COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.
national

Kansai scraps 'power off' mobile phone ban on trains; Kanto won’t budge

40 Comments
By Fran Wrigley

There are seemingly endless things one is not allowed to do on Japanese trains: eat or drink, put on makeup, talk on the phone, take up too much room. Most of these are sensible if strict, making life more pleasant for everybody in a jam-packed carriage. There’s one rule that’s a bit more unusual, though, and that’s the requirement that you switch your phone off near the priority seats.

Mobile phones can interfere with pacemakers, ran the conventional wisdom. So to give passengers with medical equipment a safe haven from electronic interference, most train companies asked passengers to switch phones off completely in certain areas. This summer, rail companies in Kansai more or less ditched that policy, saying it’s no longer necessary. Tokyo, meanwhile, shows no signs of changing the rules.

The "power off" rule stems from a 2005 recommendation from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Rail companies’ implementation of it varies, however: some ask that passengers turn phones off near priority seating; other companies have separate carriages; on some lines, all carriages are designated "power off."

When 2G mobile phones were phased out, though, the danger posed to people with pacemakers all but vanished. Until 2012, the ministry recommended that phones be kept 22cm from a pacemaker – in a crowded train, there was a reasonable possibility of that being breached. Now, the recommendation is 3cm. So in the Kansai area, rail companies dropped the "power off" rule in July, except for at busy times.

In Kanto, however, the area further east including Tokyo that shares a centuries-old rivalry with Kansai, rail companies say they have no intention of relaxing the rules. Kanto’s urban trains are famously crowded, so perhaps that’s part of the thinking, although JR East and Tokyo Metro both cited customer unease as the reason: “Passengers with pacemakers are [still] uneasy about the use of mobile phones.”

The government, however, has been clear that the old "power off" recommendations were for 2G service, and are not necessary now that it’s no longer used. It seems like there’s a case for educating people that the risks have changed, rather than keeping the rules the same because of passengers’ misconceptions.

Source: IT media news

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- The little test that’s blowing Japanese netizens’ minds -- This ‘Wonder Material’ Could Make Your Next Phone Super Thin With Internet That’s 100x Faster -- Cappucino art that’s out of this world: Twitter cappuccino artist shows off his extraterrestrial skills

© RocketNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

40 Comments
Login to comment

Go on ANY Tokyo train and all you see is YOUNG IDIOT FOOLS going on with their IPHONES not only near these so called TURN OFF your cellphone seats but SITTING RIGHT THERE and taking away seats from OLDER PEOPLE who may have PACEMAKERS and not giving one HOOT about anybody else but THEMSELVES, so even if JR EAST JAPAN does say they are trying to protect peole with pace makers, HOW ABOUT TRYING TO ENFORCE THESE RULES????!!!

-10 ( +8 / -19 )

Not just the young. I commute every day, and 99% the people I see using their phones in the priority seats are the obachans and ojichans.

8 ( +9 / -3 )

Take a chill, EM, before you give yourself a coronary embolism. How many pacemaker users have been directly affected whatsoever by the literally millions of passengers using any electronic devices? The answer is zero. So, calm down.

Stupid rules get ignored.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

replace ban with waist-barriers to keep the standing people away from the old people.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Pacemakers are NOT effected by mobile phones! That is a fact! However, do I agree with the courtesy issue of putting your phone into silent mode on the trains and getting their butts out of the priority seats. I remember hearing some old geezer going off at some kids using their phones on the train because he had a pacemaker. I just laughed at him.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Given the hyper use of mobile phones everywhere, if these phones really did pose a risk to people with pacemakers, I doubt they could even make it to the train alive.

8 ( +8 / -1 )

There are two separate issues:

Medical risk

There is zero medical risk with the current generation of cell phones and pacemakers.

Manners

Manners vary from generation to generation. Many young people find the idea of being out of communication for even half an hour to be counter-cultural. Business people likewise often use the trip to work to catch up on emails, etc. on their smart phones.

Personally? I'd prefer if people didn't use their cell phones on crowded trains, but I can understand that "manners" are not absolutes like some people believe, but rather very subjective.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

No, it's NOT a fact that current cell phones are zero risk, true they are much less risky but not zero risk. They still amit EMI & EMF, and warn against EVER having them close to your heart. Always hold the cell phone on the opposite ear away from your heart. Plus, the more you're surrounded by numerous cell phones being used, the greater chances of EMI Interrupting your pacemaker. The energy fields are shown to combined and overlap with each other. Most doctors still acknowledge these potential threats.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Disillusioned: My mother's doctor told her this while I was with her, plus you can google these facts but I doubt you will. Maybe "denial " is a better avatar name for you.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Ok Stuart, let's bicker! For every one doctor that states there is a danger I can find ten that state there is no danger. Yeah, your mum is a doctor, so what? Does that make her an electrical engineer too? She is just repeating the same old wive's tale that has been told for years. It's no different to using mobile devices on airplanes. That used to be a no-no because they falsely believed it would interfere with the plane's instruments, which has now been revoked. Yes, there is some danger from EMFs in all electrical devices. That is why they changed the name of computers from Laptops to Notebooks, but the danger is cancer from prolonged exposure. This article deals with problems with pacemakers from mobile phones, from which there are none!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

No more bickering please.

Disillusioned:You started the bickering, I simply returned in kind. Though I usually agree with all your post, we disagree on this subject. My mother is not a doctor but four months ago see had to have a pacemaker, it was her doctor who said this information and suggested to research further. You can have your own opinion , but to say there is Zero chance of interference is wrong. Being an electrician, I often deal with electrical devices interfering with other electronics. Wether it's high voltage, low voltage, radio wave, microwave, EMI, EMF, ext. all of those things CAN and often DO effect other components. There are many different makes and qualities of cell phones, they are not all the same with design or outer shielding. I can't find a SINGLE doctor who says its 100% safe to hold a cell phone against your pacemaker! please show me that link! I must have missed it.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

I watched an old man punch another younger man in the face for using his smartphone in the priority seating. The old man was going on about how it was affecting his pacemaker. The young guy said the same thing as in this article - that there hasn't been an affect on pacemakers since 2G phones (something I also knew to be true). So the old guy punched him in the face. Other passengers then restrained the old guy, and we all got off at the next station where the old guy was arrested (I provided my account of the matter to the police).

While some people consider it to be bad manners to use your phone near the priority seating, I consider it much more bad manners to punch someone in the face for a fabricated excuse.

Anyways, the way I see it, the train companies are exacerbating the situation by maintaining outdated rules that have no basis in current technology. If they hadn't put up the signs saying 'no phones' near the priority seating, the old guy would have had no basis to get his hackles up. By maintaining these outdated rules at a period of time when everyone is using their phones on trains - without any impact on pacemakers - the train companies are effectively creating an environment enabling more incidents like the one I saw.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

There's not zero risk for emitting devices on planes or near pacemakers. If you google around you can find "They" are still worried about some devices on planes. That avionics and cellphone makers and pacemakers have improved their devices over the years doesn't negate the possibility of older equipment being affected. And although EMF testing should be extensive, stuff happens. You don't want to be the person your family's lawsuit is based on, after the fact.

There was a study that indicated headphones (earbuds, etc.) within 3 cm of the skin's surface could interfere with pacemaker function. Maybe the railway is worried about teens leaning over grandfolks. http://www.bidmc.org/News/InResearch/2008/November/MP3PlayerStudy.aspx

http://tinyurl.com/3es5au9 : heart.org : Devices that may Interfere with Pacemakers

... (list and discussions of types of devices) ...

Cell phones: Currently, phones available in the United States (less than 3 watts) don't appear to damage pulse generators or affect how the pacemaker works. Technology is rapidly changing as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) makes new frequencies available. Newer cellphones using these new frequencies might make pacemakers less reliable. A group of cellphone companies is studying that possibility. Bluetooth headsets do not appear to interfere with pacemakers.

MP3 player headphones: Most contain a magnetic substance and research has documented that placing the headphones too close to the pacemaker caused interference: Keep your headphones at least 1.2 inches (3 cm) away from your pacemaker. Never rest your head on the chest of a person with pacemaker while you're wearing headphones. Both the earbud and clip-on types of headphones can cause interference. Do not place headphones in a breast pocket or drape them over your chest. ...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Never once, in my life in Japan, have I seen a person get on or stand around a priority seat and then pull their phone out and turn it off. True, they may well not have had one, or may have turned it off prior to boarding the train, but what I HAVE seen are a whole lot of people USING their phones in priority season with no problems, and a huge number of people sitting in said seats who suddenly get a phone call and have not even turned their phone ringers off (and news flash for Ebunda, it's usually old people or businessmen). They myth that current phones are a danger to pacemakers or might interfere with medical devices otherwise is just that -- myth. If it were true, people with pacemakers would not at all be able to get near trains or even live in Japan in general because the place is so densely populated and all of those people using cell phones, laptops, and other devices.

Now, the old 2G models WERE a potential danger, and proof of that was that my stereo speakers, where my phone was based near when recharging, would give off a staccato pulsing sound a second before my phone registered that I had received a text or would ring if a phone call. With the newer phones, no problem. It's a silly rule and should be dropped, though I think the awareness of giving up priority seats to those in need and phone usage manners in general need to be kept up, if not upped further.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Around 10~15 years ago in a Bristol hospital in the UK, a cardiac consultant placed an active cellphone, i.e. switched on and making a call, next to the pacemaker of a patient in the Coronary Care Unit (CCU), who was also wired up to an ECG (Electrocardiogram). Some miniscule disturbances were noted in the ECG, that could have been induced by the phone itself and not the result of any interference with the pacemaker, but no clinically significant effects were seen.

The hospitals current rule (downloadable off their website) is to avoid having a mobile phone within 6 inches of your pacemaker. This also applies to handheld hair dryers, electric toothbrushes, sewing machines and any stereo loudspeakers that have large magnets. Portable mobile cellphones that transmit above 3W should keep their antenna 12 inches away from the pacemaker.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There are seemingly endless things one is not allowed to do on Japanese trains: eat or drink, put on makeup, talk on the phone, take up too much room.

I people doing these things daily. When was drinking on a train taboo? People don't talk on their phones that much I guess - but I see at least one person do it on my commute every day.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have a feeling the author of this article has never been to Japan before because all of the things they list as "not being allowed to do" are committed thousands of times a day on trains in Tokyo.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Why not just designated one car for folks who do not want to be around other folks with cell phones or other electronic devices. In other words, why not have one car a designated "No Electronic Devices on board" car? This would be similar to "Women only" cars. Can we do this? Yes? No?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Childish reason for not getting rid of this stupid rule.

The only time I have ever seen anyone put away their phone on or near a priority seat, was when a rabid obachan started screaming at them saying she had a pacemaker and they HAVE TO turn their phone off. Of course, they only put the phone away, not turn it off. But we all know, the crazy idiots who believe the lie that cell phones interfere with pacemakers don't care about that. They just want a reson to rant at someone.

If they are so scared about signals, they should live in a lead-lined house, and never go out. With all the wi-fi signals, etc flying around, cell phones being turned off while you're on a train should be their last worry.

I want a rule against stupid attention-seeking crazy-people being allowed to go outside.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

this is because in Kansai yhe average persin boices their opinion strongly, this has led tonpeople being mire up to date with technology snd being able to understand modern times faster than their wuiter more reserved and less educated kanto cousins. there is absolutely no danger to pacemaker wearers from 3g or 4 g phones whatsoever. its time kanto railways educated the public and krpt up with the times.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

turbotsatSep. 07, 2014 - 01:23PM JST There's not zero risk for emitting devices on planes or near pacemakers. If you google around you can find "They" are still worried about some devices on planes. That avionics and cellphone makers and pacemakers have improved their devices over the years doesn't negate the possibility of older equipment being affected. And although EMF testing should be extensive, stuff happens. You don't want to be the person your family's lawsuit is based on, after the fact.

There is zero risk:

Conclusion: Our data show that HM function does not call for specific restrictions on the use of GSM cellular phones. (Source: Calcagnini, G., F. Censi, M. Floris, C. Pignalberi, R. Ricci, G. Biancalana, P. Bartolini, and M. Santini. "Evaluation of electromagnetic interference of GSM mobile phones with pacemakers featuring remote monitoring functions." Pacing and clinical electrophysiology 29, no. 4 (2006): 380-385.)

Conclusion: Third-generation mobile phones are safe for patients with permanent pacemakers. This is due to the high-frequency band for this system (1,800–2,200 MHz) and the low power output between 0.01 W and 0.25 W. (PACE 2010; 860–864) (Source: Ismail, Mohamed M., Akmal Badreldin, Matthias Heldwein, and Khosro Hekmat. "Third‐Generation Mobile Phones (UMTS) Do Not Interfere with Permanent Implanted Pacemakers." Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology 33, no. 7 (2010): 860-864.)

Conclusion: The results of the study suggest that mobile phones have no effects on ICD function. (Source: Tandogan, Izzet, Bulent Ozin, Huseyin Bozbas, Sibel Turhan, Ramazan Ozdemir, Ertan Yetkin, and Ergun Topal. "Effects of mobile telephones on the function of implantable cardioverter defibrillators." Annals of Noninvasive Electrocardiology 10, no. 4 (2005): 409-413.)

etc. etc.

Honestly, people you don't need the research, just apply an ounce of common sense. If this urban legend was true then people with pacemakers couldn't walk the streets safely, because at some point during their day they'd walk within centimeters of someone's cellphone and drop dead. And how about the office where people are on their phones all the time? Or in a thousand other places... it just makes no sense.

This urban myth doesn't pass the common sense test. Of course common sense is a most uncommon virtue these days.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I guess if you ignore contrary evidence everything is zero risk.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phones_on_aircraft#Electromagnetic_interference

https://www.google.com/#q=Interference+Levels+In+Aircraft+at+Radio+Frequencies+used+by+Portable+Telephones

http://gpsinformation.net/airgps/gsm_intf1.pdf

2000 - Interference Levels In Aircraft at Radio Frequencies used by Portable Telephones, Civil Aviation Authority, UK.

http://www.tc.faa.gov/its/worldpac/techrpt/ar06-41.pdf

2006 - In-Flight Radio Frequency Spectrum Measurements of Commercial Aircraft Cabins, FAA, USA.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

turbotsatSep. 08, 2014 - 12:22AM JST I guess if you ignore contrary evidence everything is zero risk.

Turbotsat, the topic is mobile phones and pacemakers. Your post is completely off topic. You've posted about headphones, and mobile phones on aircraft.

The reason you can't find any proof for mobile phones being dangerous to pacemakers is because they aren't.

They were dangerous at one point, but mobile phone and pacemaker technology has moved on since then, and so there's no shame in having outdated information.

What someone should be ashamed of though is being so gosh-darned stubborn that they're incapable of admitting that they had outdated information and then fervently trying to spread misinformation just for the sake of their fragile ego.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They ripped out and replaced all the old pacemakers the same time they replaced all our cellphones, at that specific time you mentioned, "since then", did they?

Cellphone makers all follow six sigma practices religiously and test aged devices years after end of production, to ensure aged components won't permit increased power output, do they? All environmental possibilities were considered, they didn't just test in EMF chambers?

No one in a cellphone, pacemaker, or whatever company ever made a mistake resulting in death, and so we can expect they never will in the future, is it? Such companies are packed with eggheads with huge IQs, the word "mistake" not even in their vocabularies, that's the theory? All been in the business for years, there's no startups with learning pains, no big companies packing the halls with juniors to make the stockholders happy, no overworked lab rats just wanting to get clean tests to get boss off their backs? EMF inspection reports are all true, nothing fudged, government never makes a mistake, members of government safety agencies never go on to sweetheart positions in industry, would never think of compromising consumer safety in any fashion, ever? Extensive postmortem investigations and autopsies performed in all cases to exclude any possibility of such an accident slipping under the public radar?

http://siouxcityjournal.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/ipads-cell-phones-can-interfere-with-pacemakers-defibrillators/article_22272e26-52a9-5fbf-ad00-a88d38d7ed5a.html

2013 - iPads, cell phones can interfere with pacemakers, defibrillators

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Nice. The links says the study, which found problems was led by a 14 year old high school student.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"A study ... was led by a 14-year-old California high school student and her father who is a cardiologist."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

turbotsatSep. 08, 2014 - 01:55AM JST They ripped out and replaced all the old pacemakers the same time they replaced all our cellphones, at that specific time you mentioned, "since then", did they?

The oldest piece of research I cited is 10 years old, so let's use that as a benchmark.

A pacemaker's battery has a lifespan of 5 to 10 years today, but the older models lasted about 3 to 5 years. Generally it is standard practice to remove the old pacemaker and replace it with a newer model since it is better for the patient in the long-run (longer battery life means less surgeries, and the newer models can be inserted and removed using minimally invasive techniques, with some of the newest measuring about 4mm. Not to mention the new shielding incorporated in newer pacemakers to shield against airport scans, etc.

You might find someone with a pacemaker model older than 5 years in a 3rd world country, but in Japan it is simply not going to happen.

As for cellphones, the changes were to the frequencies that the network uses (2G -> 3G -> 4G), so even if someone has a 10 year old cellphone it either doesn't work because it isn't on the current frequencies, or it is on the current frequencies and is no risk to pacemaker users.

No matter which way you look at this there simply is no risk.

Cellphone makers all follow six sigma practices religiously and test aged devices years after end of production, to ensure aged components won't permit increased power output, do they? All environmental possibilities were considered, they didn't just test in EMF chambers?

You're just showing that you don't understand the issue by pursuing this line of logic. The issue is with the frequencies used by the cellular networks, and because networks frequently share towers, and overseas visitors need to be able to use the network in Japan these are standardised.

No one in a cellphone, pacemaker, or whatever company ever made a mistake resulting in death, and so we can expect they never will in the future, is it? Such companies are packed with eggheads with huge IQs, the word "mistake" not even in their vocabularies, that's the theory?

This line of logic is particularly ironic considering that it is coming from someone who has:

Been presented with multiple peer reviewed articles showing that cellular phones pose no risk to pacemaker patients,

Demonstrated that they do not understand the issue,

Tried to side-track the issue with irrelevant comparisons with headphones and airlines,

Tries to pass off newspaper articles as research (thus demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of the difference between research and hype)... and doesn't even read the articles (like the one you just cited) and notice that they aren't actually relevant.

... and still finds it incapable to admit when they are clearly and demonstrably wrong.

All been in the business for years, there's no startups with learning pains, no big companies packing the halls with juniors to make the stockholders happy, no overworked lab rats just wanting to get clean tests to get boss off their backs? EMF inspection reports are all true, nothing fudged, government never makes a mistake, members of government safety agencies never go on to sweetheart positions in industry, would never think of compromising consumer safety in any fashion, ever? Extensive postmortem investigations and autopsies performed in all cases to exclude any possibility of such an accident slipping under the public radar?

A huge number of people have pacemakers globally, and cellular phone usage is likewise huge globally. You're proposing a global conspiracy to conceal deaths from cellular phones?

You expect anyone to take you seriously after this? Would you like your tin hat folded into a swan?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Frungy:

We'll tell the old people on the subway (and the cops arresting them) no need to worry about what your doctor said, my man Frungy on JT comments board says so.

Scroll back and you'll see I didn't originate the discussion of aircraft on this thread.

A conspiracy only needs two people, are you saying there are no such collusions on this topic? If you mean something like the famous "vast right-wing conspiracy" I'd just say you are channelling Hillary. If you want a discussion of pacemaker industry / regulator collusion see the five paragraphs starting "On the Internet, I discovered that the pacemaker ... " and ending with "... They called the current cardiac-research agenda “strongly influenced by industry’s natural desire to introduce new products.”" in "What Broke My Father’s Heart", last link below.

If you're thinking there are no people in Japan with old pacemakers, where's your proof? Just because changeouts are available doesn't mean people always take advantage of them. Are pacemaker replacements free? Even if they are does that mean everyone has them replaced?

Pacemaker batteries can last 15 years or more, that means some models from 1999 are still around. People post on the web about their pacemakers lasting longer than that. And nuclear pacemaker batteries, although no longer made, are estimated to last much longer.

2G still present in Tokyo, February 2014 coverage map showing KDDI's 2G + 3G coverage: http://www.sensorly.com/map/2G-3G/JP/Japan/KDDI/cdma_440kddi#|coverage, current map showing 2G in general (turn off 3G and 4G on map): http://opensignal.com/coverage-maps/Japan/

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (USA) page, dated February 28, 2012, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pace/lifestyle.html, saying:

... Devices that can interfere with a pacemaker include: ... Cell phones and MP3 players (for example, iPods) ... These devices can disrupt the electrical signaling of your pacemaker and stop it from working properly. You may not be able to tell whether your pacemaker has been affected. ... Pacemaker batteries last between 5 and 15 years (average 6 to 7 years) ...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1502062/

Trends in Cardiac Pacemaker Batteries, Oct 1, 2004 ... Practical nuclear batteries use plutonium (238Pu). It has a half-life of 87 years so the output degrades only by 11% in 10 years ...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/magazine/20pacemaker-t.html?pagewanted=all

What Broke My Father’s Heart, June 18, 2010 ...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There are cars for women during the rush hour, how about a car for the elderly, handicapped or those in need. It might have to be in the center of the train as most people in this category will not walk to the end of the train. Japan is a country of 'rules' and some of them make sense. When I think of how mobile phones are used in countries like China or Korea, I am thankful for a phone turned off. People with mobile phones always look so busy, but I guess it is their way to spend time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

turbotsatSep. 08, 2014 - 08:27AM JST We'll tell the old people on the subway (and the cops arresting them) no need to worry about what your doctor said, my man Frungy on JT comments board says so.

No, you can tell them to read the multiple journal articles by multiple qualified and respected doctors saying that it is no risk.

Scroll back and you'll see I didn't originate the discussion of aircraft on this thread.

I didn't either. It is irrelevant and off-topic, yet you persisted with it as if it was in some way relevant.

A conspiracy only needs two people, are you saying there are no such collusions on this topic? If you mean something like the famous "vast right-wing conspiracy" I'd just say you are channelling Hillary. If you want a discussion of pacemaker industry / regulator collusion see the five paragraphs starting "On the Internet, I discovered that the pacemaker ... " and ending with "... They called the current cardiac-research agenda “strongly influenced by industry’s natural desire to introduce new products.”" in "What Broke My Father’s Heart", last link below.

Journalists are not researchers, they're not academics, they're not doctors and they know next to nothing about medicine. For goodness sakes, just read the article, the reporter writes, "painful inguinal (intestinal) hernia". Inguinal means "of the groin", not intestinal. Your faith in media reports from reporters who can't even understand the medical terms they're going on about is misplaced.

As for the article, it is about the current structure of health care in the USA. Now I know this may be difficult to grasp, but the USA is not the entire world. Look at the articles I cited, they're international. And that is what is so ridiculous about your position. If there was a conspiracy covering up a problem with cellphones and pacemakers you'd see a difference of opinion internationally, with US health care providers trying to cover it up and those in other countries with free health care (like Canada, the UK, etc.) blowing the lid on it. That's not happening therefore you're mistaken.

If you're thinking there are no people in Japan with old pacemakers, where's your proof? Just because changeouts are available doesn't mean people always take advantage of them. Are pacemaker replacements free? Even if they are does that mean everyone has them replaced?

It is standard practice in Japan to replace the model during a battery change. I have explained the logic, but you're not listening.

Pacemaker batteries can last 15 years or more, that means some models from 1999 are still around. People post on the web about their pacemakers lasting longer than that. And nuclear pacemaker batteries, although no longer made, are estimated to last much longer.

No. There are other factors to consider as well, such as metal fatigue on the electrodes. Because the heart is constantly moving the wires in older models are constantly being moved, and would break well before 15 years, result in death. This is another reason why older pacemakers are replaced. Again, if you actually understood how a pacemaker worked and what it looked like I wouldn't have to explain this, but you persist in arguing from a position of ignorance.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (USA) page, dated February 28, 2012, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pace/lifestyle.html, saying: ... Devices that can interfere with a pacemaker include: ... Cell phones and MP3 players (for example, iPods) ... These devices can disrupt the electrical signaling of your pacemaker and stop it from working properly. You may not be able to tell whether your pacemaker has been affected. ... Pacemaker batteries last between 5 and 15 years (average 6 to 7 years) ...

eyeroll Newer models last 5 to 15 years. Old models don't. And as for cellphones: "To be safe, some experts recommend not putting your cell phone or MP3 player in a shirt pocket over your pacemaker (if the devices are turned on)."

That's what they actually say, "some experts". These "some experts" are unnamed and unknown. Compare them against the international publications saying it is safe. Case closed.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1502062/ Trends in Cardiac Pacemaker Batteries, Oct 1, 2004 ... Practical nuclear batteries use plutonium (238Pu). It has a half-life of 87 years so the output degrades only by 11% in 10 years ...

Other factors mate, like metal fatigue, the residue building up on the contacts, and a dozen other issues that mean that batter life isn't the whole story.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/magazine/20pacemaker-t.html?pagewanted=all What Broke My Father’s Heart, June 18, 2010 ...

A piece of media hype from a reporter who doesn't even know what an inguinal hernia is (to pick just one of many, many errors).

You don't have a point. Good day.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

People eat and drink on the trains all the time. As long as they take their junk home and not drop it on the floor or platform...who cares.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Frungy & disillusioned: The US, FDA says, potencial interference to pacemakers. RF or EMI frome cell phones CAN interact with some pacemakers. Examples, 1 stopping the device from stimulating pulse. 2 cause pacemaker to deliver irregular pulse. 3 cause pacemaker to ignor the hearts own rhythm. Precautions: 1 hold the phone to the opposite ear of pacemaker. 2 avoid placing a turn-on cell phone next to pacemaker. 3 Don't carry the phone in your shirt pocket if near the device.

New England Journal of Medicine & American Health Association say, Newer cellphones using these new frequencies MIGHT make pacemakers less reliable. This information suggest that cell phones have NOT been proved to be 100% safe. Because neither of you have a pacemaker, nor your loved ones, it's easy to ignor the potential risk. I already stated that the risk appears to be small but NOT risk free.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Stuart haywardSep. 08, 2014 - 06:21PM JST Frungy & disillusioned: The US, FDA says, potencial interference to pacemakers. RF or EMI frome cell phones CAN interact with some pacemakers. Examples, 1 stopping the device from stimulating pulse. 2 cause pacemaker to deliver irregular pulse. 3 cause pacemaker to ignor the hearts own rhythm. Precautions: 1 hold the phone to the opposite ear of pacemaker. 2 avoid placing a turn-on cell phone next to pacemaker. 3 Don't carry the phone in your shirt pocket if near the device.

The FDA is routinely wrong about a wide variety of things and seems to get most of its information from outdated sources... which is not surprising considering that employs only 15 000 people to monitor billions of products.

See the current research I cited saying there's no risk. The FDA is not a reliable source.

New England Journal of Medicine & American Health Association say, Newer cellphones using these new frequencies MIGHT make pacemakers less reliable. This information suggest that cell phones have NOT been proved to be 100% safe. Because neither of you have a pacemaker, nor your loved ones, it's easy to ignor the potential risk. I already stated that the risk appears to be small but NOT risk free.

Wake up call, nothing is 100% safe. That slice of toast you ate this morning? You could choke and die!!! OMG!! Toast should be banned!!! ... not.

Saying that something has not been proved 100% safe is not an argument. Again, see the major studies on tens of thousands of people that I cited showing that, to our best knowledge, cellphones are not a risk to those with pacemakers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Frungy: Says, wake up call, nothing is safe. That's one of the reasons I challenged the phase "zero risk" Interesting that you believe in your sources but see fault in mine. I listed other sources besides Just the FDA. The New England Journal of Medicine & American Health Association are two more, of many others I can list. If anything European studies are showing even more dangers than American ones. Germany just band all cell phone use in public places, because of health risk associated with there use, while three other EU countries just banned children from using cell phones for the same reasons. I could give you eight other source from Europe but I'm sure nothing will change your mind. As I said, YOU don't have a pacemaker, nor do any of your loved ones. If you did, you just might expand your limited, research

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Stuart haywardSep. 08, 2014 - 09:26PM JST Frungy: Says, wake up call, nothing is safe. That's one of the reasons I challenged the phase "zero risk"

Okay, fair enough. Let's say then "no plausible risk".

Interesting that you believe in your sources but see fault in mine. I listed other sources besides Just the FDA. The New England Journal of Medicine & American Health Association are two more, of many others I can list.

None of your sources are peer reviewed. The FDA article cited no references to published papers. I couldn't even find your supposed NEJM and AHA articles because you didn't reference them, but doubtless they'll prove to be the same editorials and once I dig into them I'll find that you're reading them wrong, just like turbotsat misread the articles he claimed showed cellphones were unsafe, but actually said nothing of the kind.

If anything European studies are showing even more dangers than American ones. Germany just band all cell phone use in public places, because of health risk associated with there use, while three other EU countries just banned children from using cell phones for the same reasons. I could give you eight other source from Europe but I'm sure nothing will change your mind. As I said, YOU don't have a pacemaker, nor do any of your loved ones. If you did, you just might expand your limited, research

... that's wifi they're objecting to in Europe, not cellular transmissions, and it isn't related to pacemakers. Again, you're misreading to suit your own agenda.

And stop playing the "You don't have a personal stake so you don't have a right to an opinion" card. It isn't a valid argument.

Either cite some legitimate studies (with references that I can check and point out how you've misread the article) showing that cellphones are a risk to pacemaker patients, or stop spreading misinformation.

You're not helping anyone here, least of all your relative with a pacemaker. If anything you're stressing them out for absolutely no reason since they're surrounded by cellphones every day and thanks to your misinformed position they're afraid they're going to die. Well done, you're doing the single worst thing possible for a patient with a serious cardiac condition, you're stressing them out unnecessarily.

Go back to your loved-one. Tell them to avoid putting any active electrical device within about 20cm of their heart (ipads, hairdryers, cellphones, etc.), and they'll be just fine. And reassure them that the absolute worst that'll happen from temporary contact is that they'll pass out for a moment.

There are plenty of more realistic risks for cardiac patients, and stress is top of the list.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Frungy

"Zero risk" is your contention. Multiple people have said their pacemakers lasted 15 or even 20 years without battery replacement; your response: impossible, no old models of pacemakers or old models are cellphones are around to confict with each other.

And that's just from a bit of googling. 20 years with no replacement means there are people with 20-year-old pacemakers running around. If a person has a 20-year-old pacemaker that means it's at least a 20-year-old model, if not more.

The "multiple" medical articles you cited tested a GRAND TOTAL of 5 to 6 cellphone models (2 by Calcagnini et al, 2 by Ismail et al, and 1 or 2 by Tandogan et al), at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16650266, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20180913, and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16255750.

This is your proof? Do you realize all the tests were with one or two phones at a time, probably with brand new phones? Do you know how many cellphone models are in consumer use today, of what ages, and how many phones people carry into a sardine-pack train car? But you're declaring "zero risk" based on 3 papers testing 5 to 6 cellphone models with one or two phones in test each run?

One of your cited articles (Ismail) concludes "Third-generation mobile phones are safe for patients with permanent pacemakers. This is due to the high-frequency band for this system (1,800-2,200 MHz) and the low power output between 0.01 W and 0.25 W.". But this doesn't consider component aging and failure and that 4G phones can hit 3W output on peak data uplink rates.

And the first paper (Calcagnini) doesn't address interference with the pacing function (heart pacing) at all, only Home Monitoring (for telemetry sent to user's receiver when away from the doctor's office).

If you want to blame the journalist for getting a medical term wrong, and dismissing the rest of the article because of it, even where it has nothing to do with said medical term, I'd have to remember that's coming from the Frungy who even when provided with Michael Baden's OWN words contradicting Frungy's recollection of selective samples of his words, could only revert to his own mishmash.

Consumer equipment on aircraft: on topic as also being a case where problems have occurred where problems have been claimed to be impossible.

These "some experts" are unnamed and unknown.

But the term "some experts" comes from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's page on the topic. You don't trust NHLBI's pick of experts?

and and and conspiracy ....

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/826029 : Medtronic to Pay $9.9 Million in Pacemaker-Kickback Lawsuit

http://www.pacemakerclub.com/public/jpage/1/p/story/a/storypage/sid/21636/content.do : Medtronic To Pay $23.5M To Settle Kickback Claims, December 13, 2011

The government alleged that Medtronic caused false claims to be submitted to Medicare and Medicaid by using two post-market studies and two device registries as vehicles to pay illegal kickbacks to doctors.

http://www.rfsafe.com/fcc-chairman-tom-wheeler-confronted-cell-phone-radiation-silicon-valley/

Founder of RF SAFE, John Coates pointed out that President Barack Obama put “a Wolf in sheep’s clothing” when he appointed the former chief lobbyist for the wireless industry to chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates the safety of wireless devices.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

turbotsatSep. 09, 2014 - 02:37AM JST "Zero risk" is your contention. Multiple people have said their pacemakers lasted 15 or even 20 years without battery replacement; your response: impossible, no old models of pacemakers or old models are cellphones are around to confict with each other.

Which "multiple people"? I note no references, no citations, just some vague reference to "multiple people". Those are what are known as "weasel words", words without substance or meaning.

And that's just from a bit of googling. 20 years with no replacement means there are people with 20-year-old pacemakers running around. If a person has a 20-year-old pacemaker that means it's at least a 20-year-old model, if not more.

In which country? Because the discussion here is about Japan, not anywhere else. And in Japan they replace them quite regularly, because you wouldn't trust a 20 year old car, but you'd trust a 20 year old machine with keeping your heart from stopping?

Once again you fail the common sense test.

The "multiple" medical articles you cited tested a GRAND TOTAL of 5 to 6 cellphone models (2 by Calcagnini et al, 2 by Ismail et al, and 1 or 2 by Tandogan et al), at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16650266, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20180913, and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16255750.

And how many would satisfy you? They satisfied a community of their peers and frankly you're nowhere near a peer.

This is your proof? Do you realize all the tests were with one or two phones at a time, probably with brand new phones? Do you know how many cellphone models are in consumer use today, of what ages, and how many phones people carry into a sardine-pack train car? But you're declaring "zero risk" based on 3 papers testing 5 to 6 cellphone models with one or two phones in test each run?

No, I'm claiming it based on about a dozen studies I've read, those 3 studies were closest to hand. You have yet to submit even a single piece of peer-reviewed research to refute those 3 studies.

So far the score is; Cellphones safe: 3 Cellphones unsafe: 0

One of your cited articles (Ismail) concludes "Third-generation mobile phones are safe for patients with permanent pacemakers. This is due to the high-frequency band for this system (1,800-2,200 MHz) and the low power output between 0.01 W and 0.25 W.". But this doesn't consider component aging and failure and that 4G phones can hit 3W output on peak data uplink rates.

I know, I quoted that. Unlike you, you made ridiculous claims unrelated to the content of your articles.

And the first paper (Calcagnini) doesn't address interference with the pacing function (heart pacing) at all, only Home Monitoring (for telemetry sent to user's receiver when away from the doctor's office).

Did the pacemaker malfunction? No. Did the patient die? No. Did the patient faint? No. Were there any complications attributable to cellphones? No. Case closed.

If you want to blame the journalist for getting a medical term wrong, and dismissing the rest of the article because of it, even where it has nothing to do with said medical term, I'd have to remember that's coming from the Frungy who even when provided with Michael Baden's OWN words contradicting Frungy's recollection of selective samples of his words, could only revert to his own mishmash.

What are you on about?

Consumer equipment on aircraft: on topic as also being a case where problems have occurred where problems have been claimed to be impossible.

You're comparing apples and elephants.

But the term "some experts" comes from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's page on the topic. You don't trust NHLBI's pick of experts?

We don't know it was an expert who wrote the article, in fact it probably wasn't judging by the style. Not everyone in the NHLBI is a doctor, and the person responsible for the website's content almost certainly isn't. Hence the sloppy wording, the lack of citations and my lack of trust in the source.

You seem incapable of distinguishing a press release written by a non-professional from something written by a person who knows what they're talking about... which is possibly why you're still arguing with me.

and and and conspiracy .... http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/826029 : Medtronic to Pay $9.9 Million in Pacemaker-Kickback Lawsuit

Nothing to do with cellphones...

http://www.pacemakerclub.com/public/jpage/1/p/story/a/storypage/sid/21636/content.do : Medtronic To Pay $23.5M To Settle Kickback Claims, December 13, 2011

Nothing to do with cellphones...

Everything to do with how the US medical companies sell stuff. Nothing to do with this topic. More irrelevancies.

Have a nice day slumdog, I've wasted enough time on this.

The government alleged that Medtronic caused false claims to be submitted to Medicare and Medicaid by using two post-market studies and two device registries as vehicles to pay illegal kickbacks to doctors.

http://www.rfsafe.com/fcc-chairman-tom-wheeler-confronted-cell-phone-radiation-silicon-valley/

Founder of RF SAFE, John Coates pointed out that President Barack Obama put “a Wolf in sheep’s clothing” when he appointed the former chief lobbyist for the wireless industry to chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates the safety of wireless devices.
-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Frungy: Cell phone radiation may disrupt the functioning of pacemakers. A study in the International Journal of Cardiology found that mobile phones may have "adverse effects" on pacemaker functions under certain conditions. [59] According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), radiofrequency energy from cell phones can create electromagnetic interference (EMI) that may disrupt the functioning of pacemakers, especially if the cell phone is placed close to the heart. [21] The American Heart Association includes cell phones on its list of "devices that may interfere with pacemakers." [60] I also found more info (regarding cell phones disrupting pacemakers) from Germany, if you would like the link? But somehow I doubt your foreign language skills would be able to interpret. If I simply read it to you, you will just dismiss or say it's not true.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Stuart

The positive: I wouldn't say it's a reason to worry too much, or to not go outside with your pacemaker. Remember the news about unintended accel for a major automaker a few years ago? Big hits in the news, and I owned two models by the manufacturer, but events were very rare. So I didn't sell my cars, even though failure would be catastrophic. It's a matter of "what can you do about it?", and answer is "not much". People get pacemakers to lead active lives, right?

(That said you may wish to discuss pacemaker overprescription with her doctor and with second/third opinions, http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/eletter/profile/20/83393.html: "... However, according to new research, about 40 percent of the 50,000 people who receive biventricular pacemakers each year may not benefit from the devices, which cost about $70,000 each.", discussing 2011 http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?doi=10.1001/archinternmed.2011.247&papetoc "Impact of QRS Duration on Clinical Event Reduction With Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy".)

The negative: The risk is not zero or the major medical institutions would modify the guidelines that you and I posted links to. You can see the quality of the counterpoint to that from the weakness of the anecdotes and papers posted above.

They're nothing to be waving around at the elderly sitting under signs that say 'do not use your cellphone in this area due to elderly people wearing pacemakers', contradicting the guidelines. The yobbos bragging about that on JT ought to just forgo use of their devices for a while, or move seats, rather than ignore their elders.

The medical industry in some cases may have a proactive culture of patient safety, but looking at headlines in many more cases it's likely a reactive culture of risk management. If they are sued their risk management people will be talking to the people on their side to limit the damage. The legal environment rewards frankness with malpractice awards. So first thing Risk Management says to their company's people involved in an incident is "shut up".

Several years ago, I was interviewed for a programming job at a pacemaker company. Both the advertisement and the interviewer specified the need for knowledge about race conditions. At the time, I assumed they had a race condition problem, but now I'm thinking maybe Management was worried after the Therac-25 radiation incidents due to software race condition, which could be even worse than looking at a known problem. In either case, doesn't give me warm fuzzies about quality of their supposedly man-rated software. In fact, here is a related 2008 article on medical software safety, panning it vs. automotive industry: http://www.medicaldevice-network.com/features/feature43078/, Hunting the Killer Computer Bug. And another 2010 article on lateness of distribution of a firmware bug causing spurious low-voltage battery indicator on pacemaker company's newer models: http://embeddedgurus.com/barr-code/2010/02/embedded-software-is-the-future-of-product-quality-and-safety/

Now look at all the guidelines saying don't use cellphones around pacemakers. Above are claims about 3G phones having lower radiation than 2G; however, consumers want more now and 4G phones can reach higher (3W) output on burst uplink. There's a claim based on testing a single phone versus a pacemaker (tested with two models of phone and lots of models of pacemakers). Did they select phones with high EMF ratings? Did they consider situation on bench in train packed with commuters? Did they use a bunch of physicians for their paper or were there electrical engineers involved? Any pessimists in the mix, or only optimists? Repeated test after 4G?

On the other hand, you'd expect pacemaker manufacturers to test way beyond expected EMF environment, and that a few low-wattage cellphones in vicinity wouldn't affect a medical device much. On the third hand, don't expect manufacturers to go around waving press reports saying "Oops, Sorry!" if someone's pacemaker fails due to environmental EMF, and also don't expect that medical organizations have magically achieved in the last five years perfection that no other embedded device industry has attained.

You would be better off contacting directly some of the Humans vs EMF organizations and asking them about it, than consulting blogs, though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites