'Don't throw your cell phones away' - Expert cautions against alarm as study links rat cancer to phone radiation

A New Zealand cancer expert says while a study concluding that mobile phone radiation can cause heart cancer in male rats is interesting, it's not cause for alarm in humans.

The US federal peer-reviewed study concluded in March that exposure to low frequency radio waves, like those which are emitted by mobile phones, can cause cancer in the animals, which is the first clear evidence of a biological link between the radiation and cancer.

Dr Chris Jackson, Medical Director of Cancer Society NZ, this morning told TVNZ 1's Breakfast that while the study is interesting and has some implications on cell phone usage, it is not yet reasonable for people to be alarmed.

"What this study has done for the first time is shown there's a biological mechanism for how cellphones might potentially have some impact on cancer ... up until now there's not been a clear biological explanation for how that might be the case," Dr Jackson said.

"It's shown that prolonged exposure to low levels of radiation may actually potentially lead to cancers.

"This effect has been seen in rats, not in mice, and as yet it hasn't been proven in humans - so I think we're a long way away from saying that cell phones cause cancer in humans.

"There's certainly conflicting evidence in humans - this is only an animal study ... so it's clearly not a conclusive finding at all but it's the first potential biological explanation."

Dr Jackson said the increasing use of cell phones, especially over the past ten years, is a good reason to continue to look into this, but that people should avoid jumping to conclusions until more research is done.

"I think we do see this concern every time there's a new technology around ... same with microwaves, same with television," he said.

"I think it's reasonable for people to be cautious about this and that's why it's important that research is done - and done well."

Dr Jackson said the long lead-in time between exposure to radiation and the development of cancer was a difficult issue for researchers, but that studies are ongoing.

"There are a number of worldwide efforts looking at the rates of certain types of brain cancer in high cell phone usage areas to see if there is indeed a link in humans, but that may be a number of years away," he said.

"In the meantime, if people are concerned about their risk of cancer from cellphone use, there's a number of things people can do - you can use an earpiece or you can use hands free, or you can perhaps spend a little bit less time on your phone.

"So no, dont throw your cellphones away just yet, but it's important to watch this space."

Cancer society's Medical Director Dr Chris Jackson says the study was only on rats, but does have some interesting implications. Source: Breakfast


Police name man killed in fatal Rotorua motorcycle crash

Police have released the name of the person who died in a motorcycle crash in Rotorua earlier this week.

Police car
Police car Source: 1 NEWS

The man was 47-year-old Thomas Hunuhunu of Rotorua.

Police were called to a crash on Deven Street West around 2am on Thursday morning after a motorcycle collided with a tree.

The motorcycle was the only vehicle involved in the crash and the driver died at the scene.

The Serious Crash Unit is still investigating the fatal accident.


Drug testing legalisation at NZ festivals on the cards

The Government is considering legalising drug-testing services at festivals.

A community organisation, Know Your Stuff, said the law hindered people's access to pill testing at events, which put users at risk.

Its managing director Wendy Allison said section 12 of the Misuse of Drugs Act made it a criminal offence to permit a venue to be used for drug consumption, so the presence of pill testing would demonstrate that the event organisers knew that people use drugs.

"Section 12 was never intended to prevent harm reduction services from happening at events."

"An unintended consequence of the Section has been to deter event organisers from providing harm reduction services such as pill testing, removing this barrier is an obvious step towards keeping people safe."

Health Minister David Clark said the coalition Government was dealing with drug use as a health and harm reduction issue.

"In light of this, I've had initial discussions with the Justice Minister about 'drug checking' services.

"Through him, I've asked for advice on the legislative and criminal justice issues around such services."

rnz.co.nz- Chris Bramwell

Johann Hari, who spent several years researching drug use, addiction and treatment for his book, says we’ve misunderstood addiction.
Source: 1 NEWS


Tertiary students tackle social, cultural and environmental issues in dazzling Auckland light show

Unitec Institute of Technology is using innovative electric vehicle technology to power students’ light installations at this year’s GLOW@Artweek festival on Devonport’s Windsor Reserve.

Unitec partnered with Auckland energy company Vector for the light show where installations by students look at different issues in society.

The festival also prides itself on being environmentally friendly, with energy being taken from two Nissan Leaf G2 electric cars to provide the power needed to run the nine different light projects.

The cars act as a rechargeable and mobile renewable energy source for the duration of the festival.

Vector’s New Technology Lead, Moonis Vegdani, says, “Two-way EV chargers are an example of the future of energy. They basically transform electric vehicles into mobile storage batteries, enabling energy to be charged or discharged anywhere there is a two-way charger. It’s perfect for a temporary light installation such as GLOW@Artweek.”

Nine teams of second-year Unitec Architecture students designed a diverse range of interactive light installations on Devonport’s Windsor Reserve for the event, working to a zero-waste, zero-budget brief.

Students sought sponsorship for their designs, which also featured a range of sustainable materials.

"Sustainability is a key factor in the design and construction of the students’ works and having access to an alternative, rechargeable power source in a large-scale outdoor venue is extremely exciting," Unitec Architecture lecturer Ainsley O'Connell said. 

Devonport came to life thanks to the work of Unitec architecture students in “Glow”. Source: 1 NEWS

Five rare kiwi chicks fighting fit for release in Southland

Five rare kiwi chicks will be released back into their Southland home now they are heavy enough to fight off stoats alone.

The Haast Tokoeka Kiwi is the rarest kiwi, with a wild population of between 400 and 500 birds.

The chicks were raised in a kiwi creche on predator-free Rona Island in Lake Manapouri.

Department of Conservation South Westland senior ranger Inge Bolt said the island had kept the birds safe from stoats, which would kill most kiwi before they became adults.

"Only Haast tokoeka, which have reached a weight of 1.6kg, will make the final move back to their place of birth. At this weight, they are better able to fend off attack from stoats."

It took many people, organisations and volunteers to raise kiwi to an age where they could be returned to their home.

Without their work, the wild population of Haast Tokoeka kiwi would be significantly lower, Ms Bolt said.

"It's a really important thing that we step in and do what we can at this stage, we're trying to find out more as we go so that we can better understand the species, and the more that we understand them, the better we can help them."

The chicks will be released next week.


Close up of a kiwi bird a flightless bird endemic to New Zealand.
Kiwi. Source: istock.com