By B.N. Frank
If you’re looking for research on how cell phone and wireless WiFi radiation exposure is harmful, you definitely want to check out Dr. Joel M. Moskowitz’s website SaferEMR as well as sign-up for his newsletter. Recently, he sent out a summary and commentary on the April 19, 2019 NPR Science Friday segment, “The Future of 5G.”
From Dr. Moskowitz: “The Future Of 5G” (PBS Science Friday): My Summary and Comments.
Brian Fung – Washington Post
5G should be available in most US cities by 2020; many years later for complete nationwide coverage.
Race to 5G: role out quickly so US can dominate development of new technologies (e.g., self-driving cars).
U.S has security concerns re: Chinese manufacturers of 5G equipment.
NASA and NOAA’s concerns re: interference with weather monitoring and forecasting; “bureaucratic tussle.”
Harold Feld – Public Knowledge
5G may increase digital divide because this technology requires “densification” (i.e., many cell antennas); this will be 10 times more expensive to build out than current cellular technology; rural areas and poor urban areas may not get 5G due to high cost to install the infrastructure.
Trump recently announced $20 billion program over 10 years to provide broadband access to rural areas; but this is the same old Obama program of $2 billion per year; we need a more aggressive program.
Many states adopted laws which remove all regulations on deployment. California is considering such a law. This will increase the digital divide.
Ira Flatow (IP)
IF: Senator Blumenthal & Rep. Eshoo – asked FCC for proof that 5G is safe.
Devra Davis (taped, not live): Wants moratorium on deployment of 5G due to concerns about health effects.
[My comments: Instead of relying on a single sound byte from a pre-taped interview with Dr. Devra Davis, she should have been on the program to address the problematic assertions made by Drs. Bucher and Samet.]
[Christie Taylor, the associate producer for Science Friday, scheduled a phone interview with me yesterday and then failed to follow up. I was available to provide an alternative perspective on the show re: the science and implications for public health if Devra was not available to do this. So read on if you are interested in what I might have said.]
IF: National Toxicology Program (NTP) found tumor increase in male rats exposed to 2G & 3G
John Bucher (JB) & Jonathan Samet (JS)
JB: NTP looked at whether non-ionizing cell phone radiation via safety assessment studies; described study design; whole body exposures; largely negative findings in mice and female rats; NTP found increased tumors in glial cells in heart and brains of male rats; 2G & 3G radiation; NTP used 1,000-fold higher exposure than typical cell phone exposure.
[My comments: The increased incidence of heart cancers in the male rats were Schwann cells, not glial cells. The Schwann cells are similar to glial cells, but the former are in the peripheral nervous system, and the latter, in the central nervous system; both cell types produce myelin, a fatty sheath which insulates the nerves. NTP found “clear evidence” of increased heart schwannoma and “some evidence” of increased (brain) glioma in male rats. Several case-control studies with humans have found increased incidence of glioma and acoustic neuroma (aka vestibular schwannoma) in the head of heavy cell phone users. I doubt this is coincidental with the findings in the NTP study.]
[JB claimed that typical cell phone exposures are 1,000 times less than those used in the NTP study. Although technically this may be accurate, it seems like a specious argument. The NTP study employed full body exposures. In the rats these exposures were 1.5 watts per kilogram, 3.0 watts per kilogram, or 6.0 watts per kilogram. In contrast, cell phones in the U.S. can legally expose the user to a maximum of 1.6 watts per kilogram, but this is a partial body exposure, not a full body exposure. Nonetheless, the NTP study was designed to emulate realistic levels of cell phone partial body exposures even though it used a full body exposure system because it is not practical to partially expose rats to cellular radiation over a long period of time. I suppose if one is comparing the full body exposure from a cell phone to the full body exposures of the rats in the NTP study, JB’s statement may be accurate, but making this distinction now is revisionist history in terms of the justification for the design of the NTP study. JB should have mentioned that a similar study conducted by the Ramazzini Institute found increased incidence of heart schwannoma in male rats with a full body exposure of only 0.1 watts per kilogram.]
For more information about the NTP study see:
NTP Cell Phone Radiation Study: Final Reports
National Toxicology Program (NTP) Finds Cell Phone Radiation Causes Cancer
National Toxicology Program: Peer & public review of cell phone radiation study reports
JS: We need more research to apply the NTP findings to people.
[My comments: Numerous EMF scientists believe we have adequate data to adopt stronger RF guidelines and do not need to wait for more research. See the International EMF Scientist Appeal signed by 247 scientists from 42 nations. All have published peer-reviewed research on EMF and biology or health totaling more than 2,000 papers in professional journals.]
[Since the IARC review of RF radiation conducted in 2011 which was chaired by JS, more than 1,000 experimental and epidemologic studies on RF have been published. The preponderance of these studies have found bioeffects or health effects — most studies employed low intensity (non-thermal exposure) exposure to RF.]
JB: NTP is assembling a new exposure system and will look at molecular changes in organs; NTP hopes to extend the research to 4G and possibly 5G.
[My comments: Does the NTP have the funding to conduct this research? What is the timeline for completion of these studies? Wouldn’t it be prudent to wait until this research is completed before allowing the deployment of 5G?]
JS: Often with animal studies there are inconsistencies; effects were in male rats, not female rats, but that doesn’t change the fact that effects were found.
IF: Are we conducting a population study with billions of people by deploying 5G?
[My comments: Yes, we should not experiment on the population by deploying 5G which uses millimeter waves in addition to new microwave frequencies (“low bands” and “mid bands”). Over two hundred scientists (including about 100 EMF scientists) and medical doctors have signed a petition, The 5G Appeal, calling for a moratorium on 5G. Also see: Scientists and Doctors Demand Moratorium on 5G.]
[The FCC has been gathering input from scientists and the public since 2003 regarding its cell phone exposure limits which were adopted in 1996 and protect the public only from short-term heating risks. Although the Commission has received thousands of submissions that call into question the adequacy of the guidelines including hundreds of research studies, the FCC has yet to review their exposure limits. The NTP study and the Ramazzini Institute study provide “clear evidence” that long-term exposure to non-thermal levels of cell phone radiation can cause cancer. Isn’t it time for the FCC to strengthen its exposure guidelines?]
JS: Tumor registries monitor cancer rates but we don’t want to wait to see if cancer incidence has increased; we need the right studies to look at health risks: animal studies that look at mechanisms; perhaps some creative epidemiologic studies too.
[My comments: With the exception of the NTP cell phone radiation study, the Federal government has barely funded any research on the bioeffects or health effects of EMF exposure since the 1990s.]
IF: Why no explosion in human cancers so far?
JS: Many cancers develop over long period of time; 30-40 year lag from nuclear radiation exposure for some cancers so we can’t be certain that cell phone use is safe.
JB: Mechanisms: Heat is one possible mechanism, but current regulations protect against heating effects. Otherpossible mechanisms include oxidative stress inhibits repair mechanisms; diminished immune response; permeabliity of blood-brain barrier. We don’t really know the mechanism.
[My comments: EMF causes health effects via multiple mechanisms. See my list of mechanistic studies at Key Cell Phone Radiation Research Studies. Moreover, medicine and public health generally does not wait for a complete understanding of the mechanisms to prevent or treat diseases.]
JB: NTP wants to establish biological markers and use them to test different frequencies; 5G won’t penetrate beyond the skin unlike 2G and 3G; male rats in NTP absorbed more radiation perhaps because they were larger.
[My comments: This is inaccurate. 5G includes microwaves (low band and mid band) in addition to millimeter waves; microwaves can penetrate the entire body.]
[The research on millimeter waves indicates that it will have direct effects on the skin, sweat glands, peripheral nervous system, the eyes and the testes. Many organs and systems within the body will be adversely impacted.
Thanks to Dr. Moskowitz for his tireless efforts to inform the public which also includes co-producing the 2014 documentary, Mobilize.
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