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2003-2005

Swedish Radiation Protection Authority’s Independent Expert Group's Report on Electromagnetic Fields

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December 2005

With recent major scientific reviews as starting points the IEG in a series of annual reports consecutively discusses and assesses relevant new data and puts these in the context of already available information. The result will be a gradually developing health risk assessment of exposure to EMF.

This is the third annual report from the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority’s (SSI) Independent Expert Group (IEG) on Electromagnetic Fields and focuses on recent research on mobile phone telephony and health risks.

The full report can be found at
http://www.stralsakerhetsmyndigheten.se/Global/Publikationer/Rapport/Stralskydd/2006/ssi-rapp-2006-02.pdf
 

 

'World Health Organisation Leaflet on Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity'

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December 2005

The leaflet sets out the following conclusion: 'EHS is characterized by a variety of non-specific symptoms that differ from individual to individual. The symptoms are certainly real and can vary widely in their severity. Whatever its cause, EHS can be a disabling problem for the affected individual. EHS has no clear diagnostic criteria and there is no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF exposure. Further, EHS is not a medical diagnosis, nor is it clear that it represents a single medical problem.'

The leaflet can be found at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs296/en/

 

Health Council of the Netherlands Electromagnetic Fields Annual Update 2005

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November 2005

(English version begins on page 71):

The Electromagnetic Fields Committee of the Health Council of the Netherlands has been asked to regularly report on scientific developments relating to possible health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields. The committee drafts Annual Updates, which are evaluated in their final stage by the Standing Committee on Radiation Hygiene of the Health Council. This is the third publication in this series.

The Annual Update 2005 discusses a variety of subjects related to the possible effects of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (for instance in association with living near mobile telephony base stations) and exposure to low frequency fields (for instance related to the use of electrical blankets).

The report includes comments across a range of health concerns including cancer clusters, TNO study, Interphone, REFLEX and electrosensitivity and specifically comments on the base station & cancer studies undertaken in the towns of Naila in Germany and Natanya in Israel.

The report can be found at  http://www.gezondheidsraad.nl/en/publications/elektromagnetische-velden-jaarbericht-2005-electromagnetic-fields-annual-update-2005

 

The French Agency for Environmental Health Safety (AFSSE) - Opinion on Mobile Telephony

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May 2005

The Agency was created by an Act of Parliament in May 2001 and its mission is to contribute to the safety of environmental health and assess health risks relating to the environment. The Opinion on mobile telephony given by AFSSE is based on the conclusions of a report by an Expert Group. The 2001 and 2003 Expert Group's reports had concluded an absence of health effects due to waves emitted from base stations. The Expert Group submitted a further report to the Agency on 18 February 2005 which stated: "More recent scientific data do not cause this* conclusion to be called into question." (* 2001 & 2003 conclusion)

 

British Medical Association (BMA) - Mobile Phones and Health - an Update

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January 2005

The British Medical Association represents doctors from all branches of medicine all over the UK.

The BMA update provides a brief outline of some of the most important research and policy developments in this field since its initial report published in May 2001.

The update concludes by stating "The BMA’s 2001 recommendation to adopt a precautionary approach to mobile phones while research remains inconclusive is still valid. This is compatible with the Government’s own policy. The BMA continues to support the ongoing national and international commitment to research into possible adverse effects of mobile phones. We will continue to keep a watching brief on forthcoming research and policy."

 

National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) Report W65

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January 2005

The report by two NRPB authors brings together information from the substantial number of reviews produced by national and international committees, expert groups and agencies into health effects of mobile phones and health since the publication of the Stewart Report in May 2000. These reports had reviewed the relevant literature, formed conclusions on the likelihood of adverse health effects, and made recommendations for additional research.

The intention of the NRPB report was to bring the information from the various sources together and highlight any commonality or differences of opinion.

The report concludes that most of the 26 reports examined reached similar conclusions and made comparable recommendations. The researchers conclude that:

“Overall, the reports acknowledged that exposure to low level RF fields may cause a variety of subtle biological effects on cells, animals or human, particularly on brain activity during sleep, but the possibility of exposure causing adverse health effects remains unproven.”


Commenting on the reviewed reports, the NRPB authors stated that:

“These reports stress that very low level exposures, typically of base stations, are extremely unlikely to cause any effects on biophysical grounds, whereas localised exposures, typical of those from mobile phones, may induce effects as a result of mild heating of superficial tissues close to the handset.”

The full report can be viewed on the HPA website:
http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1194947376017

 

Documents of the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) Mobile Phones and Health 2004 Volume 15 No 5 2004

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January 2005

At the time of the publication of the review of the science by the NRPBs Independent Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR January 2004) the Board of the NRPB stated that in mid to late 2004 it expected to review and proffer overall advice to the public on mobile phone technologies and health. This report is the result of the Board’s deliberations.

The advice in the Board’s report is consistent with the reassuring conclusion reached by the NRPB’s Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR) twelve months previous, when it found that the weight of scientific evidence available does not suggest that mobile technologies operating within international health and safety guidelines cause illness.

The key point made as part of the NRPB’s advice is that: “In the UK, there is a lack of hard information showing that the mobile phone systems in use are damaging to health. It is important to emphasise this crucial point.”

The overall conclusion of the report is that the Board believes that “the main conclusions reached in the Stewart Report in 2000 still apply today and that a precautionary approach to the use of mobile phone technology should continue to be adopted.”

The full report can be found here: http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1194947333240

 

US Food and Drugs Agency (FDA) - Response to NRPB Report on Mobile Phones and Health

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January 2005

The FDA is the regulator in the USA responsible for monitoring the health effects of wireless telephones. It has the authority to take action if a wireless phone produces hazardous levels of RF energy. As a result of the NRPB’s report being published, the FDA issued a response which included the following statements:

“FDA agrees with the NRPB on its conclusions that there is "no hard evidence of adverse health effects on the general public " from exposure to radiofrequency energy while using wireless communication devices. A few studies have suggested low levels of radiofrequency energy exposure could accelerate the development of cancer in laboratory animals, however these studies have failed to be replicated and the vast majority of studies reported in the scientific literature show no adverse heath effect associated with low levels of radio frequency energy exposure.”

“With regards to the safety and use of cell phones by children, the scientific evidence does not show a danger to users of wireless communication devices including children.”

 

International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Standing Committee on Epidemiology

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December 2004

The ICNIRP Committee, of leading epidemiologists, undertook a comprehensive review of epidemiological studies about the effects of radiofrequency fields on human health in order to summarise the current state of knowledge, explain the methodological issues involved and assist the planning of future studies.

One of the main conclusions from the Standing Committee’s report is that:

“Results of epidemiological studies to date give no consistent or convincing evidence of any causal relation between RF exposure and any adverse health effect. On the other hand, these studies have too many deficiencies to rule out an association”

The Committee also conclude that:

“Although the likelihood is low that fields emanating from base stations would create a health hazard because of their weakness, the possibility is nevertheless a concern for many people. To date no acceptable study on any outcome has been published on this.”

The full review can be found on the ICNIRP website:
http://www.icnirp.de/documents/epiRFreviewPublishedinEHPDec04.pdf

 

Swedish Radiation Protection Authority’s Independent Expert Group on Electromagnetic Fields

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December 2004

This is the second annual report from the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority’s (SSI) Independent Expert Group (IEG) on Electromagnetic Fields and focuses on recent research on mobile phone telephony and health risks.

The Group reported on a range of topics including: symptoms (electrosensitivity), effects on memory, results from the Interphone study including acoustic neuroma and the exposure of children to ELF and RF fields. The report concentrates on RF fields but ELF fields are also reported on where appropriate.

The IEG plan to revisit each of the issues when new data becomes available.

The full report can be seen here:
http://www.stralsakerhetsmyndigheten.se/Global/Publikationer/Rapport/Stralskydd/2005/ssi-rapp-2005-01.pdf

 

A Common View by the Nordic Countries on Mobile Telephony and Health

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September 2004

The main conclusion from the report of the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland) is that there is no scientific evidence for any adverse health effects from mobile telecommunications, neither from the base stations nor from the handsets, below the basic restrictions and reference values recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

They go on to state that there are reports suggesting that biological effects may occur at exposure levels below the ICNIRP guidelines and that these studies need to be reproduced and that the scientific progress in these fields of research should be followed carefully. The report states that it is important to note that biological effects do not necessarily mean human health hazards.

In terms of mobile phone use the Nordic authorities find it is wise to use, for instance, a hands-free kit that reduces the exposure to the head significantly and suggest that this information should be addressed both to adults, young people and children. They take the view that it is important that parents inform young people and children about the different ways to reduce the exposure from mobile phones.

The report can be seen here:
http://www.gr.is/media/frettir/NordicMobileSamalit.pdf

 

The Swiss Research Foundation on Mobile Communications Annual Report 2003

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May 2004

The Swiss Research Foundation, located in Zurich, is a non-profit foundation. Its aims are:
- Promote innovative research projects and contribute to the investigation of opportunities and risks associated with mobile communications.
- Publish research results in scientific journals.
- Disseminate research findings to the public and improve communications among stakeholders.

This Annual Report provides information about the first year’s activities of the Foundation and in particular provides details of the research projects that it funded.

View the report here:
http://www.mobile-research.ethz.ch/var/jb2003.pdf

 

Health Council of the Netherlands Electromagnetic Fields Annual Update 2003

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January 2004

(English version begins on page 69):

The Electromagnetic Fields Committee of the Health Council of the Netherlands has been asked to regularly report on scientific developments relating to possible health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields. The committee drafts Annual Updates, which are evaluated in their final stage by the Standing Committee on Radiation Hygiene of the Health Council. This is the second publication in this series.

The Committee concluded:
"In this advisory report, the Committee provides a summary of the technical aspects of mobile phones considered to be relevant to exposure to electromagnetic fields. This is followed by a brief summary of current scientific knowledge concerning the possible health effects of such exposure. On this basis, the Committee concludes that there is no reason to revise its recommendations with regard to exposure limits. Since the strength of the electromagnetic fields generated by mobile phones remains below those limits, the Committee concludes that no health problems can be expected to occur as a direct result of exposure to those fields. Furthermore, the Committee feels that there are no health-based reasons for limiting the use of mobile phones by children."

"The Committee has made statements in previous advisory reports about the restriction of exposure, on the basis of the Precautionary Principle, to levels below the exposure limits proposed by the Health Council and other advisory bodies. This was partly in response to specific questions on this topic in various requests for advice. In the report on GSM base stations, the Committee concluded that in none of the three categories of non-thermal effects under review (biological effects, carcinogenesis and non-specific symptoms) were there any reasonable grounds for suspecting the existence of a health risk. It therefore saw no reason to set the exposure limits, on the basis of the Precautionary Principle, at levels below those which were proposed on the basis of thermal effects. Nevertheless, the Committee did urge that further research be conducted to determine whether the fields could cause non-thermal effects. The Committee reached similar conclusions in the advisory reports on low-frequency electromagnetic fields and on mobile phones."

The full report can be found at http://www.gezondheidsraad.nl/en/publications/electromagnetic-fields-annual-update-2003-0

 

UK NRPB's Independent Advisory Group on Non- ionising Radiation (AGNIR) report: 'Health Effects from Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields'

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December 2003

The Stewart Report of May 2000 (IEGMP) recommended that, "the issue of possible health effects from mobile phone technology should be the subject of a further review in three years time, or earlier if circumstances demand it."

In responding to the recommendations in the report, the government asked the Board of NRPB to undertake this further review and the Board requested its independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR) to carry this out. AGNIR was set up in 1990 with terms of reference 'to review work on the biological effects of non-ionising radiation relevant to human health and to advise on research priorities.' Having reviewed the science AGNIR found:

"Exposure levels from living near mobile phone base stations are extremely low, and the overall evidence indicates that they are unlikely to pose a risk to human health."

"In aggregate the research published since the IEGMP report does not give cause for concern. The weight of evidence now available does not suggest that there are adverse effects from exposures to RF fields below guideline levels, but the published research on RF exposures and health has limitations, and mobile phones have only been in widespread use for a relatively short time. The possibility therefore remains open that there could be health effects from exposure to RF fields below guideline levels; hence continued research is needed."

The Report contained specific conclusions on cellular, animal, brain activity and cognitive function studies and cancer and non-cancer epidemiology.

The full report is available on the Health Protection Agency website at 
http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1194947334474
 

 

Swedish Radiation Protection Authority (SSI) - First Annual Report from SSI's Independent Expert Group on Electromagnetic Fields

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December 2003

The Swedish radiation protection authority, SSI (Statens strålskyddsinstitut) has appointed an international independent expert group (IEG) for electromagnetic fields (EMF) and health. They have been asked to evaluate the scientific development and to give advice to the SSI. The IEG will take recent major scientific reviews as starting points and discuss and assess relevant new data and put these in the context of already available information in a series of annual reports to develop a risk assessment of exposure to EMF.

The Authority's report which looked at studies on possible biological effects of radio frequency electromagnetic fields concluded:
" This first annual report of SSI’s independent expert group looks at studies on possible biological effects of radio frequency electromagnetic fields. The focus is on epidemiological and experimental cancer research and on blood-brain barrier damage and heat shock proteins. In none of these areas has there been break through results that have warranted firm conclusions in one way or the other. Indeed, while quite a number of new studies have been published within these areas in recent years, the overall scientific assessment has not changed markedly since the Stewart report was published and the conclusions that were formulated at that time are still to a great extent valid. It is worth noting, however, that intense research is currently ongoing in several countries. This research is often part of a scientific program that has been aimed to fill the gaps in knowledge identified by the WHO EMF Project in order for the WHO to complete its assessment of health risks and electromagnetic fields. Given the complexity of the research area it is essential that both positive and negative results be replicated before accepted. Given the increase of new technologies, it is essential to follow various possible health effects from the very beginning, particularly since such effects may be detected only after a long duration, due to the prolonged latency period of many chronic diseases. Thus, more research is needed to address long-term exposure, as well as diseases other than those included in the ongoing case-control studies."

 

No Established Adverse Health Effects

Mobile phones operate by using radio waves, a form of non-ionising radiation. There is a large body of scientific evidence on the effects of exposure to radio waves because they have been widely used for decades: for example, radio, TV and radar signals are radio waves. The scientific consensus is that, apart from the increased risk of a road accident due to mobile phone use when driving, there is no clear evidence of adverse health effects from the use of mobile phones or from phone masts. (Source: Health Protection Agency, Health Advice on Mobile Phones, May 2010).

A Wealth of Research

A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use. (Source: World Health Organisation Fact Sheet N°193, June 2011).