Tuesday, September 18, 2012

More evidence for safety of mobile phone radiation

One of the most prominent scientific topics that is currently being discussed in the public domain, is the question whether electromagnetic radiation coming from mobile phones and cell towers is damaging our health. There have been suggestions that such radiation can cause tumours, but this has never been demonstrated in properly conducted studies. Now, a committee appointed by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health reaffirmed that there are no health risks to be found when it comes to the use of mobile phones or proximity to cell towers.

Electromagnetic fields
The committee conducted an extensive study to analyse the health risks associated with electromagnetic fields that are generated by cell towers, mobile phones and other telecom equipment. In addition to investigating health issues, the Norwegians also assessed whether telecom equipment such as cell towers were observing the legal thresholds with respect to maximal broadcasting power. Legally attainable values are already known to be 50 times lower than the minimal required radiation levels needed to heat up human tissue.

Measurements showed that the electromagnetic fields in Norway were well below the legal threshold. Despite this, there are concerns that low-power electromagnetic fields can also cause health issues, but the committee did not find an association with proximity to electromagnetic fields and increased incidence of cancer, male infertility or other diseases. This is in line with other large studies that failed to show an association with electromagnetic radiation and negative health outcomes.

Despite the results, the Norwegian committee advices 'general caution'. As with many health issues, it is hard to rule out all effects, but so far there is a large pile of evidence that points to radiation being quite harmless. That is, as long as the radiation levels stay within the legally allowed limits, of course. A mouse study did find a possible association with radiation and pregnancy issues. However, it is questionable whether these findings can be reproduced in humans, as the test setup does not resemble a real life situation.