Note the difference
in positions between IARC and WHO. Suggested to take Dr.
Baan's letter to decision makers today.
From: Robert Baan
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2011 09:47:10
Cc: COM (c...@iarc.fr)<c...@iarc.fr>
Subject: EMF Class 2B Classification
Dear Dr Hudson,
Thank you for your message, which was forwarded to me, and to which I would like to respond as follows.
The IARC Working Group classified "Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields" (RF-EMF) as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).
The information that formed the main basis for this evaluation was found in epidemiological studies on cell-phone use, where a slightly increased risk for glioma (a malignant form of brain cancer) and acoustic neuroma (a non-cancerous type) was reported among heavy users.
There were some indications of increased cancer among radar-maintenance workers (occupational exposure), but no reliable data from studies among, e.g., people living close to base-station antennas, radio/TV towers, etc (environmental exposure).
Although the key information came from mobile telephone use, the Working Group considered that the three types of exposure entail basically the same type of radiation, and decided to make an overall evaluation on RF-EMF, covering the whole radiofrequency region of the electromagnetic spectrum.
In support of this, information from studies with experimental animals showed that effects on cancer incidence and cancer latency were seen with exposures to different frequencies within the RF region.
So the classification 2B, possibly carcinogenic, holds for all types of radiation within the radiofrequency part of the electromagnetic spectrum, including the radiation emitted by base-station antennas, radio/TV towers, radar, Wi-Fi, smart meters, etc.
An important point is the radiation level. The exposure from cellular phones (personal exposure) is substantially higher and much more focused (usually on the brain) than exposures from radio/tv towers, antennas, or Wi-Fi.
I hope this is useful.
Thank you for your interest in our work.
Robert A Baan PhD
The IARC Monographs
IARC, Lyon, FRANCE
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2011 3:31 AM
To: Ellen Marks
Cc: Van Deventer, Tahera Emilie; Osseiran, Nada A.L.
Subject: FW: Please clarify confusion
Dear Ms. Marks,
Your email below regarding WHO's position on health effects from mobile phone use was forwarded to me for reply. A WHO fact sheet entitled "Electromagnetic fields and public health: mobile phones" (N°193) was re-issued in June 2011 to incorporate the new classification of IARC of radiofrequency fields as possible carcinogen (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs193/en/index.html).
The Fact sheet states that "To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use", summarizing the current scientific knowledge. IARC classified RF fields from mobile phones as "possibly" carcinogenic (Class 2B). The evidence for an association between radiofrequency fields and adverse health effects was "evaluated as being limited among users of wireless telephones for glioma and acoustic neuroma, and inadequate to draw conclusions for other types of cancers. The evidence from the occupational and environmental exposures mentioned above was similarly judged inadequate" (http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf).
If carcinogenic effects had been established, RF fields would have been classified as "carcinogenic to humans" (Class 1). For further information on the IARC classification, please see http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Preamble/index.php.
I hope this clarifies your understanding.
Dr. E van Deventer
Dr. T E van Deventer | Team Leader | Radiation Programme | Department of Public Health and Environment | World Health Organization | Tel: + 41 22 791 3950 | Email:vandev...@who.int |
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