiation warnings on all cell phones.

Phone manufacturers are required by federal law to package every cell phone with information about its specific absorption rate (SAR) values. The higher the SAR value, the more radiation the body absorbs. But there's usually no explanation provided with those numbers, not even the fact that all phones sold have levels lower than what the FDA considers a concern ...Consumers Union believes a number of measures would benefit consumers:
  • The U.S. needs a national research program on cell phones and health. Rep. Kucinich has called for such an effort as part of his cell-phone safety proposals.
  • The FDA and the FCC should step up their efforts to provide better and more visible guidance to consumers on the risks, if any, of cell-phone radiation.
  • The FCC should mandate that the SAR information included with phones be more consistent. The information that's currently provided varies greatly in its format and detail, as the photographs below illustrate.
Bottom line We will continue to track the research. In the meantime, if you are concerned about radiation, minimize exposure by using a speaker phone or hands-free headset, holding the phone away from the head and body (especially when a call is connecting), and reducing use, especially by children."
 New cell phone models fit changing lifestyles
...January 2010 Consumer Reports Magazine. Latest on Cell phones and services Overview...of cell-phone radiation continues. A recent...


"Research into the possible risks of cell-phone radiation continues. A recent article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, based on research involving about 38,000 people, found a slightly increased risk of head and neck cancer among longtime cell-phone users. But more evidence is needed to understand the link, if any, between phones and cancer. We'll keep tracking the research. If you want to minimize exposure, use a speaker phone or hands-free headset, hold the phone away from the head and body (especially when a call is connecting), and reduce usage, especially by children."

Jan 2009...on the way. Questions have been raised about whether cell phones might elevate cancer...non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. Most studies have... 
"... Bottom line The Federal Communications Commission advises that if there is any risk, and at this point we do not know that there is, it is probably very small. Until more is known, people who want to minimize potential risks of radio waves from cell phones should use the speakerphone mode or a hands-free set while on calls and ask kids to do the same. They should also limit time spent on the phone and keep the antenna away from the head and body."                         

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Is mobile phone use contributing to increased incidence of thyroid cancer?

The incidence of thyroid cancer has been increasing rapidly in recent years in many countries including the U.S., Canada, and Israel.

A headline in Haaretz a year ago March reads, "
Israeli scientists find possible link between cellphone use, thyroid cancer." 

In response to questions posed to me on this topic today from several individuals, I did a PubMed search. Although I did not find any epidemiologic studies that examined the association between mobile phone use and thyroid cancer in humans, I found almost a dozen published papers that have studied the effects of cell phone radiation on thyroid function. Apparently, case-control research on this topic is warranted.

The abstracts from 11 published papers that examined the effects of exposure to cell phone radiation on thyroid function appear below. Please let me know if you are aware of important studies that I missed, and I will supplement this list.  I did not include studies that examined exposure to power frequency radiation.

But first, here is the 2013 news article  ...


Israeli scientists find possible link between cellphone use, thyroid cancer

Dan Even, Haaretz, Mar 6, 2013

Israeli scientists have reported preliminary findings of a possible link between the radiation from cellphones and thyroid cancer. There has been a steep rise in rates of thyroid cancer in recent years in Western countries.

The Israeli research, conducted at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva and at Tel Aviv University, identified evidence for the first time of the possible connection between the rise in thyroid cancer cases to the increased exposure to radiation emitted by cellphones.

In one experiment, human thyroid cells collected from healthy patients were subjected to radiation with a device, designed for the study, that simulates the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cellphones. The irradiated thyroid cells proliferated at a much higher, statistically significant rate than non-irradiated cells in the control group. A second experiment, using different methods and materials, gave similar results.

The research was conducted in the Felsenstein Medical Research Center, part of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and the Rabin Medical Center. Prof. Raphael Feinmesser, head of Beilinson’s Ear, Nose and Throat Department was the lead researcher. The findings will be presented for the first time this weekend at the annual conference of the Israeli Society of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, in Eilat.

“The findings are the first evidence of changes in thyroid cells in response to electromagnetic radiation,” said Feinmesser. “But drawing sweeping conclusions as to a connection between cellphone radiation and thyroid cancer is still far off.”

The scientific community is divided as to the connection between cellular radiation and cancer. One opinion is that because cellular radiation is non-ionizing and incapable of causing changes in cellular DNA, it cannot cause cancer. But in recent years evidence has mounted from epidemiological studies indicating a relationship between increased exposure to cellular radiation and cancerous growths, especially in the brain and the salivary glands.

“The thyroid gland is located in the neck, but the area is located the same distance from the ear as the regions of the brain where [cancerous] growths have been diagnosed as being related to the use of the [cellular] devices. This is a region that is not far from the center of the device’s radiation,” said Feinmesser.

The incidence of thyroid cancer has been on the rise in Israel for more than a decade, which matches the rise in the use of cellphones. Thyroid cancer is three times more common in women than men. It is the fourth most common form of cancer among Jewish women in Israel, at 16.6 cases per 100,000 people. The three most common forms of cancer for women are cancer of the breast, colon and cervix. Among Israeli Arab women the rate of thyroid cancer is 11.6 cases per 100,000, and it is the third most common cancer. From 1990 to 2007 there was a 67-percent rise in thyroid cancer rates among Jewish women, and a 250 percent increase among Arab women, Health Ministry figures show. For men, the rise from 2000 is more moderate, but still shows a 41 percent increase in thyroid cancer rates for Jewish men.

“One of the explanations is that the rise is related to better technical methods of early detection of these growths, which have been developed in recent years. But other research shows that even after neutralizing this influence a rise in these growths still remains,” said Feinmesser.

Just this week it was reported that mobile operator Partner Communications (Orange ) reached a settlement with a customer who claims he contracted cancer after using the company’s cellphones. The customer, who is in his 50s, sued Partner in May, claiming that intensive use of the device resulted in an aggressive lymphoma near his left ear. Partner agreed to pay NIS 400,000 in an out-of-court settlement.”

http://bit.ly/14rrWfA

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Hilly, Ohad; Silva, Verónica; Mizrachi, Aviram; Ariel, Ortal; Raiter, Annat; Hauptman, Yirmi; Hardy, Britta; Feinmesser, Raphael. EFFECT OF NON-IONIZING ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION AT MOBILE PHONE FREQUENCY ON HUMAN THYROID CELLS. Abstract from the World Thyroid Cancer Congress in Toronto 2013.

Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Rabin Medical Center, Petah Tikva, Israel; 2Felsenstein Medical Research Center, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel; 3Gal Safe Ltd., Or Yehuda, Israel

Background/Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the effect of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (NIER) at mobile phone frequency on human thyroid cells.

Methods: We cultured samples of normal thyroid tissue and subsequently exposed the cultured thyrocytes to NIER for 3 hours. NIER effects were evaluated in terms of proliferation using a cell viability assay and immunohistochemistry.

Results: We found that NIER exposure for 3 hours has lead to an increased proliferation of thyrocytes in cell viability assay (p=0.007). This result was confirmed by immunohistochemistry with antibodies against Ki67.

Discussion & Conclusion: In this study we present for the first time an in vitro evaluation of NIER  effects on human thyroid cells. Our results suggest a proliferative effect of NIER on human thyrocytes, an effect that may link NIER exposure with potential carcinogenesis.

http://thyroidworldcongress.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/O022_Mizrachi.pdf


PubMed Search Results  (in chronological order)

 K, Sechman A, Nieckarz Z. Plasma thyroid hormones and corticosterone levels in blood of chicken embryos and post hatch chickens exposed during incubation to 1800 MHz electromagnetic field. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2014 Jan 31. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: This study attempted to determine the effect of a 1800 MHz electromagnetic field (EMF) (only carrier frequency) on thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3) and corticosterone (CORT) concentrations in the blood plasma of chick embryos, and to investigate the effect of electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure during embryogenesis on the level of these hormones in birds that are ready for slaughter.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:  Throughout the incubation period, embryos from the experimental group were exposed to a 1800 MHz EMF with power density of 0.1 W/m2, 10 times during 24 h for 4 min. Blood samples were collected to determine T4, T3 and CORT concentrations on the 12th (E12) and 18th (E18) day of incubation, from newly hatched chicks (D1) and from birds ready for slaughter (D42).

RESULTS:  The experiment showed that T4 and T3 concentrations decreased markedly and CORT levels increased in the embryos and in the newly hatched chicks exposed to EMF during embryogenesis. However, no changes were found in the level of the analyzed hormones in the birds ready for slaughter. Differences in T4 and T3 plasma concentrations between the EMF-exposed group and the embryos incubated without additional EMF were the highest in the newly hatched chicks, which may be indicative of the cumulative effect of electromagnetic field on the hypothalamo-pituitary-thyroid axis (HPT).

DISCUSSION:  The obtained results suggest that additional 1800 MHz radio frequency electromagnetic field inhibits function of HPT axis, however, it stimulates hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis by inducing adrenal steroidogenic cells to synthesize corticosterone. Further investigations are needed to elucidate the mechanisms by which radio EMFs affect HPT and HPA axis function in the chicken embryos.

http://1.usa.gov/1e4do9w

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Jin YB, Choi HD, Kim BC, Pack JK, Kim N, Lee YS.Effects of simultaneous combined exposure to CDMA and WCDMA electromagnetic fields on serum hormone levels in rats. J Radiat Res. 2013 May;54(3):430-7. doi: 10.1093/jrr/rrs120. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

Abstract

Despite more than a decade of research on the endocrine system, there have been no published studies about the effects of concurrent exposure of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on this system. The present study investigated the several parameters of the endocrine system including melatonin, thyroid stimulating hormone, stress hormone and sex hormone after code division multiple access (CDMA, 849 MHz) and wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA, 1.95 GHz) signals for simultaneous exposure in rats. Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to RF-EMF signals for 45 min/day, 5 days/week for up to 8 weeks. The whole-body average specific absorption rate (SAR) of CDMA or WCDMA was 2.0 W/kg (total 4.0 W/kg). At 4 and 8 weeks after the experiment began, each experimental group's 40 rats (male 20, female 20) were autopsied. Exposure for 8 weeks to simultaneous CDMA and WCDMA RF did not affect serum levels in rats of melatonin, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxin (T4), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) as assessed by the ELISA method.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23239176

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Dimida A, Ferrarini E, Agretti P, De Marco G, Grasso L, Martinelli M, Longo I, Giulietti D, Ricci A, Galimberti M, Siervo B, Licitra G, Francia F, Pinchera A, Vitti P, Tonacchera M. Electric and magnetic fields do not modify the biochemical properties of FRTL-5 cells. J Endocrinol Invest. 2011 Mar;34(3):185-9. doi: 10.3275/7107. Epub 2010 Jun 11.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Electric and magnetic fields (EMF) might be involved in human disease and numerous research and scientific reviews have been conducted to address this question. In particular thyroid structural and functional alterations caused by various forms of non-ionizing radiation have been described.

AIM: The aim of this study was to analyze the possible effects of EMF on thyroid, in particular we analyzed the effects caused by a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) signal (900 MHz) on cultured thyroid cells (FRTL- 5).

MATERIAL AND METHODS:  The experimental setup was designed in order to expose samples to a radiofrequency wave in well-controlled conditions. We used the FRTL-5 cell line, an epithelial monoclonal continuous cell line derived from Fisher rat thyroid tissue growing as monolayer, expressing the TSH receptor and the sodium-iodide symporter (NIS). FRTL-5 were subsequently irradiate for 24, 48, and 96 h with EMF (800-900 MHz, power-frequency of mobile communication systems) and iodide uptake and cAMP production were measured.

RESULTS:  The irradiation of cells with EMF at 900 Mhz for 24, 48, and 96 h did not influence the level of cAMP production and was not able to modify iodide accumulation in FRTL- 5 cells with respect to basal conditions.

CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, EMF do not seem to be able to interfere with the biochemical properties of FRTL-5 cells in vitro.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20543553

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Esmekaya MA, Seyhan N, Ömeroglu S. Pulse modulated 900 MHz radiation induces hypothyroidism and apoptosis in thyroid cells: a light, electron microscopy and immunohistochemical study. Int J Radiat Biol. 2010 Dec;86(12):1106-16. Epub 2010 Sep 1.

Abstract

PURPOSE: In the present study we investigated the possible histopathological effects of pulse modulated Radiofrequency (RF) fields on the thyroid gland using light microscopy, electron microscopy and immunohistochemical methods.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two months old male Wistar rats were exposed to a 900 MHz pulse-modulated RF radiation at a specific absorption rate (SAR) of 1.35 Watt/kg for 20 min/day for three weeks. The RF signals were pulse modulated by rectangular pulses with a repetition frequency of 217 Hz and a duty cycle of 1:8 (pulse width 0.576 ms). To assess thyroid endocrine disruption and estimate the degree of the pathology of the gland, we analysed structural alterations in follicular and colloidal diameters and areas, colloid content of the follicles, and height of the follicular epithelium. Apoptosis was confirmed by Transmission Electron Microscopy and assessing the activites of an initiator (caspase-9) and an effector (caspase-3) caspases that are important markers of cells undergoing apoptosis.

RESULTS: Morphological analyses revealed hypothyrophy of the gland in the 900 MHz RF exposure group. The results indicated that thyroid hormone secretion was inhibited by the RF radiation. In addition, we also observed formation of apoptotic bodies and increased caspase-3 and caspase-9 activities in thyroid cells of the rats that were exposed to modulated RF fields.

CONCLUSION: The overall findings indicated that whole body exposure to pulse-modulated RF radiation that is similar to that emitted by global system for mobile communications (GSM) mobile phones can cause pathological changes in the thyroid gland by altering the gland structure and enhancing caspase-dependent pathways of apoptosis.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20807179

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Milham S. Most cancer in firefighters is due to radio-frequency radiation exposure not inhaled carcinogens. Med Hypotheses. 2009 Nov;73(5):788-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.04.020. Epub 2009 May 22.

Abstract

Recent reviews and reports of cancer incidence and mortality in firefighters conclude that they are at an increased risk of a number of cancers. These include leukemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, male breast cancer, malignant melanoma, and cancers of the brain, stomach, colon, rectum, prostate, urinary bladder, testes, and thyroid. Firefighters are exposed to a long list of recognized or probable carcinogens in combustion products and the presumed route of exposure to these carcinogens is by inhalation. Curiously, respiratory system cancers and diseases are usually not increased in firefighters as they are in workers exposed to known inhaled carcinogens. The list of cancers with increased risk in firefighters strongly overlaps the list of cancers at increased risk in workers exposed to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and radiofrequency radiation (RFR). Firefighters have increased exposure to RFR in the course of their work, from the mobile two-way radio communications devices which they routinely use while fighting fires, and at times from firehouse and fire vehicle radio transmitters. I suggest that some of the increased cancer risk in firefighters is caused by RFR exposure, and is therefore preventable. The precautionary principle should be applied to reduce the risk of cancer in firefighters, and workman's compensation rules will necessarily need to be modified.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19464814

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Mortavazi S, Habib A, Ganj-Karami A, Samimi-Doost R, Pour-Abedi A, Babaie A. Alterations in TSH and Thyroid Hormones following Mobile Phone Use. Oman Med J. 2009 Oct;24(4):274-8. doi: 10.5001/omj.2009.56.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: In recent years, the widespread use of mobile phones has lead to a public debate about possible detrimental effects on human health. In spite of years of research, there is still a great controversy regarding the possibility of induction of any significant physiological effects in humans by microwave radiations emitted by mobile phones. This study aims to investigate the effects of electromagnetic fields induced by the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) mobile phones on the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormones in humans.

METHODS: 77 healthy university students participated in this study. The levels of T3, T4 and TSH were measured by using appropriate enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits (Human, Germany).

RESULTS: The average levels of T3, T4 and TSH in students who moderately used mobile phones were 1.25±0.27 ng/ml, 7.76±1.73 µg/dl and 4.25±2.12 µu/l respectively. The levels in the students who severely used mobile phones were 1.18±0.30, 7.75±1.14 and 3.75±2.05 respectively. In non-users, the levels were 1.15±0.27, 8.42±2.72 and 2.70±1.75, respectively. The difference among the levels of TSH in these 3 groups was statistically significant (P<0.05).

CONCLUSION: As far as the study is concerned, this is the first human study to assess the associations between mobile phone use and alterations in the levels of TSH and thyroid hormones. Based on the findings, a higher than normal TSH level, low mean T4 and normal T3 concentrations in mobile users were observed. It seems that minor degrees of thyroid dysfunction with a compensatory rise in TSH may occur following excessive use of mobile phones. It may be concluded that possible deleterious effects of mobile microwaves on hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis affects the levels of these hormones.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22216380

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Djeridane Y, Touitou Y, de Seze R. Influence of electromagnetic fields emitted by GSM-900 cellular telephones on the circadian patterns of gonadal, adrenal and pituitary hormones in men. Radiat Res. 2008 Mar;169(3):337-43.

Abstract

The potential health risks of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMFs) emitted by mobile phones are currently of considerable public interest. The present study investigated the effect of exposure to 900 MHz GSM radiofrequency radiation on steroid (cortisol and testosterone) and pituitary (thyroid-stimulating hormone, growth hormone, prolactin and adrenocorticotropin) hormone levels in 20 healthy male volunteers. Each subject was exposed to RF EMFs through the use of a cellular phone for 2 h/day, 5 days/ week, for 4 weeks. Blood samples were collected hourly during the night and every 3 h during the day. Four sampling sessions were performed at 15-day intervals: before the beginning of the exposure period, at the middle and the end of the exposure period, and 15 days later. Parameters evaluated included the maximum serum concentration, the time of this maximum, and the area under the curve for hormone circadian patterns. Each individual's pre-exposure hormone concentration was used as his control. All hormone concentrations remained within normal physiological ranges. The circadian profiles of prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotropin and testosterone were not disrupted by RF EMFs emitted by mobile phones. For growth hormone and cortisol, there were significant decreases of about 28% and 12%, respectively, in the maximum levels when comparing the 2-week (for growth hormone and cortisol) and 4-week (for growth hormone) exposure periods to the pre-exposure period, but no difference persisted in the postexposure period. Our data show that the 900 MHz EMF exposure, at least under our experimental conditions, does not appear to affect endocrine functions in men.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18302481

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Koyu A, Cesur G, Ozguner F, Akdogan M, Mollaoglu H, Ozen S. Effects of 900 MHz electromagnetic field on TSH and thyroid hormones in rats. Toxicol Lett. 2005 Jul 4;157(3):257-62. Epub 2005 Apr 11.

Abstract

In this study, the effects of exposure to a 900 megahertz (MHz) electromagnetic field (EMF) on serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and triiodothronine-thyroxin (T3-T4) hormones levels of adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were studied. Thirty rats were used in three independent groups, 10 of which were control (without stress and EMF), 10 of which were exposed to 900 MHz EMF and 10 of which were sham-exposed. The exposures were performed 30 min/day, for 5 days/week for 4 weeks to 900 MHz EMF. Sham-exposed animals were kept under the same environmental conditions as the study groups except with no EMF exposure. The concentration of TSH and T3-T4 hormones in the rat serum was measured by using an immunoradiometric assay (IRMA) method for TSH and a radio-immunoassay (RIA) method for T3 and T4 hormones. TSH values and T3-T4 at the 900 MHz EMF group were significantly lower than the sham-exposed group (p<0.01). There were no statistically significant differences in serum TSH values and T3-T4 hormone concentrations between the control and the sham-exposed group (p>0.05). These results indicate that 900 MHz EMF emitted by cellular telephones decrease serum TSH and T3-T4 levels.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15917150

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Wakeford R. The cancer epidemiology of radiation. Oncogene. 2004 Aug 23;23(38):6404-28.

Abstract

Ionizing radiation has been the subject of intense epidemiological investigation. Studies have demonstrated that exposure to moderate-to-high levels can cause most forms of cancer, leukaemia and cancers of the breast, lung and thyroid being particularly sensitive to induction by radiation, especially at young ages at exposure. Predominant among these studies is the Life Span Study of the cohort of survivors of the atomic bombings of Japan in 1945, but substantial evidence is derived from groups exposed for medical reasons, occupationally or environmentally. Notable among these other groups are underground hard rock miners who inhaled radioactive radon gas and its decay products, large numbers of patients irradiated therapeutically and workers who received high doses in the nuclear weapons programme of the former USSR. The degree of carcinogenic risk arising from low levels of exposure is more contentious, but the available evidence points to an increased risk that is approximately proportional to the dose received. Epidemiological investigations of nonionizing radiation have established ultraviolet radiation as a cause of skin cancer. However, the evidence for a carcinogenic effect of other forms of nonionizing radiation, such as those associated with mobile telephones or electricity transmission lines, is not convincing, although the possibility of a link between childhood leukaemia and extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields cannot be dismissed entirely.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15322514

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Bergamaschi A, Magrini A, Ales G, Coppeta L, Somma G. Are thyroid dysfunctions related to stress or microwave exposure (900 MHz)? Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2004 May-Aug;17(2 Suppl):31-6.

Abstract

In the last decade, numerous scientific evidence suggested possible adverse health effects from exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF'S) and the use of mobile phones. According to some studies EMF induced changes of trans-membrane Ca++ flux may lead to altered metabolism and/or secretion of neurohormones including TSH, ACTH, GH, prolactin and melatonin. The aim of this research was to analyse the effects of mobile phone use on thyroid function and to evaluate the possible role of occupational stress. 2598 employees (1355 men and 1243 women) with different duties (vendors, operators and network technicians) were included in the study. Exposure to EMF'S, generated by mobile phones, was assessed both by submitting a questionnaire directly to the employees and acquiring data regarding conversation times. The workers were divided into three groups on the basis of their personal mobile phone use. Moreover, a group of 160 workers with TSH values below 0.4 UI/l was characterized. No statistically significant difference regarding TSH values below 0.4 UI/l was observed among workers with different duties but there was a greater prevalence of subjects with low SH values among 192 employees with more than 33 hrs./month conversation time; this difference was statistically significant (p<0.05). On the basis of our data, it is not possible to establish whether this result is determined by exposure to EMF'S from mobile phones of by the stress of using these instruments.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15345189

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Black DR, Heynick LN. Radiofrequency (RF) effects on blood cells, cardiac, endocrine, and immunological functions.Bioelectromagnetics. 2003;Suppl 6:S187-95.

Abstract

Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RFEMF) on the pituitary adrenocortical (ACTH), growth (GH), and thyroid (TSH) hormones have been extensively studied, and there is coherent research on reproductive hormones (FSH and LH). Those effects which have been identified are clearly caused by heating. The exposure thresholds for these effects in living mammals, including primates, have been established. There is limited evidence that indicates no interaction between RFEMF and the pineal gland or an effect on prolactin from the pituitary gland. Studies of RFEMF exposed blood cells have shown that changes or damage do not occur unless the cells are heated. White cells (leukocytes) are much more sensitive than red cells (erythrocytes) but white cell effects remain consistent with normal physiological responses to systemic temperature fluctuation. Lifetime studies of RFEMF exposed animals show no cumulative adverse effects in their endocrine, hematological, or immune systems. Cardiovascular tissue is not directly affected adversely in the absence of significant RFEMF heating or electric currents. The regulation of blood pressure is not influenced by ultra high frequency (UHF) RFEMF at levels commonly encountered in the use of mobile communication devices.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14628314