A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

News & Comment

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's only a short letter buried in the back pages of a journal, but it could change the entire cell phone–cancer controversy.

A group at Hebrew University in Jerusalem has reported a sharp increase in the incidence of parotid gland tumors in Israel over the last 30 years. Rakefet Czerninski, Avi Zini and Harold Sgan-Cohen found that these tumors have quadrupled since 1970, "with the steepest increase" after 2001 (see plot below). Their letter appears in the January 2011 issue of Epidemiology; it's a free download. They are with the Hadassah School of Dental Medicine at the university.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

John Snow is known as the father of modern epidemiology, best remembered for helping end the 1854 cholera epidemic in London. At the time no one yet knew that cholera is caused by bacteria, but Snow had long suspected that it was transmitted by food or water. In the hard-hit neighborhood of Soho where hundreds had died, Snow mapped the location of the homes of the victims and could see that most lived near the Broad Street water pump (see image below). Snow was able to persuade local officials to remove the handle of the pump and soon the epidemic subsided.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The acoustic neuroma story is becoming quite compelling.

Researchers in Tokyo have reported that they too found more of these tumors of the acoustic nerve among long-term cell phone users —the third group to see this link. Those who used cell phones for more than 20 minutes a day for at least five years had three times more acoustic neuromas than expected. The Japanese team also saw a strong suggestion of a dose-response relationship: The longer people used cell phones —both in terms of minutes of daily calls and years of use— the greater their risk.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public," H.L. Mencken, the American journalist, famously said years ago. And so it continues today, not only in the U.S. but most everywhere else. The continuing EMF controversy, stimulated by three new books —Sam Milham's Dirty Electricity, Devra Davis's Disconnect and Ann Gittleman's Zapped, — has fueled the demand for quick fixes. (None of these authors recommends them.) Just about every day, someone contacts us, pitching a new product or, on the consumer side, asking if they do any good.

Friday, October 1, 2010

We just learned that David Eisen, the former Director of Research and Information at the Newspaper Guild, died on September 16 at the age of 85. (A notice appeared in today's New York Times.) We got to know Dave Eisen back in the early 1980s when we were reporting on the possible health risks associated with video display terminals (VDTs), cathode ray tube (CRT) displays for computers. (From 1984 to 1995, Microwave News also published VDT News.) We'll let the obituary that ran in Maine's Kennebec Journal recount his life story, but we wish to salute him here.

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Short Takes

January 1, 2016
Last updated January 12, 2016

In August 2014, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued and then rescinded precautionary advice on the use of cell phones. See our story, “CDC Calls for Caution on Cell Phones, Then Gets Cold Feet.”

Today,* Danny Hakim, an investigative reporter at the New York Times, has published a behind-the-scenes look at what was going on at the time, based on more than 500 pages of CDC internal documents, including e-mails, together with follow-up interviews. His story,...

June 25, 2015

Lancet Oncology, the journal which published the official announcement of IARC’s decision to designate RF radiation as a possible human carcinogen, has issued a correction to the conflict of interest (COI) statement it had included for...

October 20, 2014
Last updated April 16, 2015

Some leading epidemiologists have been saying that cell phones don’t pose a brain tumor risk because cancer rates are not going up. Now comes word that Swedish cancer registry data are in disarray and official statistics may be masking a disquieting trend.

Since 2008, there has been a close to 30% increase in patients with a brain tumor of an “unknown nature” and that increase is not reflected in the national cancer registry, according to a new analysis by...

July 8, 2014
Last updated July 19, 2014

Today’s New York Times revisits the EMF controversy, with reporter Kenneth Chang looking back at a Science Times story about power-line EMFs and cancer that ran in July 1989.

Both now and then the Times quoted David Carpenter. Here...

June 30, 2014
Last updated November 25, 2015

INTEROCC and INTERPHONE have a lot in common —more than their first five letters. So much in common that it’s a bit freaky. Or, maybe it just shows, once again, how small, insulated and polarized the EMF community is.

The most obvious parallels are that Elisabeth Cardis is the principal investigator of both the...

June 30, 2014

The new INTEROCC paper raises an intriguing question: Might the ELF component of GSM phone radiation present a brain tumor risk?

To date, all the attention on the cancer risk from mobile phones has been on RF radiation. Now that INTEROCC points to a credible association between exposure to ELF EMFs and brain tumors (see main story), is it possible, we have been focusing on the...