Anmerkung der BW zur folgenden
von Dr. Neill Cherry, Lincoln Universität 2. Oktober 1999
"Die ICNIRP (internationale Strahlenschutzkommission für nichtionisierende Strahlung) erstellt Richtlinien für Expositionsgrenzwerte von elektromagnetischen Feldern. Die ICNIRP hat sich im Besonderen mit Fragen des Mobilfunks beschäftigt."(WHO-Broschüre 10/99).
Die Richtlinien der ICNIRP werden i.d.R. von den nationalen Gremien übernommen. In Deutschland geschah die Übernahme 1 : 1.
"Keine Normungsbehörde hat Expositionsrichtlinien mit dem Ziel erlassen, vor langfristigen gesundheitlichen Auswirkungen, wie einem möglichen Krebsrisiko, zu schützen."(WHO-Broschüre 10/99)
Diese Aussage müsste jeden kritischen Entscheidungsträger überzeugen, keine weiteren Sender zuzulassen. Die WHO befürwortet ja diese Mobilfunktechnik und ist mitverantwortlich für die jetzigen Grenzwerte. Umso bedeutender wird diese Aussage!
"Die nationalen und internationalen Richtlinien basieren auf der Vermeidung von gesicherten Auswirkung einer Exposition auf die Gesundheit." (WHO Broschüre 10/99)
Was als "wissenschaftlich gesichert" gilt, bestimmt vorwiegend die ICNIRP in Zusammenarbeit mit der WHO! Dass in Deutschland die Grenzwerte der ICNIRP übernommen wurden ist kein Wunder, denn der 1. Vorsitzende dieser ICNIRP war bis vor kurzen Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bernhardt, jetzt ist er 2. Vorsitzender. Prof. Bernhardt war auch maßgeblich in der deutschen Strahlenschutz-Kommission und im deutschen Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz (BfS) tätig. Das BfS hat keine eigenen Forschungsaktivitäten und orientiert sich an der ICNIRP. Die Behörden in Deutschland berufen sich auf das BfS. Laut der Aussage des Prof. Bernhardt am 23.02.00 bei einer öffentlichen Veranstaltung ist er der persönliche Berater des Bundesumweltministers Jürgen Trittin. Die Regulierungsbehörde für Telekommunikation und Post (RegTP), die die Standortgenehmigungen für die Mobilfunkbetreiber erteilt, ist dem Wirtschaftsministerium unterstellt, betreibt ebenfalls keine eigenen Forschungen und beruft sich auf das BfS. Die Behauptung in jeder Standortbescheinigung der RegTP, dass die Sicherheitsbestimmungen dem Stand von Wissenschaft und Technik entsprechen, ist wissenschaftlich falsch! Dipl. Ing. R. Matthes ist im BfS und zugleich Mitglied der 16-köpfigen ICNIRP!
Mit der Arbeit von Dr. Neill Cherry wird nun klar, daß unsere Grenzwerte der 26. BImSchV. auf einem Wissenschaftsbetrug aufgebaut sind.Dr. Neill Cherry hat hervorragende Arbeit geleistet und die Manipulation der ICNIRP transparent aufgezeichnet.
Mit Sicherheit erfüllt der Gesetzgeber in Deutschland mit der 26. BimSchV bei den gepulsten elektromagnetischen Feldern nicht das Vorsorgeprinzip!
Dr. Neill Cherry ist strenger Wissenschaftler. Aufgrund der wissenschaftlichen Studien fordert er einen Grenzwert von 10 nW/cm². Als Wissenschaftler kann er keine Sicherheitsabschläge fordern. Dies wäre Aufgabe der Strahlenschutzbehörden und Politik.
Dem Bundesumweltminister Jürgen Trittin wurde daher am 19.10.1999, anlässlich des Bürgerforums "Elektrosmog", eine Resolution zur Minimierung der allgemeinen Elektrobelastung übergeben.
Hier wurden von vielen Medizinern, Umweltverbänden (u.a. BW), Wissenschaftlern usw. Vorsorgewerte für die gepulste Hochfrequenz
im Wachbereich von 0,1 nW/cm² und
im Ruhe- und Schlafbereich von 0,001 nW/cm² (Nanowatt/cm²)
Diese Werte stützen sich auf viele Studien und umfassende Ergebnisse der Erfahrungsmedizin.
Nimmt man von dem Wert von Dr. Neill Cherry noch einen Sicherheitsabschlag, so kommt man genau wieder auf diese Werte.
Die gesetzlich erlaubten Grenzwerte in Deutschland sind
für das D-Netz 470.000nW/cm²und
für das E-Netz 950.000 nW/cm²
Mit diesen Leistungen darf der Mensch lebenslang bestrahlt werden!!!
Für ungepulste Strahlung im Wachbereich liegen die Werte der Resolution, sogar ohne Sicherheitsabschlag, identisch mit dem von Dr. Neill Cherry.
Die Cherry-Studie ist z.Z. das bedeutendste Wissenschafts-Dokument zum Thema Mobilfunk und sollte jedem kritischen Bürger bekannt sein; die deutsche Übersetzung ist bei uns gebunden für DM 60.- oder deutsch+englisch für DM 70.- zu beziehen.
Dachverband der Bürger und Initiativen zum Schutz vor Elektrosmog
CRITICISM OF THE PROPOSAL TO ADOPT THE ICNIRP GUIDELINES FOR CELLSITES IN NEW ZEALAND
ICNIRP GUIDELINE CRITIQUE
Dr Neil Cherry
It is proposed to make the New Zealand Standard and Guideline for Cell Site public exposures of Radiofrequency and Microwave Radiation guidelines based on the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guideline.
The ICNIRP guidelines and scientific assessment is published in Health Physics, Vol. 74 (4), p 494-522. This is the primary source document for this critique and will be referred to as ICNIRP 1998.
The ICNIRP assessment of effects, ICNIRP (1998) has been review and found to be seriously and fatally flawed, with a consistent pattern of bias, major mistakes, omissions and deliberate misrepresentations. Adopting it fails to protect public health from known potential and actual health effects and hence is unlawful according to the requirements of the Resource Management Act. Public health protection should be the objective of this process and this should be based on the identification of the Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level, (LOAEL) and a reasonable safety factor to take into account the uncertainties and vulnerable members of the community.
Epidemiology currently identifies the LOAEL for RF/MW as 0.06 W/cm2 for cancer and an reproductive effects, and 0.0004 W/cm2 (0.4nW/cm2) for sleep disruption, learning impairment and immune systems suppression, for example. Hence the scientifically identified LOAEL is lower than the majority of the New Zealand population is currently exposed.
Since background RF/MW levels in New Zealand cities are already in the range 1nW/cm2 - 3nW/cm2, the only practical option to avoid these demonstrated effects is to set the initial public exposure limit at
50 nW/cm2 (0.05 W/cm2)
with the aim of reducing it to
10 nW/cm2 (0.01 W/cm2) in 10 years.
The ICNIRP guideline is based on the frequently stated claim that there are no adverse health effects unless a person is heated by more than 1 C, setting a level at which adverse effects can be avoided between 4 and 8 W/kg. This claim has been repeated in many statements and documents of ICNIRP, IRPA, WHO, NRL, ARL, and NRPB. It has also been stated publicly by the leaders of these bodies. A leading proponent of this position is Dr Michael Repacholi, WHO official and former chairperson of ICNIRP, IRPA and the Australasian RF standards committee. Dr Michael Repacholi has expressed this view on TV, radio and in the press, in ICNIRP, IRPA and WHO reviews and in sworn evidence in a Planning Tribunal hearing in Christchurch in 1995. This is also the position taken by the staff of the National Radiation Laboratory (NRL) of the New Zealand Ministry of Health, the Australian Radiation Laboratory (ARL), the National Radiological Protection Board of the U.K. (NRPB).
This stands in strong contrast to the epidemiological and laboratory evidence given here and with the summary statement provided by one of the world's leading and most experienced, most scientifically published and respected EMR researchers, Dr William Ross Adey. The following is the abstract from his paper "Frequency and Power Windowing in Tissue Interactions with Weak Electromagnetic Fields": (Proc. IEEE 1980)
"Abstract: Effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic (EM) fields that raise tissue temperature in general differ very little from effects of hyperthermia induced by other means. However, fields raising tissue temperature orders of magnitude less than 0.1C may result in major physiological changes not attributable to raised temperature per se. These weak fields have been observed to produce chemical, physiological, and behavioral changes only within windows in frequency and incident energy. For brain tissue, a maximum sensitivity occurs between 6 and 20 Hz. Two different intensity windows have been seen, one for ELF tissue gradients around 10-7 V/m, and one for amplitude modulated RF and microwave gradients around 10-1 V/m. The former is the level associated with navigation and prey detection in marine vertebrates and with the control of human biological rhythms; the latter is the level of the electroencephalogram (EEG) in the brain tissue. Coupling to living cells appears to require amplifying mechanisms that may be based on non-equilibrium processes, with long-range resonant molecular interactions. The cooperative processes are now recognized as important in immune and hormonal responses, as well as in nerve excitation. Polyanionic proteinaceous material forming a sheet on the cell membrane surfaces appears to be the site of detection of these weak molecular and neuroelectric stimuli."
Professor Adey succinctly summarizes EMR research at that time. He does not claim, in the body of the paper, that there are only two intensity windows but that these are intensity windows that have repeatedly been shown to have significant effects. The paper contains evidence of other windows for ELF induced calcium ion efflux in chick and cat brains, e.g. 5, 10, 56 and 100 V/m, and other microwave intensity windows for calcium ion influx and efflux. This (Figure 4) shows significant biological effects at 0.1 and 1 mW/cm2.
Adey (1979) reviews a large body of research on the neurophysiologic effects of RF/MW radiation. This included the human biometeorological research on circadian rhythms in human subjects isolated from sunlight and EMR; their own work on altered monkey behaviour with a tissue gradient of 10-7 V/m and other animal behaviour experiments. It also covered cellular evidence including calcium ion flux experiments on cats and chick brains. These show that ionic changes in amplitude modulated RF/MW fields are much more related to modulation frequency than intensity of signal. Often higher effects are seen at lower exposure intensities than some higher intensities - in windows.
In great frustration at the intransigent position held by scientists who doggedly claim that there is only evidence of thermal effects, Professor Adey concludes:
"Faced with the overwhelming complexity of the brain as a tissue and as the organ of the mind, physical scientists and medical researchers alike have all too often retreated shamelessly into classicisms and the argots of their respective trades. Too many physicists and engineers cling desperately to thermal models as the alpha and omega of bioeffects from non-ionizing radiofrequency fields, shunning the exquisite beauty of long-range molecular interactions and resonant processes in biological macromolecules."
"True science can never be a popularity contest. The time has surely come when we should place these scholasticisms of another age in a proper context, counting ourselves thrice blessed at the prospect that through the use of non-ionizing radiofrequency radiation as a research tool, the intrinsic organization of the brain tissue, the subtleties of neuroendocrine phenomena and the broad sweep of immunological interections may at last be understood in terms of transductive coupling at the molecular level."
Dr Adey was basing his insights on a fascination with discovering how neurological tissue operated and altered in extremely low level RF/MW and ELF fields. Biochemists have now confirmed that RF/MW alters signal transduction, (e.g. Luben (1995), Byus (1994)), alters melatonin and damages the immune system, as will be shown below.
There is a wealth of laboratory evidence of cellular and animal changes at extremely low exposure levels to RF/MW radiation, accompanied by a massive body of epidemiological research which shows adverse health effects in human beings down to extremely low life-time mean exposure levels for chronic exposures. There is much more than Dr Adey had in 1979/80. It is simply not scientifically credible to claim that there are no established non-thermal effects and hence a public exposure standard that protects against warming by 1 C is adequate and should be adopted as a guideline in New Zealand.
The scientific evidence in relation to the requirements of the Resource Management Act 1991, makes it unlawful to adopt the ICNIRP guideline.
Professor John Goldsmith, as one of the world's leading epidemiologists was invited by the editor to provide a significant review paper to help to launch a new scientific journal, the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. A couple of decades earlier Dr Goldsmith has be invited to the opening key note speaker of the first conference of the newly formed International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. This illustrates the high standing with which he is held in the internation epidemiological and public health community. The review, headed "Special Contributions" was carefully identifeid by Dr Goldsmith as an "opinion piece" which reviews and summarized the "Epidemiologic Evidence of Radiofrequency Radiation (Microwave) Effects on Health in Military, Broadcasting and Occupational Studies".
This is a very relevant review for this assessment of what guideline level to choose. A member of the M.O.H./M.F.E. staff team in this process is a member of the National Radiation Laboratory, Mr Martin Gledhill. Mr Gledhill and Dr Andrew MacEwan were warmly praised and thanked for their large and dominant contributions to the recent Royal Society report "Radiation and the New Zealand Community - A scientific Overview".
The Royal Society report contains all of the omissions, biases and errors shown below in the preparation of the ICNIRP guideline and the WHO/UNEP/IRPA review. It takes the thermal view and at one key point makes the claim in relation to radiofrequency/ microwave radiation, p67:
"Some questions have been raised with respect to possible adverse effects of electric and magnetic fields, particularly those at low frequencies, in connection with high voltage lines, computer terminals, domestic appliances and wiring. However, no effects due to occupational exposure have been reported, nor are there any indications of adverse health effects on humans, other than from spark discharges and shock from direct contact."
While this paragraph is mainly about ELF fields, it immediately follows the statement on RF/MW that only acknowledges a probable effect from a faulty microwave oven.
However, to claim in this alledged credible and high quality scientific report that no effects have been reported from occupational exposure and that there aren't any indications of adverse health effects on humans, is so grossly wrong, misleading and dishonest, that it puts this report's credibility and that of the Royal Society, seriously at risk.
There are hundreds of occupational studies showing significant adverse effects from ELF exposures, as well as scores of residential studies showing adverse effects on humans. In relation to RF/MW, a large number of such studies are reviewed by Dr Goldsmith's 1995 paper.
At the conclusion of the review, which covers statistically significant evidence of cancer and reproductive effects in exposed populations, as well as alterations in blood immune factors and chromosome aberrations in RF/MW exposed people, Dr Goldsmith states in part:
"There are strong political and economic reasons for wanting here to be no health effect from RF/MW exposure, as there are strong public health reasons for more accurately portraying the risks. Those of us who intend to speak for public health must be ready for opposition that is nominally but not truly, scientific."
Dr Goldsmith's conclusion is exactly the same one I have come to in reviewing the ICNIRP assessment of effects. The position of the Ministry of Health as presented by the National Radiation Laboratory is scientifically flawed and shown to be biased and political, not based on public health protection. The Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Health should be above the influence of industry and its consultants, but in recommending the adoption of the ICNIRP guidelines, guidelines supported by industry around the world, will only favour putting more and more of the public at serious health risk.
It is easy to make strong and general dismissive and critical statements. The ICNIRP statement does this all the time. It is more difficult, and much more time consuming to carefully consider each claim and every paper cited in making those claims. I have done this in relation to the ICNIRP assessment of human reproduction and cancer evidence, and, to a lesser extent, to animal and laboratory evidence of RF/MW effects. This is set out below.
I show clearly and conclusively that there is a bias against finding and acknowledging adverse effects to the extent that most of the available scientific studies which show effects are ignored, the ones chosen are largely misrepresented, misinterpreted and mis- used.
A reductionist approach is taken rather than a comprehensive, integrative approach which is warranted by the nature and signficance of the isses. It systematically dismisses individual papers:
- claiming papers don't show effects, when they do.
- claiming papers show no evidence of effects when they are not purporting to assess the effect under consideration.
- claiming papers don’t show significant effects when they clearly do, and
- dismissing papers which show significant effects using incorrect, inappropriate and unjustified reasons.
A small number of studies are cited and reviewed, out of a large set of available material which shows potential, probable, taken together, actual adverse health effects. Whole bodies of research and the research results of complete disciplines, e.g. biometeorology, is totally ignored.
This happens so consistently, systematically, demonstrably and blatantly that we can only conclude there is an unscientific motive behind the assessment and its conclusions.
The guideline adopted in New Zealand must be based on an objective and independent assessment of the science, and epidemiological evidence, which is extremely strong and consistent, and not a simple adoption of a flawed and scientifically and legally challengable approach and exposure level.
ICNIRP Guideline seriously flawed and unlawful:
The ICNIRP guideline should not be used as the New Zealand guideline or standard for three very important reasons. The use of the ICNIRP guideline is unlawful in New Zealand. It is grossly inappropriate for public health protection. It is scientifically challengable because it is based on serious errors and omissions.
The ICNIRP guideline is unlawful since the ICNIRP assessment is based established and proven effects whereas the New Zealand law RMA (1991) is based on potential effects and cumulative effects, "regardless of scale, intensity, duration or frequency." Everybody in New Zealand is cumulatively exposed to electromagnetic radiation from power sources, appliances, cordless and cell phones, radio and TV stations and cell sites. Hence cell site radiation is a cumulate addition exposure in addition to all other exposures, and hence must be dealt with under Section 5(2)(c) of the RMA regardless of the level of exposure. It cannot be ignored claiming a "de minimus" level.
Public health protection, as outlined by Bradford-Hill (1965) and Goldsmith (1992), is should be based on epidemiological studies which show statistically significant results. Statistical significance is defined in terms of p=0.05 and a 95% confidence interval. For a disease agent to which almost every person is exposed, a lower level of evidence is used as a threshold because of the importance and impact of the effect. Often in such cases an elevated Risk Ratio which lacks significance is sufficient for avoidance to be required. The ICNIRP guideline is not based on this approach and therefore fails to protect public health.
Goldsmith (1997) states:
"To this day, the ICNIRP makes little use of epidemiological data, alleging that it is inconsistent and difficult to understand."
Professor Goldsmith, one of the world’s leading and most respected epidemiologists, then outlines detailed criticisms of the ICNIRP use of studies which are promoted to claim no effects are possible from RF/MW when the data in these studies actually does show significant adverse health effects.
The scientific assessment on which the ICNIRP guideline is based, contains major errors of scientific fact, research interpretation as well as taking the flawed approach to public health protection outlined above. Errors made in previous reviews, such as the UNEP/WHO/IRPA (1993) and NRPB (1991) reviews, are propagated through into the ICNIRP (1998) assessment through uncritical assessment. A small number of studies are directly cited. In almost all cases the conclusions drawn are scientifically incorrect. This leads to the wrong conclusions and recommendations.
A major omission in the consideration of the effects of EMR on people is the results of the extensive research carried out by biometeorologists. Biometeorologists have identified many alterations in human conditions which are statistically significantly related to variations in naturally occurring electromagnetic fields. These results show conclusively that birds, mammals and people respond to extremely low and subtle changes in ELF and modulated RF field changes brought about by solar activity and the weather.
Public health protection is properly based on public health research from epidemiological studies. Many epidemiological studies show many statistically significant adverse health effects at levels of exposure to RF/MW which are hundreds to thousands of times lower than the proposed guideline of 200 W/cm2. Under New Zealand law, the Resource Management Act, there is a legal requirement to "avoid, remedy or mitigate any adverse effects of an activity on the environment". The environment includes the health and safety aspects of people and communities. An effect includes "any actual or potential effect", any cumulative effect, "regardless of scale, intensity, duration or frequency", and "includes any potential effect of high probability" and "any potential effect of low probability which has a high potential impact".
There are standard techniques for assessing the carcinogenicity of chemical substances, involving cell line studies, laboratory animal studies and human epidemiology. If EMR was treated in the same way it would have been declared a human carcinogen many years ago. EMR neoplastically transforms cell, causes cancer in mice, is found to increase cancer in exposed electrical workers and military personnel and in residential populations.
Chemical health risks are usually investigated around a single disease outcome, such as a particular kind of cancer. It may be a single form of leukaemia.
Once epidemiological studies find statistically significant increases in cancer from chemicals at a given mean concentration, safety factors of 1 to 10,000 are applied. The size of the safety factor depends on the nature of the critical effect and the size of the exposed population, Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (U.K.), 21st Report, "Setting Environmental Standards", cited at Houghton (1998).
Benzene as an Example: (from Houghton (1998)
Benzene is classified as a genotoxic carcinogen which is primarily associated with non-lymphatic leukaemia. Benzene was shown to be a genotoxic carcinogen In Vitro, i.e. in cells in a test tube or a petri dish. It produced certain types of leukaemia in laboratory animals and was found to increase non-lymphatic leukaemia significantly in exposed workers, primarily in two cohort studies, which gave "evidence of an association between exposure to benzene and the likelihood of developing leukaemia".
In these studies the risk of leukaemia in workers was not detectable when the average lifetime exposure was around 500 ppb (part per billion). To take into account the difference between a working life (approximately 77,000 hours) and chronological life (about 660,000 hours), the figure of 500 ppb is divided by 10. A further factor of 10 was applied in order to extrapolate from the fit, young to middle-aged male working population to the general population that might reasonably contain individuals unusually sensitive to the effects of benzene. Because of uncertainties in the downward extrapolation of risk and to keep exposure as low as practicable, the U.K. Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards (EPAQS) recommended a target standard of 1 ppb as a running annual average exposure.
This gives a safety factor of 1000 below a level at which no effects could be seen in workers. It is important also to note that the EPAQS consists of five professional public health experts who are required to be totally independent of industry, the military and environmental lobby groups. These qualifications are not met by the ICNIRP council nor the Australasian Standards Association committee on RF/MW standards.
Grouping of Substances:
Chemical substances are often grouped into classes of chemicals, such as the organochlorines or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Within each tightly defined group some substances are classified as carcinogenic with particular disease outcomes and others are not.
EMR should be treated as multiple "Chemicals":
At the Scientific Workshop on Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation in Vienna, October 1998, Dr Carl Blackman, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, presented the results of 30 years of research into cellular calcium ion efflux and influx which is induced by pulsed and modulated EMR. The work is well characterized as occurring within particular windows of intensity of signal ( W/cm2), modulation frequency, carrier frequency and temperature range. Statistically significant efflux or influx of calcium ions from exposed cells has been repeatedly observed for particular combinations of intensity, carrier frequency, modulation frequency and temperature, and not found at a nearby frequency intensity. These "windows" of effect have been found down to extremely low field intensities and are not found at some high but still athermal exposure levels.
Cellular calcium ion alteration in the presence of time varying electromagnetic fields is an established biological effect of EMR exposure. However, the "windowing" nature of this particular biological effect means, according to Dr Blackman, that EMR must be considered as chemicals (plural) and not just a single chemical.
Since alteration of cellular calcium ions concentration leads to many different health effects, and since many other biological changes have been identified, it is inappropriate to limit consideration of RF/MW exposure to single adverse health effects.
EMR exposes the whole human body and not a single target organ. Each organ has a different cellular structure which relies to a greater or lesser extent in electric and magnetic factors and forces for its growth and control. The brain, central nervous system and muscles, including the heart, make much stronger use of electrical signals than bones for example. However, every cell has an electric potential across its membrane and uses ions, such as calcium ions (Ca2+), sodium ions and potassium ions. Receptors on cells are negatively charged and ions and neurotransmitters which initiate signal transduction are positively charged. DNA is negatively charged and the protein which is bound to it is positively charged.
Hence, every cell can interact with EMR and EMR can alter the growth regulation factors through alteration of the ionic concentration within the cells and in the intracellular fluid. Some higher functioning organs, especially the brain and CNS, are dependent on EMR for normal operation and have been shown to be altered by externally applied EMR, with consequent behaviour and neurological performance change, Bawin et al. (1976).
Because the whole body is exposed to RF/MW radiation, and since the brain and central nervous systems are electrically sensitive and active, it is not surprising that the most frequent adverse health effects identified in epidemiological studies are leukaemia and brain tumour. Leukaemia is a disease of the blood and bone marrow, whole body organs.
The ICNIRP approach, which at best can be seen as treating EMR as a single chemical, uses the observation that an effect shown in one laboratory or health study, but is not found in another when different frequencies, modulation frequencies, intensities and populations and effects are involved, as a reason to ignore the effects shown. By moving to the concept that EMR has different effects in different combinations of exposure parameters, much more accurate and appropriate interpretation of the scientific data is possible and more accurate.
Recommended Public Exposure Standard:
At least 10 epidemiological studies have found increases in brain tumour in RF/MW exposed workers, including military personnel exposed to radio and radar. Eight of them reach statistical significance. A similar number of occupational studies have found a statistically significant increase in leukaemia. In addition there are many residential and occupational studies showing significantly increased adult and/or childhood leukaemia, some with significant dose response relationships. In addition there are several studies which report significant increases in "all cancer" from RF/MW exposure, some of these are also residential studies, and some have dose response relationships.
This body of studies alone, if applied to air pollution or toxic chemicals, would be sufficient to classify RF/MW as a human carcinogen, to identify an estimated lowest observed level adverse effect level (LOAEL) for residential exposure of about 0.05 W/cm2 associated with childhood leukaemia. Applying a small safety factor or 50, which is conservative considering the diverse and sensitive members existing in the exposed population results in a public exposure standard of 0.001 W/cm2 or 1nW/cm2 (n = nano = 10-9).
At the turn of the century public exposures to RF/MW radiation were about 10 pW/cm2 (0.00001 W/cm2). Hence this initially proposed exposure standard allows for an increase of a factor of 100. However, since urban populations are already exposed to 1 to 5nW/cm2, a 2nW/cm2 standard is impractical. Hence a 10nW/cm2 (0.01 W/cm2) is proposed, allowing for a safety factor of 5 for leukaemia risk. As will be shown later, this allows for a safety factor of less than 1 for sleep, chronic fatigue, immune system impairment and learning impairment resulting from chronic low level RF/MW exposure.
An interim immediate target could be 50nW/cm2 to allow industry time to adapt, but the recommended standard 10nW/cm2 should be aimed to be achieved in 10 years.
This is despite the fact that the Swiss, Schwarzenburg Study, identified adverse effects on sleep, learning and a number of other serious health effects, down to mean levels of 0.4nW/cm2.
Biological Effects of RF/MW:
Induced cellular calcium ion alteration:
Several studies show that RF/MW exposure and ELF exposure can reduce pineal melatonin production. Professor Russell Reiter, one of the worlds leading medical researchers into the effects of melatonin, summarizes melatonin’s roles, Reiter and Robinson (1995), as being:
- Vital for healthy sleep, including lowering the body temperature, and assisting in maintaining health sleep states.
- Reduces cholesterol, with consequent reductions is risk of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
- Reduces blood pressure and the tendency for blood clots, and hence reduces the risk of strokes.
- Scavenger of free radicals. This, along with the above factors, reduces the risk of heart attack, cancer, viral replication. Melatonin plays a vital free radical scavenging role in the brain where, because it is high in iron, has a high production rate of hydroxyl radicals (OH ). Free radical damage is now known to play a formative role in most brain disorders, including Alzheimer’ disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. While the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) denies access to most free radical scavengers, melatonin has free access.
- Enhances the effectiveness of the immune system. Specifically enhancing the T-cells, i.e. the T-helper cells and the T-killer cells. T-helper cells have a receptor for melatonin. When melatonin is received a cascade of events is set in motion including stimulation of Interleukin-4 (IL-4) which then stimulates natural killer cells (NK), B-cells, IgA, phagocytes and T-Cytotoxic cells. The NK cells specialize in attacking cancer cells and virus infected cells.
Sobel et al. (1996) found that workers in industries with likely electromagnetic field exposure have a very significant (p=0.006) increase in incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, OR = 3.93, 95% CI: 1.5-10.6. For males the adjusted odds ratio was 4.9, 95% CI: 1.3-7.9, p=0.01, and for females, OR = 3.40, 95% CI: 0.8-16.0, p = 0.01. They note that:
"These results are consistent with previous findings regarding the hypothesis that electromagnetic field exposure is etiologically associated with the occurrence of AD."
Sobel and Davanipour (1996) outline the etiological process they hypothesize by which EMR produces Alzheimer’s disease.
- The first step involves EMR exposure upsetting the cellular calcium ion homeostasis through calcium ion efflux from cells increasing the intracellular calcium ion concentrations. This cleaves the amyloid precursor protein to produce soluble amyloid beta (sA ).
- sA is quickly secreted from cells after production, increasing the levels of sA in the blood stream. sA then binds to Apolipoprotein E and apolipoprotein J to be transported to and across the Blood Brain Barrier.
- Over time, when sufficient sA have been transported to the brain, a cascade of further events lead to the formation of insoluble neurotoxic beat pleated sheets of amyloid fibril, senile plaques, and eventually AD.
The biological mechanism for EMR to cause Alzheimer’s disease is well advanced and entirely plausible, commencing with calcium ion efflux.
Breast tissue is very sensitive to free radical damage and hence to melatonin reduction. While breast cancer has been associated with diet, stress levels and a number of chemical toxins, there is now compelling evidence that power frequency (50 Hz or 60 Hz) radiation can overcome the protective effect of melatonin in breast cancer cells. This research has now been carried out in 4 independent laboratories. This work shows a dose response relationship between 0.2 and 1.2 T (2 and 12 mG). At 1.2 T the protective effect of melatonin is completely negated. Several epidemiological studies have associated EMR and EMF exposure with breast cancer. With the progressively increase Mer exposure of the U.S. population, EMR cannot be ruled out as a contributory factor in the increase in rate of breast cancer in U.S. women under the age of 85 rising from 1-in-20 in 1940 to 1-in-8 by 1994.
Several epidemiological studies find statistically significant associations between EMF and EMR exposure and breast cancer, including Demers (1991), Tynes et al. (1996) and Hardell et al. (1995). Hardell et al. (1995) was an extensive independent review of the scientific literature published up to 1 July 1994 in relation to ELF exposures. One of their conclusions relates to "electrical occupations". In such situations ELF and RF/MW signals are common. They conclude that there is "an increased risk of breast cancer, malignant melanoma of the skin, nervous system tumours, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, acute lymphatic leukaemia or acute myeloid leukaemia and certain occupations."
Demers et al. (1991) found an elevated risk of male breast cancer in radio and communications workers, OR = 2.9, 95% CI: 0.8 - 10. Tynes et al. studied 2,619 Norwegian female radio and telegraph operators and their incidence of disease between 1920 and 1980. They compared the occupational incidence with the general population using a standardized incidence ratio (SIR). For all cancers SIR = 1.2, and for breast cancer SIR = 1.5 (p<0.05).
In Professor Reiter’s book, published in 1995, he describes the evidence that EMR/EMF does reduce melatonin as a "Smoking Gun" level of proof. That is, there is considerable scientific evidence but at that time it wasn’t sufficient for proof.
By considering more recent information, and the extensive results of biometeorological research, and linking the melatonin research to the calcium ion research, the level of proof can be seen as causal.
This conclusion was drawn without reference to biometeorological work at the Max Planck Institute in Germany in the 1960s and 1970s involving isolating volunteers for many months from sunlight, and in some cases, from the earth’s fluctuation electromagnetic field by using a Faraday Cage, Wever (1974). The results included the fact that a those in the Faraday Cage shielded room, identical to the other room in all other respects, had significantly longer circadian rhythms (p<0.01).
In addition, a significant proportion of the Faraday Cage group "desynchronized" while none of the other group did (p<0.001). This involved rapid lengthening of the circadian period from around 26-27 hours to 30 - 36 hours, Figure 1.
From the results of the experiments involving human subjects, their reaction times and altered circadian rhythm, the German researchers from the Max Planck Institute conclude:
"Thus, it has been proven at a high statistical level that the artificial electric 10 cps field diminishes the tendency towards internal desynchronization, as does the natural field."
The desynchronization was removed through the application of a 10 Hz signal with a peak to peak field strength of 2.5 V/m. This is equivalent to 0.83 W/cm2. The signal the Faraday cage had removed, which was replaced by this artificial signal, was the Schumann Oscillation which has a field intensity of about 0.3 pW/cm2. Hence the desynchronization was caused by the removal of a 0.3pW/cm2 signal. Wever (1974) concludes that their research gives:
"significant proof that electromagnetic fields in the ELF range influence the human circadian rhythms and therefore human beings."
Figure 1: Free-running circadian rhythm of a subject living under strict isolation from environmental time cues. During the first and third section protected from natural and artificial electromagnetic fields, during the second and fourth sections (shaded area) under the influence of a continuously operating 10 Hz electric field of 2.5 V/m, Wever (1974).
A plausible biological mechanism was proposed by Koneg (1974). He noted the strong similarity between the frequencies of the Schumann Oscillation and the alpha band of the human EEG, see the figure below. A resonant interaction is clearly feasible. Removing the Schumann Oscillation for some individuals, removes part of their circadian control.
The Type II signals on the left are naturally occurring, locally sourced ELF fields centred around 3 Hz, close to the delta EEG band. Konig (1974) showed that people’s reaction time significantly slows in the presence of Type I signals and speed up when Type II signals were dominant, Figures a and b.
Figure 2:Electric fields from , , the Schumann-Resonance, , Local fields of about 3 Hz and the (10 Hz) and (3 Hz) human EEG channels, Konig (1974).
Figure 3:The solid line shows the reaction times of 4500 people per point, over the day in September 1953 in Munich, compared with (dashed line) the Type (10 Hz) signals field intensity.
Figure 4: The speeding up of the reaction time of people in the 60 to 90 minutes following the onset of 3 Hz signals, from the Traffic Exhibition in Munich in 1953.
Signals of the Type occurred during 10 occasions during the August-September period. Figure 4 shows the inter-relation for the change in reaction time relative to the onset of Type signals at time n hr. In the hour and a half after the onset of Type signals the reaction times (involving between 2000 and 3000 people), are well above average.
At the same time that the Germans were publishing their biometeorological results showing that human being’s reaction times vary with extremely low intensity naturally occurring and varying electromagnetic fields in the ELF part of the spectrum, Professor Ross Adey and Dr Susan Bawin were showing that altered human reaction times in ELF modulated microwave fields was associated with altered EEG and calcium ion efflux from the brain cells.
Hence the U.S. and German research jointly confirm both the effect and the mechanism.
Physiological Reactions to Atmospheric EMR/EMF changes:
Very few people are aware that anticyclones and depressions are characterized by very different natural background of ELF modulated RF fields. Lomar et al. (1969) characterized these weather system EMR/EMF characteristics as:
Cyclone: 10-100 kHz, 30-100 Hz, > 100 mV/m, ( Exposure > 0.0027 W/cm2)
Anticyclone: 10 kHz, 1-3 Hz, < 10 mV/m, (Exposure < 0.000027 W/cm2 )
Importantly Lomar et al. (1969) found that in the laboratory under simulated cyclonic conditions (using the above EMR fields) mouse liver respiration rates were 42 % higher than anticyclonic conditions, a highly statistically significant effect (p<0.001). It is well known and accepted that people generally feel fresher and more energetic in clear, sunny anticyclonic weather, compared to overcast, wet and windy depression weather. This is partly explained through a stronger serotonin/melatonin rhythm in sunny weather compared to cloudy weather. Sunlight drives daytime melatonin down and serotonin up producing sensations of clear headedness and alertness. The German research also shows that naturally occurring ELF modulated RF fields vary by a factor of about 100 in intensity, from 2.7 nW/cm2 in depressions to 27 pW/cm2 in anticyclones and that this is associated with a highly significant change in liver respiration.
Thus the German work in the 1960’s and 1970’s established that naturally occurring EMR and EMR at extremely low levels influenced and altered sleep, circadian rhythm and reaction times. In the 1990’s German work showed the cell phones alter the human EEG and interfere with REM sleep, Von Klitzing (1995) and Mann and Roschkle (1996). Impairment of REM sleep is associated with memory and learning difficulties. The Swiss research (Altpeter et al. (1995) and Abelin (1998) - The Schwarzenburg Study) found a causal relationship between sleep disturbance and subsequent chronic fatigue, and short-wave radio exposures at extremely low mean levels.
In 1998 Mild et al. (1998) survey over 10,000 cell phone users in Norway and Sweden, Figure 5. They found significant dose response relationships for a number of crucial symptoms that had been clinically described and associated with cell phone use by Hocking (1998).
The symptoms include dizziness, a feeling of discomfort, difficulty with concentration, Memory Loss, Fatigue, Headache, Burning Skin and tinglingness and tightness of the skin near the phone. The symptoms were consistent across analogue and digital (GSM) phone users. A dominant physical symptom was a sensation of warmth on the ear and behind the ear. These is not a sensation which is experienced with a conventional telephone but are unique to the cell phone which exposes the user’s head to moderate to high intensities of microwaves. It was significant that the neurological symptoms were highly correlated to the warm sensations. The symptoms are consistent with the Schwarzenburg symptoms. The headache symptoms were found with microwave exposure during "microwave hearing" experiments, Frey (1998).
Figure 5: The prevalence of symptoms with various categories of calling times/day, A. Norway, B. Sweden, Mild et al. (1998).
The link with calcium ion efflux, altered EEG, behavioural change and EMR exposure is well established. The link with melatonin is stronger than the smoking gun proof accepted by Reiter (1995), with the circadian rhythm connection and the sleep disruption at Schwarzenburg. Salival melatonin was measured in cows in the Schwarzenburg study in 5 ‘exposed’ cows and 5 ‘unexposed’ cows. The exposed cows had lower mean melatonin levels but the difference was not statistically significant because the sample was too small. Human beings were sampled (using urine analysis. Samples were taken first thing in the morning when melatonin levels are naturally low, instead of at the correct time soon after midnight, when melatonin levels are high and reductions are easier to detect. However, the research team noted "Persons reporting sleep disorders, however, tend to have lower melatonin levels."
When the transmitter was off unexpectedly for three days, sleep quality improved markedly, and for those three nights the melatonin in the exposed cow herd reached their highest nocturnal peaks for that week. When the transmitter went on again, on that day the exposed cows’ melatonin was statistically significantly lower than the unexposed cows.
In addition to these observation, two recent papers made direct human measurements of melatonin in association with power frequency exposure and one of them also associated cellphone usage, Armstrong and Martin (1997) and Burch et al. (1997). In both cases they found statistically significant reductions in melatonin.
It is clearly a mistake to seek to classify the effects of EMR in terms of a single health outcome which should be expected to occur across the whole spectrum of carrier frequencies, modulation frequencies, intensities and ambient temperatures.
One of the primary reasons many skeptics about EMR health effects use to dismiss studies which show statistically significant effects and even dose-response relationships, is the apparent lack of a plausible biological mechanism for the EMR to alter the biological processes in an adverse way. While well documented biological mechanisms do exist, including calcium ion efflux and melatonin reduction. The EMR skeptics ignore these or claim that they must be invalid because of their pre-conceived notions that EMR must be benign because the EMR photons do not possess the energy to ionize atoms nor to break chemical bonds.
The EMR skeptics are wrong on two counts. There are plausible biological mechanisms, as stated above, and, the classifications of substances as carcinogens does not require the identification of detailed biological mechanisms if we are dealing with air pollutants or chemical carcinogens.
The absence of a detailed step by step biological mechanism is not a limitation on classifying chemicals, such as benzene, as carcinogens. A chemical which is observed to neoplastically transform cells, produces tumours in laboratory animals and is associated with increased incidence of cancer in exposed workers, is classified as a carcinogen.
Even two years ago Quinn (1997) noted that "although the role of ultraviolet radiation in human skin carcinogenesis has been supported by a wealth of epidemiological data, the mechanisms by which it leads to skin cancer are still poorly understood." This hasn’t stopped the Cancer Society from running "slip, slap, slop" and cover-up campaigns for several years in order to reduce the risk of skin cancer. These programmes are targeted at children for it is understood that UV damage in childhood leads to a higher incidence of skin cancer as adults.
Why is EMR treated differently from other toxic substances ?
The history of EMR shows that it has always been treated differently from chemicals. This is largely a consequence of the controversies around the adverse health effects of "radiation" in contrast to the "national security benefits" of the use of "radiation".
"Radiation" in this context is nuclear radiation and the alpha-, beta-, gamma- and X-rays which are released by nuclear explosions The absence of reliable and repeatable acute effects was taken as evidence as the absence of effects. When the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan the only officially acknowledged effects were the explosive effects of blast and the shockwave.
The lingering health effects among the surviving populations of Horoshima and Ngasaki were initially attributed to vitamin deficiency. Western scientists strongly denied that the sickness related to the after-effects of the bombs, largely because these was know known plausible mechanism. It took years for radiation sickness to be recognized and decades for radiation related cancers to be recognized. It took many more years to identify the mechanism through which the radioactive material released ionizing radiation which produced free radicals, which in turn caused single and double strand breakage of DNA, and cancer.
The observation that ionizing radiation can ionize atoms, produce free radicals and hence damage DNA, was incorrectly taken as assurance that non-ionizing radiation, which could not ionize atoms, must by this very fact, be benign.
It gave the EMR skeptics a sense of security and comfort to assume that ionizing radiation is harmful and all other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum is safe and benign.
Thus, it was assumed, the part of the solar spectrum which included ultraviolet (UV), visible and infrared (IR), were part of the benign spectrum, because the threshold for ionization lies above the UV region. Recently it has been established that UV radiation is carcinogenic, damaging the DNA of skin to produce melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
However, despite the clear evidence that UV radiation is carcinogenic without having the energy to ionized atoms and break chemical bonds, the EMR skeptics, which include most Health and Radiation Physicists have maintained their view that ionization and radiation induced chemical bond breakage means (to them) that EMR is benign apart from heating effects.
Ionization is not a prerequisite for cancer:
Many generations of medical biologists and toxicologists do not assume that ionization is a necessary prerequisite for cancer producing agents since thousands of chemicals are cancer producing agents without the involvement of ionization. Chemicals change the biochemistry of cells and hence can cause neoplastic transformation.
Free radicals occur naturally in our bodies:
Free radical chemistry is quite straight forward. Atoms are held together to form molecules by sharing electrons. Two electrons shared between two atoms forms an ionic bond. Some atoms, especially oxygen, can easily gain only one of these bonding electrons, which means that it has an unpaired electron and hence is very reactive. This is a free radical, a molecule with unpaired electrons.
Free radicals are produced by many chemical reactions, including respiration. In breathing we all produce oxygen free radicals all of the time. Hence DNA and cellular damaging free radicals are a ubiquitous and ever present reality for all air breathing mammals. They are so reactive that they only last for a few nanoseconds but they are always present because they are always being generated.
Damage and repair:
The extent of the damage caused by free radicals and the amount and rate of repair which is necessary, is strongly dependent on the presence of free radical scavengers and a the health of the immune system. Our immune system has the job of identifying damaged cells and foreign agents and eliminating them. Our cells also have internal checking mechanisms.
When genetic damage is detected and a cell starts to behave abnormally, several systems seek to eliminated that rouge cell. The cell has an internal checking system and can start to digest the cellular protein in a damaged cell in a process called programmed cell death or apoptosis. If this doesn’t happen and the damaged cell survives then the cell may be identified as "foreign" and the natural killer cells in the immune system can attack and eliminate them.
Thus in biological cellular based systems such as human and animal bodies, a healthy state is one in which the naturally occurring cellular damage is being detected, and eliminated or repaired. Ill health occurs when any situation or factor enhances the rate of damage or diminishes the effectiveness of the repair mechanisms.
Melatonin, a neurohomone produced from serotonin in the pineal gland, is the strongest known naturally occurring free radical scavenger. It also has the property that it can easily pass through the cell membrane so that it actively seeks to eliminate free radicals in the vicinity of the nucleus of the cell. It is the nucleus of the cell which houses the chromosomes and DNA. Hence melatonin plays a vital role in minimizing damage to chromosomes and DNA by free radicals. Melatonin levels are low during the daytime when respiration rates are high. Melatonin concentrations in the blood stream and cells is high at night when respiration rate, and hence free radical generation rates, are lowest. Hence a great deal of cellular repair is accomplished at night.
Melatonin also provides this protective effect for the immune system, assisting it to remain healthy and effective.
Any factor which reduces melatonin levels results in the greater risk of cell damage, faster cell death through apoptosis, and greater change that a damaged neoplastic cell can survive to become cancerous. Factors which are known to reduce melatonin in mammals, including in people, includes older age, light at night, sleeplessness and electric and magnetic fields, of themselves or in combination with RF/MW fields.
In the same manner, EMR alters the electrobiochemistry of cells and hence can cause neoplastic transformation of cells. The way in which EMR does interact with cells is illustrated by considering a known cancer promoter, TPA. TPA is phorbol myristate acetate. It is very commonly used in laboratories as a cancer promotor. TPA acts by altering an already damaged (neoplastically transformed) cell by switching the effect of calcium elevation from cell death to cell proliferation. Thus TPA maintains the malignant phenotype by blocking apoptosis through altering the calcium ion status of the cell. It is already shown that calcium ion efflux and influx is induced by ELF modulated RF/MW. Hence RF/MW can enhance cancer in some situations and enhance apoptosis in others.
Calcium ion efflux has been documented in published papers down to an SAR of 0.00015W/kg, Schwartz et al. (1990), using 240 MHz microwaves modulated at 16 Hz, the rate of calcium ion efflux was 21 % higher than the control, with p<0.05. The medium was isolated frog hearts. This is an exposure intensity of 0.08 W/cm2 , 0.3 V/m and 1.8nT. Dr Carl Blackman, pers. comm. informs me that his laboratory has found calcium ion efflux occurring in fT (femtoTesla = 10-15 T) ELF fields. 10 fT is equivalent to 2.4x10-12 W/cm2 or 2.4 attoW/cm2. This might sound totally unrealistic until it is noticed that if the carrier was a 50 MHz signal, 2.4aW/cm2 would still stand out against the blackbody background (1 x 10-19 W/cm2) by a factor of 24 .
For many people in the EMR area there is a "mind block" which stops them from accepting the possibility that EMR can have biological effects because of their assumptions about ionization, free radicals and radiation induced chemical bond breakage as prerequisites for biological action. A large body of scientific research contradicts this stance but this mind set persists and dominates the WHO, IRPA, ICNIRP, National Radiation Laboratory, Industrial and military personnel and their consultants, and the Standards setting bodies in Australasia and around the world.
To continue this mindset based on these challengable assumptions continues to put millions of people at risk or severe health effects in New Zealand and billions of people around the world. To adopt the ICNIRP guideline will therefore be shown to be a disaster in New Zealand and thousands of people will suffer unnecessarily as a consequence.
The Environment Court (MacIntyre 1996) declared that the New Zealand Standard (and hence the ICNIRP guideline) is "not decisive" in New Zealand law but that the Sections 5 and 3 of the RMA are the appropriate legal basis for public exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR). In considering the evidence before it the court set a public exposure condition at that time and in that case of 2 W/cm2, 1 % of the then allowed public exposure in NZS 6609, and of the proposed AS/NZS 2772.1 and ICNIRP guideline.
In the recent Shirley Primary School Case, Judge J. Jackson made an error in law and through his interpretation of the scientific evidence through his failure to properly apply sections 5 and 3 of the RMA.
The guideline discussion document legal section makes and error in referring to the MacIntyre case as having set a public limit of 50 W/cm2 when in fact it was 2 W/cm2.
Scientific Critique of ICNIRP Assessment:
ICNIRP Discussion of 100kHz-300GHz effects:
There are several major errors and omissions in the ICNIRP (1998) assessment of reproductive effects, ICNIRP (1998), p 504.
This includes misrepresentation of two studies, inadequate interpretation of three studies and omission of several relevant epidemiological studies and failure to cite the relevant animal studies.
ICNIRP (1998) concludes that studies involving pregnancy outcome and microwave exposure suffer from poor assessment of exposure, small numbers of subjects and contrasting results. All of these claims and conclusions are wrong.
The studies of Daels (1973 and 1976):
The first claim is that there are two extensive studies on women treated with microwave diathermy to relieve the pain of uterine contractions during labour, with no evidence of adverse effects on the fetus, quoting Daels (1973 & 1976).
Daels (1973 (4 pages) & 1976 (2 pages)) are not an extensive studies on the effect on the fetus. They are small descriptive papers on an analgesic therapy for use in labour.
The subject of the study is the mother. A fully developed child is involved, immediately prior to birth, not the developing fetus which other studies are concerned about. The papers contain no assessments of the effects on the child. In Daels (1973) he simply states "No undesirable side effects of microwave heating of tissues are known." He references a single study, Leary (1959) to note that overheating can be a rare complication. Thus Daels (1973 & 1976) are neither extensive studies nor about fetal health.
These studies involve short term microwave heating of the uterine area for 30 to 40 minutes during labour. There was a maximum recorded neonate temperature of 37.8 C and amniotic fluid temperature of 36.5 C. These are well within the normal range. Heating was limited to levels where the mother felt skin heating as "agreeable". Since most of the microwaves are absorbed in the surface skin layers the fetal exposure will be extremely small, see Hocking and Joyner (1995) below. There is no reported follow-up on the children over subsequent years to determine any altered health status, which might have resulted from chromosome aberrations which, could have occurred during the microwave exposure.
It is therefore totally inappropriate and grossly misleading to cite these as "extensive studies" of the impact of microwaves on the fetus. They are not extensive, they do not relate to developing fetus and there is no actual assessment of the impact of the exposure on the children.
Interpretation of Physiotherapy Studies:
In assessing reproductive outcomes from physiotherapist studies it is important to distinguish short-wave exposure and microwave exposure, small study populations and larger study populations, and whole pregnancy including birth outcomes, in contrast to early pregnancy miscarriage alone. The effects of short-wave radiation are likely to be different from microwave effects. Small sample sizes may have elevated Risk Ratios but lack statistical significance solely by virtue of the small sample size.
Physiotherapist Studies Cited by ICNIRP (1998):
In ICNIRP 1998 three physiotherapist studies are cited, Kallen et al. (1982), Larsen et al. (1991) and Ouellet-Hellstrom and Stewart (1993).
Kallen and Larsen involve small samples and short-wave exposure, and whole pregnancy outcomes, whereas Ouellet-Hellstrom and Stuart involves a large sample, studies only early pregnancy miscarriage and finds only microwaves to have an effect. Kallen et al. and Larsen et al. are cited in the review referred to as) with results which raise concerns about possible effects. The reviewers state however "The results suggest further study is necessary before conclusions can be drawn."
Several other studies were available prior to 1993 but they were not used by UNEP/WHO/IRPA (1993).
In 1993 Ouellet-Hellstrom and Stewart was published with even more significant results.
When all the studies are taken together they form a comprehensive and compelling body of research to show that microwave exposure of mothers leads to a significant increase in early pregnancy miscarriage, with a significant dose response relationship, and that those using short-wave radio therapies and working in electrical industries, have more late pregnancy problems and malformed children.
The most likely mechanism is accumulated chromosome aberrations and damaged cells in the placenta and fetus because biophysics shows extremely small temperature increases can be expected from even very high RF/MW exposures.
Case by case assessment:
ICNIRP states that there were "no statistically significant effects on rates of abortion or fetal malformation" in Kallen et al. (1982). This is wrong. even though Kallen et al. involves small sample numbers they conclude "The only positive finding was a higher incidence of short-wave equipment use among the females with dead and deformed infant than among controls." Very few therapists were involved with microwaves. Hence Kallen et al. associate fetal death and malformation with the use of short-wave diathermy equipment, with p=0.03. This is a statistically significant association, contrary to the ICNIRP claim.
Larsen et al. (1991), identified 54 cases with birth problems and 146 spontaneous abortion cases from Denmark. They found a significant increase in malformations, still birth, low birth weight, cot death and prematurely when working with short-wave diathermy.
Ouellet-Hellstrom and Stewart (1993) investigated early pregnancy miscarriage among U.S. physical therapists using short-wave (27 MHz) and microwave (915 MHz and 2.45 GHz) diathermy. The sample included 1753 case pregnancies (miscarriages) and 1753 control pregnancies. They found no significant increase in first trimester miscarriage amongst those using short-wave diathermy. They found a statistically significant increase in miscarriage in the first trimester with microwave exposure (OR= 1.28, 95%CI: 1.02-1.59) and a statistically significant dose response relationship (p<0.005) using a dose measure of treatments per month. With more than 20 treatments per month OR = 1.59, 95%CI: 0.99-2.55 .
In addition to the three studies cited in ICNIRP (1998) there are several others with are relevant.
Vaughan et al. (1984), studying U.S. workers, found significantly increased risk of fetal death for last pregnancy for therapists, RR=2.0, CI: 1.5-2.5, n=169, and for electronic technicians, RR= 1.5, CI:1.2-2.0, n=202.
Taskinen et al. (1990) in Finland, with 204 cases, found increased spontaneous abortion with short-wave and microwave use: Note that the statistical a significance is limited by the small sample sizes.
- Electric therapies >5/week OR= 2.0, CI: 1.0-3.9, n=17
- Shortwaves>=5h/week, OR= 1.6, CI: 0.9-2.7, n= 30
- Microwaves, OR= 1.8, CI: 0.8-4.1, n=13),
Stronger associations with ultrasound and heavy lifting:
- Ultrasound>=20/week, OR= 3.4, CI: 1.2-9.0, n=9
- Heavy lifting, > 10 kg or patient transfers >=50 times/week, OR=3.5, IC: 1.1-9.0, n=11
Odds ratios increased for pregnancies > 10 weeks:
- Electric therapies OR=2.2
- Shortwaves OR=2.5
- Microwaves OR=2.4
- Ultrasound OR=3.4
- Heavy lifting OR=6.7 .
Taskinen et al. conclude "Physical exertion during early pregnancy seems to be a risk factor for spontaneous abortion. The findings raise suspicion of potential harmful effect of shortwaves and ultrasound on the pregnancy, but no firm conclusion can be drawn on the bases of these results alone."
However, this study, in the context of all the other studies, is consistent and adds considerable weight to the conclusion that there are adverse health effects from RF/MW exposure. Taskinen at al. also found statistically significant increases in congenital malformations in the children of mothers using shortwave therapy. This confirms the results of Kallen et al, and Larsen et al.
Taskinen et al. (1990) was the only Scandanavian study to have a large enough sample to investigate the effects of miscarriage with microwaves. The sample was quite small (13), limiting the significance of the result. The Odds Ratio was (OR= 1.8, 95% CI 0.8-4.1). Exposure to ultrasound and short-wave showed significant increases in odds ratio for abortion after the 10th week of gestation, (OR = 3.4, p<0.01 and OR = 2.5, p<0.03, respectively). Taskinen et al. concluded: "The effect of shortwaves and ultrasound on the ‘late’ spontaneous abortions was significant and increased in a dose response manner."
Sanjose et al. (1991) investigated the incidence of low birthweight and preterm delivery in Scotland, 1981-84, in relation to parent’s occupation. They found statistically significant (p<0.05) increases in low birth weight (RR = 1.4) and preterm delivery (RR = 1.8) for mothers who work in the electrical industry. People who work in "electrical industries" are recognized as being exposed to a wide range of EMR giving them more than average EMR exposures.
Vaughan et al. (1984), Taskinen et al. (1990) and Sanjose et al. (1991) are consistent with Kallen et al. (1982) and Larsen et al. (1991) giving the conclusion that shortwave exposure takes longer to produce effects than do microwaves. Shortwave effects range from later pregnancy miscarriage, still birth, low birth weight, premature birth, cot death and congenital abnormalities.
Taskinen et al. (1990) and Ouellet-Hellstrom and Stewart (1993) confirm that microwave exposure is associated with early pregancy miscarriage.
It is sobering to also note that breast cancer risk is over 4 times higher for women who miscarry in the first trimester, RR = 4.1, 95% CI: 1.5-11.3, Hadjimichael et al, (1986).
Genetic damage from RF/MW has been studied by a number of researchers. ICNIRP (1998) quotes Cohen et al. (1977) which found no association between radar exposure and Down’s syndrome in their off-spring. They failed to mention a previous paper from the same group, Sigler et al, (1965), which did find a significant risk from parental radar exposure.
Sigler et al. suggested that this result, along with research which found "tissue damage in humans and laboratory animals" and "a deleterious effect of rat testis" as evidence that microwaves might be ionizing radiation, since similar effects had been identified with exposure to ionizing radiation. We now know that chromosome aberrations do occur in microwave exposed subjects without the need for microwaves to be ionizing.
Flaherty (1994) presents "The effect of non ionizing electromagnetic radiation on RAAF personnel during World War II". He found in a group of 302 surviving veterans, men had a ratio of single to twin births of 41:1, women 38:1 and overall the ratio was 40:1 . This contrasts with the ratio in the normal Australian population of 85:1. Hence radar exposed veterans had over twice the expected number of twins, a very significant result.
ICNIRP (1998) fails to refer to the significant research involving animal experiments on reproductive effects when exposed to RF/MW.
Results range from testicular degeneration, resorption of the fetus and altered body weight at high but non-thermal levels of exposure to total infertility in multigenerational studies of mice exposed to 0.168 W/cm2 and 1.053 W/cm2, Magras and Xenos (1997).
There are many animal studies showing that RF/MW is teratogenic, that is, it causes severe reproductive problems. Berman et al. (1982) introduce their paper by stating:
"It has been repeatedly shown that microwaves have teratogenic potential. Rats and mice have been used almost exclusively in these studies."
Berman et al. (1982) were extending the studies to hamsters. They investigated the teratogenic potential of microwaves on Syrian hamsters, using 2.45 GHz at power densities of 30 mW/cm2 for 100 minutes daily This caused a temperature rise of 0.8 C and significant fetal resporptions or death (p = 0.0012), decreased fetal body weight (p=0.0001) and decreased skeletal maturity. Averaging this over a whole day the mean exposure is 2.08 mW/cm2. Maternal toxicity was not observed, only fetal damage and death. They conclude by comparing hamsters with mice.
"In mice, SAR’s of 16 or 22 mW/g caused fetal changes. Comparing these two species, we see that 16 mW/g and above can cause decreased body weight and skeletal immaturity in mice, while only 9 mW/g in the hamster causes similar changes. Additionally, this lower SAR causes a significant increase in hamster fetal death (resporptions). Hamster fetus, appears to be more susceptible to microwave radiation than the mouse, exhibiting fetotoxic changes at lower SAR values."
Prausnitz and Susskind (1962) exposed male Swiss albino mice to 9.27 GHz microwaves, pulsed with a 2 s pulse at 500 Hz, 4.5 mins per day, 5 days per week for 59 weeks with an exposure level of 100 W/cm2. This amounts to a mean weekly exposure of 0.22 W/cm2.
Detailed autopsies were carried out on 60 irradiated and 40 control mice who died during the experiment. Two adverse effects were more severe in the exposed compared to the control animals.
(1) Testicular degeneration (atrophy with no sperm) occurred in 29.8% (39/124) of the exposed animals and 7.1 % (4/56) of the control animals, RR = 4.2.
(2) Cancer of the white cells or leukosis was seen in 26.5% (39/147) of the exposed animals compared to 13.0% (9/69) of the controls, RR= 2.04. This condition was described as monocytic or lymphatic organ tumours or myeloid leukaemia in the circulating blood.
In these mice significant and severe (4.2-fold) testicular damage and a 2-fold increase in the initiation of leukaemia occurred is association with a mean exposure of 0.22 W/cm2.
Testicular damage has also been found in men who have radar exposures. Weyandt et al. (1996) studied U.S. service men who have radar exposures. "The group of men with potential microwave exposures demonstrated lower sperm counts / mL (p = 0.009) and lower sperm/ejaculate (p= 0.027) than the comparison group."
Although as early as 1962 severe reproductive problems had been identified with and exposure regime averaging 0.22 W/cm2 most of the research was carried out with the incorrect assumption that if an effect was real it would be demonstrated if the exposure was high enough. And if an effect was not detectable at extremely high levels of exposure, there was no way that an effect would occur at low levels of exposure.
Even so, high exposure experiments did show effects. Below shows the progression downwards until animal experiments have been carried out and found significant effects at the levels used in 1962 by Prausnitz and Susskind and are found in the vicinity of cell sites.
Chazan et al. (1983) investigated the development of murine embryos and fetuses after irradiation with 2450 MHz microwaves at 40 mW/cm2. They found indications of retardation of development in the early period of gestation in mice exposed to thermal MW fields. During the second half of pregnancy an increase in the number of resorptions, stillbirths and internal hemorrhages was noted. The living fetuses had lowered body mass compared to the offsprings of sham-irradiated mice.
Berman, Carter and House (1982) also found reduced weight in mice offspring after in utero exposure to 2450-MHz (CW) microwaves using an exposure level of 28 mW/cm2. They were exposed to for 100 minutes daily from the 6th through 17th day of gestation. This gives a mean exposure during that period of 1.9 mW/cm2. These data demonstrate that the decreased fetal weight seen in microwave-irradiated mice (-10 %) detected in utero and is retained at least 7 days after birth. Evidence from other published studies is presented to show that the retarded growth is persistent and might be interpreted as permanent stunting.
Suvorov et al. (1994) studied the biological action of physical factors in the critical periods of embryogenesis. The critical period in a chicken embryonic development (the 10-13 days of incubation) is revealed under total electromagnetic radiation. EMR is a physiologically active irritant which can influence functional state of the brain. The increased absorption of electromagnetic energy takes place in this incubation period. Its dynamics within 20 days of embryonic development has phasic, up and down character.
Electromagnetic exposure (4 hours a day) in the above mentioned period evokes a delay in embryo adaptive motor behavior (biofeedback learning). Morphological investigation shows significant pathological changes, specifically, destruction of share brain synapses. The delay in embryo hatching for a day is also detected. Radiation exposure within other periods of incubation (3-6th or 12-15th days) was not effective with respect to formation of normal motor pattern in biofeedback experiment. Unfortunately this paper is in Russian and no exposure levels are quoted in the English translation of the abstract.
The Australian ABC television investigative programme, Four Corners, claimed in a documentary on electromagnetic health effects, that in a factory which used radiofrequency heaters for sealing plastics, that of 17 women who worked at sealing machines, 14 had miscarried. Plastic sealers expose the operator to far higher levels that do physiotherapy diathermy devices. In association with the concern in Australia about the reproductive risks from plastic sealers, Brown-Woodman et al. (1989) exposed a set of rats to a repeated exposure to 27.12 MHz EM fields for 5 weeks. A reduction in fertility occurred as indicated by a reduced number of matings in exposed rats compared to sham-exposed rats, and a reduced number of conceptions after exposure. They conclude that:
"The data suggests that female operators could experience reduced fertility, if they remain close to the console for prolonged periods. This has particular significance for the physiotherapy profession."
Magras and Xenos (1997) responded to health concerns among residents living in the vicinity of an RF transmission tower in Greece, by placing groups of mice at various locations in relation to the tower. The mice fertility was monitored over several generations and related to the RF exposure.
The Figure below shows the fertility rate of the two exposed groups. Where group A the "Low" exposure group (0.168 W/cm2 ) became infertile after 5 generations and B the "High" exposure group 1.053 W/cm2 , became infertile after only 3 generations. This is a highly significant result because so few multi-generation studies have been done and the effects of this study occur at extremely low levels and the effect is total infertility.
The Greek study confirms the Australian study, but shows that over several generations the infertility is complete at very low levels of mean RF/MW exposure, Figure 6.
Figure 6: Multigenerational exposure of mice to low level RF leads to complete infertility.
Summary and conclusions about teratological animal studies:
There is repeated evidence of RF/MW induced infertility in rodents strongly showing that RF/MW have genetically damaged the cells of the animals. This suggests that there could be reproductive and genetic damage in RF/MW exposed humans. The epidemiological studies below confirm that there is, and at very low mean levels of exposure comparable to the exposure of the mice in Greece.
Developing sperm, embryos and fetuses are very vulnerable to damage from toxins. At critical times in utero development damage to certain organs occurs. With sufficient fetal or placenta damage a spontaneous abortion is initiated. At other exposure levels and timing of damage a still birth can result. Thermal levels of microwave exposure has produced retardation of development if exposure is in early pregnancy, and resorptions, still births and hemorrhages with exposure in the second half of the pregnancy.
A much lower microwave dose was associated with significant reduction in birth weight and permanent stunting and slowing of bone hardening. Changes in chick embryo biofeedback learning is observed and testicular atrophy was observed with a mean exposure to a radar-like signal averaging 0.22 W/cm2 over a week. Total infertility occurred in mice after 5 weeks of exposure to 0.17 W/cm2.
Thus in 1962 and 1997 it is been shown that chronic low level microwave exposure of animals leads to very significant adverse reproductive effects in males and females down. The effects were still significant at exposures of 0.22 and 0.17 W/cm2. These are close to the level of the lowest published results for calcium ion efflux, 0.08 W/cm2 Schwartz et al. (1990).
RF/MW radiation causes significant birth and reproductive damage in exposed animals down to very low short-term and extremely low average exposure levels.
Reproductive Health Effects Conclusions:
The ICNIRP (1998) assessment of reproductive effects from RF/MW exposure is severely flawed. Animal studies show that chromosome aberrations and single and double strand DNA breakage occurs with EMR exposure, mice and rats have pregnancy, birth and fertility problems associated with EMR exposure which are also found in exposed human populations. There is consistency within human studies and between human studies and animal studies. Many human studies show statistically significant adverse reproductive outcomes One large human study, Ouellet-Hellstrom and Stewart (1993), gave a statistically significant dose response relationship. This study allows an exposure assessment to be carried out, along with the multigeneration mice study, Magras and Xenos (1997).
Ouellet-Hellstrom and Stewart (1993) report that the microwave exposure was primarily from leakage, which at waist level was measured in the range 80 - 1200 W/cm2. At 15 cm from the source the highest reading was 15 mW/cm2. The therapist needs to be leaning over the patient during the therapy to receive this dose. This is highly unlikely when the machine is turned on. Even so, this is not sufficient to course a surface heating of the skin in the few minutes it is likely to involve.
Hocking and Joyner (1995) show that microwaves produce very small SARs with the uterus, in the following figure 7.
Figure 7: Specific absorption rate (SAR) profile across the uterus for a small woman exposed to 1 mW/cm2, from Hocking and Joyner (1995).
In their table 2 Hocking and Joyner (1995) show maximum SARs in the uterus for the conditions in Figure 38 for short-wave (27.12 MHz) of 0.209 W/kg, for microwave (915 MHz) of 0.023 W/kg and for microwave (2.45 GHz) of 0.000027 W/kg.
Gandhi (1990) gives the relationship between SAR and temperature increase. The heating rate given is 0.0045 x SAR C/min. With a maximum exposure time per treatment of 5 minutes, and an external field intensity of 1,200 W/cm2, the heating of the fetus will be 0.0055 , 0.00062 and 0.00000073 C, respectively. Not even at 15 mW/cm2 does the short-wave exposure can produce a detectable heating effect in the uterus environment (0.071 C).
Since an acute thermal mechanism can be ruled out it is appropriate to calculate and use the cumulative average dose to determine the range of the exposure regime.
it is not the habit of therapists to stand close to the patient during the diathermy. In many cases the therapist leaves the room while the 15 to 30 minute diathermy is carried out. Hence a conservatively long exposure period of 2 minutes is chosen to be associated with the exposure range of 80 - 1200 W/cm2. The dose-response relationship is expressed in terms of treatments per month. One treatment per month is associated with a mean monthly exposure in the range 0.0038 to 0.056 W/cm2, and a mean exposure of 0.03 W/cm2.
No. of Exposures Odds Ratio Exposure Regime ( W/cm2)
per Month Mean Range
All pregnancies 0 1.00 0.0 -
<5 (2.5) 1.05 0.08 0.0095-0.14
5-20 (12.5) 1.50 0.38 0.048 - 0.7
>20 (25) 1.59 0.75 0.095 - 1.45
This table shows the results from Ouellet-Hellstrom and Stewart (1993) for microwave exposure for all pregnancies. The Number of exposures in brackets is the assumed mean number of treatments in the calculation of the Exposure regime.
There is a 5 % increase in miscarriage associated with a mean microwave exposure of 0.08 W/cm2. This is totally consistent with the calcium ion efflux and animal toxicology experiments.
Hence for reproductive effects the Level of Lowest Observed Adverse Effect is 0.08 W/cm2.
Biologically Plausible Mechanism:
Calcium ion efflux lead to the survival of damaged cells which carry their chromosome aberrations into future generations of cells. A reduction in melatonin reduces the elimination of free radicals which enhances the chromosome damage. Calcium ion efflux and melatonin reduction also impairs the immune system with allows a greater population of damaged cells to survive. Cells with damaged chromosomes are a known cause of spontaneous abortion.
According to Sandyk et al. (1992):
"The causes of spontaneous abortion can be divided into two main categories: those arising from chromosomal anomalies and those arising from abnormalities in the intrauterine environment. In the following communication, we propose that deficient pineal melatonin functions in early pregnancy may be causally related to the development of spontaneous abortions in cases where chromosomal anomalies or structural abnormalities of the uterus have been excluded."
Microwaves are shown to be associated with DNA breakage in rats brains, Lai and Singh (1995, 1996, 1997), Sarkar et al. (1994) and Phillips et al. (1998), and to cause chromosome aberrations, Heller and Teixeira-Pinto (1959), Garaj-Vrhovac et al. (1990, 1991, 1992, 1993), Haider et al. (1994) , and many others.
I have only alluded to some of the cell and animal laboratory studies to demonstrate the consistency of the flawed scientific approach taken by ICNIRP.
ICNIRP, p 506 Totally inappropriately down plays and misrepresents the calcium ion research. It is openly an importantly acknowledged that there calcium ion efflux and influx can occur, depending on the particular combination of intensity, temperature, modulation frequency and carrier frequency, and that there are windows of effect and no effect very close together. An attempt is made to dismiss the effects of alteration of cellular calcium ions by noting that there are "positive and negative" effects and by claiming the an attempted replication, Albert et al. (1987) was unsuccessful ignores dozens of other successful replications showing calcium ion efflux and influx. Albert et al. used chick brains, 147 MHz carrier frequency, and 16 Hz modulation, with an exposure level of 0.75 mW/cm2. At the same carrier and modulation frequency chick brains have been shown to have significant efflux at exposure intensities of 0.0014 W/kg three times, 0.006 and 0.008 and 0.002 W/kg. The fact that Albert et al. (1987) found no effect at a very high exposure level of 0.75 mW/cm2, equivalent to about 0.3 W/kg, simply means they are outside a window of intensity. Very few high intensity windows have been found.
This is an extremely poor and misleading assessment of calcium ion research and its health effect significance as set out above. The ICNIRP assessment totally misrepresents the nature and implications of laboratory experiments in their consistent efforts to dismiss evidence of effects.
The effect of microwaves neoplastically transforming a standard mice embryo cell line, a cell line which has been used several times in chemical carcinogen assessment are treated in the same inaccurately dismissive manner, p507, referring to the work of Balcer-Kubiczek and Harrison (1991). These researchers carried out a series of very careful and extensive laboratory assessments using a standard mouse cell line. One of their most significant results is presented below, Figure 8.