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University Of Warwick: New Report On Potential Health Risks Of Radiation From Mobile Telephones
Microwave News
June 4, 1999

A new report highlighting the fundamental inadequacy of current safety limits governing public exposure to radiation from mobile telephones has been prepared by Dr. Gerard Hyland, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick, and Member of the International Institute of Biophysics in Neuss, Germany. In the report it is asserted that the current criteria for determining health effects of this radiation address only one aspect of the problem, affording protection only against effects of the radiation allied to its intensity i.e. thermal effects.

In response to growing public concern that most research, so far carried out, has been funded by the mobile phone industry, the Department of Health has recently requested the national regulatory body – the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) – to convene a working party of experts to independently investigate safety issues related to the mobile phones used by over 10 million people in Britain. To date, in comparison with the 78 industry sponsored investigations world-wide, only 14 have been funded by governments, whilst the findings of the research commissioned by the EU and the WHO are still awaited.

Dr. Hyland is highly critical of the current safety guidelines, arguing that they are fundamentally flawed and in need of a complete rethink. At present, the only effect of the microwave radiation employed in mobile telephony that is considered a potential health risk is its heating effect on body tissue – specifically, brain tissue – an effect that occurs irrespective of whether the irradiated organism is alive or dead. He points out, however, that living (and only living) organisms have the ability to sense and, in turn, respond to aspects of electromagnetic radiation other than simply its intensity – specifically, aspects connected with the fact that radiation is, after all, a wave motion, and as such has properties such as frequency and phase.

This sensitivity arises because living organisms are themselves electromagnetic instruments of great and exquisite sensitivity that can support a variety of electrical vibrations; these can be interfered with by external radiation – both at microwave and very much lower (ELF) frequencies – in a number of ways, from which adverse health effects can follow. These non-thermal effects are quite different from the heating effects allied to the intensity of the radiation on which safety regulations are currently based, and depend, in particular, on the state of the living organism at the time when it is exposed. Accordingly, they cannot enjoy the same degree of reproducibility as obtains in the case of intensity-based effects – in much the same way as susceptibility to a virus depends on the robustness of the immune system, which, of course, varies from person to person. Thus the claim that radiation of sub-thermal intensity has no established adverse effects is fundamentally misguided, and betrays ignorance of how the aliveness of an organism can endow it with a sensitivity that it would not otherwise possess.

Despite the considerable evidence obtained from both epidemiological and laboratory studies [1-10] that non-thermal effects can influence health in ways other than those on which current safety guidelines are based, the NRPB refuse to accept that exposure to microwave radiation of sub-thermal intensity can entail harmful biological consequences. This evidence points to harmful effects on humans and shows that exposure to radiation from mobile phones can affect living tissue, and the nervous system of the human body, in particular.

The US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences considers the currently available evidence sufficiently conclusive to claim [11] that ELF electromagnetic fields – such as those connected with the pulsing of digital mobile phones – are… ‘possible human carcinogens’.

Similarly, 17 scientists of international standing have signed the 1998 Vienna Resolution [12] that…’the biological effects from low-intensity exposures are scientifically established’, and undermine the validity of current safety guidelines.

“Clearly there is a growing opinion world-wide that the criteria on which safety guidelines are currently based are inadequate and in need of complete revision”, says Dr. Hyland.

References

1. Proceedings of an International Conference on the Effect of Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Radiation on Organisms, in Science of the Total Environment, 180, (1996), whole issue. (Although not concerned with mobile telephony, much of what is reported is of great relevance to the present debate).

2. Physica Medica, XI, 77-80 (1995)

3. Environmental Health Perspectives, 106, 101-103 (1998)

4. Neuropsychobiology, 33, 41-47 (1996)

5. Bioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics, 45,103-110 (1998)

6. Lancet, 351, 1857-1858 (1998)

7. Bioelectromagnetics, 11, 47-56 (1990)

8. Potential and Actual Adverse Effects of Radio Frequency and Microwave Radiation at Levels near and Below 2(W/cm2 (1997), and Criticism of the Proposal to Adopt the ICNIRP Guidelines for Cellsites in New Zealand (1999), N. Cherry, Dept. of Natural Resources Engineering, Lincoln University, NZ.

9. Engineering Science and Education Journal, 7, 261-269 (1998)

10. The Fundamental Inadequacy of Current Safety Limits governing Public Exposure to Radiation from Mobile Phones and VDU Terminals Mandates a New Concept: Electromagnetic Biocompatibility, published by Tecno AO, UK, May 1999

11. Microwave News, July-August 1998

12. www.irf.univie.ac.at/emf

CONTACT: Dr. Gerard Hyland
Tel: +44 (0)1203 523412
Jill Phillipson
Tel: +44 (0)181 341 0558
Fax: +44 (0)181 347 8694

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