• More bad news about cellphone radiation

    LINK to the original article in the Guardian newspaper


    The inconvenient truth about cancer and mobile phones

    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?

     Hot spot: could the radiation from your phone have long-term side-effects?


    On 28 March this year, the scientific peer review of a landmark United States government study concluded that there is “clear evidence” that radiation from mobile phones causes cancer, specifically, a heart tissue cancer in rats that is too rare to be explained as random occurrence.

    Eleven independent scientists spent three days at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, discussing the study, which was done by the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services and ranks among the largest conducted of the health effects of mobile phone radiation. NTP scientists had exposed thousands of rats and mice (whose biological similarities to humans make them useful indicators of human health risks) to doses of radiation equivalent to an average mobile user’s lifetime exposure.

    The peer review scientists repeatedly upgraded the confidence levels the NTP’s scientists and staff had attached to the study, fuelling critics’ suspicions that the NTP’s leadership had tried to downplay the findings. Thus the peer review also found “some evidence” – one step below “clear evidence” – of cancer in the brain and adrenal glands.

    Not one major news organisation in the US or Europe reported this scientific news. But then, news coverage of mobile phone safety has long reflected the outlook of the wireless industry. For a quarter of a century now, the industry has been orchestrating a global PR campaign aimed at misleading not only journalists, but also consumers and policymakers about the actual science concerning mobile phone radiation. Indeed, big wireless has borrowed the very same strategy and tactics big tobacco and big oil pioneered to deceive the public about the risks of smoking and climate change, respectively. And like their tobacco and oil counterparts, wireless industry CEOs lied to the public even after their own scientists privately warned that their products could be dangerous, especially to children.

    Outsiders suspected from the start that George Carlo was a front man for an industry whitewash. Tom Wheeler, the president of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), handpicked Carlo to defuse a public relations crisis that threatened to strangle his infant industry in its crib. This was back in 1993, when there were only six mobile subscriptions for every 100 adults in the United States, but industry executives foresaw a booming future.

    Remarkably, mobile phones had been allowed on to the US market a decade earlier without any government safety testing. Now, some customers and industry workers were being diagnosed with cancer. In January 1993, David Reynard sued the NEC America company, claiming that his wife’s NEC phone caused her lethal brain tumour. After Reynard appeared on national television, the story gained ground. A congressional subcommittee announced an investigation; investors began dumping mobile phone stocks and Wheeler and the CTIA swung into action.

    a 1980s yuppie on a huge mobile telephone

     You’ve come a long way, baby: a businessman on an early mobile phone.

    A week later, Wheeler announced that his industry would pay for a comprehensive research programme. Mobile phones were already safe, Wheeler told reporters; the new research would simply “revalidate the findings of the existing studies”.

    Carlo seemed like a good bet to fulfil Wheeler’s mission. An epidemiologist with a law degree, he had conducted studies for other controversial industries. After a study funded by Dow Corning, Carlo had declared that breast implants posed only minimal health risks. With chemical industry funding, he had concluded that low levels of dioxin, the chemical behind the Agent Orange scandal, were not dangerous. In 1995, Carlo began directing the industry-financed Wireless Technology Research project (WTR), whose eventual budget of $28.5m made it the best-funded investigation of mobile safety to date.


    Neutralising the safety issue has opened the door to the biggest prize of all: the Internet of Things

    However, Carlo and Wheeler eventually clashed bitterly over WTR’s findings, which Carlo presented to industry leaders on 9 February 1999. By that date, the WTR had commissioned more than 50 original studies and reviewed many more. Those studies raised “serious questions” about phone safety, Carlo told a closed-door meeting of the CTIA’s board of directors, whose members included the CEOs or top officials of the industry’s 32 leading companies, including Apple, AT&T and Motorola.

    Carlo sent letters to each of the industry’s chieftains on 7 October 1999, reiterating that WTR’s research had found the following: the risk of “rare neuroepithelial tumours on the outside of the brain was more than doubled… in cellphone users”; there was an apparent correlation between “brain tumours occurring on the right side of the head and the use of the phone on the right side of the head”; and the “ability of radiation from a phone’s antenna to cause functional genetic damage [was] definitely positive”.

    Carlo urged the CEOs to do the right thing: give consumers “the information they need to make an informed judgment about how much of this unknown risk they wish to assume”, especially since some in the industry had “repeatedly and falsely claimed that wireless phones are safe for all consumers including children”.

    The very next day, a livid Wheeler began publicly trashing Carlo to the media. In a letter he shared with the CEOs, Wheeler told Carlo that the CTIA was “certain that you have never provided CTIA with the studies you mention”, an apparent effort to shield the industry from liability in the lawsuits that had led to Carlo being hired in the first place. Wheeler charged further that the studies had not been published in peer-reviewed journals, casting doubt on their validity. His tactics doused the controversy, even though Carlo had in fact repeatedly briefed Wheeler and other senior industry officials on the studies, which had indeed undergone peer review and would soon be published.

    In the years to come, the WTR’s findings would be replicated by numerous other scientists in the US and around the world. The World HealthOrganisation in 2011 would classify mobile phone radiation as a “possible” human carcinogen and the governments of the United Kingdom, France and Israel issued warnings against mobile phone use by children. Nevertheless, the industry’s propaganda campaign would defuse concern sufficiently that today three out of four adults worldwide have mobile phones, making the wireless industry among the biggest on Earth.

    The key strategic insight animating corporate propaganda campaigns is that a given industry doesn’t have to win the scientific argument about safety to prevail – it only has to keep the argument going. Keeping the argument going amounts to a win for industry, because the apparent lack of certainty helps to reassure customers, fend off government regulations and deter lawsuits that might pinch profits.

    Central to keeping the scientific argument going is making it appear that not all scientists agree. Towards that end, and again like the tobacco and fossil-fuel industries, the wireless industry has “war-gamed” science, as a Motorola internal memo in 1994 phrased it. War-gaming science involves playing offence as well as defence – funding studies friendly to the industry while attacking studies that raise questions; placing industry-friendly experts on advisory bodies such as the World Health Organisation and seeking to discredit scientists whose views differ from the industry’s.

    Funding friendly research has perhaps been the most important tactic, because it conveys the impression that the scientific community truly is divided. Thus, when studies have linked wireless radiation to cancer or genetic damage – as Carlo’s WTR did in 1999; as the WHO’s Interphone study did in 2010; and as the US government’s NTP did earlier this year – the industry can point out, accurately, that other studies disagree.

    A closer look reveals the industry’s sleight of hand. When Henry Lai, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington, analysed 326 safety-related studies completed between 1990 and 2006, he discovered that 44% of them found no biological effect from mobile phone radiation and 56% did; scientists apparently were split. But when Lai recategorised the studies according to their funding sources, a different picture emerged: 67% of the independently funded studies found a biological effect, while a mere 28% of the industry-funded studies did. Lai’s findings were replicated by a 2007 analysis in Environmental Health Perspectives, which concluded that industry-funded studies were two and a half times less likely than independent studies to find health effects.

    One key player has not been swayed by all this wireless-friendly research: the insurance industry. In our reporting for this story, we found not a single insurance company that would sell a product-liability policy that covered mobile phone radiation. “Why would we want to do that?” one executive asked with a chuckle before pointing to more than two dozen lawsuits outstanding against wireless companies, demanding a total of $1.9bn in damages.

    The industry’s neutralisation of the safety issue has opened the door to the biggest prize of all: the proposed transformation of society dubbed the Internet of Things. Lauded as a gigantic engine of economic growth, the Internet of Things will not only connect people through their smartphones and computers but will also connect those devices to a customer’s vehicles and appliances, even their baby’s nappies – all at speeds much faster than can currently be achieved.

    There is a catch, though: the Internet of Things will require augmenting today’s 4G technology with 5G technology, thus “massively increasing” the general population’s exposure to radiation, according to a petition signed by 236 scientists worldwide who have published more than 2,000 peer-reviewed studies and represent “a significant portion of the credentialled scientists in the radiation research field”, according to Joel Moskowitz, the director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California, Berkeley, who helped circulate the petition. Nevertheless, like mobiles, 5G technology is on the verge of being introduced without pre-market safety testing.

    Lack of definitive proof that a technology is harmful does not mean the technology is safe, yet the wireless industry has succeeded in selling this logical fallacy to the world. The upshot is that, over the past 30 years, billions of people around the world have been subjected to a public-health experiment: use a mobile phone today, find out later if it causes genetic damage or cancer. Meanwhile, the industry has obstructed a full understanding of the science and news organisations have failed to inform the public about what scientists really think. In other words, this public health experiment has been conducted without the informed consent of its subjects, even as the industry keeps its thumb on the scale.

    Mark Hertsgaard is an author and the environment correspondent for the Nation, which published a different version of this article. Mark Dowie is an author and investigative historian based near Willow Point, California

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  • Cell Phones and Cancer: What are the Risks?


  • Political Interference in the cellphone radiation debate?

    When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new guidelines 18 months ago regarding the radiation risk from cellphones, it used unusually bold language: “We recommend caution in cellphone use.”

    Within weeks, though, the CDC reversed course. It no longer recommended caution, and deleted a passage specifically addressing potential risks for children.

    Mainstream scientific consensus currently holds that there is little to no evidence that cellphone signals raise the risk of brain cancer or other health problems. Nevertheless, more than 500 pages of internal records obtained by NYT, along with interviews with former agency officials, reveal a debate and some disagreement among scientists and health agencies about what guidance to give as the use of mobile devices skyrockets.

  • Cellphones, Wi-Fi Deemed “Serious Public Health Issue”

    Cellphones, Wi-Fi Deemed “Serious Public Health Issue”: Parliamentary Report
    by István Fekete on Thursday, June 18th, 2015 – 1:34pm PDT
    Cell phones and WiFi can cause cancer, infertility, and learning disabilities, according to a new report delivered Tuesday by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (HESA). As a result, the microwave radiation coming from the handsets is a “serious public health issue.”

    That casts some black clouds over Health Canada. According to four international experts who testified during the hearings, Health Canada is “either unwilling or not competent” enough to realize, based on scientific evidence, that cell phones and WiFi are harmful to the health of Canadians.

    That’s despite growing evidence that the devices Canadians use on a daily basis are harmful, especially to children.

    This Committee finally gave a voice to the scientists,” said Frank Clegg, former President of Microsoft Canada who is now CEO of Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST).

    “It reached across Party lines to tell Canadians we deserve to be protected. Health Canada has to stop hiding behind the worst countries on this issue, and instead catch up with countries like France and Belgium where you can’t market a cell phone to children anymore, or expose children to Wi-Fi in a daycare,” said Clegg.

    As a first step, parents need to be educated about the risks wireless devices such as cell phones and tablets represent to ensure that they keep their families safe both at home and at school, the study recommends.

    More importantly, doctors need to recognize the symptoms associated with common wireless devices.

    The full report and the transcript from the hearings are available at this Link

  • Cell Phone Radiation Debate Heats Up

    The cell phone debate heats up as bans are put in place and researchers urge caution with devices.

    Click here to see the latest CTV news article

  • Experts urge Cautious Use of Wireless Devices as Health Effects Reassessed

    From the Globe and Mail

    TORONTO — The Canadian Press
    Published Monday, May. 11 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
    Last updated Tuesday, May. 12 2015, 7:37 AM EDT

    Wireless devices such as smartphones and tablets have certainly made staying in touch and plugging into the digital world easier and more convenient. But the increasingly ubiquitous nature of the technology is also raising concerns about possible adverse health effects from exposure to the electromagnetic radio-frequency waves that these devices emit.
    Worries about exposure to EM-RF fields were recently raised before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health, which heard three days of submissions from international medical experts, advocacy groups and industry players.

    The all-party committee will now prepare a report on those submissions, which will be tabled in the House of Commons in the coming weeks, said Liberal MP Hedy Fry, who introduced a motion asking the committee to study the potential harms from wireless emissions.

    The report could make recommendations to Health Canada, including that the department reconsider exposure limits under regulations known as Safety Code 6 based on the “precautionary principle” – or the idea that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

    In March, Health Canada tweaked Safety Code 6 guidelines following a review of international research by a Royal Society of Canada expert panel, which concluded that current exposure thresholds appear to be mostly adequate.

    However, its April, 2014, report said Health Canada should undertake more research to determine if there’s a link between emissions and cases of cancer, and it suggested children may need greater protection.

    Some critics said the panel’s report overlooked 140 studies that showed a possible link between EM-RF exposure and some types of cancer, as well as other health effects, including electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

    “We’re hoping that the committee sends a strong message to Health Canada that they did not follow proper international standards when they reviewed the evidence,” said Frank Clegg, CEO of the non-profit group Canadians for Safe Technology .

    “The government has a responsibility now to let Canadians know that there’s a high probability that there is harm if you don’t use these devices properly,” said Clegg, who supports MP Terence Young’s private member’s Bill C-648, which would require manufacturers to prominently display safety warnings on packaging of cellphones and other wireless devices. “We’re not saying don’t use the technology. We’re just saying use it safely.”

    International studies looking at possible adverse health effects related to cellphones, cell towers, WiFi and other equipment have come to mixed conclusions, said Paul Demers, who chaired the Royal Society panel. “It remains a controversial area, but when various government agencies around the world have put together expert committees to evaluate this, they’ve always come down that the evidence isn’t there yet,” said Demers, director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre at Cancer Care Ontario.

    In 2011, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that radio-frequency fields are “possibly” carcinogenic. “But the evidence is still quite mixed,” Demers said.

    Some studies have suggested that cellphones may increase the risk for certain brain tumours – primarily among the heaviest users – while other research found no connection. Doctors have reported that a small number of women who carried cellphones in their bras had developed an unusual form of breast cancer, but there is no proof of cause and effect. Other researchers have tied emissions to possible infertility, based on studies that showed exposure-related effects on sperm.

    “One piece that has always given us pause is that some of these positive studies have said that there is this very large increase in [brain tumour] risk from any cellphone use,” said Demers. “If that was the case, our brain tumour rates all over the world would be going up right now – and they’re not. If there’s some kind of smaller effect, that still remains possible. It may be we simply haven’t been using them long enough to have seen an effect yet. … Often it takes decades for us to be able to see a pattern associated with an increased risk of cancer.

    “So it is early days yet … on that level to really see this, and it’s one reason that we’ve called for ongoing research in this area.”

    Epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Miller, a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, has spent his decades-long career investigating the impact of nutrition, radiation and occupation on the development of various types of cancer. In late 2011, the IARC asked Miller to review the evidence assessed by its working group that led members to conclude that exposure to electromagnetic radio-frequency fields was a possible cause of cancer.

    After reviewing the literature, he believes emissions are not only possibly cancer-causing, but “probably” cancer-causing. He said the federal government should adopt the precautionary principle and put stronger warnings on cellphones and other wireless devices to protect consumers.

    “The general feeling that Health Canada seems to want to put out is that these are perfectly safe, there’s no hazard,” said Miller, who last month appeared before the Standing Committee on Health. “And yet if we’re at the beginning of a period of increasing exposure of a new possibly – probably – carcinogen, it could be some years before we get a major impact seen in the population,” he said in an interview. “But by then it will too late.”

    Bernard Lord, president and CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, told the committee that research continues to support the conclusion that there’s no demonstrated health risk associated with the use of wireless technology. “When exposures remain below the safety limits set by science-based EMF exposure standards, including Health Canada’s Safety Code 6, no adverse effects have been proven through credible scientific evidence,” he said.

    One expert calling for more rigorous research is Dr. Riina Bray, who is seeing a rise in patients with what’s been dubbed electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHS – a cluster of symptoms that includes headache, fatigue, poor concentration, heart palpitations and digestive disturbances.

    Bray, medical director of the Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, believes exposure to EM-RF fields is a likely cause of EHS, but proper research to prove a connection hasn’t been done.

    “I’m saying that it’s so poorly studied and it’s out of control,” she said of the omnipresent technology, including WiFi.

    Children are of particular concern because their smaller size and developing bodies and brains could make them more vulnerable to adverse health outcomes, said Bray, recommending that schools, homes and workplaces be hard-wired to the digital world rather than connected by wave-emitting WiFi.

    “We can’t wait years from now to see if what we did was wrong,” she said.

    How to limit wireless exposure

    Here are some tips for reducing exposure to electromagnetic radio-frequency waves, based on the precautionary principle:

    Turn off cellphones or tablets when not needed, or turn on airline mode.
    Keep cellphones away from your head as much as possible. Use speakerphone mode or earbuds for phone calls rather than a Bluetooth headset. Don’t carry your phone in your pocket or bra.
    Do not sleep with wireless
    devices near you.
    Keep cellphones and tablets away from small children.
    Use a wired baby monitor instead of a wireless unit. Do not place a wireless baby monitor by your child’s bed. Use a wired monitor instead.
    Use hardwired Internet connections for computers in your home instead of using WiFi. Turn wireless router off at night, do not keep it in high-use or sleeping areas.
    Pregnant women should keep wireless devices away from the abdomen.
    Avoid cordless phones.
    Sources: Canadians For Safe Technology; Health Canada

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