Down with AM ?

Andre Kesteloot andre.kesteloot at
Mon Aug 16 13:49:29 CDT 2004


  Is AM Radio Harmful? 

By Stephen Leahy 

Story location:,1286,64579,00.html

02:00 AM Aug. 16, 2004 PT

Korean scientists have found that regions near AM radio-broadcasting 
towers had 70 percent more leukemia deaths than those without.

The study, to be published in an upcoming issue of the International 
Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 
<>, also 
found that cancer deaths were 29 percent higher near such transmitters.

Two years ago an Italian study 
<> found 
death rates from leukemia increased dramatically for residents living 
within two miles of Vatican Radio's powerful array of transmitters in Rome.

The Koreans looked at the death rates in 10 regions with AM 
radio-transmitting towers broadcasting at more than 100 kilowatts and 
compared them with control areas without transmitters. The substantially 
higher cancer mortality in those who lived within two kilometers of the 
towers led researchers to conclude that more investigation was needed.

However, they also said their study did not prove a direct link between 
cancer and the transmitters.

"There have been many studies like these, and they aren't very 
convincing," said Mary McBride 
<>, an epidemiologist at the 
British Columbia Cancer Agency. Many other factors could have 
contributed to those cancer rates, said McBride, who has headed a number 
of similar studies and found no direct link.

Equally important is that studies in the lab don't show how radio waves 
can produce cancers, she said.

Debate continues over the health effects of radio waves from 
transmitters, both large and small, and other forms of electromagnetic 
fields, including power lines and microwaves.

Sam Milham, a Seattle-based epidemiologist and a pioneer in 
electromagnetic-field research, is convinced there are health effects. 
"Lots of research papers from around the world show increased cancers 
near transmitters, although TV and FM transmitters are more often 

Moreover, many lab studies show low-frequency EMF disrupt living cells, 
Milham asserts. Critics like McBride say such results are often 
difficult to reproduce at other labs. Milham says that's because of 
differences in the Earth's magnetic field and stray EMF.

In an attempt to settle some of this, California's Department of Health 
Services <> 
reviewed all the current studies of EMF risks from power lines, wiring 
and appliances in 2002. It found no conclusive evidence of harm. 
However, links to childhood leukemia, adult brain cancer and Lou 
Gehrig's disease could not be ruled out.

"I'm convinced that politics and corporate interests are behind denials 
(that say) there are no health effects," said Milham.

Meanwhile, the FDA <> and the 
World Health Organization <> are urging 
more studies, especially of radio waves from cell phones.

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