Contrary to the denial of many heath agencies in the U.S. and in some other countries, the Italian Supreme Court has recognized a “causal” link between heavy mobile phone use and brain tumor risk in a worker’s compensation case.
According to a UK news source, Innocente Marcolini, 60, an Italian businessman, fell ill after using a handset at work for up to six hours every day for 12 years. He now will be financially compensated.
Mr Marcolini said: “This is significant for very many people. I wanted this problem to become public because many people still do not know the risks. I was on the phone, usually the mobile, for at least five or six hours every day at work. I wanted it recognised that there was a link between my illness and the use of mobile and cordless phones…Parents need to know their children are at risk of this illness.”
The Italian courts dismissed research co-financed by the mobile phone industry due to concerns about conflict of interest. Instead, the courts relied on independent research conducted by Lennart Hardell and his colleagues in Sweden which showed consistent evidence of increased brain tumor risk associated with long term mobile phone use.
Last year, the Hardell research was heavily relied upon by 31 experts convened by the World Health Organization who classified radiofrequency energy, including cell phone radiation, as “possibly carcinogenic” in humans.
The evidence of harm from cell phone radiation has been increasing so it is only a matter of time before lawsuits filed in U.S. courts by cell phone radiation victims will be successful. The Insurance industry will not provide product liability insurance due to concerns that juries will find that the Telecom industry has behaved much like the Tobacco and Asbestos industries. So the Telecom industry could be faced with paying huge damages to individuals and governments.
Although 12 nations and the European Union have issued precautionary health warnings regarding mobile phone use, the U.S. has been in denial. The Telecom industry has blocked numerous attempts to pass cell phone warning legislation at the Federal, state, and city level. The industry even refused to support a bill in the California legislature by Senator Mark Leno that would simply remind consumers to read the safety information that is currently printed in their cell phone user manuals.
Only one city has been able to overcome intense lobbying by the Telecom industry. San Francisco adopted cell phone “right to know” legislation two years ago, but the Telecom industry (i.e., CTIA-The Wireless Association) blocked implementation of this law by filing a lawsuit claiming that the court-approved fact sheet violates the industry’s First Amendment rights. The CTIA also moved its annual conference from San Francisco to punish the city.
Since there are now more than 330 million cell phone subscribers in the U.S., an annual fee of 50 cents on each cell phone would generate sufficient resources to fund high quality, independent research that could promote safer technology development and fund a community education program about safer cell phone use.
Thanks to Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley for the press release on this issue.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct a formal review of the U.S. cell phone radiation standards according to a Bloomberg news report: “FCC. Wireless Devices and Health Concerns.”
An FCC spokesperson emailed a statement to a Bloomberg reporter that is truly alarming. Her message suggests that the FCC has already decided that the current standards are fine, and will conduct a review to rubber stamp the 1996 FCC guidelines:
“Tammy Sun, a spokeswoman for the agency, said in an e-mailed statement. The notice won’t propose rules, Sun said.
‘Our action today is a routine review of our standards,’ Sun said. ‘We are confident that, as set, the emissions guidelines for devices pose no risks to consumers.'”
The Bloomberg article cites a major review of the literature conducted by our research center in which we found an association between mobile phone use and increased brain tumor risk especially after 10 years of cell phone use:
“There is possible evidence linking mobile-phone use to an increased risk of tumors, according to a study of scientific studies and articles that was published in 2009 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.”
The research we reviewed and subsequent research strongly suggest that the current standards for cell phone radiation are not adequate to protect us from health risks associated with exposure to cell phone radiation. A year ago, a 31-member group of experts convened by the World Health Organization agreed with our conclusions and classified cell phone radiation a “possible carcinogen.”
The FCC standards were established in 1996 at a time when few adults used cell phones. Today, children and most adults are exposed to far more cell phone radiation than the FCC-approved test models are subjected to when new cell phones are certified. Moreover, the test assumes that cell phones can harm us only by heating tissue. This is not true as there are numerous studies that demonstrate non-thermal effects from cell phone radiation including increased glucose metabolism in the brain, generation of heat shock proteins, free radicals, and double-strand DNA breaks; penetration of the blood-brain barrier, damage to sperm and increased male infertility.
The FCC admits on its web site* that “there is no federally developed national standard for safe levels of exposure to radiofrequency (RF) energy.” “The FCC’s guidelines and rules regarding RF exposure are based upon standards developed by IEEE and NCRP and input from other federal agencies.”
I have grave concerns if the FCC continues to rely on industry-funded expert groups because our research found that industry-funded epidemiologic research was generally of lower quality and biased against finding harmful effects. Dr. Henry Lai at the University of Washington has come to a similar conclusion in his analysis of the toxicology research.
In my opinion, it is premature to adopt new safety standards because we need more research that is independent of the wireless industry’s influence. The Federal government needs to sponsor a major research initiative on the health effects of electromagnetic radiation. Martin Blank and Reba Goodman from Columbia University recently published a paper in the journal, Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, calling for the development of a biologically-based measure of electromagnetic radiation (abstract below).
In the interim, to protect cell phone users we must adopt and disseminate precautionary health warnings that promote safer cell phone use. Although The FCC web site provides some simple steps to reduce exposure to cell phone radiation, it “does not endorse the need for these practices.” A dozen nations and the city of San Francisco have issued precautionary warnings about cell phone use to its citizens. It is time for our Federal government to do so.Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D. Director Center for Family and Community Health The UC Berkeley Prevention Research Center School of Public Health University of California, Berkeley
Environmental Health Trust circulated this video today to warn women about the serious health risk of tucking their cell phones into their bras. They state, “Growing numbers of young women in this fast-paced connected society keep their phones in their bras, hijabs (headscarves), or pockets–unaware of manufacturers’ hidden warnings.” The iphone manual states to keep the phone 5/8″ away from the body.
In 2009, the Breast Cancer Fund issued policy and research recommendations (State-of-the-Evidence-2008) to reduce exposure to radiation. They write:
“Decades of research indicate that exposure to EMF is associated with many adverse health effects including breast cancer (in both men and women) and other cancers, neurodegenerative diseases and impaired immune function. Existing public exposure standards for EMF are inadequate to protect public health because they are based on a short-term (30-minute) thermal effect.”
The Breast Cancer Fund Federal Policy Recommendations:
- Based on the scientific evidence set forth in The Bioinitiative Report and a growing body of additional research, exposure limits for electromagnetic radiation should be set at the federal level for:
- Extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF), including power lines, appliances, interior electric wiring an other devices; and
- Long term and cumulative radiofrequency (RF) radiation from outdoor pulsed sources including cell phone antennas, radar, TV and FM broadcast antennas and wireless internet antennas, and from indoor sources including cell phones, wireless internet equipment and radiation that permeates buildings from outdoor sources.
- With the setting of federal limits for non-ionizing radiation, special protections should be required for homes, schools and places where children spend large amounts of time.”
The latest analysis of the tumor risks among cell phone users in Denmark and the accompanying editorial brings to mind the old saying: “Trust your mother, but cut the cards.”
Be warned: Before you believe what you are told by the Danish Cancer Society or the Karolinska Institute or what you read in the British Medical Journal, check out the facts for yourself.
As for IARC, there seems to be an internal dispute going on as to whether it should take seriously its own panel’s decision to designate cell phone radiation as a possible cancer agent. It’s not clear what side IARC Director Chris Wild is on.
Read our in-depth report on the latest example of bias run amuck on cell phones and tumors: http://www.microwavenews.com/DanishCohort.html
Amy O’Hair measures the radiation emitted by a cell phone, a microwave oven and two ‘Smart’ Meters in use. The results? The radiation pulses from the meters were stronger than both the microwave and the cell phone.
Here’s what PG&E claimed:
In response to the EMF Safety Network request for safety hearings, PG&E stated,
” Exposure to radio frequency energy from SmartMeter™ technology isconsiderably less than the exposure from other radio devices in widespread use.”
PG&E then listed many sources including cell phones, cordless phones, microwave ovens as examples of other radio devices in widespread use. Following this list they claim,
“These devices often involve more frequent radio transmission, emit radio frequency energy for longer periods of time and operate in closer proximity to humans, than PG&E SmartMeter™ devices.”
You can turn off the cell phone, and choose whether or not to use a microwave oven, but the meter is on all the time. Even if you turn off the power to your home, the meter will still be on. Thanks again Amy for this illustration.
By Joshua Hart, Director StopSmartMeters.Org
June 2nd 2011
Make no mistake. The decision by the World Health Organization on Tuesday to classify non-ionizing radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” is an absolute game changer for our movement. This seemingly cautious statement by the world’s pre-eminent health organization should ring loud alarm bells around the world. Despite backroom industry influence and widespread conservatism, the slow-to-react beast was finally forced to act- as the walls of wireless damage closed in.
Wireless technology is something most of us have taken for granted for quite a while now. Someone said the other day, “I don’t even remember when they introduced cell phones. All of a sudden everyone was just using them.” Therein lies the crux. We just took the phone we were handed. We didn’t ask questions. We trusted that any authority that would allow this product to be sold would not do so without reasonable assurances of safety. It is now clear that that misplaced trust has been betrayed, and people are dying because of it.
The truth is that our government allowed (even promoted) a technology whose effects on biological living systems we really knew very little about. There’s capitalism for you. Life really isn’t that important. It’s all about the money. You are expendable. So- apparently- is the planet.
The WHO’s decision, and the large number of studies that led to it are suddenly opening up a whole new set of questions about how we use wireless- questions that people wouldn’t have dared to whisper- even last week.
Cell phones, cell towers, wi-fi, smart meters, DECT phones, cordless phones, baby monitors and other wireless devices all emit non ionizing radio frequencies, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has just classified as a potential carcinogen. This is big news from the WHO and governments and decision makers can no longer hide behind the “no RF health effects” industry mantra.
Cindy Sage, co-editor of the Bioinitiative Report writes, ” The WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer has just issued it’s decision that non-ionizing radiofrequency radiation is classified as a 2B (Possible) Carcinogen. This is the same category as DDT, lead, and engine exhaust. This mirrors the 2001 IARC finding that extremely low frequency (ELF-EMF) that classified as a 2B (Possible) Carcinogen. This pertained to power frequency (power line and appliance) non-ionizing radiation. These two findings confirm that non-ionizing radiation should be considered as a possible risk factor for cancers; and that new, biologically-based public safety standards are urgently needed. ”
Lyon, France, May 31, 2011 ‐‐
“The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer1, associated with wireless phone use.
Over the last few years, there has been mounting concern about the possibility of adverse health effects resulting from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, such as those emitted by wireless communication devices. The number of mobile phone subscriptions is estimated at 5 billion globally.
From May 24–31 2011, a Working Group of 31 scientists from 14 countries has been meeting at IARC in Lyon, France, to assess the potential carcinogenic hazards from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. These assessments will be published as Volume 102 of the IARC Monographs, which will be the fifth volume in this series to focus on physical agents, after Volume 55 (Solar Radiation), Volume 75 and Volume 78 on ionizing radiation (X‐rays, gamma‐rays, neutrons, radio‐nuclides), and Volume 80 on non‐ionizing radiation (extremely low‐frequency electromagnetic fields).
The IARC Monograph Working Group discussed the possibility that these exposures might induce long‐term health effects, in particular an increased risk for cancer. This has relevance for public health, particularly for users of mobile phones, as the number of users is large and growing, particularly among young adults and children.
The IARC Monograph Working Group discussed and evaluated the available literature on the following exposure categories involving radiofrequency electromagnetic fields:
␣ occupational exposures to radar and to microwaves; ␣ environmental exposures associated with transmission of signals for radio, television and wireless telecommunication; and ␣ personal exposures associated with the use of wireless telephones.
International experts shared the complex task of tackling the exposure data, the studies of cancer in humans, the studies of cancer in experimental animals, and the mechanistic and other relevant data.
1 237 913 new cases of brain cancers (all types combined) occurred around the world in 2008 (gliomas represent 2/3 of these). Source: Globocan 2008
The evidence was reviewed critically, and overall evaluated as being limited2 among users of wireless telephones for glioma and acoustic neuroma, and inadequate3 to draw conclusions for other types of cancers. The evidence from the occupational and environmental exposures mentioned above was similarly judged inadequate. The Working Group did not quantitate the risk; however, one study of past cell phone use (up to the year 2004), showed a 40% increased risk for gliomas in the highest category of heavy users (reported average: 30 minutes per day over a 10‐year period).
Dr Jonathan Samet (University of Southern California, USA), overall Chairman of the Working Group, indicated that “the evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B classification. The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk.”
“Given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings,” said IARC Director Christopher Wild, “it is important that additional research be conducted into the long‐ term, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands‐free devices or texting. ”
The Working Group considered hundreds of scientific articles; the complete list will be published in the Monograph. It is noteworthy to mention that several recent in‐press scientific articles4 resulting from the Interphone study were made available to the working group shortly before it was due to convene, reflecting their acceptance for publication at that time, and were included in the evaluation.
A concise report summarizing the main conclusions of the IARC Working Group and the evaluations of the carcinogenic hazard from radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (including the use of mobile telephones) will be published in The Lancet Oncology in its July 1 issue, and in a few days online.
2 ‘Limited evidence of carcinogenicity’: A positive association has been observed between exposure to the agent and cancer for which a causal interpretation is considered by the Working Group to be credible, but chance, bias or confounding could not be ruled out with reasonable confidence.
3 ‘Inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity’: The available studies are of insufficient quality, consistency or statistical power to permit a conclusion regarding the presence or absence of a causal association between exposure and cancer, or no data on cancer in humans are available.
4 a. ‘Acoustic neuroma risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the INTERPHONE international case‐ control study’ (the Interphone Study Group, in Cancer Epidemiology, in press) b. ‘Estimation of RF energy absorbed in the brain from mobile phones in the Interphone study’ (Cardis et al., Occupational and Environmental Medicine, in press)
c. ‘Risk of brain tumours in relation to estimated RF dose from mobile phones – results from five Interphone countries’ (Cardis et al., Occupational and Environmental Medicine, in press) ”