“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe,
then man would only have four years of life left.”
– Albert Einstein
For all the talk about the importance of “new media” – including blogs, email, cell phones, Facebook and Twitter – to the democracy movements arising around the globe, and the ease and speed of global communications and virtual networking, there is far too little discussion about the downsides of these technological wonders.
I’ve often addressed the illusory and inadequate nature of cyber-community, it’s tendency to distract us from real, local community, the fact that it supports yet another global corporate mega-industry, and that the internet was originally created by the military for its own purposes and now provides government intelligence agencies a real time means to eavesdrop and infiltrate our conversations – including the latest project to create and manage multiple false personas as agent provocateurs.
But there is another, purely technical, problem with our addiction to these technologies that has long been deliberately squelched, hidden or ignored. Just as only a few courageous physicists, researchers and doctors had been willing to speak and write about the harmful effects of chronic exposure to low-level ionizing radiation (such as from the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear power generation) and the fact that there is no safe threshold level (contrary to what the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric is telling the residents around the failed Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant), there is a small but vocal body of scientists and activists trying to inform the public about the harmful effects of chronic exposure to the non-ionizing radiation in which we are bathed by our telecommunications systems, as well as our electrical grids.
Electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) – from the extremely low frequency (ELF) fields of AC power lines to the radio frequency fields of communication equipment, microwave ovens and the increasing prevalence of Wi-Fi and GPS – have profound effects on carcinogenesis, neurological function, chronic and wasting diseases, and ecological balance. It’s highly likely, for instance, that bee colony collapse and possibly the white nose syndrome that is decimating bat populations are related to the global fog of EMF pollution. And it’s certain that the most vulnerable humans are the very ones that technology corporations are most targeting: youth.
After a lifetime of bio-electrical research, Dr. Robert O. Becker concluded: “I have no doubt in my mind that, at the present time, the greatest polluting element in the earth’s environment is the proliferation of electromagnetic radiation.” And environmental health researcher Dr. Neil Cherry predicted that soon, due to EMF exposures, cancer will not occur at its 1900 level of one in 100, nor at its late-century level of one in four – but will erupt in each of us several times in a lifetime.
Here are some selected quotes from those who understand this problem intimately:
William Rea, MD; Founder & Director of the Environmental Health Center, Dallas; Past President, American Academy of Environmental Medicine:
“Sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation is the emerging health problem of the 21st century.
Samuel Milham, MD, MPH, medical epidemiologist in occupational epidemiology, first scientist to report increased leukemia and other cancers in electrical workers and to demonstrate that the childhood age peak in leukemia emerged in conjunction with the spread of residential electrification:
“Very recently, new research is suggesting that nearly all the human plagues which emerged in the twentieth century, like common acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children, female breast cancer, malignant melanoma and asthma, can be tied to some facet of our use of electricity. There is an urgent need for governments and individuals to take steps to minimize community and personal EMF exposures.”
James S. Turner, Esq., attorney; Chairman of the Board, Citizens for Health; co-author, Voice of the People: The Transpartisan Imperative in American Life:
“According to the BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-Based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields – from electrical and electronic appliances, power lines and wireless devices such as cell phones, cordless phones, cellular antennas, towers, and broadcast transmission towers – we live in an invisible fog of EMF which thirty years of science, including over 2,000 peer reviewed studies, shows exposes us to serious health risks such as increased Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, Lou Gehrig disease, EMF immune system hypersensitivity and disruption of brain function and DNA.”
Martin Blank, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons; Researcher in Bioelectromagnetics:
“Cells in the body react to EMFs as potentially harmful, just like to other environmental toxins, including heavy metals and toxic chemicals. The DNA in living cells recognizes electromagnetic fields at very low levels of exposure; and produces a biochemical stress response. The scientific evidence tells us that our safety standards are inadequate, and that we must protect ourselves from exposure to EMF due to power lines, cell phones and the like, or risk the known consequences. The science is very strong and we should sit up and pay attention.”
David Carpenter, MD; Professor of Environmental Health Sciences; Director, Institute for Health and the Environment, School of Public Health, University of Albany, SUNY:
“Based on the existing science, many public health experts believe it is possible we will face an epidemic of cancers in the future resulting from uncontrolled use of cell phones and increased population exposure to WiFi and other wireless devices. Thus it is important that all of us, and especially children, restrict our use of cell phones, limit exposure to background levels of Wi-Fi, and that government and industry discover ways in which to allow use of wireless devices without such elevated risk of serious disease. We need to educate decision-makers that ‘business as usual’ is unacceptable. The importance of this public health issue can not be underestimated.”
Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD; Professor at University Hospital, Orebro, Sweden; world-renowned expert on cell phones, cordless phones, brain tumors, and the safety of wireless radio frequency and microwave radiation:
“The evidence for risks from prolonged cell phone and cordless phone use is quite strong when you look at people who have used these devices for 10 years or longer, and when they are used mainly on one side of the head. Recent studies that do not report increased risk of brain tumors and acoustic neuromas have not looked at heavy users, use over ten years or longer, and do not look at the part of the brain which would reasonably have exposure to produce a tumor.”
Eric Braverman, MD; brain researcher; author of The Edge Effect; Director of Path Medical in New York City and The PATH Foundation; expert in the brain’s global impact on illness and health:
“There is no question EMFs have a major effect on neurological functioning. They slow our brain waves and affect our long-term mental clarity. We should minimize exposures as much as possible to optimize neurotransmitter levels and prevent deterioration of health”.
Paul J. Rosch, MD; Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, New York Medical College; Honorary Vice President, International Stress Management Association; Diplomate, National Board of Medical Examiners; Full Member, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences; Fellow, The Royal Society of Medicine; Emeritus Member, The Bioelectromagnetics Society:
“Claims that cell phones pose no health hazards are supported solely by Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) limits safety standards written by the telecommunications industry decades ago based on studies they funded. These have made the erroneous assumption that the only harm that could come from cell phone radiofrequency emissions would be from a thermal or heating action, since such non thermal fields can have no biological effects. The late Dr. Ross Adey disproved this three decades ago by demonstrating that very similar radiofrequency fields with certain carrier and modulation frequencies that had insufficient energy to produce any heating could cause the release of calcium ions from cells. Since then, numerous research reports have confirmed that non-thermal fields from cell phones, tower transmitters, power lines, and other man made sources can significantly affect various tissues and physiologic functions.”
“We are constantly being bathed in an increasing sea of radiation from exposure to the above, as well as electrical appliances, computers, Bluetooth devices, Wi-Fi installations and over 2,000 communications satellites in outer space that shower us with signals to GPS receivers. New WiMax transmitters on cell phone towers that have a range of up to two square miles compared to Wi-Fi’s 300 feet will soon turn the core of North America into one huge electromagnetic hot spot. Children are more severely affected because their brains are developing and their skulls are thinner. A two-minute call can alter brain function in a child for an hour, which is why other countries ban their sale or discourage their use under the age of 18. In contrast, this is the segment of the population now being targeted here in a $2 billion U.S. advertising campaign that views “tweens” (children between 8 and 12 years old) as the next big cell phone market. Firefly and Barbie cell phones are also being promoted for 6 to 8-year-olds.”
“It is not generally appreciated that there is a cumulative effect and that talking on a cell phone for just an hour a day for ten years can add up to 10,000 watts of radiation. That’s ten times more than from putting your head in a microwave oven. Pregnant women may also be at increased risk based on a study showing that children born to mothers who used a cell phone just two or three times a day during pregnancy showed a dramatic increase in hyperactivity and other behavioral and emotional problems. And for the 30% of children who had also used a cell phone by age 7, the incidence of behavioral problems was 80% higher! Whether ontogeny (embryonic development) recapitulates phylogeny (species evolution) is debatable, but it is clear that lower forms of life are also much more sensitive. If you put the positive electrode of a 1.5 volt battery in the Pacific Ocean at San Francisco and the negative one off San Diego, sharks in between these cities can detect the few billionths of a volt electrical field. EMF fields have also been implicated in the recent massive but mysterious disappearance of honeybee colonies essential for pollinating over 90 commercial crops. As Albert Einstein warned, ‘If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left’ .”
“Finally, all life on earth evolved under the influence of solar radiation and geomagnetic forces that we have learned to adapt to and in some instances even utilize. The health of all living systems (ranging upward from a cell, tissue, organ or person, to a family, organization or nation) depends on good communication – good communication within, as well as with the external environment. All communication in the body eventually takes place via very subtle electromagnetic signaling between cells that is now being disrupted by artificial electropollution we have not had time to adapt to. As Alvin Toffler emphasized in Future Shock, too much change in too short a time produces severe stress due to adaptational failure. The adverse effects of electrosmog may take decades to be appreciated, although some, like carcinogenicity, are already starting to surface. This gigantic experiment on our children and grandchildren could result in massive damage to mind and body with the potential to produce a disaster of unprecedented proportions, unless proper precautions are immediately implemented. At the same time, we must acknowledge that novel electromagnetic therapies have been shown to benefit stress- related disorders ranging from anxiety, depression and insomnia, to arthritis, migraine and tension headaches. As demonstrated in Bioelectromagnetic Medicine, they may also be much safer and more effective than drugs, so we need to avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”
B. Blake Levitt, former New York Times journalist and author of Electromagnetic Fields, A Consumer’s Guide to the Issues and How to Protect Ourselves; Editor of Cell Towers, Wireless Convenience? Or Environmental Hazard?:
“Ambient man-made electromagnetic fields (EMFs), across a range of frequencies, are a serious environmental issue. Yet most environmentalists know little about it, perhaps because the subject has been the purview of physicists and engineers for so long that biologists have lost touch with electromagnetism’s fundamental inclusion in the biological paradigm. All living cells and indeed whole living beings, no matter what genus or species, are dynamic coherent electrical systems utterly reliant on bioelectricity for life’s most basic metabolic processes. It turns out that most living things are fantastically sensitive to vanishingly small EMF exposures. Living cells interpret such exposures as part of our normal cellular activities (think heartbeats, brainwaves, cell division itself, etc.) The problem is, man-made electromagnetic exposures aren’t “normal”. They are artificial artifacts, with unusual intensities, signaling characteristics, pulsing patterns, and wave forms, that don’t exist in nature. And they can misdirect cells in myriad ways. Every aspect of the ecosystem may be affected, including all living species from animals, humans, plants and even microorganisms in water and soil. We are already seeing problems in sentinel species like birds, bats, and bees. Wildlife is known to abandon areas when cell towers are placed. Radiofrequency radiation (RF) – the part of the electromagnetic spectrum used in all-things-wireless today – is a known immune system suppressor, among other things. RF is a form of energetic air pollution and we need to understand it as such. Humans are not the only species being affected. The health of our planet may be in jeopardy from this newest environmental concern – added to all the others. Citizens need to call upon government to fund appropriate research and to get industry influence out of the dialogue. We ignore this at our own peril now.”
by Robert Riversong: may be reproduced only with attribution for non-commercial purposes