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Wireless Communications and Health Concerns

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Indotel First International Forum on Mobile Communications and Health, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 5 December 2011.

Indotel First International Forum on Mobile Communications and Health, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 5 December 2011.

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Wireless Communications and Health Concerns Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Wireless Communications and Health Concerns Jack Rowley, PhD, Senior Director Research & Sustainability GSM Association Dominican Republic 5 December 2011© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011
  • 2. Demand for Mobile Network Infrastructure  More base stations to provide: – More coverage. – More capacity. – Higher data rates. Cisco  Potential public concern.© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 1
  • 3. WHO International EMF Project www.who.int/emf© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 2
  • 4. Electromagnetic Fields Radio signals are not x-rays.© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 High intensity radio signals cause heating. 3
  • 5. Health Hazards of Radiofrequency (RF)Exposure  Established:  Not established: – Behavioural changes in – Cancer. response to heating. – Fertility. – Electro hypersensitivity. – Symptomatic complaints. – …© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 4
  • 6. Safety Thresholds for RF ExposureExposure Adverse effects threshold www.icnirp.org 10% 2% © GSM Association 2011 J. Rowley, December 2011 Worker Public Limit Limit 5
  • 7. WHO Support for ICNIRP ‘…following reviews of all the peer-reviewed scientific literature, including thermal and non-thermal effects. The standards are based on evaluations of biological effects that have been established to have health consequences. The main conclusion from the WHO reviews is that EMF exposures below the limits recommended in the ICNIRP international guidelines do not appear to have any known consequence on health.’© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 WHO Standards and Guidelines 6
  • 8. WHO - Wireless Networks (May 2006)  ‘…RF exposures from base stations…lower or comparable to RF exposures from radio or television broadcast transmitters.’  ‘…no adverse short- or long-term health effects have been shown to occur from the RF signals produced by base stations...’  ‘Considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak RF signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects.’© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 WHO fact sheet 304, May 2006 7
  • 9. Mobile Communications Base Station Base station – 100 W. Broadcast radio – 100,000 W.© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 8
  • 10. Typical Maximum Public Exposures - NetworksExposure Adverse effects threshold 10% 2% © GSM Association 2011 J. Rowley, December 2011 Worker Public Mobile Limit Limit Network 9
  • 11. Typical Maximum Public Exposures - Networks 2% Typical maximum exposures in public areas more than 100 times below safety limits. Less than 0.02%© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 Public Mobile Limit Network 10
  • 12. Comparison to Other RF Sources100     90     80     70     60     50     40     ICNIRP (100%) 30     Level (% ICNIRP) 20     9.22 10     3.93 0.06 0.01 0.41 0     Average  Baby monitors  Average  WLAN access  DECT cordless  urban, TV and  (20 cm)  urban, base  point (20 cm)  phone (20 cm)  radio  stations  © GSM Association 2011 J. Rowley, December 2011 Based on Valberg et al., 2007. 11
  • 13. Networks – Exposure Trends 1.E+03 ICNIRP Public @ 900 MHz 80 80 77 74 1.E+02 71 70 Subscriber growth. microwatts per square centimetre 68 1.E+01 62 60 1.E+00 Subscribers (millions) 54 51 50 1.E-01 47 1.E-02 40 1.E-03 30 1.E-04 Average annual exposure. 20 1.E-05 10 1.E-06 1.E-07 0 UK (2001) UK (2002) UK (2003) UK (2004) UK (2005) UK (2006) UK (2007) UK (2008) UK (2009) Country (years)© GSM Association 2011 Measured average exposure in the UK unchanged.J. Rowley, December 2011 Source: GSMA analysis, OFCOM 12 and Wireless Intelligence data.
  • 14. Compliance Boundaries Compliance Boundary Public Compliance Boundary Worker© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 13
  • 15. General Health and Base Stations Heart Disease  ‘For none of the considered Death rate symptoms or diseases a “dramatic increase” was found to have occurred since 1993.’ Hospital Discharge  ‘…To create public anxieties without solid justification clearly contradicts medical ethical standards.’© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 zur Nieden et al., 2009. 14
  • 16. Epidemiology – Base Stations National study:  6,985 subjects, 76,890 base station antennas. Assessed mother’s exposure during pregnancy.  Distance, base station power, modelled power density. ‘There is no association between risk of early childhood cancers and estimates of the mother’s exposure to mobile phone base stations during pregnancy.’© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 Elliott et al., 2010. 15
  • 17. Base Stations - Systematic Review ‘…our review does not indicate an association between any health outcome and radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure...’ Evidence strong for acute effects. Evidence weaker for long-term exposures and children.© GSM Association 2011 Röösli et al., 2010.J. Rowley, December 2011 16
  • 18. Electrohypersensitivity 46 provocation studies, 1175 IEI- EMF volunteers.  ‘…The symptoms are certainly real…there is no scientific basis Symptoms not caused by EMF. to link EHS symptoms to EMF exposure. Further, EHS is not a ‘…support the role of the nocebo medical diagnosis, nor is it clear effect in triggering acute that it represents a single symptoms in IEI-EMF sufferers.’ medical problem.’© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 Rubin et al., 2010. 17
  • 19. WHO - Mobile Phones (June 2011)  ‘…To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use...’  ‘…IARC has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), a category used when a causal association is considered credible, but when chance, bias or confounding cannot be ruled out with reasonable confidence.’  ‘In addition to using "hands-free" devices, which keep mobile phones away from the head and body during phone calls, exposure is also reduced by limiting the number and length of calls…’© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 WHO fact sheet 193, July 2011 18
  • 20. IARC Classification for RF‘…limited among users of wireless telephones for glioma and acousticneuroma, and inadequate to draw conclusions for other types of cancers. Theevidence from the occupational and environmental exposures mentioned abovewas similarly judged inadequate.’ © GSM Association 2011 J. Rowley, December 2011 http://monographs.iarc.fr 19
  • 21. Responses to the IARC Classification  American Cancer Society: – ‘…The bottom line is the evidence is enough to warrant concern, but it is not conclusive.’  Cancer Council of Australia: – ‘…While we need to continue researching the possible link between mobile phones and cancer, it is important to remind people there are many more established cancer risk factors that we can take action every day. Strong action on clear cancer risks like tobacco, alcohol, excessive UV exposure and obesity remain a priority.’  Health Protection Agency (UK): – ‘…there is no clear scientific evidence of a cancer risk from exposure to radiofrequencies at levels below international guidelines but the possibility remains...’ http://www.gsmworld.com/health/newsletters/© GSM Association 2011 gsma_health_env_2011_06.htmlJ. Rowley, December 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LjmnMTLPNw 20
  • 22. US Brain Cancer Trends (A) Number of wireless subscribers in the United States, 1984–2006. (B) Age-adjusted incidence of brain cancer (2000 population standard), SEER 9, 1984–2006.© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 Inskip et al, 2010 21
  • 23. Science Timeline (Tentative) WHO - RF 23-31 May 2011 2012? ICNIRP 2009 IARC 2012 WHO 2013? ICNIRP 2013? (Hazard Evaluation) (Risk Evaluation)© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 22
  • 24. Public Concern  Risk perception factors: – Perceived uncertainty and lack of understanding. – Personal control versus imposed exposure. – Direct versus indirect benefits.  Health claims as a cover for other concerns.© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 23
  • 25. RF Policy Recommendations  Adopt WHO and ITU recommended ICNIRP EMF exposure levels. – Compliance through declaration. – Demonstrate that compliance is assessed.  Adopt national planning policies: – Determine licensing authority and notification requirements. – Decision period for site licence. – Clear and non-political process for decision making.  Consider: – Exemptions for small antennas or site adjustments. – Allow site sharing where technically and commercially feasible. – Encourage good practice.  Communicate.© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 24
  • 26. Responding to Public Concern Perception is reality. Trust first, then information. Listen.© GSM Association 2011 http://www.gsmworld.com/our-work/public-J. Rowley, December 2011 policy/health/risk_communications.htm 25
  • 27. Good Practice Risk Communication  Use 3 key messages, for example: – Complies with limits. – Levels are very low relative to limits. – No established health risks.  Use simple language. – Minimise technical terms.  Use relevant images.© GSM Association 2011 http://www.gsmworld.com/our-work/public-J. Rowley, December 2011 policy/health/risk_communications.htm 26
  • 28. Effective Communication Anticipate to avoid crisis. 6. Consider the issues and respond 5. Apply good practice risk communication methods 4. Develop a communications approach and methods 3. Identify their concerns 2. Identify your audiences1. Consider the issues © GSM Association 2011 http://www.gsmworld.com/our-work/public- J. Rowley, December 2011 policy/health/risk_communications.htm 27
  • 29. Summary  No established health risks from phones or masts.  Adopt evidence based policy.  Practise good communication.© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 28
  • 30. Established Risk© GSM Association 2011J. Rowley, December 2011 http://www.michellehenry.fr/tel.htm 29
  • 31. Thank You Contact: Dr Jack Rowley Job title: Senior Director Research & Sustainability email address: jrowley@gsm.org Tel: +353 86 806 0849 Website: www.gsmworld.com/health © GSM Association 2011 J. Rowley, December 2011 30