Wireless Systems Health Effects
There is a lot of exotic electromagnetic radiation floating about in the air. From mobile phones and computer screens to vacuum cleaners and power lines, electromagnetic fields are an inescapable part of daily life. Radiation can theoretically cause harm but what about low level electromagnetic fields? There is no scientific evidence that low-level electromagnetic field exposure from mobile phones and other transmitting devices causes adverse health effects, according to a report presented by a Norwegian /Swedish Expert Committee. In addition, the Committee has provided advice to authorities about risk management and regulatory practice in these areas of concerns.
The Committee has assessed the health hazards from low-level electromagnetic fields generated by radio transmitters. These electromagnetic fields are found around mobile phones, wireless phones and networks, mobile phone base stations, broadcasting transmitters and other communications equipment. The report is entitled "Low-level radiofrequency electromagnetic fields — an assessment of health risks and evaluation of regulatory practice." This was published on September 13th, the report contains a Norwegian and English summary.
The threshold limit values for these fields are set 50 times below the level that could cause heating of human tissue or stimulation of nerve cells. The Committee evaluated a number of possible health effects from low-level electromagnetic fields and has evaluated the research in each area. 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.
Most studies concerning cancer have focused on the risk of cancer in the head and neck. The Committee found no scientific evidence for an association between mobile phone use and fast-growing brain tumours.
So far, the effect on slow-growing tumours has been studied in people who have used mobile phones for up to 20 years. These studies show no association.
Only limited data exist for the other types of cancer in the head and neck area, as well as for leukaemia and lymphoma, but so far there is no evidence of an increased risk from mobile phone use. Cancer registries have not observed an increase in these tumours in the population since mobile phones were introduced.
The Committee did not find that mobile phones and other equipment can cause health problems such as electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Does this mean that electromagnetic hypersensitivity is an imaginary problem? The report states that such claims should be taken seriously but so far there is no evidence to support the contention.
There are also statements such as the skin warms up or reddens from mobile phone use. The skin does warms up slightly due to heat from the battery and not from the radio transmitter in the phone. Some mobile phone models may transmits at a maximum power provide exposure that comes close to the threshold limit values. Even so, any heating due to electromagnetic fields would be negligible.
The Committee believes that general caution is sufficient when dealing with mobile phones. This means that exposure should not be higher than needed to achieve the intended purpose.
An example of exercising general caution would be for the authorities to inform that hands-free kits will significantly reduce exposure from mobile phones. Furthermore, the field strength around a mobile phone is lower when there is good coverage.
The preponderance of evidence suggests that the low-power, low-frequency, electromagnetic radiation associated with household current and related uses does not constitute a short or long term health hazard, and whilst some biophysical mechanisms for the promotion of cancer have been proposed (such as the electric fields around power lines attracting aerosol pollutants, none have been substantiated.
For fuehrer information see Mobile Phone Use.
Phone image via Wikipedia.