Cell Phones, Mobile and Base Station Antenna Radiation, and Human Health - index

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Cellular Phones, Mobile and Base Station Antenna Radiation and Human Health.

Published by "Full-time Parents" an informal association of parents, not in any way dependant on industry or government patronage. This public service file opened Jan 2000, therefore some of the links below lead to material that is already out of date but still informative about the general pervasive culture of secrecy and wilful negligence in government and industry circles.

For feedback, messages, articles for publication please use this form.

The Stewart Commission (11 May 2000) signals UK suits' grudging agreement, faced with a growing body of irrefutable evidence of physiological effects of exposure to non ionising radiation pollution, with citizen's reasonable demand for implementation of the Maastricht Precautionary Principle. (Update 19-Oct-2000; It is however, increasingly apparent from reports like this, this, this, this, and this research report dated Oct 2000, that UK government, by persistently publishing lies and half truths (a la BSE scandal) is increasingly reflecting the characteristics of Blair - and that his demotion presents to voters as a threshold to enabling protection of children from anti-communitarian, predatory, transnational corporations - and a probable rerun of the BSE  scandal.)

Readers of the Stewart report will find that despite the untrue (read Dr Cherry and 2000 research news here, et cetera) Stewart assertion that there is no scientific proof of physiological non cooking effects on humans of microwave (mobile phone) radiation, and patent propensity to protect the interests of government and industry a la the BSE (mad cow disease) scandal exposed in the Phillips Report 2000, the essence of the Stewart Commission argument is the same as the one we set out below - to the effect that any adverse health effects of personal portables, as with tobacco and alcohol, are voluntarily self-inflicted by autonomous adults in a free society, but that vulnerable children in their homes and schools are entitled under European law to be protected from physiological non heating effects of polluting non ionising radiation dumped into their homes and schools by an extraordinarily influential industry displaying an unacceptable face of predatory capitalism the likely consequences of which conduct the insurance industry refuses to cover. It will also be apparent that in the UK, in year 2000, even mouthpieces of predatory capital have stopped denying the fact that inappropriately sited/operated base stations inflict significant physiological effects of non ionising radiation on nearby populations. They now seem to rely instead, on covert government support (in consideration for ? - more 'loans' to buy personal assets? - more donations to politicians' private offices ? - more party 'donations' like the secret one in the news at 31-12-00 - without strings of course ?) in open defiance of citizens' demands.

+    October to December 2000 news of biological effects of phone/base station radiation - updatednewnew.gif (116 bytes)
   Stewart Commision report summary,   Stewart on Precautionary Principle
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)    Dr. Neil Cherry's new paper on base stations (
less large graphics)workingonit
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   UK 1999 + Euro 1999 (reviewed 2000) legal views  newnew.gif (116 bytes)
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   The Lancet medical journal reports: effect on blood pressure 1998, more health effects 2000newnew.gif (116 bytes)
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   If you're a busy headteacher or parent, there's a handy bundle of notes, summaries, extracts   newnew.gif (116 bytes)
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Orange Ltd. - a BBC Panorama broadcast May 1999
  newnew.gif (116 bytes)
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   UK National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) info sheet 1, info sheet 2, links with Orange  newnew.gif (116 bytes)
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Summary of the problem as seen from Alaska
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Insurance industry refuses cover against biological effects of mobile phone radiation (updated)
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Good practice proposal.   Telemast campaign.   Useful Powerwatch summary
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Some neurological effects of radio frequency non ionising radiation
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Some biological effects of radio frequency non ionising radiation
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Radiation and health physics
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   World Health Organisation summary
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   UK Parliamentary environment committee, extract of proceedings 1-12-99  newnew.gif (116 bytes)
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Transmitting station non ionising radiation and some more of the physiological effects

paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Some non ionising radiation (that's what's transmitted by phone stations) issues
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Some relevant papers
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Explanatory document from US FCC - breath of fresh air compared with furtive UK NRPB
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Some relevant news reports
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Wired News report
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Jottings 
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   High quality sensible and well informed commentary site untainted by commerce/politics
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   What the phone companies don't want you to know
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   More reports about mobile phone health hazards
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   A US 1998 legal view
paradot55.gif (55 bytes)   Some basic information for non radio engineers  newnew.gif (116 bytes)

The following uncensored Moulder paper (dated Feb 2000) is possibly the least biased one presenting universities' ( = establishment, heavily dependant on industrial and dot gov patronage) point of view. Moulder is a specialist in a narrow medical field, not an engineer, analyst, or geneticist - three disciplines that produce most heavyweight contributions to a different view of the effects of exposure to non ionising radiation, on human physiological and genomic systems.   Grudging admissions, contradictions, unsupported opinions and misrepresentative assertions aren't hard to find. Comments and links at top and bottom of this page, will be added (when time permits - contributions welcome) as a public service to help broaden and develop readers' perception of this fairly complex and therefore easily neglected or misrepresented issue. The decision not to censor does not imply approval of Moulder's idiosyncratic perception of reality or unnecessary personal attacks on reporters such as Dr. Neil Cherry who share the views of the government of Sweden.

2-March-2000 : stumbled on THIS site where the author's common sense commentary on Moulder's material effectively complements our comments below. The author is mainly interested in the personal portable transmitter which in our opinion ranks with tobacco or alcohol as a voluntarily self-inflicted pollution of oneself, whereas children in schools,homes, and playgrounds polluted by base station radiation do not have a choice to abstain - but the information provided and views published at the "Fist" site are relevant and complementary.
This color text is used for "Fist" comments and this color text for our comments.

John Moulder is a radiation biologist at the Medical College of Wisconsin, located in Wauwatosa, WI (a suburb of Milwaukee). He is an associate editor of Radiation Research which has published some non-ionising research papers, but which fundamentally deals with ionising radiation -- X-rays, Gamma rays, nuclear power plants, etc.

He is another character in this decades-long scientific dispute who promotes the claim that cellphones can have "absolutely no effect" on human health -- because they "lack the power to break chemical bonds" -- a common claim among nuclear industry researchers.

His own research experience is with ionizing radiation and cancer, and to my knowledge he has never conducted research or published anything on the potential health impact of radio waves -- which is not to say that his opinion is valueless, but that it should be kept in perspective. However he has also recently publicly stated that people get more cancer from radon from their homes than from living close to nuclear power plants -- and to many readers, that will put him into a category of scientists who tend to discount environmental concerns and health fears.

  • This FAQ addresses the issue of whether base station transmitter/antennas for cellular phones, PCS phones, and other types of portable transceivers are a risk to human health.
  • Issues surrounding the phones (transceivers) themselves are discussed only indirectly. For detailed discussions of the evidence that RF radiation from cell phones is associated with cancer see:
    Moulder et al: Cell Phones and Cancer: What Is the Evidence for a Connection?
    Radiation Research 151(5):513-531, May 1999.
    JE Moulder: An Assessment of the Evidence Relating to Radio-frequency Radiation and Cancer.
  • Many aspects of the FAQ are also relevant to other types of broadcast antennas.
  • Specific technical and regulatory sections have a US bias, but the basic engineering and biology are relevant to any country. Where possible notes have been added to help readers outside the US relate this information to their national systems. Such notes are color coded.
  • El documento "Preguntas y respuestas sobre antenas de telefonķa móvil y salud humana" estį disponible en espańol: http://www.mcw.edu/gcrc/cop/telefonos-moviles-salud/toc.html
    This document is available in Chinese at: http://www.ym.edu.tw/rad/cbase/

Table of Contents

  1. Are there health hazards associated with living, working, playing, or going to school near a cellular phone or PCS base station antenna?
  2. Is anyone seriously concerned about possible health risks from cell phone and PCS base station antennas?
  3. Do the differences between cell phones, PCS phones, and other types of portable phones matter when evaluating the potential impacts of base station antennas on human health?
  4. Do the differences between PCS base station antennas and other types of radio and TV broadcast antennas matter when evaluating their potential impacts on human health?
  5. Do cell phone and PCS base station antennas produce radiation?
  6. Is the non-ionizing radiation (radiowaves) from cell phone and PCS base station antennas similar to ionizing radiations such as X-rays?
  7. Are the radiowaves from cell phone and PCS base station antennas similar to the "EMF" produced by power lines?
  8. Are there safety standards for cell phone and PCS base station antennas?
  9. Is there a scientific basis for these radiofrequency safety standards?
  10. Are all the safety standards the same?
  11. Does the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) have safety guidelines?
  12. Can cellular phone and PCS base station antennas meet the safety standards?
  13. Are there circumstances where cellular phone and PCS base station antennas could fail to meet the safety standards?
  14. What siting criteria are required to ensure that a cellular phone and PCS base station antenna will meet safety standards?
    1. What are some general siting criteria?
    2. How can you tell the difference between a high-gain (sector) antenna and a low-gain (whip) antenna?
    3. What is the difference between the RF patterns for high-gain and low-gain antennas?
    4. Is it safe to live on the top floor of a building that has a cell phone or base station antenna on it?
    5. Are use restrictions or "set-backs" required around cellular phone or PCS base station antenna sites?
    6. What precautions need to be taken when working around mobile phone base station antennas?
  15. Does everyone agree with the current RF safety standards?
    1. Does the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency think that the current safety standards for cellular and PCS phones are adequate?
    2. Hasn't an Australian group claimed that there is evidence that living near TV broadcast towers causes an increase in childhood leukemia?
    3. Hasn't an Israeli epidemiologist claimed that there is evidence that low-level RF exposure causes a variety of health effects?
    4. Hasn't a British group reported excess leukemia and lymphoma around a high-power FM/TV broadcast antenna?
    5. Haven't a British and a New Zealand researcher claimed that there is evidence that low-intensity RF exposure is hazardous?
    6. Hasn't a University of Washington (Seattle, U.S.A) researcher claimed that there is evidence that RF exposure from base stations is hazardous?
    7. What about the claims on British, American and French TV that there is new data suggesting that cell phones might cause cancer?
  16. Are there epidemiological studies showing that RF exposure is safe?
  17. Could modulated RF radiation produce different effects than the continuous-wave (CW) RF radiation used in many laboratory studies?
  18. Are there groups (such as children or the elderly) that are more sensitive to the effects of radiowaves?
  19. Will cellular phone or PCS base station antennas affect heart pacemakers, cause headaches, etc?
    1. Will cellular phone or PCS base station antennas affect medical devices such as cardiac pacemakers?
    2. Do cell phones or cell phone base stations cause headaches?
    3. Does radio-frequency radiation from cell phones or cell phone base stations cause physiological or behavioral changes?
  20. Do radiowaves produce biological effects?
  21. Is there any replicated evidence that radiowaves can cause cancer?
  22. Is there any evidence that radiowaves can cause miscarriages or birth defects?
  23. What do the most recent scientific studies of radiowaves and human health show?
    1. What do recent reports from scientific meetings say?
    2. What do recent reports from scientific journals say?
    3. What about the new report that exposure of mice to cell phone radiation causes cancer?
    4. Has anyone else exposed rodents to cell phone radiation to see if they got cancer?
    5. What about the new report that exposure of mice to cell phone radiation causes damage to the DNA in their brain cells?
  24. Where can I get more information?
  25. Who wrote these Questions and Answers?


v2.4.0, Feb-2000:

  • Added link to a Chinese version.
  • Added link to a Japanese version.
  • Added a figure to Q12 illustrating how RF levels around base stations compare to the safety standards and to the levels known to produce biological effects.
  • Added a brief discussion of occupational safety issues related to base station antennas as Q14F.
  • A paper [107] reporting that RF exposure does not affect the growth of brain tumors in rats is discussed in Q23D.
  • Expanded the section (Q19C) discussing possible physiological and behavioral effects of RF exposure, including:
    • A paper [108] reporting that RF exposure does not affect melatonin production in humans.
    • A paper [109] reporting that high-power RF exposure affects maze performance in rats.

v2.3.0, Dec-99:

  • Added figure illustrating Hardell's cell phone epidemiology study [79] to Q16.
  • Added figure illustrating Preece's cell study of cell phones and reaction times [97] to Q19C.
  • Updated information on cordless phones in note 2.
  • Reference to an older epidemiology study [105] added to Q16.
  • A new animal study [106] that reports that exposure to radio-frequency radiation does not promote chemically-induced breast cancer added to Q23D

v2.2.1, Oct-99:

  • The claims on British, American and French TV that there is new data suggesting that cell phones might cause cancer is reviewed in a new Q15G.
  • A second study [104] reporting that cell phone RF radiation does not cause brain cancer in rats is discussed in Q23D.

Organizational Notes

- Cross references to other questions are indicated by the letter Q followed by the question number; for example, (Q9) indicates that further information is found in Question 9.
- Technical references are shown in brackets; for example, [2] is a reference to technical note 2.
- Technical notes follow the main FAQ.
- "International notes" are appended to regular technical notes, so [International note 2] is a section within technical note 2.

1) Are there health hazards associated with living, working, playing, or going to school near a cellular phone or PCS base station antenna?

No. ? The consensus of (some of) the scientific community (see links at top and bottom of this page), both in the US and internationally , is that the power from these base station antennas is far too low to produce health hazards as long as people are kept away from direct access to the antennas ! (see Q13 and Q14 ) (in fact, the consensus of the better informed and/or less unscrupulous/disreputable such as FCC   and the government of Sweden is that "these base station antennas" are a serious hazard to children if there is insufficient separation/insulation and/or  inappropriate construction/siting/operation).

It is critical to be aware of the difference between antennas, the objects that produce radio-frequency radiation; and towers or masts, the structures that the antennas are placed on. It is the antennas that people need to keep there distance from, not the towers that hold the antennas.

In other words, there is good practice (including appropriate separation distances between children and powerful base station transmitters as recommended by Glasgow health board) and lousy practice. Sensible unbiased discussion and argument around this matter is essentially about defining various aspects of good practice - such as safe distances and alignments in relation to schools and children's sleeping quarters. Meantime operators of radiation sources naturally maximise profits in a climate of non regulation and public ignorance. Similarity of societal experiences with ddt, bse inducing/propagating feed, agent orange, tobacco, et cetera., is noteworthy.

(Fist) - In general, I agree. Provided you mean consensus of the nuclear scientific community and cellphone engineering community. Biomedical researchers with years of experience in these matters are not so sure. There are a number of good experimental findings in laboratories that appear to show biological changes to cells occuring at very low levels.

2) Is anyone seriously concerned about possible health risks from cellular phone and PCS base station antennas?

Not really ?. There are some reasons to be concerned (indeed) about human health effects from the hand-held cellular and PCS phones themselves (and a raft of "reasons to be concerned about human health effects from" powerful base stations - see here, here, here, here, etc.) (although it is not certain that any risks to human health actually exist - that assertion is wholly unsupportable). These concerns exist because the antennas of these phones can deliver large amounts of radiofrequency energy to very small areas of the user's body [83]. Base station antennas do not create such "hot spots", so the potential safety issues concerning the phones have no real applicability to the base station antennas (base station radiation is capable of causing a broad spectrum of physiological effects other than the heating effect which is dishonestly used as the threshold of antenna siting/operating acceptability). For further discussion of health issues related to hand-held phones see the ICNIRP report [1], the review by Moulder et al [95], and the review by the Royal Society of Canada [99] (and the links at top and bottom of this page).

(Fist) No one really knows what the long term consequences are of constant low-level exposures on children through their growth years, even when exposure levels are at extremely low levels.
There are a number of biomedical scientists with good reputations who are concerned about these matters.
And when cell DNA is rapidly dividing, as it is in young children, then there is more opportunity for distruptive changes. And when children are exposed constantly, perhaps 24 hours a day, cumulative effects may be possible even with very low levels of additional exposure -- especially if the individual is genetically susceptible.

3) Do the differences between cell phones, PCS phones, and other types of portable phones matter when evaluating the potential impacts of base station antennas on human health?

No. There are many technical differences between cell phones, PCS phones, and the types of "cell" phones used in other counties [2, also see international note 2]; but for evaluation of possible health hazards, the only distinction that matters is that they operate at slightly different frequencies (making allowance for Moulder's narrow medical specialisation, given the amount of information leaked into the public domain, only a fool or a wilfully negligent anti-social rogue would tell the general public that "slight" frequency differences are the "only distinction that matters" across the documented broad spectrum of physiological effects of different levels and durations of exposure to non ionising radiation dumped into the environment by base stations (and dumped into their own bodies by users of personal portables)  . The radiowaves from some base stations (e.g., those for the cell phones used in the U.S.) may be absorbed by humans somewhat more than the radiowaves from other types of base stations (e.g., those for the PCS phones used in the U.S.) [23]. However, once the energy is absorbed the effects are the same (this is a self contradiction, and a misrepresentation).

(Fist) I think a lot of biomedical researchers would love to have Moulder's confidence as exhibited here. The difference between cellphone frequencies and PCS frequencies, is not 'minor' but a ratio of about 2-to-1. Also, some cellphone technologies (TDMA or GSM) pulse their power output, while CDMA and AMPS/TACS tend to transmit much more even signals. The difference is between a household globe and a strobe-light; even at the same power output and frequencies, the effects on humans can be very different.

4) Do the differences between base station antennas and other types of radio and TV broadcast antennas matter when evaluating their potential impacts on human health?

Yes and no !. The radiowaves from some antennas (particularly FM and VHF-TV broadcast antennas) are absorbed more by humans than the radiowaves from other sources (such as cellular phone or PCS base station antennas); but once the energy is absorbed the effects are basically the same ?.

In addition, FM and TV antennas are 100 to 5000 times more powerful than base station antennas, but are mounted on much higher towers (typically 800 to 1200 ft).

(Fist) There is a slight slanting and coloration of the argument here. The last paragraph suggests that FM and TV antenna 'may' be more of a worry, without actually stating this. In fact the lesser numbers, increased height and beam-pattern makes them considerably less of a worry. Also, while engineers and nuclear physicist are only concerned with the amount of energy absorbed by the human body, most researcher in the field are trying to work out what effects variations in radio-wave type (frequency, pulse, pulse-shape, confused or coherent, etc.) may have -- not just the amount absorbed.

5) Do cellular phone and PCS base station antennas produce radiation?

Yes. Cellular and PCS phones and their base station antennas are radios, and produce radiofrequency (RF) radiation [3]; that's how they work. This radiofrequency radiation is "non-ionizing", and its biological effects are fundamentally different from the "ionizing" radiation produced by x-ray machines [see Q6].

(Fist) The fact that it is 'fundamentally different in biological effects' from X-rays is of little comfort. Until very recently, nuclear experts and radio engineers claimed that non-ionising radition could have NO EFFECT. I'm not as sure as Moulder that everyone would accept the 'fundamentally different' argument anyway. The Lai-Singh research which found DNA breaks in rat brain cells exposed to only two hours of microwaves, uses X-rays on the same cells as a means of calibration. In other words, the comet-assay test procedure depends on X-rays and non-ionising radiation having the same effect (but at different levels of damage).

6) Is the non-ionizing radiation (radiowaves) from cellular phone and PCS base station antennas similar to ionizing radiations such as X-rays?

No. The interaction of biological material with an electromagnetic source depends on the frequency of the source [4]. X-rays, radiowaves and "EMF" from power lines are all part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the parts of the spectrum are characterized by their frequency. The frequency is the rate at which the electromagnetic field changes direction and is given in Hertz (Hz), where one Hz is one cycle (change in direction) per second, and 1 megahertz (MHz) is one million cycles per second.

Electric power in the US is at 60 Hz. AM radio has a frequency of around 1 MHz, FM radio has a frequency of around 100 MHz, microwave ovens have a frequency of 2450 MHz, and X-rays have frequencies above one million MHz. Cellular phones operate at 860-900 MHz, and PCS phones operate at 1800-2200 MHz [also see international note 2].

At the extremely high frequencies characteristic of X-rays, electromagnetic particles have sufficient energy to break chemical bonds (ionization). This is how X-rays damage the genetic material of cells, potentially leading to cancer or birth defects. At lower frequencies, such as radiowaves, the energy of the particles is much too low to break chemical bonds. Thus radiowaves are "non-ionizing". Because non-ionizing radiation cannot break chemical bonds, there is no similarity between the biological effects of ionizing radiation (x-rays) and nonionizing radiation (radiowaves) [4].

(Fist) This is simply not true. It is only true if you substitute the word covalent bond for chemical bond in the argument -- and then it becomes true -- but inappropriate, and largely irrelevant. There are other types of chemical bonds than covalent bonds. Some of these are much weaker and can be broken (specifically hydrogen bonds and ionic bonds), or changed (the covalent bonds which hold isomers in shape) by non-ionising radiation.

In the DNA double-helix structure of human cells, the base-pairs (the steps of the ladder) are held together by hydrogen bonds, while the main protein is a chain of covalent bonds. It is well established that the weak hydrogen bond can easily be broken by energies lower than the ionising threshold. This is obvious since the cell couldn't duplicate and divide its DNA if it weren't easier to break the ladder rungs than the protein molecule carrying all the essential genetic information.

As part of the division process, the two sides of the DNA helix are 'unzipped' (separated) by hydrogen bond breakages. If the covalent bonds of the DNA strands weren't more strongly held together, we'd get extraordinary numbers of single or double strand DNA breaks and massive mutations. (DNA breaks happen all the time but are quickly repaired.)

What appears to damage the DNA strands more than normal, is attacks by Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) molecules and Hydroxyl (OH) molecules manufactured by free-radicals outside the nucleus. These result from the process of energy formation (ATP to ADP conversion) and are long-lasting enough to migrate into the nucleus and attack the DNA. Free-radicals are highly charged and can be effected by both radio energy and magnetic fields at "levels too low to break covalent bonds."

What's more, I doubt that any biochemist in the world still holds the view that the only way to disrupt human health is to break chemical bonds. Profound biological changes take place all the time without such breakage. We wouldn't have vision (light is non-ionising) if major chemical changes didn't take place in the eye, triggered by photons of energy which 'lack the power to break covalent bonds'. If you are reading this; you are interpreting profound electro-chemical changes taking place in your brain, triggered by photons which "lack the power to break chemical bonds".

It is a well-established fact that many of the body's most important organic molecules can assume two forms, and can change from one form to the other without needing a covalent breakage (more a torsional twist). Such changes can cause major changes in body chemistry, hormonal and electrical/ionic flows between cells.

Experiments show that weak electrical and magnetic fields can also disrupt the ionic flows between cells (which carry messages) without breaking bonds. Cells communicate with each other all the time to keep overgrowth (as in insipient tumours) in check.

So this is an old argument that should have been discarded fifty years ago.There is no doubt that radio waves can't and don't break DNA proteins directly, but this doesn't mean they can't break them indirectly using the energy already available in the free-radical formation. Nor does it mean they must break bonds to have serious medical effects. DNA isn't the sole determinant of cell health; it's just one of many.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

spectrumf2.gif (11475 bytes)

7) Are the radiowaves from cellular phone and PCS base station antennas similar to the "EMF" produced by power lines?

No. Power lines produce no significant non-ionizing radiation, they produce electric and magnetic fields. In contrast to non-ionizing radiation, these fields do not radiate energy into space, and they cease to exist when power is turned off. It is not clear how, or even whether, power line fields produce biological effects; but if they do, it is not in the same way that high power radiowaves produce biological effects [4, 53]. There appears to be no similarity between the biological effects of power line "EMF" and the biological effects of radiowaves.

(Fist) This is only partly true also. Moulder appears to be concerned only with the body's absorption of EMF power. Other scientists are also concerned with frequency, pulse shape and repetitive rate, and other effects. When you take these into consideration then there are many similarities between some cellphone radiations and powerlines.

Powerlines carry many transients which are in the radio-frequency parts of the spectrum. People sleeping on a waterbed where the heating element switches on and off, for instance, are probably experiencing RF pulses similar to that of a mobile phone on standby. This RF exposure is in addition to the low frequency electrical and magnetic fields generated by the heating coils.

People using TDMA-type mobile phones also have a low-frequency component similar to powerlines. In America, these TDMA cellphones generate 50Hz (with harmonics at 100Hz, 150Hz, 200Hz, etc), while European and American GSM cellphones have a fundamental pulse frequency of 217Hz. It is these low-frequency components of a complex signal which disrupt hearing aids, pacemakers, car radios, computers, etc.

Until we know much more, we cannot treat powerlines and cellphones as two different phenomenon. There is obviously a major cross-over of influences, which may or may not be significant.

8) Are there safety standards for cellular phone and PCS base station antennas?

Yes. There are national and international safety guidelines for exposure of the public to the radiowaves produced by cellular phone and PCS base station antennas. The most widely accepted standards are those developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and American National Standards Institute (ANSI/IEEE) [5], the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) [6], and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) [7].

These radiofrequency standards are expressed in "plane wave power density", which is measured in mW/cm-sq (milliwatts per square centimeter) [8]. For PCS (900 MHz) antennas, the 1992 ANSI/IEEE exposure standard for the general public is 1.2 mW/cm-sq. For analog cellular phones (1800-2000 MHz), the ANSI/IEEE exposure standard for the general public is 0.57 mW/cm-sq [9]. The ICNIRP standards are slightly lower and the NCRP standards are essentially identical [10].

In 1996 the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released radiofrequency guidelines for the frequencies and devices they regulate, including cellular phone and PCS base station antennas [11]. The FCC standards for cellular phone and PCS base station antennas are essentially identical to the ANSI/IEEE standard [12].

The public exposure standards apply to power densities averaged over relatively short periods to time, 30 minutes in the case of the ANSI/IEEE, NCRP, and FCC standards (at PCS and cellular phone frequencies). Where there are multiple antennas, these standards apply to the total power produced by all antennas [13].

See international note 12.

(Fist) These standards were developed by electrical engineers to reduce the risk of one radiating device interfering with another nearby electronic circuit. They are fundamentally EMI (Electro-Magnetic Interference) standards which were later modified by the addition of a tissue-heating test, when concern began to be expressed about the potential of RF to damage health. They have little more significance than this.

Note the admission that the standards only take into account the 'amount' of energy, not the type (although some frequency ranges are specified). These are old 'thermal limits' which assume that the only possible damage to human health occurs with prolonged body heating above 1 degree Celcius. Such standards ignore the wealth of research which finds 'non-thermal' biological changes.

The FCC itself says that it is not in the business of setting standards based on health concerns; it leaves that to the FDA. Also, many standards regulators around the world are reducing their permissable exposure standards in line with the developing evidence of low-level non-thermal effects. Some have been cutting permissable exposures quite drastically.

9) Is there a scientific basis for these radiofrequency safety standards?

Yes. When scientists examined all the published literature on the biological effects of radiowaves they found that the literature agreed on a number of key points [see 1, 5, 6, 7, 14, 53, 83, 90, 95, 96 and 99 for details

  1. The research on radiowaves is extensive [15], and is adequate for establishing safety standards.
    Balderdash! What rubbish! No one agrees that the science establishes anything of the sort, except for cellphone company executives and their lackeys.
  2. Exposure to radiowaves can be hazardous if the exposure is sufficiently intense. Possible injuries include cataracts, skin burns, deep burns, heat exhaustion and heat stroke (and a broad range of non cooking effects such as damage to blood brain barrier which are unscrupulouslyly and consistently ignored by Moulder et al).
    Water can be 'hazardous if the exposure is sufficiently intense'. The question is, what does sufficiently intense mean? Do we only take into account thermal effects, or also non-thermal?
  3. Biological effects of radiowaves depend on the rate of energy absorption [8]; and within a broad range of frequencies (1 to 10,000 MHz), the frequency matters very little.
    Moulder's whole slant is encapsulated here: he only takes into account thermal effects -- which depend on the rate of energy absorption. He ignores all non-thermal evidence.
  4. Biological effects of radiowaves are proportional to the rate of energy absorption; and the duration of exposure matters very little [96].
    Absolute rubbish once again. He denies the possibility of accumulated effects, or of progressive damage to DNA over a life-time, or of stress effects -- all of which are well supported by good scientific research. The man is living in the 1950s.
  5. No hazardous effects have been reproducibly shown below a certain rate of whole body energy absorption [16].

Based on this scientific consensus, different agencies and countries took different approaches to setting safety standards. A typical approach was that used by ANSI/IEEE [5] and the FCC [11].

ANSI/IEEE and FCC applied a 10-fold safety margin to establish occupational exposure guidelines. [based on tissue heating] They then applied an additional 5-fold safety margin for continuous exposure of the general public. [that's 5 times an unknown level! Brilliant!] Finally, detailed studies were done to establish the relationship of power density, which can be routinely measured, to energy absorption, which really matters [8]. [Only if you are Moulder, or a cellphone company executive]

The result was a highly conservative public exposure guideline that was set at a level that is only 2% of the level where replicated biological effects have actually been observed.

    What this last statement means is at 2% of the level where rats were observed to have become highly agitated because the microwaves were cooking them to a level where their body was producing massive amounts of heat-shock proteins. These standards were set for handsets.

    He then extrapolates from this, and assumes that life-time exposures, from birth to grave, to continuous low-level RF, is OK for humans. This is the ultimate in scientific arrogance and intellectual bullshit.

10) Are all the safety standards the same?

No. There are differences between the standards. ANSI, ICNIRP, NCRP and FCC all use the same biomedical data, and the same general approach to setting safety guidelines. However, there are differences in the models used by the different groups, and hence there are slight differences in the final numbers [17]. No biological significance should be associated with these slight differences.

(Fist) These standards are set in almost every country by a combination of government regulators and industry representatives with little reference to biomedical data. They all rest on the work done in the 1970s by the IEEE and ANSI, to provide guides for the prevention of interference with electronic devices. Originally all these standards had nothing to do with health.

Other standards, such as the Australian standard [international note 12], are different because larger safety margins are used.

See international note 17.


Not any more! The Australian/New Zealand standards body broke up because consumer, medical and scientific (CSIRO) representatives wanted to include a 'precautionary statement', while the industry (which dominated) rejected this and insisted on raise the one lower occupational exposure level to match ICNIRP standards. Prior to this, the New Zealand consumer and medical representatives had also pulled out because of the same industry strength and attempts to raise the levels.

11) Does the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) have safety guidelines?

Yes. Until 1996 the FCC used an out-dated (1982) ANSI standard that was really designed for occupational, rather than public exposure. In 1996 the FCC adopted a new standard that [11] is based on the newer (1992) ANSI standard, but which is not identical to it [12].

This new FCC standard applies to all new transmitters licensed after 15-Oct-97, but existing facilities have until year 1-Sep-2000 to demonstrate compliance.

(Fist) However the FCC doesn't check compliance, and it has never charged anyone with breaching conditions. It openly admits this to Congressional Inquiries.

12) Can cellular phone and PCS base station antennas meet the safety standards?

Yes. With proper design , cellular phone and PCS base station antennas can meet all safety standards by a wide margin.

A low-gain PCS and/or cellular base station antenna, mounted 40 ft off the ground and operated at the maximum possible intensity, might produce a power density as high as 0.02 mW/cm-sq on the ground near the antenna site; but ground level power densities will more often be in the 0.0001 to 0.005 mW/cm-sq range [57]. These power densities are far below all the safety standards, and the standards themselves are set far below the level where potentially hazardous effects have been seen.

Within about 500 ft of the base of the antenna site, the power density may be greater at elevations above the base of the antenna site (for example, at the second floor of a building or on a hill). Even with multiple antennas, and with both cellular phone and PCS antennas on the same tower, power densities will be less than 2% of the guidelines at all heights and at all distances of more than 170 feet from an antenna site.

Further than about 500 ft from the antenna site power density does not rise with increased elevation.

Power density inside a building will be lower by a factor of 3 to 20 than outside [54].

Peterson et al [77] measured power densities around cell phone base stations. The measurements were for 1600 W (ERP) low-gain antennas on towers that ranged from 120 to 250 feet in height. The maximum power density on the ground was 0.002 mW/cm-sq, and the maximum was at 50-200 feet from the base of the towers. Within 300 feet of the base of the towers, the average power density was less than 0.001 mW/cm-sq.

The relationship between the RF levels required to produce known biological effects, the RF levels specified in the FCC safety guidelines, and the RF levels found around mobile phone base stations is shown in the following figure.

Standards for Mobile Phone Base Stations

level.gif (5114 bytes)


13) Are there circumstances where cellular phone and PCS base station antennas could fail to meet the safety standards?

Yes. There are some circumstances under which an improperly designed cellular phone and PCS base station antenna could violate safety standards (when not sited and operated in accordance with the Maastricht Precautionary Principle).

Safety standards for uncontrolled (public) exposure could be violated if antennas were mounted in such a way that the public could gain access to areas within 20 feet of the antennas themselves [18]. This could arise for antennas mounted on, or near, the roofs of buildings (the word "grudging" comes to mind, as used in our intro above - it's also worth pointing out that Moulder is here admitting that even given reckless acceptance of the heating effect definition of health hazard, and given installation and operation to the highest possible standards, then there is still a prudent separation/insulation zone that is many times larger than that unscrupulously peddled by phone companies, to landlords, school operators, and technologically naive bureaucrats having statutory and tortious duties in relation to environmental health considerations).  For antennas mounted on towers, it is very difficult to imagine a situation that would not meet the (heating effect) safety standards - for antennas mounted on or adjacent to schools and apartment blocks it is very easy to "imagine a situation" that would constitute real health hazards other than the danger of being cooked.

In a 30-April-1999 letter to the FCC, Robert Brenner (EPA Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation) stated:

"The FCC guidelines expressly take into account thermal effects of RF energy, but do not directly address postulated non-thermal effects, such as those due to chronic exposure."

Safety standards for controlled (occupational) exposure could be violated if antennas were mounted on a structure where worker access to areas within 10 feet the antennas is required [18]. Peterson et al [77], for example, found that 2-3 feet from a 1600 W (ERP) low-gain roof-top antenna, the power density was as high as 2 mW/cm-sq (compared to the ANSI [9] public exposure standard of 1.2 to 0.57 mW/cm-sq).

14) What siting criteria are required to ensure that a cellular phone and PCS base station antenna will meet safety standards?

While specific recommendations require a detailed knowledge of the site, the antenna, and the mounting structure, some general criteria can be set (as set out here).

14A) What are some general siting criteria?

  1. Antenna sites should be designed so that the public cannot access areas that exceed the 1992 ANSI [5] or FCC [11] standards for public exposure. As a general rule, the uncontrolled (public) exposure standard cannot be exceeded more than 20 feet from an antenna [18].
  2. If there are areas accessible to workers that exceed the 1992 ANSI [5] or FCC [11] standards for uncontrolled (public) exposure, make sure workers know where the areas are, and what precautions need to be taken when entering these areas. In general, this would be areas less than 20 feet from the antennas [18].
  3. If there are areas that exceed the 1992 ANSI [5] or FCC [11] standards for controlled (occupational) exposure, make sure that workers know where these areas are, and that they can (and do) power-down (or shut down) the transmitters when entering these areas. Such areas may not exist; but if they do, they will be confined to areas within 10 feet of the antennas [18].

If there are questions about whether these guidelines are met, compliance should be verified by measurements done after the antennas are activated.

The FCC guidelines [11] require detailed calculations and/or measurement of radiofrequency radiation for some high-power rooftop transmitters, and some high-power transmitters whose antennas are mounted on low towers [19].

In general, the above guidelines will always be met when antennas are placed on their own towers. Problems, when they exist, are generally confined to:

  • Antennas placed on the roofs of buildings; particularly where multiple cellular and/or PCS base station antennas for different carriers are mounted on the same building;
  • Antennas placed on structures that require access by workers (both for regular maintenance, and for uncommon events such as painting or roofing).

See international note 19.

14B) How can you tell the difference between a high-gain (sector) antenna and a low-gain (whip) antenna?

Because siting criteria for high- and low-gain antennas are different it is important to be able to tell them apart. Fortunately, the antennas look rather different:

Distinguish the Two Antenna Types

antenna2.gif (5885 bytes)

Even from a distance the site (towers) for high- and low-gain antennas look different. When high-gain antennas are mounted on buildings, they may not be obvious, particularly if they are mounted to the sides of building, or more commonly to the sides of penthouses.

different Ways to Mount Antennas

tower2.gif (6794 bytes)

14C) What is the difference between the RF patterns for high-gain and low-gain antennas?

The RF patterns for the two different types of antennas are very different. For a low-gain (whip) antenna of the type used by most cell phone bases stations, the pattern looks like this:

RF Emissions from a 1000 W ERP Low-Gain Antenna
(Typical analog cell phone base station antenna)

lowgain2.gif (8705 bytes)

Very (?) close to a low-gain antenna (in what is technically known as the "near field"), the power density around an antenna (when in an operational state described by the figures in the diagram) looks like this (gee ! - now why does the phrase 'dazzle with technological quackery' come to mind ?):

RF Emissions from a 1000 W ERP Low-Gain Antenna
(Top view of the power density close to the antenna)

lowgainnear2.gif (6005 bytes)

The data for the above figure were adapted (indeed) (with permission) from drawings provided by UniSite Inc. of Tampa, Florida (http://www.unisite.com).

For a high-gain (sector) antenna of the type used in PCS base stations, the pattern looks like this:

RF Emissions from a Single 1000 W ERP High-Gain Antenna
(Typical digital cell phone or PCS base station antenna)

highgain2.gif (8533 bytes)

Keep in mind that a typical PCS base station will use 3 (or occasionally 4) of these transmission antennas, all pointing in different directions.

Very close to a single high-gain antenna (in what is technically known as the "near field"), the power density around an antenna looks like this:

RF Emissions from a Single 1000 W ERP High-Gain Antenna
(Top view of the power density close to the antenna)

highgainnear2.gif (5646 bytes)

The data for the above figure were adapted (with permission) from drawings provided by UniSite Inc. of Tampa, Florida (http://www.unisite.com).

14D) Is it safe to live on the top floor of a building that has a cell phone or base station antenna on it?

In general this will not be a problem. That (unsupported) assertion is another scandalous misrepresentation of facts. Whether or not it is "safe to live on the top floor" - or to walk in the street, is determined by whether good practice and compliance with the Maastricht precautionary principle, has been rigorously enforced. Lousy practice by phone company contractors, negligent local administrations and landlords, unscrupulous phone companies and their often university/RPB based paid "consultants", all add up to real health hazard the level of which is in direct proportion to one's  proximity to the radiators of radiation.

  1. As can be seen from the antenna patterns shown in Q14C, neither high- or low-gain antennas radiate much energy straight down ("as can be seen from Q14C" etc, arrays of either or both high and low gain antennas radiate sufficient energy, downwards and in other directions, in amount and form capable of producing non thermal effects on human physiological systems, unless there is sufficient separation or screening in accordance with measured (as distinct from the skewed outcome of biased calculations) radiation .
  2. The roof of the building will absorb large amounts of the RF energy. Typically a roof would be expected to decrease signal strength by a factor of 5 to 10 (or more for a reinforced concrete or metal roof) ("typically" unscrupulous use of vague descriptions of the various unquantified inputs to an equation the outcome of which is absorption of admittedly "large amounts of the rf energy".  Gee !   - and Moulder asserted that these "large amounts of the radio frequency energy" radiated downwards and absorbed by the roof  are "not much", on a technoquack's scale of values.
  3. FCC (but not its UK counterpart, the relatively furtive RPB) will require RF evaluations of all but the most low-powered roof-top transmitters (see Q14 and note 11 and 19).
  4. Even a worst-case calculation predicts that power density on the floor below (as a result of absorption of "large amounts of the rf energy by the roof" - presumably) an antenna will meet all current RF safety standards [55].
  5. Actual measurements in top floor apartments and corridors confirm the power density will be far below all current RF safety standards [55].
  6. Comments 1 to 5 are nearly truthful in a narrow set of circumstances only.  The bottom line is that if children are bathed in non ionising radiation that is radiated by expensive radiators that exist for that purpose, at levels set out in papers linked to at the foot of this page, physiological effects also set out in those papers, ranging from raised blood pressure through changed brain permeability to chromosome changes, are ipso facto inflicted on those children. A charitable view is that Moulder's comments are founded on an assumption of an unlikely level of expensively perfect practices by all concerned.

14E) Are use restrictions or "set-backs" required around cellular phone or PCS base station antenna sites? Q16

No. Radiofrequency safety guidelines do not require either setbacks or use restrictions around cellular or PCS base station antenna sites, since power levels on the ground are never high enough to exceed the guidelines for continuous public exposure (see Q8 and Q12).

As discussed in Q13 and Q14, there may be circumstances where use restrictions will have to be placed around the antennas themselves.

(Fist) Why? If what he says is true about absorption levels, there's not a chance in hell of anyone getting to critical levels. These two statements are trivial, but they contradict each other.

14F) What precautions need to be taken when working around mobile phone base station antennas?

A detailed discussion of radio-frequency radiation occupational safety guidelines is beyond the scope of this (biased) FAQ.

In a detailed discussion of guidelines for telecommunications antenna installation, Tell [116] makes the following recommendations:

Specific Antenna Installation Guidelines (from Tell [116])

  1. For roof-mounted antennas, elevate the transmitting antennas above the height of people who may have to be on the roof.
  2. For roof-mounted antennas, keep the transmitting antennas away from the areas where people are most likely to be (e.g., roof access points, telephone service points, HVAC equipment).
  3. For roof-mounted directional antennas, place the antennas near the periphery and point them away from the building.
  4. Consider the trade off between large aperture antennas (lower maximum RF) and small aperture antennas (lower visual impact).
  5. Remember that RF standards are stricter for lower-frequency antennas (e.g., 900 Mhz) than for higher-frequency antennas (e.g., 1800 MHz).
  6. Take special precautions to keep higher-power antennas away from accessible areas.
  7. Keep antennas at a site as for apart as possible; although this may run contrary to local zoning requirements.
  8. Take special precautions when designing "co-location" sites, where multiple antennas owned by different companies are on the same structure. This applies particularly to sites that include high-power broadcast (FM/TV) antennas. Local zoning often favors co-location, but co-location can provide "challenging" RF safety problems.

Work Practices for Reducing Radio-frequency Radiation Exposure (from Tell [116])

  1. Individuals working at antenna sites should be informed about the presence of RF radiation, the potential for exposure and the steps they can take to reduce their exposure.
  2. "If radiofrequency radiation at a site can exceed the FCC standard for general public/uncontrolled exposures, then the site should be posted with appropriate signs." [Per Richard Tell, personal communication, Feb 2000]
  3. Radio-frequency radiation levels at a site should modeled before the site is built.
  4. Radio-frequency radiation levels at a site should measured.
  5. Assume that all antennas are active at all times.
  6. Disable (lock out) all attached transmitters before working on an antenna.
  7. Use personal monitors to ensure that all transmitters have actually been shut down.
  8. Keep a safe distance from antennas. "As a practical guide for keeping [radio-frequency radiation] exposures low, maintain a 3-4 ft [1-1.2 m] distance from any [telecommunications] antenna."[116]
  9. "Keep on moving" and "avoid unnecessary and prolonged exposure in close proximity to antennas".
  10. At some site (e.g., multiple antennas in a restricted space where some antennas cannot be shut down) it may be necessary to use protective clothing.
  11. Remember that there are many non-RF hazards at most sites (e.g., dangerous machinery, electric shock hazard, falling hazard), so allow only authorized, trained personnel at a site.
  12. In other words, exercise appropriate precautions but don't let local inhabitants in on the act.

15) Does everyone agree with the current RF safety standards?

Not everyone. Even among (those) scientists (who are heavily dependant on industry or dot gov patronage) there are a few people who claim that there is evidence that low level exposure to RF is hazardous (see, for example, Q15B and Q15C). However, even these scientists generally do not argue that power densities as low as those found around properly-designed (and appropriately separated from children by distance or insulation) base station antenna sites are hazardous.

(Fist)  .......... if that statement is intended to say that biomedical scientists working the the electro-magnetic/radio fields are all confident that there will be no long-term effects. ... that low incidence yet serious health effects, accumulated over a life-time are impossible ... then this is a mistatement of fact.

The worries many of these researchers is not with the likelihood of people falling down in the streets and having an epileptic fit when passing a cellphone tower. They are concerned with the possability that the community may experience a rise in the existing low levels of childhood leukemia, and with accumulated life-time exposures leading to higher levels of senility, cancers, etc.

15A) Does the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) thinks that the current safety standards for cellular and PCS phones are adequate?

Yes. The EPA asked the FCC to adopt parts of the 1986 NCRP guidelines [7] rather than the entire 1992 ANSI guidelines [5]. This the FCC did [11], and EPA has formally endorsed the FCC safety standards.

(Fist) The EPA is not a monolithic organisation with a single view on such matters. It is not a thinking-machine capable of formulating a logic position; it is a collection of bureaucrats and scientists each with distinct ideas..

What Moulder is expressing here is only an official view, expressed by the most senior bureaucrat, the one with the most power and with the political stance. This view is merely the one current with this administration, only at this time.

Over the years many highly respected EPA scientists have expressed fears about cellphone exposure levels.

Dr. Carl F. Blackman of EPA was one of the first scientists to recognise EMF bio-effects back in the late 1970s, and the EPA was the first government agency to define EMF as a "probable" carcinogen. (This statement was quickly squashed by EPA management.) Blackman was also one of the key scientists participating in the October 25-27 1998 Vienna Workshop which promoted a precautionary principle and called for more research as a matter of urgency, and he co-founded BEMS (The BioElectroMagnetics Society) of research scientists 20 years ago.

Blackman writes:

    "Actually, we have been reporting non-thermal effects since our 1979 publication:
    Blackman, C.F., Elder, J.A., Weil, C.M., Benane, S.G., Eichinger, D.C., and House, D.E.
    Induction of calcium ion efflux from brain tissue by radio-frequency radiation: Effects of modulation-frequency and field strength.
    Radio Science 14(6S), 93-98, 1979."

In a 25-Jul-96 letter to Reed Hunt (Chairman of the FCC), Carol Browner (Director of EPA) wrote:

"We have reviewed... 'FCC Draft of July 2, 1996, in the Matter of Guidelines for Evaluating The Environmental Effects of Radiofrequency Radiation'. This new approach... addresses our concerns about adequate protection of public health. I commend you for taking this approach..."

In a 17-Jan-97 follow-up letter to Reed Hunt (Chairman of the FCC), Mary Nichols (EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation) wrote:

"I would like to reiterate EPA's support of FCC's final RF exposure guidelines issued in August [of 1996] as providing adequate protection of public health."


(Fist)  According to the EPA, the FCC standard is based on both the NCRP (UK standard) and the ANSI/IEEE standards, which "are thermally based, and do not apply to chronic, nonthermal exposure situations."

Let me also give you a quote:

    " The Federal Communications Commission last August (1996) adopted stricter RF exposure standards recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency. The new guidelines were challenged by industry for being too tough and by consumer advocates for not being tough enough. A decision on those challenges has been held up for months by a companion proposal addressing RF-related antenna siting disputes between local governments and wireless phone companies."

In a 30-April-1999 letter to the FCC, Robert Brenner (EPA Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation) stated:

"The FCC guidelines expressly take into account thermal effects of RF energy, but do not directly address postulated non-thermal effects, such as those due to chronic exposure. (agreed) That is the case largely because of the paucity of scientific research on chronic, non-thermal health effects (so what?). The information base on non-thermal health effects has not changed significantly since the EPA's original comments in 1993 and 1996 (not true). A few (dozen? hundred?) studies report that at non-thermal levels, long term exposure to RF energy may (may?) have biological consequences. The majority of currently available studies suggests, however, that there are no significant non-thermal human health hazards (not true). It therefore continues to be EPA's view that the FCC exposure guidelines adequately protect the public from all scientifically established harms that may result from RF energy fields generated by FCC licensees (IF that is the view then it is mistaken)."

15B) Hasn't an Australian group claimed that there is evidence that living near TV broadcast towers causes an increase in childhood leukemia?

Yes and no. That claim was made in 1996, but follow-up studies in Australia (see below) and in the UK (see Q15D) contradict this claim.

Hocking and colleagues [28] published an "ecological" epidemiology study that compares municipalities "near TV towers" to those further away.(Fist)  [It wasn't "ecological"; it was a standard statistical survey using Health Department records.] No RF exposures were actually measured, (Fist) [Mainly because the exposures happened years before.] but the authors calculate that exposures in the municipalities "near TV towers" were 0.0002 to 0.008 mW/cm-sq. No other sources of exposure to RF are taken into account, (Fist) [As is the case with every other study of this kind. The intention is to isolate one factor, and see if it had any effect -- not to look at a confusion of causes.] and the study is based on only a single metropolitan area. (Fist)  [Sydney has four million people and is one of the world's largest cities. Most epidemiological studies are based on one metropolitican area] The authors report an elevated incidence of total leukemia and childhood leukemia, but no increase in total brain tumor incidence or childhood brain tumor incidence. (Fist) [Does the lack of brain tumours somehow lessen the leukemia finding? I find this sort of loaded statement difficult to comprehend.]


    Never in the history of epidemiology has any finding of this kind been announced, without ten other epidemiologists jumping into print and suggesting there could be other causes (confounders). That is the way this science operates. So why should Hocking's research be any different?

    McKenzie suggested that the cause of the excess leukemias could be the presence of a pre-1900 industrial site in one suburb which he thought may have left some toxic remnants, or possibly it resulted from houses being built on the sites of old petrol stations (lead contamination) . But he gave no measurements or other supporting evidence that this was the case -- just raised them as possibilities -- and so his ideas are much thinner in statistical causal links than Hocking's original TV-tower suggestion.

    Why does Moulder assume that McKenzie's guesses invalidated the original statistical finding?

    Nor was Hocking's research the only one to find such linkages; as Moulder well knows there have been a half-dozen studies of this kind around the world that mostly seem to show higher levels of childhood cancers clustered around mast sites. Some are less than convincing, but some are very worrying.

More detailed epidemiology studies of FM/TV antennas in the U.K. have not found evidence for a cancer connection (see Q15D).

    Not true as a bald statement.

    Helen Dolk's study of Sutton Coldfield found:

      The rates of adult leukemia were nearly twice the expected rate within two kilometers of a joint TV and FM tower operated by the BBC in Sutton Coldfields, Birmingham. The risk of leukemia declined with distance to a highly significant degree. Within half a kilometer there were nine times the expected number of cases.

In 1998, McKenzie and colleagues [62] repeated the Hocking study [28]. McKenzie and colleagues looked at the same area, and at the same time period; but they made more precise estimates of the RF exposure that people got in various areas.(Fist)  [Who says they were more precise. They were just different.] They found increased childhood leukemia in one area near the TV antennas, but not in other similar areas near the same TV antennas;(Fist)  [Hocking drew rings around the towers and looked at those cases in the various annulars -- McKenzie looked at suburbs. This is a form of data-mining, since you'll always find some suburbs with more and some with less.] and they found no significant correlation between RF exposure and the rate of childhood leukemia.(Fist)  [Some areas correlated, some didn't.] They also found that much of the "excess childhood leukemia" reported by Hocking et al occurred before high-power 24-hour TV broadcasting had started. (Fist) [But with 18 hour a day broadcasting! The 24-hour claim is a furphy.] This replication study, plus the failure to find any effect in the larger UK studies (see Q15D), suggests that correlation reported by Hocking et al [28] was an artifact.


    I don't accept that statement; it's complete crap. The McKenzie study just raised other possible 'confounders' (alternate possible causes), and Hocking had already considered a number of possible confounders -- including lead in petrol from a concentration of highways in the area.

    What made the Sydney study so valuable, was that many of the normal social-strata confounders were able to be excluded. Sydney's TV towers are in the middle of miles of homogenous middle-class suburbs, not in slums. So, in fact, Hocking's original study had less confounders than normal.

    Transmitter towers and cancers.

    There are now a number of reports of raised levels of leukemia and cancer near broadcasting and microwave towers.

    • Dolk - Sutton Coldfields (1997 - but not the second one)
    • Hocking - Sydney TV (1996)
    • Honolulu - broadcasting (1987);
    • Honolulu - Navy communications (1987)
    • Scotland - Navy communications (1992)
    • Portland, Oregon (1982)
    • Lookout Mountain, Colorado (1998)
    • Also: A University of Bern (1996) Schwarzenberg study on short wave masts showed that people nearby changed behavior when exposed and not exposed, and without descending into the ridiculous, a Loscher & Kas (1998) study found that cows behaved strangely in proximity to transmission towers.

15C) Hasn't an Israeli epidemiologist claimed that there is evidence that low-level RF exposure causes a variety of health effects?

Yes. In a 1995 article labeled an "opinion piece", Goldsmith [29A] argues that there is evidence that RF exposure is associated with mutations, birth defect, and cancer. This review is based largely on what the author admits to be "non-peer-reviewed sources", most of which are stated to be "incomplete" and to lack "reliable dose estimates". The author further states that "no systematic effort to include negative reports is made; thus this review has a positive reporting bias".


    Professor John Goldsmith was trying to redress the imbalance of constant industry claims that there are NO EFFECTS. His "opinion piece" was precisely that -- the opinion of a highly respected environmental scientist.

    His credentials are:

    • 1957-78 In charge of Research on the Health Effects of Air Pollution for the California Health Department in Berkeley.
    • Two years seconded to the World Health Organization in Geneva
    • Two years with the U.S. National Cancer Institute in Bethesda working on environmenal factors in cancer epidemiologist.
    • Professor of Epidemiology and Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University, Israel. This is not an opinion to be lightly dismissed. He has based much of his statements in this particular paper on 'non-peer reviewed sources' because most of the research (probably the majority) is never published in peer-review journals. Many journals won't touch this subject with a barge-pole, while others like Radiation Research have very obvious, one-sided, editorial policies, and some survive on grants from the cellphone industry. In an article based on a 1996 meeting presentation 29B] Goldsmith argues that epidemiological studies "suggest that RF exposures are potentially carcinogenic and have other health effects". His conclusions are based largely on:
      - studies of RF exposure at the US embassy in Moscow (see
      Q16 and Hill [68]);
      - the "geographical correlation" studies of Hocking et al [28] and Dolk et al [34, 35] that are discussed in Q15B and Q15D;
      - the study of Korean war radar operators by Robinette et al [67] that is discussed in Q16.

        Professor John Goldsmith was, at that time, (he died recently) the head of Epidemiology and Health Services Evaluation Unit at Ben Gurion University, and his opinions would carry at least as much weight in the scientific world as those of Professor John Moulder. What's more he is a specialist in epidemiology, not in radiation cancer, so in any question like this involving overviews and public health statistics, his opinion would carry much more weight.

        He said in a letter to me (quoting one of his own papers):

          "I find the epidemiological data [on cellular phone problems] strongly suggestive of multiple human health effects, including cancer, reproductive impairment (spontaneous abortion), and effects on the nervous system and hematological system.

      Few scientists agree with the opinions expressed by Goldsmith (see, for examples the reviews of the RF epidemiology in 1, 5, 6, 7, 14, 53); and even fewer would be willing to base a conclusion on the types of data sources that Goldsmith relies on.

        False about "most scientists". Neither John Moulder or I know what "most scientists" think, and we are even less able to weight the multitude of these "most scientists's" knowledge and opinions according to its relevance.

        Are the opinions of two sociologists equal to one radiation oncologist? What is the balance between the opinions of ten cellphone engineers and one biomedial researcher?

        Such bald statements as "Few scientist agree..." is a form of special pleading, which shows a complete lack of scientific objectivity.

        True about basing conclusions on data sources mentioned only in an opinion paper. John Goldsmith himself would be the last person to base his conclusions on data presented in this one paper, one that he wrote for intelligent lay readers . But this paper was only one of many he published over the years. He spent a life-time reading extensive piles of material published by other epidemiologists and biomedical researchers and was a diligent researcher on such matters until the end of his life.

        One would only hope that other scientists had the same experience, diligence, specialised knowledge and acquired wisdom.

      15D) Hasn't a British group reported excess leukemia and lymphoma around a high-power FM/TV broadcast antenna?

      Yes and no. Dolk and colleagues [34] investigated a reported leukemia and lymphoma cluster near a high-power FM/TV broadcast antenna at Sutton Coldfield in the UK. They found that the incidence of adult leukemia and skin cancer was elevated within 2 km of the antenna, and that the incidence of these cancers decreased with distance. No associations at all were seen for brain cancer, male or female breast cancer, lymphoma or any other type of cancer.

      Because of this finding, Dolk and colleagues [35] extended their study to 20 other high-power FM/TV broadcast antennas in the UK. Cancers examined were adult leukemia, skin melanoma and bladder cancer, and childhood leukemia and brain cancer. No elevations of cancer incidence were found near the antennas, and no declines in cancer incidence with distance were seen. This large study does not support the results found in the much smaller studies by the same authors at Sutton Coldfield [34] or by Hocking et al [28] in Australia.

        A zero finding does not cancel out a positive finding. All it does is raise further questions as to why such differences have arisen. The differences could be the result of bad experimental methodology -- but in which study? They could just be evidence of community variability, or of the blanketing effect of other environmental pollutants?
          These questions are part of clarifying the problem to be researched, not the solution. Differences which arise could be an artifact of the geographic variability in migrant settlement patterns, or they could come from local environmental pollution, or be the result of a hundred other factors. Epidemiology tends to raise questions rather than solve them.

      15E) Haven't a British and a New Zealand researcher claimed that there is evidence that low-intensity RF exposure is hazardous?

      Yes and no. Roger Coghill (U.K.) and Neil Cherry (New Zealand) have been quoted in the mass media as claiming that there is evidence that RF exposure is hazardous at intensities well below the ANSI, FCC, ICNIRP and NRPB guidelines.

        It is an interesting question as to why these two 'activists' have been selected. I could name about fifty or so British and New Zealand scientists who share these opinions to various degrees.

      Roger Coghill appears to be an "environmental manager", who runs a laboratory that makes [permanent?] magnets "to help people suffering from muscular or arthritic pain" [59]. He has self-published a document [58] that explains "Coghill's hypothesis of cerebral morphogenic radiation". Apparently, Coghill believes that "the brain is actually a organic fully operational radio transmission station... that is in radio contact with every cell in its body" [59]. He appears to base his theory heavily on "Eastern European" research that has not been published in the West [59].

        This is the old debating trick of picking out one member of the opposite side who can be subject to ridicule, or who appears to hold extreme views. Then set him/her up as if he is representative of all your opponents. It's a form of demonising.

        I could do the same. Let me similarly point to the IEEE's principle expert in exposure standards: John Osepchuk, who is an associate of Dr Michael Repacholi, director of the WHO's EMF Project. I give you a couple of paragraphs from an article supporting this home-heating proposal:

        Brave New World of Microwave Heating

            The Microwave Research Centre in Marlborough, New Hampshire, U.S.A. have come up with a new, somewhat novel concept in oven design. Instead of cooking your chook in your microwave, you can warm yourself and your family by flooding your home with microwave radiation to give that "warm inner glow" on those cold winter days.

            Such a room may contain a hole in the wall allowing a standard 800 watt transmitter such as that used in a conventional microwave oven, to beam microwaves into the room. In order to prevent the microwaves escaping, the walls would need to be clad with a metallic reflecting surface. In order to prevent reflected microwaves concentrating into hot spots, the room will have to be 'stirred' by large metallic blades attached to the walls. As these blades revolve around their long axises, they reflect microwaves in different directions and stop hot spots from forming - microwave cookers contain similar devices.

            Making all this attractive to the eye may be a home decorator's nightmare. Nevertheless Charles Buffler, of the Microwave Research Centre, says such a home heating system would be a highly efficient way of keeping warm.

          He has calculated that microwave heating systems could cut household heating bills by 75%. An added bonus is that since microwaves cause light bulbs to fluoresce, such a heating system could also double as the power supply for a system of wireless lights.

            John Osepchuk, a long standing member of the American Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers, (IEEE) an organisation involved in setting microwave exposure limits, feels that "Getting public acceptance of the idea will be the biggest problem"..."At the moment we have a pervasive electrophobia. People are scared stiff of the prospect".

           . . . . . . . . I don't wonder!

      Neil Cherry is an elected official from New Zealand. and a "Senior Lecturer in Agricultural Meteorology" [60].

        [I don't know why "elected official" came to be regarded as important, or why "agricultural" was slipped in here ahead of meteorologist? Cherry is a Meterorologist who is highly regarded in his community, enough to be elected to his local council. Is this an attempt to belittle Cherry's skills, knowledge, and reputation by intimating that he is some sort of big-government, bureaucrat, corn-ball farm-weather predictor? Could it be an appeal to the prejudices of the Religious Right?

        What difference is there between an Agricultural Meteorologist and a normal Meteorologist? Dr Neil Cherry is an unpaid councillor on the Christchurch City Council, and has a world reputation for his work on sub-atomic particles in the atmosphere over Antarctica.]

      Like Coghill, he has self-published a document on the hazards of exposure to low-intensity RF [60]. [Like Coghill and ten thousand other activists! What is the implication here? If Moulder brands them with the same lable, then suggests that one is a fruit-cake, he is by implication suggesting both are.] Cherry has been quoted in the mass media as saying that "EMF exposure" is "highly statistically associated with health effects although there is no scientific proof that EMF caused the health effects" [61]. [That's usually true of most of these health questions. I'm not sure that a causal connection has yet been proved between smoking and lung cancer -- but the statistics reveal a very strong and suggestive link.] According to Cherry, these health effects include "cancer at many sites in the body, sleep disruption, chronic fatigue syndrome, miscarriage, birth defects, altered human EEG and circadian rhythms and several other adverse effects." [61]. Cherry's ideas appear to depend heavily on the views of Goldsmith (Q15C) and Hocking (Q15B).[And about a hundred other scientists.]

      Neither Coghill nor Cherry have published anything in the peer-reviewed scientific literature to support their claims. [Nor has Moulder!] Both Coghill and Cherry mix discussions of power-frequency fields and RF as though they were biologically equivalent (which is almost certainly not correct), [ ... but only in Moulder's opinion. Neil Cherry is a scientist of at least equal standing here; he's an expert on electromagnetic effects in the atmosphere, while Moulder is a cancer specialist.] and to rely heavily on unpublished and non-reviewed sources (which are impossible to check). [Especially if you don't try.] Their comments to the mass media have been very vague as to the scientific basis for their opinions. [Rubbish. Cherry's publications are inches thick and loaded with references.] Until Coghill and Cherry present their theories in a peer-reviewed scientific forum, and back their theories with actual data, it is impossible for any scientist to take their theories seriously.

        I don't happen to agree with a lot of their claims either, but I accept their input into the dispute in the same way that I accept the opinions of John Moulder. They are all contributiors to an ongoing debate which need to be examined carefully and critically. Most of Coghill's ideas can be realtively easily dismissed, but Cherry commands much more respect.

        Cherry and Coghill are both activists with scientific knowledge and research backgrounds, and both have a keen interest in the subject. It is true that Coghill makes some money from selling protective products which is why most biomedical scientists subject everything he claims to microscopic scrutiny, and then usually reject it. Cherry, however, spends a fortune of his own money travelling the world and speaking about what he sees as very important health issue.

        If Moulder is going to condemn one as being mercenary in intent, then, to be consistent, he ought to be praising the other as being altruistic.

        What he is doing instead is trying to find a cheap way to shoot down an opponent who can match him in terms of knowledge and scientific standing (and strength of conviction) in this debate.

        Personally, I think they both go off at tangents and exaggerate their claims. And they would probably think I am ignorant of the facts and lack judgement. The world was ever thus.

        And I don't think either of them are much concerned with preaching to scientists (who would be expected to know most of this stuff anyway) as they are in providing an alternative view to the propaganda of the cellphone industry, for politicians and intelligent lay-people.

      15F) Hasn't a University of Washington (Seattle, U.S.A) researcher claimed that there is evidence that RF exposure from base stations is hazardous?

      Yes and no. Dr. Henry Lai (Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle) has claimed at meetings that "low intensity" RF radiation has effects on the nervous system of rats. Dr. Lai has further claimed at meetings that there are published studies showing that RF radiation can produce "health effects" at "very low field" intensities.

      Dr. Lai's own research has no obvious relevance to the safety of cell phone base stations since most of his studies were conducted with RF radiation intensities far above those that would be encountered near base stations. [But close to handset levels - and certainly enough to be worrying] In general, Dr. Lai's studies were done with at a power density of 1 mW/cm-sq and an SAR of 0.6 W/kg [31, 92, 93]. This RF radiation intensity is over 100 times greater than that would be encountered in publicly-accessible areas near FCC-compliant base stations [16], and substantially exceeds the SAR limit that forms the basis of the FCC [11] and ANSI [5] safety guidelines for public exposure [17]. [Is Moulder suggesting here that only rat research conducted at exposure levels equal to FCC human safety guidelines should be accepted? If so, he's knocked out 99% of all research in this area.]For further discussion of the research on possible effects of RF radiation on the nervous system see reviews by Lai [93] and Juutilainen and de Seze [90].

        These claims must be kept in context. Remember that, until recently, Moulder and most other ionising researchers claimed that it was just not possible for radio waves to have any effects of this kind. Now this claim is being modified to "its not possible for cellphone towers....." and claims that the exposure levels used in rat research were different to that of a human standing near a tower.

      At a meeting in Vienna in 1998, and in a letter sent to public officials in 1999, Dr. Lai referenced six studies in support of his claim that there is data showing that RF radiation can produce "health effects" at "very low field" intensities. These studies were:

      • Changes in the blood-brain barrier (Salford et al, 1997). An as-yet unpublished meeting presentation.
      • Changes in cell proliferation (Kwee and Rasmark, 1997). This is an unpublished study that may be the same as that published by Kwee and Rasmark in 1998 [76].
      • Decreased fertility in mice (Magras and Xenos, 1997) [86].
      • Decreased eating and drinking in mice (Ray and Behari, 1990) [88].
      • Changes in calcium transport in cells (Dutta et al, 1989) [89].
      • DNA damage (Phillips et al, 1998) [78].

      A review of the above studies finds little actual support for Dr. Lai's claim.

        There seems to be a lot left out of possible lists of research which support Dr Henry Lai's findings:

        DNA changes after cellphone-type exposures

        • Dr Jerry Phillips and Prof. Ross Adey have both found damage to DNA.
        • Dr Soma Sarka, back in 1994, used direct DNA analysis to study the effect of low power microwave on the mouse genome. She was looking for potential mutagenic effects and found significant changes in both the testis and brain.
        • In the March, 1999 issue (page 300) of Moulder's own magazine Radiation Research, there is an article by Professor Roti-Roti reporting that exposure to cell phone RF-signals caused a 2 fold activation of the c-fos gene in fibroblasts. [The study was supported by Motorola.] This c-fos is a proto-oncogene which is almost certainly related to cancer development. And DNA strand breaks are known to activate this gene.
        • Martin Meltz found DNA damage in different studies. He used as an indicator of DNA damage, increases in micronucleus formation in human lymphocytes exposed to cell phone radiation -- and this is a very insensitive approach. It requires a lot of damage before the evidence is revealed.
        • Ed Warner found much the same using the same techniques.
        • Maes and Collier found that microwave fields increased the mutation rate of DNA (in the presence of a carcinogen), over that due to the carcinogen alone, using cellphone (954 MHz) frequencies. This was published in a peer-review journal .(Environmental Molecular Mutagens 28:26-30, 1996).
        • Dr F. Uckun at the Wayne Hughes Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota has now provided the researchers with a plausable mechanism as to how this occurs: "Uckun's work provides key information for beginning to understand how magnetic field exposure may lead to biological effects," notes Jerry Phillips.
        • I'm certain that there are many more, and the list could be extended if you include research which reveals the presence of excessive ODC. This is an emzyme that controls growth functions (and therefore DNA) at the sub-cellular level. "Over expression" (excess) of ODC can lead to "neoplastic transformtion" (DNA changes and cancer development). ODC has been shown (Byus 1988 and many others) to increase, following exposure to low levels of modulated microwave.

      One of the studies, Salford et al, has never been published and cannot be evaluated.

        I think he means this one:

          Salford et al. (1997) Change in blood-brain-barrier, 0.0004 W/kg [Presented at the 2nd World Congress on Biology and Medicine of Electricity and Magnetism]

      • But it could be this one:

          L.G. Salford, et al., Experimental Studies of Brain Tumor Development During Exposure to Continuous and Pulsed 915 Mhz Radiofrequency Radiation, BIOCHEMISTRY & BIOENERGETICS (1993)).

        Salford also published blood-brain barrier research results in 1992, 1993 and 1997 and his research has been evaluated, and widely accepted, all over the world. In fact he is seen as the world expert in this area of study.

      UK Daily Mail

      Saturday 6th November 1999
      Front Page Headlines


      by Beezy Marsh (Medical Reporter)

      [SNIP] Neurologists claim users could be at risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease because of radiation emissions from the phone handsets.

      A study found that only two minutes of exposure can disable a safety barrier in the body which is meant to protect the brain from harmful substances in the blood. Once they invade, there is a higher chance of developing disease of the brain and nervous system.

      [SNIP] The latest evidence, from a Swedish study, explains how mobile phone radiation can set of what could be a disastrous chain reaction in the body.

      Researchers at Lund University carried out experiments on rats using microwaves fields which mimicked mobile phone emissions. After two minutes exposure, the rats' blood-brain safety barrier opened up, allowing proteins and toxins to enter the brain.

      Worryingly, even when the microwaves were not strong enough to heat up the rats' heads, the scientists detected poisonous activity deep in the centre of their brains.

      This suggests that current World Health Organisation guideline on mobile phone use, based on minimum radiation heating levels, may not be enough to protect users.

      Professor Leif Salford, the neurologist who carried out the research, said: " We saw opening of the blood-brain barrier even after a short exposure to radiation at the same level as mobile phones" "We are not sure yet whether this is a harmful effect, but it seems that molecules such as proteins and toxins can pass out of the blood, while the phone is switched on, and enter the brain." "We need to bear in mind diseases such as MS and Alzheimer's which are linked to proteins being found in the brain."

      Professor Salford said his team came up with the same findings when they repeated the experiment. "So we think we are on to something very significant," he said. Proteins are a normal part of the blood, but can cause nerve damage in they manage to get into the brain.

      Two of the studies [78, 88] do not actually report any statistically-significant effects.

      • Ray and Behari [88] reported that exposed animals merely "tended" to eat and drink less than the controls, and that the effect largely disappeared by the end of the exposure period.
      • Phillips et al [78] reported that exposure caused increased DNA damage in 3 of 12 exposure regimens and decreased DNA damage in 4 of the other 9 regimens. The study found no overall effect and no pattern.

        You must view this in the context of Moulder's NO EFFECTS ARE POSSIBLE CLAIMS. In fact Dr Jerry Phillips was looking at the effects of different levels and types of RF on DNA damage and repair mechanisms -- both direct damage, and indirect damage -- and came to the conclusion (published in his paper, but not quoted by Moulder) that: " The data indicate a need to study the effects of exposure to RF signals on direct DNA damage and on the rate at which DNA damage is repaired."

        Dr Henry Lai comments: "The data of Phillips' make sense. Both increase and decrease in DNA breaks were observed. This is because he used a very low intensity of RF.

        When there is a persistent increase in DNA breaks, a cell will respond by generating more enzymes (so called 'DNA repair enzymes') to repair the breaks. This sometimes can lead to over-compensation and a decrease in breaks. Thus, the number of breaks we observe depends on a balance between the rate of breaking (e.g., due to RFR exposure) and the rate of repair: increase and decrease in DNA breaks can result.

        But, both outcomes indicate that RF causes DNA damage".

      The statistical significance of the "effects" reported in two other studies [76, 89] is open to question, as the effects reported are very small and appear in only some experiments.

      • Dutta et al [89] reported increased calcium efflux for only 6 of the 19 exposure regimens that were tested. Since the increases were unrelated to exposure intensity or frequency, they may be a multiple comparison artifact.
      • The "effect" reported by Kwee and Rasmark [76] is a 5-10% decreases in cell growth that was statistically significant in only 5 of 9 trials.

      Two of the studies [86, 88] have inadequate control groups, so that if there is an effect, there is no way to be certain that it was due to the RF.

      • Magras and Xenos [86] compared mouse fertility in breeding pairs kept in an "antenna park" with those kept in a laboratory. The conclusion that the effect on breeding was due to the RF rather than other environmental factors is purely speculative.
      • Ray and Behari [88] tightly confined their animals during exposure, but did not appear to similarly confine their controls. This type of "confinement stress" is known to cause changes in physiology and behavior (see discussion of Szmigielski et al [65] in Q23D).

      Several of the studies [88, 89] also use RF radiation intensities that substantially exceed anything that would be found in public areas near an FCC-compliant base station.

      Many of the "effects" reported have no known relationship to any human health hazard. For example, neither the changes in calcium efflux reported by Dutta et al [89], the small decreases in cell growth reported by Kwee and Rasmark [76], nor the small changes in food consumption reported by Ray and Behari [88] have any known significance for human health.

      All of the "effects" quoted by Dr. Lai have been the subject of other studies that have shown no such effects, including studies done at substantially higher field intensities.

        Moulder asks us to accept that his analysis of these research results is more significant and substantial than those of the researchers themselves, or of their peer research community. Many of these studies are seen as highly significant. A 5% change in mice exposed for a few months to cellphone exposures, could well mean disastrous changes in humans after 50 years of the same exposure.

        He is trying to trivialise the work of some highly recognised scientists around the world, because they produce findings he doesn't like. Certainly all findings of research scientists shouldn't be accepted blindly, but nor should it be disparaged blindly.

      15G) What about the claims on British, American and French TV that there is new data suggesting that cell phones might cause cancer?

      There appears to be no real basis for these claims.

        BULLSHIT! Some of them are very significant, and some are very important.

      In the summer and fall of 1999, programs on British, American and French TV claimed that there was new data suggesting that RF radiation from cell phones could cause injury to humans. Four sources of "new" information were generally cited:

      1. The study by Hardell et al [100] that is discussed in Q16.

          I have some doubts about this one also

      2. The study by Preece et al [97] that is discussed in Q19C.

          There is no doubt that the British government and scientific establishment see this as one of the most disturbing findings of the decade. It triggered a House of Commons inquiry.

      3. A new and unpublished genotoxicity study.
      4. A new and unpublished epidemiology study.
      5. He forgot to include the most important of all, a series of studies at Nottingham University by David de Pomerai (papers available). These showed radical changes to heat shock proteins in nematode worms, and a radical change in size, activity and the aging process when exposed to cellphone radiations for very short periods of time.
      6. London insurance market - here

      The last two of these "new" studies were only vaguely described in the TV reports, but they appear to be references to studies sponsored by the mobile phone industry in the US (under the program called WTR).[funded and tightly controlled by the cellphone industry] The biology study was presented at a meeting in March, 1999 and published abstracts are available [102, 103]. The epidemiology study was presented at a meeting in June 1999, but there is not even a published abstract.

        However there is a leaked copy of very revealing letter circulating from the WTR's science administrator, Dr George Carlo to a number of CEOs of the cellphone industry telling them that the industry's own research program had found pretty good evidence of brain tumour promotion. See the Letter

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) appears to have seen the studies, and published the following comments of 20-Oct-99 [for full text see http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/ocd/mobilphone.html].

      "Researchers conducted a large battery of laboratory tests to assess the effects of exposure to mobile phone RF on genetic material. These included tests for several kinds of abnormalities, including mutations, chromosomal aberrations, DNA strand breaks, and structural changes in the genetic material of blood cells called lymphocytes. None of the tests showed any effect of the RF except for the micronucleus assay, which detects structural effects on the genetic material. [Dare I suggest that these were "substantial structural effects", and found after only a few hours of exposure!] The cells in this assay showed changes after exposure to simulated cell phone radiation, but only after 24 hours of exposure. It is possible that exposing the test cells to radiation for this long resulted in heating. Since this assay is known to be sensitive to heating, heat alone could have caused the abnormalities to occur. [All scientists working in this area are well aware of heating effects, and would have been measuring, and taking all possible steps to make sure this didn't happen. This is a standard cop-out when the authorities don't like experimental findings.] The data already in the literature on the response of the micronucleus assay to RF are conflicting. Thus, follow-up research is necessary. [Tice et al. Tests of mobile phone signals for activity in genotoxicity and other laboratory assays. In: Annual Meeting of the Environmental Mutagen Society; 29 March 1999, Washington, D.C.; and personal communication, unpublished results.]."[Tice is a developer of the comet assay techniques and would therefore be very, very aware of the need to control temperature.]

      "In a hospital-based, case-control study, researchers looked for an association between mobile phone use and either glioma (a type of brain cancer) or acoustic neuroma (a benign tumor of the nerve sheath). No statistically significant association was found between mobile phone use and acoustic neuroma. There was also no association between mobile phone use and gliomas when all types of types of gliomas were considered together. It should be noted that the average length of mobile phone exposure in this study was less than three years. When 20 types of glioma were considered separately, however, an association was found between mobile phone use and one rare type of glioma, neuroepithelliomatous tumors. It is possible with multiple comparisons of the same sample that this association occurred by chance. [Of course, it is also possible (and in fact, statistically more probable) that there is a causal connection. That's why scientists use statistical techniques.]

      Moreover, the risk did not increase with how often the mobile phone was used, or the length of the calls. In fact, the risk actually decreased with cumulative hours of mobile phone use. [The FDA has just implied that the positive-link results came from data-mining (keep looking until you find a connection), and here the regulator is doing it themselves. They have rejected this causal link suggestion merely because it doesn't fit their biases; it is quite possible that cancer results just from exceeding a certain threshold in susceptible individuals. They know this.] Most cancer causing agents increase risk with increased exposure. [But many don't. Some just have thresholds, and sometimes incidences decrease with increased exposure. What appears to happen is that pre-cancerous cells are killed by the higher exposure (that's how cancer is 'cured') instead of going into the state of rapid division which characterises cancer.] An ongoing study of brain cancers by the National Cancer Institute is expected to bear on the accuracy and repeatability of these results. [I should bloody-well hope so! At least that shows they are taking these findings more seriously than Moulder.] [Muscat et al. Epidemiological Study of Cellular Telephone Use and Malignant Brain Tumors. In: State of the Science Symposium;20 June 1999; Long Beach, California. ]"

      Oddly, the FDA's description of the work of Tice and colleagues does not completely match their published abstracts [102, 103]. The abstracts state that five different genotoxicity tests were done at SARs of 1, 2.5, 5 and 10 W/kg with both a 837 MHz analog signal and a 1900 MHz digital signal; and that none of the tests showed increased DNA damage, increased micronucleus frequency, increased mutations or increased chromosome damage.

        Quite frankly, this doesn't strike me as odd at all. When most research is funded by cellphone companies, and when organisations like the FDA have a political agenda, very often the published descriptions and the press-releases, don't match the scientific findings in the reports. This is par for the course here.

      16) Are there epidemiological studies showing that RF exposure is safe?

      Yes and no. While there have been no epidemiology studies of cancer and cell phone base stations, there have been epidemiology studies of cancer and other types of exposure to radiowaves. For a recent review see Elwood [94].

      In general, epidemiology studies of radiowaves and cancer have not found significant correlations between exposure and cancer. The studies include:
      - studies of cancer in people occupationally exposed to radiowaves,
      - geographic correlation studies that compare cancer rates among areas with different potential exposures to radiowaves,
      - "cancer cluster" studies.

      Geographic correlation studies (see Q15B, Q15D and Elwood [94]) estimate the strength of radiowaves in geographic areas and correlate these estimates with disease rates in these areas. Even when the design of geographic correlation studies is optimal, they are considered exploratory and are not used for determining causality.

      Reports of clusters of cancer provide little practical information. The major steps in evaluating reports of "cancer clusters" are:
      - define a logical (as opposed to arbitrary) boundary in space and time,
      - determine whether an excess of a specific type of cancer has actually occurred,
      - identify common exposures and characteristics.
      The above steps, however, have not generally been followed in studies of radiowaves, and reports of "cancer clusters" are of essentially no value in determining whether exposure to radiowaves is a cause of cancer (see Elwood [94] for details of these studies).

      The majority of the occupational studies of radiowaves exposure have deficiencies in exposure assessments because occupation or job title was used as an estimate of exposure; that is, actual radiowave exposure levels are not known.

      There are three epidemiological studies that are generally considered to have acceptable design and analysis, adequate sample size, and sufficient follow-up time: Robinette et al [67], Hill [68] and Milham [69]. These three studies do not show statistically-significant associations between exposure to radio-frequency radiation and either cancer in general or any specific kind of cancer.

      The other studies of acceptable design (Lilienfeld et al [70], Lagorio et al [71], Muhm [72], Tynes et al [73], Grayson et al [33], Thomas et al [105] ) have more limitations in exposure assessment, case ascertainment, or follow-up time; but they also do not suggest that radiowave exposure increases the risk of either cancer in general or any specific kind of cancer.

      Szmigielski [79] studied Polish military personnel who may have had radiowave exposure. The incidence of cancer of all types, brain cancer, leukemia and lymphoma are reported to be elevated in exposed personnel. Because the methods of data collection and analysis are inadequately described or unsuitable, and because assessment of radiowave exposure is very deficient, the report does not meet basic epidemiological criteria for acceptability. Elwood [94] also concludes that the methods used in the Szmigielski study may have created a systematic bias "that would be expected to produce an increased relative risk for all types of cancer".

      In a study that received extensive press coverage even before it was published, Hardell et al [79] assessed mobile phone use in several hundred Swedish brain tumor patients. They found no increased risk of brain tumors in the mobile phone users, with an odds ratio of 0.8-1.2 (that is, no effect). No increase in brain tumor incidence was seen for either analog (NMT) or digital (GSM) phone users and there was no trend towards increased risk with increased years of use or increased hours of use per year. When the data was analyzed to look only at brain tumors on the side of the head where the phone was used, there was no increase in brain tumor incidence. The authors do report that mobile phone users were more likely to get certain types of brain tumors on the side of the head where the phone was used, but the trend was not statistically significant, and was found only in the analog phone users (only this last finding was mentioned in most of the press reports).

      Brain Cancer in Cell Phone Users

      relatrisk.gif (5813 bytes)
      Relative risk of brain cancer (odds ratio with 95% confidence interval) in users of hand-held cell phones from the epidemiological study of Hardell et al [79]. The number of cases in the overall analysis, and the sub-analyses are shown in parentheses. The analog phones are either at 450 (NMT 450) or 900 MHz; the digital phones are GSM. The last 4 rows look at which side of the head (L=Left, R=Right) the phone was used on.The line highlighted in red is probably the one most relevant to cancer risk assessment as it looks at long-term heavy use.

      The lack of associations between exposure to radiowaves and total cancer, and the lack of consistent associations between exposure to radiowaves and any specific type of cancer, suggests that radiowaves are unlikely to have a strong causal influence on cancer.

      In his recent review of the RF epidemiology literature, Elwood [94] concluded that:

      Several positive associations suggesting an increased risk of some types of cancer in those who may have had greater exposure to RF emissions have been reported. However, the results are inconsistent: there is no type of cancer that has been consistently associated with RF exposures. The epidemiologic evidence falls short of the strength and consistency of evidence that is required to come to a reasonable conclusion that RF emissions are a likely cause of one or more types of human cancer. The evidence is weak in regard to its inconsistency, the design of the studies, the lack of detail on actual exposures, and the limitations of the studies in their ability to deal with other likely relevant factors. In some studies there may be biases in the data uses.

      17) Could modulated RF radiation produce different effects than the continuous-wave (CW) RF radiation used in many laboratory studies?

      Possibly, but there is no replicated evidence for such effects. It has been suggested that amplitude-modulated (AM) RF radiation might have different effects than continuous-wave (CW, unmodulated) RF radiation. This could be important, since cell and PCS phones and base stations produce a modulated signal, and much of the research has been done with unmodulated RF sources.

      This issue had been reviewed in detail by Juutilainen and de Seze [90] who concluded that:

      "The literature relevant to the possible biological effects of AM radiofrequency radiation consists of scattered observations using a wide variety of experimental models and exposure parameters... Several studies have reported findings consistent with effects on the nervous system and cancer-related biological processes. However, the methods and exposure parameters vary widely, and no independent replications of the positive finds have been reported. The results available today fail to support the existence of well-defined modulation-specific bioeffects from exposure to radiofrequency radiation."

      18) Are there groups (such as children or the elderly) that are more sensitive to the effects of radiowaves?

      Possibly. Some groups in the general population might be more sensitive to the effects of radiowaves than others, but no such groups have actually been found (it is an appropriate measure of Moulder that even the secretive UK NRPB admits that children are specially vulnerable to negligent siting/operation of powerful transmitting stations). The possible existence of such sensitive individuals is one of the main reasons that an additional 5-fold safety margin is added to the public exposure guidelines (see Q9).

      19) Will cellular phone or PCS base station antennas affect heart pacemakers, cause headaches, etc?

      Although the public's principle health concern about cell phone and PCS base station antennas appears to be the possibility of a cancer connection (see Q21 and Q23C-Q23E), other health-related issues come up periodically. Particularly common are questions about interference with heart pacemakers (covered in Q19A). This section will also cover less common issues. The possibility of a connection with miscarriages and birth defects is covered in Q22.

      19A) Will cellular phone or PCS base station antennas affect medical devices such as cardiac pacemakers?

      No. There is no evidence that cellular phone or PCS base station antennas will interfere with cardiac pacemakers or other implanted medical devices as long as exposure levels are kept within the ANSI standard for uncontrolled exposure (see Q8 and Q12).

      It is possible that PCS phones themselves might interfere with pacemakers if the antenna is placed directly over the pacemaker. This problem is reported to occur with only some types of PCS phones and some types of pacemakers [46].

      19B) Do cell phones or cell phone base stations cause headaches?

      There is no reason to think so. There are anecdotal reports that cell phones cause headaches (see Frey [48], and the discussion of Mild et al and Sandstrom et al [25] in Q23). There have been no serious epidemiological studies of the issue, and there are no real biophysical or physiological bases for expecting a connection.

        Frey first notices this thirty years ago with radar, but no one did anything about it. More recently Hocking and Mild have both done substantial studies. All reveal exactly the same thing -- a fairly robust causal connection, where it is said that none could possibly exist.

      Frey: Headaches

      [Quote] The most intriguing finding presented at the February Food and Drug Administration (FDA) workshop* on wireless radiation was 30 years old.

      In a talk on "Headaches from Cell Phones: Are They Real?" Dr. Allan Frey reported that in the 1960s, while he was studying microwave hearing, a number of his subjects complained about headaches. "I was sufficiently concerned about the headaches to stop research with humans," said Frey, who is credited with discovering microwave hearing.

      • "...I noticed that headaches appeared to be induced at some frequencies at low power levels. A limited amount of exploration leads me to believe that the headache effect is probably real, but it requires verification."

        "Headaches may only be the most obvious indicator of what is going on biologically," he warned. Frey believes that the headaches may stem from microwave-induced leakage through the blood-brain barrier.

      • Mild's study in Norway and Sweden, found that workers who used cellphones for over 15 minutes a day were 1.6 times more likely to complain of fatigue, and 2.7 times more likely to suffer headaches, than those who used the phone for less than two minutes. When phone time topped an hour, the fatigue level went up 4.1. times and headaches 6.3 times.

        Mild studied 11,000 mobile users, and reported in May 1998 that symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, burning sensations on the skin are more common among those who make longer calls.Ź

      • Hocking studied 60 users who complained to him of headaches when he was Chief Medical Office of Telstra, Australia's major carrier. When his research brief was taken away from him, and he was made redundant, he took his information outside and did the research independently. He found essentially the same as Mild.

      19C) Does radio-frequency radiation from cell phones or cell phone base stations cause physiological or behavioral changes?

      There are unreplicated reports of such effects. There are some studies that suggest that RF radiation from hand-held mobile phones might cause subtle physiological or behavioral changes. However, none of the studies provides substantial evidence that mobile phone base stations might pose a health hazard:

      • None of the "effects" reported imply the existence of hazards.
      • All of these studies used radio-frequency radiation of an intensity well above those associated with mobile phone base stations.
      • None of these reports have been replicated, and there are grounds for being skeptical about all of them.

      - Braune et al [82] reported that human volunteers using a GSM cell phone for 35 minutes showed a 5-10 mm Hg rise in blood pressure. The study is small and was not blinded, and a rise in blood pressure of this magnitude has no known health consequences.

      - Eulitz et al [84] reported that cell phones can alter the electrical activity of the brain. However, the effect may be an artifact caused by RF interference with the EEG leads.

      - Freude et al [111] exposed human volunteers to RF from a 916 Mhz 350 mW GSM digital phone. Small changes in EEG were seen that "did not indicate any influence on human performance, well-being and health"

      - Mann and Röschke [113] reported that exposure to a mobile phone signal could cause slight changes in sleep patterns, but a subsequent study by the same group [115] found no evidence for the effect. In a more recent study, Borbély [110] reported that exposure to a mobile phone signal at 1 W/kg could cause slight changes in sleep patterns.

      - De Seze et al [113] reported that exposure of human volunteers to cell phone RF had no effect on night-time secretion of melatonin. Effects on melatonin have been suggested as a mechanism by which power line fields might affect human health (see note 4).

      - Wang and Lai [109] reported that rats exposed to 2450 MHz pulsed radio-frequency radiation showed "defects in long-term memory". The RF-exposed animals were slower than normal animals to learn a maze. Animals received whole-body RF exposure for 1 hr/day. The average SAR was 1.2 W/kg with peaks of 3-4 W/kg. The signal is quite different from that associated with a mobile phone base station and the peak SAR may have been high enough to cause thermal stress. The exposure intensity (SAR) was 15 times higher than the FCC standard for whole-body exposure of the general public.

      In 1999, Preece et al [97] reported that exposure of human volunteers to cell phone RF radiation might decrease reaction times (see Figure below). The press coverage was extensive, but the actual study is not particularly impressive:

      • The effect was seen for just one of 15 measures of cognitive function (reaction times, memory tests, etc).
      • The effect was very small (a decrease from 0.388 seconds to 0.373 seconds).
      • The effect was seen for an analog signal, but not for a digital signal.
      • Because an effect was seen in just 1 of the 30 tests, it may be an artifact (statistical noise).
      • Even if the effect is real, it appears to be far too small to have any real functional significance.

        But it does show that the NO EFFECT claim is a lie.

      Cell Phone Use and Reaction Time

      reactiont.gif (5080 bytes)
      Reaction time data from Preece et al [97]. Reaction times are shown for seven separate reaction time tests. The "analog" signal was a 915 MHz sine wave. The "digital" signal was a 915 MHz sine wave modulated with a 217 Hz square wave at a 12.5% duty cycle. According to the authors, the analog test group for the "choice reaction time" test (marked in red) was considered to be significantly lower than the sham exposure value, but no other differences were considered to be statistically significant.

      For an up-to-date review of the behavioral effects of RF radiation see D'Andrea [96].

      20) Do radiowaves produce biological effects?

      Yes. If exposure is sufficiently intense, radiowaves can cause biological effects. Possible injuries include cataracts, skin burns, deep burns, heat exhaustion and heat stroke and non thermal effects at levels of exposure that are not sufficiently "intense" to have those thermal effects. Most, if not all (according to unscrupulous industry/dotgov propagandists), of the known biological effects from exposure to high-power radiofrequency sources are due to heating [20]. The effects of this heating range from behavioral changes to eye damage (cataracts) [see refs in 1, 5, 6, 7 14, 53, 83 and
      ]. Except possibly within a few feet  of the antennas themselves [18], the power produced by cellular phone and PCS base station antennas is too low to cause heating (characteristic smokescreen addressing of non issue - it is not disputed that there isn't significant "heating" of children in dwellings and schools - the issue Moulder should be addressing is that of effects other than "heating").

      There have been scattered reports of effects [21] that do not appear to be due to heating, the so called (there are more important points to address in limited available time, but it has to be highlighted that this unnecessary use of "so called" tells readers all that needs to be known about Moulder) non-thermal effects [20]. None of these effects have been independently replicated, and none have any obvious connections to human health risks (in Moulder's opinion - that of a patently uncrupulous and disreputable industry propagandist).

      21) Is there any replicated evidence that radiowaves can cause cancer?

      No. Even at (unspecified) high levels of exposure, there is no substantial (well at least it's not a second barefaced unqualified "no" in the same para) evidence that radiowaves can either cause or contribute to cancer (for an opinion to the contrary see the reports discussed in Q15B and Q15C and see developing links section at foot of this page). Although research in this area has been extensive, there is no replicated laboratory or epidemiological evidence that radiowaves at the (unspecified) power levels associated (by unscrupulous industry propagandists) with public exposure to radiowaves from cellular phone and PCS base station antennas are associated with cancer.

      There are two recent (and dozens of less "recent" and some post "recent") laboratory reports that RF exposure might produce cancer, or cancer-related injuries in animals. (some of)These studies are discussed in Q23C and Q23E. Both studies use RF levels far above those found in publicly accessible area near base station antennas (that have been installed and are operated to the highest possible standards a reasonable distance from children's homes and schools), and neither study has been replicated.

      The epidemiological studies of RF show no consistent association with total cancer, or with any specific type of cancer (see Q16).

      22) Is there any evidence that radiowaves can cause miscarriages or birth defects?

      Indirectly, yes. Exposure to levels of radiowaves sufficient to cause whole body heating can cause miscarriages or birth defects. The power produced by cellular phone and PCS base station antennas is far too low to cause such heating. There is no laboratory or epidemiological evidence at all that radiowaves at the power levels associated with public exposure to radiowaves from cellular phone and PCS base station antennas are associated with miscarriages or birth defects [see refs in 1, 5, 6, 7 and 14 for details].

      See also the discussion of Bastide et al [26] in Q23A.

        Madeline Bastide's (a well-known naturopath) conducted her "research" in an obscure French tertiary institution, using chicken eggs in a farm incubator, sitting a cellphone handset on top of the eggs and seeing which ones matured. This was done for a cellphone shield company wanting to flog its products, and Moulder is the first scientist I've ever seen taking it seriously.

      Milham: Diathermy and heating effects.

      Dr Sam Milham found most disconcerting evidence among a very large number of American physiotherapists. They are predominantly female and at a reproductive age, and they use diathermy equipment (which puts out reasonably high levels of radio frequency signals to deliberately heat the tissue of patients).

      Milham found a higher than normal rate of miscarriages with those who used particular devices which operated at a microwave-frequency (915MHz and 2.4GHz -- close to cellphone frequencies), but not among those who used older equipment at much lower radio-frequencies (usually 27MHz).

      Remember that physiotherapists typically switch the gear on and leave the room -- so exposure times (for them) are short -- and the possibility of them being subject to heating themselves is very small. Some never use diathermy, and they acted as controls.

      Milham queried 42,403 female members of the profession about their pregnancy history. Miscarriages before seven weeks among those using the microwave diathermy equipment was very high (47.7% as against 14.5% for controls).

      23) What do the most recent scientific studies of radiowaves and human health show?

      There is a constant flow of new information. This section will attempt to summarize this new information. Studies which attract major attention will often get their own sections, such as the epidemiological studies discussed in Q15B, Q15C, Q15D and Q15E, the mouse studies discussed in Q23C and Q23D, and the DNA strand break studies discussed in Q23E.

        Over the past five years there has been a very noticeable and very obvious shift to findings that constantly produce evidence that we have a major problem with long-term use of cellphones -- but only really in relationship to handsets, not to towers.

        The evidence of non-thermal bio-effects is now virtually irrefutable, however, the proof that this will seriously effect health is still lacking. The problem is in the long-term nature of these potential adverse health conditions, and they mainly appear to be associated with lowering of immune responses, hormonal changes, and increased ageing-type conditions.

      23A) What do recent reports from meetings say?

      At the 1998 meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society (BEMS), the principle meeting where biological and health effects of radiowaves are discussed), there were numerous papers that dealt with radiowaves and/or personal communication systems. Similarly, at the 2nd World Congress of Electricity and Magnetism in Medicine and Biology in June 1997, there were many papers that dealt with radiowaves and/or personal communication systems. None of these papers reported replicated results that would suggest that exposure to radiowaves at levels allowed by the 1992 ANSI standard [5] would pose any health risk to humans.

        The weazle word "replicated" creeps in once again plus the reference to experiments being conducted at "1992 ANSI standards" (which few ever are, because it makes no sense to do so).

        Most of this research is now funded by the cellphone industry and a lot is conducted under contracts with confidentiality clauses. And when adverse evidence is produced, no cellphone company in its right mind is going to throw a million or two more into replicating it.

        So key studies go unreplicated for lack of funds from the cellphone companies and the industry, and everyone knows this. And when on the odd occasion some form of replication is attempted, the cellphone companies or their agents, are busy trying to manipulate the protocols and massage the results -- or block key evidence (such as the claimed sensitivity with common scientific assays) from being published.

      A number of the reports dealt with dosimetry issues for the hand-held phones themselves. Among these:
      - Santani et al [22]: RF exposure from European GSM digital phones (and by analogy US digital PCS phones) was greatest during establishment of the call and when the user was in an area with poor reception quality.

        Good Lord! What a discovery. Of course, the same information could have been discovered by asking any one of a million engineers or cellphone technicians around the world.

      A number of reports dealt with electromagnetic interference issues, but none of these reports add much to the information presented in the publication by Hayes et al [46].

      Among the biological studies reported at the 1998 BEMS meeting, those with the possible relevance to the issue of human health effects of radiowaves were:
      - Mild et al and Sandstrom et al [25]: An epidemiological study of mobile phone users in Sweden reported that users of the older analog system (similar to the US cellular system) reported more headaches than the users of the newer digital GSM system (similar to the US PCS system). There was no control group of non-users as the investigators found that it was "absolutely impossible to find controls" who had similar life-styles but did not use mobile phones.

        The probable reason is the Nordic Mobile Telephony standard (NMT) operates at a very high and fixed level, compared to GSM phones which use small cells, and therefore need little transmission power to reach the base-station.

      - Bastide et al [26]: Increased mortality was seen in chick embryos exposed continuously for 21 day to RF from commercial cell phones. Exposure was for 24-hrs per day, using 2 W phones (compared to the 0.4-0.6 W used by most U.S. cell and PCS phones) placed 1 cm from the eggs. Neither power-density or SAR were reported, and heating effects cannot be ruled out.

        He's the only person ever to take this research seriously, which suggests a high degree of gullability.

      23B) What do recent reports from journals say?

      Relevant peer-reviewed publications from 1997-1999 include:
      - Dolk et al [34 and 35]: A geographical correlation study of cancer that is discussed in Q15D.
      - Repacholi et al [37]: A mouse lymphoma study that is discussed in Q23C.
      - Vijayalaxmi et al [41]: A cellular genotoxicity study that is discussed in Q23E.
      - Cain et al [42]: A cellular genotoxicity study that is discussed in Q23E.
      - Toler et al [45]: An animal carcinogenicity study that is discussed in Q23D.
      - Malyapa et al [49]: Three papers reporting attempts to confirm the Lai and Singh [31] studies that are discussed in Q23E.
      - Frei et al [44]: An animal carcinogenicity study that is discussed in Q23D.
      - McKenzie et al [49]: An attempt to replicate the geographical correlation study of Hocking et al [28] that is discussed in Q15B.
      - Lagorio et al [71]: An occupational epidemiology study that is discussed Q16.
      - Imaida et al [63]: A liver tumor promotion study that is discussed in Q23D.
      - Braune et al [82]: Human volunteers using cell phones showed a rise in blood pressure. See Q19C.
      - Kwee and Rasmark [76]: RF exposure at 960 MHz (SAR = 0.00002-0.002 W/kg) caused a slight decrease in the growth rate of cultured human cells (see further discussion in Q15F).
      - Antonopolous et al [75]: A study of cell growth and genotoxicity that is discussed Q23E.
      - Phillips et al [78]: A study of cellular genotoxicity that is discussed Q23E and Q15F.
      - Verschaeve and Maes [80]: A review of RF genotoxicity studies that is discussed in Q23E.
      - Brusick et al [81]: A review of RF genotoxicity studies that is discussed in Q23E.
      - Eulitz et al [81]: Human volunteers using cell phones showed changes in brain activity. See Q19C.
      - Goswami et al [87] reported that 835-848 MHz RF radiation at a SAR of 0.6 W/kg did not trigger a general stress response in cultured mammalian cells.
      - Chagnaud and Veyret [91] reported that exposure of rats to a 900 MHz cell phone signal at 0.05 and 0.2 mW/cm-sq (SAR of 0.075 and 0.27 W/kg) had no effect on their immune system.
      - Moulder et al [95]: A review of the evidence for a causal association between cell phone RF radiation and cancer.
      - D'Andrea [96]: A review of the behavioral effects of RF radiation.
      - Preece et al [97]: Effects of RF on brain function discussed in Q19C.
      - Hardell et al [100]: No excess incidence of brain tumors in mobile phone users, discussed in Q16C.
      - Adey et al [24]: No excess incidence of brain tumors in rats exposed for life-time to pulse-modulated RF. See Q23D.

      23C) What about the new report that exposure of mice to cell phone radiation causes cancer?

      A 1997 study [37] reports that lymphoma-prone mice exposed for 18 months to strong, but intermittent, radio-frequency fields of the type used by digital cellular phones have an increased incidence of lymphomas. No increases in the incidence of other types of tumors were found. The field intensities used are above the guidelines for public exposure recommended in the ANSI/IEEE standard (Q8), and are far above those that exist in publicly-accessible areas near cellular phone and PCS base station antennas [16].

        For some extraordinary reason he neglects to tell you which study he is talking about. It is the study conducted by Dr Michael Repacholi, Professor Tony Basten and others at Royal Adelaide Hospital.

        MH Repacholi et al: Lymphomas in Eu-Pim1 Transgenic Mice Exposed to Pulsed 900 MHz Electromagnetic Fields. Rad Res 147:631-640, 1997.

        It was a two part study (the other looked at mains power), and both parts were published by Moulder in Radiation Research (an unexplained two and three years after the studies had ended). And at that time he said:" It's certainly the first animal evidence that suggests that radio frequencies might cause cancer under some conditions."

        Here he is trotting out the old furphies again. The use of cancer-prone mice is common in this kind of research, for the simple reason that mice only live for 2 years, yet they are used as a substitute for humans who live 80 years. Most cancers take 10 years to develop. So if you used normal mice, the level of cancer found in a hundred mice would be so low as to be worthless. And it costs half a million dollars to keep 200 mice for this time and conduct the necessary autopsies.

        The field intensities in this study were matched as closely as was possible to those produced by normal GSM cellphone handsets, and the mice were given 2 hours of this exposure a day. The control mice were 'shams' (treated identically, which none of the handlers knowing which group were which, but with only one group having the RF power switched on).

        A rapid increase in a special form of B-cell lymphoma was seen at six months, and the rate kept rising for the 100 exposed mice (as against the 100 sham controls), and finally 2.4-times the number of exposed mice got lymphoma. This was very, very highly significant, statistically. It shows that GSM cellphones at normal levels can promote cancers (DNA is DNA, whether in mice or men).

      While this study is very interesting, its impact on regulation of RF exposure of the general public is quite unclear: [CRAP].

      1. It cannot be determined from this study whether lymphomas can be induced in normal (as opposed to cancer-prone) animals by exposure to RF.[ABSOLUTE CRAP. Who cares a stuff about the mice. The whole point is that the cellphone radiation should not have promoted cancer of any kind, whether in mice or in men. But it did.]
      2. It cannot be determined from this study whether other types of tumors can be induced by exposure to RF. [Isn't lymphoma enough?]
      3. It cannot be determined from this study what exposure level is required for induction of lymphoma in these mice. This is codswallop piled on top of crap. The results showed a 2.4-times increase in lymphoma with mice exposed to only 2 hours a day of standard GSM cellphone radiation. What more do you want?

      Clearly the study will need to be repeated with both normal and lymphoma-prone mice. If the effect can be replicated, it will be critical to determine the dose-response relationship for lymphoma induction, and to determine whether the effect occurs for other tumors and/or in other species. [We could go on experimenting with all sorts of mice for years. We could try house mice, then field mice, then barn mice. That would eat up six years and three million dollars. Then we could run all the tests again at different power levels. Then we could try them again with constant power and pulsed power .... and with antenna levels and handset levels ..... and ....]

      See the Technical notes for the reference [37], quotes from the authors' abstract [38], quotes from the authors' discussion [39], and for further technical details [40].

      Several questions have been repeatedly asked about this study:

      • Does this study mean that cell phones or PCS phones cause cancer?

        No. Before this study can be related to human risk assessment:
        - it must be replicated, It should be replicated, but 'must' doesn't apply to a finding with this strength of evidence.
        - a similar study must be done with normal mice, [Why? That would surely turn up a zero result because the incidence would be far below statistical significance. Which side is he rooting for here?]
        - the exposure-response relationship for the effect must be known, [No it mustn't. This might be a threshold effect, or one that has an inverse relationship because carcinogenic cells are killed by higher exposures.]
        - the induction of other types of tumors must be studied. Why?

      • If it is so difficult to extrapolate from these cancer-prone mice to humans, why were they used?

        When you want to know whether something might cause cancer, you usually start with a sensitive strain of animals and a high dose of the agent. [They didn't use a high dose, they used a normal 2 hour dose which is low, compared to the exposure many users have.] This maximizes your chance of finding something. If you find nothing under these circumstances, then you can be fairly confident that the agent does not cause this cancer. If you do find excess cancer, you then need to determine whether this will also happen in normal animals and/or at more reasonable doses. [The dose was reasonable -- in fact, low, compared to people who use their phones for four hours a day, year after year.] If you first do normal animals at low doses, and you find no excess cancer, you still would need to test cancer-prone animals at high doses.

        An additional problem with using normal mice and low doses of RF to study induction of lymphoma, is that lymphoma is rare in normal mice (1-3% lifetime incidence). To detect a 50% increase in this normal rate would require over 2000 mice.

          Finally we have an admission that the use of sensitive mice is both normal, and valid. But in the process he has implied at least a half-dozen times that the dosage was high. It wasn't.

      • Do we know whether exposure to cell phone radiation causes lymphoma in normal animals?

        There are at least 10 other studies of long-term exposure of rodents to radiofrequency radiation. None of these studies used lymphoma-prone mice and none have reported excess lymphoma. See Q23D for details.

          How many of these studies with normal mice used numbers of 2000 mice? None.

          How many research establishments could afford to handle 10, 000 mice -- which is the number needed to get a result of 2.4-time (as found in Adelaide Hospital)? The cost would be roughly 50 times the half-million dollars cost of that experiment.

          Moulder also forgets to mention the amount of evidence relating lymphomas to human exposures. See below:

      RF exposure and lymphocytes

      • Prausnitz and Susskind in 1962 used modulated RF radiation of relatively low power density on mice. These experiments showed a reversible pattern of lymphoma and leukemia which, in serial sacrifices, occurred toward the end of the 14-month exposure period but was not present in animals after a 5-month recovery period. However they gave them very short, high intensity exposures, which could have caused brief temperature changes.
      • Dr Garaj-Vrhovac, at the University of Zagreb in Croatia, found abnormalities in blood lymphocyte chromosomes in Yugoslavia microwave workers. They had been exposed over periods from 8 to 25 years, but possibly only at low levels. In vitro laboratory work as a follow-up produced the same results with cultures at levels about one-twentieth of current FCC standards.
      • Maes, and Verschaeve, (1995) had one study utilising mobile communication frequency of 954 MHz to determine whether there were chromosome abnormalities seen in lymphocytes from blood samples exposed to this frequency. There was a low level of cytogenetic damage obtained in the irradiated blood samples .
      • A follow-up study to the above showed synergism with a mitogen, (mitomycin C) to induce an increase in sister chromatid exchange in lymphocytes. It was also shown that the microwaves alone may have a certain chromosome breaking effect, but only in very precise circumstances of exposure.
      • This effect was also studied for exposures to 450 MHz fields from a mobile telephone but the results were not very clear (Maes et al., unpublished data).
      • In 1984, Nordenson reported that exposure of human lymphocytes to spark discharges (which generate complex RF) caused chromosome aberrations.
      • In 1994, Nordenson reported that exposure of mammalian cells to an intermittent 30 microT field caused chromosome aberrations, but that continuous exposure did not.
      • Szmigielski reported in the 1995 Polish Military study that personnel exposed to RF and microwave radiation had a risk of developing lymphoma more than six to eight times the expected rate for the unexposed group.
      • Robinette in 1980 found that among the group expected to have highest exposure there is a significant excess of hematological and lymphatic cancers.

        There are also about a dozen similar findings from exposures to 50Hz and 60Hz mains-power frequencies.


      • Why is the level of RF exposure in this study so poorly-defined?

          It wasn't. Ask a straw-man question, then pulverise it ... leaving the suggestion that the research was badly controlled. It wasn't.

        It is not easy to expose animals to uniform levels of RF. If animals are unrestrained in cages, the RF dose (the SAR [8]) varies with the position of the animal, with its orientation to the antenna, with the presence of other animals, and with the animal size. To get well-defined RF doses, the animals must be confined in small holders, and the daily handling and confinement this requires can produce biological effects all by itself. Even under these conditions, the SAR may change as the animals increase in size. Basically, the experimenter has a choice: treat free-running animals with minimal disturbance and accept uncertain dosimetry, or get good dosimetry and risk artifacts due to handling and confinement. Either choice is open to criticism.

      23D) Has anyone else exposed rodents to cell phone radiation to see if they got cancer?

      There are at least 10 other studies of long-term exposure to rodents to RF.

      - In 1971, Spalding el al [64] published a study of mice that had been exposed to 800-MHz RF for 2 hr/day, 5 days/week, for 35 weeks at a SAR of 13 W/kg. The average life span of the RF-exposed group (664 days) was slightly, but not significantly, longer than that of the sham group (645 days).

      - In 1982 Szmigielski et al [65] published a study of mice that were exposed to 2450-MHz RF for 2 hr/day, 6 days/wk, for up to 6 months. Exposures were at 2-3 and 6-8 W/kg. Controls included both sham-irradiated animals and animals subject to "confinement stress". Both RF exposure and confinement stress significantly accelerated the appearance of both chemically-induced skin tumors and chemically-induced breast tumors. The dosimetry in this study is questionable, and seems likely that the mice exposed at the higher dose were subjected to physiologically-significant heating.

      - In 1988 Saunders et al [98] published a study of male mice that were exposed to 2450-MHz RF radiation (power density of 10 mW /cm-sq and SAR of 4 W/kg) for 6 h per day for a total of 120 h over an 8-week period. At the end of the treatment the mice were mated with unexposed females. There was no significant reduction in pregnancy rate, so that there had been no increase in dominant lethal mutations. Examination of spermatogonia showed no increase in chromosome aberrations. The authors conclude that "there is no evidence in this experiment to show that chronic exposure of male mice to 2450-MHz microwave radiation induces a mutagenic response".

      - In 1994 Liddle et al [66] published a study that examined the effects of life-time 2450-MHz RF exposure in mice. Mice were exposed for 1 hr/day, 5 days/week throughout their life at either 2 or 6.8 W/kg. Life span was significantly shortened in mice exposed at 6.8 W/kg (median of 572 days vs 706 days in the sham-exposed group). However, at 2 W/kg, the RF-exposed animals lived slightly, but not significantly longer (median of 738 days) than the sham-exposed group. The authors suggested that the heating from exposure at 6.8 W/kg was stressful enough to decrease life span.

      - In 1992, Chou et al [43] published a study of 100 normal rats that were exposed to pulsed 2450 MHz RF at 0.15-0.40 W/kg [8] for 21.5 hrs/day and 25 months. No effects were observed on life-span or cause of death. An increase in total cancer was seen in exposed group, with no effect on survival. The malignancy rates in the controls was unusually low for this strain, and no increase in benign tumors were observed.
      Two primary lymphomas were seen in the exposed animals, and two in the controls. No benign or malignant brain tumors were seen in either exposed or control rats.
      The authors concluded: "Microwave exposure... showed no biologically significant effects on general health... The findings of an excess of primary malignancies in exposed animals is provocative. However, when this single finding is considered in light of other parameters, it is conjectural whether the statistical difference reflects a true biological influence. The overall results indicate that there are no definitive, biologically significant effects...".

      - In 1994, Wu et al [56] published a report on 26 mice that were exposed to a chemical carcinogen plus 2450 MHz RF at 10 mW/cm-sq (10-12 W/kg). Exposure continued for 3 hrs/day, 6 days/week for 5 months. The chemical carcinogen is one that causes colon cancer. No difference in colon cancer rates were seen between animals treated with the carcinogen alone and the animals treated with the carcinogen plus RF.

      - In 1997, Toler el [45] published a report on 200 mammary-tumor-prone mice exposed to pulsed 435 MHz RF at 1.0 mW/cm-sq (0.32 W/kg). Exposure continued for 22 hrs/day, 7 days/week for 21 months. The authors reported no differences in survival or mammary tumor incidence. The authors reported that there was no difference in the rates of any types of tumors between the exposed and the control group. Of particular note, there was no difference in the lymphoma, leukemia or brain tumor rate between the exposed and the control group.

      - In 1998, Frie et al [44] published a report on 100 mammary-tumor prone mice that were exposed to 2450 MHz RF at a SAR of 0.3 W/kg. Exposure was for 20 hrs/day, 7 days/week for 18 months. The study found no difference in tumor incidence or survival between the exposed and the control group. Later in 1998, Frie et al [47] published a second study using the same mouse model and the same exposure regimen, but a higher SAR of 1.0 W/kg. Again, the study found no difference in tumor incidence or survival between the exposed and the control group. There were no differences in lymphoma, leukemia or brain tumor incidence between the exposed and the control group in either study.

      - In 1998 Imaida et al [63a] published a report on 48 rats that were given a chemical carcinogen that cause liver cancer, and were then exposed to 929 MHz RF an a SAR of 0.6-0.9 W/kg. Exposure was for 90 min/day, 5 days/week for 6 weeks. No difference in liver cancer rates were seen between RF-exposed rats and rats given only the chemical carcinogen.

      In a second 1998 paper, Imaida et al [63b] reported a similar lack of liver cancer promotion in rats exposed to 1500 MHz RF at a SAR of 2.0 W/kg. Again, exposure was for 90 min/day, 5 days/week for 6 weeks.

      At the 1996 BEMS meeting, Adey et al reported that exposure to pulse-modulated 837 MHz RF did not increase brain tumor incidence in rats; and at the 1997 World Congress, Adey et al [50] reported a similar lack of effect for frequency-modulated RF. The pulsed-field study was finally published in 1999 [24], but the study with frequency-modulated RF has still not been published. In the published study, RF exposure started with continuous whole-body far-field exposure of pregnant rats and continued through weaning. At 7 weeks of age, localized near-field exposure of the head was begun, and this exposure continued for 22 months (2 hrs/day, 7.5 min on - 7.5 min off, 4 days/week). Some rats were also treated with a chemical brain tumor carcinogen (ethylnitrosourea, ENU). Brain SARs ranged from 0.7 to 1.6 W/kg, and whole-body SAR ranged from 0.2 to 0.7 W/kg; the range of SARs was due to changes in weight and variability in animal positioning. The number of brain tumors was less in the RF-exposed groups than in the sham-exposed groups, but the difference was not statistically significant. This non-significant decrease was seen in both rats treated with RF alone, and in rats treated with RF plus the chemical brain tumor carcinogen. According to the meeting report [50], the design of the study using frequency-modulated RF was similar (although the SAR may have been higher), and no effect on brain tumor incidence was seen.

      At a meeting in 1999, Zook et al [104] reported the absence of an effect on brain tumor incidence in rats exposed to 860-MHz radio-frequency radiation at 1.0 W/kg. Zook et al also reported that the same RF protocol did not promote chemically induced brain cancer.

      Thus it would appear that induction of lymphoma, and tumors in general, by life-time exposure of rodents to RF is not a general phenomena.

        Moulder is an oncologist -- a professor of cancer studies. Professors of cancer studies know that the induction of cancers of these kinds takes many years in normal rodents. And so the normal rate of incidence is very, very low because the animals don't live that long.

        So he is trying to flim-flam us here. Of course it is not a general phenomena.

        The question is whether positive findings are indicative of RF having potentially serious effects on aberrant cell functions over time.

      23E) What about the new report that exposure of mice to cell phone radiation causes damage to the DNA in their brain cells?

      Agents that can damage the DNA of cells are presumed to have carcinogenic potential [4]. Agents that can damage DNA are called genotoxins, or are referred to as having genotoxic activity. In general, studies of cells exposed to RF have not found evidence for genotoxicity unless the SAR was high enough to cause thermal (heat) injury [5, 6, 7, 14].

      In 1995 and 1996, Lai and Singh [31] reported that RF caused DNA damage (genotoxic injury) in rats. In these experiments, rats were exposed to 2450 MHz RF at 0.6 and 1.2 W/kg. After exposure, the animals were killed, and their brain cells were analyzed for DNA injury. The authors reported an increase in DNA stand breaks 4 hours after exposure.

      The work of Lai and Singh [31] has failed independent attempts at replication. {If you mean by "independent" a group paid over time, $US5.7 million to do the work! In 1997, Malyapa et al [49a, 49b] reported that they could not detect the effect seen by Lai and Singh, but there were some differences between the studies. Yes they used different frequencies of exposure, different techniques of mouse handling, different protocols in handling and treating the samples, and a different comet assay. In 1998, Malyapa et al [49c] reported that they could not detect the effect in an exact replicate of the Lai and Singh [31] study.

        As Moulder knows full well, since he was directly involved, Malyapa (a complete novice in these techniques) claims to have refined the Olive comet assay to the point where it is 100 to 150 times more sensitive than anything that any other expert in the comet assay is able to achieve.

        Despite unfavourable peer review and repeated questioning on this matter, Moulder went ahead and published these fictitious claims, and has never had the courage to correct them.

      Three other recently published studies on the genotoxic potential of RF have reported no evidence for genotoxicity (damage to DNA):
      - Vijayalaxmi et al [41a, 41b] found no evidence for genotoxic injury in the blood cells of mice exposed to 2450 MHz RF for 18 months at 1 W/kg, or in human lymphocytes exposed in cell culture to 2450 MHz RF at 12.5 W/kg.
      - Cain et al [42] found no effect of 836 MHz RF exposure at 0.015 W/kg on neoplastic cell transformation in animal fibroblasts.
      - Antonopoulos et al [75] found no effects of RF exposure on cell growth or chromosome injury in human lymphocytes. Cells were exposed to RF for 48-72 hrs at 380 MHz (SAR=0.08 W/kg), 900 MHz (SAR=0.2 W/kg) or 1800 MHz (GSM, SAR=1.7 W/kg).

      Four other recently published studies found some evidence for RF exposure might be genotoxic:
      - Maes et al [32] reported that exposure of human blood cells to 954 MHz RF at 1.5 W/kg did not cause chromosome damage, but increased the amount of chromosome damage produced by a chemical carcinogen.
      - Scarfi et al [36] reported that exposure of animal white blood cells to 9000 MHz RF at 70 W/kg produced caused genotoxic injury and enhanced the genotoxic injury caused by a chemical carcinogen. However, the SAR in this experiment was high enough to cause thermal (heat) injury, so the relevance to real-world human exposure is unclear.
      - Phillips et al [78] exposed mammalian cells to RF for 2 or 21 hours at 814 or 827 MHz. The SAR was 0.0002 or 0.002 W/kg. Both increases and decreases in the incidence of DNA strand breaks were observed, with no obvious pattern.

      Two reviews of the genotoxic potential of RF were published in 1998.
      Verschaeve and Maes [80] concluded that:

      "According to a great majority of papers, RF fields, and mobile telephone frequencies in particular, are not genotoxic: they do not induce genetic effects in vitro [in cell culture] and in vivo [in animals], at least under non-thermal conditions [conditions that do not cause heating], and do not seem to be teratogenic [cause birth defects] or to induce cancer."

        Verschaeve and Maes are now funded well by Motorola.

      Brusick et al [81] concluded that:

      "The data from over 100 studies suggest that RF radiation is not directly mutagenic and that adverse effects from exposure of organisms to high power intensities of RF radiation are predominantly the result of hyperthermia [heating]; however, there may be some subtle indirect effects on the replication and/or transcription of genes under relatively restricted exposure conditions."

        Again, we have one man's opinion (I've never even heard of him!) being quoted as if he is the definitive authority on the matter. This is supposed to be the summing up of the pack of half-truths and deliberate distortions found in the paragraphs above.

        It is a pretty pathetic effort.

      24) Where can I get more information?

      The documentation of the various radiofrequency standards [5, 6, 7 and 14] contain extensive references. Reasonably up-to-date reviews of this area include: the ICNIRP publication on hand-held phones [1], the review by Stuchly [83], and the review by Repacholi [74].

      25) Who wrote these Questions and Answers?

      This FAQ sheet was written by Dr. John Moulder, Professor of Radiation Oncology, Radiology and Pharmacology/Toxicology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Moulder has taught, lectured and written on the biological effects of non-ionizing radiation and electromagnetic fields for over two decades.
      The original version of this FAQ was written in 1995 under a contract with the City of Brookfield, Wisconsin.

      Parts of this FAQ are derived from three peer-reviewed publications:
      - JE Moulder and KR Foster: Biological effects of power-frequency fields as - KR Foster, LS Erdreich, JE Moulder: Weak electromagnetic fields and cancer in the context of risk assessment. Proc IEEE, 85:733-746, 1997.
      - JE Moulder: Power-frequency fields and cancer. Crit Rev Biomed Eng 26:1-116, 1998.
      - JE Moulder, LS Erdreich, RS Malyapa, J Merritt, WF Pickard, Vijayalaxmi: Cell phones and cancer: What is the evidence for a connection? Radiat. Res., In press, 1999.

      Dr. Moulder maintains similar "FAQ" documents on   www.mcw.edu/gcrc/cop/powerlines-cancer-FAQ/toc.html and www.mcw.edu/gcrc/cop/static-fields-cancer-FAQ/toc.html

      Technical Notes:

      1. International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection: Health issues related to the use of hand-held radiotelephones and base transmitters. Health Physics 70:587-593, 1996.

      2. PCS (Personal Communication Systems) phones are hand-held radiotelephones that use a digital, rather than the analog transmission system used by most cellular phones. In the U.S., cellular phones operate at 860-900 MHz, while PCS phones operate at 1800-2200 MHz. In appearance, cellular and PCS phones and their base station antennas are similar. In the U.S., "cordless" phones operate at 46-60 MHz and "citizens band (CB)" transceivers operate at about 27 MHz.

      International note: Around the world a variety of other frequencies are used for both analog and digital hand-held transceivers and mobile radios, and other names are given to the systems (see Table 1 in Stuchly [83] for details). The most common frequencies for "cellular" systems are 800-900 MHz (analog and digital) and 1800-2000 MHz (digital); but hand-held transceivers exist that use frequencies from as low as 45 MHz to as high as 2500 MHz. Power output from hand-held units seldom exceeds 2 W, but power output from vehicle-mounted units such as those used by law enforcement personnel can be as high as 100 W.
      Analog and digital phones operate at 824-849 MHz. A 2000 MHz digital system (similar or identical to PCS service in the US) is coming soon.
      The analog AMPS phones operate at 825-890 MHz and the digital GSM phones operate at 890-960 MHz.
      : Analog systems at about 900 MHz; digital (GSM) systems at about both 900 and 1800 MHz.

      3. The specific frequencies used by cellular and PCS phones can be called either microwaves (MW), radiofrequencies (RF), or radiowaves. For the discussion of health effects the distinction between radiowaves and microwaves is semantic, and the term radiowaves (or radiofrequency or RF) is used in this document for all frequencies between 3 kHz and 300 GHz.

      4. For a detailed discussion see:
      - JE Moulder and KR Foster: Biological effects of power-frequency fields as they relate to carcinogenesis. Proc Soc Exper Biol Med 209:309-324, 1995;
      - JE Moulder: Power-frequency fields and cancer. Crit Rev Biomed Engineering 26:1-116, 1998.

      5. IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 28 on Non-Ionizing Radiation Hazards: Standard for safety levels with respect to human exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields, 3 kHz to 300 GHz (ANSI/IEEE C95.1-1991), The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, New York, 1992.

      6. International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection: Guidelines for limiting exposure to time-varying electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields. Health Physics 74:494-522, 1998.

      7. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements: Biological effects and exposure criteria for radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. NCRP Report No. 86, 1986.

      8. The biological effects of radiowaves depend on the rate at which power is absorbed. This rate of energy absorption is called the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) and is measured in watts/kilogram (W/kg). SARs are difficult to measure on a routine basis, so what is usually measured is the plane wave power density. Average whole body SARs can then be calculated from the power density exposure (see Stuchly [83] for details).
      Note that some documents express power density as µW/cm-sq, where 1000 µW/cm-sq equals 1 mW/cm-sq.

      9. The power density standards are stricter for cellular frequencies than for PCS frequencies because humans absorb radiowaves more at 860 MHz than at 1800 MHz, and it is the amount of power absorbed that really matters [8].

      10. Specifically, the ICNIRP standard is 0.40 mW/cm-sq for cellular phone frequencies and 0.90 mW/cm-sq for PCS phone frequencies, while the NCRP guideline is 0.57 mW/cm-sq for cellular phone frequencies and 1.00 mW/cm-sq for PCS phone frequencies.

      11. Guidelines for Evaluating the Environmental Effects of Radiofrequency Radiation (FCC 96-326), Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C., 1996.

      12. Specifically, the new FCC standard is 0.57 mW/cm-sq for cellular phone frequencies and 1.0 mW/cm-sq for PCS phone frequencies.

      International note: A number of countries have their own regulations. While these regulations generally follow the same patterns and rationales used by ANSI/IEEE [5] and ICNIRP [6], they do differ.

      Australian standard:
      The Australian situation is rather complex. Until 1998, RF exposure in Australia was regulated by "AS2772.1-1990 Radiofrequency radiation, Part 1: Maximum exposure levels-100 kHz to 300 GHz including Amendment No. 1/1994" from the Standards Association of Australia. In that standard the allowable general public exposure limit for the frequencies used by mobile phone services was 0.2 mW/cm-sq; this was a factor of 2 - 6 lower than the FCC, ANSI/IEEE, ICNIRP and NCRP standards.

      This standard was revised in 1998 on an interim basis, and the allowable general public exposure limits in the new "interim" standard [AS/NZS2772.1(Int):1998] appeared to similar to the ICNIRP standard [6] except at higher frequencies where the lower limits of the 1990 Standard were retained. This interim standard was effective until 5-March-99, when it was to have been "confirmed, withdrawn or revised". The committee responsible for the standard was unable to achieve the required level of consensus to confirm or revise the interim standard and it was subsequently withdrawn.

      When the AS/NZS2772.1(Int):1998 lapsed, the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) stepped in and adopted its own radiocommunications RF standard. The ACA standard appears to be largely identical to AS/NZS2772.1(Int):1998, except that it applies only to RF used for communications.

      New Zealand standard:
      In 1998 the Australian and New Zealand standards were merged as an "interim" standard [AS/NZS2772.1(Int):1998]. The same confusion that applied to the Australian standard occurred in New Zealand. However, unlike Australia, New Zealand has adopted a final standard, "NZS 2772.1:1999 Radiofrequency fields - Part 1: Maximum exposure levels - 3 kHz to 300 GHz", that aligns fully with the ICNIRP Guidelines [6] and does not contain the reduced exposure levels at higher frequencies that were part of the earlier standards.

      Canadian standard: Health Canada: Limits of exposure to radiofrequency fields at frequencies from 10 kHz - 300 GHz Safety Code 6, Canada Communication Group, Ottawa, Canada, (1993). At the frequencies of relevance to base stations the Canadian standard appears to be identical to the FCC standard.

      UK standard: The UK standard [14] is 0.57 mW/cm-sq at 900 MHz and 1.00 mW/cm-sq at 1800 MHz.

      13. Where there are multiple transmitting antennas at different frequencies, the method for assuring adherence to the ANSI [5] or FCC [11] standards is complex. However, there is also an easy way to check adherence under these conditions: add the power densities of all the antennas and apply the strictest power density standard. Anything which passes this easy check will pass the more stringent and complex test. Something that fails this easy check must be analyzed by the more stringent and complex method described in the ANSI standard.

      14. National Radiation Protection Board: Restrictions on human exposure to static and time varying electromagnetic fields and radiation. Doc NRPB 4:1-69, 1993.

      15. The 1992 ANSI standard [5], for example, is based on the review of 321 papers from the peer-reviewed literature; and the NCRP guidelines [7] are based on a review of nearly 1000 reports.

      16. Specifically, no potentially-hazardous effects have been reproducibly shown below a SAR of 4 W/kg.
      - At cellular and PCS phone frequencies it would require a power density of 20-100 mW/cm-sq to achieve a SAR as high as 4 W/kg.
      - Under worst-case assumptions (multiple low-gain, high-ERP antennas), the SAR of a human in publicly-accessible locations near a FCC-compliant base station would be less than 0.01 W/kg.
      - Under realistic conditions the SAR to a human near such a base station would be less than 0.0005 W/kg.

      17. ANSI, ICNIRP and NCRP all agree that whole body exposure of the general public should be kept below a whole body SAR of 0.08 W/kg. Where the standards disagree is about the specific relationship of SAR to power-density, a relationship that is determined from a combination of dosimetry and biophysical modeling.

      International note: As a result of differences between approaches and frequencies used, world-wide standards for the continuous exposure of the public to RF from base station antennas ranges from 0.20 to 1.20 mW/cm-sq.

      18. For the "panel" antennas used by most PCS base stations, the area of concern is only at the front of the antennas. For the "whip" style antennas used in many cellular base station antennas, the area of concern would be in all directions. This differences becomes clearer after an examination of the RF patterns from each type of antenna (see Q14C).

      These general statements about minimum safe distances assume that total ERPs per sector for base station antennas will not exceed 2000 W. In the U.S., this is generally the case; and under the U.S. FCC guidelines, sites with total ERPs above 2000 W will require specific site evaluations [see note 19].

      International note: More powerful antennas may be used elsewhere, in which case the minimum safe distances would be larger. Minimum safe distances will also be larger when there are multiple antennas broadcasting in the same sector.

      19. Specifically, the FCC will require evaluations for:

      1. non-rooftop PCS base station antennas less than 10 meters (30 feet) off the ground and with a total ERP of greater than 2000 W (3280W EIRP);
      2. rooftop PCS base station antennas with a total ERP of greater than 2000 W (3280W EIRP).
      3. non-rooftop cellular phone base station antennas less than 10 meters (30 feet) off the ground and with a total ERP of greater than 1000 W (1640W EIRP);
      4. rooftop cellular phone base station antennas with a total ERP of greater than 1000 W (1640W EIRP)

"rooftop" is defined as: "the roof or otherwise outside, topmost level or levels of a building structure that is occupied as a work place or residence and where either workers or the general public may have access." I would assume that a mount on a water tower would be considered "non-rooftop"
"total power" is defined as: "the sum of the ERP or EIRP of all co-located simultaneously operating transmitters of the facility. When applying the [exclusion] criteria, radiation in all directions should be considered. For the case of transmitting facilities using sectorized transmitting antennas, applicants and licensees should apply the criteria to all transmitting channels in a given sector, noting that for a highly directional antenna there is relatively little contribution to ERP or EIRP summation for other directions."

International note: Strictly speaking, these criteria only apply in the U.S. Nevertheless, they are useful criteria for determining what types of antenna sites are most likely to violate RF standards. For example, sites that are exempted from measurement requirement under the FCC rules should also easily meet the stricter Australian standard.

20. One distinction that is often made in discussions of the biological effects of radiowaves is between "nonthermal" and "thermal" effects. This refers to the mechanism for the effect: non-thermal effects are a result of a direct interaction between the radiowaves and the organism, and thermal effects are a result of heating. There are some reported biological effects of radiowaves whose mechanisms are unknown (not true), and it is difficult (not true) (and not very useful (not true)) to try to draw a distinction between "thermal" and "nonthermal" mechanisms for such effects (unscrupulous industry apologists and 'consultants', persistently and with wilful negligence, refuse to admit existence of non cooking effects of non ionising radiation on humans. Then in more or less the next breath, they exploit the absence of "distinction" between effects that have fundamentally different causes, to imply absence of non cooking effects on humans).

21. These effects have included changes in the electrical activity of the brain, changes in enzyme activity, and changes in calcium ion transport across membranes [for details see 1, 5, 6, 7 and 14].

22. Santani et al: Electric fields from 900 MHz digital cellular telephones. Bioelectromagnetics Society, Tampa, June 1998.

23. The increased human absorption at 900 MHz (U.S. cell phone frequency) versus 2000 MHz (U.S. PCS phone frequency) applies to whole body exposure at a distance from the antenna (the case for public exposure near a base station antenna site). This difference may not apply to partial body exposures in very close proximity to an antenna.

24. WR Adey, CV Byus et al: Spontaneous and nitrosourea-induced primary tumors of the central nervous system in Fischer 344 rats chronically exposed to 836 MHz modulated microwaves. Radiat Res 152:293-302, 1999.

25a. KH Mild et al: Use of mobile phones and subjective disorders. A Swedish-Norwegian epidemiological study. Background and development of questionnaire. Bioelectromagnetic Society, Tampa, June 1998.

25b: M Sandström et al: Subjective symptoms among mobile phone users in Sweden and Norway. A Swedish-Norwegian epidemiological study. Bioelectromagnetic Society, Tampa, June 1998.

26a. BJ Youbicier-Simo, JC Lebecq and M Bastide: Mortality of chick embryos exposed to EMFs from mobile phones. Bioelectromagnetic Society, Tampa, June 1998.
26b. BJ Youbicier-Simo, JC Lebecq and M Bastide: Damage of chicken embryos by EMFs from mobile phones: Protection by a compensation antenna. Bioelectromagnetic Society, Tampa, June 1998.

27. See 63b.

28. B Hocking et al: Cancer incidence and mortality and proximity to TV towers. Med J Austral 165:601-605, 1996.

29A. JR Goldsmith: Epidemiologic evidence of radiofrequency (microwave) effects on health in military, broadcasting, and occupational studies. Int J Occup Environ Health 1:47-57, 1995.
JR Goldsmith: Epidemiologic evidence relevant to radar (microwave) effects. Environ Health Perspec 105:1579-1587, 1997.

30. A discussion of the problems with interpreting ecological epidemiology studies is beyond the scope of document. For discussion of this issue see:
S Piantadosi et al: The ecological fallacy. Am J Epidem. 127(5):893-904, 1988.
S Schwartz: The fallacy of the ecological fallacy: the potential misuse of a concept and the consequences. Am J Public Health. 84(5):819-24, 1994.

31a. H Lai and NP Singh: Acute low-intensity microwave exposure increases DNA single-strand breaks in rat brain cells. Bioelectromag 16:207-210, 1995

31b. H Lai and NP Singh: Single- and double-strand DNA breaks in rat brain cells after acute exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation. Int J Rad Biol 69:513-521, 1996.

32. A Maes et al: 954 MHz microwaves enhance the mutagenic properties of mitomycin C. Environ Molec Mutagen 28:26-30, 1996.

33. JK Grayson: Radiation exposure, socioeconomic status, and brain tumor risk in US Air Force: A nested case-control study. Amer J Epidem 143:480-486, 1996.

34. H Dolk et al: Cancer incidence near radio and television transmitters in Great Britain I. Sutton Coldfield Transmitter. Amer J Epidem 145:1-9, 1997.

35. H Dolk et al: Cancer incidence near radio and television transmitters in Great Britain. II. All high power transmitters. Amer J Epidem 145:10-17, 1997.

36. MR Scarfi et al: Genotoxic effects of mitomycin-C and microwave radiation on bovine lymphocytes. Electro Magnetobio 15:99-107, 1996.

37. MH Repacholi et al: Lymphomas in Eµ-Pim1 Transgenic Mice Exposed to Pulsed 900 MHz Electromagnetic Fields. Rad Res 147:631-640, 1997.

38. Quotes from the abstract of Repacholi et al [37] :
"...One hundred mice were sham-exposed and 101 were exposed for two 30-min periods per day for up to 18 months to plane wave fields of 900 MHz with a pulse repetition frequency of 217 Hz and a pulse width of 0.6 ms. Incident power densities were 0.26-1.3 mW/cm-sq and [average SAR was] 0.13-1.4 W/kg. Lymphoma risk was found to be significantly higher in the exposed mice than in the controls (OR=2.4, p=0.006, 95% CI=1.3-4.5)... Thus long-term intermittent exposure to RF fields can enhance the probability that mice carrying a lymphomagenic oncogene will develop lymphomas".

39. Quotes from the discussion in Repacholi et al [37]
"[the literature] does not seem to offer a mechanism by which RF field exposure... could increase the incidence of lymphoid malignancy"
"While the increase in the incidence of lymphoma found here was highly significant statistically, and the exposure conditions were designed to mimic the fields generated by a digital mobile telephone, the implications of the study for risk of carcinogenesis in humans are unclear. It is difficult to extrapolate directly from mice to humans due to differences in their absorption of energy from RF fields."
"We would not interpret these studies as indicating that RF-field exposure would be specifically lymphomagenic in normal animals."
"That is not to imply that any humans at all are necessarily at increased risk of cancer as a consequence of exposure to RF fields. No single experiment on animals can allow such a conclusion."

40. Further technical notes concerning Repacholi et al [37]:
- Mice used in these studies are transgenic animals that are born with an activated oncogene that predisposes them to develop lymphoma. By the age of 10 months 5-10% of these mice develop lymphomas, and by 18 months about 15% develop lymphomas. The incidence of lymphoma in normal mice is very much lower.
- The data analysis was blinded. The exposures themselves were not completely blinded; during the course of the experiments the investigators knew which mice were being exposed and which were not, but the people caring for the animals did not.
- The RF field was not uniform in the exposure room, and the animals were allowed to move freely in their cages during the exposure. As a result, the actual exposure levels of the animals are not known. All that is known is that the SAR range was 0.007 to 4.3 W/kg and that the average SAR for the mice was 0.14 to 1.4 W/kg.
- The ANSI/IEEE standard for exposure of the general public to RF is based on keeping exposures below 0.08 W/kg. The SAR level in publicly-accessible locations near cellular phone or PCS base stations is in the 0.0005-0.005 W/kg range [16]. Thus the exposure levels used in this mouse study are well above those to which people are actually exposed.
- Because the animals used in the study are genetically predisposed to lymphoma it is difficult to decide whether this should be viewed as a test for genotoxic activity or a test for epigenetic activity (see the power lines-cancer FAQ for a discussion of the distinction).

41a. Vijayalaxmi et al: Frequency of micronuclei in the peripheral blood and bone marrow of cancer-prone mice chronically exposed to 2450 MHz radiofrequency radiation. Rad Res 147:495-500, 1997.
41b. Vijayalaxmi et al: Proliferation and cytogenetic studies in human blood lymphocytes exposed in vitro to 2450 MHz radiofrequency radiation. Int J Rad Biol 72:751-757, 1997.

42. CD Cain et al: Focus formation of C3H/10T1/2 cells and exposure to a 836.55 MHz modulated radiofrequency field. Bioelectromag 18:237-243, 1997.

43. CK Chou et al: Long-term, low-level microwave irradiation of rats. Bioelectromag 13:469-496, 1992.

44. MR Frei et al: Chronic exposure of cancer-prone mice to low-level 2450 MHz radiofrequency radiation. Bioelectromag. 19, 20-31, 1998.

45. JC Toler et al: Long-term low-level exposure of mice prone to mammary tumors to 435 MHz radiofrequency radiation. Rad Res 148:227-234, 1997.

46. DL Hayes et al: Interference with cardiac pacemakers by cellular telephones. New Eng J Med 336:1473-1479, 1997.

47. MR Frei et al: Chronic low-level (1.0 W/Kg) exposure of mammary cancer-prone mice to 2450 MHz microwaves. Rad Res 150:568-576, 1998.

48. AH Frey: Commentary: Headaches from cellular telephones: Are they real and what are the implications? Environ Health Perspec 106:101-103, 1998.

49a. RS Malyapa et al: Measurement of DNA damage following exposure to 2450 MHz electromagnetic radiation. Rad Res 148:608-617, 1997.

49b. RS Malyapa et al: Measurement of DNA damage following exposure to electromagnetic radiation in the cellular communications frequency band (835.62 and 847.74 MHz). Rad Res 148:618-627, 1997.

49c. RS Malyapa et al: DNA damage in rat brain cells after in vivo exposure to 2450 MHz electromagnetic radiation and various methods of euthanasia. Rad Res 149:637-645, 1998.

50. WR Adey et al: Brain tumor incidence in rats chronically exposed to frequency-modulated (FM) cellular phone fields. 2nd World Congress, Bologna, 1997.

51. T Shirai et al: Lack of promoting effects of the electromagnetic near-field used for cellular phones (929 MHz) on rat liver carcinogenesis in medium-term bioassay. 2nd World Congress, Bologna, 1997.

52. G d'Ambrosio et al: Preliminary results on human lymphocytes exposed in vitro to cellular telephone microwave frequency. 2nd World Congress, Bologna, 1997.

53. KR Foster, LS Erdreich and JE Moulder: Weak electromagnetic fields and cancer In the context of risk assessment. Proc IEEE 85:731-746, 1997.

54. Measurements show that signal strength in a building is anywhere from 5% to 40% of the level measured in the street outside. In general, signal attenuation is greater at ground level than higher up in the building, and attenuation is less at higher (PCS) frequencies than at lower (cell phone) frequencies (JD Parsons, The Mobile Phone Propagation Channel, Wiley and Sons, NY, 1992).

55. A worst-case calculation (which excludes the possibility of bad practice or commercially driven wilful negligence)(2000 W ERP low-gain antenna mounted directly on a low-attenuation roof) predicts a power density of less than 0.10 mW/cm-sq on the floor below. A calculation for a more typical roof-top mount (1000 W ERP high-gain antenna, mounted 2 meters above a typical roof) predicts a power density of less than 0.001 mW/cm-sq on the floor below. (which if it was the maximum level of radiation in which children were bathed, would still be sufficient to cause/trigger/enable physiological/genetic effects)

Actual measurements in the top floor apartments of a ("a" - what kind of "science' is this ? - "a" casual www3 measurement in a different building produced different results) building with high-gain (panel) base stations antennas mounted to the outside of the parapet just above the apartments found a maximum power density of 0.0004 mW/cm-sq [101]. Measurements in a corridor in the floor directly below a roof-top base station (antennas 3 meters above the main roof) found a maximum power density of 0.008 mW/cm-sq. Both maximums assume that the base stations are operating at their maximum capacity of 2000 W ERP [101].

56. RY Wu et al: Effects of 2.45 GHz microwave radiation and phorbol ester 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate on dimethylhydrazine -induced colon cancer in mice. Bioelectromag 15:531-538, 1994.

57. ED Mantiply et al: Summary of measured radiofrequency electric and magnetic fields (10 kHz to 30 GHz) in the general and work environment. Bioelectromag 18:563-577, 1997.

58. R Coghill: Something in the Air: A Biologists Review of Adverse and Beneficial Effects on Mankind, Nature and the Environment, From the Use of Radio, TV, Telecommunications, Mobile Phones, Microwaves and Electricity. 1997.

59. Quotes are from EMF Health and Safety Digest, Sept 1997, pp 12-13.

60. N Cherry: Potential adverse health effects of cell sites". Source and publisher obscure, 1996?.

61. Quotes are from an internet "interview" in NZine (www.nzine.co.nz) in July of 1997.

62. DR McKenzie et al: Childhood incidence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and exposure to broadcast radiation in Sydney -- a second look. Aust New Zealand J Public Health 22:360-367, 1998.

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Some basic information for non radio engineers - here
Good practice proposal
- here and a pre-Stewart Report 1999 UK legal opinion is available - here
High quality sensible and well informed commentary site untainted by commerce/politics - here
Useful Powerwatch summary - here
World Health Organisation summary - here
UK Parliamentary environment committee, extract of proceedings 1-12-99 -
Some of biological effects of radio frequency radiation -

Transmitting station non ionising radiation and some more of the physiological effects -
The Lancet medical journal reports raised blood pressure - another physiological effect-
Some non ionising radiation (that's what's transmitted by phone stations) issues-
Some relevant papers - here
Explanatory document from US FCC - breath of fresh air compared with furtive UK NRPB
Some relevant news reports - here
Wired News report - here
Radiation and health physics - here
Jottings - here
Report - what the phone companies don't want you to know - here
Neurological effects of radio frequency non ionising radiation - here
Insurance industry refuses cover against biological effects of mobile phone radiation - here
Mobile phone health hazards - here
Stewart Commision BBC report 10th May 2000 - here
If you're a busy headteacher or parent, there's a handy bundle of notes, summaries, extracts - here
Orange Ltd. - a BBC Panorama broadcast May 1999 - here
UK National Radiological Protection Board info sheet 1, info sheet 2,links with Orange
UK 1999 + Euro 1999 (reviewed 2000) legal views - here
Latest research report news (incl. the mysterious fate of one from the University of Zurich) - here
A 1998 US legal view - here

Dr. Neil Cherry's paper on base stations -
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