Bioinitiative

Electropollution - Bioinitiative Report

This is the Introduction to the Bioinitiative Report, from www.bioinitiative.org  - Most interesting reading! 

You can find the whole report at the above website.

SECTION 1

SUMMARY FOR THE PUBLIC

Cindy Sage, MA

Sage Associates

USA

                 Prepared for the BioInitiative Working Group

                                  August 2007

                                     

                                   Table of Contents

I.    Summary for the Public

      A. Introduction

      B. Purpose of the Report

      C. Problems with Existing Public Health Standards (Safety Limits)

II.   Summary of the Science

           A.    Evidence for Cancer (Childhood Leukemia and Adult Cancers)

           B.    Changes in the Nervous System and Brain Function

           C.    Effect on Genes (DNA)

           D.    Effects on Stress Proteins (Heat Shock Proteins)

           E.    Effects on the Immune System

           F.    Plausible Biological Mechanisms

           G.    Another Way of Looking at EMFs: Therapeutic Uses

III. EMF Exposure and Prudent Public Health Planning

IV. Recommended Actions

            A. Defining new exposure standards for ELF

            B. Defining preventative actions for reduction in RF exposures

V.    Conclusions

VI.   References

 

I. SUMMARY FOR THE PUBLIC

         A. Introduction

You cannot see it, taste it or smell it, but it is one of the most pervasive environmental exposures
 in industrialized countries today. Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) or electromagnetic fields
 (EMFs) are the terms that broadly describe exposures created by the vast array of wired and
 wireless technologies that have altered the landscape of our lives in countless beneficial ways.

However, these technologies were designed to maximize energy efficiency and convenience; not
 with biological effects on people in mind. Based on new studies, there is growing evidence
 among scientists and the public about possible health risks associated with these technologies.

Human beings are bioelectrical systems. Our hearts and brains are regulated by internal

bioelectrical signals. Environmental exposures to artificial EMFs can interact with fundamental
 biological processes in the human body. In some cases, this can cause discomfort and disease.

Since World War II, the background level of EMF from electrical sources has risen exponentially,
 most recently by the soaring popularity of wireless technologies such as cell phones (two billion
 and counting in 2006), cordless phones, WI-FI and WI-MAX networks. Several decades of
 international scientific research confirm that EMFs are biologically active in animals and in
 humans, which could have major public health consequences.

In today's world, everyone is exposed to two types of EMFs: (1) extremely low frequency

electromagnetic fields (ELF) from electrical and electronic appliances and power lines and (2)
 radiofrequency radiation (RF) from wireless devices such as cell phones and cordless phones,
 cellular antennas and towers, and broadcast transmission towers. In this report we will use the
 term EMFs when referring to all electromagnetic fields in general; and the terms ELF and RF
 when referring to the specific type of exposure. They are both types of non-ionizing radiation,
 which means that they do not have sufficient energy to break off electrons from their orbits
 around atoms and ionize (charge) the atoms, as do x-rays, CT scans, and other forms of ionizing
 radiation. A glossary and definitions are provided in Section 18 to assist you. Some handy
 definitions you will probably need when reading about ELF and RF in this summary section (the
 language for measuring it) are shown with the references for this section.

 

         B. Purpose of the Report

This report has been written by 14 (fourteen) scientists, public health and public policy

experts to document the scientific evidence on electromagnetic fields. Another dozen

outside reviewers have looked at and refined the Report.

The purpose of this report is to assess scientific evidence on health impacts from

electromagnetic radiation below current public exposure limits and evaluate what changes

in these limits are warranted now to reduce possible public health risks in the future.

Not everything is known yet about this subject; but what is clear is that the existing public

safety standards limiting these radiation levels in nearly every country of the world look to

be thousands of times too lenient. Changes are needed.

New approaches are needed to educate decision-makers and the public about sources of

exposure and to find alternatives that do not pose the same level of possible health risks,

while there is still time to make changes.

A working group composed of scientists, researchers and public health policy professionals (The
 BioInitiative Working Group) has joined together to document the information that must be
 considered in the international debate about the adequacy (or inadequacy) of existing public
 exposure standards.

This Report is the product of an international research and public policy initiative to give an

overview of what is known of biological effects that occur at low-intensity EMFs exposures (for
 both radiofrequency radiation RF and power-frequency ELF, and various forms of combined
 exposures that are now known to be bioactive). The Report examines the research and current
 standards and finds that these standards are far from adequate to protect public health.

Recognizing that other bodies in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, many European
 Union and eastern European countries as well as the World Health Organization are actively
 debating this topic, the BioInitiative Working Group has conducted a independent science and
 public health policy review process. The report presents solid science on this issue, and makes
 recommendations to decision-makers and the public. Conclusions of the individual authors, and
 overall conclusions are given in Table 2-1 (BioInitiative Overall Summary Chart).

Eleven (11) chapters that document key scientific studies and reviews identifying low-intensity
 effects of electromagnetic fields have been written by members of the BioInitiative Working
 Group. Section 16 and 17 have been prepared by public health and policy experts. These sections
 discusses the standard of evidence which should be applied in public health planning, how the
 scientific information should be evaluated in the context of prudent public health policy, and
 identifies the basis for taking precautionary and preventative actions that are proportionate to the
 knowledge at hand. They also evaluate the evidence for ELF that leads to a recommendation for
 new public safety limits (not precautionary or preventative actions, as need is demonstrated).

Other scientific review bodies and agencies have reached different conclusions than we have by
 adopting standards of evidence so unreasonably high as to exclude any conclusions likely to lead
 to new public safety limits. Some groups are actually recommending a relaxation of the existing
 (and inadequate) standards. Why is this happening? One reason is that exposure limits for ELF
 and RF are developed by bodies of scientists and engineers that belong to professional societies
 who have traditionally developed recommendations; and then government agencies have adopted
 those recommendations. The standard-setting processes have little, if any, input from other
 stakeholders outside professional engineering and closely-related commercial interests. Often,
 the industry view of allowable risk and proof of harm is most influential, rather than what public
 health experts would determine is acceptable.

Main Reasons for Disagreement among Experts

     1) Scientists and public health policy experts use very different definitions of the standard of
 evidence used to judge the science, so they come to different conclusions about what to

         do. Scientists do have a role, but it is not exclusive and other opinions matter.

     2) We are all talking about essentially the same scientific studies, but use a different

         way of measuring when "enough is enough" or "proof exists".

     3) Some experts keep saying that all studies have to be consistent (turn out the same way
 every time) before they are comfortable saying an effect exists.

     4) Some experts think that it is enough to look only at short-term, acute effects.

     5) Other experts say that it is imperative we have studies over longer time (showing the

         effects of chronic exposures) since that is what kind of world we live in.

     6) Some experts say that everyone, including the very young, the elderly, pregnant women,
 and people with illnesses have to be considered - others say only the average person (or
 in the case of RF, a six-foot tall man) matter.

     7) There is no unexposed population, making it harder to see increased risk of diseases.

     8) The lack of consensus about a single biological mechanism of action.

     9) The strength of human epidemiological studies reporting risks from ELF and RF

         exposures, but animal studies don't show a strong toxic effect.

     10) Vested interests have a substantial influence on the health debate.

Public Policy Decisions
 Safety limits for public exposure to EMFs need to be developed on the basis of interaction among
 not only scientists, but also public health experts, public policy makers and the general public.

"In principle, the assessment of the evidence should combine with judgment based on other

societal values, for example, costs and benefits, acceptability of risks, cultural preferences, etc.
 and result in sound and effective decision-making. Decisions on these matters are eventually
 taken as a function of the views, values and interests of the stakeholders participating in the
 process, whose opinions are then weighed depending on several factors. Scientific evidence
 perhaps carries, or should carry, relatively heavy weight, but grants no exclusive status;
 decisions will be evidence-based but will also be based on other factors." (1)

The clear consensus of the BioInitiative Working Group members is that the existing public

                        safety limits are inadequate for both ELF and RF.
 These proposals reflect the evidence that a positive assertion of safety with respect to

chronic exposure to low-intensity levels of ELF and RF cannot be made. As with many

other standards for environmental exposures, these proposed limits may not be totally

protective, but more stringent standards are not realistic at the present time. Even a

small increased risk for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases translates into an enormous

public health consequence. Regulatory action for ELF and preventative actions for RF are

warranted at this time to reduce exposures and inform the public of the potential for

increased risk; at what levels of chronic exposure these risks may be present; and what

measures may be taken to reduce risks.

  These proposals reflect the evidence that a positive assertion of safety with respect to

chronic exposure to low-intensity levels of ELF and RF cannot be made. As with many

other standards for environmental exposures, these proposed limits may not be totally

protective, but more stringent standards are not realistic at the present time. Even a

small increased risk for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases translates into an enormous

public health consequence. Regulatory action for ELF and preventative actions for RF are

warranted at this time to reduce exposures and inform the public of the potential for

increased risk; at what levels of chronic exposure these risks may be present; and what

measures may be taken to reduce risks.

 

         C. Problems with Existing Public Health Standards (Safety Limits)

Today's public exposure limits for telecommunications are based on the presumption that heating

of tissue (for RF) or induced electric currents in the body (for ELF) are the only concerns when

living organisms are exposed to RF. These exposures can create tissue heating that is well known

to be harmful in even very short-term doses. As such, thermal limits do serve a purpose. For

example, for people whose occupations require them to work around radar facilities or RF heat-

sealers, or for people who install and service wireless antenna tower, thermally-based limits are

necessary to prevent damage from heating (or, in the case of power-frequency ELF from induced

current flow in tissues). In the past, scientists and engineers developed exposure standards for

electromagnetic radiation based what we now believe are faulty assumptions that the right way to

measure how much non-ionizing energy humans can tolerate (how much exposure) without harm

is to measure only the heating of tissue (RF) or induced currents in the body (ELF).

In the last few decades, it has been established beyond any reasonable doubt that bioeffects and

some adverse health effects occur at far lower levels of RF and ELF exposure where no heating

(or induced currents) occurs at all; some effects are shown to occur at several hundred thousand

times below the existing public safety limits where heating is an impossibility.

   It appears it is the INFORMATION conveyed by electromagnetic radiation (rather than

  heat) that causes biological changes - some of these biological changes may lead to loss of
 wellbeing, disease and even death.

Effects occur at non-thermal or low-intensity exposure levels thousands of times below the levels

that federal agencies say should keep the public safe. For many new devices operating with

wireless technologies, the devices are exempt from any regulatory standards. The existing

standards have been proven to be inadequate to control against harm from low-intensity, chronic

exposures, based on any reasonable, independent assessment of the scientific literature. It means

that an entirely new basis (a biological basis) for new exposure standards is needed. New

standards need to take into account what we have learned about the effects of ELF and RF (all

non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation and to design new limits based on biologically-

demonstrated effects that are important to proper biological function in living organisms. It is

vital to do so because the explosion of new sources has created unprecedented levels of artificial

electromagnetic fields that now cover all but remote areas of the habitable space on earth. Mid-

course corrections are needed in the way we accept, test and deploy new technologies that expose

us to ELF and RF in order to avert public health problems of a global nature.

Recent opinions by experts have documented deficiencies in current exposure standards. There is

widespread discussion that thermal limits are outdated, and that biologically-based exposure

standards are needed. Section 4 describes concerns expressed by WHO, 2007 in its ELF Health

Criteria Monograph; the SCENIHR Report, 2006 prepared for the European Commission; the UK

SAGE Report, 2007; the Health Protection Agency, United Kingdom in 2005; the NATO

Advanced Research Workshop in 2005; the US Radiofrequency Interagency Working Group in

1999; the US Food and Drug Administration in 2000 and 2007; the World Health Organization

in 2002; the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC, 2001), the United Kingdom

Parliament Independent Expert Group Report on Mobile Phones - Stewart Report, 2000) and

others.

A pioneer researcher, the late Dr. Ross Adey, in his last publication in Bioelectromagnetic

Medicine (P. Roche and M. Markov, eds. 2004) concluded:

         "There are major unanswered questions about possible health risks that may arise from

         exposures to various man-made electromagnetic fields where these human exposures are

         intermittent, recurrent, and may extend over a significant portion of the lifetime of the

         individual."

         "Epidemiological studies have evaluated ELF and radiofrequency fields as possible risk

         factors for human health, with historical evidence relating rising risks of such factors as

         progressive rural electrification, and more recently, to methods of electrical power

         distribution and utilization in commercial buildings. Appropriate models describing

         these bioeffects are based in nonequilibrium thermodynamics, with nonlinear

         electrodynamics as an integral feature. Heating models, based in equilibrium

         thermodynamics, fail to explain an impressive new frontier of much greater significance.

         ..... Though incompletely understood, tissue free radical interactions with magnetic fields

         may extend to zero field levels." (2)

  There may be no lower limit at which exposures do not affect us. Until we know if

    there is a lower limit below which bioeffects and adverse health impacts do not

 occur, it is unwise from a public health perspective to continue "business-as-usual"

     deploying new technologies that increase ELF and RF exposures, particularly

                                      involuntary exposures.


II. SUMMARY OF THE SCIENCE

        
A. Evidence for Cancer

         1. Childhood Leukemia

The evidence that power lines and other sources of ELF are consistently associated with higher

rates of childhood leukemia has resulted in the International Agency for Cancer Research (an arm

of the World Health Organization) to classify ELF as a Possible Human Carcinogen (in the Group

2B carcinogen list). Leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children.

          There is little doubt that exposure to ELF causes childhood leukemia.

The exposure levels for increased risk are quite low - just above background or ambient levels

and much lower than current exposure limits. The existing ICNIRP limit is 1000 mG (904 mG in

the US) for ELF. Increased risk for childhood leukemia starts at levels almost one thousand times

below the safety standard. Leukemia risks for young boys are reported in one study to double at

only 1.4 mG and above (7) Most other studies combine older children with younger children (0

to 16 years) so that risk levels do not reach statistical significance until exposure levels reach 2

mG or 3 mG. Although some reviews have combined studies of childhood leukemia in ways

that indicate the risk level starts at 4 mG and above; this does not reflect many of the studies

reporting elevated risks at the lower exposure levels of 2 mG and 3 mG.


         2. Other Childhood Cancers

Other childhood cancers have been studied, including brain tumors, but not enough work has

been done to know if there are risks, how high these risks might be or what exposure levels might

be associated with increased risks. The lack of certainty about other childhood cancers should not

be taken to signal the "all clear"; rather it is a lack of study.

The World Health Organization ELF Health Criteria Monograph No 322 (2007) says that other

childhood cancers "cannot be ruled out". (8)

      There is some evidence that other childhood cancers may be related to ELF

                       exposure but not enough studies have been done.

Several recent studies provide even stronger evidence that ELF is a risk factor for childhood

leukemia and cancers later in life. In the first study (9), children who were recovering in high-

ELF environments had poorer survival rates (a 450% increased risk of dying if the ELF fields

were 3 mG and above). In the second study, children who were recovering in 2 mG and above

ELF environments were 300% more likely to die than children exposed to 1 mG and below. In

this second study, children recovering in ELF environments between 1 and 2 mG also had poorer

survival rates, where the increased risk of dying was 280%. (10) These two studies give powerful

new information that ELF exposures in children can be harmful at levels above even 1 mG. The

third study looked what risks for cancer a child would have later in life, if that child was raised in

a home within 300 meters of a high-voltage electric power line. (11) For children who were

raised for their first five years of life within 300 meters, they have a life-time risk that is 500%

higher for developing some kinds of cancers.

 Children who have leukemia and are in recovery have poorer survival rates if their

 ELF exposure at home (or where they are recovering) is between 1mG and 2 mG in
 one study; over 3 mG in another study.

Given the extensive study of childhood leukemia risks associated with ELF, and the relatively

consistent findings that exposures in the 2 mG to 4 mG range are associated with increased risk to

children, a 1 mG limit for habitable space is recommended for new construction. While it is

difficult and expensive to retrofit existing habitable space to a 1 mG level, and is also

recommended as a desirable target for existing residences and places where children and pregnant

women may spend prolonged periods of time.

     New ELF public exposure limits are warranted at this time, given the existing

   scientific evidence and need for public health policy intervention and prevention.

 

         3. Brain Tumors and Acoustic Neuromas
Radiofrequency radiation from cell phone and cordless phone exposure has been linked in more
 than one dozen studies to increased risk for brain tumors and/or acoustic neuromas (a tumor in the

brain on a nerve related to our hearing).

   People who have used a cell phone for ten years or more have higher rates of malignant

  brain tumor and acoustic neuromas. It is worse if the cell phone has been used primarily
 on one side of the head.

For brain tumors, people who have used a cell phone for 10 years or longer have a 20% increase

in risk (when the cell phone is used on both sides of the head). For people who have used a cell

phone for 10 years or longer predominantly on one side of the head, there is a 200% increased

risk of a brain tumor. This information relies on the combined results of many brain tumor/cell

phone studies taken together (a meta-analysis of studies).

People who have used a cordless phone for ten years or more have higher rates of malignant

 brain tumor and acoustic neuromas. It is worse if the cordless phone has been used

primarily on one side of the head.

The risk of brain tumor (high-grade malignant glioma) from cordless phone use is 220% higher

(both sides of the head). The risk from use of a cordless phone is 470% higher when used mostly

on only one side of the head.

For acoustic neuromas, there is a 30% increased risk with cell phone use at ten years and longer;

and a 240% increased risk of acoustic neuroma when the cell phone is used mainly on one side of

the head. These risks are based on the combined results of several studies (a meta-analysis of

studies).

For use of cordless phones, the increased risk of acoustic neuroma is three-fold higher (310%)

when the phone is mainly used on one side of the head.

The current standard for exposure to the emissions of cell phones and cordless phones is not

safe considering studies reporting long-term brain tumor and acoustic neuroma risks.

Other indications that radiofrequency radiation can cause brain tumors comes from exposures to

low-level RF other than from cell phone or cordless phone use. Studies of people who are

exposed in their work (occupational exposure) show higher brain tumor rates as well. Kheifets

(1995) reported a 10% to 20% increased risk of brain cancer for those employed in electrical

occupations. This meta-analysis surveyed 29 published studies of brain cancer in relation to

occupational EMFs exposure or work in electrical occupations. (6). The evidence for a link

between other sources of RF exposure like working at a job with EMFs exposure is consistent

with a moderately elevated risk of developing brain tumors.


         4. Other Adult Cancers

There are multiple studies that show statistically significant relationships between occupational

exposure and leukemia in adults (see Chapter 11), in spite of major limitations in the exposure

assessment. A very recent study by Lowenthal et al. (2007) investigated leukemia in adults in

relation to residence near to high-voltage power lines. While they found elevated risk in all

adults living near to the high voltage power lines, they found an OR of 3.23 (95% CI = 1.26-8.29)

for individuals who spent the first 15 years of life within 300 m of the power line. This study

provides support for two important conclusions: adult leukemia is also associated with EMF

exposure, and exposure during childhood increases risk of adult disease.

A significant excess risk for adult brain tumors in electrical workers and those adults with

occupational EMF exposure was reported in a meta-analysis (review of many individual studies)

by Kheifets et al., (1995). This is about the same size risk for lung cancer and secondhand smoke

(US DHHS, 2006). A total of 29 studies with populations from 12 countries were included in this

meta-analysis. The relative risk was reported as 1.16 (CI = 1.08 - 1.24) or a 16% increased risk

for all brain tumors. For gliomas, the risk estimate was reported to be 1.39 (1.07 - 1.82) or a 39%

increased risk for those in electrical occupations. A second meta-analysis published by Kheifets

et al., ((2001) added results of 9 new studies published after 1995. It reported a new pooled

estimate (OR = 1.16, 1.08 - 1.01) that showed little change in the risk estimate overall from 1995.

The evidence for a relationship between exposure and breast cancer is relatively strong in men

(Erren, 2001), and some (by no means all) studies show female breast cancer also to be elevated

with increased exposure (see Chapter 12). Brain tumors and acoustic neuromas are more

common in exposed persons (see Chapter 10). There is less published evidence on other cancers,

but Charles et al. (2003) report that workers in the highest 10% category for EMF exposure were

twice as likely to die of prostate cancer as those exposed at lower levels (OR 2.02, 95% CI =

1.34-3.04). Villeneuve et al. (2000) report statistically significant elevations of non-Hodgkin's

lymphoma in electric utility workers in relation to EMF exposure, while Tynes et al. (2003)

report elevated rates of malignant melanoma in persons living near to high voltage power lines.

While these observations need replication, they suggest a relationship between exposure and

cancer in adults beyond leukemia.

In total the scientific evidence for adult disease associated with EMF exposure is sufficiently

strong for adult cancers that preventive steps are appropriate, even if not all reports have shown

exactly the same positive relationship. This is especially true since many factors reduce our

ability to see disease patterns that might be related to EMF exposure: there is no unexposed

population for comparison, for example, and other difficulties in exposure assessment, The

evidence for a relationship between EMF exposure and adult cancers and neurodegenerative

diseases is sufficiently strong at present to merit preventive actions to reduce EMF exposure.


          5. Breast Cancer

There is rather strong evidence from multiple areas of scientific investigation that ELF is related

to breast cancer. Over the last two decades there have been numerous epidemiological studies

(studies of human illness) on breast cancer in both men and women, although this relationship

remains controversial among scientists. Many of these studies report that ELF exposures are

related to increased risk of breast cancer (not all studies report such effects, but then, we do not

expect 100% or even 50% consistency in results in science, and do not require it to take

reasonable preventative action).

 The evidence from studies on women in the workplace rather strongly suggests that ELF is

  a risk factor for breast cancer for women with long-term exposures of 10 mG and higher.

Breast cancer studies of people who work in relatively high ELF exposures (10 mG and above)

show higher rates of this disease. Most studies of workers who are exposed to ELF have defined

high exposure levels to be somewhere between 2 mG and 10 mG; however this kind of mixing of

relatively low to relatively high ELF exposure just acts to dilute out real risk levels. Many of the

occupational studies group exposures so that the highest group is exposed to 4 mG and above.

What this means is that a) few people are exposed to much higher levels and b) illness patterns

show up at relatively low ELF levels of 4 mG and above. This is another way of demonstrating

that existing ELF limits that are set at 933-1000 mG are irrelevant to the exposure levels reporting

increased risks.

Laboratory studies that examine human breast cancer cells have shown that ELF exposure

between 6 mG and 12 mG can interfere with protective effects of melatonin that fights the growth

of these breast cancer cells. For a decade, there has been evidence that human breast cancer cells

grow faster if exposed to ELF at low environmental levels. This is thought to be because ELF

exposure can reduce melatonin levels in the body. The presence of melatonin in breast cancer

cell cultures is known to reduce the growth of cancer cells. The absence of melatonin (because of

ELF exposure or other reasons) is known to result in more cancer cell growth.

Laboratory studies of animals that have breast cancer tumors have been shown to have more

tumors and larger tumors when exposed to ELF and a chemical tumor promoter at the same time.

These studies taken together indicate that ELF is a likely risk factor for breast cancer, and that

ELF levels of importance are no higher than many people are exposed to at home and at work. A

reasonable suspicion of risk exists and is sufficient evidence on which to recommend new ELF

limits; and to warrant preventative action.

 Given the very high lifetime risks for developing breast cancer, and the critical importance

     of prevention; ELF exposures should be reduced for all people who are in high ELF

                           environments for prolonged periods of time.

Reducing ELF exposure is particularly important for people who have breast cancer. The

recovery environment should have low ELF levels given the evidence for poorer survival rates for

childhood leukemia patients in ELF fields over 2 mG or 3 mG. Preventative action for those who

may be at higher risk for breast cancer is also warranted (particularly for those taking tamoxifen

as a way to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer, since in addition to reducing the effectiveness

of melatonin, ELF exposure may also reduce the effectiveness of tamoxifen at these same low

exposure levels). There is no excuse for ignoring the substantial body of evidence we already

have that supports an association between breast cancer and ELF exposure; waiting for

conclusive evidence is untenable given the enormous costs and societal and personal burdens

caused by this disease.

 Studies of human breast cancer cells and some animal studies show that ELF is likely to be

    a risk factor for breast cancer. There is supporting evidence for a link between breast

  cancer and exposure to ELF that comes from cell and animal studies, as well as studies of

                                       human breast cancers.

These are just some of the cancer issues to discuss. It may be reasonable now to make the

assumption that all cancers, and other disease endpoints might be related to, or worsened by

exposures to EMFs (both ELF and RF).

If one or more cancers are related, why would not all cancer risks be at issue? It can no longer be

said that the current state of knowledge rules out or precludes risks to human health. The

enormous societal costs and impacts on human suffering by not dealing proactively with this

issue require substantive public health policy actions; and actions of governmental agencies

charged with the protection of public health to act on the basis of the evidence at hand.


          B. Changes in the Nervous System and Brain Function

Exposure to electromagnetic fields has been studies in connection with Alzheimer's disease,

motor neuron disease and Parkinson's disease. (4) These diseases all involve the death of specific

neurons and may be classified as neurodegenerative diseases. There is evidence that high levels

of amyloid beta are a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, and exposure to ELF can increase this

substance in the brain. There is considerable evidence that melatonin can protect the brain

against damage leading to Alzheimer's disease, and also strong evidence that exposure to ELF

can reduce melatonin levels. Thus it is hypothesized that one of the body's main protections

against developing Alzheimer's disease (melatonin) is less available to the body when people are

exposed to ELF. Prolonged exposure to ELF fields could alter calcium (Ca2+) levels in neurons

and induce oxidative stress (4). It is also possible that prolonged exposure to ELF fields may

stimulate neurons (particularly large motor neurons) into synchronous firing, leading to damage

by the buildup of toxins.

Evidence for a relationship between exposure and the neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer's

and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is strong and relatively consistent (see Chapter 12).

While not every publication shows a statistically significant relationship between exposure and

disease, ORs of 2.3 (95% CI = 1.0-5.1 in Qio et al., 2004), of 2.3 (95% CI = 1.6-3.3 in Feychting

et al., 2003) and of 4.0 (95% CI = 1.4-11.7 in Hakansson et al., 2003) for Alzheimer's Disease,

and of 3.1 (95% CI = 1.0-9.8 in Savitz et al., 1998) and 2.2 (95% CI = 1.0-4.7 in Hakansson et al.,

2003) for ALS cannot be simply ignored.

  Alzheimer's disease is a disease of the nervous system. There is strong evidence that long-

                  term exposure to ELF is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.

Concern has also been raised that humans with epileptic disorders could be more susceptible to

RF exposure. Low-level RF exposure may be a stressor based on similarities of neurological

effects to other known stressors; low-level RF activates both endogenous opioids and other

substances in the brain that function in a similar manner to psychoactive drug actions. Such

effects in laboratory animals mimic the effects of drugs on the part of the brain that is involved in

addiction.

Laboratory studies show that the nervous system of both humans and animals is sensitive to ELF

and RF. Measurable changes in brain function and behavior occur at levels associated with new

technologies including cell phone use. Exposing humans to cell phone radiation can change

brainwave activity at levels as low as 0.1 watt per kilogram SAR (W/Kg)*** in comparison to the

US allowable level of 1.6 W/Kg and the International Commission for Non-ionizing Radiation

Protection (ICNIRP) allowable level of 2.0 W/Kg. It can affect memory and learning. It can

affect normal brainwave activity. ELF and RF exposures at low levels are able to change

behavior in animals.

   There is little doubt that electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones and cell phone use

                                affect electrical activity of the brain.

Effects on brain function seem to depend in some cases on the mental load of the subject during

exposure (the brain is less able to do two jobs well simultaneously when the same part of the

brain is involved in both tasks). Some studies show that cell phone exposure speeds up the

brain's activity level; but also that the efficiency and judgment of the brain are diminished at the

same time. One study reported that teenage drivers had slowed responses when driving and

exposed to cell phone radiation, comparable to response times of elderly people. Faster thinking

does not necessarily mean better quality thinking.

  Changes in the way in which the brain and nervous system react depend very much on the

       specific exposures. Most studies only look at short-term effects, so the long-term

                             consequences of exposures are not known.

Factors that determine effects can depend on head shape and size, the location, size and shape of

internal brain structures, thinness of the head and face, hydration of tissues, thickness of various

tissues, dialectric constant of the tissues and so on. Age of the individual and state of health also

appear to be important variables. Exposure conditions also greatly influence the outcome of

studies, and can have opposite results depending on the conditions of exposure including

frequency, waveform, orientation of exposure, duration of exposure, number of exposures, any

pulse modulation of the signal, and when effects are measured (some responses to RF are

delayed). There is large variability in the results of ELF and RF testing, which would be

expected based on the large variability of factors that can influence test results. However, it is

clearly demonstrated that under some conditions of exposure, the brain and nervous system

functions of humans are altered. The consequence of long-term or prolonged exposures have not

been thoroughly studied in either adults or in children.

   The consequence of prolonged exposures to children, whose nervous systems continue to

develop until late adolescence, is unknown at this time. This could have serious implications

 to adult health and functioning in society if years of exposure of the young to both ELF and

   RF result in diminished capacity for thinking, judgment, memory, learning, and control

                                             over behavior.

People who are chronically exposed to low-level wireless antenna emissions report symptoms

such as problems in sleeping (insomnia), fatigue, headache, dizziness, grogginess, lack of

concentration, memory problems, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), problems with balance and

orientation, and difficulty in multi-tasking. In children, exposures to cell phone radiation have

resulted in changes in brain oscillatory activity during some memory tasks. Although scientific

studies as yet have not been able to confirm a cause-and-effect relationship; these complaints are

widespread and the cause of significant public concern in some countries where wireless

technologies are fairly mature and widely distributed (Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy,

Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Israel). For example, the roll-out of the new 3rd Generation

wireless phones (and related community-wide antenna RF emissions in the Netherlands) caused

almost immediate public complaints of illness.(5)

Conflicting results from those few studies that have been conducted may be based on the

difficulty in providing non-exposed environments for testing to compare to environments that are

intentionally exposed. People traveling to laboratories for testing are pre-exposed to a multitude

of RF and ELF exposures, so they may already be symptomatic prior to actual testing. Also

complicating this is good evidence that RF exposures testing behavioral changes show delayed

results; effects are observed after termination of RF exposure. This suggests a persistent change

in the nervous system that may be evident only after time has passed, so is not observed during a

short testing period.

   The effects of long-term exposure to wireless technologies including emissions from cell

   phones and other personal devices, and from whole-body exposure to RF transmissions

from cell towers and antennas is simply not known yet with certainty. However, the body of

evidence at hand suggests that bioeffects and health impacts can and do occur at exquisitely

      low exposure levels: levels that can be thousands of times below public safety limits.

The evidence reasonably points to the potential for serious public health consequences (and

economic costs), which will be of global concern with the widespread public use of, and exposure

to such emissions. Even a small increase in disease incidence or functional loss of cognition

related to new wireless exposures would have a large public health, societal and economic

consequences. Epidemiological studies can report harm to health only after decades of exposure,

and where large effects can be seen across "average" populations; so these early warnings of

possible harm should be taken seriously now by decision-makers.


         C. Effects on Genes (DNA)

Cancer risk is related to DNA damage, which alters the genetic blueprint for growth and

development. If DNA is damaged (the genes are damaged) there is a risk that these damaged

cells will not die. Instead they will continue to reproduce themselves with damaged DNA, and

this is one necessary pre-condition for cancer. Reduced DNA repair may also be an important

part of this story. When the rate of damage to DNA exceeds the rate at which DNA can be

repaired, there is the possibility of retaining mutations and initiating cancer. Studies on how ELF

and RF may affect genes and DNA is important, because of the possible link to cancer.

Even ten years ago, most people believed that very weak ELF and RF fields could not possibly

have any effect at all on DNA and how cells work (or are damaged and cannot do their work

properly). The argument was that these weak fields are do not possess enough energy (are not

physically strong enough) to cause damage. However, there are multiple ways we already know

about where energy is not the key factor in causing damage. For example, exposure to toxic

chemicals can cause damage. Changing the balance of delicate biological processes, including

hormone balances in the body, can damage or destroy cells, and cause illness. In fact, many

chronic diseases are directly related to this kind of damage that does not require any heating at all.

Interference with cell communication (how cells interact) may either cause cancer directly or

promote existing cancers to grow faster.

Using modern gene-testing techniques will probably give very useful information in the future

about how EMFs targets and affects molecules in the body. At the gene level, there is some

evidence now that EMFs (both ELF and RF) can cause changes in how DNA works. Laboratory

studies have been conducted to see whether (and how) weak EMFs fields can affect how genes

and proteins function. Such changes have been seen in some, but not all studies.

Small changes in protein or gene expression might be able to alter cell physiology, and might be

able to cause later effects on health and well-being. The study of genes, proteins and EMFs is

still in its infancy, however, by having some confirmation at the gene level and protein level that

weak EMFs exposures do register changes may be an important step in establishing what risks to

health can occur.

What is remarkable about studies on DNA, genes and proteins and EMFs is that there should be

no effect at all if it were true that EMFs is too weak to cause damage. Scientists who believe that

the energy of EMFs is insignificant and unlikely to cause harm have a hard time explaining these

changes, so are inclined to just ignore them. The trouble with this view is that the effects are

occurring. Not being able to explain these effects is not a good reason to consider them

imaginary or unimportant.

The European research program (REFLEX) documented many changes in normal biological

functioning in tests on DNA (3). The significance of these results is that such effects are directly

related to the question of whether human health risks might occur, when these changes in genes

and DNA happen. This large research effort produced information on EMFs effects from more

than a dozen different researchers. Some of the key findings included:

           "Gene mutations, cell proliferation and apoptosis are caused by or result in altered gene

           and protein expression profiles. The convergence of these events is required for the

           development of all chronic diseases." (3)

           "Genotoxic effects and a modified expression of numerous genes and proteins after EMF

           exposure could be demonstrated with great certainty." (3)

           "RF-EMF produced genotoxic effects in fibroblasts, HL-60 cells, granulosa cells of rats

           and neural progenitor cells derived from mouse embryonic stem cells." (Participants 2, 3

           and 4). (3)

           "Cells responded to RF exposure between SAR levels of 0.3 and 2 W/Kg with a

           significant increase in single- and double-strand DNA breaks and in micronuclei

           frequency." (Participants 2, 3 and 4). (3)

         "In HL-60 cells an increase in intracellular generation of free radicals accompanying

         RF-EMF exposure could clearly be demonstrated." (Participant 2). (3)

         "The induced DNA damage was not based on thermal effects and arouses consideration

         about the environmental safety limits for ELF-EMF exposure." (3)

         "The effects were clearly more pronounced in cells from older donors, which could point

         to an age-related decrease of DNA repair efficiency of ELF-EMF induced DNA strand

         breaks." (3)

Both ELF and RF exposures can be considered genotoxic (will damage DNA) under certain

conditions of exposure, including exposure levels that are lower than existing safety limits.


         D. Effects on Stress Proteins (Heat Shock Proteins)

In nearly every living organism, there is a special protection launched by cells when they are

under attack from environmental toxins or adverse environmental conditions. This is called a

stress response, and what are produced are stress proteins (also known as heat shock proteins).

Plants, animals and bacteria all produce stress proteins to survive environmental stressors like

high temperatures, lack of oxygen, heavy metal poisoning, and oxidative stress (a cause of

premature aging). We can now add ELF and RF exposures to this list of environmental stressors

that cause a physiological stress response.

  Very low-level ELF and RF exposures can cause cells to produce stress proteins, meaning

 that the cell recognizes ELF and RF exposures as harmful. This is another important way

   in which scientists have documented that ELF and RF exposures can be harmful, and it

                happens at levels far below the existing public safety standards.

An additional concern is that if the stress goes on too long, the protective effect is diminished.

There is a reduced response if the stress goes on too long, and the protective effect is reduced.

This means the cell is less protected against damage, and it is why prolonged or chronic

exposures may be quite harmful, even at very low intensities.

The biochemical pathway that is activated is the same for ELF and for RF exposures, and it is

non-thermal (does not require heating or induced electrical currents, and thus the safety standards

based on protection from heating are irrelevant and not protective). ELF exposure levels of only

5 to 10 mG have been shown to activate the stress response genes (Table 2, Section 6). The

specific absorption rate or SAR is not the appropriate measure of biological threshold or dose,

and should not be used as the basis for a safety standard, since SAR only regulates against

thermal damage.


          E. Effects on the Immune System

The immune system is another defense we have against invading organisms (viruses, bacteria,

and other foreign molecules). It protects us against illness, infectious diseases, and tumor cells.

There are many different kinds of immune cells; each type of cell has a particular purpose, and is

launched to defend the body against different kinds of exposures that the body determines might

be harmful.

  There is substantial evidence that ELF and RF can cause inflammatory reactions, allergy

                reactions and change normal immune function at levels allowed

                                 by current public safety standards.

The body's immune defense system senses danger from ELF and RF exposures, and targets an

immune defense against these fields, much like the body's reaction in producing stress proteins.

These are additional indicators that very low intensity ELF and RF exposures are a) recognized

by cells and b) can cause reactions as if the exposure is harmful. Chronic exposure to factors that

increase allergic and inflammatory responses on a continuing basis are likely to be harmful to

health. Chronic inflammatory responses can lead to cellular, tissue and organ damage over time.

Many chronic diseases are thought to be related to chronic problems with immune system

function.

The release of inflammatory substances, such as histamine, are well-known to cause skin

reactions, swelling, allergic hypersensitivity and other conditions that are normally associated

with some kind of defense mechanism. The human immune system is part of a general defense

barrier that protects against harmful exposures from the surrounding environment. When the

immune system is aggravated by some kind of attack, there are many kinds of immune cells that

can respond. Anything that triggers an immune response should be carefully evaluated, since

chronic stimulation of the immune system may over time impair the system's ability to respond in

the normal fashion.

Measurable physiological changes (mast cell increases in the skin, for example that are markers

of allergic response and inflammatory cell response) are triggered by ELF and RF at very low

intensities. Mast cells, when activated by ELF or RF, will break (degranulate) and release

irritating chemicals that cause the symptoms of allergic skin reactions.

There is very clear evidence that exposures to ELF and RF at levels associated with cell phone

use, computers, video display terminals, televisions, and other sources can cause these skin

reactions. Changes in skin sensitivity have been measured by skin biopsy, and the findings are

remarkable. Some of these reactions happen at levels equivalent to those of wireless technologies

in daily life. Mast cells are also found in the brain and heart, perhaps targets of immune response

by cells responding to ELF and RF exposures, and this might account for some of the other

symptoms commonly reported (headache, sensitivity to light, heart arrythmias and other cardiac

symptoms). Chronic provocation by exposure to ELF and RF can lead to immune dysfunction,

chronic allergic responses, inflammatory diseases and ill health if they occur on a continuing

basis over time.

These clinical findings may account for reports of persons with electrical hypersensitivity, which

is a condition where there is intolerance for any level of exposure to ELF and/or RF. Although

there is not yet a substantial scientific assessment (under controlled conditions, if that is even

possible); anecdotal reports from many countries show that estimates range from 3% to perhaps

5% of populations, and it is a growing problem. Electrical hypersensitivity, like multiple

chemical sensitivity, can be disabling and require the affected person to make drastic changes in

work and living circumstances, and suffer large economic losses and loss of personal freedom. In

Sweden, electrohypersensitivity (EHS) is officially recognized as fully functional impairment

(i.e., it is not regarded as a disease - see Section 6, Appendix A).


           F. Plausible Biological Mechanisms

Plausible biological mechanisms are already identified that can reasonably account for most

biological effects reported for exposure to RF and ELF at low-intensity levels (oxidative stress

and DNA damage from free radicals leading to genotoxicity; molecular mechanisms at very low

energies are plausible links to disease, e.g., effect on electron transfer rates linked to oxidative

damage, DNA activation linked to abnormal biosynthesis and mutation). It is also important to

remember that traditional public health and epidemiological determinations do not require a

proven mechanism before inferring a causal link between EMFs exposure and disease (12).

Many times, proof of mechanism is not known before wise public health responses are

implemented.

"Obviously, melatonin's ability to protect DNA from oxidative damage has implications for many

types of cancer, including leukemia, considering that DNA damage due to free radicals is

believed to be the initial oncostatic event in a majority of human cancers [Cerutti et al., 1994].

In addition to cancer, free radical damage to the central nervous system is a significant

component of a variety of neurodegenerative diseases of the aged including Alzheimer's disease

and Parkinsonism. In experimental animal models of both of these conditions, melatonin has

proven highly effective in forestalling their onset, and reducing their severity [Reiter et al.,

2001]." (13)

Oxidative stress through the action of free radical damage to DNA is a plausible biological

mechanism for cancer and diseases that involve damage from ELF to the central nervous

system.


           G. Another Way of Looking at EMFs: Therapeutic Uses

Many people are surprised to learn that certain kinds of EMFs treatments actually can heal.

These are medical treatments that use EMFs in specific ways to help in healing bone fractures, to

heal wounds to the skin and underlying tissues, to reduce pain and swelling, and for other post-

surgical needs. Some forms of EMFs exposure are used to treat depression.

EMFs have been shown to be effective in treating conditions of disease at energy levels far below

current public exposure standards. This leads to the obvious question. How can scientists dispute

the harmful effects of EMF exposures while at the same time using forms of EMF treatment that

are proven to heal the body?

Medical conditions are successfully treated using EMFs at levels below current public safety

   standards, proving another way that the body recognizes and responds to low-intensity

EMF signals. Otherwise, these medical treatments could not work. The FDA has approved

             EMFs medical treatment devices, so is clearly aware of this paradox.

Random exposures to EMFs, as opposed to EMFs exposures done with clinical oversight, could

lead to harm just like the unsupervised use of pharmaceutical drugs. This evidence forms a

strong warning that indiscriminate EMF exposure is probably a bad idea.

 No one would recommend that drugs used in medical treatments and prevention of disease

     be randomly given to the public, especially to children. Yet, random and involuntary

                        exposures to EMFs occur all the time in daily life.

The consequence of multiple sources of EMFs exposures in daily life, with no regard to

cumulative exposures or to potentially harmful combinations of EMFs exposures means several

things. First, it makes it very difficult to do clinical studies because it is almost impossible to find

anyone who is not already exposed. Second, people with and without diseases have multiple and

overlapping exposures - this will vary from person to person.

Just as ionizing radiation can be used to effectively diagnose disease and treat cancer, it is also a

cause of cancer under different exposure conditions. Since EMFs are both a cause of disease, and

also used for treatment of disease, it is vitally important that public exposure standards reflect our

current understanding of the biological potency of EMF exposures, and develop both new public

safety limits and measures to prevent future exposures.

 


III. EMF EXPOSURE AND PRUDENT PUBLIC HEALTH PLANNING


- The scientific evidence is sufficient to warrant regulatory action for ELF; and it is

substantial enough to warrant preventative actions for RF.

- The standard of evidence for judging the emerging scientific evidence necessary to take

action should be proportionate to the impacts on health and well-being

- The exposures are widespread.

- Widely accepted standards for judging the science are used in this assessment.

Public exposure to electromagnetic radiation (power-line frequencies, radiofrequency and

microwave) is growing exponentially worldwide. There is a rapid increase in electrification in

developing countries, even in rural areas. Most members of society now have and use cordless

phones, cellular phones, and pagers. In addition, most populations are also exposed to antennas

in communities designed to transmit wireless RF signals. Some developing countries have even

given up running land lines because of expense and the easy access to cell phones. Long-term

and cumulative exposure to such massively increased RF has no precedent in human history.

Furthermore, the most pronounced change is for children, who now routinely spend hours each

day on the cell phone. Everyone is exposed to a greater or lesser extent. No one can avoid

exposure, since even if they live on a mountain-top without electricity there will likely be

exposure to communication-frequency RF exposure. Vulnerable populations (pregnant women,

very young children, elderly persons, the poor) are exposed to the same degree as the general

population. Therefore it is imperative to consider ways in which to evaluate risk and reduce

exposure. Good public health policy requires preventative action proportionate to the potential

risk of harm and the public health consequence of taking no action.


IV. RECOMMENDED ACTIONS

     
 A. Defining new exposure standards for ELF

This chapter concludes that new ELF limits are warranted based on a public health analysis of the

overall existing scientific evidence. The public health view is that new ELF limits are needed

now. They should reflect environmental levels of ELF that have been demonstrated to increase

risk for childhood leukemia, and possibly other cancers and neurological diseases. ELF limits

should be set below those exposure levels that have been linked in childhood leukemia studies to

increased risk of disease, plus an additional safety factor. It is no longer acceptable to build new

power lines and electrical facilities that place people in ELF environments that have been

determined to be risky. These levels are in the 2 to 4 milligauss* (mG) range, not in the 10s of

mG or 100s of mG. The existing ICNIRP limit is 1000 mG (904 mG in the US) for ELF is

outdated and based on faulty assumptions. These limits are can no longer be said to be

protective of public health and they should be replaced. A safety buffer or safety factor should

also be applied to a new, biologically-based ELF limit, and the conventional approach is to add a

safety factor lower than the risk level.

While new ELF limits are being developed and implemented, a reasonable approach would be a 1

mG planning limit for habitable space adjacent to all new or upgraded power lines and a 2 mG

limit for all other new construction. It is also recommended for that a 1 mG limit be established

for existing habitable space for children and/or women who are pregnant (because of the possible

link between childhood leukemia and in utero exposure to ELF). This recommendation is

based on the assumption that a higher burden of protection is required for children who cannot

protect themselves, and who are at risk for childhood leukemia at rates that are traditionally high

enough to trigger regulatory action. This situation in particular warrants extending the 1 mG limit

to existing occupied space. "Establish" in this case probably means formal public advisories from

relevant health agencies. While it is not realistic to reconstruct all existing electrical distribution

systems, in the short term; steps to reduce exposure from these existing systems need to be

initiated, especially in places where children spend time, and should be encouraged. These limits

should reflect the exposures that are commonly associated with increased risk of child hood

leukemia (in the 2 to 5 mG range for all children, and over 1.4 mG for children age 6 and

younger). Nearly all of the occupational studies for adult cancers and neurological diseases

report their highest exposure category is 4 mG and above, so that new ELF limits should target

the exposure ranges of interest, and not necessarily higher ranges.

Avoiding chronic ELF exposure in schools, homes and the workplace above levels associated

with increased risk of disease will also avoid most of the possible bioactive parameters of ELF

discussed in the relevant literature.

 

        B. Defining preventative actions for reduction in RF exposures

Given the scientific evidence at hand (Chapter 17), the rapid deployment of new wireless

technologies that chronically expose people to pulsed RF at levels reported to cause bioeffects,

which in turn, could reasonably be presumed to lead to serious health impacts, is of public health

concern. Section 17 summarizes evidence that has resulted in a public health recommendation

that preventative action is warranted to reduce or minimize RF exposures to the public. There is

suggestive to strongly suggestive evidence that RF exposures may cause changes in cell

membrane function, cell communication, cell metabolism, activation of proto-oncogenes and can

trigger the production of stress proteins at exposure levels below current regulatory limits.

Resulting effects can include DNA breaks and chromosome aberrations, cell death including

death of brain neurons, increased free radical production, activation of the endogenous opioid

system, cell stress and premature aging, changes in brain function including memory loss,

retarded learning, slower motor function and other performance impairment in children,

headaches and fatigue, sleep disorders, neurodegenerative conditions, reduction in melatonin

secretion and cancers (Chapters 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12).

As early as 2000, some experts in bioelectromagnetics promoted a 0.1 ?W/cm2 limit (which is

0.614 Volts per meter) for ambient outdoor exposure to pulsed RF, so generally in cities, the

public would have adequate protection against involuntary exposure to pulsed radiofrequency

(e.g., from cell towers, and other wireless technologies). The Salzburg Resolution of 2000 set a

target of 0.1 ?W/cm2 (or 0.614 V/m) for public exposure to pulsed radiofrequency. Since then,

there are many credible anecdotal reports of unwellness and illness in the vicinity of wireless

transmitters (wireless voice and data communication antennas) at lower levels. Effects include

sleep disruption, impairment of memory and concentration, fatigue, headache, skin disorders,

visual symptoms (floaters), nausea, loss of appetite, tinnitus, and cardiac problems (racing

heartbeat), There are some credible articles from researchers reporting that cell tower -level RF

exposures (estimated to be between 0.01 and 0.5 ?W/cm2) produce ill-effects in populations

living up to several hundred meters from wireless antenna sites.

This information now argues for thresholds or guidelines that are substantially below current FCC

and ICNIPR standards for whole body exposure. Uncertainty about how low such standards

might have to go to be prudent from a public health standpoint should not prevent reasonable

efforts to respond to the information at hand.      No lower limit for bioeffects and adverse health

effects from RF has been established, so the possible health risks of wireless WLAN and WI-FI

systems, for example, will require further research and no assertion of safety at any level of

wireless exposure (chronic exposure) can be made at this time. The lower limit for reported

human health effects has dropped 100-fold below the safety standard (for mobile phones and

PDAs); 1000- to 10,000-fold for other wireless (cell towers at distance; WI-FI and WLAN

devices). The entire basis for safety standards is called into question, and it is not unreasonable to

question the safety of RF at any level.

A cautionary target level for pulsed RF exposures for ambient wireless that could be applied to

RF sources from cell tower antennas, WI-FI, WI-MAX and other similar sources is proposed.

The recommended cautionary target level is 0.1 microwatts per centimeter squared (?W/cm2)**

(or 0.614 Volts per meter or V/m)** for pulsed RF where these exposures affect the general

public; this advisory is proportionate to the evidence and in accord with prudent public health

policy. A precautionary limit of 0.1 ?W/cm2 should be adopted for outdoor, cumulative RF

exposure. This reflects the current RF science and prudent public health response that would

reasonably be set for pulsed RF (ambient) exposures where people live, work and go to school.

This level of RF is experienced as whole-body exposure, and can be a chronic exposure where

there is wireless coverage present for voice and data transmission for cell phones, pagers and

PDAs and other sources of radiofrequency radiation. An outdoor precautionary limit of 0.1

?W/cm2 would mean an even lower exposure level inside buildings, perhaps as low as 0.01

?W/cm2. Some studies and many anecdotal reports on ill health have been reported at lower

levels than this; however, for the present time, it could prevent some of the most disproportionate

burdens placed on the public nearest to such installations. Although this RF target level does not

preclude further rollout of WI-FI technologies, we also recommend that wired alternatives to WI-

FI be implemented, particularly in schools and libraries so that children are not subjected to

elevated RF levels until more is understood about possible health impacts. This recommendation

should be seen as an interim precautionary limit that is intended to guide preventative actions;

and more conservative limits may be needed in the future.

Broadcast facilities that chronically expose nearby residents to elevated RF levels from AM, FM

and television antenna transmission are also of public health concern given the potential for very

high RF exposures near these facilities (antenna farms). RF levels can be in the 10s to several

100's of ?W/cm2 in residential areas within half a mile of some broadcast sites (for example,

Lookout Mountain, Colorado and Awbrey Butte, Bend, Oregon). Such facilities that are located

in, or expose residential populations and schools to elevated levels of RF will very likely need to

be re-evaluated for safety.

For emissions from wireless devices (cell phones, personal digital assistant or PDA devices, etc)

there is enough evidence for increased risk of brain tumors and acoustic neuromas now to warrant

intervention with respect to their use. Redesign of cell phones and PDAs could prevent direct

head and eye exposure, for example, by designing new units so that they work only with a wired

headset or on speakerphone mode.

These effects can reasonably be presumed to result in adverse health effects and disease with

chronic and uncontrolled exposures, and children may be particularly vulnerable. The young are

also largely unable to remove themselves from such environments. Second-hand radiation, like

second-hand smoke is an issue of public health concern based on the evidence at hand.

 

V.        CONCLUSIONS


- We cannot afford 'business as usual" any longer.      It is time that planning for new power lines

and for new homes, schools and other habitable spaces around them is done with routine

provision for low-ELF environments . The business-as-usual deployment of new wireless

technologies is likely to be risky and harder to change if society does not make some educated

decisions about limits soon. Research must continue to define what levels of RF related to new

wireless technologies are acceptable; but more research should not prevent or delay substantive

changes today that might save money, lives and societal disruption tomorrow.

 - New regulatory limits for ELF are warranted. ELF limits should be set below those exposure

levels that have been linked in childhood leukemia studies to increased risk of disease, plus an

additional safety factor. It is no longer acceptable to build new power lines and electrical

facilities that place people in ELF environments that have been determined to be risky (at levels

generally at 2 mG and above).

 - While new ELF limits are being developed and implemented, a reasonable approach would be

a 1 mG planning limit for habitable space adjacent to all new or upgraded power lines and a 2 mG

limit for all other new construction, It is also recommended for that a 1 mG limit be established

for existing habitable space for children and/or women who are pregnant . This recommendation

is based on the assumption that a higher burden of protection is required for children who cannot

protect themselves, and who are at risk for childhood leukemia at rates that are traditionally high

enough to trigger regulatory action. This situation in particular warrants extending the 1 mG limit

to existing occupied space. "Establish" in this case probably means formal public advisories from

relevant health agencies.

- While it is not realistic to reconstruct all existing electrical distributions systems, in the short

term; steps to reduce exposure from these existing systems need to be initiated, especially in

places where children spend time, and should be encouraged.

- A precautionary limit of 0.1 (?W/cm2 (which is also 0.614 Volts per meter) should be adopted

for outdoor, cumulative RF exposure. This reflects the current RF science and prudent public

health response that would reasonably be set for pulsed RF (ambient) exposures where people

live, work and go to school. This level of RF is experienced as whole-body exposure, and can be

a chronic exposure where there is wireless coverage present for voice and data transmission for

cell phones, pagers and PDAs and other sources of radiofrequency radiation. Some studies and

many anecdotal reports on ill health have been reported at lower levels than this; however, for the

present time, it could prevent some of the most disproportionate burdens placed on the public

nearest to such installations. Although this RF target level does not preclude further rollout of

WI-FI technologies, we also recommend that wired alternatives to WI-FI be implemented,

particularly in schools and libraries so that children are not subjected to elevated RF levels until

more is understood about possible health impacts. This recommendation should be seen as an

interim precautionary limit that is intended to guide preventative actions; and more conservative

limits may be needed in the future.


VI.      References

1. Martuzzi M. 2005. Science, Policy and the Protectoin of Human Health: A European

Perspective. Bioelectromagnetics Supplement 7: S151-156.

2. Adey, WR. Potential Therapeutic Applications of Nonthermal Electromagnetic Fields:

Ensemble Organization of Cells in Tissue as a Factor in Biological Field Sensing.

Bioelectromagnetic Medicine. 2004, Rosch PJ and Markov MS, editors, page 1.

(3) REFLEX, 2004. Risk Evaluation of Potential Environmental Hazards from Low Frequency

Electromagnetic Field Exposure Using Sensitive in vitro Methods.

(4) World Health Organization, 2007. ELF Health Criteria Monograph. Neurodegenerative

Disorders, Page 187.

(5) TNO Physics and Electronics Laboratory, The Netherlands. 2003. Effects of Global

Communication System radio-frequency fields on well-being and cognitive functions of

human beings with and without subjective complaints. Netherlands Organization for

Applied Scientific Research 1-63.

(6) Kheifets LI Afifi AA Buffler PA Zhang ZW. 1995. Occupational electric and magnetic field

exposure and brain cancer: a meta-analysis. JOEM Vol 37, No. 2, 1327 - 1341.

(7) Green LM, Miller AB, Villeneuve PJ, Agnew DA, Greenberg ML, Li J, Donnelly KE. 1999.

A case-control study of childhood leukemia in southern Ontario Canada and exposure to

magnetic fields in residences. Int J Cancer 82: 161-170.

(8) World Health Organization, 2007. ELF Health Criteria Monograph, page 256 and WHO Fact

Sheet No. 322.

(9) Foliart DE Pollock BH Mezei G Iriye R Silva JM Epi KL Kheifets L Lind MP Kavet R. 2006.

Magnetic field exposure and long-term survival among children with leukemia. British Journal of

Cancer 94 161-164.

(10) Svendsen AL Weihkopf T Kaatsch P Schuz J. 2007. Exposure to magnetic fields and

survival after diagnosis of childhood leukemia: a German cohort study. Cancer Epidemiol

Biomarkers Prev 16(6) 1167-1171.

(11) Lowenthal RM, Tuck DM and Bray IC (2007) Residential exposure to electric power

transmission lines and risk of lymphoproliferative and myeloproliferative disorders: a case-

control study. Int Med J doi:10.1111/j.1445-5994.2007.01389.x

(12) Hill, AB. 1971. Principles of Medical Statistics Chapter XXIV. Statistical Evidence and

Inference, Oxford University Press, Oxford University, Oxford, UK, p. 309-323.

(13)) Henshaw DL Reiter RJ. 2005. Do magnetic fields cause increased risk of childhood

leukemia via melatonin disruption? A Review. Bioelectromagnetics Supplement 7, pages S86-

S97.


Some Quick Definitions for Units of Measurement of ELF and RF

*Milligauss (mG)

A milligauss is a measure of ELF intensity and is abbreviated mG. This is used to describe

electromagnetic fields from appliances, power lines, interior electrical wiring.

**Microwatts per centimeter squared (?W/cm2)

Radiofrequency radiation in terms of power density is measured in microwatts per centimeter squared and

abbreviated (?W/cm2). It is used when talking about emissions from wireless facilities, and when

describing ambient RF in the environment. The amount of allowable RF near a cell tower is 1000 ?W/cm2

for some cell phone frequencies, for example.

***Specific Absorption Rate (SAR is measured in watts per kilogram or W/Kg)

SAR stands for specific absorption rate. It is a calculation of how much RF energy is absorbed into the

body, for example when a cell phone or cordless phone is pressed to the head. SAR is expressed in watts

per kilogram of tissue (W/Kg). The amount of allowable energy into 1 gram of brain tissue from a cell

phone is 1.6 W/Kg in the US. For whole body exposure, the exposure is 0.8 W/Kg averaged over 30

minutes for the general public. International standards in most countries are similar, but not exactly the

same.