07 June 2016
Cell Phones Under Scrutiny
The association, Doctors for the Protection of the Environment (MfE) considers that even in the absence of the final report, this study is going to generate new discussions on precautions regarding use. According to it, this discussion must be undertaken at the World Health Organization (WHO), particularly to see whether it is necessary to raise the level of danger of cell phones.
|For the time being, no proof of harm has been
established. In order to reduce exposure to
the head, it recommended to use a low-radiating
head set. Peter Dazeley/Stone Sub
Cell Phones Under Scrutiny
by Caroline Zuercher, Tribune de Genève, 7 June 2016
(translated from French by the Editor of “Towards Better Health”)
Electrosmog : An American study revives concerns. In Switzerland, the risk is considered minor.
What is the effect of cell phones on health? A vast toxicological study on rats and mice in the United States revives this issue which one could qualify as old. Partial results revealed 27 May suggest a link between rare cancers, cerebral glioma and cardiac schwannoma, and exposure to signals replicating those of a cell phone.
The rats in question did not have an easy life. Researchers at the National Toxicology Program (NTP, which comprises several American public agencies) exposed them to radiofrequencies of 900 MHz according to the norms of GSM and CDMA. And this, 18 hours a day until age two, in a regular cycle: 10 minutes of exposure, then 10 minutes’ pause. The result? A “low incidence” of tumors was observed in male rats while specimens in the control group, not exposed to waves, were not affected. No significant effects were observed in female rats. The studies on mice are continuing.
Results still partial
For the time being, WHO notes that no proof of harm has been established: it has classified radiofrequencies in the category of “possibly carcinogenic” substances. Adding to the problem, a study revealed last month concludes that the frequency of brain cancers has remained rather stable in Australia for 30 years, in spite of the rise in mobile telephony.
Danger judged minor in Switzerland
Debate in Bern on mobile antennas
In February, the Commission of Transport and Telecommunications (CTT) of the National Council tabled two proposals to improve the quality of the network. One motion wants to raise the limit values of antenna emissions. A postulate demands simplified procedures for their installation. The Federal Council proposed to reject the postulate, but supports the motion which foresees financing for research and monitoring of radiation. These interventions must be dealt with in the Parliament on 16 June. The association, Doctors for the Protection of the Environment, is worried about these proposals, considering that on the contrary, it is necessary to adopt the precautionary principle. Following the same logic, it is requesting to devote 10% of what is produced by radiocommunication concessions to independent research and to inform users about health issues.
“It would be smart to incite operators to collaborate to optimize use of existing antennas before examining the possibility of installing new ones,” responds Mathieu Fleury. “Concerning this aspect, we could find solutions to ensure that competition does not result in an avoidable bombardment of waves.”
National Councillor Christian Wasserfallen (PLR/BE) on the contrary, emphasizes that limit values in Switzerland are 10 times lower than in other European countries: the purpose is to upgrade to the same level. And then, he continues, scientific studies show that the poorer the quality of the network, the more this increases the power output of cell phones and thus, exposure to radiation. C.B-D./C.Z.
Original articles in French;