(The second of four posts linking cellphones, cellphone towers and Wi-Fi to cancer and other severe health problems – and the global die-off of honey bees.)
Both light and radio waves are natural forms of EMR (electromagnetic radiation) that surround us in the natural environment. EMR can be divided into high energy, or ionizing radiation, and low-energy non-ionizing radiation. The ionizing radiation, like x-rays and nuclear radiation, actually smashes our fragile biochemistry, like the proverbial bull in a China shop. There’s no controversy about the damage that it causes. The dangers of non-ionizing radiation are more subtle. Microwave ovens, cellphones, Wi-Fi, radar equipment and high voltage lines produce large amounts of EMR of a different frequency than human beings are exposed to naturally. Scientists have been concerned about potential health risks of microwave exposure since the 1930s, when mechanics working on early radar equipment complained of rashes, headaches and flu-like illnesses.
Following the release of the 2007 Bioinitiative Report (which shows European cancer rates tripling after the installation of cellphone towers), the European Environment Agency issued warnings on “electrosmog” from cellphones, Wi-Fi and cellphone towers. It’s easy to forget that all of us are constantly exposed to artificially high EMR levels – also known as electrosmog – even if we don’t use cellphones, cordless phones or Wi-Fi, or only use them at a safe distance from our bodies.
Despite hundreds of studies showing that EMR has biological effects (mainly DNA breakage and cell membrane leakage of nerve cells), the FDA bows to industry pressure to use ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation) standards. The latter only measure the “thermal” or heating of effects of EMR. And since there is no heating at the low levels emitted from Wi-Fi or cell phone towers, the FDA draws the illogical conclusion electrosmog poses no health risk. Despite hundreds of studies linking Wi-Fi and cellphone towers to cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, fatigue, headaches, multiple sclerosis (MS), impaired memory and behavior problems in children.
Electrohypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS)
Approximately 3% of the population (including children exposed to Wi-Fi routers in schools) suffer from a serious condition caused by exposure to EMR known as Electrosensitivty Syndrome (ES) or Electrohypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS). It’s a condition, well recognized by environmental physicians, characterized by headaches, disrupted sleep, chronic fatigue, depression, erratic blood pressure, rapid pulse, rashes, nausea and childhood behavior problems. In some patients, it can look a lot like MS. In fact, patients with MS often have a worsening of their symptoms when exposed to EMR.
Unfortunately, other conditions linked to EMR take much longer to develop (10-15 years). This means it could scientists take 50 years or more to collect the “conclusive proof” necessary to force the FDA to regulate exposure.
The European Position
Following the 2007 Bioinitiative Report, many French and English schools dismantled their Wi-Fi systems and replaced them with cables. The German government has issued a warning that all citizens avoid Wi-Fi use at home and at work. Likewise the Austrian Medical Association has recommended all Wi-Fi be replaced with cables. The position taken by the Swedish government, which formally recognizes EHS as a disability, is the strongest. They will remove Wi-Fi from the school of any student suffering from EHS, as well as providing microwave opaque paint and/or wall coverings for the homes of EHS patients.
What Should Americans Do?
Owing to massive corruption in the FDA and other federal regulatory agencies, Americans are still pretty much on their own in protecting themselves against excessive EMR exposure.
Yet there are still steps they can take to practice what researcher Dr Magda Havas refers to as “good electromagnetic hygiene”:
1. Replace cordless with corded phones.
2. Replace Wi-Fi internet hook-ups with an Ethernet cable.
3. Use cellphones as little as possible and only in speaker mode (Bluetooth devices and regular head phones also give off microwaves – only air tube headsets are safe). Men should never carry cellphones in their or waist band, as they lower sperm production and quality (the FCC carried this warning on their website for 10 months but removed it in November 2010, under industry pressure.
4. Do NOT use CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs – although good for environment, the erratic currents they produce are linked to health problems. Here are some energy efficient alternatives.
5. Do NOT use electric blankets or water beds
6. Keep alarm clock radios at least 2 meters from your bed
7. Measure EMR radio frequency in your home and install radio frequency-reflecting window film or fabric to shield from external sources
8. Measure “dirty” electricity (erratic currents from CFLs) in your home and install filters if values are above 50 GS units.
9. Use “wired” – not wireless – smart meters/
10. Do not live in a home within 100 meters of transmission lines or within 400 meters of cell phone antennas.
See the 2014 midyear Bioinitiative Working Group report for the most recent peer review research linking EMR exposure and brain cancer, allergies, immune problems and nervous system effects, such as hyperactivity, concentration problems, anxiety, irritability, disorientation, distracted behavior, sleep disorders, and headaches. The BWG specifically warns against Wi-Fi in schools.
photo credit: keepstill via photopin cc