Canada Says Talc May be ‘Harmful to Human Health’

The government of Canada is considering measures that would prohibit or restrict the use of talc in some products. After reviewing the latest science and producing a draft screening assessment, the government “proposes that inhaling loose talc powders and using certain products containing talc in the female genital area may be harmful to human health.”

The announcement was made Wednesday on the Health Canada website.

The draft screening assessment will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, and will be open for public comment for 60 days, until February 6, 2019. The Risk Management Scope , which outlines the possible measures to manage the risks identified in the draft screening assessment, will also be open for public comment for the same 60-day period.

The final screening assessment and risk management approach will take into consideration any comments and new evidence received during the consultation period, the announcement notes.

No action, such as warning labels or a ban, will be taken until this final assessment is published, according to news reports.

The document notes that the draft assessment did not identify human health risks of concern from oral exposures, including talc in food and drugs; dermal exposures such as the application of talc-containing products to skin; or inhalational exposures from dry hair shampoo or pressed powder products, such as cosmetics like eye shadow and blush.

However, the assessment did identify two exposure scenarios of potential concern to human health.

One was inhalation of fine particles of talc during the use of loose powder, self-care products (eg, body powder, baby powder, face powder, foot powder), potentially resulting in damage to the lungs.

The other scenario of concern was exposure of the female perineal area, which includes the genitals, to self-care products containing talc (eg, body powder, baby powder, diaper and rash creams, genital antiperspirants and deodorants, body wipes, bath bombs), as this type of exposure has been associated with ovarian cancer in studies of the human population, the document notes.

Move Comes Amid Great Controversy, US Lawsuits

The move from Canada comes amid a growing controversy, as well as fiercely fought court battles in the United States, over whether use of talc in the female genital area contributes to ovarian cancer.

The controversy is over whether talc itself is a carcinogen, and the issue is complicated because talc is sometimes contaminated with asbestos (the two sometimes occur naturally together).

The scientific community has not reached a consensus.

A recent review appearing in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention ( Eur J Cancer Prev. 2008;17:139–146.) concludes that “data collectively do not indicate that cosmetic talc causes ovarian cancer.” The heterogeneity in the perineal dusting studies has raised important concerns over the validity of the exposure measurements, and the lack of a consistent dose–response effect limits making causal inferences. Perhaps more importantly, it is unknown whether external talc dust enters the female reproductive tract, and measures of internal talc exposure such as talc-dusted diaphragms and latex condoms show no relationship with ovarian cancer risk. Talc is not genotoxic, and mechanistic, pathology and animal model studies have not found evidence for a carcinogenic effect, the journal adds.

However, a recent review in Epidemiology ( Epidemiology. 2018;29:41–49 ), concluded that “in general, there is a consistent association between perineal talc use and ovarian cancer.” This was based on a meta-analysis of observational studies that included at least 50 cases of ovarian cancer, and looked at 24 case–control studies (13,421 cases) and three cohort studies (890 cases, 181,860 person-years).

In the US, thousands of lawsuits have been filed by individuals, or the families of deceased individuals, alleging that ovarian cancer was caused by the use of talc products such as Baby Powder and Shower-to Shower manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. The company is reported to be facing more than 10,000 plaintiffs.

Many of the lawsuits that have already taken place have found for the plaintiffs, but not all.

For example, a jury in Missouri ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million in damages to the family of Jacqueline Fox, who died from ovarian cancer. However, in two cases juries on appeal overturned multimillion dollar awards: Gloria Ristesund of South Dakota was originally awarded $55 million in 2016, but in June the verdict was overturned. In August 2017, a jury in Los Angeles awarded $417 million to Eva Echeverria, but that verdict was overturned 2 months later.

A lawsuit in October 2018 involving a New Jersey woman cleared Johnson & Johnson of liability in a case of mesothelioma and the company’s baby powder product.

In one of the most recent cases, Johnson & Johnson was ordered in July to pay $4.7 billion to 22 women and their families, who claimed that asbestos in the company’s talc products led them to develop ovarian cancer.  The company said the verdict was ‘fundamentally unfair’ and says that its talc products do not contain asbestos.

Talc–Asbestos Connection Explained 

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral, mined from the earth, composed of magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen, explains the Food and Drug Administration. It also notes that asbestos, another naturally occurring silicate mineral, may be found in close proximity in the earth, and so mining sites should be selected carefully. “Unlike talc, however, asbestos is a known carcinogen,” the agency notes.

The FDA says that “it continues to investigate and monitor reports of asbestos contamination in certain cosmetic products,” and notes that talc is used in many cosmetic products, including baby powder and makeup such as powder blush and eye shadow.

The American Cancer Society explains that asbestos does sometimes occur naturally in talc, but guidelines issued in the US in 1976 called for the removal of asbestos from commercial talc products.

However, many consumer groups note that this is an area that is not officially regulated, and report that makeup products sold in the United States that have been found to contain asbestos/talc. Consumer groups also point out that talc in cosmetics has been removed by the European Union, but is still allowed in the United States.

The American Cancer Society also emphasizes that it is important to distinguish between the two. Talc that contains asbestos is generally accepted as being able to cause cancer if it is inhaled. However, the evidence about asbestos-free talc is less clear, it notes.

It also cites the conclusions made by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The IARC classifies talc that contains asbestos as “carcinogenic to humans.”

Based on the lack of data from human studies and on limited data in lab animal studies, IARC classifies inhaled talc not containing asbestos as “not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans.”

As there is limited evidence from human studies showing a link to ovarian cancer, IARC classifies the perineal (genital) use of talc-based body powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

The US National Cancer Institute says that the “the weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer. ”

Side Effects of Long-Term Pesticide Exposure

Long-term exposure to pesticides has been linked to infertility, birth defects,1,2endocrine disruption, neurological disorders and cancer, so it’s a common-sense conclusion that fewer pesticides in our food supply would result in improved health among the general population.

In fact, one of the strongest selling points for eating organic food is that it can significantly lower your exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals used in conventional agriculture, and this measure in and of itself may help protect your long-term health and/or improve any health conditions you may have.

Since organic standards prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides, organic foods are, as a rule, less contaminated, and studies have confirmed that those who eat a primarily organic diet have fewer toxins in their system.

Sadly, the chemical technology industry wields great power — so great that our government has largely turned a blind eye to the obvious, which is that too many toxic chemicals, in too great amounts, are being allowed in the growing of food. As noted in the featured film, “From DDT to Glyphosate:”

“Just as was the case in the 1950s with DDT and tobacco, we are on the brink of disastrous damage to health worldwide. This short film begins to explain why, and what we can do.”

Help Educate Those You Love

“From DDT to Glyphosate” is just half an hour long, yet it’s an excellent introduction to the dangers of pesticides.

Sadly, many are still unaware of just how many pesticides they’re exposed to on a daily basis via their food, so I urge you to help educate those you love by sharing this short film with your social networks.

The ‘Silent Spring’ Continues

In 1962, American biologist Rachel Carson wrote the groundbreaking book “Silent Spring,” in which she warned of the devastating environmental impacts of DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane), suggesting the chemical may also have harmful effects on human health.

She rightfully questioned the logic and sanity of using such vast amounts of a chemical without knowing much about its ecological and human health impact.

Her book triggered a revolution in thinking that gave birth to the modern environmental movement, and the public outcry that resulted from her book eventually led to DDT being banned for agricultural use in the U.S. in 1972.

Unfortunately, DDT was simply replaced with other equally unsafe and untested chemicals. Today, we’re also exposed to even vaster amounts of pesticides, and a wider variety of them, which is why it’s so important to share this film with as many people as possible.

Consider this: the very same companies that developed chemical warfare weapons during World War II simply transitioned into agriculture after the war, and many of the same warfare chemicals are now sprayed on our food.

The notion that these chemicals are good for humans, the environment and the business of agriculture is a fabricated one.

Genetic Engineering Fuels the Chemical Agriculture Engine

As noted in the film, 80 percent of genetically engineered (GE) crops are designed to withstand herbicide application; most often glyphosate-based herbicides, such as Monsanto’s Roundup. As a result, we’re ingesting far greater quantities of pesticides than ever before.

The question is, where’s the breaking point? There’s reason to believe we may have crossed the threshold already. Health statistics suggest the average toxic burden has become too great for children and adults alike, and toxins in our food appear to play a primary role.

According to Dr. Joseph E. Pizzorno,3 founding president of Bastyr University, the first fully accredited multidisciplinary university of natural medicine and the first National Institutes of Health-funded center for alternative medicine research, toxins in the modern food supply are now “a major contributor to, and in some cases the cause of, virtually all chronic diseases.”

A recent report4,5 by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics6(FIGO), which represents OB-GYNs in 125 countries, warns that chemical exposures, including pesticides, now represent a major threat to human health and reproduction.

Pesticides are also included in a new scientific statement on endocrine-disrupting chemicals by the Endocrine Society Task Force.7,8

This task force warns that the health effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals is such that everyone needs to take proactive steps to avoid them — especially those seeking to get pregnant, pregnant women and young children.

Even extremely low-level pesticide exposure has been found to considerably increase the risk of certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease. According to Michael Antoniou, Ph.D., a British geneticist interviewed in the film, “as a cocktail, I believe [pesticides] has converted our food supply into a slow poison.”

Rise in Chronic Disease Parallels Increased Glyphosate Use

The film shows how increases in global glyphosate use closely parallel increases in infertility, thyroid disorders, diabetes, liver and kidney disease, stroke and many other chronic diseases. Alas, the U.S. government does not acknowledge such a connection.

As noted by Claire Robinson, managing editor of GMWatch and author of the excellent book “GMO Myths and Truths,” while we do have a regulatory system, that system is grossly inadequate, as it doesn’t evaluate all the possible health and environmental effects of any given chemical.

The chemical industry also has a very strong lobby, and revolving doors between industry and the regulatory agencies in the U.S. have allowed for industry to largely dictate its own rules. Robinson also correctly notes that it is in fact chemical companies that are producing GE seeds.

This is an important point to remember. They’re not true agricultural firms. They’re chemical companies that have simply found another way to boost sales, and to believe they’re doing it out of altruism would be naïve.

Studies Show Even Ultra-Low Doses of Roundup Cause Harm

Antoniou has conducted tests revealing that ultra-low doses of Roundup administered to rats in drinking water produce liver and kidney damage over the long term. And these doses are thousands of times lower than what regulators say is completely safe for consumption.

Another recent study found Roundup adversely affects the development of female rats’ uteruses, increasing the risk for both infertility and uterine cancer. As reported by The Ecologist:9

“Doctors and scientists have noted high rates of miscarriage — sometimes called ‘spontaneous abortion’ — in women living in regions of Argentina where GM Roundup Ready soy is grown and sprayed with glyphosate herbicides. The new study may shed light on this phenomenon.

The dose of herbicide found to disrupt uterine development in the rats was 2 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight per day, based on the U.S. ‘reference dose’ of pure glyphosate that regulators deem safe to consume every day of our lives for a lifetime.”

So why is no action taken to protect human health? It really boils down to the fact that without Roundup and other pesticides, the GE seed business would collapse and chemical technology companies, with their vast resources and revolving doors into government regulatory agencies, have managed to deceive everyone into thinking there’s no problem.

Pesticide Use Is Increasing Worldwide

Worldwide, an estimated 7.7 billion pounds (about 3.5 billion kilograms) of pesticides are applied to crops each year, and that number is steadily increasing as developed nations are steadily transitioning over to chemical-based agriculture in a misguided and misinformed effort to increase yield and lower cost.10

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), Bangladesh and Thailand have quadrupled their pesticide use since the early 1990s. Ghana, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso have increased use by 1,000 percent, and Argentina’s use has risen 815 percent.11,12

The U.S. is still leading the charge when it comes to pesticide use, followed by Brazil, which is a top exporter of soybeans, corn and cotton. More than one-third of the 260 million gallons of pesticides used in Brazil each year is applied to soybeans. Cotton and citrus receive the greatest amounts, however.

But boosting yields with chemicals come at a cost. According to a 2012 analysis of FAO data, each 1 percent increase in crop yield is associated with a 1.8 percent increase in pesticide use.

Logic tells us this is an unsustainable trajectory when you consider the health ramifications associated with pesticide exposure and the environmental effects, which include destruction of soil and non-target plant life, pollution of waterways and the decimation of crucial pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Common Side Effects of Agricultural Chemicals

Depending on the specific chemical being used, agricultural chemicals are typically associated with their own specific side effects:

  • Insecticides primarily produce neurological symptoms, such as headaches
  • Fungicides tend to produce skin-related symptoms
  • Herbicides are associated with digestive and skin problems

Glyphosate, which is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, was reclassified as a Class 2A “probable carcinogen” just last year by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization (WHO).

While the IARC stopped short of a stronger cancer classification for glyphosate, there’s ample evidence showing it is quite “definitely” carcinogenic.13 A research scientist and consultant who investigates agricultural chemicals in the food supply, Anthony Samsel, Ph.D., even claims to have uncovered evidence showing Monsanto has known glyphosate promotes cancer since 1981.

Glyphosate is most heavily applied on GE corn, soybeans and sugar beets, but it’s also commonly used to desiccate conventional (non-GMO but non-organic) wheat and protect other conventional crops from weeds. Disturbingly, glyphosate and Roundup may actually be even worse than DDT, having been linked to an ever-growing array of health effects, including the following:14,15

Nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, as glyphosate immobilizes certain nutrients and alters the nutritional composition of the treated crop Disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids (these are essential amino acids not produced in your body that must be supplied via your diet)
Increased toxin exposure (this includes high levels of glyphosate and formaldehyde in the food itself) Impairment of sulfate transport and sulfur metabolism; sulfate deficiency
Systemic toxicity — a side effect of extreme disruption of microbial function throughout your body; beneficial microbes in particular, allowing for overgrowth of pathogens Gut dysbiosis (imbalances in gut bacteria, inflammation, leaky gut and food allergies such as gluten intolerance)
Enhancement of damaging effects of other foodborne chemical residues and environmental toxins as a result of glyphosate shutting down the function of detoxifying enzymes Creation of ammonia (a byproduct created when certain microbes break down glyphosate), which can lead to brain inflammation associated with autism and Alzheimer’s disease
Increased antibiotic resistance Increased cancer risk.16,17,18,19 Since the IARC’s determination, agricultural personnel have begun suing Monsanto over past glyphosate exposure, claiming it played a role in their bone cancer and leukemia20,21

Buyer Beware: Glyphosate Limits in Food Are Likely Excessive

Some of the studies implicating glyphosate as a serious hazard to animals and humans go back many years, yet in July 2013, right in the midst of mounting questions about glyphosate’s safety, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) went ahead and raised the allowable limits of glyphosate in both food and feed crops.22,23

Allowable levels in oilseed crops such as flax, soybean and canola were doubled, from 20 parts per million (ppm) to 40 ppm — just 10 ppm below the level at which Roundup may cause cell death, according to research24 published in 2011.

Permissible glyphosate levels in many other foods were raised to 15 to 25 times from previous levels. Root and tuber vegetables, with the exception of sugar, got one of the largest boosts, with allowable residue limits being raised from 0.2 ppm to 6.0 ppm. The level for sweet potatoes was raised to 3 ppm.

It’s important to remember that the allowable levels of glyphosate have been significantly raised, because IF the U.S. government does implement glyphosate testing for food, as indicated by the EPA in April 2015,25 then assurances that levels are “within safe limits” may have little to no real value.

Also, while the dangers of glyphosate are becoming more widely recognized, many fail to realize that the Roundup formulation used on crops is even more toxic than glyphosate in isolation. Research reveals the surfactants in the formula synergistically increase glyphosate’s toxicity, even though these ingredients are considered “inert” and therefore of no major consequence.

Recent follow-up research26,27 by Gilles-Éric Séralini, Ph.D. — whose initial lifetime feeding study revealed massive tumor growth and early death — shows that long-term exposure to even ultra-low amounts of Roundup may cause tumors, along with liver and kidney damage in rats.

Can Food System Survive Without Pesticides?

Many have gotten so used to the idea that pesticides are a necessity they give little credence to the idea that chemicals are notactually needed. As reported by Ensia, a magazine showcasing solutions to the Earth’s biggest environmental challenges:28

“‘How much is too much?’ is a question with which Jules Pretty, a professor at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, is constantly grappling. What’s encouraging is the growing evidence that farmers can lower their dependence on pesticides while maintaining agricultural production, sometimes by employing techniques that date back thousands of years.29

Over the past 25 years, Pretty has been studying sustainable agriculture practices30 around the world. He has shown that there’s growing proof that integrated pest management (IPM) — a strategy that uses alternative, diversified and historic agronomic practices to control pests — can help reduce pesticide use in a variety of farming systems.

In 2015, Pretty and colleagues published a meta-analysis31 of 85 field sites in 24 countries in Asia and Africa that employed IPM techniques and reduced pesticide use while boosting crop yields. Some eliminated pesticides entirely by using techniques such as crop rotation and pheromone traps to capture pests, says Pretty.

‘Thirty percent of the crop systems were able to transition to zero pesticides,’ Pretty says. Not only that, but surprisingly, he says, ‘the innovations around sustainability are happening in the poorer countries: Bangladesh, India and countries in Africa. We really could be holding these up as beacons.'”

According to Pretty, a key strategy to lower dependence on pesticides is “farmer field schools,” which allow farmers to experiment with various techniques and see the results for themselves. This has already proven far more effective than trying to persuade or force farmers to alter their techniques.

Once they’ve seen the results with their own eyes, most are more than willing to implement pesticide-free methods, and to share their experience with others. He’s convinced that “if enough farmers in enough developing countries can become convinced of the benefits of sustainable farming practices like IPM, the world’s reliance on pesticides can be lowered,” Ensia writes.

Which Foods Are the Most Important to Buy Organic?

I encourage you to share “From DDT to Glyphosate” with everyone you know. Post it on Facebook, Twitter or share it via e-mail. It’s really crucial for everyone to understand that a large portion of our poor health is due to toxic exposures via food.

Everyone can be harmed by pesticides, but if you’re a woman of childbearing age or have young children, taking steps to reduce your exposure is especially important. Ideally, all of the food you and your family eat would be organic. That said, not everyone has access to a wide variety of organic produce, and it can sometimes be costlier than buying conventional.

One way to save some money while still lowering your pesticide exposure is to purchase certain organic items, and “settling” for others that are conventionally grown, based on how heavily each given crop is typically treated with pesticides.

Animal products, like meat, butter, milk and eggs are the most important to buy organic, since animal products tend to bioaccumulate toxins from their pesticide-laced feed, concentrating them to far higher concentrations than are typically present in vegetables.

Please bear this in mind, because if the new Roberts-Stabenow bill (S. 2609) for a national GMO labeling standard gets passed, meat, poultry and egg products will be exempt from any GMO disclosure requirements, even if the animals were fed GE feed and/or the product contains other GE ingredients, such as GE high-fructose corn syrup.

So you simply have to remember that in order to avoid GE ingredients and pesticides, you need to purchase organic, 100 percent grass-fed animal products.

Beyond animal foods, the pesticide load of different fruits and vegetables can vary greatly. Last year, Consumer Reports analyzed 12 years of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Pesticide Data Program to determine the risk categories (from very low to very high) for different types of produce.32

Because children are especially vulnerable to the effects of environmental chemicals, including pesticides, they based the risk assessment on a 3.5-year-old child. They recommend buying organic for any produce that came back in the medium or higher risk categories, which left the following foods as examples of those you should always try to buy organic, due to their elevated pesticide load.

Peaches Carrots
Strawberries Green beans
Sweet bell peppers Hot peppers
Tangerines Nectarines
Cranberries Sweet potatoes

Help Support Organics and the Battle Against GMOs

GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs, or genetically “engineered” (GE) foods, help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I’ve stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

The FDA cleared the way for GE (Genetically Engineered) Atlantic salmon to be farmed for human consumption. Thanks to added language in the federal spending bill, the product will require special labeling so at least consumers will have the ability to identify the GE salmon in stores. However, it’s imperative ALL GE foods be labeled, which is currently still being denied.

The FDA is threatening the existence of our food supply. We have to start taking action now. I urge you to share this article with friends and family. If we act together, we can make a difference and put an end to the absurdity. Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these corporate giants. So please, fight for your right to know what’s in your food and help support the GMO labeling movement by making a donation today.


California Tries to Cover Up Cellphone Hazards

cell phone dangers

Story at-a-glance

  • Cellphones are used by 91 percent of adults in the U.S., contributing to an overwhelming exposure to electromagnetic radiation as demonstrated in a new study
  • It required a lawsuit to release California’s Environmental Health Investigations’ recommendations for safe cellphone use, containing study summaries suggesting long-term use increases risk of brain cancer
  • Children are at greater risk of health damage since results of exposure to electromagnetic radiation may take upward of 15 years to appear, and children’s neurological syste

Cellphones have become commonplace. Users are able to call, text and use the Internet, all from the convenience of a piece of equipment that fits in a pocket. According to Pew Research Center, 91 percent of adults in the U.S. have one.1

Pew found the number of people embracing the use of cellphones have made this device the most quickly accepted consumer technology in history. The latest survey found those over 65, living in rural areas and women, are less likely to own a cellphone, although this pattern has not been evident in previous surveys.

Pew attributes the quick rise in popularity of the device to the development of smartphones. Unfortunately, this connection to technology places you in danger of disconnecting from what’s real and really important. Use and overuse may lead to addiction. The New York Times observes:2

“The near-universal access to digital technology, starting at ever younger ages, is transforming modern society in ways that can have negative effects on physical and mental health, neurological development and personal relationships, not to mention safety on our roads and sidewalks.

As your usage increases, so does your exposure to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation and, with it, your risk for developing cancer.

Although proponents claim the power emitted from cellphones is weak, the most plausible explanation for the health and biological impact is related to the erratic nature of the signal and its ability to interfere with DNA repair.

Study Links Cellphone Use to Increased Risk of Cancer

Previous studies have linked EMF radiation emitted from cellphones with triggering abnormal cell growth and cancer,3,4 but it is a recent study and a California lawsuit that has increased attention to this link. In the video above, Devra Davis, Ph.D., shares what is known about absorption of radiation by the brain from cellphone use.

The new research exposed rats to radiofrequency radiation from cellphones for approximately nine hours each day, after which the rats were more likely to develop tumors of glial cells in the brain and tumors in the heart.5

Opponents believe there may be some difficulty generalizing the results to human cellphone use for several reasons.

Some research using animal models are poorly designed and opponents have difficulty believing animal experiments may be extrapolated to human results.6However, without purposefully exposing humans to toxins and radiation, animals are the first models used.

In May 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared cell phones a Group 2B “possible carcinogen” based on the available research.7 According to IARC director Christopher Wild, Ph.D.:8

“Given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings, it is important that additional research be conducted into the long ‐ term, heavy use of mobile phones.

Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands ‐ free devices or texting.'”

While some studies have drawn links between cellphone usage and cancer, others have not been so definitive.

However, in a paper published by the Policy Studies Organization, the authors determined there appears to be a relationship between funding, or the author’s affiliation with industry during a study, and whether a correlation was found between cancer and cellphone use.9

Such research bias holds dangerous public health repercussions, and it’s certainly not the first time bias has been found to influence research results.10,11,12

Judge Orders Papers Released

To protect public health from the risks of cellphone radiation, California’s Environmental Health Investigations branch developed a set of recommendations and warnings.

However, no formal copy was ever publicly released. Joel Moskowitz, Ph.D., director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California Berkeley, requested access to this information.13

When his request was denied, he sued the state under the California Public Records Act and won. Moskowitz explained his actions to local CBS station in San Francisco:14

“I would like this document to see the light of day because it will inform the public that there is concern within the California Department of Public Health that cellphone radiation is a risk and it will provide them with some information about how to reduce those risks.”

However, while the document was released, it was stamped “Draft and Not for Public Release,” which essentially negates the ruling from the Supreme Court Judge. Moskowitz, not yet satisfied with the actions of the state of California, explained that the Public Records Act was violated, since:15

“That lettering states that the document is ‘draft and not for public release’ when the judge’s tentative ruling stated exactly the opposite — that the document was not a draft, and must be publicly released.”

The director of the Environmental Law Clinic at UC Berkeley, Claudia Polsky, representing Moskowitz, also believes the arguments for not releasing the document are irresponsible since the public health impact may be critical. She was also dissatisfied with the stamped disclaimer on the guidelines.16

The document contained summaries of studies suggesting long-term use of cellphones may increase your risk of brain cancer and that EMFs emitted from cellphones are frequently kept close to the head and body, potentially affecting nearby tissue.

The sheet also listed recommendations to reduce exposure to EMF radiation. Moskowitz notes:17 “This could have perhaps saved some lives if it had been published by the department seven years ago.”

WiFi Illness and Sensitivities

The health department’s lawyer argued releasing the document would unnecessarily alarm the public.18 However, many of these studies have been published for nearly 10 years, having had little to no impact on the sale of smartphones that now reside in 9 out of 10 adult hands in the U.S.

Although the sheer volume of WiFi and Bluetooth products is a relatively new phenomenon, the effects of these radiofrequency waves have been studied for decades.

John Moulder, Ph.D., professor emeritus of radiation oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, co-authored a review of existing research going back to the 1950s. His review found few health effects at low doses of EMF.

However, Moskowitz counters this argument, saying: “We have animal studies suggesting even low-level exposures to the kind of radio wave radiation associated with WiFi could have a variety of negative health effects.” Moskowitz gathered study summaries and published them in one place.19

There is reason for concern, not only from an outpouring of research painting a very different picture about cellphone safety than the telecommunications industry would have you believe, but also from a growing population of electrically sensitive individuals who may be the proverbial canaries in the coal mine.

Dr. Thomas Rau, medical director of the world-renowned Paracelsus Clinic in Switzerland, shared during an interview he did with me that an estimated 3 to 8 percent of populations in developed countries experience serious electro-hypersensitivity symptoms, while 35 percent experience mild symptoms.

Rau also believes that electromagnetic loads can lead to cancer, concentration problems, ADD, tinnitus, migraines, insomnia, arrhythmia, Parkinson’s and even back pain. In a systematic review and meta-analysis of EMF radiation on sperm quality, researchers found an 8 percent reduction in motility and 9 percent reduction in sperm viability.20,21 Researchers in one study wrote:22

“RF-EMR in both the power density and frequency range of mobile phones enhances mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation by human spermatozoa, decreasing the motility and vitality of these cells while stimulating DNA base adduct formation and, ultimately DNA fragmentation. These findings have clear implications for the safety of extensive mobile phone use by males of reproductive age, potentially affecting both their fertility and the health and wellbeing of their offspring.”

Is This a First Amendment Battle?

The first amendment of the U.S. Constitution says:23

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Berkeley, California, is the first in the nation to have a city ordinance requiring retailers to give consumers federal guidelines for safe cellphone use. While the notice hasn’t drawn much attention from consumers, it did draw the attention of the trade organization representing some of the largest cellphone manufacturers and carriers in the nation.

The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), took great offense and went to court arguing the sign infringes on the cellphone manufacturers and carriers First Amendment rights.24 They argue the ordinance is forcing retailers to “distribute its one-sided, innuendo-laden, highly misleading and scientifically unsupported opinion on a matter of public controversy.”

Berkeley denies the allegations, saying the signs are “nothing but an arrow that points to the very manuals written by manufacturers.” The cellphone warning was cleared by U.S. District Judge Edward Chen of San Francisco who, in a hearing in 2015, read from an iPhone manual which cautioned the user that if the device was carried closer than five-eighths of an inch from your body, it could surpass the federal radiation exposure guidelines.25 Chen wrote:26

“The mandated disclosure truthfully states that federal guidelines may be exceeded where spacing is not observed, just as the FDA accurately warns that ‘tobacco smoke can harm your children.'”

At this time, the iPhone manuals do not carry the RF recommendations. Instead, they’re buried in the settings on the phone.27Attorney for Berkeley, Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard law professor, pointed out the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) announced three years ago it would reassess cellphone radiation safety standards28 which have not changed since 1996, but has not taken further action. According to Lessig:29

“The FCC would not be asking for comments about whether there was a health hazard if it had concluded that there was no possible way that a cellphone held against the body could constitute any health hazard.”

Court Determines Tumor Is From a Phone

According to the Italian Supreme Court, a man’s cellphone was responsible for a tumor growth in his trigeminal nerve, the fifth cranial nerve supplying sensation to your face and other structures in the head. The tumor grew very close to where the phone came in contact with Mr. Marcolini’s face, paralyzing half his face. Following the ruling, Marcolini commented:30

“This is significant for very many people. I wanted this problem to become public because many people still do not know the risks. I was on the phone, usually the mobile, for at least five or six hours every day at work. I wanted it recognized that there was a link between my illness and the use of mobile and cordless phones. Parents need to know their children are at risk of this illness.”

Dr. Angelo Gino Levis, a respected oncologist and professor of environmental mutagenesis, and Dr. Giuseppe Grasso, a neurosurgeon, testified for Marcolini, affirming the EMF radiation from mobile and cordless phones damages cells, making tumor growth more likely. Levis said:31

“The court decision is extremely important. It finally officially recognizes the link. It’ll open not a road but a motorway to legal actions by victims. We’re considering a class action. Tumors due to radiation may not appear for 15 years, so three to five-year studies don’t find them. We’ll only realize in years to come the damage phones can cause children.”

Children May Be at Grave Risk

Health risks are even greater for children than adults, for a couple reasons. Children are now exposed to EMF radiation at a very early age, whereas older people can still recall the days when every phone was hardwired to the wall.

Hence the opportunity for harm to develop over time is exponentially greater for children than adults. The exposure is also pervasive. Most homes have WiFi routers, cellphones and tablets, and many public areas also provide WiFi these days. Children spend hours on their parent’s smartphone and tablets, playing games and staying occupied.

Digital equipment has become an addiction for children and adults. Whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or WiFi enabled screen, children are spending between six and seven hour a day in front of a screen,32 a far cry from the two-hour max the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.33

Holding a cellphone up to your ear allows 80 percent of the EMF radiation produced to penetrate your brain tissue up to two inches.34 Ronald Melnick, scientific adviser for the Environmental Health Trust, commented on the use of cellphones in the pediatric population:35

“The penetration of the cellphone radiation into the brain of a child is deeper and greater. Also, the developing nervous system of a child is potentially more susceptible to a damaging agent.”

The California’s Environmental Health Investigations guidelines concur, saying:36

“EMFs can pass deeper into a child’s brain than an adult’s. The brain is still developing through the teen years, which may make children and teens more sensitive to EMF exposure.”

Take Precautions to Protect Your Children and Yourself From EMF

Cellphones were first invented in 1973.37 Since the first mobile phone that was the size of a small box, cellphones have evolved into devices more easily carried in your pocket. However, while 40 years may seem like a long time, the cellphone did not become mainstream until the late 1990s, and many of the long-term side effects from overexposure to EMF radiation take years if not decades to develop.

This means there is no good way of predicting the long-term effects on a generation of children who are exposed to chronic radiation throughout their lives. Today, many children are even exposed before birth.

One study38 that evaluated the health of children in mothers who used cellphones during their pregnancy found a 25 percent increase in emotional problems, 34 percent increase in peer problems, 35 percent increase in hyperactivity and 49 percent increase in conduct problems than in mothers who did not use cellphones during their pregnancy. Another study found an increase in spontaneous abortions in mothers who used cellphones during their pregnancy.39

For your child’s and your own sake, I urge you to minimize these kinds of risks by taking some common-sense precautions. For a list of recommendations for lowering your EMF exposure, please see my previous article, “EMF Controversy Exposed.”

More Benefit Than Harm From Mammography: IARC Update

Women between 50 and 69 years of age who participate in screening mammography have about a 40% reduction in the risk for death from breast cancer, an update from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Working Group concludes.

The updated report was published online June 3 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

If all women in the same age group who are invited to participate in screening mammography are considered, the average reduction in the risk for mortality from breast cancer is 23%.

There is also a “substantial” reduction in the risk for death from breast cancer in women between 70 and 74 years of age who either attend or who are invited to attend a screening mammography program.

In contrast, evidence supporting the benefit of screening mammography in women younger than 50 years was limited, so the IARC Working Group did not find overt benefit from screening mammography in younger women.
These new conclusions extend those issued in 2002, when the IARC Working Group last considered the evidence. At that time, the IACR concluded that “the efficacy of screening by mammography as the sole means of screening in reducing mortality from breast cancer was sufficient for women 50 to 69 years of age, limited for women 40 to 49 years of age and inadequate for women younger than 40 or older than 69 years of age.”

“Recent improvements in treatment outcomes for late-stage breast cancer and concerns regarding overdiagnosis called for reconsideration,” the current Working Group writes.

Recent years have seen a huge public debate about the value of screening mammography, as reported by Medscape Medical News on numerous occasions, with an increasing focus on potential harms.

The IARC Analysis

The IARC brought together a working group of 29 international experts from 16 countries to assess the benefits and harms associated with breast cancer screening with mammography.
Results from 40 case-control and cohort studies from high-income countries were analyzed for the benefits vs the harms of screening mammography in different age groups.

“The most important harms associated with early detection of breast cancer through mammographic screening are false positive results, overdiagnosis and possibly radiation-induced cancer,” the authors observe.

Estimates of the cumulative risk for false positive results differ between organized programs, but the group estimates that it is approximately 20% for a woman who has undergone 10 mammographic screenings between age 50 and 70 years.

On the other hand, fewer than 5% of all false positive test results lead to an invasive procedure, the group points out.

Estimates of overdiagnosis of breast cancer from screening mammography based on several calculations range from between 1% to 10%, the group adds.

The estimated cumulative risk for death from breast cancer attributable to radiation from mammographic screening is from 1 to 10 per 100,000 women, depending on age and the frequency and duration of screening.

Echoing the finding of others, the Working Group concluded that data from available studies generally did not show a reduction in breast cancer–related mortality when breast self-examination was either taught or practiced competently and regularly.

“Screening for breast cancer aims to reduce mortality from this cancer as well as the morbidity associated with advanced stages of the disease through early detection in asymptomatic women,” the Working Group notes.

“And the key to achieving the greatest potential effects from this screening is providing early access to effective diagnostic and treatment services,” they conclude.

Mobile phone radiation is a possible cancer risk, warns WHO.

A review of published evidence suggests there may be some risk of cancer from using a mobile phone


Radiation from mobile phones has been classified as a possible cancer risk by the World Health Organisation after a major review of the effects of electromagnetic waves on human health.

The declaration was based on evidence in published studies that intensive use of mobile phones might lead to an increased risk of glioma, a malignant form of brain cancer.

The conclusion by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) applies to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation in general, though most research in the area has centred on wireless phones.

The findings are the culmination of an IARC meeting during which 31 scientists from 14 countries assessed hundreds of published studies into the potential cancer risks posed by electromagnetic fields. The UK was represented by Simon Mann from the Health Protection Agency’s Centre for Radiation, Chemicals and Environmental Hazards in Oxfordshire.

Jonathan Samet, a scientist at the University of Southern California, who chaired the group, said: “The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cellphones and cancer.”

In designating radio-frequency fields as “possibly carcinogenic”, the WHO has put them on a par with around 240 other agents for which evidence of harm is uncertain, including low-level magnetic fields, talcum powder and working in a dry cleaners.

The report found no clear mechanism for the waves to cause brain tumours. Radiation from mobile phones is too weak to cause cancer by breaking DNA, leading scientists to suspect other, more indirect routes.

“We found some threads of evidence telling us how cancers might occur but there are acknowledged gaps and uncertainties,” Samet said.

Christopher Wild, director of the IARC, said that in view of the potential implications for public health, there should be more research on long-term, heavy use of mobile phones. “Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as hands-free devices or texting,” he said.

There are around 5bn mobile phone subscriptions globally, according to theInternational Telecommunication Union, a UN agency for information and communication technologies.

The IARC group reviewed research investigating potential health risks from electromagnetic fields associated with technologies such as radio, television, wireless communications and mobile phones.

The committee decided the fields were possibly carcinogenic to humans, a finding that will feed through to national health agencies in support of their efforts to minimise exposure to cancer-causing factors.

The IARC has evaluated nearly 950 chemicals, physical and biological agents, occupational exposures and lifestyle factors where there is either evidence or suspicion that they may cause cancer.

The report on radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation comes a year after the WHO published its much-delayed Interphone studywhich found no solid evidence that mobile phones increase the risk of brain tumours, but pointed to a slightly higher risk among those who used mobile phones the most. The report was held up for several years because scientists failed to agree on its findings and whether to issue a warning about excessive use.

Exposure from a mobile phone base station is typically much lower than from a handset held to the ear, but concerns over the possible health effects of electromagnetic waves have extended to base stations and wireless computer networks, particularly in relation to schools.

According to the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, half of all primary schools and 82% of secondary schools make use of wireless computer networks.

Wi-fi equipment is restricted to a maximum output of 100 milliwatts in Europe at the most popular frequency of 2.4 gigahertz. At that level, exposure to radiowaves should not exceed guideline levels drawn up by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation and adopted in the UK.

A Health Protection Agency study led by Mann in 2009 found that exposure to radiowaves from wi-fi equipment was well within these guideline levels.


Source: The Guardian


A tax on indoor tanning would reduce demand in Europe.

The use of indoor tanning beds has been established to be a serious risk to human health.1 In the European Union, Northern Ireland is the latest country to pass legislation that prohibits under 18s from using indoor tanning equipment. Although this will protect children from this risk, more needs to be done if we are to respond to the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s suggestion that we need also to “discourage young adults from using indoor tanning equipment.”1

Globally, the incidence of cutaneous melanoma has increased faster than any other common cancer, with an approximate doubling of rates every 10-20 years in countries with predominantly white populations.2 For instance, in 2008 there were about 70 000 incidences of, and more than 14 000 deaths from, melanoma in the European Union.3 Although attempts at public education by health agencies and charities have increased, these are being obscured by spurious claims by the indoor tanning industry of the benefits of indoor tanning.4

Recent lessons from tobacco control in the EU teach us that tax increases are the single most effective intervention to reduce demand for harmful products.5 The EU needs to follow the example of the United States by introducing a so called tan tax; an excise on indoor tanning services. A new EU directive for the taxation of indoor tanning services would complement existing directives focused on product safety.6 Importantly, these excise duties would provide additional revenue for governments and reduce numbers of melanomas and other skin cancers—something that would also subsequently reduce governments’ healthcare costs. All or a portion of this revenue could be earmarked for public health education initiatives warning of the dangers of ultraviolet radiation exposure.

Source: BMJ