Professor Michael Repacholi, University of Rome

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Health Effects from Wireless Technologies

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  • I agree with guest12fb74!

    I'd like to add that there are millions of hayfever sufferers and also that the largest global killer of children (after warfare) are road accidents. We therefore need a proactive (possibly German lead) government policy on tree's, flowers and also the building of bypass roads around schools. Actually perhaps we might pedestrainize everywhere so we could be like Center Parcs but without the Trees or anything else that might make people sneeze or get sore eyes?

    I wonder if Michael has also heard of Penicillin, Chemotherapy and Stem Cell Research? These are all putting Homeopaths out of work.

    It's all well and good for Michael to recommend more research into the effects of wireless on children, it's probably because he smell's more money. Oh, hang on... haven't the Health Protection Agency, who already said there is no discernible risk associated with the use of wireless in schools, launched a further study to prove it once and for all?

    Vorsprung durch Technik, time to don the lederhosen!<br /><br/>
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  • Professor Michael Repacholi, University of Rome

    1. 1. Dr MH Repacholi Department of Electronic Engineering University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy Former Co-ordinator, Radiation and Environmental Health World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland Health Risks from Radiofrequency Fields
    2. 2. We all use EMF technologies, but are there health consequences? Industrial Sources Residential Sources Medical Sources
    3. 3. When land-line telephones were first introduced into New York people worried about the “fields” from the wires
    4. 4. Public concern about base stations, has continued for years in many countries. Possible health consequences being the main reason Base stations
    5. 6. Wireless Local Area Networks (LANs) are now common in schools, airports, business centres and residential buildings Cafeteria at WHO HQ, Geneva
    6. 7. WHO's main focus is developing counties Need to ensure new technologies are introduced safely
    7. 8. Its important to realise that people's perceptions may not be based on facts. This is why we need good science to confirm the facts …about EMF
    8. 9. <ul><li>WHO established the EMF Project in 1996 </li></ul><ul><li>Primarily to assesses the health and environmental effects of EMF exposure (0 to 300 GHz) </li></ul><ul><li>A multinational, multidisciplinary effort to create and disseminate information appropriate to EMF health risks </li></ul><ul><li>Co-ordinated by WHO, but decisions on health risk are made by international expert committees </li></ul>
    9. 10. Objectives <ul><li>Evaluate scientific evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Report on current status of knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Identify gaps in knowledge needing focused research to make better health risk assessments </li></ul><ul><li>Promote and facilitate research programs </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct health risk assessments and risk estimation, and develop policy options </li></ul><ul><li>Provide information on standards, management programs and advice to national authorities </li></ul><ul><li>Further information on WHO EMF Project: www.who.int/emf </li></ul>
    10. 11. WHO Environmental Health Criteria on EMF <ul><li>EHC 16 Radiofrequency and microwaves (1981) </li></ul><ul><li>EHC 35 Extremely low frequency (ELF) fields (1984)/2007 </li></ul><ul><li>EHC 69 Magnetic fields (1987)/2004 </li></ul><ul><li>EHC 137 Electromagnetic fields (300 Hz-300 GHz) (1993 ) /2009? </li></ul>Major objective of EMF Project is to update EMF monographs
    11. 12. Structure Research Coordinating Committee International Advisory Committee EMF Project Secretariat Standards Harmonization Committee 6 International Organizations Collaborating Institutions >60 National Authorities
    12. 13. Biological and Health Effects Working definitions for health risk assessments <ul><li>A biological effect is a measurable physiological response to EMF exposure ….not necessarily hazardous…this must be evaluated </li></ul><ul><li>An adverse health effect is a biological effect </li></ul><ul><li>outside the body's normal range of physiological compensation that is detrimental to health or well-being </li></ul>
    13. 14. Exposures to people are low ~1mW/cm 2 Exposures lower than from other RF sources such as radio and TV ...depends where measurements made Difficult to distinguish base station exposures from other RF sources Few studies on health effects from base stations alone…but can extrapolate from higher exposure studies Base stations
    14. 16. <ul><li>RF exposures from base stations 0.002% to 2% of ICNIRP …lower or comparable to radio or TV </li></ul><ul><li>Only established health effect from RF fields.. increase in body temperature (>1°C). Need high field intensities to increase temperature. Basis for ICNIRP guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>No significant temperature rise from weak wireless network RF signals </li></ul><ul><li>RF signals from wireless technologies in public areas (e.g. schools and hospitals) normally 1000s times below ICNIRP </li></ul>WHO Fact Sheet #304 May 2006 Base stations and wireless technologies (1)
    15. 17. <ul><li>Body absorbs up to 5x more RF from FM radio and TV than base stations .. Because radio and TV use lower frequencies that the body absorbs more than at mobile phone frequencies </li></ul><ul><li>Radio and TV have operated for over 50 years without any known health consequence.. </li></ul><ul><li>Digital versus analogue signals? There are no unique health effects due to different RF modulation because base station and wireless technology signals are too weak </li></ul>WHO Fact Sheet #304 May 2006 Base stations and wireless technologies (2)
    16. 18. <ul><li>Research has provided no convincing evidence that RF exposure increases the risk of cancer, even at levels much higher than from base stations and wireless technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Cancers is unevenly distributed among populations so it is expected cancer clusters will occur near base stations merely by chance… because base stations are everywhere </li></ul><ul><li>Reported cancers in clusters are often a collection of different types of cancer with no common cause </li></ul>WHO Fact Sheet #304 May 2006 Base stations and wireless technologies Health effects: Cancer
    17. 19. <ul><li>Human and animal studies examining brain wave patterns, cognition and behaviour after RF exposure have not established any adverse effects… even at exposures 1000x higher than base stations or wireless networks </li></ul><ul><li>No consistent evidence of altered sleep patterns or changes in cardiovascular function </li></ul><ul><li>EMF from wireless technologies is not the cause of symptoms in electromagnetic hypersensitivity individuals </li></ul>WHO Fact Sheet #304 May 2006 Base stations and wireless technologies General health effects
    18. 20. No adverse short- or long-term health effects from weak RF signals produced by base stations or wireless technologies WHO Fact Sheet N° 304, Base Stations and Wireless Technologies, May 2006 See: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs304/en/index.html WHO Fact Sheet #304 May 2006 Base stations and wireless technologies Health effects: Conclusion The same conclusion has been reached by EVERY major international and national review. For a listing of these reviews see: http://www.elettra2000.it/scienza/docs2.htm#inglese
    19. 21. Sample of national RF Reviews The following indicate no RF-induced health effects below the levels of ICNIRP Australia ARPANSA Fact Sheet No. 10 (2003) See www.arpansa.gov.au Canada Royal Society Expert Panel Report (2004) EC (2001) France French Senate, (2001), Zmirou Report, (2001), AFSSE (2005) Ireland Dept of Communications (2007) See: http://www.dcmnr.gov.ie/NR/rdonlyres/9E29937F-1A27-4A16-A8C3-F403A623300C/0/ElectromagneticReport.pdf Italy National Agency for the Protection of the Environment (2003) Netherlands, Health Council of The Netherlands (2007) http://www.gr.nl/pdf/Press%20release%20200706%20site.pdf New Zealand Ministry of Health (2001) Spain Ministero della Salute e del Consumo (2001) Sweden SSI, (2007) See: http://www.ssi.se/ssi_rapporter/pdf/ssi_rapp_2007_4.pdf USA IEEE COMAR (2000)
    20. 22. No RF induced health effects below ICNIRP British Medical Association (2001) Dept of Health (2000) Institution of Electrical Engineers (2004) NRPB (2003, 2004, 2005) Stewart Report (2000) .. recommended UK adopt ICNIRP as a precautionary measure UK reviews
    21. 23. NRPB became part of the HPA April 2005 UK HPA (2007) web site: http://www.hpa.org.uk/radiation/understand/radiation_topics/emf/wifi.htm … On the basis of the studies so far carried out in house, the Agency sees no reason why WiFi should not continue to be used in schools. However with any new technology it is a sensible precautionary approach, as happened with mobile phones, to keep the situation under ongoing review so that parents and others can have as much reassurance as possible. That is why our Chairman, Sir William Stewart, has stated it would be timely to carry out further studies as this new technology is rolled out. The Health Protection Agency is discussing this with relevant parties’ But radio, TV and other devices (mobile phones) expose people (children) to much higher levels! All devices expose people to levels below ICNIRP!
    22. 24. Implementing precautionary measures MUST be done with caution
    23. 25. Wiedemann et al. 2006 Precautionary measures should be introduced only when there is the possibility of a real health concern justified by the science
    24. 26. Mobile phones <ul><ul><li>Many coordinated research programs in UK, EC, Germany, Netherlands, Australia etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No adverse health effects have been established </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If worried you can reduce exposure using hands free kits or limiting call times </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pregnant women are not at risk.. very low RF absorption to the foetus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Children are high users and increasing …more research recommended </li></ul></ul>
    25. 27. Childrens’ Sensitivity to EMF <ul><li>Stewart Report (UK: IEGMP 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Health Council of the Netherlands (2002) </li></ul><ul><li>EC: COST 281 (2002) </li></ul><ul><li>WHO EMF Project workshop (Istanbul, 2004) </li></ul>Key issues Workshop concluded: Added safety factor for the public in ICNIRP seems to adequately protect children, but few studies exist and so more research is recommended…see WHO research agenda
    26. 28. Hypersensitivity to EMF Many symptoms; headaches, fatigue, stress, sleep disturbances etc, not consistent among affected individuals WHO workshop (Prague, 2004) Recent reviews, UK Fox (Essex U) study Key topics Conclusion: Hypersensitivity symptoms is NOT directly caused by exposure to EMF (WHO Fact sheet N°296 Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity , December 2005 ) See: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs296/en/index.html
    27. 29. <ul><li>Continue research: see WHO’s RF research agenda (http://www.who.int/peh-emf/research/rf_research_agenda_2006.pdf) </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct risk assessments with a transparent process </li></ul><ul><li>Advise national authorities on facts and policies </li></ul><ul><li>Disseminate results in an easily understood language </li></ul>RF fields What is the way forward? Over the past 12 years >$250 million has been spent by researchers to complete WHO’s EMF research agendas
    28. 30. Health hazard of mobile phones: Driving while using a mobile phone is dangerous. WHO strongly recommends against this!!
    29. 31. Thank you for your attention Prof. Mike Repacholi Department of Electronic Engineering University of Rome “La Sapienza” Tel: +39 0644585849, Fax: +39 06 4742647 E-mail: repacholi@die.uniroma1.it

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