Why would the CEO of Belgacom, Belgiums’ equivalent of BT, have banned wifi from his 27th floor office, preferring to use wired connections, ask callers to call him back on his land line rather than his mobile and warn children that they should turn off their mobile phones at night and not use them as alarm clocks? (See here if you don’t believe me!) Could it just be that, even at the heart of the telephone industry, they are getting worried about the possible fallout from the stratospheric growth in wireless technology – and the man-made electromagnetic radiation to which is it subjecting us all?
They should be. Well, they should be if they pay attention to the ever growing mountain of peer-reviewed research papers suggesting that excess electromagnetic radiation could have dire public health consequences for those who are subjected to it. Many of these papers are referenced in the recently published Bioinitiative Report 2012, the work of 25 odd top scientitists, public health and public policy experts who have ‘assessed scientific evidence on health impacts from electromagnetic radiation below current public exposure limits with the purpose of evaluating what changes in these limits are warranted now to reduce possible public health risks in the future.’ They have looked at over 1800 new studies published in the last five years, all of which report adverse health effects at exposure levels ten to hundreds or thousands of times lower than allowed under safety limits in most countries of the world.
The possible link between mobile phone use and brain cancer is now well known, if not always accepted, but that is only one of a myriad of adverse health effects that have been logged. One of the scariest, as far as I am concerned, is the mounting evidence that just carrying a mobile phone in your pocket or on your belt, without even using it, can damage human sperm and their DNA beyond repair. I quote:
Human sperm are damaged by cell phone radiation at very low intensities in the low microwatt and nanowatt/cm2 range (0.00034 – 0.07 uW/cm2). There is a veritable flood of new studies reporting sperm damage in humans and animals, leading to substantial concerns for fertility, reproduction and health of the offspring. Exposure levels are similar to those resulting from wearing a cell phone on the belt, or in the pants pocket, or using a wireless laptop computer on the lap. Sperm lack the ability to repair DNA damage.
Several international laboratories have replicated studies showing adverse effects on sperm quality, motility and pathology in men who use and particularly those who wear a cell phone, PDA or pager on their belt or in a pocket (Agarwal et al, 2008; Agarwal et al, 2009; Wdowiak et al, 2007; De Iuliis et al, 2009; Fejes et al, 2005; Aitken et al, 2005; Kumar, 2012).
Other studies conclude that usage of cell phones, exposure to cell phone radiation, or storage of a mobile phone close to the testes of human males affect sperm counts, motility, viability and structure (Aitken et al, 2004; Agarwal et al, 2007; Erogul et al., 2006).
Animal studies have demonstrated oxidative and DNA damage, pathological changes in the testes of animals, decreased sperm mobility and viability, and other measures of deleterious damage to the male germ line (Dasdag et al, 1999; Yan et al, 2007; Otitoloju et al, 2010; Salama et al, 2008; Behari et al, 2006; Kumar et al, 2012).
There are fewer animal studies that have studied effects of cell phone radiation on female fertility parameters. Panagopoulous et al. 2012 report decreased ovarian development and size of ovaries, and premature cell death of ovarian follicles and nurse cells in Drosophila melanogaster.
Gul et al (2009) report rats exposed to stand-by level RFR (phones on but not transmitting calls) caused decrease in the number of ovarian follicles in pups born to these exposed dams.
Magras and Xenos (1997) reported irreversible infertility in mice after five (5) generations of exposure to RFR at cell phone tower exposure levels of less than one microwatt per centimeter squared (μW/cm2).
Then of course there is the increased risk for children and the foetus, the growing likelihood that excess electromagnetic radiation (EMR) may be implicated in the huge rise in cases of autism, the possibility that EMR may be breaching the blood-brain barrier (not to mention the blood-ocular, blood-placenta, blood-gut and blood-testes barriers). And what about the significant number of studies linking EMR with genotoxic outcomes, neurological conditions, childhood leukemia, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease……
If you want to know more you can download the whole report for yourself from www.bioinitiative.org
Not, of course, that even this mountain of evidence will convince everyone. ‘Unbelievers’ will point (as does Dr James Rubin in his 2010 ‘review of provocation studies’ and as did Dr Ben Goldacre in a much quoted blog from 2007) to the fact that, in numerous ‘provocation studies’, so-called electro-sensitives have been unable to tell the difference between a ‘live’ mobile phone and a dummy one. Therefore, although the symptoms from which they suffer may be perfectly genuine symptoms, they are not caused by electromagnetic radiation. The trouble is that the premise on which the studies were based was totally misbegotten.
If someone has a raging outbreak of eczema and is itching all over, asking them to stroke a cat to see whether cat dander triggers their eczema is pointless. They will already be itching so much, and the outbreak may have been set off by so many different triggers, that it would be completely impossible to assess whether stroking the cat has made any difference. If you want to test whether cat dander triggers their eczema they need that eczema to be totally dormant and for there to be no other possible eczema triggers present – and then ask them to stroke the cat and see what happens.
Similarly, if someone is suffering from symptoms which have been caused by excess electromagnetic radiation, their symptoms are going to be, like the itchy eczema sufferer’s, so overwhelming that adding one extra trigger (be it cat or live mobile phone) is going to make very little difference to their level of symptoms. But, in these studies, the ‘test’ of whether or not the subject is genuinely reacting to electromagnetic radiation is whether they react to a ‘live’ mobile phone but not to a dummy one.
Further more, unless the environment in which the test is carried out is totally electrically ‘clean’, there is no way of knowing whether the subjects are reacting to the mobile phone or to some other source of EMR in the vicinity.
Even if these provocation studies were done in an electrically clean environment (which I doubt that they were) they most certainly were not done with symptom-free electrosensitives.
As with the eczema sufferer and the cat, the only way that you can genuinely test whether an ‘electrosensitive’ is reacting to the ‘live’ mobile phone is by ensuring first that they are symptom free, so that that any symptoms/reactions they suffer do not get confused with any pre-existing symptoms or reactions, and then by ensuring that the test is done in a virginally electrically clean environment so that if there is a reaction to can be attributed to the mobile phone and not to some other EMR-radiating device in the vicinity.
That would be a study that was well worth doing and which would have some validity.
Meanwhile, if you want to know more about electrosensitivity, there is a mass of information on the FoodsMatter site here – where you will also find links to the many other organisations providing information and support for electrosensitivity sufferers.