TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Do Allow Under-9s to Use a Mobile

Re: Do Allow Under-9s to Use a Mobile

Dave Garland (
Fri, 28 Jan 2005 18:47:38 -0600

Gosh, we seem to have touched a nerve.

It was a dark and stormy night when Linc Madison
<> wrote:

> With all due respect, what other mechanism do you think could cause
> cellphones to harm human tissue?

Are you saying that the only way nonionizing EM radiation interacts
with human tissue is by heating? What I'm saying is that IF there is
ANY effect, it MAY be harmful. Nonthermal effects on biologic
organisms at relatively low-level microwave frequencies do occur. I
don't know if any of them are harmful. Do you know that they are not

> Give me an example that has some resemblance to cellphone wavelengths
> and power levels acting on human tissue, and I'll take your
> reservations seriously. Until then, you're only crying wolf.

See below :)

Demanding that the studies relate only to human tissue, at cellphone
wavelengths and power levels, is to ignore much of the literature.
The fact that tobacco caused cancer in rats was a warning flag for
humans, even though the tobacco industry immediately claimed it didn't
show anything at all about the effect in humans.

I'd say, in the absence of a more detailed understanding, the
following assumptions are reasonable:

There is a proportionality between dose and effect, i.e. if there is
an effect, the effect exists (at a lesser level) at lower dosages,
there is no threshold below which effects magically disappear. (In
the case of heating, there probably IS a threshold related to how
quickly the biologic system can remove the heat.)

That the same mechanisms probably exist over nearby parts of the EM
spectrum. I.e., while an effect at 1 GHz probably is irrelevant at UV
or ELF frequencies, it may well also exist at 2GHz, or 100MHz. And
that effects at those frequencies may well indicate an effect at 1GHz.

That if there is any effect whatsoever, there *may* well be other
effects, or ramifications that are not immediately obvious, and that
one cannot assume those nonobvious effects are harmless.

That if there is an effect in one biologic organism, it is reasonable
to expect there may similar effects in others.

I don't expect you to take my reservations seriously. I don't know
that I do myself. Hell, I grew up using lead, asbestos, creosote,
penta, x-ray machines in shoe stores, playing with mercury from
thermometers, and stuff like that; at the time people had no idea they
were all bad for you ... but the fact that they don't seem to have
hurt me yet doesn't mean they are totally safe, maybe if I hadn't had
those exposures I'd be charismatic, handsome, and have an IQ of 200 :)
I'd hope that you'd recognize that your (and my) knowledge is

Here's a few cites that might be relevant from the first 100 PubMed
hits (there are 550 more I didn't look at) for the phrase
"electromagnetic radiation", I don't have access to the full texts (or
read some of the languages) so outside of the abstract I don't know
how relevant they are. These all seem to indicate that there ARE
non-heat bioeffects from lowlevel microwave sources.

Mikrobiol Z. 2004 Sep-Oct;66(5):48-56, Protective action of
electromagnetic radiation (40.68 MHz) on Saccharomyces cerevisiae UCM
Y-517 [15W]

ScientificWorldJournal. 2004 Oct 20;4 Suppl 2:1-3. Tzaphlidou M, Somosy
Z. Biological effects of electromagnetic radiation-special issue.

Mikrobiol Z. 2004 Jul-Aug;66(4):69-77. Effect of radio-frequency of
electromagnetic radiation on yeast sensitivity to fungicide antibiotics.

Zhonghua Lao Dong Wei Sheng Zhi Ye Bing Za Zhi. 2004 Aug;22(4):267-9.
Yuan ZQ et al. Effect of low intensity and very high frequency
electromagnetic radiation on occupationally exposed personnel. [170MHz]

Lik Sprava. 2004 Mar;(2):30-5. Effect of low intensity helium-neon laser
and decimeter electromagnetic irradiation on functional indices of
immune cells in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. [1GHz = 3 dm]

Zh Vyssh Nerv Deiat Im I P Pavlova. 2003 Nov-Dec;53(6):775-80. Sheiman
IM et al. Effect of weak electromagnetic radiation on learning in the
grain beetle Tenebrio monitor. [36GHz, 100 uW/cm2]

Radiats Biol Radioecol. 2003 Sep-Oct;43(5):552-4. Malinina IuA et al.
The influence of electromagnetic radiation of industrial frequency on
Daphnia magna (Straus).

Dermatology. 2003;207(1):10-4. Monfrecola G et al. Non-ionizing
electromagnetic radiations, emitted by a cellular phone, modify
cutaneous blood flow.

Biofizika. 2003 May-Jun;48(3):511-20. Effect of low intensity of
electromagnetic radiation in the centimeter and millimeter range on
proliferative and cytotoxic activity of murine spleen lymphocytes.
[8-18GHz 1uW/cm2]

Bioresour Technol. 2003 Apr;87(2):155-9. Banik S et al. Bioeffects of
microwave -- a brief review. [Review notes "nonthermal effects of
microwaves on tissue responses are being documented"]

Wei Sheng Yan Jiu. 2000 Mar 30;29(2):102-3. Cao Z et al. Effects of
electromagnetic radiation from handsets of cellular telephone on
neurobehavioral function. [Reaction time increases with increased
cellphone use.]

J Cutan Pathol. 2003 Feb;30(2):135-8. Irmak MK et al. Effects of
electromagnetic radiation from a cellular telephone on epidermal Merkel
cells. ["Exposure led to significantly higher exocytotic activity in
Merkel cells"]

Bioelectromagnetics. 2003 Feb;24(2):82-90. Mashevich M et al. Exposure
of human peripheral blood lymphocytes to electromagnetic fields
associated with cellular phones leads to chromosomal instability.

Wei Sheng Yan Jiu. 2000 Nov;29(6):366-8. Cao Z et al. Effects of
electromagnetic radiation from cellular telephone handsets on symptoms
of neurasthenia.

Int J Radiat Biol. 2002 Oct;78(10):937-44. Lass J et al. Effects of 7
Hz-modulated 450 MHz electromagnetic radiation on human performance in
visual memory tasks. [0.158 mW/cm2]

Radiats Biol Radioecol. 2002 Sep-Oct;42(5):546-50. The effect of
microwaves on the bioelectric brain activity

Med Hypotheses. 2002 Dec;59(6):703-5. Weinberger Z et al. Cellular
telephones and effects on the brain: the head as an antenna and brain
tissue as a radio receiver.

> There also doesn't seem to be any dispute that a fraction of a watt
> isn't nearly enough power to cause any problems of that sort.

I qsay "effects" and you demand that I show they are "problems". There
doesn't seem to be any dispute that there are "effects". Problems, I
don't know. If I was able to *prove* problems, I'd have a grant and a
staff and a nice office, wouldn't I?

> There is ZERO evidence that cellphones *are* dangerous.

Obviously, if people who used cellphones were dropping like flies,
we'd all agree they were dangerous. The fact that they are not
dropping like flies does not mean they are safe. There is evidence
that they have various biologic effects. You are the one who is
saying there is no harm whatsoever from those (or other) effects, that
if they're not clearly dangerous they must be safe. That's the part I
disagree with.



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