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Health and Environment News

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  • August 21, 2014
    More and more camouflaged cell towers are being built in the USA to meet the demands of consumers who are concerned about the look of cell sites in their local communities, reported USA Today. As telecommunications companies fill gaps in their networks, many have camouflaged the unsightly towers that carry the nation's daily supply of calls, texts and data. It's another indication of how the industry is evolving to meet the demands of consumers who insist on ever-increasing amounts of wireless information but won't tolerate large antennas looming over their homes, parks and other beloved...
  • August 18, 2014
    A recent science update article published in The New York Times has been criticized for “reviving baseless fears while ignoring what has been learned” in the past 25 years about electromagnetic fields (EMF). “The New York Times does its readers a disservice when, in the guise of updating a highly-charged issue, it features someone whose alarmist mantra has not changed in 25 years, but who ignores a mountain of accumulated evidence over that time period,” said Geoffrey Kabat cancer expert at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine New York. A day after The New York Times published...
  • August 15, 2014
    Despite a failed attempt by San Francisco, the nearby city of Berkeley is considering a law to require retailers to put stickers on cell phone boxes to warn consumers “of the risk of brain cancer when using cell phones within a 10 mm distance of their body.” But the city’s proposal is based on a misunderstanding says the US wireless association – the CTIA. “Cell phones are a risk, and I believe the public has a right to information that's credible, readable and understandable about the device they're using,” Berkeley City Councilman Max Anderson, who's co-sponsoring the ordinanc...
  • August 13, 2014
    A report by the International Energy Agency has found that $80 billion was wasted on power for idle network devices, such as set-top boxes, printers, modems and wireless routers, and even game consoles, last year. “The proliferation of connected devices brings many benefits to the world, but right now the cost is far higher than it should be,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said in a statement. The report titled- More data, less energy: making network standby more efficient in billions of connected devices - said the current number of 14 billion network connected devices...
  • August 11, 2014
    Health Canada’s period of public consultation on the review of safety guidelines for radio frequency (RF) exposure has ended. The two-month consultation and public comment period on the guidelines, known as Safety Code 6, was active from the middle of May to the middle of July and encouraged interested parties to provide comments and suggestions of a scientific nature. “Health Canada recognizes the significant stakeholder interest in RF safety. However, only feedback of a scientific nature received during the public consultation period can be considered in the finalization of a revis...
  • July 29, 2014
    New laws that required manufacturers who trade with the USA to report on the origins of conflict minerals – used to make tin, tungsten, and tantalite – which are used in electronic components and many other products has shown some early signs of success according to one NGO. “Market changes spurred by the 2010 Dodd-Frank law on conflict minerals have helped significantly reduce the involvement of armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in the mines of three out of the four conflict minerals,” the investigative report by the Enough Project said. “The law, in additio...
  • July 25, 2014
    The French senate has passed a bill in an attempt to introduce additional precautions for the use of wireless networks and mobile phones, such as, turning off wireless networks in primary schools when they are not in use and requiring new mobile phones to include specially designed hands-free kits for children. “This amendment takes into account the rights of parents to be informed when their children are exposed to electromagnetic fields. It also follows the principles of common sense in switching wireless networks off when they’re not in use,” Joël Labbé, Greens Senator for the de...
  • July 23, 2014
    Scientific research into the possible health risks from mobile phone use has been “erratic and unsatisfying” and due to its limitations may never give the public a clear answer, says Professor of Cancer and Epidemiology at the University of Auckland, Mark Elwood. “The saga of this scientific research is erratic and unsatisfying,” Prof Elwood said in a recent comment published in the journal Bioelectromagnetics. The core of the problem is the ability of science to find a possibly small hazard related to a rare disease – such a brain tumours – over a potentially long latency pe...
  • July 22, 2014
    A new standard that allows the ICT industry a uniform way to measure the environmental impacts of its products and services has been developed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The standard provides a methodology to assess the environmental impact of ICT goods, networks and services, and provides specific recommendations on energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The standard fits within the efforts of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to combat climate change. “Policymakers have demanded a standard, and this is exactly what’s neede...
  • July 15, 2014
    Last month Australia cleared the path for mobile phones and other electronic devices to be used in flight-mode during take-off and landing, instead of only when the plane is at cruising altitudes. The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) recently released a set of revised procedures (pdf) that state Australian airlines can now apply to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices (PEDs) such as phones and tablets throughout the whole flight. “Travellers will be able to have their devices on from gate to gate, but they may need to be secured during certain situations...
  • July 14, 2014
    Australian safety authorities have warned consumers about the risk of using cheap, non-approved, USB phone chargers after the death of an Australian woman in April. The 28 year old was wearing headphones and holding her laptop with burns to her ears and chest when found dead. It appears that she was electrocuted. “These devices pose a serious risk of electrocution or fire,” Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said in a media release warning consumers of the potential risks. The Commissioner said Fair Trading investigators had recently removed from sale a number of unapproved and non-...
  • July 11, 2014
    India should be part of the WHO process to review the scientific evidence base for radiofrequency (RF) exposure guidelines the GSMA says. The process is expected to complete in 2015. In 2008 India adopted the international RF exposure recommendations but in 2012 the policy changed and India now has stricter limits than many other countries. "Essentially our view is that the Indian government, for political reasons, chose to impose stricter standards in India. The World Health Organization (WHO is reviewing the scientific underpinning of the guidelines and India should be a part of this," Dr...
  • June 27, 2014
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Africa: Is the news about Congo’s conflict minerals good? The Enough Project recently published a report claiming that 67 percent of tin, tantalum, and tungsten (3T) mines in eastern Congo are now free of armed actors and declaring the minerals mined there ‘conflict-free’. The document closely followed a June 2 deadline for U.S. firms to report to the Securities and Exchange Commission the provenance of minerals ...
  • June 25, 2014
    In an interview the President of Peru Ollanta Humala said there were no proven health risks from base station antennas and highlighted a bill before the parliament which will improve the ability to site antennas in the country. In the lengthy interview – with the newspaper Diario 16 (Daily 16) – to mark the end of his third year in office, President Humula discussed a range of political, economic, social and community issues including base station deployment in Peru. In a discussion about what the Government was doing to shore up economic development and investment in infrastructure ...
  • June 24, 2014
    An international coalition of mobile network operators has published a set of ethical supply chain sustainability guidelines (pdf) for telecommunication companies that cover such issues as child and forced labour, occupational health and safety, and ethical business practices. The guidelines were developed by the Joint Audit Co-operation or JAC, a group of 10 telecom organisations, and were announced at a forum on sustainability and corporate social responsibility in Chengdu, China earlier this year. “Suppliers are expected to comply with all relevant laws, regulations and standards in...
  • June 24, 2014
    New research does not indicate any health risks from exposure to the radiofrequency electromagnetic fields transmitted by base stations or other wireless networks in schools or at home an expert review of the latest scientific research has found. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority`s (SSM) scientific council of international experts assessed all the relevant research published up to September 2013 on the effects from mobile phones, health risk from wireless transmitters and self-reported electromagnetic hypersensitivity and published the report online. Although in recent years – in ...
  • June 20, 2014
    Indian-born American cancer specialist Siddhartha Mukherjee, who was the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for his book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, has said there is no scientific basis to claims that the electromagnetic field produced by mobile phones can cause cancer. "If mobile phones were to cause brain cancer, as has been suggested, the incidence of the disease should have gone up several times with the increase in their usage over the past two decades. This has not happened. On the other hand, data shows increased use of tobacco-a scientifically proven carc...
  • June 17, 2014
    A new UK study will investigate whether or not the use of mobile phones and Wi-Fi affect children’s memory and attention. The Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones (SCAMP) will be the largest study in the world to consider these issues and will recruit about 2500 year 7 students for the next three years from 160 secondary schools in outer London. Parents and pupils who agree to take part in the study will answer questions about the children's use of mobile devices and wireless technologies, well-being and lifestyle in Year 7 and Year 9. Pupils will be asked to install an...
  • June 12, 2014
    Fertility experts have questioned the widely reported claims of a UK analysis that found men who keep mobile phones in their trouser pockets damaged their sperm and lowered their chances of becoming a father. “I don’t see increased mobile phone use as a ready explanation for lower sperm counts in men; indeed, if sperm counts have fallen, then they did so long before mobile phone use became extensive,” Sheena Lewis, Professor of Reproductive Medicine at the Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast said in response to the media reports. The research paper announced in a...
  • June 6, 2014
    The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) – one of the world’s largest organisations for engineers and technicians – has called for the published research into the health effects of low-level exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from mobile phones and electricity pylons to be more robust to reduce public alarm and uncertainty. “Over the last 20 years there have been regular media outcries about cancer risks associated with EMFs from mobile phones and electricity pylons.  However, each time we examine the research available, there is insufficient sound scientific evid...
  • May 28, 2014
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues Belgium: Order relaxing electromagnetic emissions standards published in Brussels The order authorizing a change to Brussels’ non-ionizing radiation standards has been published in the Belgian Official Journal. Finally, the operators have a little more space to insert 4G frequency bands but also to extend the breakthrough waves inside buildings for 2G and 3G. France: Government health authority disapproves of funding fo...
  • May 27, 2014
    A new web based application has been launched to help mobile carriers explore how the use of the latest energy efficient technologies can reduce energy consumption, costs and the carbon footprint of their networks. The Global ‘What if’ Analyzer of NeTwork Energy ConsumpTion (GWATT) app – forecasts trends in energy consumption and efficiency based on a wide variety of traffic growth scenarios and technology evolution choices. The online tool provides an interactive view of the entire mobile network and shows how much power is consumed at each point of the network from data centres t...
  • May 21, 2014
    Canadians have been reassured that their health remains well protected after an independent audit of the country’s wireless signal safety standards recommended exposure limits in some frequency ranges be reduced. Health Canada are currently reviewing the report produced by a Royal Society of Canada (RSC) panel at the government’s request, which assessed the latest scientific research and found there was no evidence of negative health effects from exposure to wireless signals below the current limits stipulated in Safety Code 6. The RSC panel did however recommend slightly more restri...
  • May 19, 2014
    Public exposure to mobile signals are lower in areas that have a higher density of network antennas, a study of 11.5 million base station signal measurements throughout Colombia has found. The Colombian National Spectrum Agency (ANE) analysed a year of radio frequency electromagnetic field (RF EMF) measurements in the cities of Bogota, Medellin, Cali and Ibague to check mobile carrier’s equipment met the national safety standards. “It was found in cities like Medellín, with increased deployment of telecommunications infrastructure, levels of measured electromagnetic fields are lower...
  • May 16, 2014
    The UK Department of Health has urged caution in interpreting the results of a French study that found a small number of participants who reported the highest levels of mobile phone use were more likely to be diagnosed with a brain tumour. “Overall, this study contributes little in the way of conclusive answers. It tells us more about mobile phone use a decade ago than today, and this may be of questionable value with such rapidly evolving technology,” the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) said. The analysis of 447 French adults diagnosed with the most common types of brain tumour...
  • May 15, 2014
    Although carriers may have increased base station density in some European cities to comply with restrictive exposure limits - set lower than those recommended by the EU - public exposure to radio frequency signals has not increased, Swiss researchers have found. “Our study suggests that the introduction of precautionary limits does not unintentionally increase the mean RF-EMF exposure of the population,” the researchers concluded in the study published in the journal Environment International. Because of public concerns about the electromagneti...
  • May 14, 2014
    The 2011 classification of cell phones as a ‘possible carcinogen’ by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) was misunderstood and resulted in an overestimation of the risks of getting brain cancer from cell phone use, an online survey of Austrian university students has found. “The present study is based on an online survey indicating that both the characterization of the probability of carcinogenicity, as well as the description of the risk increase given in the IARC press release (pdf), was mostly misunderstood by study participants. Respondents also greatly overesti...
  • May 12, 2014
    Almost half of Americans believe in medical conspiracy theories, with twenty percent of people believing that cell phones cause cancer and that large corporations are keeping health officials from doing anything about it, a new survey has found. “In sum, 49% of Americans agree with at least 1 medical conspiracy theory and 18% agree with 3 or more,” the researchers found. The most commonly endorsed theory was the belief that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is “deliberately preventing the public from getting natural cures for cancer and other diseases because of pressure from ...
  • April 29, 2014
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: Phone attachment linked with mental health stress A new study of smart devices and mental health found depression and stress are more likely in people who have high “involvement” with mobile phones and tablets. The study does not suggest smart devices are the cause of mental health problems but rather that there is a relationship between the two. Australia: AMTA dial up campaign to promote safe and respons...
  • April 24, 2014
    With the help of GSMA experts Pakistani mobile operator Warid expects to save 19,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and more than US$6 million a year with the rollout of new energy efficient backup power and cooling systems for its network of base stations. Tests on four of the telco’s network sites fitted with new energy efficient air-conditioning units, methanol fuel cell backup sources and sodium nickel battery supplies demonstrated energy savings of between 30 and 60 per cent. The project was run as part of the GSMA’s Mobile Energy Efficiency (MEE) Optimisation service which ...
  • April 18, 2014
    Contrary to community concerns, mobile phone towers built in residential areas do not impact the value of nearby homes, a study of property sales in New Zealand’s third largest city has found. The visual impact of lamppost style mobile antennas, single monopoles and armed monopoles installed within 500m of homes had no effect on their sale price, according to the research published in the International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis. “The emerging empirical evidence indicates that proximity to cell phone towers does not significantly influence people’s health or nearby hou...
  • April 16, 2014
    Using a cellular phone and concern about living next to a mobile phone base station could cause a loss of sleep, appetite or balance according to a reanalysis of a 2003 study into the impacts of two 30 metre high towers in as small rural Spanish city. “Users of cellular phones were more prone to symptoms of loss of appetite and vertigo, while those who expressed worry about the BSs were associated with sleep problems,” found researchers from the University of Valencia. The study, published online in the BMJ Open journal, reanalysed the data from a 2003 study of the re...
  • April 15, 2014
    Levels of radiofrequency signals from mobile phone base stations in the growing Arab cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai are well below the international safety standards, tests have found. The technical survey carried out on 50 mobile phone antennas across the United Arab Emirates by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) found all 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE network sites were compliant with the national safety limits based on the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines. “The results revealed that mobile services including GSM, UMTS and LTE withi...
  • April 14, 2014
    A review of the latest scientific evidence by an expert panel has found the safety standards, put in place to protect Australians from the radio signals transmitted by mobile phones, base stations, radio, television and other wireless devices, are highly protective. The Federal Government safety agency, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) published its 10 year review of the Radiofrequency (RF) Exposure Standard in March. “On the basis of an examination of the scientific literature in this area from January 2000 to August 2012, the Expert Panel conclu...
  • April 8, 2014
    A new study commissioned by the New Zealand (NZ) Ministry of Health, after parents raised concerns, has confirmed that WiFi in schools does not pose a health risk to children or staff. “Exposures to WiFi signals in New Zealand schools, both from the access points and devices are very low,” the report says. “On this basis WiFi in schools does not pose a health risk to children or staff.” The report, Snapshot Study: WiFi in Schools, measured the levels of radiofrequency (RF) fields from WiFi in two schools, including possible intense WiFi usage, and compared the results to the N...
  • April 2, 2014
    An expert panel’s review of Canadian safety limits for exposure to radio waves – such as those produced by mobile phones, base stations Wi-Fi equipment and TV and radio broadcast antennas – has found there is no reason to change the basis of existing standards, but recommends Health Canada “aggressively” research the possible link with cancer and better inform the public about how they can limit their exposure. “The Panel has concluded that the balance of evidence at this time does not indicate negative health effects from exposure to RF energy below the limits recommended in th...
  • March 28, 2014
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: ARPANSA publishes review of radiofrequency health effects research An Expert Panel has concluded that the science behind the ARPANSA Radiofrequency (RF) Exposure Standard remains valid and the exposure limits in the Standard continue to provide a high degree of protection against the known health effects of RF electromagnetic fields. Europe: MEPs push for common charger for all mobile phones A common char...
  • March 27, 2014
    Just months after the US air regulator lifted a long standing ban on mobile phone use during flight, a House of Representatives committee has passed legislation that would prohibit all voice calls, while still allowing texting and internet browsing. In October 2013 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cleared mobiles in ‘airplane mode’ to be used in “all phases of flight” for the first time, after their research found modern aircraft were equipped to deal with interference from modern electronic devices. In response, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has sought public ...
  • March 26, 2014
      News reports in the USA have expressed concern that the island state of Hawaii are seriously considering unjustified and non-science based warning labels on cell phones. “If you like your laws to be based on fact, brace yourself for this one. A bill in Hawaii's state legislature would require every cell phone sold in the state to carry an unremovable warning label, occupying 30 percent of the back of the phone,” reported the online tech magazine Motherboard. “The Hawaii state legislature doesn’t seem to care whether or not cell phones are actually a threat to health; concern ...
  • March 25, 2014
    Plans to revitalize the EU economy through digital technology and innovation are being hampered by non-science based restrictions on mobile phone antennas in some member countries, according to a new GSMA report. At the end of 2013 less than two per cent of mobile users in Europe were connected with the latest high speed mobile broadband technology, compared to nearly 20 per cent of users in the United States who had a 4G/LTE connection. And despite the Digital Agenda for Europe’s (DAE) aim to reboot the region’s economy through digital technologies, the latest research indicates Eur...
  • March 24, 2014
    European factories that make mobile phones, network antennas and other electronic equipment will be asked to ensure their products don’t contain metals sold by warlords to fund armed conflicts in regions like the Congo under proposed new EU laws. Under the voluntary scheme announced by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, European importers of gold, tungsten, tantalum and tin will need to certify the origin of imported minerals and carry out third party audits to ensure their purchase did not fund armed conflict. “We are committed to preventing international trade in minerals from i...
  • March 18, 2014
    A review of all available studies and brain cancer rates in children by three European experts, has found there is no increased risk from using mobile phones, but they warn because even a small increase in risk would have a significant public health impact, brain cancer rates need to be continually monitored. “Overall these data do not suggest an increased brain tumor risk from using mobile phones,” the researchers said in the paper published online in the journal Tumors of the Central Nervous System. “However, some uncertainties remain with respect to heavy mobile phone use, with ...
  • March 13, 2014
    A committee set up by order of the High Court of Allahabad, Lucknow Bench, in India to look into electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation concerns found there was no conclusive evidence of the dangers from mobile phone towers and that greater efforts should be made to reduce fears caused by misinformation. “The committee noted that WHO after studying approximately 25,000 studies over the past 30 years has concluded that current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to EMF radiation,” the report said. The 13-member co...
  • March 11, 2014
    Current limits on wireless signal levels from mobile phones and base stations are still protective of all Canadians, despite an ongoing review of the country’s safety standards, Health Canada has said. Responding to some common myths in a new fact sheet about Safety Code 6 – the Canadian standard which recommends limits for safe human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic energy (RF EME) – Health Canada said the large safety margins inherit in the limits ensured all Canadians were still protected. “To ensure that it continues to provide protection against all known adverse h...
  • February 28, 2014
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: New distance ruler feature on public network deployment data base AMTA have introduced a new tool to assist community access to mobile network information, including the location of Australia’s nearly 14,000 base stations and reports on radio frequency electromagnetic energy levels at sites. Canada: Wireless firms must consult with Canadians on cell towers Industry Minister James Moore has announced that ...
  • February 27, 2014
    The European Commission have released a draft report on the possible health effects from the electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phone and other broadcast technologies and have asked the public to comment on the report before it is officially published. The commission’s expert independent advisory group - the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) – produced the preliminary opinion (pdf) which the public will have until 16 April to comment on. “The preliminary opinion addresses issues of public concern, such as potential health effects fro...
  • February 26, 2014
    Cutting-edge green energy technology is being deployed across the US that will allow mobile phone base stations to continue to connect users for up to 72 hours after a hurricane or other natural disaster has knocked out the power. With the assistance of a Department of Energy (DOE) grant, mobile carrier Sprint plans to replace backup generators on rooftop antennas in dense cities across the US with new environmentally friendly hydrogen fuel cells, making them not only greener but also less of a logistical nightmare. “To date, we’ve deployed approximately 500 hydrogen fuel cells in ou...
  • February 24, 2014
    Unlike the hundreds of safety checks genuine mobile phone products must pass before hitting the shelves, counterfeit phones are not tested for compliance with industry safety standards and a new report into the black market devices has revealed they can contain high levels of lead and other substances which are a danger to the environment and human health. “Counterfeit phones are made with cheap sub-standard materials and have been shown to contain dangerous levels of metals and chemicals like lead up to 40 times higher than industry standards,” Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) Secretar...
  • February 18, 2014
    Cancer cases worldwide are predicted to increase by 70 per cent over the next two decades, from 14m in 2012 to 25m new cases a year, according to the latest World Cancer Report just released by the World Health Organization (WHO). “It is time to take up the challenges posed by the markedly increasing number of cancer cases globally. The particularly heavy burden projected to fall on low- and middle-income countries makes it implausible to treat our way out of cancer; even the highest-income countries will struggle to cope with the spiralling costs of treatment and care,” said Dr Christo...
  • February 14, 2014
    Long-term mobile phone use does not increase the risk of ear nerve cancer, but it might increase the chances of you noticing you have it, Swedish researchers have found. A Swedish study of long term mobile phone use and acoustic neuroma – a rare benign tumour of the ear nerve –  has found not only was their no increased risk but that the hearing loss caused by the disease may explain previous findings of a link with mobile phone use. “The findings do not support the hypothesis that long-term mobile phone use increases the risk of acoustic neuroma. The study suggests that phone use...
  • February 13, 2014
    A revised bill to limit public exposure to mobile phone and Wi-Fi signals has been passed during its second reading in the French National Assembly after being rejected in early 2013. The proposed new laws have been heavily criticised by the French telecommunications industry and a national independent medical body who say the measures will raise community concern but will provide no additional health benefits. Bill number 1635 (pdf), re-introduced by Europe Ecology-Greens Representative Laurence Abeille, would restrict mobile phone advertising to children under 14 and force mobile manuf...
  • February 12, 2014
    The UK’s largest programme of research into possible health risks from mobile phone technologies – which ran for 11 years – has published its final report and found no evidence of adverse effects on people's health from the use of mobile technologies. None of the studies presented in the current report and an earlier interim report in 2007 “suggest that exposure to mobile phone signals is associated with an increased risk of cancer,” the report said. The final report also said no evidence was found that that using mobile phones increased the risk of leukaemia, or that cellular ...
  • February 7, 2014
    Each of the world’s seven billion people generated an average of 7kg of end-of-life electronic products in 2012 and new research from the UN has shown mobile phones were one of the most discarded products worldwide that had either a battery or electrical cord. Based on data compiled by the Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative - a partnership of United Nations (UN) organizations, industry, governments, non-government and science organizations – global e-waste production is expected to increase significantly over the next five years. “Based on current trends, StEP experts pr...
  • February 4, 2014
    The Indian governments’ reduction to the exposure limits of mobile phone towers ­– intended to minimise the potentially harmful radiation they transmit – may have increased the possible hazard from handsets, said Michael Repacholi former head of the WHO EMF project. “India’s decision to reduce the power of the base stations will not minimise any risk. If you reduce the power of a base station, your mobile handset transmits more frequency to stay connected to the network. As the handset is closer to the body, it could cause some health hazard,” Dr Repacholi told the Business Sta...
  • January 30, 2014
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: Radiation safety agency release preliminary measurements of smart meter network ARPANSA has published a new technical report (pdf) on measurements of radiofrequency from a mesh radio smart meter at a staff member’s home. France: Updated leaflet on mobile phones and health The French mobile operators have updated their leaflet on mobile technology and health following the recent report from the French heal...
  • January 28, 2014
    Studies which show biological effects from exposure to Wi-Fi used by laptops, smartphones and other household devices to connect to the Internet cannot be used to support the view that they impact our health the latest comprehensive review of the scientific evidence has found. “While several studies report biological effects due to Wi-Fi-type exposures, technical limitations prevent drawing conclusions from them about possible health risks of the technology,” the report concluded. Dr Kenneth R. Foster, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania and Dr John Moulde...
  • January 28, 2014
    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) telecoms regulator will survey 50 mobile phone base stations around schools, hospitals and homes to ensure licensed telecom operators meet the international safety standards set by the authority. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced the technical survey to measure mobile radiation levels across UAE based on the TRA’s Regulatory Policy “Non-Ionising Radiation Limits for Telecommunication Networks” established in 2010, which is in line with the guidelines set by the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNI...
  • January 24, 2014
      A new study on the distractions faced by real-world drivers that analysed thousands of hours of in-car video footage has highlighted the dangers of taking your eyes off the road to text, dial or reach for a mobile phone. The research conducted by naturalistic driving research pioneers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) compared the level of distraction mobile phone tasks had on both newly licenced teens and experienced drivers. “Our analysis, which separated talking and dialing tasks, showed that talking on a cell phone was not associated with a significant increa...
  • January 14, 2014
    While several major studies published since the 2011 classification of radio frequency fields as “possibly carcinogenic” suggest mobile phone signals have no effect on human health, more convincing research is needed if the cancer hazard classification is to be downgraded by the United Nations’ cancer research body. In a new article published in the journal Epidemiology, four senior participants in the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) working group process that classified wireless signals as Group 2B in the agency’s four-level system, said the classification co...
  • January 13, 2014
    There is no need to limit your exposure to wireless signals from mobile phone base stations or Wi-Fi routers, the Nordic radiation safety authorities have advised. Overall research to date has also failed to identify any health hazards from exposure to radio frequency fields below international safety limits, the national radiation agencies of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden said. “Since the beginning of the 1990s, use of mobile phones has increased substantially and most residents of the Nordic countries utilise wireless communication systems as part of their everyday liv...
  • December 20, 2013
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: AMTA release mobile base station safety website The Australian mobiles industry has launched a new website and app that provides safe work procedures for workers, technicians and maintenance personnel accessing building rooftops, towers or other facilities with mobile base station antennas. The website maps Australia’s 14,000 mobile phone base stations and gives their RF EME levels and site compliance records. ...
  • December 19, 2013
    Norwegian newspaper articles about people who claim to be sensitive to wireless signals misreport likely cause and the currently recommended treatment for the controversial condition. An analysis of articles between early 2006 and late 2010 found most articles are in conflict with accepted medical advice about the cause and proper treatment for electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) or idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF). “The newspaper media discourse of EHS aetiology and recommended treatment interventions is much in conflict w...
  • December 18, 2013
    Latin American countries should implement nation-wide planning policies which ensure public safety from wireless signals and also provide carriers with consistent rules for faster network deployment if the economic and social benefits of the mobile industry’s growth are to be realised, a new GSMA report has said. The “Mobile Economy Latin America 2013” report produced by the GSMA found that in 2012 the mobile industry generated over 3.7 per cent of Latin America’s GDP, contributing US $211 billion to the region’s economy. The industry also directly employed 353,000 men and women i...
  • December 17, 2013
    Contrary to concerns that a personal mobile phone antenna installed in your home or office would increase exposure to mobile signals, a Belgian study has found the devices can reduce a user’s exposure by up to 40 times compared to a normal network connection. Femtocell base stations (FBS) – which generate a personal mobile phone signal by connecting to an operator’s network through a residential Internet connection – have become increasingly popular with mobile users who want better indoor coverage and faster data speeds for their smartphones. But researchers from Ghent Universit...
  • December 16, 2013
    A systematic review of all the most recent studies on mobile phone use and brain tumors has found there is no consistent pattern of increased risks. “Overall, the results of our study detract from the hypothesis that mobile phone use affects the occurrence of intracranial tumors,” the researchers from National Institute of Health in Italy and Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute found. However, the paper published recently in Bioelectromagnetics said more long-term population studies are still needed to cover children who may have used mobile phones from a young age. “Base...
  • December 12, 2013
    Greener production of mobile devices and more energy efficient mobile network equipment is needed to combat the growing environmental pressures of exponential data use over an expanding mobile network, an IEEE published study has found. The Global Footprint of Mobile Communications report by Ericsson estimates that while the overall carbon footprint of all information and communication technology will almost double between 2007 and 2020, “the footprint of mobile communications might almost triple within the same period, reaching more than one third of the present annual emissions of the ent...
  • December 11, 2013
    Newspaper headlines recently screamed a rare “metal in your mobile phone could double your chance of stroke”, but the research was about long term exposure to tungsten in the environment and not from direct contact with your mobile phone. “Exposure to a rare metal found in mobile phones could double an individual’s risk of stroke, scientists warned,” the UK’s Daily Mail recently reported. “High levels of tungsten significantly raises the risk of the disease, particularly for those under the age of 50, a new study has found.” “Although our current exposure to the prec...
  • December 10, 2013
    Compliance with Switzerland’s strict exposure limits for mobile phone base station signals costs Swiss carriers up to 35 per cent more to operate the mobile network than in neighboring countries and could quadruple costs in less than four years, a new study has calculated. The PwC report commissioned by Swiss network operators found the country’s restrictive Non-Ionizing Radiation (NIR) limits for mobile networks – 10 times stricter than the limits recommended by the EU and the World Health Organization – require carriers to build and operate more antennas to compensate for the ...
  • November 29, 2013
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: Government EME research funding not influenced by mobiles industry The Australian mobile phone industry has welcomed the announcement of $5 million of Federal Government funding for independent research into the possible health effects of mobile phone signals over the next five years. Arab Region: SAMENA Council calls for action on Radio Frequency Exposure The South Asia, Middle East, North Africa Region’...
  • November 28, 2013
    Kiwi pre-teens report they get more headaches if they make long or frequent calls on cordless or cell phones, new research has found. “One of the most consistent associations with time spent on a cellphone or cordless phone was the prevalence of headaches, specifically, minutes of cordless use daily and the number of long cell phone calls weekly,” adjunct Victoria University researcher Mary Redmayne said. She also found that the students, from the Wellington region of New Zealand, who used headphones more commonly experienced tinnitus, or ringing in their ears. “Associations bet...
  • November 25, 2013
    The European Parliament has announced plans to legislate all new mobile devices be compatible with a universal charger in a bid to “put an end to cable chaos for mobile phones and tablets.” And to make sure any new legislation maximizes electronic waste reductions and ensures consistency for device manufacturers, the United Nations technology agency wants their global standard for a micro-USB charger to be adopted. “I urge the European Parliament to include specific reference to ITU’s globally agreed standard in the future Directive,” said International Telecommunication Union ...
  • November 22, 2013
    The threshold for public exposure to mobile phone antenna signals in Brussels will be increased to make room for 4G technology to finally be transmitted over the city’s congested mobile network. The increased base station exposure limits are still 50 times stricter than international recommendations and according to network carriers that means they will need to install more network antennas to provide adequate coverage to the European capital. “Even though the agreement reached is certainly a step forward, it offers no long-term solution for 4G,” Belgian network operator Base said ...
  • November 21, 2013
    Lorne Trottier, co-founder of the Matrox Group, and Kenneth R. Foster, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, recently held a talk at McGill University to dispel the myths surrounding the risks of cellular phones on students’ health. “No, cell phones are not harmful, and every current study that attempts to conclude that can easily be proven wrong,” Dr Lorne Trottier told the campus newspaper The McGill Daily. “Instead, it is up to the mainstream media to stop recycling speculations and myths, and advertising them as realities we should all be afraid of....
  • November 19, 2013
    Researchers at the University of Oxford who previously reported there was a possible link between long-term use of a mobile phone and an increased risk of acoustic neuroma (AN) – a rare benign tumour of the ear nerve – now say that with more recent data the link no longer exists. “There is no longer a significant association between long duration of use of a mobile phone and acoustic neuroma risk,” the from the Cancer Epidemiology Unit said after they included the more recent data from 2009 to 2011 which increased the number of 10+ years’ cases from 14 to 43. Previously the Oxf...
  • November 17, 2013
    While further research is needed to rule out the possibility of long-term health effects from mobile phone use, the research to date does not suggest mobile base stations are a health risk, the United Nations health authority has said. “Studies to date provide no indication that environmental exposure to RF fields, such as from base stations, increases the risk of cancer or any other disease,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said in response to an online question about the possible health risks from mobile phone technology. “This is a question which WHO takes very seriously. Gi...
  • November 11, 2013
    The US air regulator has announced they will lift a ban on the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices on aircraft as long as the phones are in airplane mode (mobile services disabled) and are not used for voice calls. The decision comes after a year-long review by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advisory panel that recommended mobiles in ‘airplane mode’ be allowed to be used in “all phases of flight” because most modern aircraft were equipped to deal with interference from electronic devices. At a press conference on October 31, FAA administrator Michael Huerta...
  • October 30, 2013
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: Australian parents demand school Wi-Fi ban despite ARPANSA saying it’s safe Australian schools are introducing Wi-Fi into classrooms despite questions over the long-term safety of the wireless technology. The federal government regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), have insisted Wi-Fi is safe in schools. Canada: Update on safety standards review panel A new ch...
  • October 29, 2013
    There is no conclusive evidence to link mobile phones or towers with cancer as long as international safety limits are adhered to, the president of the Delhi Medical Association (DMA) said recently in response to continuing media reports and community concern about the technology in India. “Radiation from mobiles and mobile towers pose no threat to the health or cause cancer as it is commonly believed,” DMA president Anil Agarwal said at a press conference set up to debunk the misconceptions held on 27th September at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. “There are no empirical fi...
  • October 26, 2013
    Unwanted mobile phones and other electronic junk has become the fastest growing waste stream, but according to an international e-waste expert, only a small fraction of the potentially hazardous materials are safely recycled or disposed of. “Electronic waste (or e-waste) is the world’s fastest growing waste stream, rising by 3-5 per cent every year, due to the decreased lifespan of the average computer from six years to two,” said Professor Ming Wong, director of the Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences in a key note speech at the CleanUp 2013 conference in Melbourne in Septe...
  • October 24, 2013
    The Scottish Government will review legislation around mobile phone network planning after a new report found local government red tape had contributed to a quarter of the country being left without mobile phone coverage. Minister for Local Government and Planning Derek Mackay is expected to announce the consultation on whether existing regulations make it too difficult for network operators to build new masts before the end of the year. A Government source said the aim was to expand mobile infrastructure while limiting the impact on the environment and to also address community concerns...
  • October 18, 2013
    Breast surgeons in the USA have raised concerns about how some women carry their cell phones in a brief paper which outlines four cases of breast cancer in young women who kept their phones in their bra for up to ten hours a day. “All patients regularly carried their smartphones directly against their breasts in their brassieres for up to 10 hours a day, for several years, and developed tumors in areas of their breasts immediately underlying the phones,” the paper published in Case Reports in Medicine in August said. “These four cases of young women with sporadic, multifocal breast...
  • October 17, 2013
    France's health and environmental safety watchdog has announced it is standing by existing safety standards for mobile phone technologies and Wi Fi, saying their exposures had no proven health effects. “This update has not brought to light any proven health effect and does not result in any proposed new maximum exposure limits for the population,” the National Agency for Health, Food and Environmental Safety (L’Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail - ANSES) announced after a two year review of the latest science by an expert p...
  • October 15, 2013
    A study of almost 260,000 measurements around mobile base stations in seven African countries since 2001 has shown that radio frequency (RF) exposures near mobile antennas have remained consistently well below international safety limits, even after the introduction of 3G technology. “Measured environmental RF signal levels from mobile network antenna sites in African countries are typically many thousands of times below the international human RF exposure recommendations, similar to values reported in countries of the Americas, Europe and Asia, and the consensus of international public h...
  • October 15, 2013
    The Dutch government has decided not to take any additional measures to tighten exposure limits applicable to mobile communications in the Netherlands. This follows advice from the Health Council of the Netherlands in June, which found there was no evidence of an increased risk of brain tumours from mobile phone use. “With interest I have read the advice of the Health Council. The conclusion of the opinion that there is no clear and consistent evidence for long-term health effects of mobile phone use does not result in a change in policy”, State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Envi...
  • September 27, 2013
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: 'Wi-Fi allergies' issue flares up in Australia A little-reported workers' compensation case is inviting fresh scrutiny over claimed allergies to wireless signals and other technology, which are thought to affect at least 3 per cent of the Australian population. Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute professor Rodney Croft is spearheading research to try and answer these types of questions. Belgium: Go...
  • September 27, 2013
    In response to community concerns in Canada about the radiofrequency (RF) waves emitted by mobile phones, baby monitors, Wi-Fi and smart meters, the British Colombia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health (NCCEH) have published a comprehensive 370 page toolkit for doctors and other health professionals. “Health officers have been asked for their advice and sometimes for their involvement on issues as varied as whether children should use mobile phones, where mobile phone towers should and should not be located, whether WiFi should...
  • September 26, 2013
    The Australian government will contribute 5 million dollars over the next five years towards research into the possible health effects of exposure to electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone technology. This is the second 2.5 million dollar grant to be awarded by the National Health and Medical Research Council in the space of a year and will go to researchers from Wollongong and Monash Universities to establish a Centre of Research Excellence for Population Health Research on Electromagnetic Energy. Just last year, ICNIRP commissioner and researcher from the Illawarra Health and Medi...
  • September 24, 2013
    The world’s largest mobile phone manufacturers are working together to tackle the ecological and social issues around the industry’s use of  tin in mobile devices after an investigation by an environment group raised serious concerns about unregulated tin mining in Indonesia. In July, Nokia, Sony, Blackberry, Motorola and LG all publicly said for the first time that their phones were likely to contain tin sourced from Indonesian mines that environment group Friends of the Earth say is destroying tropical forests, killing coral and wrecking the lives of local communities. Earlier in ...
  • September 24, 2013
    Rates of short sightedness among young people have soared because of smartphones, a leading laser eye surgeon in the UK has claimed – and the devices may not be to blame so much as how we hold them. David Allamby founder of Focus Clinics – a laser eye surgery clinic in London – claims short sightedness in young people has increased by 35 per cent since the launch of smartphones in 1997. The problem could increase by 50 per cent in the next 10 years, Allamby, told the Daily Mail’s Health Section and the trend has led him to dub the condition "screen sightedness". According to A...
  • September 19, 2013
    A new mobile network monitoring system has been launched in Colombia to provide the public with live readings of antenna signal exposures in their area via an interactive online map. The system run by the Colombian National Spectrum Agency (ANE) consists of a network of 43 radio frequency electromagnetic field (RF EMF) sensors installed across the country’s most populated city areas, which relay exposure level readings back to the website in real-time. Users can select a measurement point on the interactive map to bring up detailed information about exposures in that area, such as the ...
  • September 18, 2013
    The US communications regulator should change the country’s mobile phone radiofrequency safety standards to the science-based limits recommended by the World Health Organization, the GSMA have recommended. In a submission to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Notice of Inquiry into national radiofrequency exposure limits, the GSMA said US safety standards should be brought into line with the majority of other countries around the world which have adopted the exposure guidelines set by independent authorities ICNIRP and the IEEE. The major change would be to the way mobile ...
  • September 17, 2013
    A report presented to the French government on how to reduce exposure to mobile phone signals has found operators would need to triple the number of antennas in the country if strict exposure limits advocated by activist groups were adopted. The report by a government multi-stakeholder group presented the results of base station exposure evaluations at more than 300 million points across France and looked at the impact a lower exposure limit of 0.6 Volts per meter (V/m), the goal of some activist groups, would have on network coverage. The World Health Organization recommended limits cur...
  • August 28, 2013
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: New labels to show Australian mobiles comply with safety standards All mobile phones sold in Australia after February 2016 must be labelled with a new compliance mark to show they adhere to all national safety standards under changes announced by the communications regulator in June. Botswana: Bottlenecks emerge in cell phone uptake explosion Local authorities as well as land boards are increasingly rejecti...
  • August 28, 2013
    The UN agency for IT has called on governments in Latin America to adopt a consistent science-based approach to the management of human exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from mobile phone technology. The recommendation came after the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) workshop in Ecuador in August, which brought together leading EMF specialists, top policy-makers, government officials, regulators and standards experts including the World Health Organization’s radiation programme team leader Dr Emilie van Deventer. In her presentation (PDF) Dr van Deventer concluded th...
  • August 27, 2013
    Consumers will be able to choose their next mobile phone based on a bronze, silver or gold environmental rating after the Green Electronics Council announced plans to expand its EPEAT environmental rating system to include smartphones. The move is expected to encourage mobile phone makers to reassess the environmental impact  of the way they manufacture, package and distribute their devices because some companies and governments require preference be given to EPEAT-compliant electronics. For example, the U.S. government requires 95 per cent of purchases by federal agencies be of EPEAT...
  • August 23, 2013
    Europe’s strictest radiofrequency exposure standards are set to be relaxed as part of new regulations to allow the rollout of superfast 4G mobile phone technology in the EU capital for the first time. Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region Rudi Vervoort announced the agreement in July after years of debate between Belgium’s mobile network operators and the regional government over the city’s restrictive exposure limits for mobile base stations. The new rules, expected to be approved in parliament before the end of the year, include 3 main components: A change of the ...
  • August 22, 2013
    Israel’s Ministry of Education has issued a new set of guidelines which will prevent wireless networks being installed in classrooms prior to the first grade and limit the amount of Wi-Fi use between first and third grades. The new policy that will go into effect in August 2013 also requires that all Wi-Fi equipment be tested for compliance with safety limits before and after installation in an Israeli school and that desktop computers and power supplies be kept at least 20 cm from students. To limit unnecessary exposure teachers will be required to turn off all radio frequency emittin...
  • August 21, 2013
    A comparison of 2G and 3G base station exposures in France and Belgium has shown that the standard procedure to assess the predicted exposure from a base station overestimates the realistic maximum level by 370 per cent. Researchers from Orange Labs in France, UPMC University in Paris, and Ghent University in Belgium took long-term measurements at 16 sites in Belgium and at 6 sites in France in both rural and urban environments.  In total, 100,419 rural and 115,967 urban readings were taken in Belgium and 51,420 rural and 188,540 urban readings were taken in France. As well as comparing...
  • August 20, 2013
    Mobile phone users have been warned to use only genuine mobile phone batteries and chargers after several recent media reports around the world of people being shocked and burnt by faulty counterfeit products. Recent reports by China’s CCTV the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and Swiss paper Le Matin, have all highlighted the potential problems and risks to consumers from such products. “Counterfeits are not tested to comply with the strict safety certifications that genuine mobile phone products must adhere to and are often made from cheap components that can short circuit or ...
  • August 13, 2013
    Despite media reports that using your mobile phone for just 17 minutes dramatically increases your risk of cancer, the results of a study on the saliva of mobile phone users did not establish a direct relationship between mobile phone use and cancer. Researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel hypothesised that saliva content could reveal whether there was a connection to developing cancer because a mobile phone is placed close to the saliva gland when in use. They examined saliva content of 20 heavy phone users, who spoke on their phones for at least eight hours a month for the last ei...
  • July 29, 2013
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Belgium: Brussels Government agree to new radiation standards to allow 4G The Belgian federal government has signed an agreement with the regional government of the Brussels region, making it possible for operators to deploy 4G networks in the region for the first time. Canada: Supreme Court rules municipalities have say in phone tower installations The Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ) has welcomed the historic ju...
  • July 26, 2013
    Inaccurate UK newspaper reports about people who claim to be sensitive to wireless signals has likely led to more people believing they suffer from the controversial condition. A study of British newspaper articles between 2006 and 20011 found journalists often incorrectly blamed electromagnetic radiation from sources like mobile phones, Wi-Fi and power lines as the cause of the illness known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity (the WHO preferred term is idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields - IEI-EMF) despite the scientific consensus that other psycholog...
  • July 23, 2013
    The World Health Organization has launched an investigation into the dangerous effects unregulated recycling of old mobile phones and other electronic equipment has on the health of children. The WHO announced plans tackle the emerging health threat at an international working meeting to review the current situation on dangerous electronic waste exposures and children’s health at the WHO head office in Geneva on 11-12 June 2013. “Over the last two decades the production of electronic equipment has increased tremendously, with the fast turnover of these products in both industrialised...
  • July 22, 2013
    The number of people admitted to US hospitals who were injured while walking and using a mobile phone doubled between 2005 and 2010, with young people talking on their phones the most likely to have an accident. Researchers from Ohio State University analyzed injury reports from 100 hospitals around the US and found that although the total number of pedestrian injuries had more than halved between 2004 and 2010, the proportion of injuries related to mobile phone use had steadily increased. “Mobile-phone related injuries among pedestrians increased relative to total pedestrian injuries,...
  • July 19, 2013
    An Indian High Court has found no evidence that mobile phone tower exposures affect people’s health and ruled that telcos cannot be stopped from installing new network towers which meet all necessary regulations and standards. The judgement came after telecom tower company Indus Towers petitioned the court for police protection after local residents protested against the possible health hazards of mobile towers and blocked their employees from installing new infrastructure in several cities across Kerala, a state located on the south-west tip of India. “Whether the commissioning of a...
  • July 18, 2013
    The head of an expert panel convened to review the Canadian safety standards for wireless signals has voluntarily stepped down after it was reported that he failed to disclose his earlier work advising the Canadian government on how to explain phone tower risks to the public. Professor Daniel Krewski from the University of Ottawa, said he did tell the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) that he had consulted for the Canadian government, but did not disclose a specific $126,000 contract from Industry Canada between 2008–2009 to provide “advice in how to communicate” the risks associated with...
  • July 17, 2013
    Two well-known anti-wireless campaigners have said radiation from nine rooftop 4G network antennas was making them sick despite the mobile operator confirming they had not yet been switched on. Arthur Firstenberg, known for unsuccessfully suing his neighbor over claims her Wi-Fi made him sick, said he had suffered heart problems during the night, which he attributed to the new AT&T mobile antennas built on top of the Hotel Santa Fe about 500 m from his house in New Mexico, USA. Fellow resident Monica Steinhoff, who ran a petition protesting the network installation about 300 m from...
  • July 16, 2013
    Mobile phone users are no more likely to get skin cancer than non-users, a study of cancer levels in Denmark has found. The study compared the rates of the three most common forms of skin cancer between 355,701 private mobile phone subscribers and 3.21 million other Danish citizens from the national cancer registry. “In our nationwide, population-based cohort study, we found no evidence of an increased risk of skin cancer of the head and neck among mobile phone subscribers,” the paper published in the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded. The researchers said while UV overex...
  • June 26, 2013
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Canada: Safety standards Expert Panel respond to conflict of interest claims The Royal Society of Canada has responded to comments about the potential for a conflict of interest affecting several members of the Expert Panel selected to review Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 – the country’s safety standard for electromagnetic radio frequency signals. China: Substations and cell phone bases no threat to health Publi...
  • June 26, 2013
    Despite the continued exponential growth on traffic over mobile phone networks, research by a consortium of IT industry experts shows new energy efficiency techniques could cut energy consumption up to 90 per cent by 2020. “Networks are seeing tremendous growth, but it is possible to reduce the net energy used, while still handling the traffic growth,” said Thierry Klein, chair of GreenTouch’s technical committee. “We need to use new technologies to change the trend.” “If the underlying efficiency is improved by over 1000 by 2020, given that traffic is expected to grow about ...
  • June 24, 2013
    New research on driver distraction has been reported in a major Australian newspaper under the headline ‘Driver distraction responsible for more car crashes than alcohol’. However, if you read further into the article you find out mobile phones are the cause of just 1% of serious casualty crashes while intoxication and tiredness collectively account for 36.2% of them. Last month The Sydney Morning Herald published a story headed Driver distraction responsible for more car crashes than alcohol which claimed an Australian study of road crashes found driver distracted by passengers, car st...
  • June 19, 2013
    UK consumers are downloading more data on their mobiles and tablets than any other nation, but planning regulations are slowing down the roll-out of mobile services in many parts of the country. In response Government has announced a package of measures to speed up mobile broadband rollout. “The Government means business and we are determined to cut through the bureaucracy that is holding us back,” said Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller when she first announced the Government’s improved broadband plans. With more than 82 million mobile subscriptions in th...
  • June 18, 2013
    The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) imposed deadlines for local governments to consider cell phone base station applications are legal. “I am pleased that, as a result of the Supreme Court's decision today, one of the Commission's major achievements in promoting broadband access will continue to protect consumers and drive investment,” acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said in a brief statement. “Removing obstacles to the timely build-out of wireless broadband services remains a key priority.”  Cities and counties across the USA challenged...
  • June 17, 2013
    In a preliminary study Italian researchers have found that being interrupted by a mobile phone call during a reading may cause a temporary but significant spike in blood pressure, rendering the results inaccurate and misleading. People who already have mild to moderate hypertension experienced a slight jump when receiving phone calls, even if they are otherwise relaxed, the researchers found. The main effect was in patients who already have high blood pressure and don’t use their phone very often. The change was less dramatic in people who were accustomed to getting a lot of mobile pho...
  • June 14, 2013
    Using a smartphone or tablet before bed won’t disrupt sleep - if you dim the screen or hold the device about a foot away from your face, US researchers have found. Preliminary research (pdf) presented by the Mayo Clinic at the SLEEP 2013 conference in Baltimore suggests that it's possible to use your smartphone or tablet before bed without disrupting a good night's sleep. “In the old days people would go to bed and read a book,” said co-author Lois Krahn, M.D., a psychiatrist and sleep expert at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. “Well, much more commonly people go to bed and they ...
  • June 10, 2013
    There is ‘some weak and inconsistent’ data that suggests mobile phone use could increase brain tumour risk for long term mobile phone users. But the data is likely the result of bias and chance in the studies and brain cancer trends do not support the finding, a Dutch Expert Committee review has concluded. The systematic analysis by researchers from the Health Council of the Netherlands analysed all population studies comparing mobile phone use and brain tumour cases and found no clear evidence of a causal relationship between the two. “Currently data is available for up to 13 year...
  • May 27, 2013
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Belgium: No 4G in Brussels before 2015 The Brussels government has postponed making a decision on amending the city’s strict base station exposure standards, which will mean the European capital will go without 4G until 2015. Germany: The nocebo effect - media reports may trigger symptoms of a disease Media reports about substances that are supposedly hazardous to health may cause suggestible people to develop sympt...
  • May 27, 2013
    A review of the Equipment Authorization Database of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the past decade has found a massive increase in the number of wireless devices in homes which has also led to increased interest in possible health concerns related to these devices. “Within the past decade, a quiet revolution has occurred in consumer electronics, with a massive shift toward wireless connectivity in household devices,” Kenneth R. Foster, Professor Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania said in a recent article in Microwave Magazine. “Of the 35,000 new...
  • May 27, 2013
    The environmental impact of manufacturing new mobile phones could be reduced by 40 per cent if common design vulnerabilities, such as cracked smartphone screens, were made easier to repair, according to the IEEE - the global body of electrical and electronics engineers. “Simple things like utilizing openable cases, using screws rather than adhesives, and providing easy access to parts that are most likely to break, like screens, greatly improve the repairability of cellphones and significantly extend their life, CEO of iFixit Kyle Wiens said. “It is imperative for designers to incorp...
  • May 23, 2013
    New research provides less support for the theory that mobile phone signals can cause cancer in humans, an expert review of the latest scientific research has found. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority`s (SSM) scientific council of international experts assessed all the relevant research published in 2011 and 2012 and said there was now less convincing evidence that mobiles could cause cancers, such as brain tumours. “Subsequent to the last Council report published in 2010, IARC in 2011 classified radiofrequency electromagnetic (RF) fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2...
  • May 19, 2013
    A South Korean government funded study which measured the amount of radiation emitted by various cell phones when traveling on subways or elevators has been misinterpreted as posing an increased health risk in local media reports. The research found that cell phone radio frequency field strength was more than five times stronger when in transit, compared to when in operation at a stationary position. The media reported the study found stationary cell phones emitted 0.08 volts per meter and in transit cell phone’s emitted 0.42 volts per meter and this was a potential health risk. “...
  • May 16, 2013
    Bans on sending text messages while driving in many USA states do reduce the number of fatal crashes when they are first introduced, but drivers soon return to their old habits within a month after the publicity about new laws wears off a new study has found. “Bans appear moderately successful at reducing single-vehicle, single-occupant accidents if bans are universally applied and enforced,” said Rahi Abouk and Scott Adams from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “Any reduction in accidents following texting bans is short-lived, however, with accidents returning to near former ...
  • May 9, 2013
    The efficient rollout of mobile phone network infrastructure is crucial to supporting the continued evolution of connected devices and machines – from smartphones and tablets to connected cars, medical equipment and future innovations. To provide an uninterrupted and quality connection, every mobile phone or connected device relies on a signal from a network antenna, which range in size from tall towers to small antennas mounted on light poles. As the number of connections in an area increases and the volume of data transferred between the network and devices grows, additional ante...
  • April 29, 2013
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: Air safety watchdog should ease 'airplane mode' rules Use of mobile phones for making or receiving calls remains totally banned in Australia whether on the ground or in the air. But we can see no good reason for maintaining the ban on using them in the so-called airplane mode to read email, news or an e-book or to listen to music. Belgium: Overly stringent standard causes decline of existing 2G and 3G networks...
  • April 26, 2013
    The full report (or monograph) providing the background to the 2011 classification of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones, wireless devices, radio, television and radar as possibly carcinogenic to humans has now been published online. The classification was first announced in May 2011 and it can take up to two years for the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC’s) full monograph to be published. “Although this is not new research, the full report provides important details about IARC’s assessment, including how this assessment relates to t...
  • April 25, 2013
    A survey of every mobile phone mast in the Channel Islands has found they operate well below the international safety recommendations. The audit of every mobile mast on the islands, which took five months to complete by external specialists Red-M, found that the highest reading was only one-seventh of the safety limit. The Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities (CICRA) commissioned the independent survey of the 80 sites in Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm and Jethou and the 175 sites in Jersey. Channel Islands Strategic Lead for Environmental Health, Val Cameron, said in...
  • April 19, 2013
    The EU’s strictest mobile phone antenna signal standards should be eased to allow high-speed mobile networks to be rolled out in the Belgian capital, the county’s telecommunications regulator has said. Most major cities in Belgium already have access to superfast 4G mobile networks but because of the capital’s stricter regulations, mobile operators haven’t been able to update the network in Brussels. The restriction is a serious impediment which damages the city’s economy according to a report from the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT). “B...
  • April 18, 2013
    A study of almost 4000 university students across the globe has found attempts to reduce concerns about mobile phone signals are not helped by providing people with information on ways to reduce their exposure, warning labels on cell phones and additional precautionary safety standards as some governments and health authorities have done. “Our findings do not support the assumption that informing people about implemented precautionary measures will decrease public concerns,” the researchers concluded. Since the radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF) emitted by cell phone tech...
  • April 17, 2013
    A new solar powered mobile phone charging system can provide a cheaper and more convenient charging option for the more than one billion mobile phone users living in areas without easy access to mains electricity. The new charging system, which allows mobile phone users to pay for their charge-up by text message, has been successfully trialled by UK developer Buffalo Grid in Ghana and Uganda. The system works by using a 60-watt solar panel to charge a portable battery unit that can then be easily taken to off-grid villages – usually on the back of a bicycle. To charge their phone cu...
  • April 11, 2013
    The US communications regulator has announced the start of a comprehensive review of the country’s safety standards for exposure to mobile phone signals and has requested input from federal health departments, scientific experts, the cell phone industry and consumer groups. In a 200 page document published last month the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) called for public comment on a range of questions regarding the safety of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, including whether the current exposure limits should be tightened, relaxed or remain unchanged. The review will also...
  • April 10, 2013
    The Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia (AAT) has approved workers compensation for a man who claims he can no longer work due to electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) even though EHS is not a recognized medical condition. “The definition of ailment does not require that it be a condition which fits within a particular diagnostic criteria,” AAT Deputy President, Mr JW. Constance ruled in the case, handed down on 28 February 2013. The Tribunal found that Dr Alexander McDonald suffered a workplace injury when his alleged sensitivity to electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) from ...
  • April 9, 2013
    The 2011 classification of mobile phones as a ‘possible carcinogen’ by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) was flawed because they relied too heavily on human population studies says an expert on electromagnetic fields (EMF). “We all know the many problems associated with epidemiological studies. They are prone to many biases and have serious problems assessing a person’s exposure, especially to EMF,” Dr Mike Repacholi from the University of Rome said in a recent guest blog. “We are all living in a sea of EMF so it is difficult to distinguish b...
  • March 28, 2013
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: Parents urged to limit children's use of mobiles, cordless phone under new health warnings Parents should limit kids' use of mobile and cordless phones, Australia's radiation watchdog recommends in new health advice. Belgium: European Commission annoyed about 4G delays The European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has expressed her grave concerns about delays in rolling out the 4G network in the...
  • March 28, 2013
    Analysis of over 200 mobile phone networks across 145 countries by the GSMA has found the most energy efficient mobile operators around the world appoint “energy champions” and deploy newer technology to help combat rising energy costs and the environmental impact of their networks. Senior Director of Research and Sustainability for the GSMA Dr Jack Rowley told an Australian conference in March the Mobile Energy Efficiency (MEE) program had provided some valuable insights into how network operators could reduce the carbon footprint of their networks and stay on top of energy costs. ...
  • March 27, 2013
    Mobile phone use during pregnancy has no effect on childhood behaviour problems such as hyperactivity and the results of earlier studies which reported a link were caused by mothers who smoked more and were more stressed, a comprehensive Dutch analysis has found. The study of 2,618 Dutch children published last month in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health compared mother’s mobile and cordless phone use during pregnancy with their children’s behavioural problems reported by their teachers and mothers. The researchers from Utrecht University, the Public Health Service of A...
  • March 26, 2013
    A South African journalism professor said a recent newspaper article which claimed a trial 4G/LTE network burnt and blackened pine trees in a Johannesburg resident’s garden was breathtakingly bad science reporting. In the Saturday Star front page article Tracey-Lee Dorny claimed 60 pine trees in her garden had all been burnt and blackened in the past five months along with her neighbours’ trees. The article included pictures of Dorny standing next to blackened pine trees. “I first noticed these big scorch marks on my pines, and then some of the eucalyptus and the fir trees around F...
  • March 19, 2013
    South Korean fire officials have reported a man suffered burns to his leg after the battery from a smartphone caught fire in his trouser pocket. Officials at Bupyeong Fire Station in Incheon city said the lithium-ion battery was not in the phone when it caught on fire, CBS News reported. The man suffered second-degree burns and a one inch wound on his thigh the fire officials said. South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported the battery was from a 2011 Galaxy Note but fire officials couldn't confirm the type of battery. A Samsung spokesperson told Chosun Ilbo: “Lithium-ion batter...
  • March 19, 2013
    Partner Communications, which operates in Israel under the Orange brand name, has reached an out of court settlement with a customer who claims he contracted cancer near his ear after using the company’s cell phones. The customer, who is in his 50s, sued Partner in May 2010 for millions of dollars claiming that intensive use of two mobile phones purchased from Partner in 2003 and 2007 resulted in an aggressive malignant lymphoma near his left ear. The man who was an attorney claimed he had converted a room that was designed for use as a bomb shelter – which are common in most new Isr...
  • March 15, 2013
    The Australian government’s radiation protection agency has warned consumers that devices which claim to protect users from mobile phone radiation may actually increase the phones output power, reduce battery life and interfere with reception. In their new consumer fact sheet, “How to reduce exposure from mobile phones and other wireless devices”, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) said so-called “shielding” devices “include those that are attached to the handset and take the form of shielded cases, earpiece pads/shields, antenna clips/caps a...
  • March 8, 2013
    San Francisco retailers will no longer be forced to hand out fact sheets or put up posters warning customers about cell phone radiation after a US appeals court denied a request by the city’s lawyers to review an earlier decision to block the controversial law. The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals February 27 ruling not to review the case appears to be the end of an almost three year court battle between the City of San Francisco and the US group representing the mobile phone industry, the CTIA. In September last year, a three judge panel of the court ruled against San Francisco’s law...
  • February 26, 2013
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: Rural bushfire risk heightened by phone drop-outs A lack of mobile phone coverage in disaster-prone regions of Australia is putting lives at risk, residents and analysts warn. Telecommunications companies publish maps online that estimate the coverage they provide - but residents in a range of communities prone to fire or flood insist the maps do not match reality. Belgium: Regulator tells Brussels to ease rul...
  • February 26, 2013
    New technology that powers down mobile base stations in times of low traffic demand is expected to shave almost a quarter off a Jamaican mobile operators’ network energy consumption, a GSMA case study has reported. The Smart Energy Solution (SES) software works by analysing traffic capacity across a mobile network and deactivating base station sites which aren’t required during off-peak times to provide quality coverage. Digicel, Jamaica’s largest mobile operator, have already seen a sharp drop in energy use after the new software was partially deployed on 450 base stations across ...
  • February 25, 2013
    Media reports that give a misleading view of the possible health effects of mobile phone and Wi-Fi signals can lead people to believe they are sensitive to the technology, a UK study has found. Researchers James Rubin and Michael Witthöft of King’s College London found participants who watched a TV report about the dangers of electromagnetic fields (EMF) were more likely to report negative health symptoms and believe they were sensitive to wireless signals than those who watched an unrelated TV report. The study’s 147 participants filled out questionnaires regarding their levels of ...
  • February 25, 2013
    Anti-Wi-Fi groups often misrepresent the views of health authorities and mislead the public about the scientific consensus on health effects from wireless signals, according to a new report by a Canadian science advocacy organisation. “Across Canada anti-Wi-Fi activists are spreading misinformation about wireless networking (Wi-Fi) and related technologies,” said Bad Science Watch, a self-proclaimed independent non-profit consumer protection watchdog. “Many activists blame Wi-Fi networks’ low level radio signals for a broad variety of medical problems, from mild headaches and fat...
  • February 22, 2013
    A UK company banned from making misleading and unsubstantiated health claims about ‘electrosmog’ and protective metallic stickers by the UK advertising watchdog has refused to remove the statements from their website despite repeated requests. The website’s claims that their sticker products protect users from symptoms including sleeplessness, cancer and death from electromagnetic radiation exposure were found to be in breach of the UK Advertising Standards Code, an investigation concluded in November 2012. The website said the ‘WillauTronic’ stickers (still available on the ...
  • February 21, 2013
    Staff living at a Hong Kong University are worried rooftop mobile phone antennas spread across their campus could be a cancer risk to them and their families and say there may be a link between the antenna signals and a number of cancer cases among residents. “Some in the academic community who live with young children on campus fear the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) the antennae generate could pose a cancer risk,” the South China Morning Post has reported. Long-term residents of the university, with its student body of 12,600 and teaching staff of over 500, are worried about...
  • February 15, 2013
    Signals from the latest generation of mobile phone network antennas – while still well below the German safety limits - increase total exposures at ground level when installed on base stations running older 2G and 3G transmitters, a nationwide study of the German LTE network upgrade has found. The study commissioned by the Information Centre for Mobile Communications (IZMF) found that while the new generation of antennas produce similar low powered signals as the older technology, when all were combined, total exposures were higher. “The new mobile phone standard LTE (Long Term Evolu...
  • February 8, 2013
    The leaders of Belgium’s biggest mobile operators have spoken out about their frustration at the industry’s inability to deliver the latest high speed mobile network technology to citizens in Brussels because of the capital city’s excessively restrictive mobile signal exposure limits. Belgacom CEO Didier Bellens sparked public debate about the European capital’s radio frequency standards in a New Year’s address in late January where he said the restrictions were impeding the rollout of 4G network technology and in-turn the country’s economy. "The capital of Europe may be the ...
  • January 30, 2013
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: Brain scans could measure heat from mobiles MRI scans can directly study how mobile phones heat the human brain, say US researchers. Their findings are reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Australia: Why mobile phone antennas are so controversial Professor Andrew Wood, a researcher at Swinburne University who specialises in the area of radio frequencies and its health effe...
  • January 30, 2013
    The head of the US government agency in charge of wireless communications has called for the agency in charge of commercial air travel to revise its long-standing ban on the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices during take-off and landing. In December, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski sent a letter to Michael Huerta, chairman of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), asking him to "enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices" when an airplane is below 10,000 feet, according to a copy of the letter obtained by...
  • January 30, 2013
    Mobile phone base stations could continue to operate for up to 40 hours after mains power is cut in an emergency, tests of new hydrogen cell back-up power supplies in Japan have found. At Japanese mobile operator DoCoMo’s Yokosuka Research Park, technical experts from Nokia Siemens Networks and Ballard Power Systems have tested a cellular base station with an integrated hydrogen cell that can replace batteries or diesel generators as backups during a power outage or natural disaster. Hydrogen fuel cells convert chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction wi...
  • January 29, 2013
    A ban on Californian drivers from sending texts and emails has been lifted to allow the use of new voice-activated mobile phone technology that encourages drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel while driving. The new law, which came into effect on 1 January 2013, permits drivers to dictate, send and listen to emails and text messages while driving, as long as it’s all done by voice. “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication, unless the electronic wireless communicati...
  • January 29, 2013
    A comprehensive study of more than 800 mobile phone towers in China has helped reduce local residents’ health fears and confirmed mobile signal exposures in the region are well below international safety standards. The researchers found that not only were all towers compliant with safety standards, but once concerned residents were made aware of their local phone tower’s measurements in comparison with the safety limits, they were less likely to be worried about living near a tower. A survey found 98 per cent of respondents said living near a tower was dangerous before the measurements,...
  • January 24, 2013
    Children who have used cell phones or whose mothers used cell phones during pregnancy are more likely to have headaches than children who have never been exposed to cell phone signals, according to a new survey of 52,680 Danish mothers. However, the researchers cautioned that the results were not sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship exists and noted that confounding factors could have influenced the results. “To our knowledge this is the first epidemiologic study to investigate the association between prenatal and postnatal cell phone exposures and migraines and other headach...
  • January 17, 2013
    A new report that claims the health of cell phone users, parents-to-be, young children and pregnant women are at risk from mobile phone signals exhibits many of the same flaws as the 2007 document produced by the same group, which was criticised as selective and biased. The report published on the BioInitiative Working Group’s website claims that the evidence for health risks from electromagnetic fields and wireless technologies has substantially increased since the group’s first report in 2007, and that new safety standards are urgently needed to protect the public from wireless signal...
  • January 10, 2013
    The Iraqi government have introduced a national safety standard to limit exposure to signals from mobile phones and their base stations for the first time in the country’s history. The Iraqi Communications and Media Commission (CMC) chose to adopt the safety limits recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) after hearing from a panel of international experts on the science surrounding human exposure to radio frequency (RF) fields at a conference in Baghdad December. “Given that this international meeting, as well as the WHO and all international and national reviews of the sc...
  • December 21, 2012
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: Science & Wireless 2012 conference videos online Videos of the 2012 "Science and Wireless" conference presentations and interviews are now available online. Belgium: 4G in Brussels impossible under current framework The deployment of 4G technology in Brussels is impossible, according to mobile operators, because the current restrictive exposure standards in the city prevents any construction of new ante...
  • December 18, 2012
    After a recent change in leadership the body that sets the safety guidelines for exposure to the radio signals used for mobile communications has restructured its committees of specialist scientific advisors and set a new future work plan. Recently Dr Rüdiger Matthes was appointed chairman of the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) after Dr Paolo Vecchia served as chairman for the last 12 years. At the late October annual general meeting, ICNIRP decided on a new structure which would remove the old standing committees and consulting experts in the are...
  • December 18, 2012
    Sri Lankan mobile phone operators have been asked to share their network towers with competitors to reduce the number on new poles popping up across the country. Under a strict new national policy for the siting of mobile phone antennas, the telecommunications regulator has also set a 4km minimum distance between mobile phone tower zones and will enforce international guidelines for exposure to radio frequency signals. “With the rapid rollout of the telecommunication networks in the recent past the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) has realized the necessity...
  • December 14, 2012
    While we currently aren’t in a position to give a definitive yes or no answer to whether mobile phone use causes cancer, the last ten years of research has ruled out any short term health effects, Professor of Cancer and Epidemiology at the University of Auckland Mark Elwood has told an Australian conference. “There was a lot of concern five of ten years ago that we would have a short term increase in cancers and we can now quite definitely say that we do not have that,” Prof Elwood said. “We certainly do not have any short term effects, whether we have any long term effects is t...
  • December 14, 2012
    Commissioners of a south Florida city have passed a resolution to warn residents about potential cancer risks form cell phone radiation. Inspired by a local resident's cancer survival story the city of Pembroke Pines resolution encourages residents to keep their cell phones at least one-inch away from their bodies as advised in phone manuals and to use a headset or speakerphone or send messages by text or email to reduce exposure. “Our city's resolution isn't about creating panic and alarm,” Commissioner Angelo Castillo – who proposed the resolution – told the Sun-Sentinel. “It...
  • December 13, 2012
    The use of solar powered mobile towers and other environmentally friendly network upgrades won’t be able to stop an overall increase in network greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, according to a new report on the environmental impact of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) SMARTER 2020 report said while improvements to the energy efficiency of mobile networks will help reduce the industry’s carbon footprint per unit of mobile traffic, an estimated 70 fold increase in mobile data and voice traffic by 2020 will increase mo...
  • December 12, 2012
    A panel of experts convened by the Swedish government to review the last ten years of research on the possible health risks of mobile phone technology has concluded that despite extensive research, there is no evidence that mobile phones can affect human health and finding any risks in the future is becoming increasingly unlikely. “Extensive research for more than a decade has not detected anything new regarding interaction mechanisms between radiofrequency fields and the human body and has found no evidence for health risks below current exposure guidelines,” the experts said. The S...
  • December 11, 2012
    In January the U.S. Supreme Court will decide if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) imposed “shot clocks”, that set time limits for local governments to consider cell phone base station applications, are legal. Cities and counties across the USA have challenged the FCC’s authority to set the 90 day time limits for officials to act on applications for cell phone towers when they are co-located with existing sites and 150 days for new sites. The cities of Arlington, Los Angeles and San Antonio along with the Counties of Texas, Los Angeles and San Diego petitioned the nation...
  • November 29, 2012
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Australia: Health risks from mobiles only small compared to everyday activities, says professor If there is a health risk from mobile phone use it would be small compared to other risk factors facing people in their daily lives, Professor of Cancer and Epidemiology at the University of Auckland Mark Elwood has told the Science and Wireless conference in Melbourne. Azerbaijan: Electromagnetic radiation of base stations in...
  • November 28, 2012
    A Canadian hospital has lifted restrictions on patients and visitors using their mobile phones after extensive tests found the devices did not interfere with medical equipment and were not an annoyance to other patients. The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) became the first hospital in Quebec to allow patients and visitors to use their phones within the institution following years of restrictions on their use based on concerns of interference with important equipment. “These days, cell phone use in hospitals is mostly a matter of respecting others,” said Sylvie Beausoleil, Secu...
  • November 27, 2012
    A recent Californian TV news report has claimed that some doctors say they're seeing evidence of breast cancer that could be linked to where some women keep their cell phones. The TV news report included anecdotal evidence of two young women who believe their breast cancer was caused by tucking their cell phones in their bras. “I would never wear a cellphone immediately next to my body and I would advise all women not to do that," breast surgeon Dr Lisa Bailey told KTVU. The story has gained widespread media interest and a number of major TV stations have run similar stories in recent ...
  • November 27, 2012
    Research into the risk of distractions during real-life driving shows listening and talking on cell phones while driving is not particularly risky and we should focus heavily on the less frequent and newer cell phone tasks of texting, typing, reading, dialling, and reaching for a phone. “Taking your eyes off the road to dial a cell phone or look up an address and send a text increases the risk of crashing by 600 to 2,300 per cent,” said Professor Tom Dingus, Director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. The paper, “Estimating Crash Risk: Accident data must be considered i...
  • November 23, 2012
    Young adults who work, travel and socialise in densely populated areas are exposed to the greatest amount of radio frequency signals from sources like mobile phones, Wi-Fi, cordless phones and microwaves, a study of 98 Dutch residents has found. Researchers from the Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) analysed volunteers’ exposure to 12 radio frequency bands used in mobile telecommunication and broadcasting over a 24 hour period and reported that while there were slight differences in exposure based on a person’s surroundings, all levels were well ...
  • November 22, 2012
    The United Nations telecoms agency has taken the first step towards creating a one-size-fits- all power adapter for home communications equipment in an attempt to reduce the amount of electronic waste sent to landfill every year by an estimated 300,000 tonnes. The new Universal Power Adapter (UPA) technical standard to be used in devices such as modems, set-top boxes, home networking equipment and fixed telephones was announced by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in late October. The ITU said the scheme would allow consumers to retain their universal charger when throwing...
  • November 21, 2012
    European Health Risk Assessment Network on Electromagnetic Fields Exposure (EFHRAN) has advised the EU to set up a website portal – including blogs and Twitter feeds – to provide high quality and referenced information about the latest scientific evidence on electromagnetic fields (EMF) and health. “The current state of scientific knowledge about possible health effects of EMF does not fully correspond to the perception the general public has of the effects of EMF although this varies strongly from EU country to country, as clearly shown in the Eurobarometer” said the latest EFHRAN ...
  • November 20, 2012
    Mobile phone coverage would be halved in Australia’s second largest city if local authorities enacted a policy to restrict mobile phone base stations within 500m of schools, child care centres and medical facilities, a new GSMA study has found. The case study to investigate the impact of hypothetical buffer zone policies on a metropolitan city showed more than 3,000 mobile network antennas in the Melbourne area would need to be relocated and the development of new community facilities would be severely restricted. “The impact on existing radio base stations of a 500 m exclusion zone ...
  • October 29, 2012
    Canada:Former tech giant boss joins Canadian wireless safety group The former president of Microsoft Canada says the federal government has a duty to inform Canadians about safety concerns related to wireless technology. Canada:Energy board says ‘yes’ to Hydro-Quebec’s smart meter plan Quebec’s energy board has authorized Hydro-Quebec to proceed with a controversial plan to install new "smart meters," despite opponents’ concerns that the radiofrequencies used by the meters could pose health risks. Canada:Cell tower regulations frustrate homeowners Homeowners across Can...
  • October 19, 2012
    New SIM cards that enable mobile phones to be swiped at a cash register instead of credit cards are being promoted by the GSMA as the future of mobile payments, but so far retailers and consumers have been slow to invest in mobile payment technology because of uncertainty about what system will eventually become the universal standard. Currently mobile phone users are faced with a confusing choice of payment applications each of which rely on different technology to allow users to make payments and transfer money with their smartphones. Some of the systems now available allow users to pa...
  • October 16, 2012
    A US District Court judge has ruled that scientific evidence does not support the claims of a man who alleged his neighbour’s cell phone and wireless internet service caused him physical harm. “Studies have failed to provide clear support for a causal relationship between electromagnetic fields and complaints of EMS ,” ruled Judge Sarah Singleton in the long-running Santa Fe case. In early 2010 Arthur Firstenberg, a well-known anti-wireless activist, sued neighbour Raphaela Monribot and her landlord Robin Leith for US$1 million dollars for “injuries, ...
  • October 14, 2012
    The City of Paris and France’s four mobile phone operators have agreed on a new charter for mobile deployment, which requires increased monitoring of base station signal levels near kindergartens, schools and nursing homes, to allow for the rollout of 4G services in the French capital. The breakthrough follows months of disagreement over the allowable exposure levels for the latest 4G services which will carry faster mobile broadband data after environmentalists raised health concerns over the strength of the 4G signals. Concerns had been raised that Paris could be the last major Frenc...
  • October 12, 2012
    The Supreme Court of Italy has rejected a final appeal against an earlier ruling that granted worker’s compensation to a businessman who developed a benign tumour of a facial nerve after using a cell phone many hours a day for 12 years. Innocente Marcolini, a financial manager at an industrial plant in Brescia in northern Italy, claimed he used his cell and cordless phones for five to six hours a day for 12 years. In 2002 he was diagnosed as having a benign tumour on the trigeminal nerve, which controls facial muscles and sensations after noticing unusual tingling sensations on his face w...
  • September 28, 2012
    Canada:Human rights tribunal approves complaint against BC Hydro’s smart meters B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal has accepted a complaint from a group that accuses BC Hydro of discriminating against people with certain medical conditions and disabilities. Global: ICNIRP conference presentation videos now available Presentations from ICNIRP’s 7th International Non-Ionizing Radiation Workshop, held from 9-11 May 2012 in Edinburgh are now available to be viewed online. India:Handbook on “Mobile Communication – Radio Waves and Safety guide” The government of India has published...
  • September 27, 2012
    The US aviation watchdog has ruled out allowing voice calls during flights but could give air passengers more freedom to use their smartphones and other portable electronics during take-off and landing, if a 6-month review determines phone signals aren’t a threat to flight safety. Given the widespread use of mobile devices by air passengers, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced plans to form a government-industry group to review the current policies and procedures for aircraft operators that restrict passengers from using mobile phones during flight because of concerns ...
  • September 26, 2012
    Nokia has averted a potential environmental crisis in Kenya after the company put their hand up to handle the collection and recycling of more than two million counterfeit phones that will be rendered useless when they are cut-off from the country’s mobile network on 30 September 2012. The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) announced plans last year to block all non-genuine mobile devices from connecting to the network, in an attempt to stop the illegal trade of knock-off devices, yet in the lead-up to the deadline admitted there were no systems in place to collect and recycle any un...
  • September 25, 2012
    In response to public concern about the safety of mobile phone tower signals in the middle-east, researchers have conducted the first ever study of base station exposures in the region and found all but a handful of radiation levels were higher than 1,000 times below international safety guidelines. The Saudi Arabian scientists from King Saud University measured radio frequency levels around 60 base stations in the capital Riyadh and compared the readings with the guidelines developed by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) to find exposures were well b...
  • September 22, 2012
    A controversial San Francisco law requiring cell phone retailers to warn customers of potential radiation risks was blocked by a U.S. appeals court. It would require retailers to give each cell phone buyer a fact sheet saying the World Health Organization had classified the phones’ radio-frequency emissions as a “possible carcinogen.” The sheet also shows human silhouettes absorbing radiation and suggests protective measures, like wearing headsets, making shorter calls and limiting use by children. Stores would have had to put similar messages on large wall posters and on sticke...
  • September 19, 2012
    The World Health Organization’s overall risk assessment of all health outcomes for mobile communication technologies has started and is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. Following the classification and announcement last June by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that RF Fields are a possible human carcinogen, the next stage of review is an overall risk assessment covering all health outcomes – not just cancer. The WHO has announced they have started the Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) review or ‘monograph’ on RF Fields used by mobile communicat...
  • September 9, 2012
    There are no health risks from mobile phones and their base stations or wireless networks according to a comprehensive review of all available scientific evidence by a Norwegian Expert Committee. “The group found no evidence that the low-level fields around mobile phones and other transmitters increase the risk of cancer, impair male fertility, cause other reproductive damage or lead to other diseases and adverse health effects, such as changes to the endocrine and immune systems,” said committee Chair Professor Jan Alexander – who is the Assistant Director-General at the Norwegian In...
  • September 9, 2012
    More than 10,000 rural phone towers in communities without electricity will be upgraded to green energy sources such as wind and solar over the next four years thanks to continued support for the GSMA’s project to convert diesel powered network sites in developing countries. The GSMA and the World Bank’s international development arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), have pledged to continue their partnership to reduce mobile operators’ carbon emissions through the promotion of renewable energy technologies for base stations as part of their joint Green Power for Mobile pr...
  • August 30, 2012
    Australia: Will there ever be an answer to the mobile phone cancer debate After nearly twenty years in use, they’re now so common that if mobiles were dangerous, you’d expect severe health impacts to be widespread. Australia:Radiation-reducing phone cases: saviours or snake oil? Some smartphone cases, such as Cellsafe based in Victoria, Australia, claim to reduce the amount of radiation your body absorbs when you have the handset close to your body. Europe:Call for expression of interest for experts in potential health effects of exposure to EMF The relevant SCENIHR working ...
  • August 27, 2012
    The UK Mobile Operators Association (MOA) has welcomed the recognition, in the House of Lords Communications Committee’s Report into Broadband, that the UK’s communications network must be regarded as a strategic, national asset. A report by the House of Lords released in July – Broadband for All – criticised the UK Government’s broadband strategy for its preoccupation with speed rather than focusing on access in order to arrest and ultimately eliminate the digital divide. “A whole host of services will increasingly be delivered via the internet – including critical public ...
  • August 15, 2012
    Hydrogen powered fuel cells have become a cheaper and cleaner back-up power source for mobile phone base stations than greenhouse gas producing diesel generators and some countries are already investing heavily in the technology, a new GSMA report has found. “Fuel cell systems have progressed from being a potentially promising technology to being a commercially-viable power solution to power mobile base stations,” the GSMA white paper Fuel Cell Systems for Base Stations: Deep Dive Study said. “They are currently being successfully used in a variety of ways by telecom operators glob...
  • August 11, 2012
    Cities that require exclusion zones around mobile network equipment and set precautionary exposure guidelines that are not based on science are holding up the rollout of new high-speed mobile broadband infrastructure across many European countries, the GSMA has told the European Commission. Lengthy administrative procedures and a lack of cooperation from local governments are also major roadblocks in the way of mobile network operators being able to quickly install new base stations and upgrade equipment across many European countries. In a submission to the European Commission’s consu...
  • July 30, 2012
      Belgium: Radiation limits prevent 4G rollout in Brussels The strict radiation standards set in the Brussels Capital Region is restricting Belgian mobile operator’s ability to roll out fourth generation network upgrades. Canada: Health Canada won’t consider ban for cell phone ads aimed at kids Health Canada won’t consider moving to ban or limit cell phone advertisements directed at kids – a move taken by other countries including France – even though the federal department suggests young people should cap mobile use. Canada:Wi-Fi danger in schools overblown – C...
  • July 25, 2012
    The widespread use of mobile phones across Latin America and their relatively low cost means students and teachers are more likely to adapt to mobile based learning programs than the regions current focus on laptop computers, a United Nations report has said. “Many countries in the region have adopted 1:1 (one laptop per student) programmes, which provide each student and teacher with a laptop or netbook to use at school and sometimes at home as well,” the ‘Mobile Learning for Teachers in Latin America‘ report said. “Unlike computers, which tend to be prohibitively expensive fo...
  • July 23, 2012
    If the world’s top energy consuming mobile operators took measures to improve the efficiency of their network of antennas and base station equipment they could save the mobile phone industry more than two billion dollars in energy costs, the GSMA’s campaign to lower greenhouse gas emissions has found. An updated report on the “Mobile’s Green Manifesto” analysis, which identified the goal of cutting the industry’s global greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent per connection by 2020, found that despite considerable growth in mobile connections and traffic in the two years after t...
  • July 20, 2012
    A panel of international experts, including the World Health Organization’s head of radiation, have told a Nigerian conference that heightened public concern in the region about the safety of signals from mobile phones and base stations is not backed by current scientific evidence. “Today research does not suggest any concrete evidence of adverse health effects from exposure to radio frequency fields at levels below those that cause tissue heating,” WHO Radiation Programme Team Leader Dr Emilie van Deventer said. “Research has also not been able to provide support for a causal re...
  • July 15, 2012
    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering an order to review US cell phone radiation standards which were last set in 1996. Chairman Julius Genachowski recently circulated an order to fellow commissioners that would launch a formal inquiry into the levels of radiation that the commission allows devices to emit if accepted. Circulating an order is a preliminary move; it has to be reviewed and approved by the other four commissioners before it’s considered an actual FCC proceeding. If the commission votes to move forward with the inquiry, it will begin accepting comme...
  • July 11, 2012
    A series of audio visual presentations and expert interviews about how mobile phones and the technology that runs the mobile network operate and how they are tested to comply with health and safety standards are part of a new interactive media tool available on the GSMA website. Under the topics of Mobile Systems, Mobile Devices and Mobile Networks, users can navigate through the program to watch video presentations on subjects from the simple principles behind mobile phone networks right down to the specific health and safety standards that both mobile devices and network equipment must op...
  • June 29, 2012
    Austria: Independent research review says no risk from mobile radio waves The independent Radio Scientific Advisory group (WBF) have conducted their annual expert review of scientific studies on mobile technology and cancer and came unanimously to the view that there is no risk to human health from mobile radio waves under the current safety limits. Canada:Women’s College Hospital diagnose patients with electromagnetic hypersensitivity For years doctors at Women’s College Hospital, in the heart of Toronto, have been diagnosing patients with environmental sensitivities that include multi...
  • June 25, 2012
    Smartphone makers and app developers need to adapt their products and services to meet the needs of people on low incomes living in remote conditions if the benefits of mobile phone ownership are to continue to spread across third world countries, a United Nations technology expert has said. Erica Kochi, the co-lead of Tech Innovation at UNICEF says while the latest smartphone or tablet might be a the hot ticket item for people in developed countries, those in poorer nations are still making do with basic feature phones “The vast majority of the world, especially in low income and rural a...
  • June 19, 2012
    The energy used to connect a five minute long mobile phone call produces the same amount of carbon emissions as boiling water to make a cup of tea, a carbon footprint assessment of one of the UKs largest mobile network operators has discovered. The exact carbon dioxide emission equivalents were calculated while O2 became the first mobile network operator to undergo a rigorous independent analysis by the Carbon Trust to verify the greenhouse gas emissions embedded throughout the entire lifecycle of its voice and data services. “This robust analysis revealed that the carbon footprint of ...
  • June 15, 2012
    People have lower exposures from mobile phone base stations, cordless phones and TV and radio transmitters when they are in their homes compared to outdoor urban areas or office environments, a new study of personal exposure meter data from five European countries has found. The first ever study to calculate how much radio frequency (RF) radiation an adult male and a one year-old child absorb in different everyday living environments based on data from personal measurement devices, found that while all levels were well below the international safety guidelines, there were slight differences...
  • June 14, 2012
    A Canadian Government experiment to determine the level of exposure to Wi-Fi signals in a school classroom has found exposure levels are considerably below the country’s safety limits even when devices were set to operate at higher than normal power. Industry Canada said they found exposure to radio frequency (RF) radiation from multiple laptop computers and Wi-Fi antennas in a simulated classroom setting were well below the country’s SC6 safety standards set by Health Canada in the worst case scenario setting. “Based on the results of this case study, the aggregated RF exposure of...
  • June 11, 2012
    Scientists have found no link between sleep quality and exposure to mobile and cordless phones or exposures from nearby mobile phone masts after studying a group of residents in Basel in northwest Switzerland for 12 months. “We did not find evidence for adverse effects on sleep quality from RF-EMF exposure in our everyday environment,” the researchers concluded. Lead researcher Evelyn Mohler of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and colleagues from the University of Basel studied 955 randomly selected people from the Basel area to se...
  • May 29, 2012
    Australia:In 13 years, only 99 mobile towers radiation tested Radiation regulators have tested only 99 of Australia’s 18,000 mobile phone base stations to ensure they comply with emission limits. Australia: Mobile phone radiation emissions may be cut Australia’s radiation limits for mobile phones and transmitters may be changed for the first time in a decade, after a string of European countries lowered their limits. Australia:Govt considers more mobile tower emissions checks The Federal Government is considering whether to change the “risk-based” approach of auditing mobile base...
  • May 19, 2012
    Most American shoppers will pay by swiping their smart phone at the supermarket register instead of their credit card by 2020 experts have predicted, as people continue to embrace the use of mobile devices to make payments and manage their finances. “Experts feel that the explosive growth in the use of smartphones and other mobile devices, combined with the convenience, security, and other affordances of mobile payments systems, makes these systems an obvious choice to replace established modes of payment in day-to-day commerce,” researchers from Pew Internet said. The survey found m...
  • May 17, 2012
    Proposed laws to tighten mobile phone mast placements in Australia have been rejected by an Australian parliamentary committee. Proposed changes to Australia’s Federal telecommunications laws – by the minority Greens party – will increase the cost of rolling out Australia’s mobile phone network by $2.2 billion a year and reduce investment in Australia’s mobile digital highway needed for national development, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association argued in the parliamentary hearings. AMTA Chief Executive Officer, Chris Althaus, said: “Potential underinvestment b...
  • May 15, 2012
    A critical review of a Brazilian study that found the risk of death from cancer increases in close proximity to mobile phone base stations is clearly biased because the study only referenced selected papers that supported their conclusions and failed to account for the major biases or hidden variable in this type of study. “The authors of this paper are clearly biased on the issue of electromagnetic fields (EMF) and health. The first sentence of their abstract states: ‘Pollution caused by the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) of radio frequencies (RF) generated by the telecommunication syst...
  • May 11, 2012
    A comprehensive review by the UK Health Protection Agency’s independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR) concludes there is no solid evidence of health effects from mobile phone technologies, as have many independent reviews over the past 30 years. Yet, we continue to see ongoing media reports on safety concerns about mobile phone technologies every time there is a new study published or claims that suggest there might be a hidden or unforeseen problem. The reassuring conclusion of the independent ANGIR review highlights the importance of looking at all of the scientific l...
  • April 30, 2012
    Australia:Government website provides information on funding EME research The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have updated their website to provide more information on EME research funding in Australia. Australia:Greens target mobile tower emission audits Greens senator Bob Brown has slammed government bodies for failing to independently audit mobile phone towers to determine their electromagnetic emissions on surrounding communities. Australia:Householders shielding homes from smart meter radiation Hundreds of householders fearing ill effects fro...
  • April 26, 2012
    Sales of learning apps and digital books will drive a boom in mobile-phone based education over the next decade as smartphone and tablet devices continue to grow in popularity, a new GSMA report has predicted. “The market for mEducation products and services today is worth approximately USD 3.4 billion – a sliver of the USD 4 trillion spent on education globally. But students, educators and e-learning players are warming up to the potential of mEducation,” the report Transforming learning through mEducation said. The report predicts massive growth in the industry over the next deca...
  • April 18, 2012
    New regulations in Belgium which lower public exposure limits to the radio frequency emissions from mobile phone base stations by 200 times could also stop digital audio broadcasting (DAB) in the country. A study conducted for Brussels Institute of Environmental Management, has found the regulations cover “pulsed” radio waves and therefore include digital radio services, not just mobile phone base stations. The arbitrarily stricter regulations were recommended by the Superior Health Council (CSS) as an application of the precautionary principle to take into account any uncertainties ...
  • April 17, 2012
    Scientists from the Environmental Health Trust have called into question the conclusions of a study published last year that found no evidence mobile phone use increased the brain cancer risk of children and teens in Northern Europe. The scientists, including vocal mobile phone opponent Dr Devra Davis, claim the CEFALO study’s data actually showed that mobile phone use more than doubles the risk of brain tumours in children and begins growing sooner than in adults. They claim the CEFALO researcher’s, led by Denis Aydin, also failed to include the most common form of brain tumour –...
  • April 14, 2012
    The largest ever study on mobile phones’ possible link with brain cancer is complete says the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and a final report on the 19.2-million Euro study has now been published. The major results of the ten-year study across 13 nations involving nearly 6000 participants with the most common types of brain cancer – glioma and meningioma – were first published in May 2010 and found no overall evidence mobile phone use is associated with an increased risk of brain cancers. IARC have now set up a separate webpage for the INTERPHONE study and ann...
  • April 10, 2012
    Calls for mobile phone masts to be banned from within a mile of schools and nurseries in the UK to protect children’s health, are unnecessary because the concept of buffer zones around base stations is fundamentally flawed says Dr Jack Rowley. Calls to ban mobile phone masts next to schools and nurseries to reduce exposure to children are unnecessary and they misunderstand how mobile phone networks operate. Recently Neurophysiologist Dr Keith Baxendale told the Daily Mail that mobile phone masts should be banned from within a mile of all schools, nurseries and residential areas to prot...
  • March 30, 2012
    Australia:Committee votes against phone tower bill for more community say A parliamentary committee that reviewed a bill aiming to improve mobile operator’s community consultation has recommended the House of Representatives not pass it into legislation. Belgium:Digital radio soon to be banned in Brussels? A study has found the radiation emitted by digital audio broadcasting (DAB) will logically soon be required to comply with the strict 3V/m standard that must already be respected by mobile phone operators in Brussels. France: Paris tests network coverage of base stations at lo...
  • March 28, 2012
    Experts in human development from the United Kingdom have called the interpretation of the results of a Yale study – which reported that exposing pregnant mice to transmissions from mobile phones affected the behaviour of their offspring – irresponsible and alarmist. Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine reported that mice exposed to mobile phones as foetuses were more hyperactive, had more anxiety and poorer memories – symptoms associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – than mice who were not exposed to the phone signals. “This is the first experi...
  • March 26, 2012
    The increased take up of smartphones and proliferation of mobile networks across both developed and developing countries presents a major opportunity to improve people’s access to affordable healthcare services, research undertaken for the GSMA has found. The GSMA report predicts by 2017 the Mobile Health industry is expected to be worth US$23 billion, driven mostly by mobile phone applications that monitor the health of patients with chronic disease. “Among the various categories, monitoring services will account for the largest share globally (approximately 65%), corresponding to a...
  • March 22, 2012
    Indian mobile operators have started to convert most of the country’s fossil fuel dependent phone towers to renewable energy, as directed by a recent government report. Idea Cellular, the country’s third largest carrier, has started to convert base stations in the region of Nadga, Madhya Pradesh, to a unique fuel cell system that takes advantage of hydrogen created as a by-product at nearby chemical plants. The hydrogen fuel cells are the first of their kind to be used in India and will replace Diesel generators that power the majority of India’s rural mobile phone towers and which...
  • March 19, 2012
    A Swiss survey of 500 people has found fear and most importantly anger play key role in the acceptance mobile phone base stations in the community and improved consultation is the best way to manage these emotions. “We found that benefit perception and the acceptance of mobile phone base stations were primarily determined by anger. Risk perception, in contrast, was influenced by both emotions ,” the researchers concluded. Drs Simone Dohle, Carmen Keller, and Michael Siegrist from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich surveyed 500 people in a Swiss city r...
  • March 18, 2012
    A new examination of United States cancer incidence data by investigators at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found the trend for glioma – the most common type of brain cancer – has remained roughly constant during the period cell phone use grew rapidly. “The researchers found that while cell phone use increased substantially over the period 1992 to 2008 (from nearly zero to almost 100 per cent of the population), the US trends in glioma incidence did not mirror that increase,” a press release from the NCI said. “If phone use was associated with glioma risk, we expected glio...
  • March 14, 2012
    A review of survey reports around the world has found the widespread rollout of third generation (3G) or smartphone networks – which also transmit mobile broadband internet services in addition to voice calls – has not increased levels of community exposure to radio signals. “Irrespective of country, the year and cellular technology, exposures to radio signals at ground level were only a small fraction of the relevant human exposure standards,” the analysis concludes. “Importantly, there has been no significant increase in exposure levels since the widespread introduction of 3G mo...
  • March 10, 2012
    The majority of women living on less than 2 $US a day want the social and security benefits of mobile phone use but face a range of economic and cultural barriers to having their own handset a new GSMA report has found. The research project undertaken in partnership with the Australian and US Agencies for International Development (AusAID and USAID), found 80 per cent of the more than 2,500 women surveyed from India, Papua New Guinea and Uganda saw connecting with friends and family as the overwhelming benefit of owning a mobile phone while 58 per cent said a mobile would be useful in emerg...
  • February 29, 2012
    Australia:Setting limits for mobile tower radiation Telcos are quick to reassure that the amount of radiation emitted by phone towers is not harmful, but how does the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) determine whether they are safe? Canada:Montreal prepares new regulations for mobile towers The City of Montreal will work in the coming weeks on the adoption of new regulations for telecommunication antennas. Canada:Wi-Fi-equipped schools pose ‘potential health and safety risk’: union Catholic school boards should shut off all wireless Intern...
  • February 27, 2012
    Two years on from the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti killing more than 300 thousand people and leaving 1 million homeless, mobile phone banking initiatives are helping survivors get back on their feet and are opening up new wealth opportunities for those on the lowest incomes. One third of Haiti’s banks were destroyed in the January 2010 quake further limiting access to financial systems that served only 10 percent of the mostly cash based society before the quake. “Even prior to the earthquake the availability of and access to financial services in Haiti was very limited, ...
  • February 24, 2012
    The volume of old unwanted electronics destined for landfill is set to double over the next 15 years as consumers continue to snap up more advanced mobile phones, tablets, TVs and computers, according to a new industry forecast. But as governments and electronics manufacturers increase their focus on the responsible management of electronic waste in this time it’s predicted that eventually a greater amount of discarded electrical goods will be recycled or reused rather than sent to landfill. “Recycling and reuse is increasing at a significant pace, driven by environmental legislation...
  • February 23, 2012
    Based on current scientific evidence, wireless networks are safe to use in the home says experts from a leading US science and engineering analysis firm, Exponent Inc. “While the research is still ongoing, current evidence indicates that wireless household networks pose no or very low risks from RF exposure and EMI to medical devices.” concluded Yakov Shkolnikov and William Bailey in a paper presented at the 2011 IEEE Symposium on Product Compliance Engineering (PSES). Wireless communication in the home is primarily used for Wi-Fi links to desktops, lap...
  • February 22, 2012
    A non-profit environmental health group has released a report calling for tougher standards to regulate cellular technologies in the USA – especially for children and pregnant women. However, their 75-page report has been called “unconvincing” and is at odds with the scientific consensus on many recommendations. Environment and Human Health (EHHI) released the report on February 1, in advance of the results of an animal study on the health effects of cell phone exposures during pregnancy the groups says they are about to release. “The scientific evidence is sufficiently robust sh...
  • February 18, 2012
    The Indian government has adopted new radiofrequency exposure limits for base stations, which are ten times lower than the guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). They also propose to adopt the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) limit of 1.6 W/kg in 1 g for mobile devices. In 2008 India adopted the ICNIRP limits for both networks and devices. The lower limits to come into force from 1 April 2012 for base stations and 1 September for devices are based on the recommendations of a controversial report written by an Inter-ministerial Committee on EMF Radiation for...
  • February 15, 2012
    The incidence of glioma – the most common form of brain tumour – is not increasing in Nordic countries, which contradicts claims that mobile phone use is a cause of the disease, a new study has found. Scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the Karolinska Institute looked at the rate of glioma in men and women aged 20 to 79 years between 1979 and 2008 in the Nordic countries to look for a trend that might indicate a link with the increasing use of mobile phones. “People living in the Nordic countries were quick to adopt mobile phone technology and...
  • February 10, 2012
    Tests around phone antennas in the UK upgraded to the latest high speed mobile broadband technology have shown their exposure levels are similar to existing mobile technologies like 3G and operate at levels around 125 times below international exposure limits. Belgian researchers measured the electric field strength of new Long Term Evolution (LTE) base stations of a test network at 40 urban locations around the English town of Reading and found the average LTE power level to be 0.2 volts per meter (V/m) compared to the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) ...
  • January 30, 2012
    GSMA: GSMWorld Website Changes A new corporate GSMA website www.gsma.com has been launched, which has resulted in changes to many links. Key points of reference: ▪   Mobile and Health. ▪   Mobile and Environment.   All past content is not yet available on the new site and this will be done progressively. Please report broken links or missing content to Jack Rowley. Australia: National broadband network towers anger residents Towers designed to deliver the wireless component of the new national broadband network have been met with opposition in regional areas a...
  • January 20, 2012
    The widespread use of mobile devices and growing network coverage, particularly in developing countries, has the potential to change the way students and teachers interact, experts have said at the first ever Mobile Learning Week hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) last December. The event brought together policy makers, educators, academics, researchers and practitioners to share the latest developments in mobile technology and discuss the innovative ways they can be used to enhance the quality of education and transform the learning proc...
  • January 19, 2012
    Millions of mobile phone users living in areas without access to mains electricity could benefit from a mobile phone powered only by a built in solar panel, but designers face a number of challenges before a workable and care-free solution can be achieved a four month research project has found. Last June Nokia set about testing a prototype phone they developed, which featured a solar charging panel integrated in the back cover for harvesting solar energy, in a range of conditions where it’s not possible to plug in to recharge. “The phone was tested last summer by a team of five peop...
  • January 18, 2012
    An advertisement posted in service station toilets in the UK has been banned by the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) because its claims of adverse effects on male fertility caused by keeping a mobile phone in trouser pockets is not backed by science. The advertising watchdog said the poster that pictured a mobile phone in the front pocket of a pair of jeans, with a warning message that read “Medical experts are warning men not to keep their mobile phones in their pockets as this can have a direct effect on their fertility”, was not to appear again in its current form. ...
  • January 16, 2012
    Government policies that recommend children should reduce their exposure to mobile phone signals are not supported by scientific evidence, research presented at a conference dedicated to the possible effects of non-ionizing radiation on children has shown. The research papers presented at the conference, including a review of all environmental studies (epidemiological) on health effects of RF for children, have been recently published in a special edition of the journal ‘Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology’. The review by Swedish researcher Maria Fychting found although ther...
  • January 13, 2012
    A prominent figure in last year’s classification of mobile phone radiation as possibly carcinogenic to humans has shed some light on how the decision was made at the annual science and wireless conference held in Melbourne last November. Dr Robert Baan, the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) officer in charge of Monograph 102 which assessed the cancer hazard of radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields last June, said in his keynote address that based on limited evidence in environmental studies (epidemiology) a working group made up of 30 scientific experts decided t...
  • January 12, 2012
    New Greek research has found personal mobile phone antennas designed to improve reception in the home can also reduce a user’s exposure to electromagnetic radiation from their handset by 250 times. Femtocell devices – which generate a personal mobile phone signal by connecting to an operator’s network through a residential Internet connection – have become increasingly popular with mobile users who want better indoor coverage and faster data speeds for their smartphones. And measurements by researchers from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki have found the improvement in mo...
  • January 10, 2012
    The innovative ways mobile phone technology is being applied to benefit patients and healthcare professionals have been the subject of many research publications, yet the role mobile phones play in providing an efficient means of contacting paramedics in an emergency situation has been largely overlooked. This was the focus of a new GSMA supported study, which I co-authored, that showed around 137 more lives are saved per 100,000 patients when emergency services are called from a mobile phone compared to a landline phone. The study recently published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine ...
  • December 29, 2011
    Australia: Greens abandon science to tie down mobile towers The Australian Greens party’s seemingly-benign notion that there should be no mobile phone towers within 200 meters of any hospital suggests they don’t understand how radio waves work and don’t understand how people working in hospitals rely on their mobiles. Australia:Researchers find mobile phones don’t affect sleep University of Sydney researchers have debunked the widespread belief that technological devices such as computers and mobile phones are increasingly eating into our sleep, in a paper published in the Dec...
  • December 29, 2011
    A future mobile phone app could tell you if you have food poisoning or the flu by harnessing the sensitive touch screen in modern smart phones. Korean scientists have found the touch screen technology in the latest smartphones could allow users to test themselves for deadly diseases, as researchers continue to tap in to the power of modern mobile phone technology to diagnose and treat diseases. Many believe disposable USB-sized microchips called a ‘lab on a chip’ that can collect a user’s saliva, blood or urine sample to be sent to a lab for analysis is the future of disease diagno...
  • December 20, 2011
    The United Nations requires the signatures of just 17 more countries to enact its global treaty to stop the shipping of potentially hazardous old mobile phones and electronics from wealthy nations to the developing world, after a legal obstacle was cleared at a recent UN conference. At the UN environmental conference in Cartagena, Colombia, attended by more than 170 countries, Indonesia and Switzerland were able to broker a deal that cleared the way for 50 countries to ratify an amendment to the 1989 Basel Convention which will restrict the export of electronic waste to the developing wor...
  • December 15, 2011
    Local residents of a small market town in the UK’s West Midlands have vowed to fight on after an investigation, by the area’s health chief, failed to link a mobile phone mast with nearby cancer cases. Families in Wednesbury called for the probe amid growing concern about their health after Orange installed a mobile telephone base station near the town’s cricket ground in 1997. They were concerned too many residents from one street, Meryhurst Road, had cancer since the installation of the mast at nearby Wood Green Road cricket ground. Wednesbury is in England’s Black Country ...
  • December 13, 2011
    Sperm exposed to Wi-Fi emissions from laptops moved less and suffered DNA damage, researchers in Argentina have found in preliminary lab tests, but fertility experts around the world are sceptical the results mean anything for men. Dr Conrado Avendano from the Nascentis Centre for Reproductive Medicine in Córdoba and colleagues collected semen samples from 29 healthy men and divided them into two groups. They placed one-half of the sperm sample in petri dishes under a Wi-Fi connected laptop continuously downloading data from the internet for 4 hours; the other half were in another room ...
  • December 12, 2011
    A systematic review of the latest research by international experts in electromagnetic fields has found mobile phones do not cause brain tumours and should reassure phone users. The experts scrutinised the research database to identify any original and relevant research covering the areas of the brain most exposed to mobile phone radiation. “We conducted a systematic review based on a pre-agreed methodology to assess whether a causal relationship has been established between the use of wireless phones and the brain cancer glioma and three other tumors originating in the areas of the he...
  • December 10, 2011
    Europe’s health advisory body on new risks has been asked to update their scientific opinion on the possible health effects of electromagnetic radiation from wireless technology and to recommend areas of new research after an international conference held in Brussels in November highlighted a number of new studies in the area. “The European Commission has requested the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) to update its previous opinions on the potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF),” the European Commission said. ...
  • December 6, 2011
    The GSMA’s ‘Mobile Energy Efficiency’ benchmarking initiative to measure and monitor a mobile networks’ energy and carbon footprints has been included in a new international standard which aims to create a global method for measuring the global impact of information and communications technology (ICT). The GSMA’s method for measuring energy efficiency was included in to the International Telecommunication Union’s new standard “Methodology for environmental impacts of ICT goods, networks and services”, which aims to measure the direct environmental impact of ICT goods, networ...
  • November 30, 2011
    Brazil:Rio de Janeiro sets new rules for phone towers The city of Rio de Janeiro have set stricter rules for installing base stations forcing carriers to share their towers and maintain a minimum distance of 500 meters between antennas on the ground. Canada:Gov’t accused of dragging feet on radiation recommendations Microwave radiation advocacy groups are crying foul, saying the government hasn’t acted on recommendations made by a parliamentary committee regarding the radiation emitted by wireless devices. Europe:Electromagnetic fields and health – the way forward Key conc...
  • November 28, 2011
    Affordable access to mobile phones is changing the lives of millions in the world’s poorest communities – bringing services like banking, education and healthcare to people who were previously cut off from society. “Poverty is almost equated with isolation in many places of the world,” said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the United Nations Millennium Villages Project, which focuses on improving 14 rural villages across 10 African countries as a model for wider prosperity in the region. “Poverty results from the lack of access to markets, to emergency health services, access to educ...
  • November 25, 2011
    Instead of squabbling with China for not sharing enough of the rare earth metals that power many of today’s electronics – Europeans need to start recycling the old mobile phones and computers they have sitting in drawers collecting dust, according to a United Nations panel member. “As long as we, Europeans, are wasting 99% of the rare earths that we are using we have no moral justification to blame the Chinese for being a bit restrictive on exports,” Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker co-chair of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) International Resource Panel told EurActi...
  • November 24, 2011
    Most of a controversial San Francisco law requiring retailers to warn customers about cell phone radiation and its possible health effects has been dismissed by a federal judge who likened the legislation to warning about the dangers of UFOs. Judge William Alsup was unconvinced by the arguments of city lawyers that no scientific proof existed to guarantee cellphones were completely safe. “Anything is possible,” Alsup said during the trial.  “Let’s put a brochure about UFOs.  If you have concerns about UFOs, here are the steps you can take.” The Judge ruled that the r...
  • November 22, 2011
    After an extensive review of the latest research, the Health Council of the Netherlands has not found any evidence that the electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones and Wi-Fi can damage the development of children’s brains or health – even with frequent use. “Available data do not indicate that exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields affect brain development or health in children,” the Health Council concluded in its latest report published last month. The Health Council of the Netherlands is an independent scientific advisory body, which provides the Dutch go...
  • November 18, 2011
    Researchers from the USA have claimed the tests used to measure the amount of radiation absorbed from mobile phones underestimates the levels to which most adults and children are exposed because the 6-foot-2 model used in testing represents only about three per cent of the population. “The existing cell phone certification process uses a plastic model of the head called the Specific Anthropomorphic Mannequin (SAM), representing the top 10% of U.S. military recruits in 1989 and greatly underestimating the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for typical mobile phone users, especially children,...
  • November 15, 2011
    The latest update to a Danish study described as the largest ever to investigate mobile phones and brain tumours has found more than 350,000 Danes who had a mobile phone account since 1995 were at no greater risk of developing tumours of the brain or central nervous system. “In this second update of a large nationwide cohort of 358 403 mobile phone subscribers in Denmark, we observed no overall increased risk of tumours of the central nervous system or for all cancers combined associated with use of mobile phones,” the study recently published in the British Medical Journal said. Res...
  • November 11, 2011
    A self-published report from British charity MobileWise provides only a selective review of research to support its claim that children’s health is at risk from using mobile phones and is likely to unnecessarily alarm parents. The report, which received widespread media coverage, does not include any new research and according to a UK NHS response, highlights only one side of the argument. “Narrative reviews such as this one can highlight interesting examples from one side of an argument, but cannot provide overall conclusions,” the NHS response said. Many independent public hea...
  • October 28, 2011
    Bahrain:Phone masts ‘safe’ says telecommunications authority Signals from Bahrain’s telecom masts are safe and within international safety limits, according to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) who said they had conducted a study into radio signal levels, which found emissions from mobile phone masts to be below the global minimum. Canada:Health Canada release new fact sheet on Wi-Fi Health Canada has released a new fact sheet on exposure to radiation from Wi-Fi equipment concluding, “Health Canada’s position is that no precautionary measures are needed, sinc...
  • October 25, 2011
    Solar powered charging kiosks are saving millions people living in rural African communities without electricity from travelling long distances each week to charge their mobile phones, according to a new report by the by the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP). “The lack of accessible sources of electricity for recharging a phone is a huge constraint on use and denies many people the full benefits to be derived from a phone which include increased economic activity, banking services, information, and reduced travel time,” the report Phone Charging Micro-businesses in Tanzania and U...
  • October 21, 2011
    Electronic waste is a global time bomb and regulations must be tightened to prevent toxic contamination from the millions of tonnes of old mobile phones, computers and other electronic goods spreading worldwide, experts have said at the CleanUp 2011 conference in Australia. The illegal shipping of e-waste to developing countries in recent decades and inadequate handling and disposal methods has become a global problem, “in fact a global time bomb” Professor Ming Hung Wong from Hong Kong Baptist University told an Australian science media briefing. “In 2009 alone, 53 million tonnes ...
  • October 20, 2011
    The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to revive a class action lawsuit that alleged mobile companies endangered consumers by covering up health effects and selling handsets without headsets. The classification of mobile phones as a “possible carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) earlier this year threatened to reignite the long running case. The lawsuit – Farina v. Nokia – named 19 defendants, including all of the major mobile phone manufacturers and carriers, as well as two trade associations, and demanded damages and wanted to force manufacturers to...
  • October 18, 2011
    A draft royal decree in Belgium that would require mobile phones be labelled with their exposure levels and any point of sale material and advertisements to refer to the level would be ineffective say the Union of Belgian Advertisers (UBA) because it is too complicated for the consumer. The UBA press release says including the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for each model of mobile phone in advertising and on mobile phone packaging will not be very effective because understanding SAR is complicated and will be difficult for consumers to understand in advertisements. SAR is a measure of t...
  • October 15, 2011
    Parents are being told to encourage children to reduce their exposure to radiofrequency energy from mobile phones by limiting the length of calls, using hands-free or sending text messages in updated advice from Canada’s federal health department. “Health Canada reminds cell phone users that they can take practical measures to reduce RF exposure. The department also encourages parents to reduce their children’s RF exposure from cell phones since children are typically more sensitive to a variety of environmental agents,” a Health Canada press release said. The advice reflects the...
  • October 14, 2011
    Mobile phone radiation suppresses glucose metabolism – a measure of brain activity – in the area of the brain close to the antenna, according to Finnish researchers who scanned the brains of a small group of young men while being exposed to mobile phone signals. “Our results show that short-term mobile phone exposure can locally suppress brain energy metabolism in humans,” the researchers concluded. Researchers from the University of Turku in Finland exposed 13 healthy young men to mobile phone signals for 33 minutes, which resulted in a local suppressive effect on brain glucose ...
  • October 11, 2011
    A precautionary decision by the city council of Varades in North-West France to reduce radio frequency exposures from antennas and masts to limits well below those recommended by World Health Organization will not provide any additional health protection for the community and will likely only increase their level of concern and severely limit coverage. The municipality is the first in France to adopt an exposure limit of 0.6V/m (volts per meter) based on precautionary recommendations made in a Council of Europe resolution published earlier this year. Currently the lowest WHO limit in France...
  • September 30, 2011
    Belgium:Union of Belgian Advertisers oppose SAR regulations A draft royal decree that would require mobile phone packaging, labels and advertising to state the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) would be ineffective say the Union of Belgian Advertisers because it is too complicated for the consumer. Canada:Tighter rules for wireless networks The Canadian telecommunications industry say they will turn to the courts if talks break down with the City of Montreal over their plans to regulate the installation of wireless networks, bypassing federal law. Canada:Ontario school cuts Wi-Fi over...
  • September 27, 2011
    A UN-backed scheme to give 50 million poor people across Africa and South Asia access to their own mobile phone number has been launched by UK technology firm Movirtu as part of the Business Call to Action (BCtA) initiative that encourages private sector efforts to fight poverty. Instead of sharing a phone number with family members or neighbours, users will be able to access their own personal “cloud” phone number from Movirtu by logging in on any mobile phone. They can then make and receive individual calls and access critical information and services such as banking or agriculture su...
  • September 23, 2011
    India’s telecommunications regulator wants to clean up the country’s fossil fuel dependent mobile phone network with plans to convert most of their diesel powered antennas to green energy and grid power by 2020. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended that over the next five years half of the telecom towers in rural areas and one third in urban areas must be powered by renewable sources including wind, solar or grid power. By 2020, renewable energy sources must power all rural towers and half the urban towers. The TRAI’s report said reducing the industry’...
  • September 21, 2011
    In response to a number of scams preying on the health concerns of mobile phone users, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has advised consumers to steer clear of products that claim to shield them from mobile phone radiation. “Amid concerns about possible health risks associated with cell phones, the Federal Trade Commission advises consumers to avoid products that supposedly ‘shield’ users from cell phone emissions,” the FTC said in a recent announcement. The advice comes as a number of products have recently hit the market claiming to reduce exposure from mobile phones inclu...
  • September 19, 2011
    The U.S. state of Pennsylvania is considering laws to label cell phones with a warning they might cause brain cancer and advises users to keep the phone away from the head and body. Members debated the proposed Children’s Wireless Protection Act (House Bill 1408) at a Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee hearing held on September 1. The bill calls for a warning to appear on the front and back packaging of any cellular telephone sold in Pennsylvania. “This device emits electromagnetic radiation, exposure to which may cause brain cancer.  Users, especially children and pr...
  • September 17, 2011
    Researchers from the University of Catania in Italy have reviewed 22 studies looking at the effect of mobile phone signals on male reproduction and say although the studies have several limitations, they show abnormalities are directly related to the length of mobile phone use. “The results show that human spermatozoa exposed to RF-EMR have decreased motility, morphometric abnormalities, and increased oxidative stress, whereas men using mobile phones have decreased sperm concentration, motility, normal morphology, and viability. These abnormalities seem to be directly related with the len...
  • September 14, 2011
    An investigation by the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) in to the safety of Wi-Fi in schools has found children’s exposures are well below safe exposure limits and much less than those from mobile phones. “A systematic programme of research has been undertaken to assess exposures of children from wireless computer networking equipment used in schools,” a HPA report of the project said. “The data gathered during the project continue to reinforce the position adopted by the HPA at the beginning of the project that exposures are small in relation to the ICNIRP [International Commi...
  • September 12, 2011
    A report prepared for the GSMA to investigate the energy impact of new legislation in Brussels, Belgium that severely limits exposure from mobile phone base stations, has found network operators will need to install more infrastructure to maintain the current level of service, which will increase the networks electricity consumption and production of greenhouse gasses. “The three operators anticipate that approximately 400 new base stations will need to be added to the already existing 1,000 sites in the Brussels Capital Region,” the report Energy Impact of Lower RF-EMF Exposure Limit s...
  • August 30, 2011
    Australia: Increased concern about health risks of mobile phones Concerns are increasing about health risks associated with mobile phones, according to the latest Roy Morgan Research. Canada: BC Cancer Agency says no increased risk of a rare type of brain cancer from mobiles BC Cancer Agency scientist Mary McBride led the B.C. arm of a study, which found no increase in the risk of acoustic neuroma (a rare cancer of the head) among those who have used a mobile phone for 10 years or longer. Canada: Teachers’ union to look at Wi-Fi concerns The union representing Ontario teach...
  • August 29, 2011
    The need for governments and those in the mobiles industry to actively communicate and maintain an open dialogue with the community about their health concerns was the theme of my presentation to government officials and industry representatives at a recent Caribbean telecommunications conference of more than 500 delegates. I was invited to present a keynote address ‘Building Mobile Networks – Responding to Public Concern’ at the 27th Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition of the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organizations (CANTO) in Paramaribo, Suriname in J...
  • August 27, 2011
    The final part of the largest human study of its type into potential health impacts of mobile phones has confirmed earlier research that there is no increase in risk of Acoustic Neuroma (AN) – a rare benign tumour of the ear nerve – from mobile phone use for 10 years or more. “We did not observe an increase in risk of AN with ever regular use of a mobile phone or in mobile phone users who began use 10 years or more before the reference date ,” the researchers concluded. They also did not see any trend in the risk of acoustic neuroma with increasing mobile phone use....
  • August 25, 2011
    A study of children and teens in Northern Europe has found mobile phone use doesn’t increase the risk of brain cancer because the evidence did not show a clear trend between the amount of exposure and the illness. “Because we did not find a clear exposure-response relationship in most of these analyses, the available evidence does not support a causal association between the use of mobile phones and brain tumors,” the researchers said in the study published July 27 in the Journal of The National Cancer Institute. The researchers also said the link was “unlikely” because it did ...
  • August 24, 2011
    The sudden appearance of brain tumours in Japanese civilians 30 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not good evidence of a hidden cancer epidemic that could face cell phone users says Fortune magazine. “Brain tumor rates in Japanese atomic bomb survivors are often used to scare cell phone owners. The real story turns out to be far more reassuring,” wrote contributing editor Scott Woolley. Woolley’s column responded to the claim by Dr Devra Davis in the UK’s The Daily Mail that warned mobile phone users: “…it is too early to expect mobile phone users to develop brain tumours...
  • August 22, 2011
    David Ropeik, an expert in understanding and communicating about risk, says that San Francisco’s latest cell phone fact sheet requirement is unlikely to help public understanding of the issue. Recently the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a new ordinance that requires retailers to display and distribute a state-produced fact sheet that explains radio frequency emissions from cell phones and how consumers can minimise their exposure. This ordinance amends the city’s controversial Cell Phone Right to Know Act, (that was passed but never enacted) which required stores to displa...
  • August 20, 2011
    Mobile phone operators in Japan are turning to innovative renewable energy systems such as solar power, wind and biofuels to safeguard their mobile networks against power outages in natural disasters. In the days and weeks following Japan’s devastating March 11 quake and tsunami, mobile network operators struggled to restore power to thousands of base stations plagued by rolling blackouts and damage to the electricity grid in the country’s northeast. Three days after the quake, on March 14, 11,400 mobile base stations were still inoperative, according to a telecomasia report. In a...
  • July 29, 2011
    Antigua: Government meets with tower users over potential dangers The Government of Antigua and Barbuda recently concluded a series of discussions with leading telecommunications companies regarding any potential health hazards related to radio frequency (RF) emissions from telecommunications towers in the state. Australia: Survey finds most Australians don’t use hands-free A survey of 2,500 Australians has found that 38 per cent of Gen X mobile phone users have listened to health advice, using the hands-free function on their mobile phones to distance the device from their head...
  • July 27, 2011
    The GSMA has launched the mFarmer Initiative Fund to support programs that give farmers in developing countries access to important information that will help improve their crops. Access to vital agricultural information, as well as training and advice on topics such as pests and diseases, weather and proven farming practices can make a huge difference to agricultural productivity and food security in rural communities. And with access to mobile phones growing dramatically in developing countries, even amongst those on low incomes, there is unprecedented opportunity to reach those in nee...
  • July 25, 2011
    A new bill has been introduced in the United States congress to stop the millions of tons of old mobile phones and computers from being sent to developing countries each year to be broken up and salvaged in unsafe conditions. According to the Bill’s sponsors congressmen Gene Green and Mike Thompson the US currently has no legislation to regulate the export of e-waste and is “out of synch with the rest of the world.” “E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the United States, and it can pose a serious problem in that most e-waste contains toxic chemicals which present envir...
  • July 23, 2011
    Amid confusing reports that the EU was considering a ban on mobile phones and Wi-Fi in Schools, the European Commission (EC) has restated that the technology is safe. EC spokesperson Aikaterini Apostola said based on Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC on the limitation of the general public’s exposure to EMF from mobile phones and Wi-Fi, “all such equipment is presumed to be safe.” The source of the story was a report published by an intergovernmental body the Council of Europe, not to be confused with the Council of the European Union, Ms Apostola explained. “The Council of E...
  • July 22, 2011
    Increasing evidence suggests there is no link between mobile phones and brain cancer, according to a comprehensive analysis from an independent international expert panel. “Although there remains some uncertainty, the trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumours in adults,” concluded the report published in Environmental Health Perspectives in July. The review was conducted by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Standing Committee on Epidemiology. The committee – which ...
  • July 20, 2011
    Despite the classification of mobile phones as a ‘possible carcinogen’ by the International Agency International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) the World Health Organization (WHO) has clarified that no adverse health effects have been shown to be caused by mobile phones. Following the IARC announcement in early June the WHO updated its factsheet on electromagnetic fields and public health in mid-June and while acknowledging the IARC classification have said mobile phones were not known to cause any health problems. “A large number of studies have been performed over the last ...
  • July 19, 2011
    Long-term mobile phone use has no effect on the chance of developing vestibular schwannoma, a rare type of brain tumour which grows near the source of most mobile phone energy a study of almost three million people in Denmark has found. The study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in June, compared data on those who’d used a cell phone for 11 to 15 years with newer users or non-users and found mobile phone use has no effect on development, size or location of tumours. “Comparing long-term mobile phone subscribers of 11 years or more with short-term and nonsubscribers, ...
  • July 18, 2011
    An international workshop of 150 experts on the radiation transmitted by mobile phones and Wi-Fi has confirmed that the current safe exposure guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) adequately protect children. “The purpose of the meeting was to determine if our guidelines are adequate to protect children – who are different in terms of physiology, anatomy, and lifestyle,” Dr Paolo Vecchia the chairman of ICNIRP said in a press conference following the conference held in Slovenia in May. “From the scientific results of the work...
  • June 30, 2011
    A short summary of major developments in the news during the past month on science and policy issues related to mobile communications health and environmental issues. Canada: Wi-Fi levels in schools deemed safe The results of a survey released this week by the St. Albert Protestant School Board show radiation emissions from wireless equipment in schools is well below the safe standard established by Health Canada. Europe: Commission proposes new rules to protect EU workers from electromagnetic fields A proposal to update and improve EU rules to protect workers from EMF in their...
  • June 29, 2011
    The classification of mobile phones as a possible cause of cancer highlights the need for further long term research to clarify any uncertainties, but it was not likely to change the way in which the technology was regulated. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans, largely based on the suggestion of an increased risk for glioma– a malignant type of brain cancer – shown in the results of the INTERPHONE project which were published last year. However, the INTERPHONE results have already...
  • June 26, 2011
    Brain tumours among mobile phone users are not clustered in the part of the brain where most of the energy from a phone is absorbed when a mobile is held to the ear to make a call a new study has found. Also, people who had used mobile phones for the longest amount of time, and spent the most time on the phones, were no more likely to experience tumours located within five centimetres of the phone, where “90% of the energy to the head” is absorbed, Dr. Suvi Larjavaara and colleagues from the University of Tampere in Finland found. One of the problems of studying mobile phones is it...
  • June 24, 2011
    The radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones are possibly carcinogenic to humans the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced earlier this month. IARC classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma – a malignant type of brain cancer – associated with wireless phone use its statement said. “The evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B classification. The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and...
  • June 23, 2011
    Cancer authorities around the world have advised the public not to be alarmed and to put the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s classification of mobile phones as a possible carcinogen into context and not to disregard established cancer risks. “These findings need to be put in context. While we need to continue researching the possible link between mobile phones and cancer, it is important to remind people there are many more established cancer risk factors that we can take action every day,” Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Occupation and Environmental Cancer Committ...
  • June 21, 2011
    Cancer experts around the world say that following the IARC classification of mobile phones as a possible human carcinogen users can take simple steps to reduce exposure, such as by using a hands-free device or texting, until further long-term research is conducted. “Given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings,” said IARC Director Christopher Wild, “it is important that additional research be conducted into the llong-term, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to r...
  • June 19, 2011
    New laws announced by the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests to make electronics manufacturers responsible for recycling their products from production to end of life have been hailed a success by environmentalists. “This is not just a victory for the environment but business, as it creates a level-playing field. The rule ensures a transition from the current out-of-sight out-of-mind approach to proper recycling of e-wastes and in the process accelerating the commercial introduction of green electronic products in the market,” Greenpeace India Senior Campaigner Abhishek Prata...
  • June 15, 2011
    Mobile phone technology is being harnessed in a range of innovative health, economic development and agriculture projects within the worlds developing nations, a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) study has found. Almost 200 different initiatives were identified within the 14 countries examined, from which 10 Mobiles for Development case studies  were produced to highlight some of the most potentially beneficial. One such project run by Sri Lankan mobile service provider Dialog, uses mobile phone technology to warn people in the event of impending natural disasters, such as ...

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