* Acute mobile
phone operation affects neural function in humans - Hydro lines increase
cancer risk: U.S. study (10/10/02)
Tramès per Klaus Rudolph (Citizens'
This study will be published in October
in the "Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology"
Acute mobile phone
operation affects neural function in humans
Croft R, Chandler
J, Burgess A, Barry R, Williams J, Clarke A.
Brain and Behaviour Research Institute, University of Wollongong, Northfields
Ave., 2522, Wollongong, Australia
Mobile phones (MP) are used extensively and yet little is known about
the effects they may have on human physiology. There have been conflicting
reports regarding the relation between MP use and the electroencephalogram
(EEG). The present study suggests that this conflict may be due to methodological
differences such as exposure durations, and tests whether exposure to
an active MP affects EEG as a function of time.METHODS: Twenty-four subjects
participated in a single-blind fully counterbalanced cross-over design,
where both resting EEG and phase-locked neural responses to auditory stimuli
were measured while a MP was either operating or turned off. RESULTS:
MP exposure altered resting EEG, decreasing 1-4Hz activity (right hemisphere
sites), and increasing 8-12Hz activity as a function of exposure duration
(midline posterior sites). MP exposure also altered early phase-locked
neural responses, attenuating the normal response decrement over time
in the 4-8Hz band, decreasing the response in the 1230Hz band globally
and as a function of time, and increasing midline frontal and lateral
posterior responses in the 30-45Hz band.
Active MPs affect neural function in humans and do so as a function of
exposure duration. The temporal nature of this effect may contribute to
the lack of consistent results reported in the literature.
PMID: 12350439 [PubMed - in process]
Hydro lines increase
cancer risk: U.S. study
Appliances also a hazard: Canadian experts
say evidence is still inconclusive
National Post, with files from news services
Monday, October 07, 2002
Overhead power lines and household electrical appliances very likely increase
the risk of developing cancer, according to preliminary findings from
an eight-year study into the health effects of electromagnetic fields.
The California study, considered the largest project examining the effects
of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on health, suggests hundreds of thousands
of people, particularly children, are at risk from life-threatening illnesses
linked to the emissions. Pregnant women are also at greater risk of miscarriage.
The latest findings were commissioned by the California Public Utilities
Commission, which is expected to publish the full report within several
months. Scientists also reviewed a large number of previous studies from
around the world and carried out new research in the San Francisco area.
The researchers said their findings show EMFs increase the risks of life-threatening
illnesses, including childhood leukemia, adult brain cancer and amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis, a degenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in
the brain and spinal cord.
"People have a right to be warned, but whether a major effort to
reduce EMFs is appropriate must still be decided," said Vincent DelPizzo,
a senior member of the research team from the California Department of
Fergal Nolan, president of the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada, a
national independent safety group, said: "So far, the information
that's been available says the evidence is inconclusive.
"Assertions have come out and have said EMFs have been causing cancers,
but no reliable scientific evidence has come out to date to support that."
"This may tip the balance, I don't know yet," said Tony Muc,
president and chief physicist with Canadian-based Radiation Health and
The findings could be "as significant as conclusions about smoking
and lung cancer," he said. "Now the evidence is strong [on tobacco-related
cancer] despite the early debates decades ago whether or not smoking was
However, Mr. Muc, who has studied the issue for 30 years, said: "I
am in the camp that would still say, pending a further look at this particular
study, that it remains inconclusive." Mr. Muc taught non-ionizing
radiation with an emphasis on environmental health and safety issues at
the University of Toronto for more than 20 years.
Neither specialist would comment on the specific findings because they
have not reviewed the research and its methodology.
"If the study comes out and shows conclusively that EMF exposure
from power lines and home appliances, your ovens and clothing irons and
kettles, cause cancer, well, that is a very serious matter," Mr.
Nolan said. "Certainly, it would be significant." "All
you have to do is look out the window and see there are power lines everywhere,"
he added. "If one is exposed to EMF from all kinds of sources in
common use, that is obviously a serious matter. It would become a public
Regardless of conflicting findings, governments, communities and individuals
across the country have taken some precautions. In some cities, power
lines running along or over highways and residential areas now are carried
by much higher poles. A more costly option, removing them from the air
and placing them underground, has been considered but the option is very
"There appears to be a lot of concern in the public and the workplace
about this, to the extent when a power line or a cellphone tower are proposed
near neighbourhoods [people don't want them there]," Mr. Nolan said.
In 1994, a major study involving 223,000 men who worked at electric utilities
in Ontario, Quebec and France linked exposure to magnetic fields to elevated
rates of leukemia. It reviewed the cancer experience of workers employed
at Ontario Hydro, Hydro-Quebec and Electricité de France from 1970 to
1989. Over the study period, the men developed 4,151 cases of cancer,
of which 140 were leukemia and 108 were brain cancers.
It found those exposed to above-average magnetic fields had leukemia rates
as much as three times the level of those exposed to weaker fields. It
also found the incidence of brain cancer among workers exposed to the
most intense magnetic fields was 12 times that of those exposed to weaker
fields, but the result was considered inconclusive because of the small
number of cases involved.
The latest findings could prompt a string of lawsuits against power companies
or domestic appliance manufacturers.
In Britain, Ray and Denise Studholme believe their son Simon would still
be alive if he had not been subjected to a strong electromagnetic field
in his bedroom. The boy slept in a room where his head was less
than one metre from an electricity meter and a burglar alarm in a hall
cupboard. According to the family, tests after their son's death revealed
the two appliances gave off an EMF more than six times the recommended
safe limit. Simon was diagnosed with leukemia in November, 1990. He died
in September, 1992, aged 13.
The family hopes to use the study's findings to launch a case against
their electricity supplier. "If I had known about the electromagnetic
fields, Simon would not have been sleeping there," Mr. Studholme
said. "Within six months of moving here, he used to get up in the
morning complaining of headaches and feeling light-headed."
Informant: Robert Riedlinger