Within the scientific process new findings are accepted when they have been confirmed by other independent researchers. These follow-up studies may be direct replications that closely follow the original study or confirmations that modify the original study design to improve confidence in the findings.
This programme was set-up with collaborating pairs of laboratories from different institutions conducting follow-up studies in parallel to test earlier reports.
- Genetic damage: Laboratories in Italy and the UK attempted to confirm a Belgian study (Maes et al, 1997) that reported effects when mobile phone type signals were combined with a chemical (mitomycin C) known to cause genetic damage.
- Cell chemistry: ODC (ornithine decarboxylase) is a marker of cell proliferation and a US study (Penafiel et al, 1997) had reported a small increase in the rate of growth of tumour cells following exposure to radio signals. Laboratories in Finland and France conducted the confirmation studies.
- Brain effects: A series of US studies had reported effects on rat behaviour and brain function following exposure to a pulsed signal at 2450 MHz (Lai et al, 1989; Lai et al, 1992; Lai et al, 1994). The confirmation studies were conducted in the UK and in France.
The University of Helsinki managed the overall program and provided a firewall between the sponsors and researchers. Funding was received from the MMF, the GSMA, Elettra2000 and national authorities from France (CNRS), Italy (ENEA), the UK (NRPB now HPA) and Finland (TEKES).
Overall, the researchers were unable to confirm any of the earlier findings. They also identified possible flaws in the earlier studies, for example, the radio signal exposure in the ODC experiments was higher than originally reported.
Research teams from Russia (Institute of Biophysics in the State Research Centre, Moscow, led by Dr Oleg Grigoriev) and France (PIOM Laboratory, ENSCPB, and led by Dr Bernard Veyret) are attempting to verify early Russian and Ukrainian reports of microwave effects. These studies were identified as important to the development of the Soviet and Russian radiofrequency standards. An International Oversight Committee (IOC) provided oversight on the conduct of the studies and was the firewall committee that dealt with the sponsors and researchers
The project was supported by the CNRS (France), the French Health and Radiofrequency Foundation, the Mobile Manufacturers Forum and the GSM Association, with the University of Helsinki providing a firewall between the sponsors and researchers.
The studies began in late 2005 and the results have been published along with a commentary by the IOC. The French group found no effects while the Russian group reported effects but with high variability. The IOC concluded that as a whole, the evidence from these studies does not provide support for the original Soviet results.
Effects of exposure to DAMPS and GSM signals on Ornithine Decarboxylase (ODC) activity: I. L-929 mouse fibroblasts, Billaudel et al, International Journal of Radiation Biology, 85(6):1-9, June 2009.
Effects of exposure to DAMPS and GSM signals on Ornithine Decarboxylase (ODC) activity: II. SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells, Billaudel et al, International Journal of Radiation Biology, 85(6), June 2009.
Whole-body exposure to 2.45 GHz electromagnetic fields does not alter radial-maze performance in rats, Cassel et al, Behavioural Brain Research, 155(1):37-43, 5 November 2004.
Whole-body exposure to 2.45 GHz electromagnetic fields does not alter anxiety responses in rats: a plus-maze study including test validation, Cosquer et al, Behavioural Brain Research, 156(1):65-74, 6 January 2005.
Blood–brain barrier and electromagnetic fields: Effects of scopolamine methylbromide on working memory after whole-body exposure to 2.45 GHz microwaves in rats, Cosquer et al, Behavioural Brain Research, 161(2):229-237, 20 June 2005.
Confirmation studies of Soviet research on immunological effects of microwaves: Russian immunology results, Grigoriev et al., Bioelectromagnetics, 31(8):589–602, December 2010.
Comments from the Russian group on Repacholi et al. “An international project to confirm soviet era results on immunological and teratological effects of RF field exposure in wistar rats and comments on Grigoriev et al. ”, Grigoriev, Bioelectromagnetics, 32(4):331–332, May 2011.
Modest increase in temperature affects ODC activity in L929 cells: low-level radiofrequency radiation does not, Höytö et al, Journal Radiation and Environmental Biophysics, 45(3):231-235, September 2006.
Ornithine decarboxylase activity of L929 cells after exposure to continuous wave or 50 Hz modulated radiofrequency radiation – a replication study, Höytö et al, Bioelectromagnetics, 28(7):501-508, October 2007.
Ornithine decarboxylase activity is affected in primary astrocytes but not in secondary cell lines exposed to 872 MHz RF radiation, Höytö et al, International Journal of Radiation Biology, 83(6):367-374, 2007.
Cellular effects of electromagnetic fields, Naarala et al, Alternatives to Laboratory Animals, 32(4):355-360, October 2004.
Reevaluation and improved design of the TEM cell in vitro exposure unit for replication studies, Nikoloski et al, Bioelectromagnetics, 26(3):215-224, April 2005.
A Confirmation Study of Russian and Ukrainian Data on Effects of 2450 MHz Microwave Exposure on Immunological Processes and Teratology in Rats, Poulletier de Gannes et al., Radiation Research, 172(5):617-624, November 2009.
An international project to confirm soviet-era results on immunological and teratological effects of RF field exposure in wistar rats and comments on Grigoriev et al. , Repacholi et al., Bioelectromagnetics, 32(4):325–330, May 2011.
High Peak SAR Exposure Unit With Tight Exposure and Environmental Control for In Vitro Experiments at 1800 MHz, Schuderer et al, IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, 52(8), pp. 2057- 2066, August 2004.
In Vitro Exposure Systems for RF Exposures at 900 MHz, Schuderer et al, IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, 52(8), pp. 2067- 2075, August 2004.
935 MHz cellular phone radiation. An in vitro study of genotoxicity in human lymphocytes, Stronati et al, International Journal of Radiation Biology, 82(5):339-346, May 2006.