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What the History of Epidemiology and Toxicology Teach Us About Understanding Cell Phone Risks Devra Davis, Ph.D. MPH Porto Allegre, Brasil May 19,2009.

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Presentation on theme: "What the History of Epidemiology and Toxicology Teach Us About Understanding Cell Phone Risks Devra Davis, Ph.D. MPH Porto Allegre, Brasil May 19,2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 What the History of Epidemiology and Toxicology Teach Us About Understanding Cell Phone Risks Devra Davis, Ph.D. MPH Porto Allegre, Brasil May 19,2009

2 Caveat Emptor

3 International Congress of Scientific and Social Campaign Against Cancer held in Brussels in 1936

4 Chapter 2 Known Cancer Causes -- International Congress of Scientific and Social Campaign Against Cancer, 1936 Hormones X-Radiation Solar radiation Coal tars/ soots Benzene Cobalt-uranium mining

5 Clarence Cook Little headed the American Cancer Society until 1954, when the geneticist became the founding Director of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Tobacco Industry Research Council.

6 Chapter 7: Saving Cigarettes

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8 The Secret Ingredient in Kent Cigarettes??? Crocidolite Asbestos

9 Cell Phone Science Follows Tobacco Playbook Raise doubts about experimental findings Fund and develop studies War Gaming of challenging results

10 Changing Cell Phone Patterns phones per 1000 users US Western Europe Asia World Region

11 Use among 1, to-15-year-olds in Belgium, Katholieke University Leuven almost 60% of students (ages 13-15) used cell phones to talk or text message after turning their lights out at bedtime. teens who used their cell phone more than once a week after lights-out were five times more likely than those who never did so to indicate fatigue and sleep difficulties.

12 Cell Signals Penetrate the Brains of Children More than Adults With Permission of Om P. Gandhi

13 [Gandhi and Kang, 2002]

14 Bit-Babik et al. Simulation of Exposure and SAR Estimation for Adult and Child Heads Exposed to RF Energy from Portable Communication Devices Radiation Research 163, (2005) SAR in plane of antenna feed point Adult10 year old5 year old

15 Wiart et al Phys Med Biol 2008;53: French Telecom Estimate of Differential Absorption of Radiofrequency with Age

16 Marketing Cell Phones For Children glowPhone Gift Package glowPhone everything active kids and parents need to keep in touch during their increasingly busy days. The glowPhone features a full color screen, built in games, customizable ringtones and wallpapers also has a flashlight. $74.98 Show Color:

17 Marketing to Five Year Olds

18 Pew Center Estimates on Childrens cell phone patterns 63% of teenagers age have cell phones Girls age most likely to have them (79 percent). 55% of teens with cell phones use them to talk daily. 60% of teens with cell phones send text messages daily. 54% of kids age 8-12 are expected to have a cell phone in the next three years. Sources: Pew Internet & American Life Project report Teens and Social Media and the Center on Media and Child Health, 2008

19 Changing Use of Cell Phones in U.S. Children/Young Adults % of seven year olds 40-60% of middle school children Changing use patterns The average cell phone call in 2003 lasted 2.87 minutes, and the average monthly bill was $ Growing marketing to children

20 Changing Patterns of Cell Phone Use in Teenagers No students had their own mobile phones 20 years ago 2008 more than three-fourths of all teens age possess cell phones

21 Special Packaging for Children

22 Cell phone use among children Children are a sensitive population: inverse association For most tumors and a large number of carcinogens there is an inverse association between age at exposure and development of the disease. long latency period Children can experience a long latency period between exposure and development of the disease. Sadetzki, 2009

23 MOBI-KIDS Collaborative Project. EC grant – topic of call: Health impacts of exposure to RF fields in childhood and adolescence (ENV ) Childhood brain cancer from exposure to radiofrequency fields in childhood and adolescence Risk of brain cancer from exposure to radiofrequency fields in childhood and adolescence [Collaborative Project of the Seventh Framework Programme Theme Environment (including climate change) – ]

24 FRANCE, DECEMBER 2008

25 r=0.7 (Vriheid M, Occup Environ Med 2006) cell phone use Detailed data on cell phone use (duration & frequency of calls, side of use, use while moving, use of handset and handheld devices, use in urban & rural areas)

26 Based on the largest number of benign PGT patients reported to date, our results suggest an association between cellular phone use and PGTs. This research was funded by The Israel Cancer Association

27 Cellular phone use & the risk of benign & malignant Parotid Gland Tumors – a nationwide case-control study Consistent elevated risks were shown in complementary analyses restricted to conditions that may yield higher levels of exposure: 34% After 5 y of cellphone use, an increase of 34% was observed in the risk to develop a tumor, in the same side of the head where the cell phone was held. 50% highest category of use. For ipsilateral use, an excess risk of about 50% was observed in the highest category of use. heavy users in rural areas An excess risk was found among cell phones heavy users in rural areas characterized by a relatively small number of antennas. ( Sadetzki S, Am J Epidemiol 2008)

28 Sadetzki INTERPHONE study: % of cellphone heavy users (upper quintile)by center % of cellphone heavy users (upper quintile) by center Israel upper quintile=1324h Israel upper quintile=25328 calls Interphone upper quintile=735h Interphone upper quintile=12800

29 Hardell metanalysis, 2008

30 Interphone Summary

31 Interphone Release, October 8, 2008 No increased risk meningioma, parotid gland tumors Doubled risk of gliomas in Denmark, France, Germany, Japan with 10 yrs of use Some increase in acoustic neuroma

32 Acoustic Neuroma Meta-analysis Han et al., 2009 Cell phone use for at least 10 years had a 2.4-fold of acoustic neuroma (95% CI = )

33 Need for Industry Records for independent evaluation reduce recall bias and increase statistical power conduct retrospective analyses of first adopters & typical SAR with geocoding evaluate impacts on children and teenagers advise regarding engineering redesign

34 Existing Studies Biased Toward Null Insufficient latency time. The time between exposure and diagnosis of a brain tumor, similar to smoking and lung cancer could be several decades. "Regular" cellphone use is defined as once a week for 6 months or more. Would you expect to find lung cancer in a smoker who had smoked for once a week for 6 months or more? No young adults or children included. Because their brains are more susceptible, they are likely to be vulnerable.

35 Methodological Critiques Cellphones used in rural areas radiate more power than in urban areas. Studies have not included rural users. Cordless phones are similar to cellphones yet cordless phones users are treated as unexposed. People who die before they can be interviewed are excluded. This underestimates risks of most deadly brain tumors. Interviews conducted in hospital after surgery Recall bias (imperfect memory). An Interphone study, using billing records, has shown that light users underestimate their use and heavy user overestimates their use.

36 Cell Phone Studies Industry Effect No Effect Total Funded (42%) ( 32%) (68%) Non-Industry (58%) Funded (70%) (30%) Total 99 (54%) 83 (46%) = (p<.001) Odds ratio=0.2 an industry funded study is 1/5 as likely to report a positive finding compared to an independent one. (1/29/04) Source: Lai and Richter

37 Biological Plausibility Alters heat shock proteins Increases permeability of blood, brain barrier Epigenetic effects on methylation and DNA repair Some thermal effects

38 Ethical Questions?? Apparent release of peer review to attorneys engaged in litigation

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41 minimize your exposureIf you use a mobile phone, you can choose to minimize your exposure to radio waves. calls short –keep your calls short SAR values –consider relative SAR values when buying a new phone. below that level.Radio waves above a certain level can cause heating effects to the body. International guidelines have been set to keep exposure to radio waves below that level. a ban driving.The UK has a ban on handheld cell phone use while driving. Department of Health Mobile phones & Health Leaflet (October 2006 )

42 U.K. Advice (continued) For children and young people (under the age of 16), the UK Chief Medical Officers strongly advise: essential purposes only –use mobile phones for essential purposes only –keep all calls short - –keep all calls short - talking for long periods prolongs exposure and should be discouraged childrens use of mobile phones.The UK CMOs recommend that if parents want to reduce potential risks to children they should restrict childrens use of mobile phones.

43 FRANCE, DECEMBER 2008

44 (2008) The Israeli Ministry of Health – Recommendations for cell phone use (July 2008) the Israeli Ministry of Health recommends the following: In general, the Israeli Ministry of Health embraces the guidelines published by most international entities, which recommend following the precautionary principle in relation to mobile phone use. Accordingly, the Israeli Ministry of Health recommends the following: speaker/hands free device or earphones. Use of a speaker/hands free device or earphones. Reducing the number and duration of cell phone calls is another simple way of decreasing the exposure. one should talk less in these areas. In areas where the reception is weak, the exposure level increases. Therefore, one should talk less in these areas. highly recommendedchildren, more sensitive It is highly recommended that the precautionary rules be followed by children, who are in general, more sensitive to develop cancer following exposure to carcinogenic factors. While driving, While driving, it is best to speak as little as possible and, in any case, to follow regulation B28.

45 (2008) Center for Environmental Oncology University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute – Recommendations for cell phone use (July 2008) Precautionary Principle speaker/hands free device or earphones. Use of a speaker/hands free device or earphones. Reducing the number and duration of cell phone calls is another simple way of decreasing the exposure. one should talk less in these areas. In areas where the reception is weak, the exposure level increases. Therefore, one should talk less in these areas. highly recommendedchildren, more sensitive It is highly recommended that the precautionary rules be followed by children, who are in general, more sensitive to develop cancer following exposure to carcinogenic factors.

46 UK, Department of Health Mobile phones & Health Leaflet (October 2006 ) precautionary approach Gaps in scientific knowledge led the Stewart Group to recommend a precautionary approach to the use of mobile phones and base stations.

47 French Government Proposed Restrictions on Cell Phones, January, 2009 Ban advertising to children under 12 Ban design of phones to be used by those under six. Handsets must be sold with phones City of Lyon official advertising campaign to discourage the use of the phones by children.

48 Finnish Authorities Warn of Cell Phone Risks to Children and Those with Pacemakers Use text messages rather than calls Use hands-free devices, with phone kept away from the body, Avoid talking in an area with low connectivity Disruption of pacemakers is usually harmless, but can increase heart beat

49 Finnish Authorities Warn of Cell Phone Risks to Children Although research to date, has not demonstrated health effects from mobile phones radiation, precaution is recommended for children as all of the effects are not known.

50 Many governments advise against children using cell phones: England France Germany Israel Finland Bangalore, India

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52 Nick NaylorMoral Flexibility

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54 Truth is Stranger Than Fiction Gentlemen, practice these words in front of the mirror: Although we are constantly exploring the subject, currently there is no direct evidence that links cell phone usage to brain cancer.

55 For more information visit: preventingcancernow.org ewg.org thesimplebody.com devradavis.com

56 Center for Environmental Oncology Leadership and Staff Ronald B. Herberman, MD, Director of UPCI Cancer Centers Devra Lee Davis, PhD. MPH, Director Maryann Donovan,MPH,PhD,Scientific Director Evelyn Talbott, PhD, Epidemiology Joel Weissfeld, MD, Epidemiology Monica Han, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow Steven Bodnar, MS, Greening/Community Assessment Mary Platt, MBA, Center Administrator

57 Martin Luther King, Jr. Cowardice asks the question, Is it safe? Expediency asks the questions, Is it politic? But Conscience asks the question: Is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.

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