Sunday, June 26, 2022

Effects of Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields: Thirty years of research

Feb 1, 2018 (Updated June 26, 2022)

The preponderance of research published from 1990 through April 2022 has found significant effects from exposure to radio frequency radiation as well as to extremely low frequency and static electromagnetic fields. Overall, 76% (n=796) of 1,046 radio frequency radiation (RFR) studies reported significant effects. Additionally, 88% (n=810) of 916 extremely low frequency (ELF) and static electromagnetic field studies found significant effects. 

Currently, there are 1,962 studies in Dr. Henry Lai's collection of research on the effects of exposure to RFR and static or ELF electromagnetic fields (EMF). The abstracts for these studies can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.

Government and industry-linked scientists often claim that research on the effects of exposure to EMF is inconsistent, and that more research is needed before health warnings are issued or regulatory exposure limits are strengthened.

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization classified radio frequency radiation (RFR) “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B). The IARC plans to review RFR again by 2024 because most peer-reviewed studies published in the past decade found significant evidence that RFR causes genotoxicity. Thus, the IARC will likely re-classify RFR to either "probably carcinogenic to humans" (Group 2A) or "carcinogenic to humans" (Group 1) at the next expert review.

Cell phones and other wireless devices also produce static and extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields. ELF was classified by the IARC as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B) a decade before RFR received this classification.

Dr. Henry Lai, Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington and Editor Emeritus of the journal, Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, has compiled summaries of the research on the biologic and health effects of exposure to RFR and ELF EMF. His set of abstracts which cover the period from 1990 to April 2022 constitute a comprehensive collection of this research.

Dr. Lai reports that the preponderance of the research has found that exposure to RFR or ELF EMF produces oxidative damage or free radicals, and damages DNA. Moreover the preponderance of RFR studies that examined genetic and neurological effects has found significant effects.

The evidence for DNA damage has been found more consistently in animal and human (in vivo) studies than in studies of cell cultures (in vitro).


Top Line Results

Overall, 82% (n=1,608) of 1,962 studies of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields reported significant biologic effects.
 

Radio frequency radiation:

91% (n=263) of 288 oxidative damage (or free radical) studies published since 1990 reported significant effects.

68% (n=291) of 423 genetic effects studies 
published since 1990 reported significant effects.

73% (n=244) of 335 neurological studies published since 2007 reported significant effects.

Overall, 76% (n=798) of 1,046 radio frequency radiation studies reported significant biologic effects.


Extremely low frequency and static electromagnetic fields::

90% (n=270) of 298 oxidative damage (or free radical) studies published since 1990 reported significant effects.

84% (n=257) of 307 genetic effects studies published since 1990 reported significant effects.

91% (n=283) of 311 neurological studies published since 2007 reported significant effects.

Overall, 88% (n=810) of 916 extremely low frequency and static electromagnetic field studies reported significant biologic effects.



Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The UK Million Women Study of Cell Phone Use and Brain Tumor Risk

Journal of the National Cancer Institute publishes two letters critical of
UK Million Women Cell Phone/Brain Tumor Study


RE: Cellular Telephone Use and the Risk of Brain Tumors: Update of the UK Million Women Study

Moskowitz, Joel M. RE: Cellular Telephone Use and the Risk of Brain Tumors: Update of the UK Million Women Study. JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2022. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djac109.

No abstract

Excerpts

"Like the Danish Cohort study (1), the recent paper by Schüz et al. (2) which examined cellular telephone use and brain tumor risk in the Million Women Study suffered from poor exposure assessment which likely contributed to exposure misclassification. Moreover, participant attrition in this study was high (68%), and the study was underpowered as the analysis sample included few participants with heavier cell phone use, the group with the greatest brain tumor risk (2)."

"Although the Schüz et al. paper (2) provides sound advice to 'reduce unnecessary exposures,' the abstract in this paper is a disservice to public health because it ends with a misleading assertion: 'Our findings support the accumulating evidence that cellular telephone use under usual conditions does not increase brain tumor incidence.'  How can the authors of this paper argue that their results apply to 'usual conditions' when the amount of cell phone use in their analysis sample was much less than 'usual' for the United Kingdom (UK)?"

"... a recent meta-analysis of 46 case-control studies (6) found significantly increased brain tumor incidence with cumulative call time ≥ 1,000 hours (about 17 minutes per day over a 10-year period). Furthermore, Philips et al. (7) examined brain tumor incidence in England from 1995-2015 and found a two-fold increase in the standardized incidence of the most common malignant brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme, along with reduced incidence of lower grade brain tumors which could indicate a tumor promotion effect from the increased uptake in cell phone use during this time period."

"In sum, the Schüz et al. study (2) provides no assurance of safety from brain tumors for most cell phone users, especially those who start using cell phones at a younger age than the middle-aged and elderly women who participated in this study."


--

RE: Cellular Telephone Use and the Risk of Brain Tumors: Update of the UK Million Women Study

Birnbaum, Linda S, Taylor, Hugh S, Baldwin, Hillel, Ben-Ishai, Paul, Davis, Devra. RE: Cellular Telephone Use and the Risk of Brain Tumors: Update of the UK Million Women Study. JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2022. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djac110.

No abstract

Excerpts

"... a recent analysis of self-reported cell phone use of this original cohort by Shuz et al. 1 contains a number of serious errors and flaws of exposure measurement that undermine the validity of their widely publicized finding purporting that there is no risk of brain cancer from cell phone radiofrequency radiation (RFR) 1."

"Further, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and Ramazzini Institute (RI)  experimental animal studies are inaccurately criticized as based on small numbers, inconsistency across species, and excessively high exposures 3,4."

"Current outdated regulatory limits for phone RFR rest on the incorrect long held assumption that non thermal levels are safe."

"The majority of animal and cell studies have found nonionizing RFR can induce oxidative stress- a key characteristic of human carcinogens and a way that RFR can initiate or promote tumor development as well as play a role in the development of other diseases 5.

Recent experimental and epidemiological studies indicate that RFR also induces cancers of the thyroid and breast 6,7. DNA damage and cancer in these state of the art studies signal the need for the public to reduce exposures to RFR now."



--

Response to Moskowitz and Birnbaum, Taylor, Baldwin et al.

Schüz, Joachim, Pirie, Kirstin, Reeves, Gillian K, Floud, Sarah, Beral, Valerie. Response to Moskowitz and Birnbaum, Taylor, Baldwin et al. JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2022. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djac111.

No abstract

Excerpts

" We do agree, however, with both Moskowitz (1) and Birnbaum et al. (6) that our study does not include many heavy users of cellular phones."

"A large international prospective study of cellular telephone users including also men and younger women is underway [7] but results have not been published yet. Overall, our findings and those from other studies support our carefully worded conclusion that 'cellular telephone use under usual conditions [our emphasis] does not increase brain tumor incidence'. However, advising heavy users on how to reduce unnecessary exposures remains a good precautionary approach."


--

March 30, 2022 (Updated April 1, 2022)

Cellular Telephone Use and the Risk of Brain Tumors: 
Update of the UK Million Women Study

Joachim Schüz, Kirstin Pirie, Gillian K Reeves, Sarah Floud, Valerie Beral, for the Million Women Study Collaborators. Cellular Telephone Use and the Risk of Brain Tumors: Update of the UK Million Women Study. JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Volume 114, Issue 5, May 2022, Pages 704–711, doi: 10.1093/jnci/djac042.

Abstract

Background

The ongoing debate of whether use of cellular telephones increases the risk of developing a brain tumor was recently fueled by the launch of the fifth generation of wireless technologies. Here, we update follow-up of a large-scale prospective study on the association between cellular telephone use and brain tumors.

Methods

During 1996-2001, 1.3 million women born in 1935-1950 were recruited into the study. Questions on cellular telephone use were first asked in median year 2001 and again in median year 2011. All study participants were followed via record linkage to National Health Services databases on deaths and cancer registrations (including nonmalignant brain tumors).

Results

During 14 years follow-up of 776 156 women who completed the 2001 questionnaire, a total of 3268 incident brain tumors were registered. Adjusted relative risks for ever vs never cellular telephone use were 0.97 (95% confidence interval = 0.90 to 1.04) for all brain tumors, 0.89 (95% confidence interval = 0.80 to 0.99) for glioma, and not statistically significantly different to 1.0 for meningioma, pituitary tumors, and acoustic neuroma. Compared with never-users, no statistically significant associations were found, overall or by tumor subtype, for daily cellular telephone use or for having used cellular telephones for at least 10 years. Taking use in 2011 as baseline, there were no statistically significant associations with talking for at least 20 minutes per week or with at least 10 years use. For gliomas occurring in the temporal and parietal lobes, the parts of the brain most likely to be exposed to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from cellular telephones, relative risks were slightly below 1.0.

Conclusion

Our findings support the accumulating evidence that cellular telephone use under usual conditions does not increase brain tumor incidence.

Open access paper: https://bit.ly/UKwomen2022

--

Preliminary comments on "Cellular Telephone Use and the Risk of Brain Tumors: Update of the UK Million Women Study"

Like the earlier cell phone-brain tumor risk study that used data from the UK Million Women study (Benson et al., 2013), the current study (Schüz et al., 2022) is methodologically unsound due to limited assessment of cell phone use over time and misclassification of exposure. Furthermore, participant attrition from this prospective longitudinal study was very high which likely contributed to the fact that few participants in the main analysis were heavy lifetime cell phone users.

Thus, the study provides no assurance of safety to current cell phone users who use their phones more or start using at a younger age. The results of this study are also limited to the study population, namely middle-aged and elderly women who lived in the United Kingdom (UK).

Comparing their study to Interphone, a 13-nation case-control study which found that heavy lifetime use of cell phones (1,640 or more hours -- the top decile or 10%) was associated with significantly increased malignant brain tumor (i.e., glioma) incidence, the authors point out a major limitation of their new study:

"In INTERPHONE, a modest positive association was seen between glioma risk and the heaviest (top decile of) cellular telephone use (odds ratio = 1.40, 95% CI = 1.03 to 1.89). This specific group of cellular telephone users is estimated to represent not more than 3% of the women in our study, so that overall, the results of the 2 studies are not in contradiction (23)."

In the current study, only 18% of cell phone users talked on cell phones more than 30 minutes per week which corresponds to about 4 minutes per day or 26 hours per year which amounts to about 260 hours over a 10-year period -- far less use than what it would take to see a statistically significant association with brain tumor incidence. Even among daily cell phone users in this study, only 41% talked on their cell phones more than 30 minutes per week.

In contrast, we found in our meta-analysis of 46 case-control studies that "cellular phone use with cumulative call time more than 1000 hours statistically significantly increased the risk of tumors" which corresponds to at least 17 minutes per day over a 10-year period (Choi, Moskowitz et al., 2020).

The study also misclassified some "never" and "ever" users: Among participants who completed the 2001 and 2011 surveys, 45.8% of the 2001 never users talked on cellphones more than 1 minute per week (vs. 73.5% of ever users), and 8.8% talked on their cellphones more than 30 minutes per week (vs. 18.2% of ever users). 2001 never users talked on their cellphones an average of 4.3 years (vs. 8.9 years for ever users).

The current study did not control for cordless phone use, a potential confounder, which likely increases brain tumor risk. The study also failed to control for those who kept the cellphone away from their head during phone call phones by using the speaker phone or a headset.

The authors did not report any analyses to determine whether the selection of participants for this study or the high amount of participant attrition (68%) biased the study results.

The paper reported, "For the main malignant subtypes, glioma and glioblastoma, there was no indication of an increase, based on 937 and 702 cases, respectively, in cellular telephone users." 

How can the authors account for the results found in a study that examined brain tumor incidence from 1995 to 2015 in England (which includes about 84% of the UK population, the sampling frame for the current study)?  Philips et al., 2018 found a substantial increase in the incidence of the most common form of glioma, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), over that time period along with a reduced incidence of lower grade tumors:

"We report a sustained and highly statistically significant ASR [age-standardized incidence rate] rise in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) across all ages. The ASR for GBM more than doubled from 2.4 to 5.0, with annual case numbers rising from 983 to 2531. Overall, this rise is mostly hidden in the overall data by a reduced incidence of lower grade tumours."

This new paper concludes with the following advice: 

"Future research should target specifically the very heavy cellular telephone users, with attention to new features of a continuously evolving technology; hence, advising cellular telephone users on how to reduce unnecessary exposures remains a good precautionary approach."

Unfortunately, those who only read the abstract will see the following disingenuous conclusion:

"Our findings support the accumulating evidence that cellular telephone use under usual conditions does not increase brain tumor incidence."

The phrases, "accumulating evidence" and "under usual conditions" seem misleading given the limitations of the current study. Moreover, multiple case-control studies report increased brain tumor incidence with levels of cell phone use now considered quite common. The U.S. National Cancer Institute should be admonished for publishing this study in their hallmark journal, JNCI.

--

No Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors in Large UK Study

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Featured News Stories

Ahmad El Hajj. Will 5G Kill Me? When Telecom Politics Become a Deadly SinInside Telecom (International Telecoms Business Magazine), May 4, 2022.

  "What is the safe exposure time to these radiations? What is the safe distance between a person and a transmitting antenna? What are safe transmission power levels? Why haven’t safety guidelines been updated for some time? Why are the opinions of some scientists been disregarded? Can telecom tower radiations clearly cause cancer or other devastating effects?"

Lyle Laver. Raise the RoofThe National Business Post, Mar 29, 2022.

  "It is great to have immediate access in our mobile world, but at what cost? Should we “raise the roof” on this issue and 'put it up to 11?' Certainly, that is what the WIA and the FCC are doing right now; and the longer we wait, the more we will see this infrastructure devalue our neighborhoods, homes and health. These electromagnetic fields will only grow in strength and frequency."

Barbara Koeppel. Federal Court Instructs FCC to Review Electromagnetic Radiation StandardsThe Washington Spectator, Mar 9, 2022.

  "For 25 years ... the Federal Communications Commission has refused to revise the regulations it set in 1996 that address what level of radiation from cell phones should be considered safe."

Anne Brice. Moskowitz: Cellphone radiation is harmful, but few want to believe it. Berkeley News, July 1, 2021.

  " there are strong parallels between what the telecom industry has done and what the tobacco industry has done, in terms of marketing and controlling messaging to the public."


  Oregon's public health agency issued a shoddy, biased report on the potential harm to 600,000 schoolkids from wireless devices in classrooms.

Dariusz Leszczynski. 5G is testing the limits of trust. Medium, Apr 13, 2021.

  "ICNIRP’s guidelines, in addition to being set to prevent only thermal effects, are also based only on short-term, acute exposures ... there is very little research on long-term chronic exposures... applying ICNIRP guidelines to long-term exposures is based on an assumption of safety and not on the scientific evidence."

Devra Davis. Why I'm challenging the FCC about antiquated safety standards for wireless devicesThe Washington Times, Feb 23, 2021.

  "In 1996, Congress decided the FCC should have the primary responsibility for protecting the public from radiation exposure even though it has no health expertise and typically sides with phone companies rather than citizens. That was a mistake..."

Katie Alvord. Is Wireless Technology an Environmental Health Risk? Society of Environmental Journalists. Jan 6, 2021.

  "Those concerned say thousands of studies conclude that RFR can hurt us at levels well below those microwave ovens used for cooking."

Barbara Koeppel. Wireless Hazards. The Washington Spectator, Dec 28, 2020.

   "If you think your cellphone is safe, have you considered why you believe that? Is it a fact or is it based on carefully crafted messages that you’ve read or heard?"

Joel Moskowitz. Regulators Steamroll Health Concerns as the Global Economy Embraces 5GThe Washington Spectator. 46(9):6, September 2020. ISSN 0887-428X.

  "The FCC, however, has been “short on science” for more than two decades...."
  "A new generation of superfast wireless internet is coming soon. But no one can say for sure if it’s safe."

Louis Slesin. The Lies Must Stop Disband ICNIRP: Facts Matter, Now More Than EverMicrowave News, Apr 9, 2020.

  "The public has been fed lies and half-truths about the health effects of RF/microwave radiation for as long as I have been involved, since the 1970s." 

International EMF Alliance. Misconception of 5G. Unpublished letter submitted to Scientific American, Nov 7, 2019.

  This letter rebuts David Robert Grimes' article that attacks, "We Have No Reason to Believe 5G is Safe." The Grimes article has been removed from the Scientific American website.

Louis Slesin. Will WHO Kick Its ICNIRP Habit? Non-Thermal Effects Hang in the Balance. Microwave News, Nov 4, 2019.

    After 8 years of work, the WHO is reopening its review of RF radiation health effects. This investigative report exposes ties between the WHO EMF Project, the ICNIRP, and the telecom industry.

Joel Moskowitz. We Have No Reason to Believe 5G is Safe. Scientific American, Oct 17, 2019.

   "we should support the recommendations of the 250 scientists and medical doctors who signed the 5G Appeal that calls for an immediate moratorium on the deployment of 5G and demand that our government fund the research needed to adopt biologically based exposure limits that protect our health and safety."

Simon Hill. Is cell phone radiation actually dangerous? We asked some experts. Digital Trends, Sep 25, 2019.

  "The ... standards that are in place, which haven’t changed since 1996, were set based on when animal behavior changed ... If we can’t draw conclusions about the NTP study, why is this earlier animal research still the basis of our safety limits?"
  The paper's year-long investigation found some of the most popular cell phones, including Apple iPhones, emit radiation that exceeds government (FCC) safety limits

Sam Roe. Testing cellphones for radiofrequency radiation: How we did it. Chicago Tribune, Aug 21, 2019. 

Joel Moskowitz. 5G Health RisksBBC Radio 5, May 30, 2019 (9 minute news segment).

  The deployment of 5G in the United Kingdom today has generated great concern among the public. This is a brief overview of the health risks from exposure to 5G millimeter waves.

Devra Davis. 5G: The Unreported Global Threat. Medium, May 18, 2019.

  Major mainstream newspapers commonly ignore the substantial body of science pinpointing wireless radiation and 5G hazards detailed in journalistic investigations.

Investigate Europe. Mobile phones and health: Is 5G being rolled out too fast? Computer Weekly, April, 2019.

  Countries are deploying 5G at breakneck speed to gain a competitive edge, but scientists have concerns about effects on public health and are calling for a precautionary approach.

Markham Heid. Are AirPods and Other Bluetooth Headphones Safe? Medium, Mar 7, 2019.

  Numerous scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below international and national guidelines including cancer, neurological disorders, and DNA damage.

Investigate Europe. The 5G mass experiment. Jan 13, 2019.

   In a series of news stories, a team of investigative journalists examines the risks of 5G deployment.
"
it could also harm your health. Europe's governments ignore the danger." 

Hiawatha Bray. Could your cellphone’s electromagnetic field make you sick? Boston Globe, Jan 17, 2019.

  The Massachusetts Department of Public Health may be withholding information about possible health risks posed by cellphones and other wireless technologies.

Ronald Melnick, Ph.D. There's a clear cell phone-cancer link, but FDA is downplaying itThe Hill, Nov 13, 2018.

  Dr. Melnick was the senior toxicologist who led the design of the National Toxicology Program cell phone radiation studies.

Joyce Nelson. 5G Corporate Grail: Smart cities/dumb people?  Watershed Sentinel, Nov 5, 2018.

  "There’s a lot of hype about 5G, the fifth-generation wireless technology that is being rolled out in various “5G test beds” in major cities ...But it’s hard to see why we should be excited."

Annelie Fitzgerald. Mobile Phone Cover-up? Gov’t advisory body disbanded – inaccurate and misleading conclusions remain. TruePublica (UK), Oct 17, 2018.

   UK disbanded advisory group on non-ionizing radiation (AGNIR) after group issued inaccurate assessment of wireless radiation science subject to conflicts of interest. Public Heath England still relies on AGNIR report.

Martin Röösli. Mobile phone radiation may affect memory performance in adolescents. Medical Xpress. July 20, 2018.

  Radio frequency radiation may have adverse effects on memory performance of specific brain regions exposed during mobile phone use.

  Current cellphone safety regulations are based on a premise that is now arguably false: that cellphone radiation can cause harm only by heating tissue.

Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie. The inconvenient truth about cancer and mobile phones.The Guardian, July 14, 2018.

  We dismiss claims about mobiles being bad for our health – but is that because studies showing a link to cancer have been cast into doubt by the industry?

Reynard Loki. Our cellphone addiction is turning wireless tech into an invisible weapon that’s destroying wildlife. Salon, July 14, 2018.

  Electromagnetic radiation from Wi-Fi and cell towers poses a “credible risk” to birds, mammals, insects and plants

Lynne Peeples. Should cell phone providers warn customers of health risks? Berkeley says yesMcClatchy News Washington Bureau, July 11, 2018.

  Although the scientific community has not reached consensus, the California health department said research indicates long-term, extensive cellphone use may affect health.
  Complete version of the article. News websites published the McClatchy version.

Louis Slesin. "'Clear evidence' of cell phone cancer risk, say leading pathologists." Microwave News, April 9, 2018.

  Why the peer review panel and NTP interpreted the same animal data differently. 

Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie. "How big wireless made us think that cell phones are safe: A special investigation." The Nation, March 29, 2018.

  The disinformation campaign—and massive radiation increase—behind the 5G rollout.