Professor Henry Lai and N.P. Singh in 1995 published a paper that documented DNA
damage in the brain cells of rats exposed to radiation similar to that emitted
by cell phones. In press interviews and scientific conferences, Lai has always
said there are no solid answers regarding his research, but there is cause for
concern and more work needs to be done.
But the cell phone industry said Lai's research techniques were not commonly accepted
and that ipeople have over-interpreted their data. The industry maintains that
the results have never been duplicated (Lai and Singh disagree), and that the
overwhelming scientific evidence to date shows there is no health risk.
But the European Union is funding independent research into possible heath risks
of electromagnetic radiation, including cell phone signals. In December, preliminary
results of work by 12 groups in seven countries found that radiation at some cell
phone levels damages DNA in a laboratory setting.
The effort - called REFLEX - studied radiation effects on animal and human cells.
The scientists reported a significant increase in DNA damage. This damage could
not always be repaired by the injured cell.
The REFLEX study has not been reported in U.S. media
By Alasdair Philips email@example.com Director, UK Powerwatch EMC Engineer and
When I was a child, back in the early 1950s, I was bought a new pair of shoes.
The manufacturer had just introduced a wonderful new pedascope machine to check
how well your shoes fitted your feet. Even today, I clearly remember the wonder
at being able to wiggle mytoes and see them move inside my shoes. The machine
used X-rays at quite a high level to give real-time images on a simple screen.
It was ten years before Dr Alice Stewart produced research which showed that there
was no safe level of X-rays, and even then few listened. In fact she was almost
outcast from the medical establishment, and it was about another twenty years
before the real danger from medical X-rays was acknowledged. Now, in the late
1990s the U.K. National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) is trying to persuade
hospitals to minimise patient X-ray exposure, and leading Medical Research Council
researchers admit that there is no icompletely safei level of ionising radiation.
The 1998 Royal College of Radiologists guidelines sets out the current rationale
for restricting X-ray doses.
Asbestos has been strictly controlled since 1970, and the use of most dangerous
types banned. Despite this, deaths from mesothelioma (an asbestos induced cancer
of the pleura/lungs) are rising consistently and the U.K. death rate is not expected
to peak until about 2020. The time between the first exposure and death is now
accepted as often being between 20 and 50 years. Most environmental cancers in
adults ake longer than ten years from initiation to detection. The eating of BSE
infected meat possibly causing CJD many years later is another example.
Mobile phones emit microwaves. If microwave or pulsed low frequency electromagnetic
fields (EMFs) do turn out to be carcinogenic, even if we backdate it five years,
we should not be expecting to see much in the way of induced cancers for another
ten years. In the meantime we discover that almost all the major phone manufacturers
are quietly and prudently patenting EMF reducing cases and aerials. Despite the
impression that mobile-phone companies give in their literature, little work has
been done on long term human health implications of mobile-phone use. Current
mobile-phone users are acting as involuntary, and often unsuspecting, test subjects.
Past research into microwave radiation effects on health, including recent cell-phone
studies, certainly give cause for concern. Even Dr John Stather, the Assistant
Director of the NRPB stated: "Until recently we believed any harmful effects
from microwaves were due to their heating effects, which would be negligible at
the low powers used by mobile phones. Now there might be another effect at work
and we are much less certain." (Sunday Times 21 September 1997)
Public awareness of possible dangers was probably triggered originally by the
Reynard brain tumour case in 1992. About eight lawsuits alleging that cellular
phones caused brain tumours have been filed in the USA. Although no cases has
so far succeeded they have set the stage and raised safety questions in many people's
minds. It has raised old spectres such as the thalidomide tragedy - the result
of a product being used widely before adequate long term research had been carried
out. The first part of a major new study of 11,000 mobile phone users was released
on 14th May 1998  and although ignored by main BBC News programmes, it was
given front page banner headlines by the Daily Express on Friday 15th May. This
showed little difference for heating, fatigue and headache effects between NMT
analogue and GSM digital phones, but did highlight a three to six-fold increase
in fatigue and headaches for heavy mobile handset users and up to a 48-fold increase
in the sensation of heat on the user's ear, face or head. The first of the study's
more detailed findings were shown at the Biolelectromagnetics Society (BEMS) Annual
Meeting in Florida in June 1998 and showed significantly more concentration and
memory loss symptoms in regular users of the GSM digital phone handsets. Only
a week earlier news had been reported that on Tuesday 5th May the Cumbran Magistrates
Court issued a Summons under section 10 of the UK Consumer Protection Act, 1987
for Roger Coghill to bring a private criminal action against a retail distributor
of Orange and Motorola mobile phones. The Magistrate ruled that there was enough
scientific evidence (before the new "Mild" evidence mentioned above)
to issue a Summons and allow the case to go forward. His action claims that the
distributors failed to affix required labels to their handsets warning of possible
health risks to users from prolonged conversations as is required by the 1987
CP Act as there is now reasonable evidence of handset use causing possible adverse
health effects. He has now filed an updated claim and the pre-trial review is
scheduled to be heard on 2nd September 1998.  A research letter published in
the Lancet  by a German team showed a statistically significant increase on
blood pressure in people who used a GSM phone for 30 minutes. Although the rise
was only about 5% it showed an important biological effect and received national
Despite what some mobile phone companies are saying, mobile phones do radiate
microwaves similar to those used in a microwave oven to cook food. Between 20%
and 80% of the energy is absorbed by the user's head. The percentage absorbed
depends on the design of the phone, type of aerial or antenna (the stubby ones
which you can not extend are worse for pushing energy into the user's head), and
how far it is to the nearest base-station mast.
Thermal exposure results in a measurable and significant rise in body tissue temperature
and is the basis for cooking food in microwave ovens. When maximum levels were
set in the 1950s, they were based on field levels the human body could withstand
without causing a 1infC rise in body temperature. The possibility of non-thermal
effects was discounted. Most national and international bodies (including the
UK National Radiological Protection Board) set a rise of 1infC (6 minutes average
for local exposure, 15 mins. for whole body) as the maximum permissible long-term
temperature rise, although some chose to set the figure lower than this, between
0.2infC and 1infC.
Non-thermal exposure means that no energy is transferred which could cause a measurable
temperature rise. Athermal means that although some heating energy is transferred,
the blood etc. will transfer the heat away from the tissue such that the overall
temperature rise is limited to below that classified for thermal exposure. Despite
considerable evidence in published scientific literature for biological effects
of electro-magnetic radiation in the RF/MW range of the spectrum at specific absorption
rates (SARs) far too low to produce a heating response, this still continues to
be the case. However, the conclusions section of the NRPB "Doll Report",
on non-ionising radiation effects, states: "Animal studies conducted at frequencies
above about 100kHz have provided some evidence for effects on tumour incidence...".
Although brain tumour cases have been rising fairly steadily over the last fifteen
years, these are not the most likely outcome of high levels of mobile communications
handset use. In 1998 a study reported that brain tumour incidence was rising in
Western Australia and questioned whether mobile phone use might be responsible
. However, if there are long term large-scale cancer implications, then it
is more likely that they will be adult myeloid leukaemias and multiple melanomas.
Back in the early 1980s Sam Milham reported excess leukaemias among amateur radio
operators, with deaths from acute and chronic myeloid leukaemias nearly three
times higher than expected.
We do know of a number of digital (GSM) phone users who have developed Hodgkin's
Disease in the lymph glands in their neck on the side where they normally used
their phones for a couple of hours each day . In 1980, Dr John Holt had a letter
published . This showed that between 1951-59, 50% of patients with CML in Queensland
survived for 55 months following diagnosis. In 1960 and 1961 three large TV broadcast
stations were commissioned in the area. In the period 1963-67, 50% of patients
with CML only survived for 21 months. This dramatic change could not be explained
by any medical personnel, protocol or therapy changes. In the mid-1980s Stanislaw
Szmigielski reported that Polish military personnel exposed to RF energy showed
elevated leukaemia levels. He has just published a 1996 update . This is a
study of all Polish military personnel for 15 years (1971-85), approximately 128,000
people each year. Of these about 3700 (3%) were considered to be occupationally
exposed to radio-frequency and / or microwave radiation. The largest increases
were found for chronic myelocytic leukaemia (CML), with an astounding increase
(Odds Ratio) of 13.9 (95% CI 6.72-22.12, p<0.001), acute myeloblastic leukaemia
(AML) with an OR of 8.62 (95% CI 3.54-13.67, p<0.001), and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas
with an OR of 5.82 (95% CI 3.54-13.67, p<0.001).
In 1996 Lai & Singh showed single and double DNA strand breaks in brain cells
of rats exposed to 2.45GHz SARs of 1.2 W/Kg (comparable with levels in the heads
of mobile phone users), giving rise to real concerns.  If someone is completely
healthy, and has a strong immune system, then mobile-phone use may well not give
them long-term health problems. Some people can smoke twenty cigarettes per day
for fifty years and not develop lung cancer, and yet the dangers of smoking are
now generally accepted, even by the manufacturers. It has been repeatedly shown
that a few minutes exposure to cell phone type radiation can transform a 5% active
cancer into a 95% active cancer for the duration of the exposure and for a short
time afterwards. 
A team of scientists funded by the Australian communications giant, Telstra, to
investigate claimed links between cellular phones and cancer has turned up probably
the most significant finding of adverse health effects yet. The study looked at
200 mice, half exposed and half not, to pulsed digital phone radiation. The work
was conducted at the Royal Adelaide Hospital by Dr Michael Repacholi, Professor
Tony Basten, Dr Alan Harris and statistician Val Gebski, and it revealed a highly-significant
doubling of cancer rates in the exposed group.  The mice were subject to GSM-type
pulsed microwaves at a power-density roughly equal to a cell-phone transmitting
for two thirty minute periods each day; this was a pulsed transmission as from
a digital cell-phone handset.
Using NRPB figures most GSM digital cell-phones will be putting between 10 and
30 times more radiation into the user's head than the Repacholi mice were subject
to!  If there are cancer connections with the use of mobile phones, they are
most likely to be expressed in adult leukaemias which typically take between 10
and 30 years to appear and be diagnosed. It is therefore unlikely that the trend
will start to be seen for at least another five years, although the harm is being
done now. Short term exposure of rats is no answer. Cancer is being increasingly
recognised as an organisational systems problem, and no short term speeded up
animal experiments are likely to give the same results as extended period chronic
exposure to the human bio-system.
Initial (shorter term) problems with very important health and work efficiency
implications We now receive frequent calls from regular mobile-phone users reporting
headaches, loss of concentration, skin tingling or burning or twitching, eye iticsi,
very poor short-term memory, buzzing in their head at night, and other less common
effects. Headaches often come first and/or skin effects. Then concentration and
short-term memory tends to deteriorate. At first it can be missing the turning
off a motorway that you intended to take. Then it is forgetting appointments.
It usually firstly affects learning or remembering NEW facts, similar to early
signs of dementia. Things you learnt long ago are still usually there, but new
things just donit seem to go in to your memory any more. Users also report excessive
Many reports are from engineers who used their phone extensively and were very
sceptical of EMF adverse health effects until they started to experience them.
The symptoms bear a close resemblance to those in a study of a Latvian pulsed
radio location station which emits 24 short VHF pulses of 154 - 162MHz each second.
In a study of 966 children aged 9-18 years old, motor function, memory and attention
were significantly worse in the exposed group. Children living in front of the
station had less developed memory and attention, their reaction time was slower
and their neuromuscular endurance was decreased. The RMS field levels at their
houses were low, typically only 1V/m, and a maximum level of 6V/m or 10mW/cm2.
 In a study near the Latvian radio station, differences in micronucleii levels
in peripheral erythrocytes were found to be statistically significant in the exposed
and control groups. This is possible evidence of genetic changes caused by non-thermal
levels of pulsed radio-frequency radiation. Reports linking RF energy with
asthenias had been reported by Charlotte Silverman back in 1973, and again in
1980, as what she called iradio wave sicknessi. 
Maximum exposure levels
At cellular telephone frequency bands of 900MHz and 1.8GHz, the current U.K. NRPB
investigation levels raised the U.K. permitted levels to 10 Watts per Kg in the
head. The 1991 USA ANSI/IEEE C95.1 guidelines set the SAR at 1.6 W/Kg, and the
CENELEC pre-standard states 2 W/Kg for the public. GSM Cellular-phones can deliver
well over 2 W/Kg into head tissue during their output pulses, but they are said
to comply because the average power is only about one-eighth of the pulse power
(GSM & PCN digital phones), as up to eight calls share one channel using Time
Division Multiple Access (TDMA) with each handset pulsing in one of eight time
slots. Unlike the earlier analogue phones, the digital GSM ones emit a series
of short pulses at a basic repetition rate of 217Hz. Pulsed microwaves have been
shown to be more biologically active than continuous radiation of the same frequency
and power level.
Take an operating digital GSM mobile-phone near an ordinary medium wave radio
and you will hear a buzzing noise.These pulses are also picked up and detected
by the cells inside the useris and other nearby people's heads. In fact, up to
80% of the transmitted power can be absorbed by the user's head, which means that
their brain cells are being "hit" by these radiation pulses two hundred
and seventeen times every second. In addition, GSM digital phones and the new
DECT cordless phones also both put high levels (several microtesla) of low frequency
magnetic fields into the user's head. These may be more responsible for the dementia
(memory) effects than the pulsed microwaves. The newer American Code Domain Multiple
Access (CDMA) system works differently and doesn't emit the sharp-edged low frequency
magnetic pulses. The digital RF signal more resembles a noisy analogue signal
and is also likely to be less bio-active.There is increasing pressure for Europe
to replace the TDMA GSM system with a "third generation" CDMA system
within the next ten years.
The NRPB, and others, average the power from a digital phone over 1 second, and
so divide the pulse power by eight. They correctly argue that the tissue has time
to cool down between pulses, and then go on to deduce that no damage will therefore
take place. This is similar to saying that placing a hammer on a icelli (an egg,
for example) exerting a small steady force, will produce the same effect as hitting
the egg, using eight times the force briefly once a second. As most practical
engineers know, when trying to loosen a stuck nut and bolt, the effect of constant
pressure on the spanner is FAR LESS than when tapping the spanner with a hammer.
In 1993, as the NRPB raised its permitted microwave levels, two military research
bases in the USA reduced their permitted levels of radio frequency exposure (30
MHz to 100 GHz) from 100 W/m2 (10 mW//cm2) down to 1 W/m2 (0.1 mW/cm2 or 100 microW/cm2
). This is because they acknowledged that there is now an overwhelming body of
published evidence for the existence of non-thermal biological effects of high-frequency
Some non-thermal effects
Important non-thermal biological effects have been demonstrated which could account
for the development of cancer, asthma and the lowering of male fertility. Cell
membranes carry charge and surface receptors (usually proteins) are highly charged.
Signals are transduced into the cell interior where growth, development and cell
division are regulated by processes which involve ions. These features have been
shown to alter their behaviour in the presence of imposed external electromagnetic
fields. Documented changes include alteration of the permeability of the cell
membrane, alteration of the signal transduction processes which regulate cell
behaviour and involve calcium ions, ornithine decarboxylase, protein kinase C
and cAMP. One study has indicated that microwaves can alter DNA synthesis, enzyme
activity, ion transport, cell proliferation and the cell cycle .
Low frequencies (generated by the pulsed nature of GSM cell-phone signals - 217,
32 & 2 Hz) have been previously shown to lower lymphocytes ability to imarki
cancer cells and to depress the ability of other lymphocytes to destroy the 'marked'
aberrant cells. Low level microwaves have also been shown to alter both the immune
response  and EEG activity  in rabbits. Microwaves at only 1 mW/cm2 (one-tenth
of the NRPB Guidance level) have been shown to affect cAMP-independent kinase
activity , and calcium ion (Ca2+) efflux from chick cerebral hemispheres .
Continuous digital GSM phone operation near fertilised chicken eggs kill most
of the embryos . Cancerous tissue has increased conductivity compared with
In 1974, Dr. John Holt, the first Medical Director of the Institute of Radiotherapy
and Oncology of Western Australia, and Dr. Nelson were able to show that the specific
effect of RF energy on cancer was to radio-sensitise a malignancy. Some cancers
could have their radio-sensitivity increased by a factor exceeding 100 times.
As non-electrical heating of cancer cells to 41.8infC increased radio-sensitivity
by a factor of 2 to 3 and 434 MHz increased sensitivity by 100 to 150 times at
less than 38infC, this is a non thermal effect. Every cancer demonstrated an increase
in sensitivity; those normally treated with radiotherapy showed a maximum; those
not usually treatable by X-ray therapy were minimal. 
Dr Peter French of the Centre for Immunology, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, Australia,
has been carrying out experiments on a range of human and animal cell lines using
835 MHz exposure at 4.9 mW/cm2, 3 times per day for 7 days. He has shown effects
on cell growth, shape, secretion of histamine and gene transcription. Dr French
is the immediate past President of the Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell
Microshield Industries launched a new EMF shielding mobile phone case range in
1996. Even "Industry" tests show that it does typically reduce the power
absorbed by the user's head by around 20 dBm (i.e. by a factor of around 99%).
Many purchasers of these Microshield cases are now expressing delight at having
found a way of using their phones without apparently experiencing short and medium
term adverse side effects. There are now other firms (eg Nett Ltd) manufacturing
shielding devices and even some manufacturers (eg Hagenuk) producing "low
leakage" phones. Telephone numbers: Microshield: 0181 363 3333,
Almost all the major manufacturers have now patented and produced "low radiation
into the user's head" models!
Base station masts
There is currently growing public concern about the number of base station masts
that are being erected, and the effect these may have on both health and on property
values. The field strengths from masts is low and is unlikely to be more of a
problem than any other form of RF data communications., however increasing worries
are surfacing about all levels of RF energy, especially when digital signal bursts
are transmitted. When one looks at what few epidemiological studies that have
been done to date on RF/MW(radio frequency electromagnetic energy) human exposure,
there is ample evidence of adverse health effects to warrant concern.
The UK NRPB regularly uses the words "substantiated", "firm",
and "proven" evidence regarding the results of epidemiological (i.e.
of populations of people) studies. Epidemiological studies on human populations
do not, and generally can not, look for "proof" or "substantiation"
but increases in incidence of a disease, or relative risk ratios.
Epidemiological studies on tobacco and asbestos did not "prove" that
these carcinogens cause cancer; they do show, however, a significantly increased
risk of developing cancer from exposure. This is not "substantiation",
but that did not prevent the health authorities from taking corrective action.
It is unfortunate that with electromagnetic radiation, however, industry and its
supporters insist an absolute cause - effect relationship must be proven before
corrective action be taken. The following recent studies do not isubstantiatei
anything in relation to exposure to RF/MW; they are dealing with the increase
in incidence of adverse health effects such as cancer. They are, however, relevant
and should be taken into account when formulating policy:
a) A preliminary study by Dr Bruce Hocking compared cancer rates in three municipalities
within a 4 km radius of Sydney TV towers with rates in adjacent areas further
away. The study found children living within the 4 km radius had a relative risk
of 1.6 for leukaemia, compared with the control group. The RR for mortality was
higher at 2.3, and highest at 2.8 for lymphoblastic leukaemia.  The calculated
power levels were around 0.02 to 8 mW/cm2.
b) In 1987, a similar study identified higher rates of cancer among those living
near the TV and radio broadcast towers in Hawaii. Drs. Anderson and Henderson
of the Hawaii Department of Health found in residential areas with 12 communication
towers, a relative risk for cancer, including leukaemia, of 1.375 (37.5% increase).
c) A study of cancers around the BBC Sutton Coldfield transmitter mast (Dolk,
et al, 1997) found a statistically significant doubling of adult leukaemia within
2 km, and a significant decline in risk with distance up to 10 km from the mast
was also found for skin cancer. The decline with distance was also observed at
20 other high power masts, but no significant increase in overall incidence was
d) An earlier study in 1982, conducted by Dr Morton of the University of Oregonis
Health Science Centre found parallel trends in his study of cancer and broadcast
radiation in Portland. 
e) Dr. Stanislaw Szmigielski, a leading epidemiologist with the Centre for Radiobiology
and Radiation Safety at the Military Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Warsaw,
Poland has been the team leader for an on-going study of the health effects of
RF/MW exposure of military personnel in Poland for the whole military population.
His research found that young military personnel exposed to RF/MW radiation had
more than eight times the expected rate of leukaemia and lymphoma. Careful surveys
of exposure revealed that 80 - 85% of the personnel were exposed to an average
of less than 42 microwatts/sq. cm., with a median point near 7 microwatts/sq.
f) Quellet-Hellstrom and Stewart (1993) found a statistically significant 3.3
fold increase of miscarriage amongst U.S. physiotherapists using microwave diathermy
compared to a non-exposed control group. The incidence increased with the number
of monthly treatments, which could suggest a cumulative effect. With about 10
treatments per month, the exposure was about 0.04 to 0.56 microwatts/sq. cm. 
g) Shandala et. al. (1979) found that calcium ion efflux varies in living animal
cells at 10 micro watts/sq.cm. and this level also produces brain activity changes.
h) Prof. von Klitzing (1995) found changes to human brain EEG with a signal of
217 Hz modulation on a 150 megahertz (MHz) carrier with an external exposure of
about 2.5 microwatts/sq.cm. 
i) Professor John Goldsmith, at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, has
collected evidence of several exposures to microwaves which produced elevated
risks of a wide range of cancers, including childhood leukaemia in children of
staff, and cancers in the staff and partners at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and
other eastern European U.S. embassies. These cancers were associated with a reported
maximum exposure of between 5 and 15 microwatts/sq.cm. and mean exposures between
1 and 2.4 mW/cm2, recorded near the outside walls of the embassy. Personnel exposures
inside the building were estimated between 0.2 and 0.5 mW/cm2. 
j) To quote from Dr. Neil Cherry's (New Zealand) recent book:  "With
these and dozens of other epidemiological studies of large populations and large
numbers of workers occupationally exposed to RF/MW radiation, showing statistically
significant increases of a wide spectrum of cancers, there can be little or no
doubt that chronic low level exposure to RF/MW radiation produces increased cancer
k) The Latvian pulsed radar station study mentioned earlier in this talk. 
Who can the public turn to for advice?
Part of my remit was to answer the question whether the public should be suspicious
of soothing statements from people responsible for advice on these matters.
Dr. Alastair McKinlay, of the UK NRPB, is the vice-Chair of the "Expert Group"
set up by the European Commission. He is quoted as stating: What is now required
is a lot more research in the microwave frequency part of the electromagnetic
spectrum, where mobile phones operate. This is not because there is concern about
health effects, but that such research makes sense to quell any public concern.
 The E.C. Committee has recommended a 24 million ECU (about Pound20m) funding
programme for research into mobile phone safety.
Dr. John Stather, Asst. Director of the NRPB was recently quoted in several press
articles  as admitting: "Until recently, we believed any harmful effects
from microwaves were due to their heating effects, which would be negligible at
the low powers used by mobile phones. Now their might be another effect at work
and we are much less certain."
Powerwatch believes that, although much more research needs doing, regular mobile-phone
use is likely to have adverse health consequences in many people who use them.
The newer, digital, ones are likely to have more biological effects than the older,
analogue, ones. Although existing evidence does not yet conclusively prove that
there are any long-term adverse health implications, we feel that we need to advise
people to use them as little as possible.
Alasdair Philips (firstname.lastname@example.org) Director, UK Powerwatch, EMC Engineer and
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