65

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Mobile phones and health: Where do we stand?

20-03-2019

Mobile phones are an integral part of everyday life, and it is hard to imagine a world without them. There are nevertheless health concerns, and the debate is ongoing. There is a vast body of research on the potential risks from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields such as those emitted by mobile phones. Yet scientific opinion remains split over the possibility of a link between mobile phone radiation and health problems. The results of research in this area have been interpreted in ...

Mobile phones are an integral part of everyday life, and it is hard to imagine a world without them. There are nevertheless health concerns, and the debate is ongoing. There is a vast body of research on the potential risks from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields such as those emitted by mobile phones. Yet scientific opinion remains split over the possibility of a link between mobile phone radiation and health problems. The results of research in this area have been interpreted in a variety of ways, and studies have been criticised for their methodological flaws, lack of statistical significance, and bias. In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, classified radiofrequency electromagnet fields as possibly carcinogenic (cancer-causing) to humans. The European Union defined basic restrictions for limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields in Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC, setting maximum values that should not to be exceeded. Moreover, in view of the scientific uncertainty, the European Environment Agency advises taking a precautionary approach. Two sets of large-scale experimental studies involving laboratory animals, one from the United States National Toxicology Program and another from the Italian Ramazzini Institute, have recently brought the debate to the fore again. Both found varying levels of evidence of certain tumours in some of the animals tested. The results have nevertheless prompted diverging conclusions.

3D bio-printing for medical and enhancement purposes

20-07-2018

3D bio-printing is defined here as the use of 3D printing technology for applications related to the body, whether the products themselves include biological material or not, and whether or not their purpose is medical. It includes any application for rehabilitating, supporting or augmenting any kind of biological functionality. The impacts of 3D bio-printing are uncertain, and it is not clear which actions may be required to foster responsible development of the technology. A STOA study, 'Additive ...

3D bio-printing is defined here as the use of 3D printing technology for applications related to the body, whether the products themselves include biological material or not, and whether or not their purpose is medical. It includes any application for rehabilitating, supporting or augmenting any kind of biological functionality. The impacts of 3D bio-printing are uncertain, and it is not clear which actions may be required to foster responsible development of the technology. A STOA study, 'Additive bio-manufacturing: 3D printing for medical recovery and human enhancement, responded to these uncertainties by describing the state of the art and future development prospects of 3D bio-printing technology, analysing their wide-ranging impacts – including social, ethical and economic aspects – and identifying key policy challenges along with options to respond to them. Key challenges and responsive options were identified in the approach to regulation, in managing the distribution of costs and benefits, and in the role of citizens in technology development. This In-depth Analysis draws upon the findings of the STOA Study, summarising and reflecting upon its