Magda Havas talks at NIEHS May 9, 2016 on Electrosmog and Electrohypersensitivity
Magda Havas talks at NIEHS May 9, 2016 on Electrosmog and Electrohypersensitivity
Everything wireless is tested on a plastic head, designed by engineers back in 1996. They put salty fluid in it, set their timer for 6 minutes. And if in that 6 minutes the temperature hasn’t risen more than 2 degrees, they declare the product safe for you and for me…who don’t have plastic heads. We don’t have plastic heads.
The National Toxicology Program published a 25 million dollar study which is one of the largest and most comprehensive studies on cell phone radiation and cancer in the US. In the study the rats exposed to cell phone radiation developed two types of cancers, glioma, a brain tumor, and schwannoma, a tumor in the heart.
The summary includes, “Given the widespread global usage of mobile communications among users of all ages, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to RFR could have broad implications for public health.”
Mother Jones called it a “game-changing study”, and stated “It’s the moment we’ve all been dreading.”
The Wall Street Journal reported, “A major U.S. government study on rats has found a link between cellphones and cancer, an explosive finding in the long-running debate about whether mobile phones cause health effects.”
More information about the NTP study can be found here:
More about the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) from the Federal Communications Commission
The sysadmin-activist at the center of a bizarre legal battle over a smart meter network in Seattle, Washington, says he never expected a simple records request to turn into a lawsuit.
Phil Mocek told The Register that when he asked Seattle City Light, a public power utility, to provide details on the designs and rollout of its smart power meter grid, he was simply hoping to find out what security safeguards the city and hardware providers Landis+Gyr and Sensus USA planned to use.
“We all assume these meters simply monitor the amount of energy usage in the home,” Mocek explained. “But they monitor it in real time in ways that other meters did not.”
The worry, Mocek said, is that the city may have been convinced by the suppliers to install a network with poor security protections or insecure protocols that could place citizens at risk of having their energy-use remotely spied on or their personal information stolen.
To find out more about the meters that the city was planning to install and the security measures in place to protect those meters, Mocek filed a request for documents under the Washington Public Records Act (PRA) via the MuckRock investigations website.
This, says Mocek, is where things started to get real odd.
The free-software advocate said that after an email exchange with Seattle City Light officials, he obtained some of the records and uploaded them to the web – only to be told that the smart meter suppliers objected to the release of the information on the grounds that the unredacted documents would disclose their trade secrets and open the public to terrorist attacks on their infrastructure.
Mocek was given a mix of unredacted and redacted documents by the city, the meter makers complained, whereas he should only have received and published files they had censored. Seattle officials said they were not skilled enough to know for sure which parts to redact, so left it to the suppliers to edit the files – yet, unredacted information managed to make its way into Mocek’s hands and onto the internet.
Landis+Gyr and Sensus promptly sued the city, Mocek and Muckrock, and filed for an injunction: ultimately, the suppliers wanted the documents taken down, and the unredacted copies banned from public view.
On Thursday, a temporary restraining order was granted by the King County Superior Court in Washington – and Muckrock founder Michael Morisy confirmed the unredacted documents have been taken down pending the outcome of the case.
The legal showdown has also attracted the attention of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which says it will lend their legal expertise to MuckRock’s defense.
“We are incredibly grateful for the support of the EFF, our users and readers, and the many individuals and organizations that reached out with support and advice,” MuckRock founder Michael Morisy said.
Mocek says he has yet to be formally served court papers. He argues that he has no interest in exposing the trade secrets of the smart meter providers nor the nitty-gritty financial details of the companies that are working with the city. He even said he was willing to accept documents with sensitive areas redacted.
Crucially, though, he wants those redactions to be made by the city to remove data it is required by law to censor – rather than information the companies themselves don’t want to share.
“I’m not likely to put up a fight over the line item cost, but I do want to know what kind of security they have on this system,” Mocek explains. “I’m worried that we as a city are going to pay a lot for a system whose security relies on people not knowing how it works.”
In the meantime, however, Mocek also has some additional problems to deal with, thanks to the legal wrangling. Though he has filed similar information requests in the past, he says he has never had to face a lawsuit simply because he wanted to look at public records and keep a local utility honest.
“I don’t think [Seattle City Light] are going to put a device on my house to spy on me,” he quipped. “I think they are being bamboozled by vendors who want to make a lot of money by replacing thousands of meters.”
As well as a restraining order, the meter makers are demanding damages for the publication of the unredacted blueprints, and are asking for a list of everyone who downloaded the dossiers. ®
A $25 million U.S. government study has found a link between cell phones and cancer. The National Toxicology Program’s multiyear study found links to two types of brain and heart tumors in rats exposed to the radio frequencies commonly used by cell phones.In the brain, gliomas affect the gluey tissue that holds the neurons in place. Schwannomas generally affect hearing-related nerves when they occur in the brain. In the heart, they affect neurons and are generally benign but malignant heart schwannomas were found among the rats in the study.
While the number of tumors was small, scientists said any incidence was worrying, given the massive number of people who use cell phones regularly worldwide.
“Given the widespread global usage of mobile communications among users of all ages, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to [radio-frequency radiation] could have broad implications for public health,” an early version of the study said.
The NTP’s report said the types of tumors found in the rats “are of a type similar to tumors observed in some epidemiology studies of cell phone use.” It said the findings “appear to support” the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) conclusions regarding the possible carcinogenic effects of cell phone radiation.
The NTP undertook the study at the direction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) helped to oversee it and earlier this week noted that there was “limited evidence of an increased risk for developing cancer from cell phone use.”
While rats and humans are not identical, rats are commonly used in cancer studies because their reactions to various carcinogens are similar to humans. The report released today covers only findings affecting the brain and heart. Additional findings will be released later, the NTP said.
The test was constructed so that the radiation level the rats received was “not very different” from what humans are exposed to when they use cell phones, said Chris Portier, former associate director of the NTP, Mother Jones reported.
Portier said the findings should be a wake-up call for the scientific establishment. “I think this is a game changer,” he said. “We seriously have to look at this issue again in considerable detail,” according to the Mother Jones report.
“The NTP does the best animal bioassays in the word,” Portier added, the Mother Jones article said. “Their reputation is stellar. So if they are telling us this was positive in this study, that’s a concern.”
The wireless industry in the U.S. has long proclaimed, without any definitive evidence, that cell phones are harmless. CTIA, the wireless industry’s trade group, no longer lists cancer as a topic on its website’s Policy & Initiatives page.
Cell phones emit what is called non-ionizing radio-frequency radiation (RFR). Ionizing radiation is a well-accepted human carcinogen, but the wireless industry and others have argued that there is no evidence that non-ionizing radiation could induce tumors.
For the study, rats were housed in custom-designed reverberation chambers and exposed to cell phone 900 MHz RFR, using both GSM and CDMA modulation, the two types that are in general use worldwide.
Exposures began in utero and continued over a period of approximately 18 hours using a continuous cycle of 10 minutes on (exposed) and 10 minutes off (not exposed), for a total daily exposure time of approximately 9 hours a day for 7 days per week.
A control group was housed in identical containers and not exposed to the radiations.
A low incidence of malignant gliomas and glial cell hyperplasia was observed in all groups of male rats exposed to GSM-modulated RFR. In males exposed to CDMA-modulated RFR, a low incidence of malignant gliomas occurred. No malignant gliomas or glial cell hyperplasias were observed in specimens of the control group, the NTP report said.
In females exposed to GSM-modulated RFR, a malignant glioma was observed in a single rat. Glial cell hyperplasia was also observed in a single rat. In females exposed to CDMA-modulated RFR, malignant gliomas were observed in two rats. Glial cell hyperplasia was observed in one female in each of the CDMA-modulation exposure groups. There was no glial cell hyperplasia or any of the seven malignant glioma observed in females of the control group.
Cardiac schwannomas were observed in male rats in all exposed groups of both GSM- and CDMA-modulated RFR, while none were observed in the control groups. For both the GSM and CDMA modulations, there was a “significant positive trend” in the incidence of schwannomas of the heart, according to the NTP report.
Exposure to radio-frequency radiation linked to tumor formation in rats
Federal scientists released partial findings Friday from a $25-million animal study that tested the possibility of links between cancer and chronic exposure to the type of radiation emitted from cell phones and wireless devices. The findings, which chronicle an unprecedented number of rodents subjected to a lifetime of electromagnetic radiation starting in utero, present some of the strongest evidence to date that such exposure is associated with the formation of rare cancers in at least two cell types in the brains and hearts of rats. The results, which were posted on a prepublication Web site run by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, are poised to reignite controversy about how such everyday exposure might affect human health.
Researchers at the National Toxicology Program (NTP), a federal interagency group under the National Institutes of Health, led the study. They chronically exposed rodents to carefully calibrated radio-frequency (RF) radiation levels designed to roughly emulate what humans with heavy cell phone use or exposure could theoretically experience in their daily lives. The animals were placed in specially built chambers that dosed their whole bodies with varying amounts and types of this radiation for approximately nine hours per day throughout their two-year life spans. “This is by far—far and away—the most carefully done cell phone bioassay, a biological assessment. This is a classic study that is done for trying to understand cancers in humans,” says Christopher Portier, a retired head of the NTP who helped launch the study and still sometimes works for the federal government as a consultant scientist. “There will have to be a lot of work after this to assess if it causes problems in humans, but the fact that you can do it in rats will be a big issue. It actually has me concerned, and I’m an expert.”
More than 90 percent of American adults use cell phones. Relatively little is known about their safety, however, because current exposure guidelines are based largely on knowledge about acute injury from thermal effects, not long-term, low-level exposure. The International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2011 classified RF radiation as a possible human carcinogen. But data from human studies has been “inconsistent,” the NTP has said on its website. Such studies are also hampered by the realities of testing in humans, such as recall bias—meaning cancer patients have to try to remember their cell phone use from years before, and how they held their handsets. Those data gaps prompted the NTP to engage in planning these new animal studies back in 2009.
The researchers found that as the thousands of rats in the new study were exposed to greater intensities of RF radiation, more of them developed rare forms of brain and heart cancer that could not be easily explained away, exhibiting a direct dose–response relationship. Overall, the incidence of these rare tumors was still relatively low, which would be expected with rare tumors in general, but the incidence grew with greater levels of exposure to the radiation. Some of the rats had glioma—a tumor of the glial cells in the brain—or schwannoma of the heart. Furthering concern about the findings: In prior epidemiological studies of humans and cell phone exposure, both types of tumors have also cropped up as associations.
In contrast, none of the control rats—those not exposed to the radiation—developed such tumors. But complicating matters was the fact that the findings were mixed across sexes: More such lesions were found in male rats than in female rats. The tumors in the male rats “are considered likely the result of whole-body exposure” to this radiation, the study authors wrote. And the data suggests the relationship was strongest between the RF exposure and the lesions in the heart, rather than the brain: Cardiac schwannomas were observed in male rats at all exposed groups, the authors note. But no “biologically significant effects were observed in the brain or heart of female rats regardless of modulation.” Based on these findings, Portier said that this is not just an associated finding—but that the relationship between radiation exposure and cancer is clear. “I would call it a causative study, absolutely. They controlled everything in the study. It’s [the cancer] because of the exposure.”
Earlier studies had never found that this type of radiation was associated with the formation of these cancers in animals at all. But none of those studies followed as many animals, for as long or with the same larger intensity exposures, says Ron Melnick, a scientist who helped design the study and is now retired from the NTP.
The new results, published on Web site bioRXiv, involved experiments on multiple groups of 90 rats. The study was designed to give scientists a better sense of the magnitude of exposure that would be associated with cancer in rodents. In the study rats were exposed to RF at 900 megahertz. There were three test groups with each species of each sex, tested at different radiation intensities (1.5, three and six watts per kilogram, or W/kg), and one control group. (The lowest-intensity level roughly approximates the levels allowed by U.S. cell phone companies, which is 1.6 W/kg.) “There are only 90 animals per group, so because there is a trend—and this is the purpose of these assays where you do multiple doses you extrapolate downward and calculate a risk for humans from those trends—so that information is useful. Probably what caused cancer at the high doses will cause cancer at lower doses but to a lesser degree,” Portier says.
Rodents across all the test groups were chronically exposed to RF for approximately nine hours spread out over the course of the day. (Their entire bodies were exposed because people are exposed to such radiation beyond their heads, especially when they carry them or store them in their bras, says John Bucher, the associate director of the NTP.) During the study the rats were able to run around in their cages, and to eat and sleep as usual. The experiments also included both types of modulations emitted from today’s cell phones: Code Division Multiple Access and Global System for Mobile. (Modulations are the way the information is carried, so although the total radiation levels were roughly the same across both types, there were differences in how radiation is emitted from the antenna—either a higher exposure for a relatively short time or a lower exposure for a longer time.) Overall, there was no statistically significant difference between the number of tumors that developed in the animals exposed to CDMA versus GSM modulations. With both modulations and tumor types, there was also a statistically significant trend upward—meaning the incidence increased with more radiation exposure. Yet, drilling down into the data, in the male rats exposed to GSM-modulated RF radiation the number of brain tumors at all levels of exposure was not statistically different than in control males—those who had no exposure at all. “The trend here is important. The question is, ‘Should one be concerned?’ The answer is clearly ‘Yes.’ But it raises a number of questions that couldn’t be fully answered, ” says David Carpenter, a public health clinician and the director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany, S.U.N.Y.
The findings are not definitive, and there were other confusing findings that scientists cannot explain—including that male rats exposed to the radiation seemed to live longer than those in the control group. “Overall we feel that the tumors are likely related to the exposures,” says Bucher, but such unanswered questions “have been the subject of very intense discussions here.”
The NTP released the partial findings on Friday after an online publication called Microwave News reported them earlier this week. The program will still be putting out other results about the work in rats and additional findings about similar testing conducted in mice. The NIH told Scientific American in a statement, “This study in mice and rats is under review by additional experts. It is important to note that previous human, observational data collected in earlier, large-scale population-based studies have found limited evidence of an increased risk for developing cancer from cell phone use.” Still, the NTP was clearly expecting these findings to carry some serious weight: Ahead of Friday’s publication the NTP said on its Web site that the study (and prior work leading to these experiments) would “provide critical information regarding the safety of exposure to radio-frequency radiation and strengthen the science base for determining any potential health effects in humans.”
In response to media queries, cell phone industry group CTIA–The Wireless Association issued a statement Friday saying that it and the wireless industry are still reviewing the study’s findings. “Numerous international and U.S. organizations including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization and American Cancer Society have determined that the already existing body of peer-reviewed and published studies shows that there are no established health effects from radio frequency signals used in cellphones,” the CTIA statement said.
The Federal Communications Commission, which had been briefed by NIH officials, told Scientific American in a statement, “We are aware that the National Toxicology Program is studying this important issue. Scientific evidence always informs FCC rules on this matter. We will continue to follow all recommendations from federal health and safety experts including whether the FCC should modify its current policies and RF exposure limits.”
This animal study was designed primarily to answer questions about cancer risks humans might experience when they use phones themselves, as opposed to smaller levels of exposure from wireless devices in the workplace or from living or working near cell phone towers. But it may have implications for those smaller levels as well, Portier says.
The findings shocked some scientists who had been closely tracking the study. “I was surprised because I had thought it was a waste of money to continue to do animal research in this area. There had been so many studies before that had pretty consistently not shown elevations in cancer. In retrospect the reason for that is that nobody maintained a sufficient number of animals for a sufficient period of time to get results like this,” Carpenter says.
Exposing rodents to radiation for this type of experiment is a tricky business. First, scientists need to be able to calculate exactly how much the rats should be exposed to relative to humans. Too much exposure would not be a good proxy for human use. And with finely calculated low-level exposure rates, scientists still need to be sure they are not going to heat the animals enough to kill them or to cause other health problems. (Subsequent work will be published on the animals’ temperatures.)
The fact that scientists were able to expose animals to nonionizing radiation (like that emitted by cell phones) and those animals went on to develop tumors but that exposure did not significantly raise the animals’ body temperatures was “important” to release, Bucher says.
There are safety steps individuals can take, Carpenter says. Using the speakerphone, keeping the phone on the desk instead of on the body and using a wired headset whenever possible would help limit RF exposure. “We are certainly not going to go back to a pre-wireless age,” he says. But there are a number of ways to reduce exposure, particularly among sensitive populations.”
Editor’s Note (5/27/16, 2:10 P.M.): This story was updated to reflect information provided during an NTP press conference and a statement from an industry group.