June 2002

No causal link between hypersensitivity symptoms and cell phones

There are a number of people who report that they experience symptoms when exposed to EMF fields. Hietanen and colleagues have studied twenty individuals who described themselves as hypersensitive to radiofrequency (RF) fields emitted by cellular phones. The subjects were exposed to an analogue and two digital phones for 30 minutes at a time. They also had a sham exposure, and were unaware whether they were being exposed at any given time. Although 19 of the 20 subjects reported a variety of symptoms, the number of reported symptoms was higher during sham exposure than during RF exposure. In addition, none of the test persons could distinguish real RF exposure from sham exposure.

For more details on this study, see "Research - Clinical".

Reference: Hietanen M, Hamalainen A-M, Husman T. Hypersensitivity symptoms associated with exposure to cellular telephones: No causal link. Bioelectromagnetics 2002;23:264-270.

No effect of cell phone radiation on genetic mutation

A research study from Japan has failed to show any effect of cell phone radiation on genetic mutation in mice. The authors exposed the animals to a 1.5 GHz electromagnetic field (EMF) at 2.0, 0.67, and 0 W/kg SAR for 90 minutes/day, 5 days/week, for 4 weeks. They found no evidence that the EMF produced mutations in mouse brain cells. These authors have previously published studies showing a lack of effect of RF radiation on cancer promotion in animals - see "Toxicological - cancer - tumour growth and development".

Reference: Takahashi S, Inaguma S, Cho Y_M, Imaida K, et al. Lack of mutation induction with exposure to 1.5 GHz electromagnetic near fields used for cellular phones in brains of big blue mice. Cancer Research 2002;62:1956-1960.

Australian RF standards approved

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has approved and published a new standard that sets updated limits on human exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation in the range of 3 kHz to 300 GHz. The draft standard was issued in March 2001, and was revised after consideration of submissions received during a public consultation process. The publication is available at www.arpansa.gov.au/rf_standard.htm

Controversy over cell phones in trains

A letter from T. Hondou in the Journal of the Physical Society of Japan has been widely reported in newspapers. Hondou claims that the simultaneous use of a number of mobile phones in an area with a reflective boundary, such as a commuter train, could create a level of exposure to electromagnetic fields that could exceed the guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. Other experts dispute his conclusions. Some have pointed out that the author used calculations suited to far-field exposure rather than Specific Absorption Rate - appropriate for near-field exposure. In addition, it has been claimed that he underestimated the dissipation of electromagnetic fields that would occur in a train with many people inside.

Reference: Hondou T (2002): Rising level of public exposure to mobile phones: Accumulation through additivity and reflectivity. Journal of the Physical Society of Japan 71:432-435.

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