August 2004

Two reviews of mobile phones and cancer

There have been two recent reviews of the scientific literature on the subject of radio frequency energy and cell phones. One by Jauchem is an update of a previous review and covers the period from mid-1998 through 2002. He concludes:

"the evidence for any proven health effects (involving brain tumours and malignancies, leukemia, other cancers, and the central nervous system) of low-level radiofrequency energy exposure is minimal".

The other review, by Kundi, concentrates on epidemiological studies of cell phones and cancer. He reviews the difficulties encountered in performing these studies and makes recommendations for future research. He also briefly reviews animal and in vitro studies. His overall conclusions differ somewhat from those of Jauchem. He says:

"Because epidemiological studies approaching meaningful latencies found evidence for an increase cancer risk and because there is corroborating evidence from at least one animal experiment and from other experimental and in vitro and in vivo studies, the fundamental pessimism of environmental hygiene forces the recommendation of caution and introduction of protective measures that are easily implemented".

Jauchem JR (2003): A literature review of medical side effects from radio-frequency energy in the human environment: involving cancer, tumours, and problems of the central nervous system. J Microw Power Electromagn Energy 38:103-123.

Kundi M (2004): Mobile phone use and cancer. Occup Environ Med 61:560-570.

Legal aspects of the use of cell phones

The objectives of our web site do not include the monitoring of safety aspects of cell phones, and does not review articles about cell phone use while driving a car. We recently discovered an article whose main emphasis is on these issues. However, we include reference to it in this month's "What's New" because it is a useful review of general aspects of cell phones, including health and legal issues. The situation in the USA is the focus, but the article will be of interest to readers from other countries.

Mobydeen L . Reach out and touch someone: cellular phones health, safety and reasonable regulation. J Law Health 2001-2002;16:373-399.

The effect of an electromagnetic field and the shape of a cell

Sebastien and colleagues have studied the internal field distribution in human red blood cells exposed to microwave radiation at 900 MHz. They found that the interaction of the field with the cell is influenced by the electrical properties of the membrane and cytoplasm of the cell, and by its shape. They point out that a realistic shape should be used in calculations of the electrical response of cells.

Reference: Sebastien JL, Munoz San Martin S, Sancho M, Miranda JM (2004: Modelling the internal field distribution in human erythrocytes exposed to MW radiation. Bioelectrochemistry 64:39-45.

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