Why be concerned about electromagnetic fields?

Dear Friend:

If you are concerned about power line or appliance radiation, you are not alone. Martin Halper, a director of the E.P.A., said in a Fortune Magazine article on magnetic radiation: "In all my years of looking at chemicals, I have never seen a set of epidemiological studies that remotely approached the weight of evidence that we're seeing with ELF electromagnetic fields. Clearly there is something here." (Fortune Magazine)

Over 64 studies in the U.S. and Europe have linked chronic exposure to magnetic fields, such as those from power lines and computer monitors, to cancer, leukemia, and tumors in humans. In the book "Currents of Death -- Power Lines, Computer Terminals, and the Attempt to Cover Up Their Threat to Your Health" (by Paul Brodeur, Simon and Schuster), electromagnetic fields are linked to headaches, chataracts, heart problems, stress, fatigue, nausea, insomia, forgetfulness, chest pain, and significantly higher than expected rates of acute leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia. In animals, experiments have found higher birth defects and miscarriages.

There are now three studies linking computer use with higher rates of miscarriage and birth detects published in peer reviewed medical literature, such as in the American Journal of Epidemiology. There are also three major studies linking male breast cancer with power line fields.

Dr. David Carpenter, dean of public health at SUNY in Albany, N.Y., headed the utility industry's New York Power Lines Project, a five million dollar review of the carcinogenicity of magnetic fields. According to Dr. Carpenter, "The Savitz study changed my entire view of the field, and it has enormous implications." Fortune Magazine wrote: "Based of those results, he estimates that up to 30% of all childhood cancers may be attributable to ELF fields." "That's conservative," Dr. Carpenter added.

With so many common sources of ELF fields in our homes and work environment, you need to make sure you are not exposed to magnetic fields in a chronic fashion. The Office of Technology Assessment of the Congress of the United States recommends a policy of "prudent avoidance." Prudent avoidance means to measure fields and act to reduce exposure. To do that, one uses a Gauss meter. This easy to use device shows you which places in the home or office are safe from chronic exposure to magnetic radiation, and which places are not.

In addition to long-term health concerns, buying a house or living in a house with high fields will be an economic disaster. In a few years, when power line radiation is as well known as asbestos and radon, a house near power lines or with high fields will be practically impossible to sell. Business Week writes that there are over 100 lawsuits regarding power lines and property devaluation.

If you are concerned about computer radiation, we urge you to use our computer monitors. As the literature mentions, they come with a certificate showing the extremely low levels. Be safe! Call us today at 1-800-222-3003.

The Technology Alternatives Corporation Staff.


The Latest News:


Excerpts from:  MICROWAVE NEWS  -- A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

August 2002

California EMF Program to issue Strongest Health Warning Yet

 After spending more than $7 million over the last eight years, the Califor­nia Department of Health Services (DHS) will soon issue the strongest warn­ing to date on the potential health risks from exposure to power-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs).

Drs. Raymond Neutra, Vrncent DelPizzo and Geraldine Lee, who wrote the report, conclude that they "are inclined to believe" that EMFs are a cause of childhood leukemia, adult brain cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and miscarriages.

The final report of the EMF Program, which runs more than 500 pages including appendices, has not yet been released, but Microwave News has obtained a copy. It "is slowly working its way through the bureaucracy," said Neutra of the DHS, who led the program. He expects to submit it to the Cali­fornia Public Utilities Commission (PUC) "at the end of the summer."

"We lowered a few of the risk estimates, but overall the conclusions in the final report are very similar to those in the draft," said DelPizzo, who served as research director of the EMF program before retiring recently to Reno, NV.

July/August 2001

ELF EMFs (electromagnetic fields) are now classified in the same category as DDT, lead, Carbon Tetrachloride and Chloroform, Category 2B possible carcinogens.

IARC Finds ELF EMFs Are Possible Human Carcinogens

A working group assembled by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has unanimously concluded that power-frequency magnetic fields are possible human carcinogens. This finding, announced on June 27 in Lyon, France, is based on the consistent association between childhood leukemia and residential exposure to extremely-low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF EMFs).

The makeup of the IARC panel spanned all sides of the EMF controversy, from those who openly believe that EMFs promote cancer to industry consultants who are skeptical of any such connection. "We all agreed," said Dr. Larry Anderson. EMFs have now been formal1y designated "2B Possible Carcinogens." (For a list of the members of the working group and their affiliations, and examples of each type of IARC carcinogens, see below.

"There was a unanimous feeling about it," said Dr. Jan Stolwijk.  Dr. Maria

Stuchly, who remains unconvinced that magnetic fields are responsible for promoting leukemia in children, nevertheless joined the others in voting for the 2B designation. "The epidemiological data are there and it is hard to dismiss them," she said.  Dr. Vincent DelPizzo believes that the cancer evidence is stronger that do any of the other panelists. He cast the only vote that there is "sufficient" human evidence for childhood leukemia, which implies that EMFs are known human carcinogens.  "I am sure that the childhood leukemia finding cannot be attributed to chance, bias or confounding," he said. (See table below for definitions of "sufficient," "limited" and ”inadequate")

The IARC decision follows similar reviews by panels in the U.S. and the U.K.  In 1998, a working group of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), using the same IARC criteria, also classified EMFs as 2B possible human carcinogens, a view that NIEHS Director Kenneth Olden later endorsed in his report to Congress.  Earlier this year, an advisory committee to the UK National Radiological Protection Board chaired by Sir Richard Doll, also acknowledged the possible link between EMFs and cancer.

The childhood leukemia studies have had a major impact on all of these prior assessments. The Doll report was heavily influenced by the two recent pooled analyses: one led by Dr. Anders Ahlbom and the other by Dr. Sander Greenland.  The IARC panel was similarly swayed, according to both Stolwijk and Dr. Elizabeth Hatch.  “The Ahlbom analysis was found to be most impressive," noted Stolwijk.  Much more surprising was the IARC panel members' view of the animal data. They came close to finding "limited" support for a cancer association based on the animal exposure experiments.

IARC Carcinogens: Definitions and Examples:

Category 1: Carcinogen
Evidence: Sufficient in humans
Chemical and physical agents:
Asbestos, benzene. dioxin, hepatitis C virus, radon. vinyl chloride. Total number of agents: 87.

Category 2A: Probable Carcinogen
Evidence: limited in humans and sufficient in animals
Chemical and physical agents:
Benzo[a]pyrene, formaldehyde, PCBs, ultraviolet (A,B&C) radiation. Total number of agents: 63.

Category 2B: Possible Carcinogen
Evidence: limited in humans and less than sufficient in animals
Chemical and physical agents:
Carbon tetrachloride, chloroform., coffee, DDT, ELF EMFs, lead, PBBs. Total number of agents: 236

June, 2001

Maximum EMF Exposure Emerges

As Strong Miscarriage Risk 

A new and innovative epidemiological study has found an up to six fold

increased risk of spontaneous abortions among women exposed to magnetic

fields of 16 mG or greater. The results “should have wide implications,” concludes

Dr. DeKun Li, who led the study team at Kaiser Permanente’s research

division in Oakland, CA.


Unlike past efforts, which have essentially all used average fields, Li focused

on maximum magnetic field (MMF) as the key index of exposure. While

Li found miscarriage risks that are significantly higher for women who had an

MMF of at least 16 mG, he saw no excess for women with time weighted

averages (TWA) of 3mG or more. Nor did he observe any increased risk for

elevated spot electromagnetic field (EMF) measurements or with wire codes.

“With TWAs you are diluting any possible effect because you are combining

relevant and irrelevant exposures,” Li told Microwave News. In a paper

summarizing his results, Li argued that, “It seemed more plausible to us that

MF exposure has a threshold below which any exposure is biologically irrelevant.”

Li’s paper is an appendix to the as yet unreleased final report of the

California EMF Project (see p.2). An advance copy of Li’s paper was obtained

by Microwave News.


“My study convinced me that EMFs probably have a biological effect,” Li

said. “We are entering a new chapter in the field of EMF epidemiology. There

is more evidence that there is an association—the better conducted studies

consistently show an association.


A “Robust” Association


“This population based cohort study with prospectively measured

MF exposure level revealed for the first time (based on

our search of Medline) an increased SAB risk associated with a

MMF exposure level of 16mG. The adverse MMF effect appeared

to have a threshold around 16 mG and persisted regardless

of the sources/locations of MMF exposure. Prenatal MMF

exposure had a greater effect on early spontaneous abortion

(< 10 weeks of gestation) when embryos or fetuses are much

more sensitive to environmental insults, and among women who

may be more susceptible to environmental exposures.


The association was much stronger when women whose 24 hour MF

measurements may not reflect their true prenatal MF exposure

were excluded. These biologically coherent observations, all

based on a priori hypotheses, provide strong evidence that prenatal

MF exposure above a certain level (possibly around 16

mG) may increase SAB risk. It is also unlikely that the observed

association was due to biases or unmeasured confounders, because

any such biases or confounders would have to explain the

above observations simultaneously. The robustness of the association

against potential confounders was further supported by

the evidence that, despite adjusting for more than 30 variables

of known or suspected risk factors for SAB, the estimates were

barely altered. Moreover, prompted by the findings in this study,

Lee et al. reanalyzed the data from the study in which the findings

related to TWA exposure led to funding the current study,

and confirmed our observed association between MMF and

SAB risk. These findings raise the question of the effect of MMF

on reproductive outcomes and other health endpoints. The MMF

exposure level in our study population was quite comparable

to that found in a nationwide survey and our study population

was racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse. Thus,

the findings from our study should have wide implications.”

DeKun Li, “A Population  Based Prospective Study of Personal

Exposure to Magnetic Fields During Pregnancy and the Risk of

Spontaneous Abortion,” unpublished manuscript, May 2001.


G.M. Lee et al., “A Nested Case Control Study of Residential and

Personal Magnetic Field Measures and Spontaneous Abortions,” Epidemiology,



Li stressed that 16 mG is not a rare exposure. He noted that

approximately 75% of his study population had at least one exposure

above this threshold in a 24hour period. Li said that such

peak fields are more likely to come from household electrical

appliances and transportation sources than from local electrical

distribution lines.


The Kaiser Permanente study has cleared peer review and is

scheduled to be published in the November issue of Epidemiology,

Li said. His results were first disclosed at a meeting convened

by the California EMF Program on April 25. Kaiser Permanente

is the largest and oldest health care provider in the U.S.


“It’s quite exciting if it holds up,” Dr. Nancy Wertheimer said

in an interview. “ More work needs to be done on thresholds and

short term high exposures.” Wertheimer, who lives in Boulder,

CO, was a member of Kaiser’s internal peer review team. Wertheimer

and Ed Leeper have themselves reported associations between

miscarriages and EMF exposures from electrically heated

beds and home electrical heating systems.


Others have also seen a miscarriage risk due to magnetic

fields from video display terminals (see MWN, M/J88 and M/A

92) and from power lines (see MWN, M/A92).


“Taken together the EMF studies of spontaneous abortions

paint a consistent picture,” said one epidemiologist, who has read

the new Li paper but who asked not to be identified.

The new study is the first prospective study ever done for

EMF health risks and the first to use maximum magnetic field

exposures to gauge risks. A total of 969 women who had been

pregnant for less than ten weeks qualified for the study, and the

outcomes of their pregnancies were monitored. They wore an

EMDEX meter for 24 hours and were then asked if their activities

during that particular day were “typical” of the pregnancy.

“One of the strengths of this study was that we measured MF

exposure during the relevant period and used personal measurement

to capture MF exposure from all sources encountered by a

woman,” Li wrote.


Li found that women who were exposed to MMFs of 16 mG

or more had 80% more miscarriages compared to those exposed

to less than 16 mG—a statistically significant increase. But when

women who said that they had worn the EMDEX on an atypical

day are eliminated from the study population, the miscarriage

risk increases to three times that of the less exposed women.

And for pregnancies lost during the first ten weeks of gestation,

the risk is close to six times that of the less exposed women. All

these results are also significant.


Of the 159 women who had spontaneous abortions, 132 had

exposures above 16 mG, and of these 95 said that they had taken

measurements on a typical day. 


For women who were judged to be more susceptible to environmental

insults—those who had already had two or more miscarriages

or who had fertility problems—the miscarriage risk is

three times higher when they were exposed to 16 mG or more.

This risk rises to close to five times that of the unexposed women

for those pregnancies that were lost before the tenth week of gestation,

a time when the fetus is most sensitive to environmental

insults. Both these risks are statistically significant.

“All this evidence points to an underlying biological effect

of the magnetic field rather than bias or a chance finding,” Li

said. “If this were a chance finding, you would not expect there

to be a difference between typical and atypical exposures and

between early and late abortions.”


In the interview, Li said that he was “a little disappointed” by

the recent commentary on EMF epidemiology by Dr. David Savitz 

A number of researchers have argued for the need to look

beyond TWAs to measure biologically relevant EMF exposures.

For instance, in the early 1990s, Drs. Richard Lovely and Bary

Wilson of the Battelle Labs in Richland, WA, pointed specifically

to MMF exposure as an alternative exposure index (see MWN,

M/J93). Until Li, no one had followed up their suggestion.

In a previous epidemiological study, Li found that women

with fertility problems who used electric blankets during pregnancy

had a greater chance of having babies with birth defects (see

MWN, S/O95). The risk was ten times higher among women

who used electric blankets during the first trimester.


September 2001


WHO EMF Project Now Endorses

Policy of Prudent Avoidance

In a major policy shift, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International

EMF Project has endorsed prudent avoidance.


On October 3, the WHO advised that decisions on siting power lines should

“consider ways to reduce people’s exposures.” The WHO also recommended

that governments and industry should offer the public “suggestions for safe

and low-cost ways to reduce exposures.” The advice is contained in a fact sheet

on extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF EMFs) and cancer.

The project’s new outlook follows the decision by an expert panel convened

by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to classify

ELF EMFs as “possible human carcinogens” (see MWN, J/A01). IARC, which

is based in Lyon, France, is part of the WHO.


Three years ago, in its last fact sheet on ELF EMFs and cancer, the WHO

project took a very different view. “There is no need for any

specific protective measures for members of the general public,”

it stated —beyond meeting the exposure limits recommended

by the International Commission on NonIonizing Radiation Protection

(ICNIRP). This standard protects against acute health

hazards, such as shocks and burns, but does not address cancer



At that time, Dr. Michael Repacholi, who oversees WHO’s

work on EMFs, told Microwave News: “It is not WHO’s job to

be recommending ‘prudent avoidance’ to national governments”

(see MWN, N/D98).

As late as last year, the EMF project advised that prudent avoidance

“may be justified,” but warned that “such actions should

not be recommended by national authorities on health grounds.”

Rather, they may be appropriate to deal with individual perceptions

of risks (see MWN, M/J00).


“The precautionary principle

cannot be applied to EMFs.”

—Dr. Paolo Vecchia


“The lower the limits, the

greater the public concern.”

—Dr. Michael Repacholi



German Radiation Commission

Endorses Prudent Avoidance


Germany’s Radiation Protection Commission is recommending

a policy of prudent avoidance.


In a report released on September 14, the panel—known

by its German acronym SSK—states that it has confidence

in the ICNIRP standards. But it calls for “minimizing” exposures

to both ELF and RF/MW EMFs to the extent “technically

and economically reasonable,” especially in locations

where people spend extended periods of time.


The SSK recommends that emissions from consumer appliances,

including mobile phones, be kept as low as possible

and that product labels indicate emission levels.


The SSK also argues for more health effects research.

The Federal Environment Ministry, which is revising

Germany’s EMF safety rules, requested the report (see MWN,

S/O97). In July, the ministry announced that it was weighing

precautionary exposure limits for mobile phone base stations,

but would wait for SSK’s advice (see MWN, J/A01).

The SSK’s principal expert on non ionizing radiation is

Dr. Jürgen Bernhardt, who is the vice chair—and a past

chair—of ICNIRP and a former head of Germany’s Radiation

Protection Office.


On July 31, the radiation office’s current director, Wolfram

König, advised against the use of mobile phones by children

and called for restrictions on base station antennas near

schools and hospitals (see MWN, J/A01).


The full text of the SSK’s 56page report, Limits and

Precautionary Measures to Protect the Public Against Electromagnetic

Fields, is available in German at <www.ssk.de>.


JUNE 2000


Strong Electric Fields Implicated in

Major Leukemia Risk for Workers


Long term employees of Ontario Hydro who worked in strong electric

fields had much higher risks of leukemia, Canadian researchers have found.

Significant risks were also found for non Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in a

related study.


The elevated risks were seen among workers who spent the most time in

electric fields above certain thresholds, in the range of 10 to 40 V/m. The largest

increases occurred among those with more than 20 years on the job. Senior

workers with the greatest time above the thresholds had an eight to tenfold

increase in the risk of leukemia—much higher than in past epidemiological

studies of electromagnetic fields (EMFs).


“It’s very interesting that there seems to be a threshold effect,” Dr. Anthony

Miller, a coauthor of the study, told Microwave News. “ These studies confirm

that electric fields are very important, if not dominant,” Miller said. “I think

that’s a very important message.” Both studies were based on

data from Miller’s 1996 study of Ontario Hydro employees, which

put a spotlight on cancer risks and electric fields (see MWN, J/A

96). Formerly at the University of Toronto, Miller is now with

the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg.


Paul Villeneuve of the University of Ottawa, who led the studies

as part of his doctoral dissertation, said, “It’s remarkable that

we saw similar threshold effects for both leukemia and NHL.”

The threshold levels were “relatively consistent” in the two studies,

he noted.


In an interview, Dr. Lois Green of Ontario Power Generation

(formerly part of Ontario Hydro) in Toronto described this work

as the first of its kind. “No one has ever taken a systematic look

at threshold effects before,” she said. Most previous studies have

focused on cumulative effects or time weighted averages, which

Green called “a very limited way to view EMF exposures.” The

new work by Villeneuve, Miller and colleagues “shows that there

are other important ways of looking at exposure,” she said. “We

can’t close the door on this question.”


The new Canadian results stand in sharp contrast with past

EMF epidemiological studies, most of which have focused almost

exclusively on magnetic fields. Dr. David Savitz of the

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, told Microwave News

that the new findings “suggest that those doing future studies

reconsider the pessimism about the value of electric field data.”

“Our results suggest that there is no association between exposure

to magnetic fields and NHL,” Villeneuve and colleagues

write in the April issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine,

and no threshold effects were seen with magnetic fields in

either study. In the leukemia study, some nonsignificant elevations

in risk were observed for workers with higher average magnetic

field exposure.


Miller’s 1996 study also described electric fields as the main

source of risk, but indicated that the highest risks came from

combined electric and magnetic exposure. While the two new

studies “tend to confirm the dominance of electric fields,” he

said, “I’m not sure they remove any effect for magnetic fields.”

For electric fields, however, Miller now believes that the threshold

analysis in the new papers is a more precise way of measuring

their impact.


The leukemia study, published in the June issue of the American

Journal of Industrial Medicine, found that the amount of

time spent above these thresholds was a “significant predictor

of leukemia risk.” While average exposure was also linked to an

increase in risk, Villeneuve and colleagues write, their results

indicate “that leukemia risk is more sensitive to exposures above

a threshold.”


For workers employed for more than 20 years, the findings

were especially striking. Of these, the one third who spent the

most time above 10 V/m were ten times more likely than others

to develop leukemia, a significant increase. The one third with

the most time above 20 V/m had a risk eight times higher than

others. These odds ratios, however, had very wide confidence



The case control study was based on 50 cases of leukemia

and 200 controls, drawn from a cohort of over 31,000 male Ontario

Hydro employees and retirees. Employment data were linked to

a job exposure matrix based on both job title and work site, with

personal measurements from over 800 workers, and to incidence

data from the Ontario Cancer Registry. These data were the basis

of Miller’s 1996 study, which was part of a three utility study

that included workers at Hydro Quebec (HQ) and Electricité de

France (EDF) (see MWN, M/A94). The Ontario research used a

more detailed exposure assessment—taking into account job

location as well as title—than was used for the other utilities.

The NHL study was based on 51 cases and 203 controls from

the same study population. It found that the one third of workers

who spent the most time in electric fields above 10 V/m had

triple the risk of NHL. Those with the most time above 40 V/m

were 3.6 times more likely to get the disease.


“Many of us, starting with Genevieve Matanoski around 1986,

have long held that we need to look at alternative indices of

exposure,” Dr. Indira Nair of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh

told Microwave News. Confirmation of this point is “the

central importance of these papers,” said Nair. “Until we are able

to elucidate a mechanism, studies that include these alternate indices

can provide us with understanding which may help us eventually

to ‘back into’ the mechanisms.”


A 1997 paper in Bioelectromagnetics by Nair and Dr. Jack

Sahl, then of Southern California Edison and now a consultant

based in Upland, CA, examined how using different indices of

exposure influenced the exposure assessment of different job

categories. While average field strength could be used for separating

jobs into “high” or “low” exposure, they concluded, it

“may be misleading” in ranking jobs which have significant exposure.

For example, electricians were highest in average exposure,

while substation operators were highest in time spent above

certain magnetic field thresholds.


“We still don’t know what is the biologically relevant exposure,”

commented Green. “Some of these exposures are very

complex, and some of the effects are very subtle.” While Ville

neuve’s studies are “very interesting and important,” she said,

they are certainly not the last word. She pointed out that while

significant risks were observed, the numbers of cases are small

and as a result the risk estimates are “unstable.”

Miller noted that these latest findings cannot be directly extrapolated

to work on childhood leukemia. “These studies involve

occupational exposures, which of course are much higher

than in a residential environment.” Also, he noted, childhood

leukemia is “a different disease from adult leukemia—it’s a different

histological type.” Miller said that in a 1999 study of childhood

leukemia in Toronto, which was led by Green, “We could

find no effect at all of electric fields.” When its findings were

published, Green’s team concluded that, “As exposure assessment

is refined, the possible role of magnetic fields in the etiology

of childhood leukemia becomes more evident” (see MWN,



Villeneuve pointed to computer modeling work by Dr. Maria

Stuchly and colleagues at Canada’s University of Victoria, estimating

the level of induced current in different organs of the body

that might result from each type of exposure. Among other findings,

they calculated that electric fields would be likely to produce

especially high peak levels of induced current in the blood,

while magnetic field exposure would produce higher currents in

the brain and cerebrospinal fluid.


Villeneuve and colleagues conclude their leukemia paper by

recommending that “similar analyses be pursued in other study

populations.” But it appears that few if any existing data sets

would be suitable. Villeneuve said that the only studies he knew

of that had the right electric field measurements were the EDF

and HQ components of the triutility study. He noted, however,

that the French researchers had not followed up with workers

after retirement age and that the HQ data had fewer cases, both

of which “would limit analyses.”


“It’s unfortunate that people haven’t collected the data on electric

field exposure,” said Dr. David Agnew of Ontario Power

Generation in Whitby, Ontario—a coauthor of the Villeneuve

papers and of Miller’s 1996 study. Agnew told Microwave News

that any repetition of the Villeneuve studies would probably require

completely new research.


“I somehow can’t see this happening,” commented Green,

“which is a great disappointment.” She noted that “funding is

not coming forward to support follow-up studies in this area”—

no matter how compelling the results. In the long run, though,

Green thinks the issue will demand attention. Even if it is buried,

she said, “I’m not sure it will stay adequately buried.”


Paul Villeneuve, David Agnew, Anthony Miller, Paul Corey and James Purdham,

“Leukemia in Electric Utility Workers: The Evaluation of Alternative Indices

of Exposure to 60 Hz Electric and Magnetic Fields,” American Journal of

Industrial Medicine, 37, pp.607617, June 2000.

Paul Villeneuve et al., “NonHodgkin’s Lymphoma Among Electric Utility

Workers in Ontario: The Evaluation of Alternative Indices of Exposure to 60 Hz

Electric and Magnetic Fields,” Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 57,

pp.249257, April 2000.

Jun Zhang, Indira Nair and Jack Sahl, “Effects Function Analysis of ELF Magnetic

Field Exposure in the Electric Utility Work Environment,” Bioelectromagnetics,

18, pp.365375, 1997.

Trevor Dawson, Kris Caputa and Maria Stuchly, “A Comparison of 60 Hz Uniform

Magnetic and Electric Induction in the Human Body,” Physics in Medicine

and Biology, 42, pp.23192329, December 1997.


U.K. Panel Discourages Use of

Mobile Phones by Children


A high level panel appointed by the U.K. government has recommended

that children be discouraged from using mobile phones and that the industry

not market phones to children. Although the Independent Expert Group on

Mobile Phones, chaired by Sir William Stewart, found that there was no evidence

of a health risk, it favored a “precautionary approach” given current

“gaps in knowledge.”


“I have got a grandchild of four and a grandchild of two and I would not be

recommending that they have mobile phones,” Stewart told the BBC, noting

that he would continue to use his own phone. Stewart was science advisor to

the prime minister from 1990 to 1995.


The 12 members of the expert group issued their report on May 11. They

asked that radiation exposure data for different phones—specific absorption

rates (SARs)—be “readily accessible to consumers” and that there be no shortcuts

in the planning process for the siting of mobile phone base stations.


Electromagnetic radiation in the news!

Concerning power lines and appliances:

USA Today conducted a survey of 4,567 readers and reported that electromagnetic fields, or EMF's, are the number one environmental concern in America. "EMF's - always present near power lines and working electrical appliances - are linked to such diseases as leukemia and breast cancer."

"The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) committee charged with evaluating the potential health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) has completed a draft report that calls for strong action to curtail the exposure of the U.S. population. "It took us nine years but we finally reached agreement," committee chair Dr. Ross Adey, of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Loma Linda, CA, told Microwave News.

A draft report prepared for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) generally endorses a 2 mG exposure limit. It would take effect immediately for new day care centers, schools and playgrounds, as well as for new transmission lines near existing housing. The report was funded by the EPA. Dr. Joe Elder, EPA's program officer for the NCRP study in Research Triangle Park, NC, called the committee's report "the first comprehensive review of the world's literature on EMF health effects."
Microwave News, July/August, 1995
"I have never seen a set of epidemiological studies that remotely approached the weight of evidence that we're seeing with ELF [extremely low frequency] electromagnetic fields. Clearly there is something here."
Martin Halper, EPA Director of Analysis and Support.
"Electromagnetic fields are associated with the development of leukemia, brain cancer and other serious diseases."
Paul Brodeur, writer, The New Yorker Magazine, author of Currents of Death (Simon and Schuster), and The Great Power Line Coverup (Little, Brown).
"...studies on cats, rats, and chick brain cells have shown that low frequency electromagnetic radiation interacts with brain activity and could cause a host of negative symptoms from heightened stress and depression, slowed reaction time, and learning disabilities to miscarriages, fetal deformities, and cancer."

Business Week, Oct. 30, 1989.
"This is really harming people."
Dr. David Carpenter, Dean, School of Public Health, State University of New York, Albany.

When buying a home, it is important to check for EMF's. Homes "sold...for 30% less" when exposed to EMF's, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, September 8, 1993.

According to a survey conducted by Indoor Air Review, 26% of homes have areas that register EMF fields exceeding 3 milligauss.

"...Sweden has concluded that EMF's do lead to higher rates of cancer...I, frankly was somewhat impressed by the arguments made by the Swedes." - President Bill Clinton

Concerning televisions and computer displays (VDTs):

"Most unsettling of all, perhaps, is the fact that the pulsed VLF and ELF magnetic fields found routinely within a radius of about two feet from the average CRT computer terminal can be as strong as, or even stronger than, the sixty-hertz magnetic fields found inside the homes in which Wertheirner and Savitz discovered children to be dying unduly of cancer."
The New Yorker, June, 1989.
"...sit at least ten feet away from the television set."
Time Magazine, July 17,1989.

A Swedish study has found that weak, pulsed magnetic fields similar to those emitted by VDTs can cause fetal abnormalities in the offspring of pregnant mice. According to Tom Brokaw of NBC News, "the findings no longer rule out the possibility that radiation can affect human fetuses." In Sweden, a major Swedish union (the Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees, or TCO) is seeking more stringent limits, and pressure is being put on the Swedish government to change VDT work regulations to protect pregnant women.

A study released in February, 1991, by the University of Southern California (UCS) in Los Angeles has found an increased rate of leukemia among children who watch black and white televisions.