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June, 2009
New overview of electromagnetic fields and epidemiology by Schüz et al.
In this review inspired by the lectures and the discussions among participants, the current knowledge on exposure to EMF and disease risk, with emphasis on studies of use of mobile phones and brain tumours and exposure to power lines and childhood leukaemia is summarized. Bibliography: Schüz et al., Bioelectromagnetics, published online: 28 May 2009. Read the full abstract at:
Schüz J, Lagorio S, Bersani F. Electromagnetic fields and epidemiology: An overview inspired by the fourth course at the International School of Bioelectromagnetics. Bioelectromagn. in press 2009 doi:10.1002/bem.20510
Publication: microwave irradiation does not alter gene expression in worms
From the abstract: Reports that low-intensity microwave radiation induces heat-shock reporter gene expression in the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, have recently been reinterpreted as a subtle thermal effect caused by slight heating. This study used a microwave exposure system (1.0 GHz, 0.5 W power input; SAR 0.9-3 mW kg-1 for 6-well plates) that minimises temperature differentials between sham and exposed conditions (0.1 °C). No genes showed consistent expression changes across all five comparisons, and all expression changes appeared modest after normalisation (40% up- or down-regulated). The number of statistically significant differences in gene expression (846) was less than the false-positive rate expected by chance (1131). We conclude that the pattern of gene expression in L4/adult C. elegans is substantially unaffected by low-intensity microwave radiation; the minor changes observed in this study could well be false positives.
Dawe AS, Bodhicharla RK et al. Low-intensity microwave irradiation does not substantially alter gene expression in late larval and adult Caenorhabditis elegans. Bioelectromagnetics 2009, in print. DOI: 10.1002/bem.20515
Commentary: The precautionary principle in the context of mobile phone and base station RF exposures
Authors Mike Dolan (MOA) and Jack Rowley (GSMA) examined the international evolution of calls for precautionary measures in relation to mobile phones and base stations with particular focus on Australia and the United Kingdom. This paper developed from a conference paper presented by the first author at the IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, Rome, Italy, 6-8 September 2000. Results: "The precautionary principle is difficult to define and there is no widespread agreement as to how it should be implemented, however, there is a strong argument that precautionary measures should not be implemented in the absence of reliable scientific data and logical reasoning pointing to a possible health hazard. There is also experimental evidence that precautionary advice may increase public concern."
Dolan M, Rowley J. The precautionary principle in the context of mobile phone and base station radiofrequency exposures. Environ Health Perspect 2009. doi: 10.1289/ehp.0900727
New study on occupational exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields?
A set of criteria was developed to evaluate the feasibility of such a cohort study study on health risks caused by occupational exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. The criteria aimed at conditions of exposure and exposure assessment (level, duration, preferably on an individual basis), the possibility to assemble a cohort and the feasibility of ascertaining various disease endpoints. Conclusions: The majority of occupational groups exposed to RF-EMF are not practicable for setting up an occupational cohort study due to the small numbers of exposed subjects or due to exposure levels being only marginally higher than those of the general public. Funding of the project was provided by the German Mobile Telecommunication Research Programme.
Bibliography: Feasibility of a cohort study on health risks caused by occupational exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Breckenkamp et al., Environmental Health 2009, 8:23. Complete article is available as a provisional PDF at:
Calendar of Events
27 - 28 August, 2009: Workshop on genomics in cancer risk assessment
This workshop on genomics in cancer risk assessment will take place in Venice, Italy. Further information:
12 – 14 November, 2009: 6th International Workshop of Electromagnetic Compatibility CEM
This workshop will address the following aspects: electromagnetic compatibility in the domains: electronics, communications systems, industrial systems; biocompatibility; human exposition effects to the electromagnetic fields; problems regarding the measurements.
Environment and Society
COSMOS: new study on possible long term effects of mobile phone use
A new website for COSMOS, an international cohort study on long-term mobile phone use and possible effects on health, has been launched by the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Imperial College London. Within the COSMOS study long term health monitoring of a large group of people will be carried out to identify if there are any health issues linked to long term mobile phone use. Study pre-test were announced for the 28th May 2009. Germany does not take part in the COSMOS project. A pilot study within the framework of the German Telecommunication Research Programme (DMF) concluded that the willingness among the German population to take part was too low. (In German)
AMTA publication: World Health Organisation says children's use of mobile phones is safe
With reference to the French governments consideration to ban mobile phones from schools, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association has defined its position on this topic. It is stated therein that a number of independent reviews of all the available science by international health authorities and governments had carefully considered this concern and found no evidence of any additional risk to children from mobile phone technologies. A list of current expert opinions of national and international health authorities was published on the subject of mobile radiation and brain tumours.
Dariusz Leszczynski blogs on mobile phone safety
Research Professor Dariusz Leszczynski of STUK (Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority), has launched the blog "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" where he will present his opinions on current issues and on lingering controversies in the area of health effects of mobile phones and the safety standards. In his first contribution entitled "From China with Love" Professor Leszczyniski reports on the the 5th International Seminar in China “Electromagnetic Fields and Biological Effects”, which took place in Hangzhou on April 17-19, 2009.
Blog and Comments at:
New at the EMF-Portal: Overview of epidemiologic mobile phone studies
The EMF portal of the University Hospital in Aachen recently launched an overview of existing epidemiologic studies on mobile radio frequencies arranged according to topics and number. These already exist for the medical/biological topics, amd for epidemiological studies. A quick overview about the number and the central position of the studies can be easily seen with using pie charts. Furthermore, there are for each individual epidemiologic research topic concise tables with overviews and details of the corresponding studies. According to the information of June 30, 2009, there have been 92 scientific publications reviewed in total. The EMF-Portal is a free web-based information platform regarding the effects of electromagnetic fields on humans and on interaction with biological systems organised by the Research Center for Electromagnetic Environmental Compatibility ("Forschungszentrum für Elektromagnetische Umweltverträglichkeit")under the direction of Professor J. Silny. Doubts were raised about the operation and the developement of the portal due to the as-yet unconfirmed emeritus status of Professor Silny in Aachen, however the offer should be going ahead. The need for a further independent replication of the work has been stressed.
EMF portal website:
IARC World Cancer Report 2008, Chapter "Electromagnetic Radiation"
Chapter 2.12 of the Report of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) on the subject of "Electromagnetic Radiation" is available for download at the website of the WHO-EMF-project.
Japanese government to introduce wireless supply of electricity for home appliances
The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry is considering specific measures to introduce wireless electric supply systems for home appliances, officials said. The proposal will be incorporated in a report that an advisory panel to the ministry on radio wave policies will compile sometime around July. After receiving the report, the Ministry will to help develop necessary technologies, such as a method of preventing radio wave interference. It will also study electromagnetic waves' impact on human bodies to work out guidelines for safe use of such systems.
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