International Association of Fire Fighters’ position on locating cell towers commercial wireless
infrastructure on fire department facilities, as adopted by its
membership in August 2004 (1),
is that the IAFF oppose the use of fire stations as base stations for towers and/or
antennas for the conduction of cell phone transmissions until a study with the highest scientific merit and
integrity on health effects of exposure to low-intensity RF/MW radiation is conducted and it is proven that such
sitings are not hazardous to the health of our members.
the IAFF is investigating funding for a U.S. and Canadian study that would characterize exposures from RF/MW
radiation in fire houses with and without cellular antennae, and examine the health status of the fire fighters
as a function of their assignment in exposed or unexposed fire houses. Specifically, there is concern for the
effects of radio frequency radiation on the central nervous system (CNS) and the immune system, as well as other
metabolic effects observed in preliminary studies.
It is the belief of
some international governments and regulatory bodies and of the wireless telecommunications industry that no
consistent increases in health risk exist from exposure to RF/MW radiation unless the intensity of the radiation
is sufficient to heat body tissue. However, it is important to note that these positions are based on
non-continuous exposures to the general public to low intensity RF/MW radiation emitted from wireless
telecommunications base stations. Furthermore, most studies that are the basis of this position are at
least five years old and generally look at the safety of the phone itself. IAFF members are concerned
about the effects of living directly under these antenna base stations for a considerable stationary period of
time and on a daily basis. There are established biological effects from exposure to low-level RF/MW
radiation. Such biological effects are recognized as markers of adverse health effects when they arise
from exposure to toxic chemicals for example. The IAFF’s efforts will attempt to establish whether there is a
correlation between such biological effects and a health risk to fire fighters and emergency medical personnel
due to the siting of cell phone antennas and base stations at fire stations and facilities where they work.
questions concerning the health effects and safety of RF/MW radiation remain. Accordingly, should we allow
exposure of our fire fighters and emergency medical personnel to this radiation to continue for the next twenty
years when there is ongoing controversy over many aspects of RF/MW health effects? While no one disagrees
that serious health hazards occur when living cells in the body are heated, as happens with high intensity RF/MW
exposure (just like in a microwave oven), scientists are currently investigating the health hazards of low
intensity RF/MW exposure. Low intensity RF/MW exposure is exposure which does not raise the temperature of
the living cells in the body.
used for wireless telecommunications are referred to as cellular base stations, cell stations, PCS
("Personal Communications Service") stations or telephone transmission towers. These base stations
consist of antennas and electronic equipment. Because the antennas need to be high in the air, they are often
located on towers, poles, water tanks, or rooftops. Typical heights for freestanding base station towers are
stations use antennas that look like poles, 10 to 15 feet in length, that are referred to as
"omni-directional" antennas. These types of antennas are usually found in rural areas. In urban and
suburban areas, wireless providers now more commonly use panel or sector antennas for their base stations. These
antennas consist of rectangular panels, about 1 by 4 feet in dimension. The antennas are usually arranged in
three groups of three antennas each. One antenna in each group is used to transmit signals to wireless phones,
and the other two antennas in each group are used to receive signals from wireless phones.
At any base
station site, the amount of RF/MW radiation produced depends on the number of radio channels (transmitters) per
antenna and the power of each transmitter. Typically, 21 channels per antenna sector are available.
For a typical cell site using sector antennas, each of the three transmitting antennas could be connected to up
to 21 transmitters for a total of 63 transmitters. When omni-directional antennas are used, a cellular
base station could theoretically use up to 96 transmitters. Base stations used for PCS communications generally
require fewer transmitters than those used for cellular radio transmissions, since PCS carriers usually have a
higher density of base station antenna sites.
electromagnetic RF/MW radiation transmitted from base station antennas travel toward the horizon in relatively
narrow paths. The individual pattern for a single array of sector antennas is wedge-shaped, like a piece of
pie. Cellular and PCS base stations in the United States are required to comply with limits for exposure
recommended by expert organizations and endorsed by government agencies responsible for health and safety.
When cellular and PCS antennas are mounted on rooftops, RF/MW radiation levels on that roof or on others near by
would be greater than those typically encountered on the ground.
The telecommunications industry claims
cellular antennas are safe because the RF/MW radiation they produce is too weak to cause heating, i.e., a
"thermal effect." They point to "safety standards" from groups such as ANSI/IEEE or ICNIRP
to support their claims. But these groups have explicitly stated that their claims of “safe RF/MW radiation
exposure is harmless” rest on the fact that it is too weak to produce a rise in body temperature, a
There is a large body of internationally
accepted scientific evidence which points to the existence of non-thermal effects of RF/MW radiation. The issue
at the present time is not whether such evidence exists, but rather what weight to give it.
Internationally acknowledged experts in the
field of RF/MW radiation research have shown that RF/MW transmissions of the type used in digital cellular
antennas and phones can have critical effects on cell cultures, animals, and people in laboratories and have
also found epidemiological evidence (studies of communities, not in the laboratory) of serious health effects at
"non-thermal levels," where the intensity of the RF/MW radiation was too low to cause heating. They
||Increased cell growth of brain cancer cells (5)
||A doubling of the rate of lymphoma in mice (6)
||Changes in tumor growth in rats (7)
||An increased number of tumors in rats (8)
||Increased single- and double-strand breaks
in DNA, our genetic material (9)
||2 to 4 times as many cancers in Polish
soldiers exposed to RF (10)
||More childhood leukemia in children exposed
to RF (11)
||Changes in sleep patterns and REM type sleep
||Headaches caused by RF/MW
radiation exposure (13)
||Neurologic changes (14)
- Changes in the blood-brain-barrier (15)
- Changes in cellular morphology (including cell death) (16)
- Changes in neural electrophysiology
- Changes in
neurotransmitters (which affect motivation and pain perception) (18)
- Metabolic changes (of calcium
ions, for instance) (19)
- Cytogenetic effects (which can affect
cancer, Alzheimer's, neurodegenerative diseases) (20)
||Decreased memory, attention, and slower
reaction time in school children (21)
||Retarded learning in rats indicating a
deficit in spatial "working memory" (22)
||Increased blood pressure in healthy men
||Damage to eye cells when combined with
commonly used glaucoma medications (24)
and international organizations have recognized the need to define the true risk of low intensity, non-thermal
RF/MW radiation exposure, calling for intensive scientific investigation to answer the open questions.
||The World Health Organization, noting
reports of "cancer, reduced fertility, memory loss, and adverse changes in the behavior and
development of children." (25)
||The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
||The International Agency for Research on
Cancer (IARC) (27)
||The Swedish Work Environmental Fund
||The National Cancer Institute (NCI) (29)
||The European Commission (EC) (30)
||New Zealand's Ministry of Health (31)
||National Health and Medical Research Council
of Australia (32)
||Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research
Organization of Australia (CSIRO) (33)
||The Royal Society of Canada expert group
report prepared for Health Canada (34)
||European Union's REFLEX Project (Risk
Evaluation of Potential Environmental Hazards from Low Frequency Electromagnetic Field Exposure Using
Sensitive in vitro Methods) (35)
||The Independent Group on Electromagnetic
Fields of the Swedish Radiation Protection Board (SSI)
||The United Kingdom’s National Radiological
Protection Board (NRPB) (37)
||The EMF-Team Finland's Helsinki Appeal 2005 (38)
effects are recognized by experts on RF/MW radiation and health to be potential health hazards. Safe
levels of RF/MW exposure for these low intensity, non-thermal effects have not yet been established.
The FDA has explicitly rejected claims that
cellular phones are "safe." (39)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has
stated repeatedly that the current (ANSI/IEEE) RF/MW safety standards protect only against thermal effects. (40)
Many scientists and physicians question the
safety of exposure to RF/MW radiation. The CSIRO study, for example, notes that there are no clear cutoff levels
at which low intensity RF/MW exposure has no effect, and that the results of ongoing studies will take years to
Internationally, researchers and physicians
have issued statements that biological effects from low-intensity RF/MW radiation exposure are scientifically
The 1998 Vienna-EMF Resolution (42)
The 2000 Salzburg Resolution on Mobile Telecommunication Base
The 2002 Catania Resolution (44)
The 2002 Freiburger Appeal (45)
The 2004 Report of the European Union's REFLEX Project (Risk
Evaluation of Potential Environmental Hazards from Low Frequency Electromagnetic Field Exposure Using Sensitive in
vitro Methods) (46)
The 2004 Second Annual Report from Sweden's
Radiation Protection Board (SSI) Independent Expert Group on Electromagnetic Fields Recent Research on Mobile
Telephony and Health Risks (47)
Mobile Phones and Health 2004: Report by the Board
of NRPB (The UK's National Radiological Protection Board) (48)
The county of Palm Beach, Florida, the City of
Los Angeles, California, and the country of New Zealand have all prohibited cell phone base stations and
antennas near schools due to safety concerns. The British Columbia Confederation of Parent Advisory
Councils [BCCPAC] passed a resolution in 2003 banning cellular antennae from schools and school grounds. This
organization is comparable to the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) in the United States. The resolution
was directed to B.C. Ministry of Education, B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development, B.C. School
Trustees Association, and B.C. Association of Municipalities.
US Government information
In the United
States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has used safety guidelines for RF/MW radiation environmental
exposure since 1985.
guidelines for human exposure to RF/MW radiation are derived from the recommendations of two organizations, the
National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers (IEEE). In both cases, the recommendations were developed by scientific and engineering experts drawn
from industry, government, and academia after extensive reviews of the scientific literature related to the
biological effects of RF/MW radiation.
in Europe and elsewhere use exposure guidelines developed by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing
Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The ICNIRP safety limits are generally similar to those of the NCRP and IEEE,
with a few exceptions. For example, ICNIRP recommends different exposure levels in the lower and upper frequency
ranges and for localized exposure from certain products such as hand-held wireless telephones. Currently, the
World Health Organization is working to provide a framework for international harmonization of RF/MW radiation
In order to
affirm conformity to standards regarding heating of tissue, measurements are time averaged over 0.1 hours [6
minutes]. This method eliminates any spikes in the readings. Computer power bars have surge
protectors to prevent damage to computers. Fire fighters and emergency medical personnel do not!
IEEE, and ICNIRP all have identified a whole-body Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) value of 4 watts per kilogram
(4 W/kg) as a threshold level of exposure at which harmful biological thermal effects due to tissue heating may
occur. Exposure guidelines in terms of field strength, power density and localized SAR were then derived
from this threshold value. In addition, the NCRP, IEEE, and ICNIRP guidelines vary depending on the frequency of
the RF/MW radiation exposure. This is due to the finding that whole-body human absorption of RF/MW
radiation varies with the frequency of the RF signal. The most restrictive limits on whole-body exposure
are in the frequency range of 30-300 MHz where the human body absorbs RF/MW energy most efficiently. For
products that only expose part of the body, such as wireless phones, exposure limits in terms of SAR only are
exposure limits used by the FCC are expressed in terms of SAR, electric and magnetic field strength, and power
density for transmitters operating at frequencies from 300 kHz to 100 GHz. The specific values can be
found in two FCC bulletins, OET Bulletins 56 and 65.
OET Bulletin 56,
“Questions and Answers about Biological Effects and Potential Hazards of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields”
was designed to provide factual information to the public by answering some of the most commonly asked
questions. It includes the latest information on FCC guidelines for human exposure to RF/MW radiation.
Further information and a downloadable version of Bulletin 56 can be found at: http://www.fcc.gov/oet/info/documents/bulletins/#56
Bulletin 65, “Evaluating Compliance With FCC Guidelines for Human
Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields” was prepared
to provide assistance in determining whether proposed or existing transmitting facilities, operations
or devices comply with limits for human exposure to RF/MW radiation adopted
by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Further information and a downloadable version of Bulletin
65 can be found at: http://www.fcc.gov/oet/info/documents/bulletins/#65
authorizes and licenses products, transmitters, and facilities that generate RF and microwave radiation. It has
jurisdiction over all transmitting services in the U.S. except those specifically operated by the Federal
Government. Under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), the FCC has certain
responsibilities to consider whether its actions will significantly affect the quality of the human environment.
Therefore, FCC approval and licensing of transmitters and facilities must be evaluated for significant impact on
the environment. Human exposure to RF radiation emitted by FCC-regulated transmitters is one of several
factors that must be considered in such environmental evaluations. In 1996, the FCC revised its guidelines for
RF/MW radiation exposure as a result of a multi-year proceeding and as required by the Telecommunications Act of
information and answers to questions about the safety of RF/MW radiation from transmitters and facilities
regulated by the FCC go to http://www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/rf-faqs.html.
Canadian Government Information
Canada is the organization that sets regulatory requirements for electromagnetic spectrum management and radio
equipment in Canada. Industry Canada establishes standards for equipment certification and, as part of these
standards, developed RSS-102 (now Issue 3), which specifies permissible radiofrequency RF/MW radiation levels. For this
purpose, Industry Canada adopted the limits outlined in Health Canada's
Safety-Code 6, which is a guideline document for limiting RF exposure. A downloadable version of
“Radio Standards Specification 102,
Radio Frequency Exposure Compliance of Radiocommunication Apparatus (All
as well as additional information can be found at:
Safety Code 6 specifies the
requirements for the use of radiation emitting devices. This Code replaces the previous Safety Code 6 -
EHD-TR-160. A downloadable version of “Limits of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields
in the Frequency Range from 3 kHz TO 300 GHz – Safety Code 6”, as well as further detailed information can
be found at
Canadian Legal Issues
local and state governments have enacted rules and regulations about human exposure to RF/MW radiation in the
past, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires the United States Federal Government to control human exposure
to RF/MW radiation. In particular, Section 704 of the Act states that, "No State or local government
or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless
service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that
such facilities comply with the Commission's regulations concerning such emissions." Further information on
federal authority and FCC policy is available in a fact sheet from the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
a recent opinion filed by Senior Circuit Judge Stephen F. Williams, No. 03-1336 EMR Network v. Federal
Communications Commission and United States of America, the Court upheld the FCC's decision not to initiate
an inquiry on the need to revise its regulations to address non-thermal effects of radiofrequency (RF) radiation
from the facilities and products subject to FCC regulation as EMR Network had requested in its September 2001
Petition for Inquiry.
the request of the EMR Network, the EMR Policy Institute provided legal and research support for this
appeal. On January 13, 2005, a Petition for Rehearing en banc by the full panel of judges at the DC
Circuit Court of Appeals was filed. Briefs, background documents and the DC Circuit decision are found
Medical Officer of Health for the Toronto Board of Health recommended to Health Canada that public exposure
limits for RF/MW radiation be made 100 times stricter; however the recommendation was not allowed, since, as in
the US, only the Canadian federal government can regulate RF/MW radiation exposure level.
Health Organization Efforts
In 1996, the
World Health Organization (WHO) established the International EMF Project to review the scientific literature
and work towards resolution of health concerns over the use of RF/MW technology. WHO maintains a Web site
that provides addition information on this project and about RF/MW biological effects and research. For
further information go to http://www.who.int/peh-emf/en/.
For decades, the International Association of
Fire Fighters has been directly involved in protecting and promoting the health and safety of our
membership. However, we simply don't know at this time what the possible health consequences of long-term
exposure to low-intensity RF/MW radiation of the type used by the cell phone base stations and antennas will
be. No one knows--the data just aren't there. The chairman of the International Commission on
Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection ICNIRP), one of the leading international organizations which formulated the
current RF/MW radiation exposure guidelines, has stated that the guidelines include "no consideration
regarding prudent avoidance" for health effects for which evidence is less than conclusive (49)
Again, fire department
facilities, where fire fighters and emergency response personnel live and work are not the proper place for a
technology which could endanger their health and safety
The only reasonable and responsible course is
to conduct a study of the highest scientific merit and integrity on the RF/MW radiation health effects to our
membership and, in the interim, oppose the use of fire stations as base stations for
towers and/or antennas for the conduction of cell phone transmissions until it is proven that such sitings are
not hazardous to the health of our members.
1. Revised and Amended IAFF Resolution No. 15; August 2004
Study of Firefighters
Exposed to Radio Frequency (RF) Radiation from Cell Towers/Masts
fire stations across the United States and Canada are being sought by wireless companies as base stations for
the antennas and towers for the conduction of cell phone transmissions; and
many firefighters who are living with cell towers on or adjacent to their stations are paying a substantial
price in terms of physical and mental health. As first responders and protectors of the general public, it
is crucial that firefighters are functioning at optimal cognitive and physical capacity at all times; and
the brain is the first organ to be affected by RF radiation and symptoms manifest in a multitude of neurological
conditions including migraine headaches, extreme fatigue, disorientation, slowed reaction time, vertigo, vital
memory loss and attention deficit amidst life threatening emergencies; and
most of the firefighters who are experiencing symptoms can attribute the onset to the first week(s) these
towers/antennas were activated; and
RF radiation is emitted by these cellular antennas and RF radiation can penetrate every living cell, including
plants, animals and humans; and
both the U. S. and Canadian governments established regulatory limits for RF radiation based on thermal (heat)
measurements with no regard for the adverse health effects from non-thermal radiation which is proven to harm
the human brain and immune system; and
the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency stated in a July 16, 2002, letter, “Federal health and safety
agencies have not yet developed policies concerning possible risk from long-term, non-thermal exposures. The FCC’s
exposure guideline is considered protective of effects arising from a thermal mechanism (RF radiation from cell
towers is non-thermal) but not from all possible mechanisms. Therefore, the generalization by many that the
guidelines protecting human beings from harm by any or all mechanisms is not justified”; and
an Expert Panel Report requested by the Royal Society of Canada prepared for Health Canada (1999) stated that,
“Exposure to RF fields at intensities far less than levels required to produce measurable heating can cause
effects in cells and tissues. These biological effects include alterations in the activity of the enzyme
ornithine decarboxylase, in calcium regulation, and in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Some of
these biological effects brought about by non-thermal exposure levels of RF could potentially be associated with
adverse health effects”; and
based on concerns over growing scientific evidence of dangers from RF radiation, an international conference was
convened in Salzburg, Austria, in the summer of 2000 where renowned scientists declared the upper-most RF
radiation exposure limit from a tower-mast should be 1/10th of 1 microwatt (Note that 1/10th of 1 microwatt is
10,000 times lower than the uppermost limit allowed by the U. S. or Canada.); and it should be noted this limit
was set because of study results showing brain wave changes at 1/10th of 1 microwatt; and
in a recently cleared paper by Dr. Richard A. Albanese of the U. S. Air Force, a highly recognized physician in
the area of the impact of radiation on the human body, Dr. Albanese states, “I would ask a good faith effort
in achieving as low exposure rates as are possible within reasonable financial constraints. Also I would fund
targeted studies using animal subjects and human groups living or working in high radiation settings or heavy
cellular phone users, emphasizing disease causations. I urge acceptance of the ideal that there should be no
unmonitored occupational or environmental exposures whose associated disease rates are unknown.” (The opinions
expressed herein are those of Dr. Albanese, and do not reflect the policies of the United States Air Force.);
recently a study, not affiliated with the wireless industry, was conducted of firefighters exposed to RF
radiation from cell towers/antennas affixed to their stations.** The study
revealed brain damage that can be differentiated from chemical causation (such as inhalation of toxic smoke)
suggesting RF radiation as the cause of the brain damage found on SPECT scans; and
firefighters are the protectors of people and property and should be protected under the Precautionary Principle
of Science and therefore, unless radiation is proven safe and harmless, cellular antennas should not be placed
on or near fire stations; therefore be it
That the IAFF shall seek funding for an initial U. S. and Canadian study with the highest scientific merit and
integrity, contrasting firefighters with residence in stations with towers to firefighters without similar
exposure; and be it further
That in accordance with the results of the study, the IAFF will establish protective policy measures with the
health and safety of all firefighters as the paramount objective; and be it further
That the IAFF oppose the use of fire stations as base stations for antennas and towers for the conduction of
cell phone transmissions until such installations are proven not to be hazardous to the health of our members.
A pilot study was conducted in 2004 of six California fire fighters
working and sleeping in stations with towers. The study, conducted by Gunnar Heuser, M.D., PhD. of Agoura
Hills, CA, focused on neurological symptoms of six fire fighters who had been working for up to five years in
stations with cell towers. Those symptoms included slowed reaction time, lack of focus, lack of impulse control,
severe headaches, anesthesia-like sleep, sleep deprivation, depression, and tremors. Dr. Heuser used
functional brain scans - SPECT scans - to assess any changes in the brains of the six fire fighters as compared
to healthy brains of men of the same age. Computerized psychological testing known as TOVA was used to
study reaction time, impulse control, and attention span. The SPECT scans revealed a pattern of abnormal
change which was concentrated over a wider area than would normally be seen in brains of individuals exposed to
toxic inhalation, as might be expected from fighting fires. Dr. Heuser concluded the only plausible
explanation at this time would be RF radiation exposure. Additionally, the TOVA testing revealed among the
six fire fighters delayed reaction time, lack of impulse control, and difficulty in maintaining mental focus.
2. An international blue ribbon panel assembled by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
(NIEHS) designated power frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) as "possible human carcinogens" on
June 24, 1998. The panel's decision was based largely on the results of epidemiological studies of children
exposed at home and workers exposed on the job. The evaluation of the EMF literature followed procedures
developed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), based in Lyon, France. The working group's
report will be the basis for the NIEHS report to Congress on the EMF Research and Public Information
Dissemination program (EMF RAPID). The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) of the United Kingdom noted
that the views of its Advisory Group on Non-Ionizing Radiation are "consistent with those of the NIEHS
June 26, 1998 statement of the National
Radiological Protection Board, sited in Microwave News, July/August 1998
3. World Health Organization; International Agency for Research on Cancer; IARC Monographs on the Evaluation
of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans; Volume 80 Non-Ionizing Radiation, Part 1: Static and Extremely Low-Frequency
(ELF) Electric and Magnetic Fields; 2002; 429 pages; ISBN 92 832 1280 0; See http://www-cie.iarc.fr/htdocs/monographs/vol80/80.
This IARC Monograph provides the rationale for its designation of ELF/EMF as a
possible human carcinogen. It states that:
A few studies on genetic effects have
examined chromosomal aberrations and micronuclei in lymphocytes from workers exposed to ELF electric and
magnetic fields. In these studies, confounding by genotoxic agents (tobacco, solvents) and comparability between
the exposed and control groups are of concern. Thus, the studies reporting an increased frequency of chromosomal
aberrations and micronuclei are difficult to interpret.
Many studies have been conducted to
investigate the effects of ELF magnetic fields on various genetic end-points. Although increased DNA strand
breaks have been reported in brain cells of exposed rodents, the results are inconclusive; most of the studies
show no effects in mammalian cells exposed to magnetic fields alone at levels below 50 µT. However, extremely
strong ELF magnetic fields have caused adverse genetic effects in some studies. In addition, several groups have
reported that ELF magnetic fields enhance the effects of known DNA- and chromosome-damaging agents such as
The few animal studies on cancer-related
non-genetic effects are inconclusive. Results on the effects on in-vitro cell proliferation and malignant
transformation are inconsistent, but some studies suggest that ELF magnetic fields affect cell proliferation and
modify cellular responses to other factors such as melatonin. An increase in apoptosis following exposure of
various cell lines to ELF electric and magnetic fields has been reported in several studies with different
exposure conditions. Numerous studies have investigated effects of ELF magnetic fields on cellular end-points
associated with signal transduction, but the results are not consistent.
4. The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) statement "Health Issues
Related to the Use of Hand-Held Radiotelephones and Base Transmitters" of 1996 reads:
"Thermally mediated effects of RF fields
have been studied in animals, including primates. These data suggest effects that will probably occur in humans
subjected to whole body or localized heating sufficient to increase tissue temperatures by greater than 1C. They
include the induction of opacities of the lens of the eye, possible effects on development and male fertility,
various physiological and thermoregulatory responses to heat, and a decreased ability to perform mental tasks as
body temperature increases. Similar effects have been reported in people subject to heat stress, for example
while working in hot environments or by fever. The various effects are well established and form the biological
basis for restricting occupational and public exposure to radiofrequency fields. In contrast, non-thermal
effects are not well established and currently do not form a scientifically acceptable basis for restricting
human exposure for frequencies used by hand-held radiotelephones and base stations."
International Commission on Non-Ionizing
Radiation Protection, "Health Issues Related to the Use of Hand-Held Radiotelephones and Base
Transmitters," Health Physics 70:587-593, 1996
The ANSI/IEEE Standard for Safety Levels of
1992 similarly states:
"An extensive review of the literature
revealed once again that the most sensitive measurements of potentially harmful biological effects were based on
the disruption of ongoing behavior associated with an increase of body temperature in the presence of
electromagnetic fields. Because of the paucity of reliable data on chronic exposures, IEEE Subcommittee IV
focused on evidence of behavioral disruption under acute exposures, even disruption of a transient and fully
IEEE Standards Coordinating committee 28 on
Non-Ionizing Radiation Hazards: Standard for Safe Levels With Respect to Human Exposure to Radio Frequency
Electromagnetic Fields, 3 KHz to 300 GHz (ANSI/IEEE C95.1-1991), The Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers, New York, 1992.
5. Drs. Czerska, Casamento, Ning, and Davis (working for the Food and Drug Administration in 1997) using
"a waveform identical to that used in digital cellular phones" at a power level within our current
standards (SAR of 1.6 W/Kg, the maximum spatial peak exposure level recommended for the general population in
the ANSI C95.1-1991 standard) found increases in cellular proliferation in human glioblastoma cells. This shows
that "acceptable" levels of radiation can cause human cancer cells to multiply faster. The authors
note that "because of reported associations between cellular phone exposure and the occurrence of a brain
tumor, glioblastoma, a human glioblastoma cell line was used" in their research.
E.M. Czerska, J. Casamento, J. T. Ning, and
C. Davis, "Effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation on Cell Proliferation," [Abstract
presented on February 7, 1997 at the workshop 'Physical Characteristics and Possible Biological Effects of
Microwaves Applied in Wireless Communication, Rockville, MD] E. M. Czerska, J. Casamento Centers for Devices and
Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Maryland 20857, USA; H. T. Ning, Indian Health
Service, Rockville, Maryland 20857, USA; C. Davis, Electrical Engineering Dept., Univ. of Maryland, College
Park, Maryland 20742, USA
6. Dr. Michael Repacholi (in 1997, currently the director of the International Electromagnetic Fields Project at
the World Health Organization) took one hundred transgenic mice and exposed some to radiation for two 30 minute
periods a day for up to 18 months. He found that the exposed mice developed lymphomas (a type of cancer) at
twice the rate of the unexposed mice. While telecommunications industry spokespersons criticized the experiment
for using mice with a mutation which predisposed them to cancer (transgenic) the researchers pointed out that
"some individuals inherit mutations in other genes...that predispose them to develop cancer, and these
individuals may comprise a subpopulation at special risk from agents that would pose an otherwise insignificant
risk of cancer."
Dr. Repacholi stated "I believe this is
the first animal study showing a true non-thermal effect." He repeated the experiment in 1998 using 50 Hz
fields instead of the 900 MHz pulsed radiation (the type used by cellular phones) used in the original
experiment and found no cancer risk. He stated that this new data had implications for his original cellular
phone study: "the control groups for both our RF and 50 Hz field studies showed no statistical differences,
which lessens the possibility that the RF/MW radiation study result was a chance event or due to errors in
It is extremely important to note that Dr.
Michael Repacholi was Chairman of the ICNIRP at the time its Statement on Health Issues Related to the Use of
Hand-Held Radiotelephones and Base Transmitters was developed in 1996.
M. Repacholi et al., "Lymphomas in
Eµ-Pim1 Transgenic Mice Exposed to Pulsed 900 MHz Electromagnetic Fields," Radiation Research, 147,
pp.631-640, May 1997
7. Dr. Ross Adey (Veterans Administration Hospital at Loma Linda University in 1996) found what appeared to be a
protective effect in rats exposed to the type of radiation used in digital cellular phones. The rats were
exposed to an SAR of 0.58-0.75 W/Kg 836 MHz pulsed radiation of the TDMA type two hours a day, four days a week
for 23 months, with the signals turned on and off every 7.5 minutes, so total exposure was 4 hours a week.
Interestingly this effect was not present when a non-digital, analog signal was used. Rats exposed developed
cancer less often. This study shows that low power fields of the digital cellular frequency can influence cancer
development. Whether they would protect or promote in our children is a question for further study.
Ross Adey of the Veterans Administration
Hospital at Loma Linda University, CA presented the results of pulsed (digital cellular) radiation on June 13,
1996 at the 18th Annual Meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society in Victoria, Canada. He
presented the findings of the analog cellular phone radiation effect at the June 1997 2nd World
Congress for Electricity and Magnetism in Biology and Medicine in Bologna, Italy. Reviews can be found in
Microwave News issues July/August, 1996 and March/April 1997.
recognition of his more than three decades of "fundamental contributions to the emerging science of the
biological effects of electromagnetic fields," the authors of the November 2004 Report of the European
Union's REFLEX Project (Risk Evaluation of Potential Environmental Hazards From
Low Frequency Electromagnetic Field Exposure Using Sensitive in vitro Methods) chose to include Dr. Adey's
personal views on Electromagnetic Field Exposure research as the Foreword to that report. To view the
entire report, see: http://www.itis.ethz.ch/downloads/REFLEX_Final%20Report_171104.pdf
The following is taken from Dr. Adey's
Foreword found on pages 1-3 of the REFLEX Report:
The Future of Fundamental Research in a
Society Seeking Categoric Answers to Health Risks of New Technologies
In summary, we have become superstitious
users of an ever-growing range of technologies, but we are now unable to escape the web that they have woven
Media reporters in general are no better
informed. Lacking either responsibility or accountability, they have created feeding frenzies from the
tiniest snippets of information gleaned from scientific meetings or from their own inaccurate interpretation of
published research. In consequence, the public has turned with pleading voices to government legislatures
and bureaucracies for guidance . . .
We face the problem brought on by the blind
leading the blind. Because of public pressure for rapid answers to very complex biological and physical
issues, short-term research programs have been funded to answer specific questions about certain health risks.
In many countries, and particularly in the
USA, the effects of such harassing and troublesome tactics on independent, careful fundamental research have
been near tragic. Beguiled by health hazard research as the only source of funding, accomplished basic
scientists have diverted from a completely new frontier in physical regulation of biological mechanisms at the
atomic level. Not only have governments permitted corporate interests in the communications industry to
fund this research, they have even permitted them to determine the research questions to be addressed and to
select the institutions performing the research.
8. Dr. A. W. Guy reported an extensive investigation on rats chronically exposed from 2 up to 27 months of age
to low-level pulsed microwaves at SARs up to 0.4 W/Kg. The exposed group was found to have a significantly
higher incidence of primary cancers.
A. W. Guy, C. K. Chou, L. Kunz, L, Crowley,
and J. Krupp, "Effects of Long-Term Low-Level Radiofrequency Radiation Exposure on Rats." Volume 9.
Summary. Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, USF-SAM-TR-85-11; 1985
9. Drs. Henry Lai and N. P. Singh of the University of Washington in Seattle have reported both single- and
double-strand DNA breaks in the brains of rats exposed to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation at an SAR of
1.2 W/Kg. DNA is the carrier of the genetic information in all living cells. Cumulated DNA strand breaks in
brain cells can lead to cancer or neurodegenerative diseases.
H. Lai and N. P. Singh, "Single- and
Double-Strand DNA Breaks in Rat Brain Cells After Acute Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic
Radiation," International Journal of Radiation Biology, Vol 69, No. 4, 513-521, 1996
10. Dr. Stanislaw Szmigielski has studied many thousands of Polish soldiers. He has found that those
exposed to radiofrequency and microwave radiation in the workplace had more than double the cancer rate of the
unexposed servicemen analyzing data from 1971-1985. He has presented further data suggesting a
dose-response relationship with soldiers exposed to 100-200 W/cm2 suffering 1.69 times as many
cancers as the unexposed, and those exposed to 600-1000 W/cm2 suffering 4.63 times as many
cancers. The level considered safe for the public according to FCC regulations is 1000 W/cm2.
Occupational exposure up to 5000 W/cm2 is allowed.
S. Szmigielski, "Cancer Morbidity in
Subjects Occupationally Exposed to High Frequency (Radiofrequency and Microwave) Electromagnetic
Radiation," The Science of the Total Environment 180:9-17, 1996
11. Dr. Bruce Hocking found an association between increased childhood leukemia incidence and mortality in the
proximity of television towers. The power density ranged from 0.2-8.0 W/cm2 nearer and 0.02 W/cm2
farther from the towers.
B. Hocking, I. R. Gordon, H. L. Grain, and
G. E. Hatfield, "Cancer Incidence and Mortality and Proximity to TV Towers," Medical Journal of
Australia 165: 601-605; 1996
12. Drs. Mann and Röschke investigated the influence of pulsed high-frequency RF/MW radiation of digital mobile
radio telephones on sleep in healthy humans. They found a hypnotic effect with shortening of sleep onset latency
and a REM (Rapid Eye Movement) suppressive effect with reduction of duration and percentage of REM sleep.
"REM sleep plays a special physiological role for information processing in the brain, especially
concerning consolidation of new experiences. Thus the effects observed possibly could be associated with
alterations of memory and learning functions."
K. Mann and J. Röschke, "Effects of
Pulsed High-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields on Human Sleep," Neuropsychobiology 33:41-47, 1996
13. Dr. Allen Frey has been researching RF/MW radiation for over 3 decades. Here is the abstract on a paper
concerning headaches and cellular phone radiation. "There have been numerous recent reports of headaches
occurring in association with the use of hand-held cellular telephones. Are these reported headaches real? Are
they due to emissions from telephones? There is reason to believe that the answer is "yes" to both
questions. There are several lines of evidence to support this conclusion. First, headaches as a consequence of
exposure to low intensity microwaves were reported in the literature 30 years ago. These were observed during
the course of microwave hearing research before there were cellular telephones. Second, the blood-brain barrier
appears to be involved in headaches, and low intensity microwave energy exposure affects the barrier. Third, the
dopamine-opiate systems of the brain appear to be involved in headaches, and low intensity electromagnetic
energy exposure affects those systems. In all three lines of research, the microwave energy used was
approximately the same--in frequencies, modulations, and incident energies--as those emitted by present day
cellular telephones, Could the current reports of headaches be the canary in the coal mine, warning of
biologically significant effects?"
A. H. Frey, "Headaches from Cellular
Telephones: Are they Real and What Are the Implications?" Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 106,
Number 3, pp.101-103, March 1998
14. Henry Lai's review of the literature concerning neurological effects of RF/MW radiation: Existing data
indicate that RF/MW radiation of relatively low intensity can affect the nervous system. Changes in blood-brain
barrier, morphology, electrophysiology, neurotransmitter functions, cellular metabolism, and calcium efflux, and
genetic effects have been reported in the brain of animals after exposure to RF. These changes can lead to
functional changes in the nervous system. Behavioral changes in animals after exposure to RR have been reported.
Even a temporary change in neural functions
after RF/MW radiation exposure could lead to adverse consequences. For example, a transient loss of memory
function or concentration could result in an accident when a person is driving. Loss of short term working
memory has indeed been observed in rats after acute exposure to RF/MW radiation.
Research has also shown that the effects of
RF/MW radiation on the nervous system can cumulate with repeated exposure. The important question is, after
repeated exposure, will the nervous system adapt to the perturbation and when will homeostasis break down?
Related to this is that various lines of evidence suggest that responses of the central nervous system to RF/MW
radiation could be a stress response. Stress effects are well known to cumulate over time and involve first
adaptation and then an eventual break down of homeostatic processes.
H. Lai, "Neurological Effects of
Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation Relating to Wireless Communication Technology," Paper presentation
at the IBC-UK Conference: "Mobile Phones-Is There a Health Risk?" September 16-17, 1997, Brussels,
15. Blood-Brain-Barrier: The blood-brain-barrier (BBB) is primarily a continuous layer of cells lining the blood
vessels of the brain. It is critical for regulation of the brain's activity. Lai notes that "Even
though most studies indicate that changes in the BBB occurs only after exposure to RF/MW radiation of high
intensities with significant increase in tissue temperature, several studies have reported increases in
permeability after exposure to RF/MW radiation of relatively low intensities...Pulsed RF seems to be more potent
than continuous wave RF." Pulsed RF/MW is the type used in digital cellular systems. Effects on
the BBB were noted at the 0.2 W/cm2 level, and even at SAR of 0.016-5 W/kg. These effects could lead
to local changes in brain function.
H. Lai, Ibid
16. Cellular Morphology: RF/MW radiation induced morphological changes of the central nervous system cells and
tissues have been shown to occur under relatively high intensity or prolonged exposure to the RF/MW radiation.
However, there are several studies which show that repeated exposure at relatively low power intensities caused
morphological changes in the central nervous system. Again here pulsed (as in digital phone use) RF/MW radiation
produced more pronounced effects. Certain drugs given to nonhuman primates sensitized them, for instance
allowing eye damage to occur at very low power intensities. Dr Lai notes "Changes in morphology, especially
cell death, could have an important implication on health. Injury-induced cell proliferation has been
hypothesized as a cause of cancer." Some of these experiments were in the range of SAR 0.53 W/kg or even
H. Lai, Ibid
17. Neural Electrophysiology: Changes in neuronal electrophysiology, evoked potentials, and EEG have been
reported. Some effects were observed at low intensities and after repeated exposure, suggesting cumulative
effect. Energy density levels were as low as 50 W/cm2.
H. Lai, Ibid
18. Neurotransmitters: Neurotransmitters are molecules which transmit information from one nerve cell to
another. Early studies have reported changes in various neurotransmitters (catecholamines, serotonin, and
acetylcholine) in the brain of animals only after exposure to high intensities of RF/MW radiation. However,
there are more recent studies that show changes in neurotransmitter functions after exposure to low intensities
of RF radiation. For example, effects were seen at 50 µW/cm2 in one
experiment. U.S. and Canadian RF/MW radiation safety policies allow exposures of 1000 µW/cm2
at that frequency.
RF/MW radiation activates endogenous
opioids in the brain. Endogenous opioids are neurotransmitters with morphine-like properties and are involved in
many important physiological and behavioral functions, such as pain perception and motivation.
The response to RF/MW radiation depends
on the area of the brain studied and on the duration of exposure. Exposure to RF/MW radiation has been
shown to affect the behavioral actions of benzodiazepines (these are drugs such as Valium).
H. Lai, Ibid
19. Metabolic Changes in Neural Tissue: Several studies investigated the effects of RF/MW radiation exposure on
energy metabolism in the rat brain. Surprisingly, changes were reported after exposure to relatively low
intensity RF/MW radiation for a short duration of time (minutes). The effects depended on the frequency and
modulation characteristics of the RF/MW radiation and did not seem to be related to temperature changes in the
Calcium ions play important roles in the
functions of the nervous system, such as the release of neurotransmitters and the actions of some
neurotransmitter receptors. Thus changes in calcium ion concentration could lead to alterations in neural
functions. This is an area of considerable controversy because some researchers have also reported no
significant effects of RF/MW radiation exposure on calcium efflux. However, when positive effects were
observed, they occurred after exposure to RF/MW radiation of relatively low intensities and were dependent on
the modulation and intensity of the RF/MW radiation studied (window effects). Some studies had SARs as low
as 0.05-0.005 W/Kg.
H. Lai, Ibid
20. Cytogenetic effects have been reported in various types of cells after exposure to RF/MW
radiation. Recently, several studies have reported cytogenetic changes in brain cells by RF/MW radiation ,
and these results could have important implication for the health effects of RF/MW radiation . Genetic damage to
glial cells can result in carcinogenesis. However, since neurons do not undergo mitosis, a more likely
consequence of neuronal genetic damage is changes in functions and cell death, which could either lead to or
accelerate the development of neurodegenerative diseases. Power densities of 1 mW/cm2
were employed, a level considered safe for the public by the FCC.
RF/MW radiation -induced increases in single
and double strand DNA breaks in rats can be blocked by treating the rats with melatonin or the spin-trap
compound N-t-butyl--phenylnitrone. Since both compounds are potent free radical scavengers, these data suggest
that free radicals may play a role in the genetic effect of RF. If free radicals are involved in the RF-induced
DNA strand breaks in brain cells, results from this study could have an important implication on the health
effects of RF exposure. Involvement of free radicals in human diseases, such as cancer and atherosclerosis, has
been suggested. Free radicals also play an important role in the aging process, which has been ascribed to be a
consequence of accumulated oxidative damage to body tissues, and involvement of free radicals in
neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Huntington, and Parkinson, has also been suggested. One can
also speculate that some individuals may be more susceptible to the effects of RF/MW radiation exposure.
H. Lai, Ibid
21. Dr. A. A. Kolodynski and V. V. Kolodynska of the Institute of Biology, Latvian Academy of Sciences,
presented the results of experiments on school children living in the area of the Skrunda Radio Location Station
in Latvia. Motor function, memory, and attention significantly differed between the exposed and control groups.
The children living in front of the station had less developed memory and attention and their reaction time was
A. A. Kolodynski, V. V. Kolodynska,
"Motor and Psychological Functions of School Children Living in the Area of the Skrunda Radio Location
Station in Latvia," The Science of the Total Environment 180:87-93, 1996
22. Dr. H. Lai and colleagues in 1993 exposed rats to 45 minutes of pulsed high frequency RF/MW radiation at low
intensity and found that the rats showed retarded learning, indicating a deficit in spatial "working
H Lai, A. Horita, and A. W. Guy,
"Microwave Irradiation Affects Radial-Arm Maze Performance in the Rat," Bioelectromagnetics 15:95-104,
Dr. Lai's January 2005 compilation of published RF/MW radiation studies demonstrating biological effects of
exposure to low-intensity RF/MW radiation is included as a Reference section at the end of this report.
23. Dr. Stefan Braune reported a 5-10 mm Hg resting blood pressure rise during exposure to RF/MW radiation of
the sort used by cellular phones in Europe. The Lancet, the British medical journal where the report appeared,
stated that "Such an increase could have adverse effects on people with high blood pressure."
S. Braune, "Resting Blood Pressure
Increase During Exposure to a Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Field," The Lancet 351, pp. 1,857-1,858, 1998
24. Dr. Kues and colleagues (of Johns Hopkins University and the Food and Drug Administration) found that
placing timolol and pilocarpine into the eyes of monkeys and then exposing them to low power density pulsed
RF/MW radiation caused a significant reduction in the power-density threshold for causing damage to the cells
covering the eye and the iris. In fact the power was reduced by a factor of 10, so that it entered the
"acceptable, safe" level of the FCC, 1 mW/cm2! Timolol and pilocarpine are commonly used by
people suffering from glaucoma. This is a very important study, as it points to the fact that laboratory
experiments under "ideal" conditions are rarely what one finds in real life. The "safe"
level of RF/MW radiation exposure for healthy people is likely to be very different than for those of us who
suffer from illness, take medications, or are perhaps simply younger or older than those in the experiments.
H. A. Kues, J. C. Monahan, S. A. D'Anna, D.
S. McLeod, G. A. Lutty, and S. Koslov, "Increased Sensitivity of the Non-Human Primate Eye to Microwave
Radiation Following Ophthalmic Drug Pretreatment," Bioelectromagnetics 13:379-393, 1992
25. The World Health Organization states that "concerns have been raised about the safety of
cellular mobile telephones, electric power lines and police speed-control 'radar guns.' Scientific reports have
suggested that exposure to electromagnetic fields emitted from these devices could have adverse health effects,
such as cancer, reduced fertility, memory loss, and adverse changes in the behaviour and development of
children." Therefore, "In May 1996, in response to growing public health concerns in many Member
States over possible health effects from exposure to an ever-increasing number and diversity of EMF sources, the
World Health Organization launched an international project to assess health and environmental effects of
exposure to electric and magnetic fields, which became known as the International EMF Project. The International
EMF Project will last for five years." "A number of studies at [frequencies above about 1 MHz] suggest
that exposure to RF fields too weak to cause heating may have adverse health consequences, including cancer and
memory loss. Identifying and encouraging coordinated research into these open questions is one of the major
objectives of the International EMF Project."
World Health Organization Fact Sheet N181,
"Electromagnetic Fields and Public Health, The International EMF Project," reviewed May 1998 and World
Health Organization Fact Sheet N182, "Electromagnetic Fields and Public Health, Physical Properties and
Effects on Biological Systems," reviewed May 1998,
26. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration in a January 14, 1998 letter to the House
Telecommunications Subcommittee stated it "believes additional research in the area of RF is needed."
In 1997 the FDA established
the following priorities:
- Chronic (lifetime) animal
exposures should be given the highest priority.
- Chronic animal exposures
should be performed both with and without the application of chemical initiating agents to investigate tumor
promotion in addition to tumorigenesis.
- Identification of
potential risks should include end points other than brain cancer (e.g. ocular effects of RF radiation
- Replication of prior
studies demonstrating positive biological effects work is needed. A careful replication of the Chou
and Guy study (Bioelectromagnetics, 13, pp.469-496, 1992) which suggests that chronic exposure of
rats to microwaves is associated with an increase in tumors, would contribute a great deal to the risk
identification process for wireless communication products.
- Genetic toxicology
studies should focus on single cell gel studies of DNA strand breakage and on induction of micronuclei.
- Epidemiology studies
focused on approaches optimized for hazard identification are warranted.
Food and Drug
Administration Recommendations quoted in Microwave News, March/April, 1997
27. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is planning a multi-country, multi-million
dollar study of cancer among users of wireless phones, beginning 1998. Microwave News,
28. The Swedish Work Environmental Fund initiated a new epidemiological study on cellular phone radiation and
brain tumors in 1997. Microwave News, November/December, 1997
29. The National Cancer Institute announced plans for a 5 year study of brain tumors and RF/MW
radiation in 1993. Microwave News, January/February, 1993
30. The European Commission (EC) Expert Group on health effects of wireless phones called for a 5 year research
program with a $20 million budget, reported 1997. Microwave News , January/February, 1997
31. A report commissioned by New Zealand's Ministry of Health stated that "It is imperative that the
scientific issues be clarified as soon as possible, as there is much at stake." It called for more research
to examine the potential health effects of RF radiation. Microwave News, November/December, 1996
32. The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia announced its sponsorship of a 5 year, $3.5
million project on potential health effects of mobile phone technology in 1996. Microwave News,
33. The Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia concluded in 1995 that the
safety of cellular telephones cannot be resolved "in the near future." Dr. Stan Barnett, a principal
researcher of CSIRO, states that "My goal is to establish a national committee to approach this problem by
coordinating relevant and focused research." He estimated a budget of $3 million over a 3 year period would
Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research
Organization, "Status of Research on Biological Effects and Safety of Electromagnetic Radiation:
Telecommunications Frequencies," a report prepared by Dr. Stan Barnett, as sited in Microwave News,
34. In Canada, Expert Panels are formed in response to requests from governments and other organizations for
guidance on public policy issues where specialized knowledge is required. The Royal Society of Canada
(RSC) is the only national academic organization, encompassing all fields of study in the sciences, arts and
humanities that provides, through its Committee on Expert Panels, a service to Canadians by convening Expert
Panels that produce publicly disseminated, arms-length, third party reviews. The most recent Expert Panel
report addressing RF/MW radiation examines new data on dosimetry and exposure assessment, thermoregulation,
biological effects such as enzyme induction, and toxicological effects, including genotoxicity, carcinogenicity,
and testicular and reproductive outcomes. Epidemiological studies of mobile phone users and occupationally
exposed populations are examined, along with human and animal studies of neurological and behavioural effects.
All of the authoritative reviews completed within the last two years have supported the need for further
research to clarify the possible associations between RF fields and adverse health outcomes that have appeared
in some reports. See: http://www.rsc.ca//index.php?lang_id=1&page_id=120.
Recent Advances in Research on Radiofrequency Fields
and Health: 2001-2003; A Follow-up to The Royal Society of Canada, Report on the Potential Health Risks of
Radiofrequency Fields from Wireless Telecommunication Devices, 1999
35. The European Union effort to address this issue is in the study Risk
Evaluation of Potential Environmental Hazards from Low Energy Electromagnetic Field Exposure Using Sensitive in
vitro Methods (REFLEX). Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) in relation to health is a
controversial topic throughout the industrial world. So far epidemiological and animal studies have
generated conflicting data and thus uncertainty regarding possible adverse health effects. This situation has
triggered controversies in communities especially in Europe with its high density of population and industry and
the omnipresence of EMF in infrastructures and consumer products. These controversies are affecting the
siting of facilities, leading people to relocate, schools to close or power lines to be re-sited, all at great
expense. The European Union believes that causality between EMF exposure and disease can never be regarded
as proven without knowledge and understanding of the basic mechanisms possibly triggered by EMF. To search
for those basic mechanisms powerful technologies developed in toxicology and molecular biology were to be
employed in the REFLEX project to investigate cellular and sub-cellular responses of living cells exposed to EMF
The REFLEX data have made a
substantial addition to the data base relating to genotoxic and phenotypic effects of both ELF-EMF and RF-EMF on
in vitro cellular systems. While the data neither precludes nor confirms a health risk due to EMF
exposure nor was the project designed for this purpose, the value lies in providing new data that will enable
mechanisms of EMF effects to be studied more effectively than in the past. Furthermore, the REFLEX data
provide new information that will be used for risk evaluation by WHO, IARC and ICNIRP. For further
information on REFLEX see: http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/quality-of-life/ka4/ka4_electromagnetic_en.html
36. The Swedish Radiation Protections Institute (SSI) endeavors to ensure that
human beings and the environment are protected from the harmful effects of radiation, both in the present and in
the future. SSI has focused on epidemiological research on cancer and exposure from mobile phones
and transmitters as well as experimental cancer research. In addition three selected topics were also
discussed, namely blood-brain barrier, heat shock proteins, and precautionary framework. For further
information on SSI see: http://www.ssi.se/forfattning/eng_forfattlista.html
37. In the
United Kingdom, the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) was created by the Radiological Protection Act
1970. The statutory functions of NRPB are to advance the acquisition of
knowledge about the protection of mankind from radiation hazards through research and to provide information and
advice to persons (including Government Departments) with responsibilities in the United Kingdom in relation to
the protection from radiation hazards either of the community as a whole or of particular sections of the
community. The NFPB believes that there is a need for better occupational studies rather than simply for
more. In particular, the studies need to be of occupational groups for whom measurements show that there is
genuinely a substantially raised exposure to RF fields. If the studies are to be more informative than those so
far, a key requirement will be for improved exposure measurement (or improved estimation of exposure) for
individuals, or at least for occupational groups. It would be desirable, as far as practical, that the studies
should measure the intensity and timing of RF field exposures, and also that they should include some assessment
of major RF field exposures from sources other than the current occupation. Ideally, exposure assessment
needs to be anatomical site (organ)-specific, because some sources result in greatly differing doses to
different parts of the body. It is a difficulty in these prescriptions, of course, that the appropriate exposure
metric is unknown. For further information on NRPB see: http://www.nrpb.org/index.htm
38. On January 5, 2005, the EMF-Team Finland issued
the Helsinki Appeal 2005 to members of the European Parliament. In it physicians and researchers call on
the European Parliament to apply the Precautionary Principle to electromagnetic fields, especially in the radio-
and microwave- frequency bands. They criticize the present RF/MW radiation safety standards that do not
recognize the biological effects caused by non-thermal exposures to non-ionizing radiation [i.e., RF/MW
radiation.] They also call for continued refunding of the REFLEX EMF research program. The
text of the Helsinke Appeal 2005 is found at: http://www.emrpolicy.org/news/headlines/index.htm
39. On July 19, 1993 Dr. Elizabeth Jacobson, Deputy Director for Science, Center for Devices and
Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration criticized Thomas Wheeler, President of the Cellular
Telecommunications Industry Association:
"I am writing to let you know that we
were concerned about two important aspects of your press conference of July 16 concerning the safety of cellular
phones, and to ask that you carefully consider the following comments when you make future statements to the
press. First, both the written press statements and your verbal comments during the conference seemed to display
an unwarranted confidence that these products will be found absolutely safe. In fact, the unremittingly upbeat
tone of the press packet strongly implies that there can be no hazard, leading the reader to wonder why any
further research would be needed at all.....More specifically, your press packet selectively quotes from our
Talk Paper of February 4 in order to imply that FDA believes that cellular phones are "safe."
("There is no proof at this point that cellular phones are harmful.") In fact, the same Talk Paper
also states, "There is not enough evidence to know for sure, either way." Our position, as we have
stated it before, is this: Although there is no direct evidence linking cellular phones with harmful effects in
humans, a few animal studies suggest that such effects could exist. It is simply too soon to assume that
cellular phones are perfectly safe, or that they are hazardous--either assumption would be premature. This is
precisely why more research is needed."
Full text of letter can be found in
Microwave News, July/August, 1993
40. In 1993 the Director of the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air of the Environmental Protection Agency
suggested that the FCC not adopt the 1992 ANSI/IEEE standard "due to serious flaws," among them (1)
"the ANSI/IEEE conclusion that there is no scientific data indicating that certain subgroups of the
population are more at risk than others is not supported by NCRP and EPA reports" and (2) "the thesis
that ANSI/IEEE recommendations are protective of all mechanisms of interaction is unwarranted because the
adverse effects level in the 1992 ANSI/IEEE standard are based on a thermal effect."
Letter from Margo T. Oge, Director, Office
of Radiation and Indoor Air to Thomas Stanley, Chief Engineer, Office of engineering and Technology, FCC, dated
Nov 9, 1993
41. A brief sampling of the CSIRO report:
Problems in studies of human populations
published to date include imprecise estimates of exposure. As a result, such epidemiological studies may
underestimate any real risk. The likelihood of epidemiological studies providing useful information is
questionable, particularly if the biological end point cannot be predicted. Its value in the short term (less
than 10 years) must be negligible unless there was an enormous increase in the rate of cancer growth.
Interestingly, the incidence of brain tumors in the EC countries has increased substantially in recent years.
RF safety cannot be assessed in the absence of
reported serious effects when so little research has been aimed at the problem. It is somewhat surprising, and
rather disappointing, to find that although the literature contains many hundreds of publications, there are
very few areas of consensus....At low levels the absence of clear thresholds and [the] presence of intensity and
frequency windows have created questions rather than provided answers.
There is no doubt that the interpretation of
bioeffects data has been clouded by a preoccupation with thermally mediated processes. In fact, development of
the ANSI/IEEE standard is based only on well-established thermal effects, and ignores the more subtle
non-thermal processes that are more difficult to interpret and apply to human health.
Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research
Organization, "Status of Research on Biological Effects and Safety of Electromagnetic Radiation:
Telecommunications Frequencies," a report prepared by Dr. Stan Barnett, as sited in Microwave News,
42. Statement from the October 25-28, 1998 "Symposium of Mobile Phones and Health - Workshop on Possible
Biological and Health Effects of RF Electromagnetic Fields" held at the University of Vienna, Austria.
The preferred terminology to
be used in public communication: Instead of using the terms "athermal", "non-thermal"
or "microthermal" effects, the term "low intensity biological effects" is more appropriate.
The participants agreed that biological effects from low-intensity exposures are scientifically established.
However, the current state of scientific consensus is inadequate to derive reliable exposure standards. The
existing evidence demands an increase in the research efforts on the possible health impact and on an adequate
exposure and dose assessment.
stations: How could satisfactory Public Participation be ensured: The public should be given timely
participation in the process. This should include information on technical and exposure data as well as
information on the status of the health debate. Public participation in the decision (limits, siting, etc.)
should be enabled.
phones: How could the situation of the users be improved: Technical data should be made available to the
users to allow comparison with respect to EMF-exposure. In order to promote prudent usage, sufficient
information on the health debate should be provided. This procedure should offer opportunities for the users to
manage reduction in EMF-exposure. In addition, this process could stimulate further developments of
low-intensity emission devices.
43. Statement from the June 7-8, 2000 International Conference on Cell Tower Siting Linking Science and Public
Health, Salzburg, Austria. The full report can be found at:
It is recommended that development rights for the erection and
for operation of a base station should be subject to a permission procedure. The protocol should include the
Information ahead and active involvement of the local public
alternative locations for the siting
Protection of health and wellbeing
Considerations on conservation of land- and townscape
Computation and measurement of exposure
Considerations on existing sources of HF-EMF exposure
Inspection and monitoring after installation
It is recommended that a national database be set up on a
governmental level giving details of all base stations and their emissions.
It is recommended for existing and new base stations to exploit
all technical possibilities to ensure exposure is as low as achievable (ALATA-principle) and that new base
stations are planned to guarantee that the exposure at places where people spend longer periods of time is as
low as possible, but within the strict public health guidelines.
Presently the assessment of biological effects of exposures from
base stations in the low-dose range is difficult but indispensable for protection of public health. There
is at present evidence of no threshold for adverse health effects.
Recommendations of specific exposure limits are prone to
considerable uncertainties and should be considered preliminary. For the total of all high frequency irradiation
a limit value of 100 mW/m² (10 µW/cm²) is recommended.
For preventive public health protection a preliminary guideline
level for the sum total of exposures from all ELF pulse modulated high-frequency facilities such as GSM base
stations of 1 mW/m² (0.1 µW/cm²) is recommended.
44. Scientists attending the September 13-14, 2002 International Conference “State
of the Research on Electromagnetic Fields – Scientific and Legal Issues,” organized by ISPESL (National
Institute for Prevention and Work Safety, Italy), the University of Vienna, and the City of Catania, held in
Catania, Italy, agreed to the following:
and in vivo and in vitro experimental evidence demonstrates the existence for electromagnetic
field (EMF) induced effects, some of which can be adverse to health.
We take exception to arguments suggesting that
weak (low intensity) EMF cannot interact with tissue.
There are plausible mechanistic explanations for
EMF-induced effects which occur below present ICNIRP and IEEE guidelines and exposure recommendations by the EU.
weight of evidence calls for preventive strategies based on the precautionary principle. At times the
precautionary principle may involve prudent avoidance and prudent use.
are aware that there are gaps in knowledge on biological and physical effects, and health risks related to EMF,
which require additional independent research.
45. The Freiburger Appeal is a German based appeal by mainly medical practitioners who are concerned about the
effects, they believe, from mobile phone technology including masts that are appearing in their patients.
It started in Oct 2002 and with very little international publicity has got 50,000 signatories with
at least 2000 medical signatures from across the world. Mast These physicians and scientists agreed
to establish an international scientific commission to promote research for the protection of public health from
EMF and to develop the scientific basis and strategies for assessment, prevention, management and communication
of risk, based on the precautionary principle.
the basis of our daily experiences, we hold the current mobile communications technology (introduced in 1992 and
since then globally extensive) and cordless digital telephones (DECT standard) to be among the fundamental
triggers for this fatal development. One can no longer evade these pulsed microwaves. They heighten the
risk of already-present chemical/physical influences, stress the body–immune system, and can bring the body–still-functioning
regulatory mechanisms to a halt. Pregnant women, children, adolescents, elderly and sick people are especially
the physicians and researchers of Interdisziplinäre Gesellschaft für Umweltmedizin e. V.
(Interdisciplinary Association for Environmental Medicine) IGUMED,
Sackingen, Germany, September 19, 2002. The Freiburger Appeal
can be found at:
46. Report of the European Union's REFLEX Project (Risk Evaluation of
Potential Environmental Hazards from Low Frequency Electromagnetic Field Exposure Using Sensitive in vitro Methods),
November 2004. The Project studied ELF and RF exposures to various animal cell types. The report is
found at: http://www.itis.ethz.ch/downloads/REFLEX_Final%20Report_171104.pdf
From the Summary: [t]he omnipresence
of EMF's in infrastructures and consumer products have become a topic of public concern. This is due to
the fear of people that based on the many conflicting research data a risk to their health cannot be excluded
with some certainty. Therefore, the overall objective of REFLEX was to find out whether or not the
fundamental biological processes at the cellular and molecular level support such an assumption. For this
purpose, possible effects of EMF’s on cellular events controlling key functions, including those involved in
carcinogenesis and in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, were studied through focused
research. Failure to observe the occurrence of such key critical events in living cells after EMF exposure
would have suggested that further research efforts in this field could be suspended and financial resources be
reallocated to the investigation of more important issues. But as clearly demonstrated, the results of the
REFLEX project show the way into the opposite direction.
47. From the Discussion section of the December 20, 2004 Second Annual
Report of Sweden's Radiation Protection Board (SSI) entitled: Recent Research on Mobile Telephony and
Health Risks: Second Annual Report from SSI's Independent Expert Group on Electromagnetic Fields.
The complete report is available at: http://www.ssi.se/english/EMF_exp_Eng_2004.pdf
little is known about the levels of radiofrequency radiation exposure in the general population from sources
such as mobile phones being used by oneself or other people, mobile phone base stations, and radio and
television transmitters. Measurements that have been performed have usually been made as a result of
public concern about base station exposures or other specific sources, and have therefore been made at locations
that could be assumed to have higher fields than would be the case if measurement locations were selected
randomly. Furthermore, all measurements have been stationary, and there is today no knowledge about the
level of exposure that an individual will have throughout the day.
There is need for information about the
personal exposure to RF fields in the general population, to enhance the understanding of the relative
importance of exposure from base stations close to the home, from radio and television transmitters, and from
the use of mobile phones . . . Studies with personal RF exposure measurements of randomly selected samples
of the general population are strongly encouraged.
Board considers that it is important to understand the signal characteristics and field strengths arising from
new telecommunications systems and related technologies, to assess the RF exposure of people, and to understand
the potential biological effects on the human body.
49. The ICNIRP exposure guidelines are only designed to protect against "known adverse health
impacts," according to Dr. Jürgen Bernhardt, ICNIRP's chairman. Bernhardt reviewed the updated limits,
which cover the spectrum from 1 Hz to 300 GHz, in a presentation at the 20th Annual Meeting of the
Bioelectromagnetics Society in St. Pete Beach, FL, on June 10. The limits protect against "short-term,
immediate health effects" such as nerve stimulation, contact shocks and thermal insults, according to the
guidelines, which appear in the April issue of Health Physics (74, pp.494-522, 1998). Despite
"suggestive" evidence that power frequency magnetic fields can be carcinogenic, ICNIRP has concluded
that this and other non-thermal health effects have not been "established." ICNIRP has long followed
this approach to standard-setting. In his talk, Bernhardt noted that the guidelines include "no
consideration regarding prudent avoidance" for health effects for which evidence is less than conclusive.
Microwave News, July/August 1998
Additional References and
following references reporting biological effects of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) at low intensities through
January 2005 were compiled on 12/27/04 by Henry C. Lai PhD, Research Professor of Bioengineering, University of
Washington, Seattle, WA
Sci Total Environ 180(1):81-85,
1996 - blood cells from cows from a farm close and in front of a radar installation showed significantly higher
level of severe genetic damage.
et al. Sci Total Environ
273(1-3):1-10, 2001 - RFR from radio transmission stations (0.005
mW/cm2) affects immune system in women.
et al. J. Bioelectricity 8:127-131, 1989 - people who lived and worked near radio antennae and radar
installations showed deficits in psychological and short-term memory tests.
Pomerai et al. Nature
405:417-418, 2000. Enzyme Microbial Tech 30:73-79, 2002 - reported an increase in a
molecular stress response in cells after exposure to a RFR at a SAR of 0.001 W/kg. This stress response is a
basic biological process that is present in almost all animals - including humans.
Pomerai et al. (FEBS Lett 22;543(1-3):93-97, 2003 - RFR damages proteins at 0.015-0.020 W/kg.
et al. Bioelectromagnetics 9(4):363-372, 1988 - very low intensity RFR (0.002 – 0.004 mW/cm2)
affects the operation of acetylcholine-related ion-channels in cells. These channels play important roles in
physiological and behavioral functions.
et al. Am J Epidemiol 145(1):1-91997- a significant increase in adult leukemias was found in residents
who lived near the Sutton Coldfield television (TV) and frequency modulation (FM) radio transmitter in England.
10(2):197-202 1989 - reported an increase in calcium efflux in cells after exposure to RFR at 0.005
W/kg. Calcium is an important component of normal cellular functions.
et al. Bioelectrochem Bioenerg
49(1):29-35, 1999 - reported a change in immunological functions in mice after exposure to RFR at a power
density of 0.001 mW/cm2.
O, Johansson O, ( 2004) concluded that continuous disturbance of cell repair mechanisms by body-resonant FM
electromagnetic fields seems to amplify the carcinogenic effects resulting from cell damage caused e.g. by
et al. Reprod Toxicol 11(6):897, 1997 - sperm counts of Danish military personnel, who operated
mobile ground-to-air missile units that use several RFR emitting radar systems (maximal mean exposure 0.01 mW/cm2),
were significantly lower compared to references.
et al. Med J Aust 165(11-12):601-605, 1996 - an association was found between increased childhood
leukemia incidence and mortality and proximity to TV towers.
et al. Bioelectromagnetics 18(3):223-229, 1999 - short-term exposure to cellular phone RFR of very low
SAR (26 mW/kg) affected a gene related to cancer.
and Kolodynska, Sci Total Environ
180(1):87-93, 1996 - school children who lived in front of a radio
station had less developed memory and attention, their reaction time was slower, and their neuromuscular
apparatus endurance was decreased.
et al. Electro- and Magnetobiology
20: 141-152, 2001 - 20 minutes of cell phone RFR exposure at 0.0021
W/kg increased stress protein in human cells.
et al. Crit Rev Biomed Eng 28(1-2):323-337, 2000 - brain wave
activation was observed in human subjects exposed to cellular phone RFR at 0.06 mW/cm2.
and Xenos Bioelectromagnetics 18(6):455-461, 1999 -
reported a decrease in reproductive function in mice exposed to RFR at power densities of 0.000168 -
0.001053 mW/cm2. Irreversible sterility was found in the fifth generation of offspring.
et al. Neuroendocrinology 67(2):139-144, 1998 - a transient
increase in blood cortisol was observed in human subjects exposed to cellular phone RFR at 0.02 mW/cm2.
Cortisol is a hormone involved in stress reaction.
et al. J Cell Physiol. 198(2):324-332, 2004 - exposure to 900-MHz RFR at 0.0035 W/kg affected cell’s
et al. Epidemiology 9 (Suppl) 354p, 1998 - leukemia mortality within 3.5 km (5,863 inhabitants)
near a high power radio-transmitter in a peripheral area of Rome was higher than expected.
et al. Am J Epidemiol 155(12):1096-1103, 2002 - childhood leukemia higher at a distance up to 6 km
from a radio station.
and Tomashevskaya “Biological Effects of Electric and Magnetic Fields, Volume 1," D.O. Carpenter (ed)
Academic Press, San Diego, CA, pp.333-342. 1994 - RFR at low intensities (0.01 - 0.1 mW/cm2; 0.0027-
0.027 W/kg) induced behavioral and endocrine changes in rats. Decreases in blood concentrations of testosterone
and insulin were reported.
et al. Bioelectrochem Bioenerg 49(1):37-41, 1999 -low intensity RFR (0.001 mW/cm2) affects
functions of the immune system.
et al. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 77(6):387-394, 2004 - higher
mortality rates for all cancers and leukemia in some age groups in the area near the AM radio broadcasting
et al. Wireless Network
3:455-461, 1997 - reported an increase in the permeability of the
blood-brain barrier in mice exposed to RFR at 0.0004 - 0.008 W/kg. The blood-brain barrier envelops the brain
and protects it from toxic substances.
et al. Bioelectrochem. Bioenerg.
45:103-110, 1998 - reported DNA damage in cells exposed to RFR at SAR
of 0.0024 - 0.024 W/kg.
et al. Bioelectrochemistry
56(1-2):223-225, 2002 - change in membrane of cells in the
retina (eye) after exposure to RFR at 15 µW/cm2.
et al. Bioelectromagnetics 25(3):216-227,
2004 - exposure to cell phone radiation during early gestation at SAR of 0.0005 W/kg (5 µW/cm2)
affected kidney development in rats.
et al. Environ Health Persp
Online January 29, 2003 - Nerve cell damage in mammalian brain after exposure to microwaves from GSM mobile
phones signal at 0.02 W/kg.
et al. Pathol Biol
(Paris) 50(6):369-373, 2002 - increase in complaint frequencies for
tiredness, headache, sleep disturbance, discomfort, irritability, depression, loss of memory, dizziness, libido
decrease, in people who lived within 300 m of mobile phone base stations.
et al. IEEE Trans Plasma Sci
32:1600-1608, 2004 - GSM microwaves affect human lymphocyte chromatin
similar to stress response at 0.0054 W/kg.
et al. Bioelectromagnetics
11(4):349-358, 1990 - calcium movement in the heart affected by RFR at
SAR of 0.00015 W/kg. Calcium is important in muscle contraction. Changes in calcium can affect heart functions.
et al. Scanning Microsc
5(4):1145-1155, 1991 - RFR at 0.024 W/kg caused molecular and
structural changes in cells of mouse embryos.
et al. Bioelectromagnetics
18(3):230-236, 1997- glioma cells exposed to cellular phone RFR at
0.0059 W/kg showed significant increases in thymidine incorporation, which may be an indication of an increase
in cell division.
et al. J Pineal Res
22(4):171-176, 1997 - a two- to seven-fold increase of salivary
melatonin concentration was observed in dairy cattle exposed to RFR from a radio transmitter antenna.
et al. Brain Res
904(1):43-53, 2001 - low-intensity RFR (0.0016 - 0.0044 W/kg) can
modulate the function of a part of the brain called the hippocampus, in the absence of gross thermal effects.
The changes in excitability may be consistent with reported behavioral effects of RFR, since the hippocampus is
involved in learning and memory.
et al. Cent Eur J Public Health
10(1-2):24-28, 2002 - operators of satellite station exposed to low
dose (0.1127 J/kg) of RFR over a 24-hr shift showed an increased excretion of stress hormones.
et al. Bioelectrochem Bioenerg
48(1):177-180, 1999 - showed a decrease in cell proliferation
(division) after exposure to RFR of 0.000021 - 0.0021 W/kg.
et al. Bioelectromagnetics
12(1):47-56, 1991 - low intensity RFR at SAR of 0.015 W/kg affects functions of the immune system.
et al. Bioelectromagnetics 17(2):144-153,
1996 - RFR at 0.001W/kg affects calcium concentration in heart muscle cells
of guinea pigs.