Cellphones, Cell Towers, Wi-Fi, Smart Meters, Dirty Electricity and

What Does the Science
Tell Us?
The Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields
Commonwealth Club, San Francisco
November 18, 2010
L. Lloyd Morgan
Senior Research Fellow Environmental Health Trust
Member Bioelectromagnetics Society
Retired Electronic Engineer
510 841-4363
[email protected]
What Does Industry Tell Us?
• “The weight of the evidence says there is no
– This is not true
• remove industry studies and the weight of the evidence is
overwhelming there is a problem
• “There is no known mechanism [implying the data
must be wrong]”
– Probable mechanisms exist, but requiring a mechanism
is anti-science. First comes the data, then decades to
centuries later mechanisms are understood
• There is no known mechanism for smoking and lung cancer
What Does Industry Tell Us?
• “With so many cellphones in use, if they were
causing brain tumors, then we should see an
incidence increase in brain tumors and there is no
such increase”
– It is true there is no increase incidence of brain tumor
YET. But the average latency time for brain tumors is
30+ years.
– THE question to ask is
• What % of all people were using cellphones 30+ years ago?
Tumor Risks From Cellphone Use
Brain cancer
Acoustic neuroma (acoustic nerve tumor)
Meningioma (tumor of the meninges)
Parotid (salivary) gland tumor
Uveal melanoma (eye cancer)
Testicular cancer
Atomic Bombs Survivors
• No increase in brain tumors was found until
– 40 years later
What Does The Science Tell Us?
Human Studies
Cellphone Case-Control Studies
• Cases are people with brain tumors
• Controls are people without brain tumors
– Matched to cases by gender, age, region, etc.
• Questions are asked about cellphone use
• Question are asked about confounders
– Cordless phone use
– Smoking
– Ionizing radiation (e.g., X-rays)
Case-Control Studies
• Six early studies (5 industry funded)
– Too early to expect to find a risk
• Typical use <3 years
• Swedish studies (no industry funding)
– Dr. Lennart Hardell’s team
– Cellphone and cordless phone use
• Interphone studies (substantial industry funding)
– 13 countries
– Defines “User” as once per week for 6 months
– Only cellphone use, but
• Asks all subjects about cordless phone use
– More subjects used cordless phone than cell phones
» Cordless phone use treated as non-exposure
– Systematic under-estimation of risk
Hardell Studies: Risk to Children
Hardell: Risk of High-Grade
Brain Cancer by Hours or Years
Hardell: Risk of Tumor on Same Side
of Head Where Cellphone Was Used
Hardell: >10 Year of Use or
>2,000 Hours of Use
Interphone Study’s
Underestimation of Risk
• 13-country pooled results reports brain cancer
– 19%, 95% Confidence Interval: 6 to 30%
• " [The protective effect] could result from the sources of error
discussed above, although … their magnitude and effects
– may not account fully for the observed reduction in risk
• Morgan, Kundi, Carlberg: BEMS (June 2010)
– Re-evaluation of the Interphone Study
Application of a Correction Factor
– 25%, 95% Confidence Interval: 11% to 47%
Interphone Results: brain cancer
• Pooled results from 13-countries
– No overall increased risk with median use of 2-2.5
hours a month and 100 cum. hours of use
– But with longer term use
• 118% increased risk with >10 years of use
– Compared to very short use (1 to 1.9 years)
– Systematic underestimation of risk
• Most common finding, <10 years is use of a cellphone
protects the user from brain cancer
– 32 different results report statistically significant
Risk of Brain Cancer
Hardell Vs Interphone
Risk of Other Tumors
• 290% increase risk of acoustic neuroma
– >10 years, cellphone used on same side of head
as tumor, Swedish Interphone study
• 380% increased risk of meningioma
– >1,640 cum hours in 1 to 4 years of use,
pooled 13-country Interphone study
• 81% increased risk of parotid gland tumor
– >1,035 cum hours of use, Israeli Interphone
Salivary Gland Tumors
Tripled in Israel, 20% under age 20
Risk of Other Tumors
• 320% increased risk of uveal melanoma
(eye cancer)
– “Probable/certain exposure to mobile phones”
• Stang et al. 2001
• 80% increased risk of testicular cancer
– Left pocket, left testicle
– Right pocket, right testicle
Risk to Male Fertility
• Cleveland Clinic study (among many others)
– Sperm count degradation
– Surviving sperm degradation
What Does the Science Tell Us?
Animal (In Vivo) Studies
Cellular (In Vitro) Studies
Animal Studies
• Double-strand DNA breaks in rat brains
after a 2-hour cellphone exposure
• Blood-Brain Barrier Leakage in rat brains
after 2-hour cellphone exposure
– Dead neurons
– Loss of cognition
Human Cellular Studies
• EU REFLEX studies
– Multiple replications
– GSM genotoxicity
• G2 phones
– UMTS genotoxicity
• G3 (Smart) phones
• 10 X larger than GSM
Dose-response increase in DNA strand breaks
UMTS Modulation (G3 or Smart Phones)
Schwarz C et al., Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2008, 81 (6): 755-767
Slide courtesy of Devra Davis
Time-dependent formation of DNA strand breaks
UMTS Modulation(G3 or Smart Phones)
Schwarz C et al., Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2008, 81 (6): 755-767
Slide courtesy of Devra Davis
What Does Industry Tell Us?
• “All agencies say there is no problem
World Health Organization (WHO)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)”
What Does Industry Tell Us?
• Regulators are controlled by the
corporations they regulate
• WHO’s EMF Project is industry funded and source for WHO
• Requires pre-market safety testing of all electrical devices held
to body
– Granted exclusive waiver to cellphone industry
» FDA’s waiver champion went to work for Motorola
• Approved VIOXX in spite of data showing increased heart
– When heart attacks among VIOXX users was overwhelming,
Merck pulled it from the market
» The FDA never acted
What Does Industry Tell Us?
• Who is in charge, regulators or
• Exposure limit based on false industry premise
– Only biological effect from cellphone radiation is heating
» Only protects against cooking the brain
• Allows use of an industry designed cellphone certification
process that substantially underestimates the cellphone’s SAR,
– especially in children (2.5 fold underestimation)
• Found no risk of brain tumors in a study finished in 1998
– Before study: researchers protested to management
» It is too early for a study because cellphones use had barely
– Management prevailed
With human studies, animal
studies, cellular studies all
showing serious health effects
What More Is Required Before
Our Public Health Agencies
Thank You
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