RFcom is an internet-based information resource about health effects of wireless technologies.

The project is based at the McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, Institute for Population Health, University of Ottawa.

This project is supported by the McLaughlin Centre for Population Risk Assessment at the University of Ottawa, which was established in 2000 with an initial grant from the R. Samuel McLaughlin Foundation.  Additional funding is provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), through a peer-reviewed university-industry partnership program, in which the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) is one of the participants.

The contents of the site are the sole responsibility of the Project Team.  Neither the public or private sector liaison members of the Project Team nor the funders are involved in decisions taken by the Project Team about information to be posted on the site.  

RFcom is managed by a Science Panel that reviews and reports on the most recent research studies about wireless technology and health from around the world. All studies referenced on this website must meet the following criteria:

  • the source must be credible and accountable
  • material must be peer-reviewed-research and data that has been accepted and validated in the Canadian and international communities
  • all studies must have been carried out by an independent third-party person or organization

The use of wireless phones is now an established part of many societies today, with billions of users around the world. This technology has greatly improved our ability to communicate at home or at work in our local and global communities. People use mobile telephones not only for work, but also for the convenience and safety of their families.

The rapid growth in the use of wireless phones has been accompanied by public concerns about the safety of this new technology. Although numerous scientific reviews have concluded that there is no evidence of a health risk from wireless phones or other wireless communication devices, the concerns continue to be reflected in media reports.

This web site attempts to answer the following questions about wireless phones:

  • How do they work?
  • How are safety standards established for them?
  • What have scientific authorities to say about their safety?
  • What has research found about their biological effects?
  • What research is planned in the future?

The site has different sections:

What's New?
This gives brief comments on recent reports and scientific papers that discuss radiofrequency radiation (RFR) or wireless phones.
A new update is given every month.

Primer on Electromagnetic Waves and Fields
This section provides background about scientific concepts involved in electromagnetic energy. There are three subsections on:

The section on Wireless Phones gives some technical background, discusses regulations that enforce radiation exposure limits, and tries to put concerns about health effects in the context of public health issues. There is also information to those wanting to know more about Specific Absorption Rate, and how it relates to their own model of cell phone. 

In the section on Base Stations information is presented about how the stations work; how much radiation is emitted from them; their regulation; reports from independent panels; and current research studies.

Frequently Asked Questions
Answers are given to some commonly asked questions.

Research Programs
This outlines some of the ongoing research that is being carried out by national and international agencies. There is a separate subsection on the Interphone study.

This is a very large section and it is divided into several parts.

The introduction discusses basic scientific concepts, including causality, and the emphasis placed on different types of study. A summary is given of human research.

The next section deals with the challenge of exposure assessment in research studies.

The next part deals with research on humans.
Epidemiological (the study of health and disease in populations) research is discussed first - concepts, methods used in epidemiological studies, and details of research done on wireless phones and on RFR in general.

Experiments on human volunteers (clinical studies) are reviewed under several headings. The opening section deals with general health effects, including electrical hypersensitivity. Sections are then presented on EEG, cognitive function, hormones, cardiovascular, and others.

This is followed by a review of laboratory experiments involving RFR. Several areas are discussed - cancer studies, brain function, the eye, reproduction, and others.

A large number of scientific articles are mentioned in each of these research sections. At the end of each section, a list of references is given, and each has a direct link to a summary of the scientific article.

Review Panel Reports.
A number of agencies have done detailed reviews of RFR and potential health effects. These are discussed in this section.

For those wishing to read a specific study, this section provides a list of research on RFR published in scientific journals and books. In addition to a general list, there is one that lists human studies and another that catalogues review studies.

A number of scientific terms are defined in this section.
The Technical Glossary defines some of the terms used in the field of electromagnetic energy and specifically in the area of wireless phones.

Other relevant web sites are summarized in this section.

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