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  1. 1. November 2007 – January 2008 AUSTRIAN RESEARCHERS FIND NO EFFECT OF UMTS ON HUMAN ATTENTION, REACTION TIME In their investigation of UMTS-like exposure and human cognitive function, Manuela Unterlechner and colleagues from the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, with Gernot Schmid of the Austrian Research Centers GmbH-ARC, found no evidence for an effect on visual perception and attention. 40 participants (20 females and 20 males) were given 4 tests to measure attention. All tests were “well established in clinical diagnostics and are part of Vienna Test System” the authors report. After analyzing the results, overall, the “exposure level (high, low, sham) was found to have no effect on the different investigated components of attention” Unterlechner et al. report. That is, no differences in reaction time, motor activity time, or number of correct/false responses were found for exposure condition in any of the 4 attention tests. (Unterlechner M, Sauter C, Schmid G, Zeithofer J. No effect of an UMTS mobile phone-like electromagnetic field of 1.97GHz on human attention and reaction time. Bioelectromagnetics. 2007; [Epub ahead of print].) FINAL RESULTS OF GUARD PROJECT INDICATE NO EFFECTS ON HEARING In a paper with 16 authors from 7 countries, the final pooled analysis of the human portion of the GUARD project “Potential Adverse Effects of GSM Cellular Phones on Hearing”, resulted in the conclusion that “there were no effects of exposure to GSM mobile phone signals on the main measures of the status of the auditory system.” In total, across the participating laboratories, 169 healthy young adults (18-30 years old) with normal hearing served as subjects. The experiment was conducted using a within- subject design, that is, the auditory measures taken immediately before and after real or sham exposure were compared. (Parazzini M, Brazzale AR, Paglialonga A, Tognola G, Collet L, Moulin A, Lutman ME, Bell SL, Thomas NA, Uloziene I, et al. Effects of GSM cellular phones on human hearing: the European project “GUARD”. Radiat Res. 2007 Nov; 168(5):608-13.) NO RISK OF GLIOMA FROM OCCUPATIONAL RF EMF EXPOSURE OBSERVED No association was found between the risk of glioma and occupational exposures to RF EMF, ELF EMF, UV radiation, or ionizing radiation in a relatively large case-control study conducted by Ken Karipidis of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and colleagues from Australian government and universities as well as Finish Institute of Occupational Health. The study was conducted as part of the IARC’s Surveillance of Environmental Aspects Related to Cancer in Humans (SEARCH) program. The results of the study, according to the authors, provide no support for an association between occupational exposure to RF EMF and adult glioma, nor did they for ELF EMF, UV and ionizing radiation. (Karipidis KK, Benke G, Sim MR, Kauppinen T, Giles G. Occupational exposure to ionizing and non-ionizing radiation and risk of glioma. Occup Med (Lond).2007 [Epub ahead print])
  2. 2. EXPOSURES FROM WIRELESS TECHNOLOGIES IN HOMES AND OFFICES Gernot Schmid and colleagues at the Austrian Research Centers GmbH have conducted a study in which they measured the exposures created by wireless technologies used for short-range indoor communication in homes and offices. Schmid et al. report that under usual conditions these exposures are well below the ICNIRP guidelines for the general public. (Schmid G, Lager D, Preiner P, Uberbacher R, Cecil S. Exposure caused by wireless technologies used for short-range indoor communication in homes and offices. Radiat Prot Dosimetry 2007; 124:53-57.) EMF-NET REVIEW OF REPRODUCTIVE AND DEVELOPMENTAL EFFECTS OF RF EMF An 11-member working group has published a review of animal studies of the potential effects pf RF EMF on reproduction and development, and an IARC-type classification of the weight of scientific evidence. The group concludes that “there is no convincing scientific evidence that acute or long-term exposure to low-level RF fields can affect reproduction and development in mammals” (Marino C, et al. EMF_NET: Effects of the exposure to electromagnetic fields: from science to public health and safer workplace. 2007 Nov. Available at: %2Dnet/reports.cfm) GERMAN RESEARCHERS EVALUATE BASE STATIONS EXPOSURES, EXPOSURE ASSESSMENT SOFTWARE. The 4 aims of this study by Christian Bornkessel of IMST GmbH, Germany and colleagues were to examine base station exposure in a variety of scenarios, determine which factors are most important for accurate exposure assessment, compare GSM and UMTS exposures emanating from same station and assess the exposure assessment accuracy of several commercially available software packages. Among other things, the authors found that measured base station exposures ranged from 0.01% to more than 10% of ICNIRP field strength exposure limits and that main exposure –influencing factors were orientation to the main lobe and sight conditions, but not distance to the base station. (Bornkessel C, Schubert M, Wuschek M, Schmidt P. Determination of the general public exposure around GSM and UMTS base stations. Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 124(1):40-7.)
  3. 3. September – October 2007 LARGE RF EMF LITERATURE REVIEW FINDS NO SIGNIFICANT HEALTH EFFECTS IN ‘MAJORITY’ OF STUDIES. (Jauchem JR. Effects of low-level radio-frequency (3kHz to 300GHz) energy on human cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and other systems: A review of the recent literature. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2007 2007) James Jauchem of the Brooks Air Force Research Laboratory has published a review of a large number of publications related to RF EMF effects, on the human cardiovascular, reproductive, and immune systems, and more. Overall, he says, “Although both positive and negative findings were reported in some studies, in a majority of instances no significant health effects were found, and stresses the limitations of scientific and medical RF EMF research. These include inherent limitations of RF health effects research as well as problems of interpretation, Juachem suggests. He cites, for example, general problems such as selection and recall biases and the lack of proper exposure assessment;” problems due to publication bias, including “overestimation of risks and easier publication of statistically significant than non-significant results” the reliance on interviews to assess exposure; within- and between- person exposure variation in epidemiology; “the importance of distinguishing between biological effects and adverse effects on health” and more. UK MTHR REPORTS ON FIRST 6 YEARS, CALLS FOR FURTHER RF STUDIES ( In a press release plus 64-page report issued online, UK Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) program managers conclude overall that “ mobile phones have not been found to be associated with any biological or adverse health effects” based on the 6-year, 8.8 million-pound set of 23 projects. Also, research “has found no association between short term mobile phone use or TETRA radio, no nonthermal cell- level effects and no evidence that so-called electrical hypersensivity is related to mobile phone or base station signals. However, MTHR Management Committee chair Lawrie Challis and his colleagues recommend that “the situation for longer term exposure is less clear as studies have so far only included a limited number of participants who have used their phones for 10 years or more. The committee recommends more research be conducted in this area.” STUDY CONFIRMS THAT ICNIRP GUIDELINES PROTECT AGAINST THERMAL EFFECTS (Hirata A, Asano T, fujiwara O. FDTD analysis of human body-core temperature elevation due to RF far-field energy prescribed in the ICNIRP guidelines. Phys Med Biol. 2007 Aug 21;52(16):5013-23.) In a study still in press, Akimasa Hirata, principal investigator Osamu Fujiwara, and colleagues of the Nagoya Institute of Technology in Japan computed the SAR in the human model NORMAN from plane-wave RF EMF at the ICNIRP power density reference levels at 65 MHZ and 2 GHz. In a paper just published, Hirata, Fujiwara and
  4. 4. Takayuki Asano examine the relationship between SAR and body-core temperature increase. They conclude that the ICNIRP guidelines are effective in preventing temperature increase above 1 degree C. TEENAGERS WHO USE MOBILE PHONE IN BED REPORT MORE TIREDNESS (van den Bulck J. Adolescent use of mobile phones for calling and for sending text messages after lights out: results from a prospective cohort study with one-year follow-up. SLEEP.2007; 30(9):1220-1223.) On September 1, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a press release to announce results of a recent study by Jan Van den Bulck of the Leuven School for Mass Communication Research at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. He found that “cell phone use after bedtime is very prevalent among adolescents and its use is related to increased levels of tiredness” self-reported in a one-year follow-up. Van den Bulck points out in his paper that “little is known about the potential impact of the mobile phone on sleep” but use among teens is widespread. He conducted a study “to chart the extent to which adolescents use their mobile phone for sending and/or receiving text messages and/or calls after lights out” and followed baseline observations after 1 yr to determine whether such use predicted more tiredness in late-night users compared to teens with different habits. Overall, the author suggests that “there is no safe dose: even moderate use doubles the risk among term tiredness. There is no safe time to send or receive calls or messages either.” LITERATURE REVIEW FINDS LITTLE SUPPORT FOR CHILDHOOD VULNERABILITY TO RF EMF (Otto M, von Muhlendahl KE. Electromagnetic fields (EMF): Do they play a role in children’s environmental health (CEH)? Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2007 Aug 30) In their recent overview of EMF health effects, Matthias Otto and Karl Ernst von Muhlendahl of the German Academy of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine conclude that RF EMF “encountered in common life are most probably not a priority issue in children’s environment health” and point out problems with dosimetry and confounder control in many studies of EMF and health. The authors pointedly urge: “A better risk communication targeted at health professionals, opinion leaders, and the general population is needed to establish a priority-based perception of environmental risks.” In this rather unusual review, the authors not only introduce key parts of the scientific literature for their multi-disciplinary audience of physicians, public health officials, toxicologists and environmental health workers, but they directly address some of the myths they have heard on the street about EMF and how professionals should advise patients on possible health risks. For example, they point out that at present, various non-scientific groups recommend that RF exposure should be limited to levels “well below the currently valid guidelines.” These recommendations, suggested by “non- governmental institutions, individual scientists, consumer protection organizations, activist groups and some also by national boards,” are derived “from preliminary or non- peer-reviewed scientific results, from an (illegitimate) extrapolation from other exposure situations, from a misconception of deterministic versus stochastic processes (existence
  5. 5. of a threshold versus irreversible damage) and from a ‘gut feeling’ (‘children are always more susceptible to environmental hazards than adults’)” Otto and von Muhlendahl emphasize. SURROGATE MODEL FOR BASE STATION EXPOSURE ASSESSMENT IS LACKING (Neitzke HP, Osterhoff J, Peklo K, Voigt H, Determination of exposure due to mobile phone base stations in an epidemiological study. Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2007 Sep 17;) One of the many projects funded by the German Mobile Phone Research Program is a cross-sectional study of possible adverse health effects due to EMF from cell phone base stations. The project would survey 30-40,000 residents. Concurrent with the health survey, calculations must be done to estimate each person’s exposure from nearby transmitters. Scientists from ECOLOG-Institute in Hannover, Germany, have taken RF EMF measurements in and outside of residences near base stations. Using these data, they evaluated a proposed method for computational exposure assessment. They conclude that while it is useful for a preliminary sorting of subjects into general exposed and nonexposed categories, the potential misclassification rate “could prevent the detection of low risks even in large epidemiological study with 30,000 participants. COCHLEAR IMPLANTS DO NOT CAUSE MOBILE PHONES TO EXCEED SAR LIMITS (McIntosh RL, Iskra S, McKenzie RJ, Chambers J, Metzenthen B, Anderson V. Assessment of SAR and thermal changes near a cochlear implant system for mobile phone type exposures. Bioelectromagnetics. 2007 Sep 27;) Using an integrated RF EMF and thermal computational model developed by Telstra’s Electromagnetic Energy Safety Research team, Telstra researchers Robert McIntosh, Steve iskra, and Raymond McKenzie along with scientists from Cochlear Ltd. and Kordia Pty, Ltd. in Australia assessed the SAR and temperature increases in a head with a cochlear implant system from the use of a mobile phone. They report both parameters are well within ICNIRP limits. May – August 2007 RF EXPOSURE IN LARGE CROWDS FOUND TO BE LOW (Hamnerius Y, Mohammad RJ, Trulsson J, Haglind P. P. 6-3 Exposure from mobile phone systems in large crowds. BEMS Annual Meeting Abstract Book. Jun 10-14, 2007, Kanazawa, Japan, p.101.) Swedish researchers report on a study of RF exposure in crowds over 30 000 people, as would be encountered in a sports stadium. They found that the power density from RF sources in the range of 80-2500 MHz was substantially below ICNIRP reference levels
  6. 6. (in the range of a few hundred μW/m at peak call times) the variation from no crowd to full capacity was small-approximately a factor of 4. GSM AND UMTS EXSPOSURE HAVE NO EFFECT ON SLEEP (Danker-Hopfe H, Bornkessel C, Bahr A, Dorn H. 6-2 Do hogh frequency electromagnetic fields of the GSM and/or UMTS standard for mobile communication affect slepp? BEMS Annual Meeting Abstract Book, Jun 10-14, 2007, Kanazawa, japan, p.101.) In a study believed to be the first on UMTS and sleep, a team of German researchers found that neither UMTS nor 900 MHZ GSM had any effect on sleep patterns. The researcher Heidi Danker-Hopfe thinks that in order to put an end to the debate on RF and sleep effects a much larger sample size and number of observational nights in the laboratory make this one of the largest, most complete EMF sleep studies conducted to date, and it should carry important weight in health risk evaluations. NO EFFECTS ON HUMAN SKIN CELLS FOUND AT ICNIRP LIMIT FOR 1800 MHz. (Sanchez S, Haro E, Ruffie G, Veyret B, Lagroye I. In vitro study of the stress response of human skin cells to GSM-1800 MHz mobile phone signals compared to UVB radiation and heat shock. Radiat Res. 2007 May; 167(5):572-80.) Sandrine Sanchez and her colleagues from the EPHE Bioelectromagnetics Group at the University of Bordeax, France have continued their investigations into the effects of RF EMF on skin cells. In the most recent paper they report observing no evidence of a stress response in human skin from a 48-hour GSM 1800 MHz exposure at the ICNIRP exposure limit of 2W/kg. WHO ISSUES EHC ON ELF EMF (World Health Organization. Extremely low frequency (ELF) filds. Environmental Health Criteria, Vol. 238. 2007. Geneva, World Health Organization. 430 p. Available at In June 2007 the World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva released its Environmental Health Criteria Monograph on Extremely Low Frequency EMF (up to 100kHz). This is a document prepared over the past 5 years in 3 expert workshops and by a 21-member international Task Group. It states briefly, Task Group members affirm the IARC classification of ELF EMF as a “possible human carcinogen” with respect to childhood leukemia, while noting that evidence for any other health effect at low exposure levels is inadequate at this time. REACTION TIME, DISCOMFORT NOT AFFECTED BY BASE STATION EXPOSURE (Furubayashi T, Terao Y, Mizuno Y, Shirasawa K, Kageyama A, Okano T, Nishikawa M, Miyawaki K, Yasuda A, Uchiyama M, et al. P-54 Effects of EMF exposure from mobile phone base stations: differences in reaction times between subjects with mobile phone related symptoms and without them. BEMS Annual Meeting Abstract Book. June 10-14, 2007, Kanazawa, japan, p.347.)
  7. 7. Yasuo Terao of the University of Tokyo reports task performance results for women with perceived Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) and without EHS on a choice reaction time task before and after a 30-min exposure to a base station-like signal. Terao and colleagues conclude that base station RF signal exposure “had no significant effects on the neuronal circuits involved in our pre-cued choice reaction time task” and was not associated with increased discomfort in subjects. RESEARCHERS REPORT NO EFFECTS OF MOBILE PHONES ON HUMAN MOTOR CORTEX (Inomata-Terada S, Okabe S, Arai N, Hanajima R, Terao Y, Frubayashi T, Ugawa Y. Effects of high frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) emitted by mobile phones on the human motor cortex. Bioelectromagnetics. 2007 May 21; [Epub ahead of print] A team of Japanese scientists used a Transcanial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to investigate potential effects of mobile phone fields on the human motor cortex of 10 healthy subjects with multiple sclerosis. They did not find any effects. TMS is a tool that is frequently used for mapping brain function. NO RISE IN BLOOD PRESSURE FOUND WITH EXPOSURE TO RF EMF (Barker AT, Jackson PR, Parry H, Coulton LA, Cook GG, Wood SM. The effect of GSM and TETRA mobile handset signals on blood pressure, catechol levels, and heart rate variability. Bioelectromagnetics. 2007 May 7; [Epub ahead of print]. Researcher Tony Barker and colleagues at the University of Sheffield, UK, have reported and published their experiments in human volunteers exposed to a GSM mobile phone signal which showed no effect attributable to RF exposure. The volunteers were 120 (43 males and 77 females) and there were 6 exposure sessions, separated by at least 7 days. The blood pressure measurements were taken. They found no significant differences between heart rate variability, acute blood pressure changes. No rise in blood pressure found with exposure to RF EMF.