EMF occupational exposure and offspring neuroblastoma - no association
is a tumour that usually affects young children. In previous studies
no consistent association has been shown between parental occupation
involving electromagnetic field exposure and the incidence of neuroblastoma
in their offspring.
this further, De Roos and colleagues have analyzed data from a large,
multicentre case-control study. They enrolled 538 cases and used
detailed exposure information in their research. Although some slight
increases in risk were seen with maternal exposure to radiofrequency
radiation, the results were not statistically significant and were
based on very few cases. The authors state that "overall, there
was scant supportive evidence of strong associations between parental
exposures in electromagnetic spectrum and neuroblastoma in the offspring".
De Roos AJ, Teschke K, Savitz DA, Poole C, et al. Parental occupational
exposures to electromagnetic fields and radiation and the incidence
of neuroblastoma in offspring. Epidemiology 2001;12:508-517.
links mobile phones to cancer through heat shock proteins
New" of July 2000 we reported a study by De Pomerai and colleagues
who found activation of the heat shock response in the soil nematode
C. elegans exposed to RF energy (750 MHz) at an SAR of 0.001 W/kg.
Although the heat shock response was first recognized in response
to temperature elevation, it is an essential mechanism in the protection
of cells from a variety of stresses.
Now French and
colleagues hypothesize that exposure to mobile phones might induce
or promote cancer via the heat shock response. They point out that
the cellular response is characterized by the formation of heat
shock proteins (Hsps), which protect cells against damage produced
by stress. They cite evidence that Hsps can also play a role in
cancer induction or promotion, though they state that there is debate
as to whether the association with cancer is causal or correlative.
They suggest that recurrent exposure to frequent mobile phone use
could lead to chronic expression of Hsps in the brain tissue of
users and that this in turn might induce or promote cancer. The
authors state that this hypothetical mechanism should be tested
French PW, Penny R, Laurence JA, McKenzie DR. Mobile phones, heat
shock proteins and cancer. Differentiation 2001;67:93-97.
of RF radiation exposure standards
Klauenberg have compared exposure standards in different countries.
They review eight standards that satisfied four criteria: 1) derived
by a scientific or technical organization from an examination of
scientific data; 2) included some description of their approach;
3) included the general population instead of solely workers as
the group to be protected; 4) available in English. Those reviewed
were the standards of ANSI/IEEE, AUS/NZ, CENELEC, EU, Health Canada,
NRCP, ICNIRP, and NRPB. In the energy-deposition range each used
the same restriction, based on biological data and a 10-fold safety
factor. There were different interpretations of the underlying biological
data. The authors state that "harmonization of standards will
require more detailed review and coordination of biological and
engineering data and of policy options".
Erdreich LS, Klauenberg BJ. Radio frequency radiation exposure standards:
considerations for harmonization. Health Physics 2001;80:430-439.
In recent years
there has been much discussion about the precautionary principle
in relation to mobile phones. For instance, the Independent Expert
Group on Mobile Phones in the UK advocated that "a precautionary
approach to the use of mobile phone technologies be adopted until
much more detailed and scientifically robust information on any
health effects becomes available".
in the September 2001 edition of the American Journal of Public
Health discuss the precautionary principle and public health. The
second article considers the principle as it relates to electric
and magnetic fields, but does not discuss radiofrequency radiation.
Instead, it concentrates on the debate about power lines and childhood
leukaemia. Overall, the articles provide a useful review of the
Kriebel D, Tickner J. Re-energizing public health through precaution.
Jamieson D, Wartenberg D. The precautionary principle and electric
and magnetic fields. AJPH 2001;91:1355-1358.
Goldstein BD. The precautionary principle also applies to public
health actions. AJPH 2001;91:1358-1361.
A medical use of the mobile phone
are often helpful in medical emergencies. Now the authors of an
article from Scotland offer another medical use. They placed the
microphone of a mobile phone over the trachea of patients with and
without asthma and transferred the sounds electronically by email
and voice mail. They were able to clearly discriminate tracheal
breath sounds in asthma. The authors suggest that this could be
a useful method for monitoring airway diseases.
Anderson K, Qiu Y, Whittaker AR, Lucas M. Breath sounds, asthma,
and the mobile phone. Lancet 2001;358:1343-1344.