5G in Umeå, Sweden

The plan to establish Umeå University Hospital and Umeå University in Sweden as the
first locations in Europe to use the fifth generation, 5G, for their wireless communication
was on December 7, 2019, discussed in a debate article in the local newspaper, Västerbottens-Kuriren. The reason was that no health aspects were considered. More details can be found in the Swedish version of this blog.

High radiofrequency radiation at the Stockholm Central Station in Sweden

We measured the radiofrequency (RF) radiation at the Stockholm Central Station in Sweden in November 2015. The full study can be read here. The exposimeter EME Spy 200 was used and it covers 20 different RF bands from 88 to 5,850 MHz. In total 1,669 data points were recorded. The median value for total exposure was 921 µW/m2 (or 0.092 μW/cm2; 1 μW/m2=0.0001 μW/cm2) with some outliers over 95,544 µW/m2 (6 V/m, upper detection limit). The mean total RF radiation level varied between 2,817 to 4,891 µW/m2 for each walking round.

Hot spots were identified, for example close to a wall mounted base station yielding over 95,544 µW/m2 and thus exceeding the exposimeter’s detection limit, see Figure below. A man is standing with his smartphone just a couple of meters below a base station (see arrow). In that area maximum measured power density in the GSM +UMTS 900 downlink band from the base station was 95,544 µW/m2, which is the upper limit of measurement for EME Spy 200.

imgp5647a

Almost all of the total measured levels were above the precautionary target level of 3 to 6 µW/m2 as proposed by the BioInitiative Working Group in 2012. That target level was one-tenth of the scientific benchmark providing a safety margin either for children, or chronic exposure conditions. Considering the rapid progress of this technology, including 5G that is to be launched in the near future, it is important to monitor current RF radiation exposure in the environment.

Wall Street, mobile phones and brain tumours

An interesting article can be found in the blog by Dariusz Leszczynski. It concerns a litigation in USA on brain tumours and mobile phones. In August 2014 Judge Weisberg ruled that a number of expert witnesses were permitted to present evidence in the next stage of the trial. The lawsuit is now in the ‘Discovery Phase’.

More can be found here:

http://gordonanoble.com/2014/11/14/wall-streets-cell-phone-litigation-problem/

The decision:

http://ehtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Expert-Order.pdf

Dariusz Leszczynski’s blog:

https://betweenrockandhardplace.wordpress.com/

Reuters press release:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/11/us-brain-cancer-mobilephone-idUSKCN0IV26Y20141111

WiFi in classrooms

Both in Sweden and in many other countries wireless communication systems are increasingly installed in schools. They emit radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) when used. RF-EMF is classified as ‘possible’ human carcinogen, Group B. There is an alternative to use wired internet connections instead. This is discussed in more detail in this article.

Measurements of radiofrequency fields in outdoor environments

A novel mobile monitoring system was used to measure outdoor radiofrequency fields (RF) in Sweden recently published in Bioelectromagnetics. The system was car based and the frequency covered was 30 MHz to 3 GHz.

In total more than 70,000 measurements were made. According to Table 1 in the article the following results were obtained:

Rural area                       Urban                        Stockholm

Median (μW/m2)                                                16                            270                               2,600

Arithmetic mean (μW/m2)                               230                         1,500                               6,700

Most of the radiation comes from base stations for mobile phones, 2G and 3G (UMTS). Unfortunately the range of measurements is not given. Especially high values are found in Stockholm. These results can be compared with the evaluation in BioInitiative Report 2012 especially regarding biological effects of RF-EMF:

 ‘A scientific benchmark of 0.003 uW/cm2 or three nanowatts per centimeter squared for ‘lowest observed effect level’ for RFR is based on mobile phone base station-level studies.’ 

WiFi to be dismantled in school in New Zealand

When Ethan, aged 10, died of a brain tumour, his father, Damon Wyman, began to research the effects of RF/EMFs on children. This was published in  a news release.

The school trustees at To Horo School, (Ethan’s school), decided to have the WiFi removed from the youngest children’s classrooms after actions by the parents and international scientific support on health risks from RF-EMF. The decision was taken by the Board of Turstees on 28th December, 2013. This decision was commented here:

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/dads-win-battle-against-wifi-in-school-video-5787919

http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/news/nbedu/1132292159-kapiti-coast-school-removes-wifi-from-class

IARC and asbestos – are there conflicts of interest at a WHO organ?

Recently an article on asbestos and cancer risk was published presenting evidence on former or present persons at IARC depreciating cancer risks from asbestos exposure. One person, Paolo Boffetta, was reported to have been an expert witness for the asbestos industry.

The story on industry infiltration of WHO is described: “In the past, the asbestos industry has succeeded in making inroads inside the World Health Organization (WHO) with the aim of perverting scientific information and promoting continued trade in asbestos, just as the tobacco industry, in the past, infiltrated the WHO. Serious concerns are presently being expressed regarding the fact that the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is putting forth outdated and inaccurate information regarding chrysotile asbestos that minimizes the harm to health that it causes and is collaborating with a discredited institute in Russia and with discredited scientists, who promote use of chrysotile asbestos and deny that it is hazardous to health.” – See more at: http://www.rightoncanada.ca/?p=1761#sthash.PzHXK1Mm.dpuf

The question is if the asbestos story is an isolated occasion or what is on-going at IARC? One recent publication on mobile phones and brain tumour risk is to be considered in that context. Three of the four authors are employees at IARC. Several wrong or misleading facts on brain tumour risk from published studies are presented in the article. Most remarkable is that our recent articles on use of mobile or cordless phones and brain tumour risk are omitted. These publications are well-known to the authors since they were sent to IARC as soon as they were published and even orally presented to one of the authors at IARC, Joachim Schüz. Instead articles of low quality and little value are presented in their paper. Our new articles add further evidence on the increased risk on use of mobile and cordless phones and glioma and acoustic neuroma. So why were they omitted from the IARC article? Are there conflicts of interest at IARC also on this issue?

Increasing incidence of brain tumours in Denmark

Statens Serum Institut in Denmark released recently cancer data for 2012. Of interest is the sharp increase in the incidence of brain tumours during 2003 to 2012. In men the increase was 41.2 % and in women 46.1 %. The sharp increase can not be only explained by improved diagnosis. The use of wireless phones (mobile and cordless phones) has increased since the 1990’s so the increasing incidence of brain tumour may reflect that giving a reasonable latency time of about 10 years (time from first use until diagnosis).

Incidence, brain tumours, Denmark 2003-2012

Using the Hill viewpoints from 1965 for evaluating strengths of evidence of the risk for brain tumors associated with use of mobile and cordless phones

Recently we published an article on use of mobile and cordless phones and the risk of brain tumors. It has been published in Reviews on Environmental Health (DOI 10.1515/reveh-2013-0006).

A summary (abstract) is given in the following.

 

Background: Wireless phones, i.e., mobile phones and

cordless phones, emit radiofrequency electromagnetic

fields (RF-EMF) when used. An increased risk of brain

tumors is a major concern. The International Agency for

Research on Cancer (IARC) at the World Health Organization

(WHO) evaluated the carcinogenic effect to humans

from RF-EMF in May 2011. It was concluded that RF-EMF

is a group 2B, i.e., a “possible”, human carcinogen. Bradford

Hill gave a presidential address at the British Royal

Society of Medicine in 1965 on the association or causation

that provides a helpful framework for evaluation of

the brain tumor risk from RF-EMF.

Methods: All nine issues on causation according to Hill

were evaluated. Regarding wireless phones, only studies

with long-term use were included. In addition, laboratory

studies and data on the incidence of brain tumors were

considered.

Results: The criteria on strength, consistency, specificity,

temporality, and biologic gradient for evidence of

increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma were

fulfilled. Additional evidence came from plausibility and

analogy based on laboratory studies. Regarding coherence,

several studies show increasing incidence of brain

tumors, especially in the most exposed area. Support for

the experiment came from antioxidants that can alleviate

the generation of reactive oxygen species involved in

biologic effects, although a direct mechanism for brain

tumor carcinogenesis has not been shown. In addition,

the finding of no increased risk for brain tumors in subjects

using the mobile phone only in a car with an external

antenna is supportive evidence. Hill did not consider all

the needed nine viewpoints to be essential requirements.

Conclusion: Based on the Hill criteria, glioma and acoustic

neuroma should be considered to be caused by RF-EMF

emissions from wireless phones and regarded as carcinogenic

to humans, classifying it as group 1 according to the

IARC classification. Current guidelines for exposure need

to be urgently revised.