Portlanders React to New Stance on Cell Phone Use

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City residents opposed to having cell phone poles installed in residential areas hope the new position by the World Health Organization will help their cause

By: Amanda Waldroupe
July 27, 2011–Portland residents opposing the installation of cell towers in their neighborhoods think the World Health Organization’s recent announcement that cell phone use and cell towers can cause brain cancer will help their advocacy efforts.
“We’re of course encouraged,” said Anne Trudeau, one of the founders of RespectPDX, a grassroots coalition of Portland residents opposed to cell pole construction. “It corroborates what many people in the community have been saying.”

The World Health Organization (WHO), the branch of the United Nations dealing with public health, announced in May that increased cell phone use and the radiation emitted by cell phones may be possibly carcinogenic and increase the risk of brain cancer. By 2012, WHO will conduct a formal risk assessment of all studied health effects from such exposure.

Previously its position was that there was no conclusive evidence showing wireless devices cause adverse health effects. Many other organizations, including the National Cancer Institute, found that people using cell phones were at no higher risk of having brain, head or neck tumors.

Numerous Portlanders and neighborhood associations oppose the construction of poles with “wireless facilities,” the equipment and antennas needed to transmit cell phone signals, in their neighborhoods for health and livability reasons.
Wireless signals are sent by radiofrequencies, which emit non-ionizing radiation, a low form of radiation. Trudeau and others think the radiation can cause headaches, anxiety, insomnia and, potentially, cancer.

Residents have forcefully opposed pole construction for the last two years. The Irvington neighborhood used its status as a historic district to stop a pole from being installed on NE 22nd and NE Stanton. The Beaumont-Wilshire, Woodstock, and Eastmoreland neighborhoods have also strenuously opposed the poles.

But aside from advocacy, they’ve been unable to do much. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 prevents local and state governments from citing health and environmental factors in the placement of cell phone towers, transmitters and other wireless devices.

In 2009, Portland passed a resolution pushed by City Commissioner Amanda Fritz asking the federal government to refresh its studies on the health effects of wireless facilities. Such studies haven’t been updated since the mid-1990s.
“Congress has done nothing about it,” Fritz said.
Fritz said the city of Portland could sue the federal government or individual wireless companies, but she thinks that’s futile. “I’m not going to waste the city’s money on something we know we’re going to lose.”

Senate Bill 679, introduced in the Legislature by Sen. Chip Shields (D-Portland), would have required a warning label, including information about possible health and biological effects, be put on cell phones. The bill, which came under attack from the telecommunications lobby and the Portland Business Alliance, died.

Trudeau says RespectPDX is now focusing its efforts on strengthening Portland’s ordinance and ensuring that cell poles aren’t built in residential areas. But until the Telecommunications Act is changed to allow health concerns to inform construction decisions, Trudeau thinks “it doesn’t have that much effect.”
“Eventually, federal, state and local laws and ordinances will be pressured to ‘come around’ and let the health impact issues drive, at least in part, our policies about placement,” believes Susan Prows, an Irvington resident. “The WHO stance will help us eventually reach a tipping point on this, I hope.”

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Fear Over First Mobile Phone Link To Cancer

Mobile Phone Radiation, Mobile Phone Radiation Protection

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8/19/2011
by BEEZY MARSH, Daily Mail

Mobile phones are at the centre of new safety fears after scientists found the first evidence of a link with brain cancer.
Users who spend more than an hour a day talking on a cell phone are almost a third more at risk of developing a rare form of brain tumour, a study has found.

The cancers were found most frequently on the side of the head to which the phone was held.
Scientists found the cancer link with digital mobiles, old- style analogue mobiles and digitalenhanced cordless phones.
The findings, published in the International Journal of Oncology, will renew health concerns among Britain’s 47million mobile users.
One expert said yesterday that another large-scale study would be needed to confirm the apparent link.
Radiation from mobile phones has been shown to alter the workings of brain cells and affect memory.

But the biggest British study three years ago, led by the Government’s former chief scientific adviser Sir William Stewart, found that there was no evidence of a risk to human health.
A report by the American National Cancer Institute in 2001 also failed to find a link between mobile phone use and brain cancer.
The latest findings are the first to show a link between the instruments and disease in humans.
In the study, lead researcher Professor Kjell Mild examined the medical records of 1,600 tumour victims who had been using mobile phones for up to ten years before diagnosis.
Professor Mild, a biophysicist at Orebro University in Sweden, said the evidence was clear: ‘The more you use phones and the greater number of years you have them, the greater the risk of brain tumours.’
Scientists compared tumour sufferers with a control group who led similar lives but did not use mobile phones.
They also compared sufferers with tumour victims who did not use mobile phones.
The study found that spending more than an hour a day on the phone increased the risk of a type of tumour known as acoustic neuroma by 30 per cent.
Such tumours occur in one of the nerves in the brain and can lead to deafness in one ear.
They are usually curable by surgery.
Although the cancer is rare, experts say numbers have increased from one tumour per 100,000 people in 1980 to about one per 80,000 today.
Dr Richard Sullivan, head of clinical programmes at Cancer Research UK, said: ‘These latest findings appear to show a link and that warrants further investigation.
‘We would need to see a large-scale study replicating these results before we could say whether they are significant.
‘Certainly the study appears to be robust.’

The National Radiological Protection Board said in a statement that it considers mobile phones safe in relation to cancer.
‘Radio waves do not have sufficient energy to damage genetic material in cells directly and therefore cannot cause cancer.’

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