Biggest study on cellphone health effects launched – Reuters

24 04 2010

The biggest study to date into the effects of mobile-phone usage on long-term health was launched on Thursday, aiming to track at least a quarter of a million of people in five European countries for up to 30 years.

The Cohort Study on Mobile Communications (COSMOS) differs from previous attempts to examine links between cellphone use and diseases such as cancer and neurological disorders in that it will follow users’ behavior in real time.

Most other large-scale studies have centered around asking people already suffering from cancer or other diseases about their previous mobile-phone use. They have also been shorter, since cellphones have only been widely used for about a decade.

“One of the limitations of research to date is that when you ask people about their mobile phone use say five years ago there’s a lot of error,” said Jack Rowley, director of research and sustainability at industry body the GSM Association.

About 5 billion mobile phones are in use worldwide.
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How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA

1 11 2009

How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA

A new model of the way the THz waves interact with DNA explains how the damage is done and why evidence has been so hard to gather

Great things are expected of terahertz waves, the radiation that fills the slot in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and the infrared. Terahertz waves pass through non-conducting materials such as clothes , paper, wood and brick and so cameras sensitive to them can peer inside envelopes, into living rooms and “frisk” people at distance.

The way terahertz waves are absorbed and emitted can also be used to determine the chemical composition of a material. And even though they don’t travel far inside the body, there is great hope that the waves can be used to spot tumours near the surface of the skin.

With all that potential, it’s no wonder that research on terahertz waves has exploded in the last ten years or so.

But what of the health effects of terahertz waves? At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss any notion that they can be damaging. Terahertz photons are not energetic enough to break chemical bonds or ionise atoms or molecules, the chief reasons why higher energy photons such as x-rays and UV rays are so bad for us. But could there be another mechanism at work?

The evidence that terahertz radiation damages biological systems is mixed. “Some studies reported significant genetic damage while others, although similar, showed none,” say Boian Alexandrov at the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and a few buddies. Now these guys think they know why.

Alexandrov and co have created a model to investigate how THz fields interact with double-stranded DNA and what they’ve found is remarkable. They say that although the forces generated are tiny, resonant effects allow THz waves to unzip double-stranded DNA, creating bubbles in the double strand that could significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication. That’s a jaw dropping conclusion.

And it also explains why the evidence has been so hard to garner. Ordinary resonant effects are not powerful enough to do do this kind of damage but nonlinear resonances can. These nonlinear instabilities are much less likely to form which explains why the character of THz genotoxic
effects are probabilistic rather than deterministic, say the team.

This should set the cat among the pigeons. Of course, terahertz waves are a natural part of environment, just like visible and infrared light. But a new generation of cameras are set to appear that not only record terahertz waves but also bombard us with them. And if our exposure is set to increase, the question that urgently needs answering is what level of terahertz exposure is safe.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0910.5294: DNA Breathing Dynamics in the Presence of a Terahertz Field

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/24331/





Power Paths documentary on PBS

31 10 2009
“Power Paths” PBS National Broadcast on Nov. 3
Posted by: Toby McLeod

POWER PATHS, a one-hour film directed by Bo Boudart, written by SLFP’s Jessica Abbe and narrated by Peter Coyote, will be nationally broadcast November 3 on the PBS series Independent Lens.POWER PATHS, a one-hour film directed by Bo Boudart, written by SLFP’s Jessica Abbe and narrated by Peter Coyote, will be nationally broadcast Nov. 3 on the PBS series Independent Lens. SLFP Project Director Toby McLeod contributed advice and archival footage to this timely documentary on renewable energy development in Indian Country.

POWER PATHS offers a unique glimpse into the global energy crisis from the perspective of a culture pledged to protect the planet, historically exploited by corporate interests and neglected by public policy makers. As Anishinaabe activist Winona LaDuke says in the film, “We need to create a way of life where a community is not forced to cannibalize their mother in order to live.”

The film follows an intertribal coalition as they fight to transform their local economies by replacing coal mines and smog-belching power plants with renewable energy technologies. POWER PATHS follows the Just Transition Coalition in its attempts to balance Navajo and Hopi losses from the 2006 closure of the Mohave Generating Station and Peabody Energy’s Black Mesa mine by creating green jobs. This transition would honor their heritage, protect their sacred land, and provide electricity to their homes. At a time when the planet as a whole hungers for alternatives to fossil fuels, POWER PATHS offers proof that going green is not only possible—it’s the only choice we have.

In the Bay Area, POWER PATHS is scheduled to air at 10 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 3. Check local listings for your PBS station, or visit the PBS website.

www.sacredland.org/index.php/power-paths/





U.S. senator promises look into cellphone-cancer link

15 09 2009

U.S. senator promises look into cellphone-cancer link

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor Maggie Fox, Health And Science Editor – Mon Sep 14, 7:46 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iowa senator Tom Harkin, newly empowered to investigate health matters as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, promised on Monday to probe deeply into any potential links between cellphone use and cancer.

Harkin, who took over the committee earlier this month after the death of Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, said he was concerned no one has been able to prove cellphones do not cause cancer.

“I’m reminded of this nation’s experience with cigarettes. Decades passed between the first warnings about smoking tobacco and the final definitive conclusion that cigarettes cause lung cancer,” Harkin said.

Cell phones, used by an estimated 275 million people in the United States and 4 billion worldwide, use radio waves. Years of research have failed to establish any clear link between their use and several kinds of cancer, including brain tumors.

Recent worries have been raised by the Environmental Working Group, an activist group, and epidemiologist Devra Lee Davis of the University of Pittsburgh, who has written a book alleging the government has overlooked many potential sources of cancer.

Harkin called a hearing of the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to look into the questions on Monday. “I will pursue this beyond this panel, with NIH (the National Institutes of Health),” Harkin said after the hearing.

He noted the appropriations committee did not have jurisdiction over the Food and Drug Administration or the Federal Communications Commission, but said the Health committee he now chairs does.

A staffer said the senator became concerned by a report from the Environmental Working Group showing that radio wave emissions vary from one cellphone brand and model to another; as well as some reports suggesting there might be a link.

PROVING A NEGATIVE

Linda Erdreich of science and engineering firm Exponent in New York said 50 years worth of evidence had failed to show that cellular phones can cause cancer.

“This part of the spectrum is known as non-ionizing radiation,” she told the hearing, explaining that this means radio waves cannot damage the DNA in cells.

But Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter pressed her on this, asking her repeatedly whether science had conclusively proved there was no connection. “Your statement that it is hard to prove a negative is right on,” Erdreich replied.

“What comes through to me is that we just don’t know what the answer is,” said Specter, a cancer survivor who said he avoids white flour and sugar in case it might feed tumors.

(Editing by Todd Eastham; additional reporting by Thomas Ferraro)

news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090914/hl_nm/us_cellphones_cancer





Cellphone radiation levels vary widely, watchdog report says

9 09 2009
Cellphone radiation levels vary widely, watchdog report says
By Leslie Cauley, USA TODAY
Some cellphones emit several times more radiation than others, the Environmental Working Group found in one of the most exhaustive studies of its kind.

The government watchdog group on Wednesday releases a list ranking cellphones in terms of radiation. The free listing of more than 1,000 devices can be viewed at www.ewg.org.

Concerns about radiation and cellphones have swirled for years. Scientific evidence to date has not been able to make a hard link between cancer and cellphones. But recent studies “are showing increased risk for brain and mouth tumors for people who have used cellphones for at least 10 years,” says Jane Houlihan, senior vice president of research at the Washington-based group.

CTIA, the wireless industry lobbying association, disagrees. In a statement it noted that “scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose” a health hazard.

That’s why the American Cancer Society, World Health Organization and Food and Drug Administration, among others, “all have concurred that wireless devices are not a public health risk,” the CTIA statement says.

Houlihan acknowledges that “the verdict is still out” on whether cellphones can be linked directly to cancer.

“But there’s enough concern that the governments of six countries” — including France, Germany and Israel — “have issued limits of usage of cellphones, particularly for children.”

Houlihan says her group is “advising people to choose a phone that falls on the lower end of the (radiation) spectrum” to minimize potential health problems. The Samsung Impression has the lowest: 0.35 watts per kilogram, a measure of how much radiation is absorbed into the brain when the phone is held to the ear.

The highest: T-Mobile‘s MyTouch 3G, Motorola Moto VU204 and Kyocera Jax S1300, all at 1.55 W/kg.

The Apple iPhone, sold exclusively by AT&T in the USA, is in the middle of the pack at 1.19 W/kg.

The Federal Communications Commission, which sets standards for cellphone radiation, requires that all devices be rated at 1.6 W/kg or lower.

The Environmental Working Group says the FCC‘s standard is outmoded, noting that it was established 17 years ago, when cellphones and wireless usage patterns were much different. The group wants the government to take a “fresh look” at radiation standards.

The FCC currently doesn’t require handset makers to divulge radiation levels. As a result, radiation rankings for dozens of devices, including the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 and Motorola KRZR, aren’t on the group’s list.

SOURCE: USA Today

Cellphone radiation levels vary widely, watchdog report says





The Haunt Project – Science, Magick, Myth and History via The Daily Grail

31 10 2008

Earlier this week, Wired posted a Halloween story which showed how to “Make the Ultimate Haunted House“. Now for me, fake blood and smoke doesn’t really qualify for the ‘Ultimate’ banner. If you want to move beyond the kid’s stuff you have to try something a little crazier than that, and perhaps do something like what Professor Chris French and his team at the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths College in the UK did: they built a room and saturated various parts of it with electromagnetic fields and infrasound – which are both suspected by some researchers as being correlated with reports of hauntings and paranormal experiences.

French’s study was set up in order to test these suspicions scientifically. The results will soon be published in the journal Cortex, under the title “The ‘Haunt’ Project: An attempt to build a ‘haunted’ room by manipulating complex electromagnetic fields and infrasound“.

Read entire article here:

The Haunt Project | TDG – Science, Magick, Myth and History





Scientists warn US Congress of cancer risk for cell phone use

26 09 2008

The potential link between mobile telephones and brain cancer could be similar to the link between lung cancer and smoking — something tobacco companies took 50 years to recognize, according to US scientists’ warning.

Scientists are currently split on the level of danger the biological effects of the magnetic field emitted by cellular telephones poses to humans.

However, society “must not repeat the situation we had with the relationship between smoking and lung cancer where we … waited until every ‘i’ was dotted and ‘t’ was crossed before warnings were issued,” said David Carpenter, director of the Institute of Health and Environment at the University of Albany, in testimony before a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform.

“Precaution is warranted even in the absence of absolutely final evidence concerning the magnitude of the risk” — especially for children, said Carpenter.

Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute — one of the top US cancer research centers — said that most studies “claiming that there is no link between cell phones and brain tumors are outdated, had methodological concerns and did not include sufficient numbers of long-term cell phone users.

Many studies denying a link defined regular cell phone use as “once a week,” he said.

Read Entire Article Here:

Scientists warn US Congress of cancer risk for cell phone use