Mobile phones and cancers: What is the evidence? - Prof Mike Repacholi


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This is the ultimate research study which will demystify all the myths related to cellphones & cell-tower radiation! This piece presented by Prof Mike Repacholi, Former Co-ordinator, Radiation and Environmental Health
World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. He has presented all the relevant facts about relation of cancer & other health hazards with radiation.

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Mobile phones and cancers: What is the evidence? - Prof Mike Repacholi

  1. 1. Mobile phones and cancers: What is the evidence? Prof Mike Repacholi University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy Former Co-ordinator, Radiation and Environmental Health World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland Chairman Emeritus, International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)
  2. 2. Topics discussed  How do RF fields interact with tissues?  What head cancer are studied?  How do scientists conduct research?  Limitations of science  Scientific reviews  Assessing health risks  IARC 2B classification (2011)  Children’s sensitivity to EMF  Activism in science  World Health Organization (WHO)  Conclusions
  3. 3. Wireless technologies are part of modern life: there is no turning back Child safety and emergencies Personal Communications Telecommunications
  4. 4. Radiofrequency electromagnetic waves Radio waves are electric (E) and magnetic (H) fields that oscillate at radio frequencies
  5. 5. RF heating principle -+ + - - - + + - + + No Field + E +RF fields can move charged particles, vibrate polar molecules and rotate polar side chains on proteins. This increased kinetic energy is manifested as heating. To date no non-thermal effect has had any impact on health below ICNIRP guidelines limits
  6. 6. Biological and Health Effects  A biological effect is a measurable physiological response to EMF exposure ….not necessarily hazardous  An adverse health effect is a biological effect outside the body's normal range of physiological compensation that is detrimental to health or well-being
  7. 7. Head cancers Head cancers are studied that are at locations most exposed to RF from cell phones Glioma: Glial cells in brain surrounding nerve cells Meningioma: In meninges, tissue surrounding brain Acoustic neuroma: Nerve connecting the ear to the brain Parotid gland tumour: Largest salivary gland
  8. 8. How do scientists study effects from mobile phones?  Studies on cell suspensions or tissues (in vitro studies)  Studies on whole animals (in vivo studies)  Studies on human populations (epidemiology studies) When assessing health risks, epidemiology studies are given highest weight, but they are subject to biases and so need support from well-conducted animal and cell studies. ALL studies need to be replicated or confirmed by independent labs. ALL studies need to be taken into account, both +ve and –ve. ONLY well-conducted studies are used to assess health risk.
  9. 9. Limitations of science  Science cannot prove something does not occur (cant prove a negative).  Science needs to conduct many different types of studies before conclusions can be reached, since studies can be prone to errors and biases.  Using well-conducted studies, health risks are determined based on the weight of the evidence (results of all studies).  If all study results point in the same direction, one has more confidence in the conclusions about any risks to health.
  10. 10. Evaluating the database of acceptable studies cellular studies clinical studies + animal studies + epidemiological studies +
  11. 11. Scientific reviews Base stations and wireless technologies  RF exposures from base stations 0.002% to 2% of ICNIRP …lower or comparable to RF emissions from radio or TV  Only established health effect from RF fields.. increase in body temperature (>1°C). Basis for ICNIRP guidelines. Need high field intensities to increase temperature A mobile phone against the head raises the temperature of the brain by less than 0.1oC  RF signals from wireless technologies in public areas (e.g. schools and hospitals) normally 1000s times below ICNIRP Refer: WHO Fact Sheet #304 Base stations and other wireless technologies, May 2006
  12. 12. Base stations and wireless technologies (2)  Body absorbs up to 5x more RF from FM radio and TV than base stations .. Because radio and TV use lower RF frequencies and the body absorbs more RF at these frequencies than the higher mobile phone frequencies Radio and TV have operated for over 50 years without any known health consequence. Digital versus analogue signals? There seems to be no unique health effects due to different RF modulations because base station and wireless technology signals are too weak; modulation effects occur at much higher intensity levels. WHO Fact Sheet #304 Base stations and other wireless technologies, May 2006
  13. 13. Brain cancer: Interphone study  The Interphone pooled analysis from 13 participating countries found no increased risk of glioma or meningioma with mobile phone use >10 years.  Some indications of increased risk of glioma for the highest 10% of cumulative hours of cell phone use, but no consistent trend of increasing risk with greater duration of use.  The researchers concluded biases and errors limit the strength of these conclusions and prevent a causal interpretation.
  14. 14. IARC  WHO specialized agency for research on cancer classified RF* as possibly carcinogenic to humans (2B) based on 2 studies reporting an increased risk of glioma from cell phone use  Weakest classification for a potential carcinogen does NOT mean RF causes cancer but there is some weak scientific evidence to suggest this but chance, bias or confounding cannot be ruled out as causing this result with reasonable confidence  This merely means more research is needed before any firm conclusion can be reached. *IARC Press Release 208 (May 2011)
  15. 15. WHO Fact Sheet on Mobile Phones Conclusion: An increased risk of brain tumors is not established
  16. 16. Activism in science  There has been a huge amount of activism on this topic.  Many web sites have been produced that provide misleading information about health effects  The BioInitiative Report (2012) presents the activists view and uses only poorly conducted or unreplicated studies that report positive effects in their review, merely to support their preconceived conclusions.  Unfortunately some national authorities believe the activists instead of the highly reputable reviews and conclusions of WHO, merely to placate a concerned public; but this will ONLY generate more public concern.  Activists have their own scientific journal, with an activist as editor in chief, to publish activist articles.
  17. 17. Myths propagated by activists (1) Cook popcorn? No. Some video clips were circulated in May 2008 on the internet claiming that it is possible to cook popcorn using the electromagnetic energy. It was a hoax! Cook an egg or the brain? No. Mobile phones are low powered (0.25W max) and if all its power was deposited in the egg or the brain, it would cause a very small temperature increase (0.10C) well below that required to cook an egg which is > 700C Cause explosions at petrol stations? No. There is no evidence mobile phones caused explosions at any petrol station (UK Institute of Petroleum). RF energy from mobile phones is too low to cause sparks that ignite petrol. Attract lightning? No. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) advises that cell phones, small metal items, jewelry, etc., do not attract lightning. Lightning tends to strike much taller objects.
  18. 18. Myths propagated by activists (2) Cause collapse of bee colonies? Researchers in Germany suggested bees were being "confused" by mobile phone signals causing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and bee deaths. But researchers from US universities have identified a virus causing the deaths. The US Department of Agriculture says there is no link between mobile phones and CCD. Do 'shields' reduce RF from mobile phones? RF shield cases, earpiece pads/shields, antenna clips/caps, “absorbing” buttons and ‘neutraliser’ chips claim to reduce RF.  Mobile phones automatically operate at the lowest power necessary to maintain a quality call.  Adding a device interfering with normal operation can reduce coverage, reduce battery life and increase transmitter power of the phone and base station (up to its maximum).  WHO states that ‘shield’ products are unnecessary and their effectiveness in reducing RF exposure is unproven.  Concerned individuals can limit exposure by reducing call times or using "hands-free" kits to keep mobile phones away from the head and body.
  19. 19. Reliable sources of information  World Health Organization, fact sheets and reports  International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation (ICNIRP), reports, statements and guidelines  European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks, (SCENIHR) reviews  UK Health Protection Agency, reviews and fact sheets  U.S. National Cancer Institute fact sheets  Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, reports and fact sheets  Health Council of the Netherlands, reports  Sweden SSI, reports
  20. 20. Head cancer: Conclusions  Large Interphone study found no evidence of head cancers except in the heavy user group. Almost certainly due to recall bias  Hardell group has published many positive results, but they are distinct “outliers” to most other epidemiological studies  Recent “systematic review” found no evidence mobile phones use up to 10 yrs causing any head cancer (>10 yrs?)  Only a few epidemiological studies have been conducted but found no evidence of head cancers in children; more research is needed.  Although there remains some uncertainty, the trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumours in adults. (ICNIRP)  An increased risk of brain tumors is not established (WHO)
  21. 21. Thank you for Thank you your attention for your आपका ध्यान क लिए े attention धन्यवाद Prof. Mike Repacholi Department of Information Engineering, Electronics and Telecommunications (DIET) University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy E-mail: