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EMF Studies

07 May 2016

We Expect No Increase in All Brain Cancers YET

This comment by Dr. Devra Davis is in reply to the new study, led by Simon Chapman, emeritus professor of public health at the University of Sydney, which examined the records of 19,858 men and 14,222 women diagnosed with brain cancer in Australia between 1982-2012, and compared it to national mobile phone usage data from 1987-2012.  The study concluded, an "observed stability of brain cancer incidence in Australia between 1982 and 2012 in all age groups except in those over 70 years compared to increasing modelled expected estimates, suggesting that the observed increases in brain cancer incidence in the older age group are unlikely to be related to mobile phone use. Rather, we hypothesize that the observed increases in brain cancer incidence in Australia are related to the advent of improved diagnostic procedures when computed tomography and related imaging technologies were introduced in the early 1980s." (View abstract here).

"As public health experts who have documented the dangers of smoking, both active and passive, and tracked the growing experimental and epidemiological literature on the dangers of cell phone radiation to reproductive and brain health, we appreciate that the need for precaution must be exercised judiciously. In our considered judgment, based on more than 100 years of professional experience in this field, it is our concerted view that precaution is appropriate at this time to reduce and control exposures to cell phones and other wireless radiation devices, especially to infants, toddlers and young children."


We expect no increase in all brain cancers YET

by Dr. Devra Davis, 6 May 2016, posted on her Facebook page

Several widely circulated opinion pieces assert that because there is no detectible increase in all brain cancers in Australia in the past three decades cell phones do not have any impact on the disease. There are three basic reasons why this conclusion is wrong.



First of all there are more than 200 different types of brain cancer most of which are understood to have a relatively long latency by all serious researchers on the topic. In fact, gliomas are the type of brain cancer tied with cell phone use and constitute about 30% of all brain cancers. These cell-phone related cancers are increased in Australia and in the U.S. in precisely those parts of the brain that absorb most of the microwave radiation emitted or received by phones.

Secondly, proportionally few Australians were heavy users of cell phones thirty years ago. In 1990 just 1 out of every 100 Australians owned a phone and calls were short and relatively costly. Only in the last few years have phones become ubiquitous, with the heaviest use occurring in relatively young users.

Finally, the lag between when an exposure takes place and evidence of a disease occurs depends on two factors: how many people were in fact exposed and how extensive their exposure has been. While cell phones have been around since the 1990s, they have only lately become essential components of modern life

Consider what we know happened with tobacco smoking, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The rate of smoking reached close to 70% in U.S. males in the late 1950s, while the rate of lung cancer did not peak until the late-1990s. Thus, a lag of nearly 4 decades took place between an exposure that was shared by most of the population and increase in a related disease, as can be seen by this graph from the CDC.

Peak cigarette smoking occurred in the late 1950s, while peak lung cancer rates did not occur until the late 1990s—a lag of forty years for an exposure that once affected 70% of U.S. males. The link between the carcinogenic effects of tobacco and cancer did not come about from studying population trends, but by special study of high risk groups using case-control designs of selected cases and comparing their histories with those of persons who were otherwise similar but did not smoke. The fact that population-based trends in Australia do not yet show an increase in brain cancer dose not mean it will not be detectable in the future, perhaps soon.

In point of fact, several studies from Australia and the U.S. do find increased rates of gliomas-- the same type of brain cancer established to be caused by cell phones in those who have been the heaviest users of cell phones for a decade or longer. A paper from noted neurosurgeons Vini Khurana and colleagues examined reports from centers in New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), with a combined population of >7 million and reported that from 2000-2008 there was an annual increase of 2.5 % each year, with an even greater increase occurring in the last three years of the study, that is after 2006.

Another study by Zada and colleagues also found significant increases in tumors reported to be increased with regular cell phone use—gliomas. Industry modeling studies have established that three parts of the brain absorb radiation from cell phones—the cerebellum and the frontal and temporal lobes. Paralleling this result, the California Cancer Registry which covers 36 million people also reported significantly increased risks of gliomas in precisely those regions of the brain that absorb the greatest amounts of radiation. Recent studies from China as well as those from the U.S. Director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Nora Volkow, reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association have also found increased metabolic activity in these same components of the brain after thirty minutes of exposure to cell phone radiation.

Only a generation ago, the hazards of ionising radiation were unrecognized. It was common to find X-ray machines freely available in shoe stores so that you could see how new shoes fit relative to the skeletal bones of your feet. Teens were treated for the disease of acne with radiation to their faces, and those treated with X-rays for ringworm, later incurred increased thyroid and other cancers. Pelvic X-rays of pregnant mothers were routine until the 1970s when leukemia risks were established in children who had been exposed prenatally decades earlier. Today those who worked as radiographers and radiologists years ago and now understood to have increased rates of a number of types of cancer. In every one of the preceding instances, the hazards were not recognized by population-based data, but by special studies that compared detailed information on exposures that took place in those with diseases in contrast to those without them.

The lack of an increase in all brain cancers in the general population of Australia or any other modern country is to be expected in light of what is known about this complex of more than 200 different diseases. Increases in glioma remain gravely worrisome as this is the tumor type that we expect to see grow if in deed cell phones and wireless radiation are playing an important role.

As public health experts who have documented the dangers of smoking, both active and passive, and tracked the growing experimental and epidemiological literature on the dangers of cell phone radiation to reproductive and brain health, we appreciate that the need for precaution must be exercised judiciously. In our considered judgment, based on more than 100 years of professional experience in this field, it is our concerted view that precaution is appropriate at this time to reduce and control exposures to cell phones and other wireless radiation devices, especially to infants, toddlers and young children.

https://www.facebook.com/devra.davis?fref=ts

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