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World News
July, 2008
Research
Results of the German Mobile Telecommunication Research Programme (DMF) presented in Berlin
During the six years project time of the programme, open questions on health risks through radiofrequent electromagnetic fields were investigated in more than 50 individual projects and the public perception of mobile communication was recorded. At the conclusive conference on June 17 and 18, the final results of the programme are currently presented. The programme was carried out by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) commissioned by the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU). “The existing limits are sufficient to protect the public properly against the known risks of mobile radiaton”, so the BMU’s conclusion. In his inaugural address, the Federal Minister for the Environment, Sigmar Gabriel, said: "This wide-ranging research programme has not confirmed existing fears about potential health risks of mobile radio, held in large parts of the population. We now know a lot more about the protection of limits. We will, nevertheless, continue to do specific research where we still need more information. This is especially the case for children, who are very sensitive, and it concerns the long-term effects for children and adults.”

More information, documents and opinions at: http://www.fgf.de/english/more.php?id=168
DMF Study on sleep quality of residents living near a mobile base station finalized
The objective of the project “Investigation of sleep quality in persons living near a mobile base station - Experimental study on the evaluation of possible psychological and physiological effects under residential conditions” was to examine the influence of high frequency electromagnetic fields of mobile telecommunication base stations on residents' quality of sleep in a double-blind study. Conclusion: The presented results do not support the existence of a physiological influence of electromagnetic fields from base stations on subjective and objective sleep quality. Clear effects on the sleep quality solely due to the presence of a base station combined with concern about possible health risks could be verified. The results show, that not the exposure does negatively influence the sleep quality, but the worries concerning possible health consequences; this is the case even if the transmitter is not operating.

Final report and further details of the study at: http://www.emf-forschungsprogramm.de
Study: Occupational electromagnetic fields and leukemia and brain cancer: an update to twometa-analyses
From the abstract: All relevant 1993 to 2007 publications were collected and evaluated. Overall, for new studies, both brain cancer and leukemia showed small increases in risk estimates, 10% and 13%, respectively. Notably, pooled risk estimates were lower than in past meta-analyses, and leukemia subtypes showed no consistent pattern when past and present meta-analyses were compared. CONCLUSIONS: The lack of a clear pattern of EMF exposure and outcome risk does not support a hypothesis that these exposures are responsible for the observed excess risk. Findings were not sensitive to assumptions, influential studies, weighting schemes, publication bias, study characteristics, or funding source.

Bibliography: Kheifets et al., J Occup Environ Med. 2008 Jun;50(6):677-88, Abstract
Study: Nocebo as headache trigger: evidence from a sham-controlled provocation study with RF fields
From the abstract: Aim of the study was to investigate the type and location of headache experienced by participants in one provocation study in order to gain insight into possible causes and mechanisms of the headaches. 17 participants went through 130 trials (sham or RF exposure). No significant difference existed in headache type, laterality or location between the headaches experienced with the two exposures types. As participants experienced their typical 'mobile phone headache' both with and without RF exposure, and since the experiment did not involve the stress or the arm/head position of mobile phone use, the most likely explanation is that the headache in this situation is caused by negative expectations (nocebo).

Bibliography: Kheifets et al., J Occup Environ Med. 2008 Jun;50(6):677-88, Abstract
Potential adverse effects of UMTS electromagnetic fields generated by mobile phones on the human inner ear: A European project (EMFNEAR)
From the abstract: To answer concerns as to the potential effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) generated by third generation mobile phones on the inner ear, the European Commission funded project "EMFNEAR" assessed potential changes in auditory function induced by UMTS field both in humans and in laboratory animals. The purpose of this paper is to present the final outcomes of the project in humans. Results showed no effects of acute UMTS electromagnetic fields exposure on the inner auditory system of humans.

Bibliography: Moulin et al., J Acoust Soc Am. 2008 May;123(5):3856, Abstract
MTHR Programme: New mobile phone research announced
The UK Mobile Telecommunications and Health (MTHR) Programme has announced that work has start on a new study to investigate wether the use of mobile phones is linked to long-term health effects such as brain cancer and neurodegenerative deseases. The study will involve monitoring or 200.000 mobile phone useres over a number of years and will be carried out by a team from Imperial College working in collaboration with researchers on other European countries. MTHR press release of June 6, 2008

Details of this and other projects can be found under the second phase of the programme (MTHR 2): http://www.mthr.org.uk
India: Health Ministry commissions study on effects on mobile phone radiations
According to Indian press reports the study among other issues will research on whether the radio frequency wave radiations in India conform to international standards. Apart from issues like depression and sleeping disorders, the research will also study if the radiations cause cancer or other major diseases in humans. Another aspect under the scanner of thestudy will be to analyse the effects of radiations on fertility of humans and side effects if any on menstrual cycle, hormonal changes in women and abnormalities if any on the male reproductive system.

http://www.telecomtiger.com, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com
Environment and Society
20 scientists warn against the danger of mobile phones
In the Sunday issue of La Libération” twenty international scientists warn against the danger of mobile phones, especially for children under the age of twelve. The appeal, which was coordinated by David Servan-Schreiber, a psychiatry professor at Pittsburgh University, contains among others a list of ten recommendations. Children under the age of twelve should only use mobile phones in emergency cases, hands-free kits or loudspeakers should be used, while the mobile phone should be kept at least one meter away from the body. The scientists also recommend to communicate by SMS because it reduces the exposition duration. They point out that there is no scientific evidence for the harm of mobile phones, but the risk exists that the devices promote the development of cancer after longterm exposition. Among the signatories are for example Dr Bernard Asselain, Head of cancer biostatistics at Institut Curie, Franco Berrino, Director of the department for preventive medicine at the national cancer institute in Milan, Dr. Thierry Bouillet, Director of the institute for radiotherapy at the hospital Bobigny, as well as Jacques Marilleau, ancient physicist of the French atomic energy agency. http://www.liberation.fr, http://afp.google.com

As currently other scientists warn against the risks of mobile phones, the French Afsset (Agence française de sécurité sanitaire de l’environnement et du travail) recalls its recommendations from 2005 about mobile radiation. As it is still not clear if the direct exposition of the head in mobile radiation has health effects, the precautionary principle should be continued. Afsset for example recommends that the providers inform about energy and SAR of mobiles, also by notice in their shops, explain the customers how they can reduce the radiation, provide detailed information especially for adolescents and their parents, establish measurement protocols, automatically deliver hands free kits, do not use marketing campaigns aimed at children and adolescents, etc.

The French Académie de Médecine has criticised calls by scientists and cancer experts. Oncologist Thierry Bouillet, one of the doctors backing the claims, said: “At this moment scientific knowledge is insufficient to come to a definite conclusion about use of mobile technology and cancer.” http://www.connexionfrance.com
Annual Report 2007 of Swiss Research Foundation for Mobile Communication
The report gives an overview of the Foundation's work during last year: activities, facts and figures, new and finalized projects and much more.

Download
EMF-Net: Reports on cancer- related projects and agenda of the final conference now online
The publication (published in February 2008) "Reports on cancer- related projects (bioassay, transgenic study, promotion study)" concentrates on possible cancer-related effects of RF radiation in vivo. It is the second deliverable (D3b) from the WP2.2 “RF studies”, and provides an update on the general status of in vivo laboratory studies on cancer-related effects of RF fields, and taking in account the relevant studies published thereafter (since year 2005). As in the first report, an effort has been made to critically evaluate the strength of evidence from in vivo studies regarding the effects of low-level RF fields on the development on cancer. Download the report at: web.jrc.ec.europa.eu

The agenda of the final conference, having taken place on 28 and 29 May in Brussels, is now online available at the EMF-Net website. Further documents on the meeting will follow soon. http://web.jrc.ec.europa.eu
SCENHIR opinion on EMF - also for non-experts
The EC Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) has updated the previous opinion on “Possible effects of Electromagnetic Fields (EMF), Radio Frequency Fields (RF) and Microwave Radiation on human health” by the Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) from 2001, with respect to whether or not exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) is a cause of disease or other health effects. The text has been written in such a way to inform also non-experts.

http://ec.europa.eu
Lectures from the 1st Hellenic Congress on the Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation
The meeting took place on May 24-25 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Programme, Lectures and Proceedings from the congress can be downloaded at:

http://multimedia.biol.uoa.gr
Extra
Can mobile phones produce popcorn?
Of course not, but mobile phone myths do not become extinct. An article of the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) gives facts.

http://www.mmfai.org
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