European Resolution Calls on Governments to Reduce EMF

PACE calls on governments to ‘take all reasonable measures’ to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields

May 27, 2011

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), meeting in Kyiv at Standing Committee level, today called on European governments to “take all reasonable measures” to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields, especially to radio frequencies from mobile phones, “and particularly the exposure to children and young people who seem to be most at risk from head tumours”.

According to parliamentarians, governments should “for children in general, and particularly in schools and classrooms, give preference to wired Internet connections, and strictly regulate the use of mobile phones by schoolchildren on school premises”, and put in place information and awareness-raising campaigns on the risks of potentially harmful long-term biological effects on the environment and on human health, especially “targeting children, teenagers and young people of reproductive age”.

Following the proposals of the rapporteur (Jean Huss, Luxembourg, SOC), the Assembly called on governments to provide information on potential health risks of DECT-type wireless telephones, baby monitors and other domestic appliances which emit continuous pulse waves, if all electrical equipment is left permanently on standby. They should, instead, recommend “the use of wired, fixed telephones at home or, failing that, models which do not permanently emit pulse waves”.

Governments should “reconsider the scientific basis for the present electromagnetic fields exposure standards set by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, “which have serious limitations” and apply as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) principles.

The adopted resolution underlines the fact that “the precautionary principle should be applicable when scientific evaluation does not allow the risk to be determined with sufficient certainty” and stresses that “the issue of independence and credibility of scientific expertise is crucial” to achieve a transparent and balanced assessment of potential negative impacts on the environment and human health.

The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment

Resolution 1815 (2011)1
Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe

1. The Parliamentary Assembly has repeatedly stressed the importance of states’ commitment to preserving the environment and environmental health, as set out in many charters, conventions, declarations and protocols since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and the Stockholm Declaration (Stockholm, 1972). The Assembly refers to its past work in this field, namely Recommendation 1863 (2009) on environment and health, Recommendation 1947 (2010) on noise and light pollution, and more generally, Recommendation 1885 (2009) on drafting an additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the right to a healthy environment and Recommendation 1430 (1999) on access to information, public participation in environmental decision-making and access to justice – implementation of the Aarhus Convention.

2. The potential health effects of the very low frequency of electromagnetic fields surrounding power lines and electrical devices are the subject of ongoing research and a significant amount of public debate. According to the World Health Organisation, electromagnetic fields of all frequencies represent one of the most common and fastest growing environmental influences, about which anxiety and speculation are spreading. All populations are now exposed to varying degrees of to electromagnetic fields, the levels of which will continue to increase as technology advances.

3. Mobile telephony has become commonplace around the world. This wireless technology relies upon an extensive network of fixed antennas, or base stations, relaying information with radio frequency signals. Over 1.4 million base stations exist worldwide and the number is increasing significantly with the introduction of third generation technology. Other wireless networks that allow high-speed internet access and services, such as wireless local area networks, are also increasingly common in homes, offices and many public areas (airports, schools, residential and urban areas). As the number of base stations and local wireless networks increases, so does the radio frequency exposure of the population.

4. While electrical and electromagnetic fields in certain frequency bands have wholly beneficial effects which are applied in medicine, other non-ionising frequencies, be they sourced from extremely low frequencies, power lines or certain high frequency waves used in the fields of radar, telecommunications and mobile telephony, appear to have more or less potentially harmful, non-thermal, biological effects on plants, insects and animals as well as the human body even when exposed to levels that are below the official threshold values.

5. As regards standards or threshold values for emissions of electromagnetic fields of all types and frequencies, the Assembly recommends that the ALARA or “as low as reasonably achievable” principle is applied, covering both the so-called thermal effects and the athermic or biological effects of electromagnetic emissions or radiation. Moreover, the precautionary principle should be applicable when scientific evaluation does not allow the risk to be determined with sufficient certainty, especially given the context of growing exposure of the population, including particularly vulnerable groups such as young people and children, which could lead to extremely high human and economic costs of inaction if early warnings are neglected.

6. The Assembly regrets that, despite calls for the respect of the precautionary principle and despite all the recommendations, declarations and a number of statutory and legislative advances, there is still a lack of reaction to known or emerging environmental and health risks and virtually systematic delays in adopting and implementing effective preventive measures. Waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof before taking action to prevent well-known risks can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco.

7. Moreover, the Assembly notes that the problem of electromagnetic fields or waves and the potential consequences for the environment and health has clear parallels with other current issues, such as the licensing of medication, chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals or genetically modified organisms. It therefore highlights that the issue of independence and credibility of scientific expertise is crucial to accomplish a transparent and balanced assessment of potential negative impacts on the environment and human health.

8. In light of the above considerations, the Assembly recommends that the member states of the Council of Europe:

8.1. in general terms:

8.1.1. take all reasonable measures to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields, especially to radio frequencies from mobile phones, and particularly the exposure to children and young people who seem to be most at risk from head tumours;

8.1.2. reconsider the scientific basis for the present electromagnetic fields exposure standards set by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, which have serious limitations and apply “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) principles, covering both thermal effects and the athermic or biological effects of electromagnetic emissions or radiation;

8.1.3. put in place information and awareness-raising campaigns on the risks of potentially harmful long-term biological effects on the environment and on human health, especially targeting children, teenagers and young people of reproductive age;

8.1.4. pay particular attention to “electrosensitive” persons suffering from a syndrome of intolerance to electromagnetic fields and introduce special measures to protect them, including the creation of wave-free areas not covered by the wireless network;

8.1.5. in order to reduce costs, save energy, and protect the environment and human health, step up research on new types of antennas and mobile phone and DECT-type devices, and encourage research to develop telecommunication based on other technologies which are just as efficient but have less negative effects on the environment and health;

8.2. concerning the private use of mobile phones, DECT phones, WiFi, WLAN and WIMAX for computers and other wireless devices such as baby phones:

8.2.1. set preventive thresholds for levels of long-term exposure to microwaves in all indoor areas, in accordance with the precautionary principle, not exceeding 0.6 volts per metre, and in the medium term to reduce it to 0.2 volts per metre;

8.2.2. undertake appropriate risk-assessment procedures for all new types of device prior to licensing;

8.2.3. introduce clear labelling indicating the presence of microwaves or electromagnetic fields, the transmitting power or the specific absorption rate (SAR) of the device and any health risks connected with its use;

8.2.4. raise awareness on potential health risks of DECT-type wireless telephones, baby monitors and other domestic appliances which emit continuous pulse waves, if all electrical equipment is left permanently on standby, and recommend the use of wired, fixed telephones at home or, failing that, models which do not permanently emit pulse waves;

8.3. concerning the protection of children:

8.3.1. develop within different ministries (education, environment and health) targeted information campaigns aimed at teachers, parents and children to alert them to the specific risks of early, ill-considered and prolonged use of mobiles and other devices emitting microwaves;

8.3.2. for children in general, and particularly in schools and classrooms, give preference to wired Internet connections, and strictly regulate the use of mobile phones by schoolchildren on school premises;

8.4. concerning the planning of electric power lines and relay antenna base stations:

8.4.1. introduce town planning measures to keep high-voltage power lines and other electric installations at a safe distance from dwellings;

8.4.2. apply strict safety standards for sound electric systems in new dwellings;

8.4.3. reduce threshold values for relay antennas in accordance with the ALARA principle and install systems for comprehensive and continuous monitoring of all antennas;

8.4.4. determine the sites of any new GSM, UMTS, WiFi or WIMAX antennas not solely according to the operators’ interests but in consultation with local and regional government officials, local residents and associations of concerned citizens;

8.5. concerning risk assessment and precautions:

8.5.1. make risk assessment more prevention oriented;

8.5.2. improve risk-assessment standards and quality by creating a standard risk scale, making the indication of the risk level mandatory, commissioning several risk hypotheses and considering compatibility with real life conditions;

8.5.3. pay heed to and protect “early warning” scientists;

8.5.4. formulate a human rights oriented definition of the precautionary and ALARA principles;

8.5.5. increase public funding of independent research, inter alia through grants from industry and taxation of products which are the subject of public research studies to evaluate health risks;

8.5.6. create independent commissions for the allocation of public funds;

8.5.7. make the transparency of lobby groups mandatory;

8.5.8. promote pluralist and contradictory debates between all stakeholders, including civil society (Aarhus Convention).

1 Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 27 May 2011 (see Doc. 12608, report of the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs, rapporteur: Mr Huss).

Smart Meter Opt-In Left Out

by Judy Vick, M.S., L.M.F.T.

There should have been a customer “opt-in” to the PG&E wireless smart meter program when it was originally proposed as a primarily wired program in 2006 for 1.7   billion ratepayer dollars.  Or perhaps when PG&E switched the smart meter program to wireless in 2009, when they came back to request an additional half billion dollars of ratepayer money.

A 2008 report by San Francisco Environment and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, cautioned that the plan to equip homes with so-called smart meters should be put off until the gadgets are proven to save money for ratepayers and be safe for the environment, echoing the criticism of reports across the country on smart meters, which said the meters’ savings don’t outweigh the costs.  The report recommended PG&E first employ a pilot program of 300,000 to 500,000 test homes.

But instead, PG&E rushed ahead and “deployed” mandatory installation of wireless smart meters for all customers, regardless of the fact that wireless smart meters are not mandated by the federal government and are not a requirement of a smart grid.

Author Orlean Koehle, a prominent Republican in northern California, researched the utility companies claim that they are following federal law by mandating these installations, but when she consulted a lawyer, she found that was not the case. “Upon reading the bill (2005 Energy Policy Act), it does not mandate utility companies to install smart meters in homes; they are only to offer them and install them upon customer request,” Koehle said as she read from the lawyer’s response.

Ratepayers have now paid billions of dollars for the wireless smart meter program, money they can ill afford in this economy. And they are paying in more ways than one, with their health and wellbeing, their property, safety, and security.

The number of California local governments that oppose the smart meter program are steadily growing—40 and counting.  Thirteen of these governments passed ordinances and local laws banning the meters.  You have to stop and ask yourself—why is there so much resistance across California and in other states and countries over a simple utility meter?

First, smart meters don’t save energy. People save energy.  The results promised by PG&E have never been demonstrated in any test or actual program done in the country.  Consumer organizations such as Public Citizen, The California Public Utilities Commission Division of Ratepayer Advocates, and the Consumer Law Center have refuted PG&E’s consumer benefit claims.  Public Citizen launched a national campaign to expose the faulty assumption that smart meters will save energy.  Instead, Public Citizen’s analysis of the program found that smart meter installations have thus far prioritized utility budget efficiency, profiting utility companies, not household budget efficiency.  “Pouring through utility dockets, utilities make it clear that the vast majority of projected savings from smart meters is from laying off utility workers—and not from consumers’ lowering their energy use and bills. Utilities highlight savings from remote disconnection—mainly for nonpayment. This raises serious consumer safety and health issues.”  For this, people are paying double and triple what they used to pay for energy.  And people and businesses who are unfortunate enough to not be able to avoid using energy at peak times, pay more for energy than those who do not. Residents of Bakersfield filed a class action lawsuit for excessive billing from wireless smart meters after they were installed.

Mark Toney, Executive Director of the Utility Reform Network (TURN), exposed the fact that utility companies’ critical peak pricing includes a 10 fold increase in cost for energy use during heat waves.  He noted that many people die every year from heat, more than other natural disasters.  How many more people will be at risk, not using energy during heat waves for fear of excessive energy bills?

Adding insult to injury, in addition to the program not delivering on promised benefits, electrical fires, appliance damage, and interference with existing household electrical systems have been reported from smart meter installations.  And a government report revealed that the smart meter system will be easy for hackers to remotely shut off power and cause widespread outages.  The security weaknesses could also allow hackers to snoop on customers and steal data.  A paper out of the University of Cambridge highlights privacy concerns from smart meters as well as security risks caused by linking home-area networks from smart meters.

But at the forefront of the heightened resistance to the wireless smart meter program, is the fact that people are getting sick.  There is regular testimony at the California Public Utility Commission from people who report injuries from wireless smart meters and are demanding an end to the smart meter program.  For every person testifying at the CPUC, there are many others writing the CPUC and their elected officials for help.  You can read personal account after personal account on emfsafetynetwork.org.  Many of these people have never been activists, but are getting involved to protect themselves, their families, and their communities. They are spending their personal time attending city council and county board meetings, walking neighborhoods, writing letters to their elected officials, going on local radio and television stations to try to stop this harmful program.  Those who are especially dedicated are physically blocking contractors from installing the wireless meters and devising ways to prohibit their analog meters from being removed from their property.  Meanwhile, PG&E airs radio spots promoting the benefits of the meters and continues installations at a rapid pace.

There are significant and unnecessary health problems from wireless smart meters identified by dozens of scientists. The microwave radiation (also referred to as electromagnetic radiation, emf, and radiofrequency radiation) emitted from the meters is harmful to health, causes DNA breakages and a myriad of symptoms. Our bodies are bio-electric, as measured by EKGs and EEGs. Interference from microwave radiation can alter the electrical activity which regulates the function of our hearts, brains and other organs. Heart rhythm disturbance, sleep disruption, and headache are some of the common symptoms.

Additionally, 3-5 % of the population is considered electrically hyper-sensitive and 30-35% of the population is moderately sensitive.  In Sweden, electrohypersensitivity (EHS) is an offically fully recognized functional impairment.  Electromagnetic radiation also interferes with sensitive medical equipment and medical implant devices.  8-10% of the population have medical implant devices, such as insulin pumps, cochlear implants and heart pacemakers.

The Seletun Scientific Statement (2011) recommends that global governments adopt new exposure guidelines for electromagnetic radiation—pointing to biological hazards and risks to the genetic code from unchecked proliferation of wireless technologies.  The recommendation is based on scientific studies reporting health impacts at much lower exposure levels.  Many researchers now believe the existing safety limits are inadequate to protect public health because they do not consider prolonged exposure to lower emission levels that are now widespread.

Other countries have recognized the problem of emf exposure from wireless technology and are returning to wired systems.  The European Environment Agency, an agency of the European Union that advises 32 countries on public policy, is calling for lowering public exposure to electromagnetic fields: “Waiting for high levels of proof before taking action to prevent well known risks can lead to very high health and economic costs, as it did with asbestos, leaded petrol and smoking.”

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently acknowledged health effects from low level, “non-thermal (non-heating)” emf exposure: “CDPH suggests further review of the literature on non-thermal effects, which is complicated and controversial, but does not support a claim of no non-thermal health effects from radio frequency electromagnetic fields.”

Daniel Hirsch, Professor of Nuclear Policy at University of California, explains that the whole body cumulative radiation exposure from wireless smart meters is 100X more than cell phone exposure.  He adds that the wireless smart meter program deployment “is a large experiment on a very large population.”

The problem with the wireless smart meter individual opt-out, is that it does little in the real world to protect public health, unless most of us opt-out.  Wireless smart meters are mounted in close proximity to our every day lives, attached to our homes and businesses, and places where we spend a lot of our time.  Many people report their utility meter is mounted on the exterior side of their bedroom wall, and often in places easily accessed by children.  Wireless smart meters emit electromagnetic pulses for more than a mile in every direction, and the signals go through walls and our bodies.  If you choose to opt-out—but your neighbor doesn’t, you are still exposed.  If you opt-out but you live in a condo, and share a wall that mounts 15 smart meters for your condo neighbors, how can you protect yourself and your family?  If you opt-out, but live by a smart grid repeater station for your neighborhood, you can do little to reduce your exposure.  In addition, we are experiencing a growing accumulation of electromagnetic radiation in our environment from cell towers, wifi, cell phones, electronic equipment, etc.

The CPUC chose to exempt the wireless smart meter program from an environmental impact report, the type of review that is usually required of such a massive state-wide program.  So the burden of proof regarding harm has shifted to the consumer.  But it shouldn’t be.  The CPUC needs to take responsibility to protect consumers and our environment now, by calling for independent testing and evaluation of the wireless smart meter and the smart grid.  In the meantime, there should be a moratorium on any further installation of wireless smart meters from any utility company (smart meters are planned for water, gas and electric meters), until PG&E can prove the wireless meters are safe.  And we should demand evidentiary hearings on wireless smart meters

As it is proposed, the PG&E Opt-Out plan is a $270 up-front fee to opt out, a $14 monthly surcharge and a yet-to-be determined “exit fee” if you move.   The opt-out costs are prohibitive for many individuals and families, which is PG&E’s intention, to try to stop the widespread and growing opposition to the wireless smart meter program.

Enough.  Ratepayers should not be penalized for the failure of the smart meter program.  It is PG$E’s turn to pay.  PG&E should restore analog meters at no cost to customers.  Consider that PG&E has profited from customers who have paid twice and three times their regular energy bills since their wireless smart meters were installed, and from laying off meter readers.  Additionally, PG&E should be required to pay reparations to ratepayer-victims who suffered ill health, fires, explosions, damage to existing electronics and/or theft of personal information due to forced smart meter installation.

See EMF Safety Network protest filing.

PG&E just announced a compromise that will be filed with the California Public Utilities Commission 4/26/11.  It is an agreement to honor customers who do not already have a smart meter and request one not be installed, until the California Public Utilities Commission has clearly defined the final opt-out plan and has allowed you time to opt out.   You need to call PG&E at 1-866-743-0263 to request that PG&E not install a smart meter.  The CPUC could take 5 months or more to finalize an opt-out program.  After the opt-out program is in place, PG&E will contact you to determine whether you still want to opt-out, given the final opt-out plan.

Customers who still have an analog meter, should be able to keep it at no charge. There should be no additional monthly fees to have an analog meter. PG&E can estimate usage based on the prior year, or customers can self-read and report monthly by phone or email. A meter reader can check twice a year so that any underage or overage can be adjusted. Or, meter readers should keep their jobs and let them continue to read meters.

It took a long time to make the connection between cigarettes and lung cancer, with the tobacco industry obstructing the truth. We should not make the same mistake again.

Email California Public Utilities Commission

This article originally appeared in the SLO Coast Journal

Judy Vick is the EMF Safety Network representative for San Luis Obispo County. She has a master of science degree in psychology from California Polytechnic State University, and has worked as a licensed psychotherapist in public service for 15 years. Since 2005, she has led community efforts to stop installation of cell tower projects planned for neighborhoods in San Luis Obispo County. She has trained with Wellstone Action and EMILY’s List on grassroots campaign strategies. As a delegate to the CA Democratic State Convention, she personally appealed to former President Bill Clinton on the public health hazards of electromagnetic radiation (EMF). Currently, as the EMF Safety Network Representative for San Luis Obispo County, she is leading the public education campaign on wireless smart meters. As a result, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and the SLO County Health Commission voted unanimously to oppose the installation of smart meters in SLO County, until the public has viable opt out options.

A Plea For Help

A man in Sonoma County contacted the EMF Safety Network, and the local newspaper with the following plea for help. Why isn’t the CPUC investigating cases like his? Why doesn’t PG&E send over someone to remove these meters? Is anyone listening?…

I am going to take on PG&E starting tomorrow for damaging my health due to the installation of 4 smart meters right outside my bedroom window, and since then my health has been continuously deteriorating. I have insomnia, nightmares, headaches like an ice pick is being jammed in my head, fogginess, blurred vision (and getting worse by the week), tinnitus, and heart palpitations, all of which never existed until the installation of the 4 smart meters last Summer, and gradually getting worse.  I moved my bedroom into the living room, of which reduced the effects by half, but that’s not good enough when something that is killing you is still in your home!    All of my symptoms are documented by my physician, but he said they are vague and cannot be evidenced as produced by smartmeters.   I was a trained Naturopathic Doctor and absolutely know my own body, and every time I leave the house for extended periods of time, all the symptoms miraculously vanish! It has been a 5 month ordeal calling countless times, PG&E, the Smart Meter reps, both of which tell me there is nothing I can do since they claim they cannot remove the smartmeters… PERIOD!  In retaliation, last month I gave them a decision to remove the smart meters in 10 days or I would remove them myself.  A man called me from the Smart meter office and said the moment I remove even one of the meters, the police will be called and I will be put to jail.  So, the only decision they gave me was to sit at home and die. Seriously… I think I have only a few months to live if they leave these meters outside my bedroom window.  I spoke to 2 supervisors from Smart Meter company and both told me there is nothing they can do, and that there was going to be a public hearing about other complaints, but don’t know when, said it’s going to be a while… and couldn’t give me any date as to when I can expect a public hearing on the matter.  Both confirmed to me on the phone that there is no reported adverse affects due to the smartmeters, and started trying to convince my body on how safe they are!  However, because I know all too well here, one supervisor recommended that if I’m not happy where I live that I should just move out!   I can’t afford to move out, and why would I want to if I’m very happy here apart from the damaging health due to the meters. This weekend I have finally had enough!  I decided to take PG&E to court in a lawsuit.  I am in process of locating the attorney as I write this.   I am going tomorrow into the office of PG&E and giving them 10 days to remove the smart meters so it will be recorded on my account since jail or death is my only option at this point! So, my constitutional right to health is being outright violated by ELF Wave poisoning with Big Brother in complete control as someone who is slowly torturing and murdering me! PLEASE HELP, in any way you can, and QUICKLY!  Please help do something about this before I am murdered by the PG&E company!  I feel like my brain is exploding in my head and it’s getting worse by the day!

A.S. Sonoma County

Airport Backscatter Scanners-Public Health at Risk

University of California at San Francisco faculty members write to John Holdren who is the Assistant to President for Science and Technology with their urgent concern about the public health threat of backscatter scanners, which are a new part of a airport passenger screening process.

Faculty members who signed the letter include doctors in biochemistry and biophysics, cancer and xray, and imaging experts. They call for a review of the scanners based on the lack of an independent safety review, and health risks to children, pregnant women, elders, and people with compromised  immune systems. They write, “This is an urgent situation as these X-ray scanners are rapidly being implemented as a primary screening step for all air travel passengers. Our overriding concern is the extent to which the safety of this scanning device has been adequately demonstrated. This can only be determined by a meeting of an impartial panel of experts that would include medical physicists and radiation biologists at which all of the available relevant data is reviewed.”


Smart Meters Pose Cancer/Health Risks- Medical expert warns

Dr. Carpenter states, We have evidence…that exposure to radiofrequency radiation…increases the risk of cancer, increases damage to the nervous system, causes electrosensitivity, has adverse reproductive effects and a variety of other effects on different organ systems.  There is no justification for the statement that Smart Meters have no adverse health effects. “

Dr. Carpenter further advises, “An informed person should demand that they be allowed to keep their analog meter”

(For those of you already Smart Metered,  demand to have the analog meter restored, call your your utility and your state public utility commission)

BIG THANKS to Dr. Carpenter and to Maine’s Smart Meter Safety Coalition  who “recently caught up with Dr. David Carpenter, a Harvard Medical School-trained physician who headed up the New York State Dept. of Public Health for 18 years before becoming Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Albany, where he currently directs the Institute for Health and the Environment” (www.smartmetersafety.com)


The California Department of Public Health on RF Health Impacts

The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST)Health Impacts of Radio Frequency From Smart Meters final report was released on March 31, 2011. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) comments challenged the CCST, stating, “CDPH suggests further review of the literature on non-thermal effects, which is complicated and controversial, but does not support a claim of no non-thermal health effects from radio frequency electromagnetic fields.”

CDPH also provided the following links to documents regarding the controversy over Smart Meter (radio frequency radiation-RF) safety:

In addition to the following three studies, CDPH sent the following 3 study references to the CCST:

Electromagnetic Fields and DNA Damage: Phillips, J.L.; Singh, N.P.; Lai, H.;

Pathophysiology 16(2009) 79-88

Electromagnetic Fields and the Induction of DNA Strand Breaks: Ruiz-

Gomez, M.J.; Martinez-Morillo, M.; Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine

28:201-214, 2009

Radiofrequency and Extremely Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Field Effects

on the Blood-Brain Barrier: Nittby, H.; Grafstrom, G.; Eberhardt, J.L.;

Malmgren, L.; Brun, A.; Persson, B.R.R.; Salford, L.; Electromagnetic

Biology and Medicine 27:103-126, 2008

Other Comments to CCST Smart Meter Study http://www.ccst.us/projects/smart2/

UCSC Nuclear Policy Expert on Smart Meters

Daniel Hirsch, Professor of Nuclear Policy at University of California at Santa Cruz talks to Josh Hart of Stop Smart Meters! He explains that the whole body cumulative radiation exposure from Smart Meters is 100X more than cell phone exposure. He also states that the Smart Meter deployment “is a large experiment on a very large population”. More: http://stopsmartmeters.org/2011/04/20/daniel-hirsch-on-ccsts-fuzzy-math/

Shortcut to Science

Dr. Jerry Phillips, a scientist who did cell phone safety research funded by Motorola speaks of how Motorola attempted to control the “message” and outcomes of his research. Excerpt from the movie “Public Exposure“.

Maternal Exposure to Magnetic Fields During Pregnancy in Relation to the Risk of Asthma in Offspring

De-Kun Li, MD, PhD; Hong Chen, MPH; Roxana Odouli, MSPH

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. Published online August 1, 2011. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.135

Objective To determine whether maternal exposure to high levels of magnetic fields (MFs) during pregnancy is associated with the risk of asthma in offspring.

Design A prospective cohort study. Setting Kaiser Permanente Northern California. Participants Pregnant Kaiser Permanente Northern California members in the San Francisco area.

Main Outcome Measures Asthma was clinically diagnosed among 626 children who were followed up for as long as 13 years. All participants carried a meter to measure their MF levels during pregnancy.

Results After adjustment for potential confounders, a statistically significant linear dose-response relationship was observed between increasing maternal median daily MF exposure level in pregnancy and an increased risk of asthma in offspring: every 1-mG increase of maternal MF level during pregnancy was associated with a 15% increased rate of asthma in offspring (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.15; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-1.27). Using the categorical MF level, the results showed a similar dose-response relationship: compared with the children whose mothers had a low MF level (median 24-hour MF level, 0.3 mG) during pregnancy, children whose mothers had a high MF level (>2.0 mG) had more than a 3.5-fold increased rate of asthma (aHR, 3.52; 95% CI, 1.68-7.35), while children whose mothers had a medium MF level (>0.3-2.0 mG) had a 74% increased rate of asthma (aHR, 1.74; 95% CI, 0.93-3.25). A statistically significant synergistic interaction was observed between the MF effect and a maternal history of asthma and birth order (firstborn).

Conclusion: Our findings provide new epidemiological evidence that high maternal MF levels in pregnancy may increase the risk of asthma in offspring.

________________________________________

Electromagnetic Fields and DNA Damage

Phillips, J.L.; Singh, N.P.; Lai, H.;

Pathophysiology 16 (2009) 79-88

Abstract

A major concern of the adverse effects of exposure to non-ionizing electromagnetic field (EMF) is cancer induction. Since the majority of cancers are initiated by damage to a cell’s genome, studies have been carried out to investigate the effects of electromagnetic fields on DNA and chromosomal structure. Additionally, DNA damage can lead to changes in cellular functions and cell death. Single cell gel electrophoresis, also known as the ‘comet assay’, has been widely used in EMF research to determine DNA damage, reflected as single-strand breaks, double-strand breaks, and crosslinks. Studies have also been carried out to investigate chromosomal conformational changes and micronucleus formation in cells after exposure to EMF. This review describes the comet assay and its utility to qualitatively and quantitatively assess DNA damage, reviews studies that have investigated DNA strand breaks and other changes in DNA structure, and then discusses important lessons learned from our work in this area.

__________________________________________________________

Radiofrequency and extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field effects on the blood-brain barrier

Electromagn Biol Med. 2008;27(2):103-26.

Nittby H, Grafström G, Eberhardt JL, Malmgren L, Brun A, Persson BR, Salford LG. Department of Neurosurgery, The Rausing Laboratory, Lund University, Lund, Sweden. Henrietta.Nittby@med.lu.se

Abstract:

During the last century, mankind has introduced electricity and during the very last decades, the microwaves of the modern communication society have spread a totally new entity–the radiofrequency fields–around the world. How does this affect biology on Earth? The mammalian brain is protected by the blood-brain barrier, which prevents harmful substances from reaching the brain tissue. There is evidence that exposure to electromagnetic fields at non thermal levels disrupts this barrier. In this review, the scientific findings in this field are presented. The result is a complex picture, where some studies show effects on the blood-brain barrier, whereas others do not. Possible mechanisms for the interactions between electromagnetic fields and the living organisms are discussed. Demonstrated effects on the blood-brain barrier, as well as a series of other effects upon biology, have caused societal anxiety. Continued research is needed to come to an understanding of how these possible effects can be neutralized, or at least reduced. Furthermore, it should be kept in mind that proven effects on biology also should have positive potentials, e.g., for medical use.

_________________________________________________________________

Effects of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Signal Exposure on Brain Glucose Metabolism

Nora D. Volkow, MD; Dardo Tomasi, PhD;Gene-Jack Wang, MD; Paul Vaska, PhD;Joanna S. Fowler, PhD; Frank Telang, MD;Dave Alexoff, BSE; Jean Logan, PhD;Christopher Wong, MS

Author Affiliations: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bethesda, Maryland (Dr Volkow); National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda (Drs Volkow, Tomasi, and Telang and Mr Wong); and Medical Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York (Drs Wang, Vaska, Fowler, and Logan and Mr Alexoff).

ABSTRACT

Context The dramatic increase in use of cellular telephones has generated concern about possible negative effects of radiofrequency signals delivered to the brain. However, whether acute cell phone exposure affects the human brain is unclear.

Objective To evaluate if acute cell phone exposure affects brain glucose metabolism, a marker of brain activity.

Design, Setting, and Participants Randomized crossover study conducted between January 1 and December 31, 2009, at a single US laboratory among 47 healthy participants recruited from the community. Cell phones were placed on the left and right ears and positron emission tomography with (18F)fluorodeoxyglucose injection was used to measure brain glucose metabolism twice, once with the right cell phone activated (sound muted) for 50 minutes (“on” condition) and once with both cell phones deactivated (“off” condition). Statistical parametric mapping was used to compare metabolism between on and off conditions using paired t tests, and Pearson linear correlations were used to verify the association of metabolism and estimated amplitude of radiofrequency-modulated electromagnetic waves emitted by the cell phone. Clusters with at least 1000 voxels (volume >8 cm3) and P < .05 (corrected for multiple comparisons) were considered significant.

Main Outcome Measure Brain glucose metabolism computed as absolute metabolism (μmol/100 g per minute) and as normalized metabolism (region/whole brain).

Results Whole-brain metabolism did not differ between on and off conditions. In contrast, metabolism in the region closest to the antenna (orbitofrontal cortex and temporal pole) was significantly higher for on than off conditions (35.7 vs 33.3 μmol/100 g per minute; mean difference, 2.4 [95% confidence interval, 0.67-4.2]; P = .004). The increases were significantly correlated with the estimated electromagnetic field amplitudes both for absolute metabolism (R = 0.95,P < .001) and normalized metabolism (R = 0.89;P < .001).

Conclusions In healthy participants and compared with no exposure, 50-minute cell phone exposure was associated with increased brain glucose metabolism in the region closest to the antenna. This finding is of unknown clinical significance.

http://jama.ama-assn.org/search?fulltext=RADIATION+EFFECTS&sortspec=date&submit=Submit&andorexactfulltext=phrase

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Long-term use of cellular phones and brain tumours: increased risk associated with use for > or =10 years.

Hardell L, Carlberg M, Söderqvist F, Mild KH, Morgan LL.

Department of Oncology, University Hospital, Orebro, Sweden. lennart.hardell@orebroll.se

AIM: To evaluate brain tumour risk among long-term users of cellular telephones. METHODS: Two cohort studies and 16 case-control studies on this topic were identified. Data were scrutinised for use of mobile phone for > or =10 years and ipsilateral exposure if presented. RESULTS: The cohort study was of limited value due to methodological shortcomings in the study. Of the 16 case-control studies, 11 gave results for > or =10 years’ use or latency period. Most of these results were based on low numbers. An association with acoustic neuroma was found in four studies in the group with at least 10 years’ use of a mobile phone. No risk was found in one study, but the tumour size was significantly larger among users. Six studies gave results for malignant brain tumours in that latency group. All gave increased odd ratios (OR), especially for ipsilateral exposure. In a meta-analysis, ipsilateral cell phone use for acoustic neuroma was OR = 2.4 (95% CI 1.1 to 5.3) and OR = 2.0, (1.2 to 3.4) for glioma using a tumour latency period of > or =10 years. CONCLUSIONS: Results from present studies on use of mobile phones for > or =10 years give a consistent pattern of increased risk for acoustic neuroma and glioma. The risk is highest for ipsilateral exposure.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17409179

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Epidemiological evidence for an association between use of wireless phones and tumor diseases.

Hardell L, Carlberg M, Hansson Mild K.

Department of Oncology, University Hospital, SE-701 85 Orebro, Sweden.

During recent years there has been increasing public concern on potential cancer risks from microwave emissions from wireless phones. We evaluated the scientific evidence for long-term mobile phone use and the association with certain tumors in case-control studies, mostly from the Hardell group in Sweden and the Interphone study group. Regarding brain tumors the meta-analysis yielded for glioma odds ratio (OR)=1.0, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.9-1.1. OR increased to 1.3, 95% CI=1.1-1.6 with 10 year latency period, with highest risk for ipsilateral exposure (same side as the tumor localisation), OR=1.9, 95% CI=1.4-2.4, lower for contralateral exposure (opposite side) OR=1.2, 95% CI=0.9-1.7. Regarding acoustic neuroma OR=1.0, 95% CI=0.8-1.1 was calculated increasing to OR=1.3, 95% CI=0.97-1.9 with 10 year latency period. For ipsilateral exposure OR=1.6, 95% CI=1.1-2.4, and for contralateral exposure OR=1.2, 95% CI=0.8-1.9 were found. Regarding meningioma no consistent pattern of an increased risk was found. Concerning age, highest risk was found in the age group <20 years at time of first use of wireless phones in the studies from the Hardell group. For salivary gland tumors, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and testicular cancer no consistent pattern of an association with use of wireless phones was found. One study on uveal melanoma yielded for probable/certain mobile phone use OR=4.2, 95% CI=1.2-14.5. One study on intratemporal facial nerve tumor was not possible to evaluate due to methodological shortcomings. In summary our review yielded a consistent pattern of an increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma after >10 year mobile phone use. We conclude that current standard for exposure to microwaves during mobile phone use is not safe for long-term exposure and needs to be revised.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19268551

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Meta-analysis of long-term mobile phone use and the association with brain tumours
Authors: Lennart Hardell, Michael Carlberg, Fredrik Söderqvist, Kjell Hansson Mild
Abstract:We evaluated long-term use of mobile phones and the risk for brain tumours in case-control studies published so far on this issue. We identified ten studies on glioma and meta-analysis yielded OR = 0.9, 95% CI = 0.8-1.1. Latency period of ≥10-years gave OR = 1.2, 95% CI = 0.8-1.9 based on six studies, for ipsilateral use (same side as tumour) OR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.2-3.4 (four studies), but contralateral use did not increase the risk significantly, OR = 1.1, 95% CI = 0.6-2.0. Meta-analysis of nine studies on acoustic neuroma gave OR = 0.9, 95% CI = 0.7-1.1 increasing to OR = 1.3, 95% CI = 0.6-2.8 using ≥10-years latency period (four studies). Ipsilateral use gave OR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.1-5.3 and contra-lateral OR = 1.2, 95% CI = 0.7-2.2 in the ≥10-years latency period group (three studies). Seven studies gave results for meningioma yielding overall OR = 0.8, 95% CI = 0.7-0.99. Using ≥10-years latency period OR = 1.3, 95% CI = 0.9-1.8 was calculated (four studies) increasing to OR = 1.7, 95% CI = 0.99-3.1 for ipsilateral use and OR = 1.0, 95% CI = 0.3-3.1 for contralateral use (two studies). We conclude that this meta-analysis gave a consistent pattern of an association between mobile phone use and ipsilateral glioma and acoustic neuroma using ≥10-years latency period.

http://www.spandidos-publications.com/ijo/article.jsp?article_id=ijo_32_5_1097

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Increased blood–brain barrier permeability in mammalian brain 7 days after exposure to the radiation from a GSM-900 mobile phone

Henrietta Nittbya, , , Arne Brunb, Jacob Eberhardtc, Lars Malmgrend, Bertil R.R. Perssonc and Leif G. Salforda

Abstract

Microwaves were for the first time produced by humans in 1886 when radio waves were broadcasted and received. Until then microwaves had only existed as a part of the cosmic background radiation since the birth of universe. By the following utilization of microwaves in telegraph communication, radars, television and above all, in the modern mobile phone technology, mankind is today exposed to microwaves at a level up to 1020 times the original background radiation since the birth of universe.

Our group has earlier shown that the electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones alters the permeability of the blood–brain barrier (BBB), resulting in albumin extravasation immediately and 14 days after 2 h of exposure.

In the background section of this report, we present a thorough review of the literature on the demonstrated effects (or lack of effects) of microwave exposure upon the BBB.

Furthermore, we have continued our own studies by investigating the effects of GSM mobile phone radiation upon the blood–brain barrier permeability of rats 7 days after one occasion of 2 h of exposure. Forty-eight rats were exposed in TEM-cells for 2 h at non-thermal specific absorption rates (SARs) of 0 mW/kg, 0.12 mW/kg, 1.2 mW/kg, 12 mW/kg and 120 mW/kg. Albumin extravasation over the BBB, neuronal albumin uptake and neuronal damage were assessed.

Albumin extravasation was enhanced in the mobile phone exposed rats as compared to sham controls after this 7-day recovery period (Fisher’s exact probability test, p = 0.04 and Kruskal–Wallis, p = 0.012), at the SAR-value of 12 mW/kg (Mann–Whitney, p = 0.007) and with a trend of increased albumin extravasation also at the SAR-values of 0.12 mW/kg and 120 mW/kg. There was a low, but significant correlation between the exposure level (SAR-value) and occurrence of focal albumin extravasation (rs = 0.33;p = 0.04).

The present findings are in agreement with our earlier studies where we have seen increased BBB permeability immediately and 14 days after exposure. We here discuss the present findings as well as the previous results of altered BBB permeability from our and other laboratories.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19345073

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Electromagn Biol Med. 2008;27(3):215-29.

Blood-brain barrier permeability and nerve cell damage in rat brain 14 and 28 days after exposure to microwaves from GSM mobile phones.

Eberhardt JL, Persson BR, Brun AE, Salford LG, Malmgren LO.

Department of Medical Radiation Physics, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden. Jacob.Eberhardt@med.lu.se

We investigated the effects of global system for mobile communication (GSM) microwave exposure on the permeability of the blood-brain barrier and signs of neuronal damage in rats using a real GSM programmable mobile phone in the 900 MHz band. Ninety-six non-anaesthetized rats were either exposed to microwaves or sham exposed in TEM-cells for 2 h at specific absorption rates of average whole-body Specific Absorption Rates (SAR) of 0.12, 1.2, 12, or 120 mW/kg. The rats were sacrificed after a recovery time of either 14 or 28 d, following exposure and the extravazation of albumin, its uptake into neurons, and occurrence of damaged neurons was assessed. Albumin extravazation and also its uptake into neurons was seen to be enhanced after 14 d (Kruskal Wallis test: p = 0.02 and 0.002, respectively), but not after a 28 d recovery period. The occurrence of dark neurons in the rat brains, on the other hand, was enhanced later, after 28 d (p = 0.02). Furthermore, in the 28-d brain samples, neuronal albumin uptake was significantly correlated to occurrence of damaged neurons (Spearman r = 0.41; p < 0.01).

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18821198

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Radio frequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) from GSM (0.9/1.8GHz) mobile phones induces oxidative stress and reduces sperm motility in rats.

Mailankot M, Kunnath AP, Jayalekshmi H, Koduru B, Valsalan R.

Department of Biochemistry, Melaka Manipal, Medical College, Manipal, India.

INTRODUCTION: Mobile phones have become indispensable in the daily lives of men and women around the globe. As cell phone use has become more widespread, concerns have mounted regarding the potentially harmful effects of RF-EMR from these devices. OBJECTIVE: The present study was designed to evaluate the effects of RF-EMR from mobile phones on free radical metabolism and sperm quality. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Male albino Wistar rats (10-12 weeks old) were exposed to RF-EMR from an active GSM (0.9/1.8 GHz) mobile phone for 1 hour continuously per day for 28 days. Controls were exposed to a mobile phone without a battery for the same period. The phone was kept in a cage with a wooden bottom in order to address concerns that the effects of exposure to the phone could be due to heat emitted by the phone rather than to RF-EMR alone. Animals were sacrificed 24 hours after the last exposure and tissues of interest were harvested. RESULTS: One hour of exposure to the phone did not significantly change facial temperature in either group of rats. No significant difference was observed in total sperm count between controls and RF-EMR exposed groups. However, rats exposed to RF-EMR exhibited a significantly reduced percentage of motile sperm. Moreover, RF-EMR exposure resulted in a significant increase in lipid peroxidation and low GSH content in the testis and epididymis. CONCLUSION: Given the results of the present study, we speculate that RF-EMR from mobile phones negatively affects semen quality and may impair male fertility.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19578660?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

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Prenatal and postnatal exposure to cell phone use and behavioral problems in children.

Divan HA, Kheifets L, Obel C, Olsen J.

Department of Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772, USA.

BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization has emphasized the need for research into the possible effects of radiofrequency fields in children. We examined the association between prenatal and postnatal exposure to cell phones and behavioral problems in young children. METHODS: Mothers were recruited to the Danish National Birth Cohort early in pregnancy. When the children of those pregnancies reached 7 years of age in 2005 and 2006, mothers were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding the current health and behavioral status of children, as well as past exposure to cell phone use. Mothers evaluated the child’s behavior problems using the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire. RESULTS: Mothers of 13,159 children completed the follow-up questionnaire reporting their use of cell phones during pregnancy as well as current cell phone use by the child. Greater odds ratios for behavioral problems were observed for children who had possible prenatal or postnatal exposure to cell phone use. After adjustment for potential confounders, the odds ratio for a higher overall behavioral problems score was 1.80 (95% confidence interval = 1.45-2.23) in children with both prenatal and postnatal exposure to cell phones. CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to cell phones prenatally-and, to a lesser degree, postnatally-was associated with behavioral difficulties such as emotional and hyperactivity problems around the age of school entry. These associations may be noncausal and may be due to unmeasured confounding. If real, they would be of public health concern given the widespread use of this technology.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18467962?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

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Cell Towers/ includes RF Smart Meters/ Wi-Fi

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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25478801

Altern Ther Health Med. 2014 Nov;20(6):28-39.
Self-Reporting of Symptom Development From Exposure to Radiofrequency Fields of Wireless Smart Meters in Victoria, Australia: A Case Series.
Lamech F.

Abstract

Context • In 2006, the government in the state of Victoria, Australia, mandated the rollout of smart meters in Victoria, which effectively removed a whole population’s ability to avoid exposure to human-made high-frequency nonionizing radiation. This issue appears to constitute an unprecedented public health challenge for Victoria. By August 2013, 142 people had reported adverse health effects from wireless smart meters by submitting information on an Australian public Web site using its health and legal registers.

Objective • The study evaluated the information in the registers to determine the types of symptoms that Victorian residents were developing from exposure to wireless smart meters. Design • In this case series, the registers’ managers eliminated those cases that did not clearly identify the people providing information by name, surname, postal address, and/or e-mail to make sure that they were genuine registrants. Then they obtained consent from participants to have their deidentified data used to compile the data for the case series. The author later removed any individual from outside of Victoria.

Participants • The study included 92 residents of Victoria, Australia. Outcome Measures • The author used her medical experience and judgment to group symptoms into clinically relevant clusters (eg, pain in the head was grouped with headache, tinnitus was grouped with ringing in the ears). The author stayed quite close to the wording used in the original entries. She then calculated total numbers and percentages for each symptom cluster. Percentages were rounded to the nearest whole number.

Results • The most frequently reported symptoms from exposure to smart meters were (1) insomnia, (2) headaches, (3) tinnitus, (4) fatigue, (5) cognitive disturbances, (6) dysesthesias (abnormal sensation), and (7) dizziness. The effects of these symptoms on people’s lives were significant.

Conclusions • Review of some key studies, both recent and old (1971), reveals that the participants’ symptoms were the same as those reported by people exposed to radiofrequency fields emitted by devices other than smart meters. Interestingly, the vast majority of Victorian cases did not state that they had been sufferers of electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome (EHS) prior to exposure to the wireless meters, which points to the possibility that smart meters may have unique characteristics that lower people’s threshold for symptom development.

PMID: 25478801 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]
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Wi-Fi technology – an uncontrolled global experiment on the health of mankind

Marko Markov, Yuri G. Grigoriev. Wi-Fi technology – an uncontrolled global experiment on the health of mankind. Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine. 32(2):200-208. June, 2013.

Research International,Williamsville, NY, USA, and Russian National Committee of Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, Moscow, Russia

Abstract

The 21st century is marked with exponentially increasing development of technologies that provide wireless communications. To the pollution of the atmosphere with radio and TV signals, not only satellite communications but also any varieties of the Wi-Fi networks are added.

By 2010 in the USA, 285 million mobile phone subscribers have been registered (for a little bit more than 300 million inhabitants). The estimate for the world is more than 5 billion mobile phone users at approximately 7 billion people living on this planet.

Approximately 2 years ago, the International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC) classified the electromagnetic fields used in mobile communication as a possible carcinogen. This paper discusses the potential health hazard and lack of scientific assessment and regulatory actions in protection of life on the planet.

http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/15368378.2013.776430

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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF OCCUPATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, VOL 16, NO 3 (2010)

EPIDEMIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE FOR A HEALTH RISK FROM MOBILE PHONE BASE STATIONS

Vini G. Khurana, Lennart Hardell, Joris Everaert, Alicja Bortkiewicz, Michael Carlberg, Mikko Ahonen

ABSTRACT

Human populations are increasingly exposed to microwave/radiofrequency (RF) emissions from wireless communication technology, including mobile phones and their base stations. By searching PubMed, we identified a total of 10 epidemiological studies that assessed for putative health effects of mobile phone base stations. Seven of these studies explored the association between base station proximity and neurobehavioral effects and three investigated cancer. We found that eight of the 10 studies reported increased prevalence of adverse neurobehavioral symptoms or cancer in populations living at distances < 500 meters from base stations. None of the studies reported exposure above accepted international guidelines, suggesting that current guidelines may be inadequate in protecting the health of human populations. We believe that comprehensive epidemiological studies of long term mobile phone base station exposure are urgently required to more definitively understand its health impact. Key words: base stations; electromagnetic field (EMF); epidemiology; health effects; mobile phone; radiofrequency (RF); electromagnetic radiation.

http://www.ijoeh.com/index.php/ijoeh/article/view/1309/0

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Biological effects from exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell tower base stations and other antenna arrays

B. Blake Levitt and Henry Lai

Abstract: The siting of cellular phone base stations and other cellular infrastructure such as roof-mounted antenna arrays, especially in residential neighborhoods, is a contentious subject in land-use regulation. Local resistance from nearby residents and landowners is often based on fears of adverse health effects despite reassurances from telecommunications service providers that international exposure standards will be followed. Both anecdotal reports and some epidemiology studies have found headaches, skin rashes, sleep disturbances, depression, decreased libido, increased rates of suicide, concentration problems, dizziness, memory changes, increased risk of cancer, tremors, and other neurophysiological effects in populations near base stations. The objective of this paper is to review the existing studies of people living or working near cellular infrastructure and other pertinent studies that could apply to long-term, low-level radiofrequency radiation (RFR) exposures. While specific epidemiological research in this area is sparse and contradictory, and such exposures are difficult to quantify given the increasing background levels of RFR from myriad personal consumer products, some research does exist to warrant caution in infrastructure siting. Further epidemiology research that takes total ambient RFR exposures into consideration is warranted. Symptoms reported today may be classic microwave sickness, first described in 1978. Nonionizing electromagnetic fields are among the fastest growing forms of environmental pollution. Some extrapolations can be made from research other than epidemiology regarding biological effects from exposures at levels far below current exposure guidelines.

http://rparticle.web-p.cisti.nrc.ca/rparticle/RpArticleViewer?_handler_=HandleInitialGet&journal=er&volume=18&calyLang=eng&media=html&articleFile=a10-018.pdf

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Electromagnetic pollution from phone masts. Effects on wildlife.

Balmori A.

Direccion General del Medio Natural, Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Castilla y Leon, C/Rigoberto Cortejoso, 14, 47014 Valladolid, Spain.

A review on the impact of radiofrequency radiation from wireless telecommunications on wildlife is presented. Electromagnetic radiation is a form of environmental pollution which may hurt wildlife. Phone masts located in their living areas are irradiating continuously some species that could suffer long-term effects, like reduction of their natural defenses, deterioration of their health, problems in reproduction and reduction of their useful territory through habitat deterioration. Electromagnetic radiation can exert an aversive behavioral response in rats, bats and birds such as sparrows. Therefore microwave and radiofrequency pollution constitutes a potential cause for the decline of animal populations and deterioration of health of plants living near phone masts. To measure these effects urgent specific studies are necessary. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19264463

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The Influence of Being Physically Near to a Cell Phone Transmission Mast on the Incidence of Cancer

Horst Eger, Klaus Uwe Hagen, Birgitt Lucas, Peter Vogel, Helmut Voit

Published in Umwelt·Medizin·Gesellschaft 17,4 2004, as:

‘Einfluss der räumlichen Nähe von Mobilfunksendeanlagen auf die Krebsinzidenz

Summary

Following the call by Wolfram König, President of the Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz (Federal Agency for radiation protection), to all doctors of medicine to collaborate actively in the assessment of the risk posed by cellular radiation, the aim of our study was to examine whether people living close to cellular transmitter antennas were exposed to a heightened risk of taking ill with malignant tumors.

The basis of the data used for the survey were PC files of the case histories of patients between the years 1994 and 2004. While adhering to data protection, the personal data of almost 1,000 patients were evaluated for this study, which was completed without any external financial support. It is intended to continue the project in the form of a register. The result of the study shows that the proportion of newly developing cancer cases was significantly higher among those patients who had lived during the past ten years at a distance of up to 400 metres from the cellular transmitter site, which has been in operation since 1993, compared to those patients living further away, and that the patients fell ill on average 8 years earlier.

In the years 1999-2004, ie after five years’operation of the transmitting installation, the relative risk of getting cancer had trebled for the residents of the area in the proximity of the installation compared to the inhabitants of Naila outside the area.

http://www.savespiritbear.org/documents/11GermanreportInfluencemastcancer.pdf

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Subjective symptoms, sleeping problems, and cognitive performance in subjects living near mobile phone base stations.

Hutter HP, Moshammer H, Wallner P, Kundi M.

Institute of Environmental Health, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. hans-peter.hutter@univie.ac.at

BACKGROUND: The erection of mobile telephone base stations in inhabited areas has raised concerns about possible health effects caused by emitted microwaves. METHODS: In a cross-sectional study of randomly selected inhabitants living in urban and rural areas for more than one year near to 10 selected base stations, 365 subjects were investigated. Several cognitive tests were performed, and wellbeing and sleep quality were assessed. Field strength of high-frequency electromagnetic fields (HF-EMF) was measured in the bedrooms of 336 households. RESULTS: Total HF-EMF and exposure related to mobile telecommunication were far below recommended levels (max. 4.1 mW/m2). Distance from antennae was 24-600 m in the rural area and 20-250 m in the urban area. Average power density was slightly higher in the rural area (0.05 mW/m2) than in the urban area (0.02 mW/m2). Despite the influence of confounding variables, including fear of adverse effects from exposure to HF-EMF from the base station, there was a significant relation of some symptoms to measured power density; this was highest for headaches. Perceptual speed increased, while accuracy decreased insignificantly with increasing exposure levels. There was no significant effect on sleep quality. CONCLUSION: Despite very low exposure to HF-EMF, effects on wellbeing and performance cannot be ruled out, as shown by recently obtained experimental results; however, mechanisms of action at these low levels are unknown. http://oem.bmj.com/cgi/content/short/63/5/307

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Neurobehavioral effects among inhabitants around mobile phone base stations

G. Abdel-Rassoul, a, , O. Abou El-Fateha, M. Abou Salema, A. Michaela, F. Farahata, M. El-Batanounya and E. Salema

aCommunity, Environmental and Occupational Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufiya University, Shebin El-Kom, Egypt

Received 20 October 2005; accepted 18 July 2006. Available online 1 August 2006.

Abstract

Background

There is a general concern on the possible hazardous health effects of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiations (RFR) emitted from mobile phone base station antennas on the human nervous system.

Aim

To identify the possible neurobehavioral deficits among inhabitants living nearby mobile phone base stations.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was conducted on (85) inhabitants living nearby the first mobile phone station antenna in Menoufiya governorate, Egypt, 37 are living in a building under the station antenna while 48 opposite the station. A control group (80) participants were matched with the exposed for age, sex, occupation and educational level. All participants completed a structured questionnaire containing: personal, educational and medical histories; general and neurological examinations; neurobehavioral test battery (NBTB) [involving tests for visuomotor speed, problem solving, attention and memory]; in addition to Eysenck personality questionnaire (EPQ).

Results

The prevalence of neuropsychiatric complaints as headache (23.5%), memory changes (28.2%), dizziness (18.8%), tremors (9.4%), depressive symptoms (21.7%), and sleep disturbance (23.5%) were significantly higher among exposed inhabitants than controls: (10%), (5%), (5%), (0%), (8.8%) and (10%), respectively (P < 0.05). The NBTB indicated that the exposed inhabitants exhibited a significantly lower performance than controls in one of the tests of attention and short-term auditory memory [Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT)]. Also, the inhabitants opposite the station exhibited a lower performance in the problem solving test (block design) than those under the station. All inhabitants exhibited a better performance in the two tests of visuomotor speed (Digit symbol and Trailmaking B) and one test of attention (Trailmaking A) than controls. The last available measures of RFR emitted from the first mobile phone base station antennas in Menoufiya governorate were less than the allowable standard level.

Conclusions and recommendations

Inhabitants living nearby mobile phone base stations are at risk for developing neuropsychiatric problems and some changes in the performance of neurobehavioral functions either by facilitation or inhibition. So, revision of standard guidelines for public exposure to RER from mobile phone base station antennas and using of NBTB for regular assessment and early detection of biological effects among inhabitants around the stations are recommended.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6W81-4KJ6KKX-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1066658899&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=150ba251c82e9c3086af791d8123cbe1

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Mobile phone base stations-Effects on wellbeing and health.

Kundi M, Hutter HP.

Institute of Environmental Health, Center for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Kinderspitalgasse 15, A-1095 Vienna, Austria.

Studying effects of mobile phone base station signals on health have been discouraged by authoritative bodies like WHO International EMF Project and COST 281. WHO recommended studies around base stations in 2003 but again stated in 2006 that studies on cancer in relation to base station exposure are of low priority. As a result only few investigations of effects of base station exposure on health and wellbeing exist. Cross-sectional investigations of subjective health as a function of distance or measured field strength, despite differences in methods and robustness of study design, found indications for an effect of exposure that is likely independent of concerns and attributions. Experimental studies applying short-term exposure to base station signals gave various results, but there is weak evidence that UMTS and to a lesser degree GSM signals reduce wellbeing in persons that report to be sensitive to such exposures. Two ecological studies of cancer in the vicinity of base stations report both a strong increase of incidence within a radius of 350 and 400m respectively. Due to the limitations inherent in this design no firm conclusions can be drawn, but the results underline the urgent need for a comprehensive investigation of this issue. Animal and in vitro studies are inconclusive to date. An increased incidence of DMBA induced mammary tumors in rats at a SAR of 1.4W/kg in one experiment could not be replicated in a second trial. Indications of oxidative stress after low-level in vivo exposure of rats could not be supported by in vitro studies of human fibroblasts and glioblastoma cells. From available evidence it is impossible to delineate a threshold below which no effect occurs, however, given the fact that studies reporting low exposure were invariably negative it is suggested that power densities around 0.5-1mW/m(2) must be exceeded in order to observe an effect. The meager data base must be extended in the coming years. The difficulties of investigating long-term effects of base station exposure have been exaggerated, considering that base station and handset exposure have almost nothing in common both needs to be studied independently. It cannot be accepted that studying base stations is postponed until there is firm evidence for mobile phones. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19261451

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Safety Standards:

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Exposure Limits: The underestimation of absorbed cell phone radiation, especially in children

Om P. Gandhi, L. Lloyd Morgan, Alvaro Augusto de Salles, Yueh-Ying Han, Ronald B. Herberman, Devra Lee Davis

The existing cell phone certification process uses a plastic model of the head called the Specific Anthropomorphic Mannequin (SAM), representing the top 10% of U.S. military recruits in 1989 and greatly underestimating the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for typical mobile phone users, especially children. A superior computer simulation certification process has been approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) but is not employed to certify cell phones. In the United States, the FCC determines maximum allowed exposures. Many countries, especially European Union members, use the “guidelines” of International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), a non governmental agency. Radiofrequency (RF) exposure to a head smaller than SAM will absorb a relatively higher SAR. Also, SAM uses a fluid having the average electrical properties of the head that cannot indicate differential absorption of specific brain tissue, nor absorption in children or smaller adults. The SAR for a 10-year old is up to 153% higher than the SAR for the SAM model. When electrical properties are considered, a child’s head’s absorption can be over two times greater, and absorption of the skull’s bone marrow can be ten times greater than adults. Therefore, a new certification process is needed that incorporates different modes of use, head sizes, and tissue properties. Anatomically based models should be employed in revising safety standards for these ubiquitous modern devices and standards should be set by accountable, independent groups.

http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/15368378.2011.622827?prevSearch=allfield%253A%2528om%2Bgandhi%2529&searchHistoryKey=

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Biological effects from electromagnetic field exposure and public exposure standards.

Hardell L, Sage C.

Department of Oncology, University Hospital, SE-701 85 Orebro, Sweden. lennart.hardell@orebroll.se

During recent years there has been increasing public concern on potential health risks from power-frequency fields (extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields; ELF) and from radiofrequency/microwave radiation emissions (RF) from wireless communications. Non-thermal (low-intensity) biological effects have not been considered for regulation of microwave exposure, although numerous scientific reports indicate such effects. The BioInitiative Report is based on an international research and public policy initiative to give an overview of what is known of biological effects that occur at low-intensity electromagnetic fields (EMFs) exposure. Health endpoints reported to be associated with ELF and/or RF include childhood leukaemia, brain tumours, genotoxic effects, neurological effects and neurodegenerative diseases, immune system deregulation, allergic and inflammatory responses, breast cancer, miscarriage and some cardiovascular effects. The BioInitiative Report concluded that a reasonable suspicion of risk exists based on clear evidence of bioeffects at environmentally relevant levels, which, with prolonged exposures may reasonably be presumed to result in health impacts. Regarding ELF a new lower public safety limit for habitable space adjacent to all new or upgraded power lines and for all other new constructions should be applied. A new lower limit should also be used for existing habitable space for children and/or women who are pregnant. A precautionary limit should be adopted for outdoor, cumulative RF exposure and for cumulative indoor RF fields with considerably lower limits than existing guidelines, see the BioInitiative Report. The current guidelines for the US and European microwave exposure from mobile phones, for the brain are 1.6 W/Kg and 2 W/Kg, respectively. Since use of mobile phones is associated with an increased risk for brain tumour after 10 years, a new biologically based guideline is warranted. Other health impacts associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields not summarized here may be found in the BioInitiative Report at www.bioinitiative.org. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18242044

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Setting prudent public health policy for electromagnetic field exposures.

Carpenter DO, Sage C.

Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany, Rensselaer, NY 12144, USA. carpent@uamail.albany.edu

Electromagnetic fields (EMF) permeate our environment, coming both from such natural sources as the sun and from manmade sources like electricity, communication technologies and medical devices. Although life on earth would not be possible without sunlight, increasing evidence indicates that exposures to the magnetic fields associated with electricity and to communication frequencies associated with radio, television, WiFi technology, and mobile cellular phones pose significant hazards to human health. The evidence is strongest for leukemia from electricity-frequency fields and for brain tumors from communication-frequency fields, yet evidence is emerging for an association with other diseases as well, including neurodegenerative diseases. Some uncertainty remains as to the mechanism(s) responsible for these biological effects, and as to which components of the fields are of greatest importance. Nevertheless, regardless of whether the associations are causal, the strengths of the associations are sufficiently strong that in the opinion of the authors, taking action to reduce exposures is imperative, especially for the fetus and children. Inaction is not compatible with the Precautionary Principle, as enunciated by the Rio Declaration. Because of ubiquitous exposure, the rapidly expanding development of new EMF technologies and the long latency for the development of such serious diseases as brain cancers, the failure to take immediate action risks epidemics of potentially fatal diseases in the future.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18763539?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=9

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Magnetic-field-induced DNA strand breaks in brain cells of the rat.

Lai H, Singh NP.

Bioelectromagnetics Research Laboratory, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7962, USA. hlai@u.washington.edu

In previous research, we found that rats acutely (2 hr) exposed to a 60-Hz sinusoidal magnetic field at intensities of 0.1-0.5 millitesla (mT) showed increases in DNA single- and double-strand breaks in their brain cells. Further research showed that these effects could be blocked by pretreating the rats with the free radical scavengers melatonin and N-tert-butyl-alpha-phenylnitrone, suggesting the involvement of free radicals. In the present study, effects of magnetic field exposure on brain cell DNA in the rat were further investigated. Exposure to a 60-Hz magnetic field at 0.01 mT for 24 hr caused a significant increase in DNA single- and double-strand breaks. Prolonging the exposure to 48 hr caused a larger increase. This indicates that the effect is cumulative. In addition, treatment with Trolox (a vitamin E analog) or 7-nitroindazole (a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor) blocked magnetic-field-induced DNA strand breaks. These data further support a role of free radicals on the effects of magnetic fields. Treatment with the iron chelator deferiprone also blocked the effects of magnetic fields on brain cell DNA, suggesting the involvement of iron. Acute magnetic field exposure increased apoptosis and necrosis of brain cells in the rat. We hypothesize that exposure to a 60-Hz magnetic field initiates an iron-mediated process (e.g., the Fenton reaction) that increases free radical formation in brain cells, leading to DNA strand breaks and cell death. This hypothesis could have an important implication for the possible health effects associated with exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields in the public and occupational environments.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15121512

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Pathophysiology. 2009 Aug;16(2-3):157-77. Epub 2009 Apr 23.

Disturbance of the immune system by electromagnetic fields-A potentially underlying cause for cellular damage and tissue repair reduction which could lead to disease and impairment.

Johansson O.

The Experimental Dermatology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

A number of papers dealing with the effects of modern, man-made electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on the immune system are summarized in the present review. EMFs disturb immune function through stimulation of various allergic and inflammatory responses, as well as effects on tissue repair processes. Such disturbances increase the risks for various diseases, including cancer. These and the EMF effects on other biological processes (e.g. DNA damage, neurological effects, etc.) are now widely reported to occur at exposure levels significantly below most current national and international safety limits. Obviously, biologically based exposure standards are needed to prevent disruption of normal body processes and potential adverse health effects of chronic exposure. Based on this review, as well as the reviews in the recent Bioinitiative Report [http://www.bioinitiative.org/] [C.F. Blackman, M. Blank, M. Kundi, C. Sage, D.O. Carpenter, Z. Davanipour, D. Gee, L. Hardell, O. Johansson, H. Lai, K.H. Mild, A. Sage, E.L. Sobel, Z. Xu, G. Chen, The Bioinitiative Report-A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF), 2007)], it must be concluded that the existing public safety limits are inadequate to protect public health, and that new public safety limits, as well as limits on further deployment of untested technologies, are warranted.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19398310?ordinalpos=14&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

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Pathophysiology. 2009 Aug;16(2-3):71-8. Epub 2009 Mar 5.

Electromagnetic fields stress living cells.

Blank M, Goodman R.

Department of Physiology, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.

Electromagnetic fields (EMF), in both ELF (extremely low frequency) and radio frequency (RF) ranges, activate the cellular stress response, a protective mechanism that induces the expression of stress response genes, e.g., HSP70, and increased levels of stress proteins, e.g., hsp70. The 20 different stress protein families are evolutionarily conserved and act as ‘chaperones’ in the cell when they ‘help’ repair and refold damaged proteins and transport them across cell membranes. Induction of the stress response involves activation of DNA, and despite the large difference in energy between ELF and RF, the same cellular pathways respond in both frequency ranges. Specific DNA sequences on the promoter of the HSP70 stress gene are responsive to EMF, and studies with model biochemical systems suggest that EMF could interact directly with electrons in DNA. While low energy EMF interacts with DNA to induce the stress response, increasing EMF energy in the RF range can lead to breaks in DNA strands. It is clear that in order to protect living cells, EMF safety limits must be changed from the current thermal standard, based on energy, to one based on biological responses that occur long before the threshold for thermal changes.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19268550

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Electrohypersensitivity: state-of-the-art of a functional impairment.

Johansson O.

Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, The Experimental Dermatology Unit, Stockholm, Sweden. olle.johansson@ki.se

Recently, a new category of persons, claiming to suffer from exposure to electromagnetic fields, has been described in the literature. In Sweden, electrohypersensitivity (EHS) is an officially fully recognized functional impairment (i.e., it is not regarded as a disease). Survey studies show that somewhere between 230,000-290,000 Swedish men and women report a variety of symptoms when being in contact with electromagnetic field (EMF) sources. The aim of our studies has been to investigate possible alterations, in the cellular and neuronal systems of these person’ skin. As controls, age- and sex-matched persons, without any subjective or clinical symptoms or dermatological history, served. Immunohistochemistry using antisera to the previously characterized marker substances of interest has been utilized. In summary, it is evident from our preliminary data that various alterations are present in the electrohypersensitive person’ skin. In view of recent epidemiological studies, pointing to a correlation between long-term exposure from power-frequent magnetic fields or microwaves and cancer, our data ought to be taken seriously and further analyzed.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17178584

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ELECTROMAGNETIC HYPERSENSITIVITY: EVIDENCE FOR A NOVEL NEUROLOGICAL SYNDROME

David E. McCarty, M.D., Simona Carrubba, Ph.D., Andrew L. Chesson, Jr., M.D., Clifton Frilot, II, Ph.D., Eduardo Gonzalez-Toledo, M.D., Andrew A. Marino, Ph.D.

doi:10.3109/00207454.2011.608139

ABSTRACT

Objective: We sought direct evidence that acute exposure to environmental-strength electromagnetic fields could induce somatic reactions (EMF hypersensitivity). Methods: The subject, a female physician self-diagnosed with EMF hypersensitivity, was exposed to an average (over the head) 60-Hz electric field of 300 V/m (comparable to typical environmental-strength EMFs) during controlled provocation and behavioral studies.

Results: In a double-blinded EMF provocation procedure specifically designed to minimize unintentional sensory cues, the subject developed temporal pain, headache, muscle-twitching, and skipped heartbeats within 100 s after initiation of EMF exposure (P < 0.05). The symptoms were caused primarily by field transitions (off-on, on-off) rather than the presence of the field, as assessed by comparing the frequency and severity of the effects of pulsed and continuous fields in relation to sham exposure. The subject had no conscious perception of the field as judged by her inability to report its presence more often than in the sham control. Discussion: The subject demonstrated statistically reliable somatic reactions in response to exposure to subliminal EMFs under conditions that reasonably excluded a causative role for psychological processes.

Conclusion: EMF hypersensitivity can occur as a bona fide environmentally-inducible neurological syndrome.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21793784?dopt=Abstract

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 Electromagnetic hypersensitivity: Fact or fiction?

Stephen J. Genuisa,a  Christopher T. Lipp,b

a University of Alberta, Canada, b Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary, Canada

Received 9 September 2011; revised 1 November 2011; Accepted 1 November 2011. Available online 5 December 2011.

Abstract

As the prevalence of wireless telecommunication escalates throughout the world, health professionals are faced with the challenge of patients who report symptoms they claim are connected with exposure to some frequencies of electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Some scientists and clinicians acknowledge the phenomenon of hypersensitivity to EMR resulting from common exposures such as wireless systems and electrical devices in the home or workplace; others suggest that electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is psychosomatic or fictitious. Various organizations including the World Health Organization as well as some nation states are carefully exploring this clinical phenomenon in order to better explain the rising prevalence of non-specific, multi-system, often debilitating symptoms associated with non-ionizing EMR exposure. As well as an assortment of physiological complaints, patients diagnosed with EHS also report profound social and personal challenges, impairing their ability to function normally in society. This paper offers a review of the sparse literature on this perplexing condition and a discussion of the controversy surrounding the legitimacy of the EHS diagnosis. Recommendations are provided to assist health professionals in caring for individuals complaining of EHS.

 Highlights

► Many people report symptoms when near devices emanating electromagnetic fields(EMF). ► Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) research has generated conflicting outcomes. ► Recent evidence suggests pathophysiological change in some individuals with EHS. ► EHS patients consistently report profound social and personal challenges. ► Clinicians need to be apprised of the EHS condition and potential interventions.

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Electromagnetic hypersensitive Finns: Symptoms, perceived sources and treatments, a questionnaire study. Hagström M, Auranen J, Ekman R.

Source: Turku University of Applied Sciences/Telecommunication and e-Business/Radio and EMC Laboratory, Joukahaisenkatu 3C, 20520 Turku, Finland. Electronic address: Marjukka.Hagstrom@turkuamk.fi.

Abstract The aim was to analyze the subjective experiences of Finns who describe themselves as suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), their symptoms, self-perceived sources of the health complaints and the effectiveness of medical and complementary alternative therapies. A total of 395 questionnaires were mailed to self-diagnosed EHS persons. Of the participants 345 belonged to a Finnish self-help group and 50 came from outside of the group. The return rate of the study was 52.1% (206) and 80.9% of the respondents were women. Before the onset of EHS the most common health complaints were different types of allergies (35.1%, 68). During the acute phase of EHS the most common symptoms were nervous system related: “stress” (60.3%, 117), “sleeping disorders” (59.3%, 115) and “fatigue” (57.2%, 111). The sources that were most often reported to have triggered EHS were: “personal computers” (50.8%, 94) and “mobile phones” (47.0%, 87). The same devices were also claimed to cause the most symptoms during the acute phase. After the acute phase of EHS had passed, the respondents still claimed to react to these same digital and wireless devices while their reactions to basic electrical appliances were reduced. According to 76% of 157 respondents the reduction or avoidance of electromagnetic fields (EMF) helped in their full or partial recovery. The best treatments for EHS were given as: “dietary change” (69.4%), “nutritional supplements” (67.8%) and “increased physical exercise” (61.6%). The official treatment recommendations of psychotherapy (2.6%) and medication (-4.2%) were not significantly helpful. According to the present results the official treatment protocols should take better account the EHS person’s own experiences. The avoidance of electromagnetic radiation and fields effectively removed or lessened the symptoms in EHS persons.

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California EMF Program Executive Summary