08 February 2011

Cellphone radiation 'affects unborn babies'

An international panel of scientists has issued a warning that exposure to wireless devices may harm the development of children at levels now commonly found in the environment.

Scientists who study electromagnetic radiation from wireless technologies have issued a statement warning that exposure may be harming the development of children at levels now commonly found in the environment. Pregnant women are cautioned to avoid using wireless devices such as cellphones and cordless phones and to distance themselves from other users.

The Seletun Scientific Statement, written by seven scientists in five countries, recommends that lower limits be established for electromagnetic fields and wireless exposures, based on scientific studies reporting health
impacts at much lower exposure levels.

“Current US and ICNIRP standards [International Council on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection] for radiofrequency and microwave radiation from wireless technologies are entirely inadequate," warns Prof Olle Johansson, chairman of the scientific panel and researcher at Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology. "They never were intended to address the kind of exposures from wireless devices that now affect over 4 billion people."

Billions of people at risk

The panel warns that the combined effect of cell phones, cordless phones, cell towers, WI-FI and wireless internet is placing billions of people around the world at risk for cancer, neurological disease and reproductive and developmental impairments.

"We are already seeing increases in health problems such as cancer and neurobehavioural impairments, even though these wireless technologies are fairly new in the last decades or so for the general public. This finding suggests that the exposures are already too high to protect people from health harm. Evidence suggests there are special risks for persons with occupational exposures."

Baby monitors

Current safety standards ignore the developing foetus, and young children who are more affected. The scientific panel urges a halt to the rollout of new wireless technologies, especially those that cause exposures for pregnant women and for children.

"Pregnant women and children of all ages should avoid using cell and cordless phones given the health effects we are seeing already. WI-FI routers and other wireless devices like baby monitors also produce radio frequency emissions that will affect millions of people and babies in their homes, and should be halted until other, less harmful options are investigated,” the panel recommends.

The scientific panel consists of Prof Olle Johansson, of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm; Prof Yuri Grigoriev, of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection; Lloyd Morgan, of California's Bioelectromagnetics Society; Prof Elihu Richter, of Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem; Dr Adamantia Fragopoulou and Prof Lukas Margaritas of the University of Athens; and Cindy Sage, co-editor of the Bioinitiative Report.

(Sources:;; Karolinska Institute press release)

- (Birgit Ottermann, Health24, 8 February 2011)

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