Friday, June 24, 2016

Consumer Reports: Cell Phone Radiation Warnings

Consumer Reports (CR) published an article online entitled, "Does Cell Phone Use Cause Brain Cancer? What the New Study Means For You," on May 27, 2016.

CR discussed the newly-released study conducted by the National Toxicology Program calling it "the largest and most expensive study of its kind."

Based upon the results of this study and the prior research on humans, CR made the following recommendations to consumers to reduce the risks from cell phone radiation:
  • Keep the phone away from your head and body especially when the signal is weak.
  • Text or video call when possible.
  • Use the speakerphone or a hands-free headset.
  • Don’t keep your phone in your pants or shirt pocket.
Also, CR made the following policy recommendations:
  • The NIH should fund another animal study to determine whether the latest cell phone technology also increases cancer risk.
  • The FCC should update its testing requirements for cell phone radiation exposure to account for the thinner skulls in children's heads.
  • The FCC and FDA should determine whether the current cell phone radiation limit (1.6 W/kg over 1 gram of tissue) provides adequate protection to consumers.
  • The CDC should reinstate the cautionary advice about cell phone radiation that it removed from its website in August, 2014.
  • Cell phone manufacturers should prominently display advice about how to reduce cell phone radiation exposure.

Sep 24, 2015

Consumer Reports issues cell phone safety recommendations 

On September 24, 2015, Consumer Reports (CR) published an article online entitled, "Does Cell-Phone Radiation Cause Cancer?" 

CR advises cell phone users to take safety precautions, government to strengthen cell phone radiation regulations, and manufacturers to prominently display "steps that cell-phone users can take to reduce exposure to cell-phone radiation."

According to CR, only about five percent of Americans are "very concerned' about cell phone radiation, and few take steps to reduce their exposure. Furthermore, "many respected scientists" and federal agencies "don't seem very troubled" about this health risk.
"But not everyone is unconcerned. In May 2015, a group of 190 independent scientists from 39 countries, who in total have written more than 2,000 papers on the topic, called on the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and national governments to develop stricter controls on cell-phone radiation. They point to growing research—as well as the classification of cell-phone radiation as a possible carcinogen in 2011 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the WHO—suggesting that the low levels of radiation from cell phones could have potentially cancer-causing effects ...."
"Some countries have taken steps to protect users, at least when it comes to children. For example, France, Russia, the U.K., and Zambia have either banned ads that promote phones’ sale to or use by children, or issued cautions for use by children.

The city council of Berkeley, Calif., has also acted. In May 2015, it approved a “Right to Know” law that requires electronics retailers to notify consumers about the proper handling of cell phones."
CR notes that the FCC’s cell phone safety test established in 1996 protects users only from heating effects due to cell phone radiation; yet, many laboratory studies suggest that exposure to low intensity cell phone radiation can have harmful effects without raising body temperature including creation of "stress proteins" and promotion of brain tumors.

CR examined five large population studies:
"three of the studies—one from Sweden, another from France, and a third that combined data from 13 countries—suggest a connection between heavy cell-phone use and gliomas, tumors that are usually cancerous and often deadly. One of those studies also hinted at a link between cell phones and acoustic neuromas (noncancerous tumors), and two studies hinted at meningiomas, a relatively common but usually not deadly brain tumor."
CR comments that "none of the studies can prove a connection between cell phones and brain cancers." CR further notes that cell phone designs have changed. 

[JMM: No study can prove that cell phones are safe, and many studies have found evidence for other health effects including neurologic disorders, infertility, and reproductive health effects. Moreover, some research suggests that current cell phone technologies are more harmful than earlier technologies.]

CR recommends that cell phone users take the following precautions:
  • "Try to keep the phone away from your head and body. That is particularly important when the cellular signal is weak—when your phone has only one bar, for example—because phones may increase their power then to compensate.
  • Text or video call when possible.
  • When speaking, use the speaker phone on your device or a hands-free headset.
  • Don’t stow your phone in your pants or shirt pocket. Instead, carry it in a bag or use a belt clip."
Finally CR makes several policy recommendations:
• "The Federal Communications Commission’s cell-phone radiation test is based on the devices’ possible effect on large adults, though research suggests that children’s thinner skulls mean they may absorb more radiation.
• Consumer Reports agrees with concerns raised by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Government Accountability Office about the tests, and thinks that new tests should be developed that take into account the potential vulnerability of children.
• We think that cell-phone manufacturers should prominently display advice on steps that cell-phone users can take to reduce exposure to cell-phone radiation."

CR is a monthly American magazine published since 1936 accepts no advertising. CR is known for its strong policies on editorial independence. According to the latest annual report, CR has 8.4 million subscribers and 530,000 donors.

This article will appear in the November 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

The online version of the article is available at

Sep 24, 2015

Report Examines Cell Phone Radiation  (2 minute video) - covers new CR Report.
Jean Elle, 11 PM News, NBC Bay Area, Sep 24, 2015

July 14, 2014

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."
GAO: Time to reassess limits on cell-phone radiation
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. ...

"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."                         

Hybrid & Electric Cars: Electromagnetic Radiation Risks

Hybrid and electric cars may be cancer-causing as they emit extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic radiation (EMR) or magnetic fields. Recent studies of the levels of EMR emitted by these automobiles have claimed either that they pose a cancer risk for the vehicles' occupants or they are safe.

Unfortunately, the little research conducted on this issue has been industry-funded by companies with vested interests on one side of the issue or the other which makes it difficult to know which studies are trustworthy. 

Meanwhile, numerous peer-reviewed laboratory studies conducted over several decades have found biologic effects from very limited exposures to ELF EMR. These studies suggest that the EMR guidelines established by the self-appointed, International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) are inadequate to protect our health. Thus, even if EMR measurements do not exceed the ICNIRP guidelines, occupants of hybrid and electric automobiles may be at increased risk for cancer and other health problems.

Given that magnetic fields have been considered "possibly carcinogenic" in humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization since 2001, the precautionary principle dictates that we should design consumer products to minimize consumers’ exposure to ELF EMR. This especially applies to hybrid and electric automobiles as drivers and passengers spend considerable amounts of time in these vehicles and health risks increase with the duration of exposure.

In January of this year, SINTEF, the largest independent research organization in Scandinavia, proposed manufacturing design guidelines that could reduce the magnetic fields in electric vehicles (see below).  All automobile manufacturers should follow these guidelines to ensure their customers' safety. 

The public should demand that governments adequately fund high-quality research on the health effects of electromagnetic radiation that is independent of industry to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest. In the U.S., a major national research and education initiative could be funded with as little as a 5 cents a month fee on mobile phone subscribers.

Following are summaries and links to several studies and news articles on this topic. 

Note that many experts believe the ICNIRP guidelines for maximum general public exposure to magnetic fields do not adequately protect the public from health risks.


Passenger Exposure to Magnetic Fields due to the Batteries of an Electric Vehicle

Pablo Moreno-Torres Concha; Pablo Velez; Marcos Lafoz; Jaime R. Arribas. Passenger Exposure to Magnetic Fields due to the Batteries of an Electric Vehicle. IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology. 65(6):4564-4571. Jun 2016.
In electric vehicles, passengers sit very close to an electric system of significant power. The high currents achieved in these vehicles mean that the passengers could be exposed to significant magnetic fields (MFs). One of the electric devices present in the power train are the batteries. In this paper, a methodology to evaluate the MF created by these batteries is presented. First, the MF generated by a single battery is analyzed using finite-elements simulations. Results are compared with laboratory measurements, which are taken from a real battery, to validate the model. After this, the MF created by a complete battery pack is estimated, and results are discussed.
Passengers inside an EV could be exposed to MFs of considerable strength when compared with conventional vehicles or to other daily exposures (at home, in the office, in the street, etc.). In this paper, the MF created by the batteries of a particular electric car is evaluated from the human health point of view by means of finite-elements simulations, measurements, and a simple analytical approximation, obtaining an upper bound for the estimated MF generated by a given battery pack. These results have been compared with ICNIRP's recommendations concerning exposure limitation to low-frequency MFs, finding that the field generated by this particular battery pack should be below ICNIRP's field reference levels, and conclusions concerning the influence of the switching frequency have been drawn. Finally, some discussion regarding other field sources within the vehicle and different vehicles designs has been presented. Due to the wide variety of both available EVs and battery stacks configurations, it is recommended that each vehicle model should be individually assessed regarding MF exposure.


Characterization of Extremely Low Frequency Magnetic Fields from Diesel, Gasoline and Hybrid Cars under Controlled Conditions

Hareuveny R, Sudan M, Halgamuge MN, Yaffe Y, Tzabari Y, Namir D, Kheifets L. Characterization of Extremely Low Frequency Magnetic Fields from Diesel, Gasoline and Hybrid Cars under Controlled Conditions. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Jan 30;12(2):1651-1666.

This study characterizes extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic field (MF) levels in 10 car models.
Extensive measurements were conducted in three diesel, four gasoline, and three hybrid cars, under similar controlled conditions and negligible background fields.

Averaged over all four seats under various driving scenarios the fields were lowest in diesel cars (0.02 μT), higher for gasoline (0.04-0.05 μT) and highest in hybrids (0.06-0.09 μT), but all were in-line with daily exposures from other sources. Hybrid cars had the highest mean and 95th percentile MF levels, and an especially large percentage of measurements above 0.2 μT. These parameters were also higher for moving conditions compared to standing while idling or revving at 2500 RPM and higher still at 80 km/h compared to 40 km/h. Fields in non-hybrid cars were higher at the front seats, while in hybrid cars they were higher at the back seats, particularly the back right seat where 16%-69% of measurements were greater than 0.2 μT.

As our results do not include low frequency fields (below 30 Hz) that might be generated by tire rotation, we suggest that net currents flowing through the cars' metallic chassis may be a possible source of MF. Larger surveys in standardized and well-described settings should be conducted with different types of vehicles and with spectral analysis of fields including lower frequencies due to magnetization of tires.
Previous work suggests that major sources of MF in cars include the tires and electric currents [4,5]. The level of MF exposure depends on the position within the vehicle (e.g., proximity to the MF sources) and can vary with different operating conditions, as changes to engine load can induce MFs through changes in electric currents. Scientific investigations of the levels of MF in cars are sparse: only one study evaluated fields only in non-hybrid cars [6], two studies of hybrid cars have been carried out [4,7], and few studies have systematically compared exposures in both hybrid and non-hybrid cars [8,9,10,11,12], some based on a very small number of cars 
In hybrid cars, the battery is generally located in the rear of the car and the engine is located in the front. Electric current flows between these two points through cables that run underneath the passenger cabin of the car. This cable is located on the left for right-hand driving cars and on the right for left-hand driving cars. Although in principle the system uses direct current (DC), current from the alternator that is not fully rectified as well as changes to the engine load, and therefore the current level, can produce MFs which are most likely in the ELF range. While most non-hybrid cars have batteries that are located in the front, batteries in some of them are located in the rear of the car, with cables running to the front of the car for the electrical appliances on the dashboard. In this study, all gasoline and diesel cars had batteries located in the front of the car.
...the percent of time above 0.2 µT was the most sensitive parameter of the exposure. Overall, the diesel cars measured in this study had the lowest MF readings (geometric mean less than 0.02 μT), while the hybrid cars had the highest MF readings (geometric mean 0.05 μT). Hybrid cars had also the most unstable results, even after excluding outliers beyond the 5th and 95th percentiles. With regard to seat position, after adjusting for the specific car model, gasoline and diesel cars produced higher average MF readings in the front seats, while hybrid cars produced the highest MF readings in the back right seat (presumably due to the location of the battery). Comparing the different operating conditions, the highest average fields were found at 80 km/h, and the differences between operating conditions were most pronounced in the back right seat in hybrid cars. Whether during typical city or highway driving, we found lowest average fields for diesel cars and highest fields for hybrid cars.
Previous works suggest that the magnetization of rotating tires is the primary source of ELF MFs in non-hybrid cars [5,15]. However, the relatively strong fields (on the order of a few μT within the car) originating from the rotating tires are typically at 5–15 Hz frequencies, which are filtered by the EMDEX II meters. ....
Overall, the average MF levels measured in the cars’ seats were in the range of 0.04–0.09 μT (AM) and 0.02–0.05 μT (GM). These fields are well below the ICNIRP [17] guidelines for maximum general public exposure (which range from 200 μT for 40 Hz to 100 μT for 800 Hz), but given the complex environments in the cars, simultaneous exposure to non-sinusoidal fields at multiple frequencies must be carefully taken into account. Nevertheless, exposures in the cars are in the range of every day exposure from other sources. Moreover, given the short amount of time that most adults and children spend in cars (about 30 minutes per day based on a survey of children in Israel (unpublished data), the relative contribution of this source to the ELF exposure of the general public is small. However, these fields are in addition to other exposure sources. Our results might explain trends seen in other daily exposures: slightly higher average fields observed while travelling (GM = 0.096 μT) relative to in bed (GM = 0.052 μT) and home not in bed (GM = 0.080 μT) [1]. Similarly, the survey of children in Israel found higher exposure from transportation (GM = 0.092 µT) compared to mean daily exposures (GM = 0.059 µT). Occupationally, the GM of time-weighted average for motor vehicle drivers is 0.12 μT [18].
Open access paper:

Design guidelines to reduce the magnetic field in electric vehicles

SINTEF, Jan 6, 2014

Based on the measurements and on extensive simulation work the project arrived on the following design guidelines to, if necessary, minimize the magnetic field in electric vehicles.

  • For any DC cable carrying significant amount of current, it should be made in the form of a twisted pair so that the currents in the pair always flow in the opposite directions. This will minimise its EMF emission.
  • For three-phase AC cables, three wires should be twisted and made as close as possible so as to minimise its EMF emission.
  • All power cables should be positioned as far away as possible from the passenger seat area, and their layout should not form a loop. If cable distance is less than 200mm away from the passenger seats, some forms of shielding should be adopted.
  • A thin layer of ferromagnetic shield is recommended as this is cost-effective solution for the reduction of EMF emission as well EMI emission.
  • Where possible, power cables should be laid such a way that they are separated from the passenger seat area by a steel sheet, e.g., under a steel metallic chassis, or inside a steel trunk.
  • Where possible, the motor should be installed farther away from the passenger seat area, and its rotation axis should not point to the seat region.
  • If weight permits, the motor housing should be made of steel, rather than aluminium, as the former has a much better shielding effect.
  • If the distance of the motor and passenger seat area is less than 500mm, some forms of shielding should be employed. For example, a steel plate could be placed between the motor and the passenger seat region
  • Motor housing should be electrically well connected to the vehicle metallic chassis to minimise any electrical potential.
  • Inverter and motor should be mounted as close as possible to each other to minimise the cable length between the two.
  • Since batteries are distributed, the currents in the batteries and in the interconnectors may become a significant source for EMF emission, they should be place as far away as possible from the passenger seat areas. If the distance between the battery and passenger seat area is less than 200mm, steel shields should be used to separate the batteries and the seating area.
  • The cables connecting battery cells should not form a loop, and where possible, the interconnectors for the positive polarity should be as close as possible to those of the negative polarity.


Magnetic Fields in Electric Cars Won't Kill You

Jeremy Hsu, IEEE Spectrum, May 5, 2014


“The study, led by SINTEF, an independent research organization headquartered in Trondheim, Norway, measured the electromagnetic radiation—in the lab and during road tests—of seven different electric cars, one hydrogen-powered car, two gasoline-fueled cars and one diesel-fueled car. Results from all conditions showed that the exposure was less than 20 percent of the limit recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).”

“Measurements taken inside the vehicles—using a test dummy with sensors located in the head, chest and feet—showed exposure at less than 2 percent of the non-ionizing radiation limit at head-height. The highest electromagnetic field readings—still less than 20 percent of the limit—were found near the floor of the electric cars, close to the battery. Sensors picked up a burst of radiation that same level, when the cars were started.”


Mythbuster: EMF levels in hybrids
Consumer Reports News: August 4, 2010


“Some concern has been raised about the possible health effects of electromagnetic field radiation, known as EMF, for people who drive in hybrid cars. While all electrical devices, from table lamps to copy machines, emit EMF radiation, the fear is that hybrid cars, with their big batteries and powerful electric motors, can subject occupants to unhealthy doses. The problem is that there is no established threshold standard that says what an unhealthy dose might be, and no concrete, scientific proof that the sort of EMF produced by electric motors harms people

“We found the highest EMF levels in the Chevrolet Cobalt, a conventional non-hybrid small sedan.”

[The peak EMF readings at the driver’s feet ranged from 0.5 mG (milligauss) in the 2008 Toyota Highlander to 30 mG in the Chevrolet Cobalt. The hybrids tested at 2-4 mG. Here are some highlights from the tests. EMF readings were highest in the driver’s foot well and second-highest at the waist, much lower higher up, where human organs might be more susceptible to EMF.

“To get a sense of scale, though, note that users of personal computers are subject to EMF exposure in the range of 2 to 20 mG, electric blankets 5 to 30 mG, and a hair dryer 10 to 70 mG, according to an Australian government compilation. In this country, several states limit EMF emissions from power lines to 200 mG. However, there are no U.S. standards specifically governing EMF in cars.”

“In this series of tests, we found no evidence that hybrids expose drivers to significantly more EMF than do conventional cars. Consider this myth, busted.”


Israel Preps World’s First Hybrid Car Radiation Scale

Tal Bronfer, the truth about cars, March 1, 2010


“The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) recommends a limit of 1,000 mG (milligauss) for a 24 hour exposure period. While other guidelines pose similar limits, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) deemed extended exposure to electromagnetic fields stronger than 2 mG to be a “possible cause” for cancer. Israel’s Ministry of Health recommends a maximum of 4 mG.”

“Last year, Israeli automotive website Walla! Cars conducted a series of tests on the previous generation Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and Honda Civic Hybrid, and recorded radiation figures of up to 100 mG during acceleration. Measurements also peaked when the batteries were either full (and in use) or empty (and being charged from the engine), while normal driving at constant speeds yielded 14 to 30 mG on the Prius, depending on the area of the cabin.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection is expected to publish the results of the study this week. The study will group hybrids sold in Israel into three different radiation groups, reports Israel’s Calcalist. It’s expected that the current-gen Prius will be deemed ‘safe’, while the Honda Insight and Civic Hybrid (as well as the prev-gen Prius) will be listed as emitting ‘excessive’ radiation.”


Fear, but Few Facts, on Hybrid Risk

Jim Motavalli, New York Times, Apr 27, 2008


“... concern is not without merit; agencies including the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute acknowledge the potential hazards of long-term exposure to a strong electromagnetic field, or E.M.F., and have done studies on the association of cancer risks with living near high-voltage utility lines.

While Americans live with E.M.F.’s all around — produced by everything from cellphones to electric blankets — there is no broad agreement over what level of exposure constitutes a health hazard, and there is no federal standard that sets allowable exposure levels. Government safety tests do not measure the strength of the fields in vehicles — though Honda and Toyota, the dominant hybrid makers, say their internal checks assure that their cars pose no added risk to occupants.”

“A spokesman for Honda, Chris Martin, points to the lack of a federally mandated standard for E.M.F.’s in cars. Despite this, he said, Honda takes the matter seriously. “All our tests had results that were well below the commission’s standard,” Mr. Martin said, referring to the European guidelines. And he cautions about the use of hand-held test equipment. “People have a valid concern, but they’re measuring radiation using the wrong devices,” he said.”

“Donald B. Karner, president of Electric Transportation Applications in Phoenix, who tested E.M.F. levels in battery-electric cars for the Energy Department in the 1990s, said it was hard to evaluate readings without knowing how the testing was done. He also said it was a problem to determine a danger level for low-frequency radiation, in part because dosage is determined not only by proximity to the source, but by duration of exposure. “We’re exposed to radio waves from the time we’re born, but there’s a general belief that there’s so little energy in them that they’re not dangerous,” he said.”

Friday, June 3, 2016

National Toxicology Program: Not the First Government Study to Find Wireless Radiation Can Cause Cancer in Lab Rats

The National Toxicology Program's (NTP) recent study is not the first randomized controlled trial to find that exposure to non-thermal levels of microwave radiation can cause cancer in male rats.

A U.S. Air Force study conducted from 1980 to 1982 which was documented in a series of nine technical reports and later published in the peer-reviewed journal, Bioelectromagnetics, found that 18% of 100 male rats exposed to low-intensity microwave radiation for two years developed cancer as compared to only 5% of 100 rats in the sham-exposed control group. The relative risk of developing cancer in the wireless radiation exposure group was 4.46 (p = .005).

"A statistically significant increase of primary malignancies in exposed rats vs. incidence in controls is a provocative finding, but the biological significance of this effect in the absence of truncated longevity is conjectural. The positive findings need independent experimental evaluation." (Chou et al., 1992).

The objective of this 5-year, $5 million study was to create a "generalized level of radiation that would provide whole-body exposure based on the maximum of permissible absorption [ANSI C95.1- 1982, 1983; IEEE C95.1-1991,1992] at the resonant frequency in human beings (0.4 W/kg), as scaled to the proportions of the experimental animal of choice." The microwaves were pulsed and square-wave modulated because prior research had found that extremely low frequency modulation of microwave radiation altered the movement of calcium ions in chicken and cat brains (Adey, 1981).

Differences between 1992 Chou study and 2016 NTP study

The Chou study exposed experimental animals to 2450 MHz "so each rat would have approximately the same size-to-wavelength ratio as a human being exposed at 450 MHz of microwave radiation;" whereas the NTP study exposed rats to 900 MHz microwave radiation that simulated second-generation (2G) cell phone radiation. The rats' average exposure in the Chou study was about 4-10 times lower than in the NTP study (0.15 W/kg to 0.4 W/kg versus 1.5 W/kg to 6.0 W/kg). 

Chou and his colleagues were trying to simulate the effects of radar on people. The frequency tested is close to one of the frequencies currently in use for Wi-Fi, 2400 MHz.

Although the NTP study found increased malignant tumor risk in different organs than the Air Force study, the differences are likely attributable to the different forms of microwave radiation tested.  

Three decades have passed since this Air Force study of wireless radiation was conducted. The FDA called for the NTP to study the effects of radiation from wireless devices 17 years ago. Now the results from the $25 million NTP study suggest that cellphone radiation can also cause cancer in laboratory rats.

When will the federal government fund the research needed to determine the types and amounts of exposure to cellphone and other wireless radiation that are safe? 


Chou CK, Guy AW, Kunz LL, Johnson RB, Crowley JJ, Krupp JH. Long-term, low-level microwave irradiation of rats. Bioelectromagnetics. 1992;13(6):469-96.


Our goal was to investigate effects of long-term exposure to pulsed microwave radiation. The major emphasis was to expose a large sample of experimental animals throughout their lifetimes and to monitor them for effects on general health and longevity.

An exposure facility was developed that enabled 200 rats to be maintained under specific-pathogen-free (SPF) conditions while housed individually in circularly-polarized waveguides. The exposure facility consisted of two rooms, each containing 50 active waveguides and 50 waveguides for sham (control) exposures. The experimental rats were exposed to 2,450-MHz pulsed microwaves at 800 pps with a 10-microseconds pulse width. The pulsed microwaves were square-wave modulated at 8-Hz. Whole body calorimetry, thermographic analysis, and power-meter analysis indicated that microwaves delivered at 0.144 W to each exposure waveguide resulted in an average specific absorption rate (SAR) that ranged from 0.4 W/kg for a 200-g rat to 0.15 W/kg for an 800-g rat. Two hundred male, Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned in equal numbers to radiation-exposure and sham-exposure conditions. Exposure began at 8 weeks of age and continued daily, 21.5 h/day, for 25 months. Animals were bled at regular intervals and blood samples were analyzed for serum chemistries, hematological values, protein electrophoretic patterns, thyroxine, and plasma corticosterone levels. In addition to daily measures of body mass, food and water consumption by all animals, O2 consumption and CO2 production were periodically measured in a sub-sample (N = 18) of each group. Activity was assessed in an open-field apparatus at regular intervals throughout the study.

After 13 months, 10 rats from each group were euthanatized to test for immunological competence and to permit whole-body analysis, as well as gross and histopathological examinations. At the end of 25 months, the survivors (11 sham-exposed and 12 radiation-exposed rats) were euthanatized for similar analyses. The other 157 animals were examined histopathologically when they died spontaneously or were terminated in extremis.

Statistical analyses by parametric and non-parametric tests of 155 parameters were negative overall for effects on general health, longevity, cause of death, or lesions associated with aging and benign neoplasia. Positive findings of effects on corticosterone level and immune system at 13 months exposure were not confirmed in a follow-up study of 20 exposed and 20 control rats. Differences in 0, consumption and C0,production were found in young rats. A statistically significant increase of primary malignancies in exposed rats vs. incidence in controls is a provocative finding, but the biological significance of this effect in the absence of truncated longevity is conjectural. The positive findings need independent experimental evaluation. Overall, the results indicate that there were no definitive biological effects in rats chronically exposed to RF radiation at 2,450 MHz.

The paper can be downloaded from the FCC website at: