Sunday, April 20, 2014
WHO overall health risk assessment of mobile phone technologies underway, Brought to you by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association
The World Health Organization’s overall risk assessment of all health outcomes for mobile communication technologies has started and is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
Following the classification of Radio Frequency (RF) fields as category 2B possibly carcinogenic by the WHO cancer body, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in June 2011, the next stage of review is an overall risk assessment covering all health outcomes – not just cancer.
WHO Radiation Programme Team Leader, Dr Emilie van Deventer announced they have started drafting the Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) review or ‘monograph’ on RF Fields used by mobile communication technologies and outlined the process to produce the monograph and the expected timings of each stage in a conference presentation last year.
She said the WHO have started the process to produce a first draft of the monograph which would then be distributed to 400 experts around the world for review before a second draft is produced.
The second draft will then be discussed at a Task Group Meeting which is expected to be held in late 2013.
However, due to the “extensive science and language editing required the monograph will not be ready – if all goes well – until the end of 2014,” Dr van Deventer said.
Environmental Health Criteria reviews are critical risk assessments of the effects of chemicals and physical and biological agents on human health and the environment.
On June 18, 2007 the WHO published its EHC review on extremely low frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields (EMF) produced by power lines.
The main conclusion of the health risk assessment was that studies published since the IARC’s 2001 evaluation of the carcinogenicity of EMF do not provide evidence to change IARC’s classification of ELF magnetic fields as a possible human carcinogen.
Based on the limited evidence for a link between exposure to ELF magnetic fields and childhood leukaemia, it recommended precautionary measures to reduce exposure that are of no or low cost and do not compromise the health, social, and economic benefits of electricity.
The monograph recommended precautionary measures include implementation of very-low-cost measures in the design and engineering of new facilities and equipment; inclusion of safety, reliability, and economic aspects when considering reduction of ELF fields from existing sources; and better planning for facilities that are possible sources of ELF EMF exposure, including stakeholder involvement to discuss siting of major facilities.