Wednesday, July 27, 2016

BioEM2016 Conference: A Report by Dr. Dariusz Leszczynski

A 23-page report about BioEM2016, the joint annual meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society and the European Bioelectromagnetics Association, prepared by Dr. Dariusz Leszczynski is now available.

Following are some of Dr. Leszczynski's comments regarding key sessions from this conference.

National Toxicology Program (NTP) cellphone radiation-cancer study

"There are numerous misconceptions and misrepresentations of the NTP study and its outcome. However, one thing is certain, this is the best animal study that can be done with the existing technical and financial limitations. Even with the $25 million funding, scientists cannot do all what they would like and need to do, in order to thoroughly address all issues and answer all questions."
" ... the outcome of the NTP study should be considered in the context of all the evidence from the to-date performed epidemiological, animal and in vitro studies. The combination of all the elements suggests that cell phone radiation possibly (or probably) affects human health because
  •  three case-control epidemiological studies (Interphone, Hardell's group, CERENAT) have shown increased risk of developing glioma in avid, long-term users of cell phone (30 min/day for 10+ years)
  • several animal studies have shown increased health risk in exposed or co-exposed animals (e.g. Chou et al., Tillman et al, Lerchl's group, NTP-study).
Lack of the knowledge of the mechanism does not mean that a certain event doesn’t happen. In the context of the recent study by Schmid & Kuster showing that the cell culture experiments were under-exposing cells to radiation, it is probable that the majority of the in vitro studies have shown a weak effect or lack of effects because of this under-exposure. Higher doses, as suggested by Schmid & Kuster, would certainly lead to more robust effects in vitro. Replication of some of the in vitro experiments with higher exposures might bring out some evidence of mechanism(s).
Epidemiological cohort studies, like the Danish Cohort or Million Women study, are of poor quality and cannot be used as a reliable proof of no effect.
We still do not have the definite proof that cell phone radiation causes cancer or increases risk of developing brain cancer. However, combination of the evidence from the case-control and animal studies indicates that the health risk is possible or even probable. The NTP study strengthens the evidence for the 'probable health risk'.
The conclusion of the 'probable health risk' strengthens the call for the implementation of the Precautionary Principle in the use of cell phones. It seems that the human health risk might not only be possible rather probable; in the IARC classification, cell phone radiation could be upgraded from group 2B to group 2A."

New avenues in epidemiology: COSMOS, GERoNiMO, and HERMES

"Finally, there was really not much anything new presented as 'new avenues in epidemiology'."


"COSMOS study, for example, tediously collects data on numbers of performed calls and send messages, but it has no information at all on real radiation exposures. Also, wi-fi is completely excluded. So, how valuable and reliable will be the exposure data collected by COSMOS? I dare to say that it will be of very little real value. Epidemiological studies published with such data will remain unreliable and, most likely, will not show any dose dependency of exposure and health outcome. The reason is "simple" and should be obvious to anyone dealing with dosimetry.

Collecting information on the number of calls and on their length does not provide information on radiation exposure. As in studies done by the Interphone, Hardell's group, CERENAT, Danish Cohort, Million Women project, and by Chapman et al., the COSMOS and GERoNiMO also collect a surrogate of the radiation exposure. None of the epidemiological studies executed to-date collected real radiation exposure data. All of them have collected either bad or very bad surrogates of radiation exposure."

 
"Exposures of persons using the GSM network are dramatically higher than exposures of persons using the UMTS network. However, which network is used and when? The user does not know this. In modern phones, the switching between networks happens automatically, to keep call of good quality, without the users’ knowledge. So, the users, by reporting just minutes of calls in epidemiological studies, provide useless “surrogate” information on radiation exposure."

Tutorial on safety standards by IEEE-ICES (International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety) in USA

".. all safety standards being developed by IEEE-ICES-TC95 are, in practice, developed by the industry scientists for the use by the industry they are employed by. The industry scientists have the majority on the committee and upper-hand in any process involving democratic voting. To me this is a clear CoI [Conflict of Interest] ... While the IEEE has the excellent expertise in the area of telecom technology, the Conflict of Interest remains an unresolved issue that undermines, in my opinion, reliability of the IEEE safety standards."

Wi-Fi and health – review with unfounded conclusions:

 "Scientists from the ‘EMF Portal’ presented a review of the to-date published studies examining health effects of exposures to wi-fi. Conclusion of the study was that there is no health problem to be concerned about but, at the same time, our knowledge is still very limited. Unfortunately, scientists’ conclusion was not justified by the presented evidence ... This is the real problem: the insufficient research, the poor quality research, and lack of research studies is being interpreted as “evidence” for the lack of health effects. This is wrong."

Some excerpts from the abstract:
Is there evidence of biological effects from WLAN and comparable electromagnetic fields in everyday exposure situations? Systematic review of experimental studies. F. Gollnick, L. Bodewein, D. Graefrath, K. Jagielski, T. Kraus & S. Driessen. Research Center for Bioelectromagnetic Interaction (femu), RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

“…We reviewed the evidence of experimental studies for biological or health effects by everyday exposure to RF fields of WLAN devices or exposures comparable to such RF fields. From 225 potentially eligible references, 65 relevant studies using exposures below, at, or slightly above the exposure limits were included.

Just over half of those 44 studies of it using exposures below or at the limits showed an effect. The large majority of these 44 studies had medium or strong methodical weaknesses. More detailed evaluations are ongoing. So far no substantial evidence of health implications is derived from the results, but the mostly poor study quality impairs the informative value of the present available scientific database…"

“…Only studies using signals in the 2.4 GHz band remained in the final review, because all of the studies using signals in the 5 GHz band (i.e., 12 of 225 potentially eligible studies) had to be excluded, mostly due to too high power levels. Only three studies on human subjects were identified among the relevant in vivo studies…”

“…Just over half of the 44 studies finally reviewed showed an effect of the real WLAN or comparable to WLAN exposure. Overall, the most affected biological endpoints from a vast variety were oxidative stress, reproductive system functions including sperm quality, and heart rate variability. Most of the studies had medium or strong methodological weaknesses…”

Summarizing our results so far, we do not derive substantial evidence of health implications from it. Nevertheless, the large amount of studies of insufficient quality discovered in this review poses a serious problem in terms of substantial health risk assessment.

Studies on human subjects with exposures to WLAN RF fields or comparable fields are so far very rare."

Closing words

"... there is seen a striking shortage in research on biological effects of EMF executed in human volunteers."

"... Gaps in the knowledge need to be filled before we can make reliable and scientifically valid conclusions concerning EMF and public health. At this point, the debate on EMF and public health is more and more resembling a “shouting competition” where two opinions, neither of them being sufficiently supported by the scientific evidence, are being presented… and the groups presenting these opinions do not even want to speak to each other. The mistrust runs deep, and only good science would be the way to resolve the problematic issues."

Dr. Leszczynski's report about BioEM2016 is available at http://bit.ly/BioEM2016summary.  His "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" science blog on mobile phone radiation and health is at https://betweenrockandhardplace.wordpress.com/.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

FCC Open Letter Calls for Moratorium on New Commercial Applications of Radiofrequency Radiation

Today the FCC sent me a recommendation to submit my comments on the Spectrum Frontiers proposal (see July 11 open letter below) to an official proceeding on this issue.

What's the point since they already decided to approve the proposal? Besides they rarely ever process submissions to these proceedings (e.g., see 
http://bit.ly/1ICtEUA).




From:     DoNotReply@fcc.gov
To:          jmm@berkeley.edu
Date:      Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 3:39 PM
Subject: Re: CIMS00006050198 -- Moratorium -- FCC's Spectrum Frontiers Proceeding 5G

Dear Consumer,

Thank you for your e-mail to Chairman Tom Wheeler expressing views regarding Use of Spectrum Bands Above 24 GHz For Mobile Radio Services. On behalf of Chairman Wheeler, I want to assure you that your input will help inform the Commission's future decisions.

There currently is an open proceeding about this matter:  GN Docket No. 14-177, IB Docket No. 15-256, RM-11664, WT Docket No. 10-112 and IB Docket No. 97-95.  You may wish to add public comments to this proceeding's record.  If so, you can search for the proceeding and submit your comments though this portal:  http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs

We appreciate your reaching out to Chairman Wheeler and sharing your views about this issue.


--


FCC Votes Today on Opening Additional Wireless Spectrum for 5G


Suzanne Potter, Public News Service, July 14, 2016


The FCC will vote today on opening up more of the spectrum for new 5G wireless technology. 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today the Federal Communications Commission votes on a plan to open a new part of the wireless spectrum to encourage the development of the next generation of cell phones and wireless devices called 5G. 

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says this will allow U.S. companies to be the first to deploy the faster technology. 

But Joel Moskowitz, an expert on radio frequency emissions with UC Berkeley, says there's barely any research on the health effects of 3G and 4G, much less 5G. He notes that a recent comprehensive government study showed a small but significant percentage of male rats exposed to lifelong 2G cell phone radiation developed cancerous or precancerous cells.

"I don't think we should blindly plow ahead and unleash these new technologies on the public because we're experimenting with the public,” he stresses. “We'd be saturating people's environments with this new form of man-made radiation."

Current wireless devices range between 2.4 and 5 gigahertz of exposure. The FCC says the next generation would operate between 28 and 71 gigahertz. 

Moskowitz says 5G technology is more line-of-sight than current devices, so it would require millions of small transmitters just about everywhere, including on existing utility poles.

Wheeler has called for limits on local cities' authority to regulate the siting of these transmitters. 

John Terell is vice president for policy and legislation for the California chapter of the American Planning Association, which represents city planners.

"We want to balance the rights of residents to an uncluttered and safe environment around their residence or business with the expansion of cellular telephone service, which the organization strongly supports," he says.

The Telecom Act of 1996 took away state and local governments' rights to limit antennas on health or environmental grounds. 

The health advocacy group ElectromagneticHealth.org says it is essential for that section of the Telecom Act to be repealed. The hearing is being live streamed on the FCC website. 
http://bit.ly/29HKBR0

--


FCC hails 'monumental' vote opening new spectrum for 5G and IoT

Grant Gross, Network World, Jul 14, 2016

"The US is the first nation to set aside spectrum for 5G services"

"The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has voted to open nearly 11 gigahertz of high-band spectrum to new wireless uses, hailing it as a "monumental step" that will greatly increase network capacity for 5G and the Internet of Things."

"The FCC on Thursday adopted new rules for spectrum above 24 GHz, in a vote that Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler described as one of the most important decisions commissioners will make this year.”

"The FCC's decision opens up 3.85 GHz of licensed spectrum and 7 GHz of unlicensed spectrum to new wireless uses. The new licensed spectrum is in the 28GHz and 37GHz bands, and the new unlicensed band is from 64 to 71 GHz.

In addition to opening up the 11 GHz of spectrum, the FCC will seek public comments on making use of another 18 GHz of spectrum in eight additional high-frequency bands." 


--

Open Letter to the FCC
July 11, 2016

Dear Commissioners:
In light of your upcoming vote on the proposed Spectrum Frontiers proceeding, I wish to draw your attention to the International EMFScientist Appeal. The Appeal, which has been signed by 220 scientists who published peer-reviewed research on electromagnetic fields and biology or health, calls for stronger regulatory standards for radio frequency (RF) emissions.

I also wish to remind you that the FCC has yet to act on NOI #13-84, "Reassessment of Federal Communications Commission Radiofrequency Exposure Limits and Policies," issued in 2013 and a similar NOI issued in 2003. The 2013 NOI has received more than 900 submissions--almost all call for stronger regulation of RF radiation. Links to key submissions can be found on my Electromagnetic Radiation Safety website.
Finally, the General Accountability Office issued a report entitled, “Exposure and Testing Requirements for Mobile Phones Should Be Reassessed” (GAO-12-771: Published: Jul 24, 2012. Publicly Released: Aug 7, 2012. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-771). The report made the following recommendations which have yet to be addressed by the FCC:

FCC should formally reassess and, if appropriate, change its current RF energy exposure limit and mobile phone testing requirements related to likely usage configurations, particularly when phones are held against the body. FCC noted that a draft document currently under consideration by FCC has the potential to address GAO’s recommendations.”
The FCC's RF standards were adopted 20 years ago. Many scientists believe these standards are obsolete because they do not protect the population from established, non-thermal risks from RF radiation exposure. Thus, to ensure public health and safety, the FCC should commission an independent review of the biologic and health research to determine whether the RF standards should be modified before allowing additional spectrum to be used for new commercial applications.

Sincerely,
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley

Monday, July 18, 2016

Effects of Wireless Radiation on Birds and Other Wildlife

A Briefing Memo by Dr. Albert Manville

Albert M. Manville, II, Ph.D. A Briefing Memorandum: What We Know, Can Infer, and Don’t Yet Know about Impacts from Thermal and Non-thermal Non-ionizing Radiation to Birds and Other Wildlife — for Public Release. July 14, 2016.


In this memo, Dr. Manville reviews the scientific literature that examines the impacts on wildlife from exposure to radio frequency radiation. 

He observes that although the FCC has standards to protect humans from the heating  (i.e., thermal) effects of wireless radiation exposure from cellular and broadcast towers, no standards exist to protect wildlife from thermal or non-thermal effects:

“The radiation effects on wildlife need to be addressed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and other governmental entities.”

Dr. Manville concludes with the following statement:

“In summary, we need to better understand … how to address these growing and poorly understood radiation impacts to migratory birds, bees, bats, and myriad other wildlife. At present, given industry and agency intransigence … massive amounts of money being spent to prevent addressing impacts from non-thermal radiation — not unlike the battles over tobacco and smoking — and a lack of significant, dedicated and reliable funding to advance independent field studies, … we are left with few options. Currently, other than to proceed using the precautionary approach and keep emissions as low as reasonably achievable, we are at loggerheads in advancing meaningful guidelines, policies and regulations that address non-thermal effects....”

Dr. Manville recommends that the U.S. adopt the following recommendations because federally-protected wildlife species are currently in danger from RFR exposure:

“We desperately need to conduct field research on thermal and non-thermal radiation impacts to wild migratory birds and other wildlife here in North America, similar to studies conducted in Europe….”

“Studies need to be designed to better tease out and understand causality of thermal and non-thermal impacts from radiation on migratory birds…. efforts need to be made to begin developing exposure guidelines for migratory birds and other wildlife …”

“To minimize deleterious radiation exposures, these guidelines should include use of avoidance measures such as those developed by the electric utility industry for bird collision and electrocution avoidance …”

“Studies need to be conducted on the use of “faux” branches (i.e., metal arms that mimic pine or fir branches) on cell and/or FM towers intended to disguise the towers as trees, but provide nesting and roosting opportunities for migratory birds including Bald Eagles, which will almost certainly be impacted both by thermal and non-thermal radiation effects.”

“Agencies tasked with the protection, management, and research on migratory birds and other wildlife … need to develop radiation policies that avoid or minimize impacts to migratory birds and other trust wildlife species.”

“As Levitt and Lai (2010) concluded, we do not actually need to know whether RFR effects are thermal or non-thermal to set exposure guidelines. Most scientists consider non-thermal effects as well established, even though the implications are not fully understood.”

“Given the rapidly growing database of peer-reviewed, published scientific studies (e.g., http://www.saferemr.com, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley), it is time that FCC considers thermal and non-thermal effects from EMR in their tower permitting, and incorporates changes into their rulemaking regarding ‘effects of communication towers on migratory birds.’”


Dr. Albert Manville II is an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins University. He served as a senior wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1997 to 2014.  He chaired the Communication Tower Working Group, partnering with the communications industry, federal and state agencies, researchers, and non-profit organizations. He testified more than 40 times before Congress and other governmental bodies and published more 170 papers. For more information, see http://advanced.jhu.edu/about-us/faculty/albert-manville/.

Dr. Manville’s memo is available at http://bit.ly/Manvillewildlife.



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

STORYLINE vs. REST-OF-THE-STORY: Brain cancer incidence, cellphone use, and trends data

Many countries monitor brain cancer incidence using cancer registries which document the number of new cases diagnosed each year. Although brain cancer is rare--about 24,000 cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year--the lifetime risk is between 1 in 200 and 1 in 250. Three peer-reviewed, published case-control studies suggest that the risk may double after 10 years of heavy cellphone use. Only 35% of brain cancer patients survive for 5 or more years. Some scientists argue that brain cancer incidence has been stable over time so one need not worry about the findings from these controlled studies. However, the facts tell a different story.

A one-page fact sheet can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/braintrends2: