New Report Warns of Health Risks from EMF, Radiation Exposure

By Lori Castle, Editor in Chief — January 15, 2013

A new report by the BioInitiative Working Group 2012 says that evidence for risks to health has substantially increased since 2007 from electromagnetic fields (EMF) and wireless technologies (radio frequency – RF- radiation).

The report reviews over 1,800 new scientific studies. Cell phone users, parents-to-be, young children and pregnant women are at particular risk.

This fifth BioInitiative 2012 Report was prepared by 29 independent scientists from 10 countries, holding medical degrees, PhDs, and MsC, MA or MPHs. The authors concluded: "There is now much more evidence of risks to health affecting billions of people worldwide. The status quo is not acceptable in light of the evidence for harm.

According to the report, everyone is exposed to two types of EMFs: (1) extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF) from, for example, electrical and electronic appliances and power lines and (2) radio frequency radiation (RF) from wireless devices such as cell phones and cordless phones, cellular antennas and towers, and broadcast transmission towers. Other sources of exposure include, electrical wiring, wireless handheld devices, cell towers, "smart meters", Wi-Fi, wireless laptops, wireless routers, baby monitors and other electronic devices. Health topics include damage to DNA and genes, effects on memory, learning, behavior, attention, sleep disruption, cancer and neurological diseases like Alzheimer's disease.

There appear to be risks for each of this from continued exposure. The authors implore that new safety standards are urgently needed for protection against EMF and wireless exposures that now appear everywhere in daily life and specifically point out why the current standards are not adequate.

For example, there is a consistent pattern of increased risk for glioma (a malignant brain tumor) and acoustic neuroma with use of mobile and cordless phones," says Lennart Hardell, MD, at Orebro University, Sweden. "Epidemiological evidence shows that RF should be classified as a human carcinogen. The existing FCC/IEE and ICNIRP public safety limits and reference levels are not adequate to protect public health."

 
A dozen new studies link cell phone radiation to sperm damage. Even a cell phone in the pocket or on a belt may harm sperm DNA, result in misshapen sperm, and impair fertility in men. Laptop computers with wireless internet connections can damage DNA in sperm.
 
Based on strong evidence for vulnerable biology in autism, EMF/RFR can plausibly increase autism risk and symptoms. "While we aggressively investigate the links between autism disorders and wireless technologies, we should minimize wireless and EMF exposures for people with autism disorders, children of all ages, people planning a baby, and during pregnancy," says Martha Herbert, MD, PhD.
 
Wireless devices such as phones and laptops used by pregnant women may alter brain development of the fetus. This has been linked in both animal and human studies to hyperactivity, learning and behavior problems.
 
According to David O. Carpenter, MD, co-editor, "The status quo is not acceptable in light of the evidence for harm."

The report is broken into 21 sections which clearly indicate the risks and include:
  • Statement of the problem
  • Existing Public Exposure Standards
  • Evidence of Inadequacy of the Standards
  • Evidence for Genotoxic Effects
  • Evidence for Effects on Immune Functions
  • Evidence for Effects on Neurology and Behavior
  • Evidence for Brain Tumors and Acoustic Neuromas
  • Evidence for Childhood Cancers
  • Evidence for Breast Cancer Promotion
  • Evidence for The Precautionary Principal
In 2012, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) called for a reassessment of exposure and testing requirements for mobile phones. The Environmental Working Group offers tips to limit exposure.

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