[NetBehaviour] FW: Interesting article sent wirelessly.
rich at counterwork.co.uk
Sat Feb 4 15:10:20 CET 2006
The Largest Biological Experiment Ever
by Arthur Firstenberg
In 2002, Gro Harlem Brundtland, then head of the World Health
Organization, told a Norwegian journalist that cell phones were banned
from her office in Geneva because she personally becomes ill if a cell
phone is brought within about four meters (13 feet) of her. Mrs.
Brundtland is a medical doctor and former Prime Minister of Norway.
This sensational news, published March 9, 2002 in Dagbladet, was
ignored by every other newspaper in the world. The following week
Michael Repacholi, her subordinate in charge of the International EMF
(electromagnetic field) Project, responded with a public statement
belittling his boss¹s concerns. Five months later, for reasons that
many suspect were related to these circumstances, Mrs. Brundtland
announced she would step down from her leadership post at the WHO after
just one term.
Nothing could better illustrate our collective schizophrenia when it
comes to thinking about electromagnetic radiation. We respond to those
who are worried about its dangers hence the International EMF Project
but we ignore and marginalize those, like Mrs. Brundtland, who have
already succumbed to its effects.
As a consultant on the health effects of wireless technology, I receive
calls that can be broadly divided into two main groups: those from
people who are merely worried, whom I will call A, and those from
people who are already sick, whom I will call B. I sometimes wish I
could arrange a large conference call and have the two groups talk to
each other there needs to be more mutual understanding so that we are
all trying to solve the same problems. Caller A, worried, commonly asks
what kind of shield to buy for his cell phone or what kind of headset
to wear with it. Sometimes he wants to know what is a safe distance to
live from a cell tower. Caller B, sick, wants to know what kind of
shielding to put on her house, what kind of medical treatment to get,
or, increasingly often, what part of the country she could move to to
escape the radiation to save her life.
The following is designed as a sort of a primer: first, to help
everybody get more or less on the same page, and second, to clear up
some of the confusions so that we can make rational decisions toward a
The most basic fact about cell phones and cell towers is that they emit
microwave radiation; so do Wi-Fi (wireless Internet) antennas, wireless
computers, cordless (portable) phones and their base units, and all
other wireless devices. If it¹s a communication device and it¹s not
attached to the wall by a wire, it¹s emitting radiation. Most Wi-Fi
systems and some cordless phones operate at the exact same frequency as
a microwave oven, while other devices use a different frequency. Wi-Fi
is always on and always radiating. The base units of most cordless
phones are always radiating, even when no one is using the phone. A
cell phone that is on but not in use is also radiating. And, needless
to say, cell towers are always radiating.
Why is this a problem, you might ask? Scientists usually divide the
electromagnetic spectrum into ³ionizing² and ³non-ionizing.² Ionizing
radiation, which includes x-rays and atomic radiation, causes cancer.
Non-ionizing radiation, which includes microwave radiation, is supposed
to be safe. This distinction always reminded me of the propaganda in
George Orwell¹s Animal Farm: ³Four legs good, two legs bad.²
³Non-ionizing good, ionizing bad² is as little to be trusted.
An astronomer once quipped that if Neil Armstrong had taken a cell
phone to the Moon in 1969, it would have appeared to be the third most
powerful source of microwave radiation in the universe, next only to
the Sun and the Milky Way. He was right. Life evolved with negligible
levels of microwave radiation. An increasing number of scientists
speculate that our own cells, in fact, use the microwave spectrum to
communicate with one another, like children whispering in the dark, and
that cell phones, like jackhammers, interfere with their signaling. In
any case, it is a fact that we are all being bombarded, day in and day
out, whether we use a cell phone or not, by an amount of microwave
radiation that is some ten million times as strong as the average
natural background. And it is also a fact that most of this radiation
is due to technology that has been developed since the 1970s.
As far as cell phones themselves are concerned, if you put one up to
your head you are damaging your brain in a number of different ways.
First, think of a microwave oven. A cell phone, like a microwave oven
and unlike a hot shower, heats you from the inside out, not from the
outside in. And there are no sensory nerve endings in the brain to warn
you of a rise in temperature because we did not evolve with microwave
radiation, and this never happens in nature. Worse, the structure of
the head and brain is so complex and non-uniform that ³hot spots² are
produced, where heating can be tens or hundreds of times what it is
nearby. Hot spots can occur both close to the surface of the skull and
deep within the brain, and also on a molecular level.
Cell phones are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, and
you can find, in the packaging of most new phones, a number called the
Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR, which is supposed to indicate the
rate at which energy is absorbed by the brain from that particular
model. One problem, however, is the arbitrary assumption, upon which
the FCC¹s regulations are based, that the brain can safely dissipate
added heat at a rate of up to 1 degree C per hour. Compounding this is
the scandalous procedure used to demonstrate compliance with these
limits and give each cell phone its SAR rating. The standard way to
measure SAR is on a ³phantom² consisting, incredibly, of a homogenous
fluid encased in Plexiglas in the shape of a head. Presto, no hot
spots! But in reality, people who use cell phones for hours per day are
chronically heating places in their brain. The FCC¹s safety standard,
by the way, was developed by electrical engineers, not doctors.
The Blood-Brain Barrier
The second effect that I want to focus on, which has been proven in the
laboratory, should by itself have been enough to shut down this
industry and should be enough to scare away anyone from ever using a
cell phone again. I call it the ³smoking gun² of cell phone
experiments. Like most biological effects of microwave radiation, this
has nothing to do with heating.
The brain is protected by tight junctions between adjacent cells of
capillary walls, the so-called blood-brain barrier, which, like a
border patrol, lets nutrients pass through from the blood to the brain,
but keeps toxic substances out. Since 1988, researchers in the
laboratory of a Swedish neurosurgeon, Leif Salford, have been running
variations on this simple experiment: they expose young laboratory rats
to either a cell phone or other source of microwave radiation, and
later they sacrifice the animals and look for albumin in their brain
tissue. Albumin is a protein that is a normal component of blood but
that does not normally cross the blood-brain barrier. The presence of
albumin in brain tissue is always a sign that blood vessels have been
damaged and that the brain has lost some of its protection.
Here is what these researchers have found, consistently for 18 years:
Microwave radiation, at doses equal to a cell phone¹s emissions, causes
albumin to be found in brain tissue. A one-time exposure to an ordinary
cell phone for just two minutes causes albumin to leak into the brain.
In one set of experiments, reducing the exposure level by a factor of
1,000 actually increased the damage to the blood-brain barrier, showing
that this is not a dose-response effect and that reducing the power
will not make wireless technology safer. And finally, in research
published in June 2003, a single two-hour exposure to a cell phone,
just once during its lifetime, permanently damaged the blood-brain
barrier and, on autopsy 50 days later, was found to have damaged or
destroyed up to 2 percent of an animal¹s brain cells, including cells
in areas of the brain concerned with learning, memory and movement.1
Reducing the exposure level by a factor of 10 or 100, thereby
duplicating the effect of wearing a headset, moving a cell phone
further from your body, or standing next to somebody else¹s phone, did
not appreciably change the results! Even at the lowest exposure, half
the animals had a moderate to high number of damaged neurons.
The implications for us? Two minutes on a cell phone disrupts the
blood-brain barrier, two hours on a cell phone causes permanent brain
damage, and secondhand radiation may be almost as bad. The blood-brain
barrier is the same in a rat and a human being.
These results caused enough of a commotion in Europe that in November
2003 a conference was held, sponsored by the European Union, titled
³The Blood-Brain Barrier Can It Be Influenced by RF [radio
frequency]-Field Interactions?² as if to reassure the public: ³See, we
are doing something about this.² But, predictably, nothing was done
about it, as nothing has been done about it for 30 years.
America¹s Allan Frey, during the 1970s, was the first of many to
demonstrate that low-level microwave radiation damages the blood-brain
barrier.2 Similar mechanisms protect the eye (the blood-vitreous
barrier) and the fetus (the placental barrier), and the work of Frey
and others indicates that microwave radiation damages those barriers
also.3 The implication:
No pregnant woman should ever be using a cell phone.
Dr. Salford is quite outspoken about his work. He has called the use of
cell phones ³the largest human biological experiment ever.² And he has
publicly warned that a whole generation of cell-phone-using teenagers
may suffer from mental deficits or Alzheimer¹s disease by the time they
reach middle age.
Unfortunately, cell phone users are not the only ones being injured,
nor should we be worried only about the brain. The following brief
summary is distilled from a vast scientific literature on the effects
of radio waves (a larger spectrum which includes microwaves), together
with the experiences of scientists and doctors all over the world with
whom I am in contact.
Organs that have been shown to be especially susceptible to radio waves
include the lungs, nervous system, heart, eyes, testes and thyroid
gland. Diseases that have increased remarkably in the last couple of
decades, and that there is good reason to connect with the massive
increase in radiation in our environment, include asthma, sleep
disorders, anxiety disorders, attention deficit disorder, autism,
multiple sclerosis, ALS, Alzheimer¹s disease, epilepsy, fibromyalgia,
chronic fatigue syndrome, cataracts, hypothyroidism, diabetes,
malignant melanoma, testicular cancer, and heart attacks and strokes in
young people. Radiation from microwave towers has also been associated
with forest die-off, reproductive failure and population decline in
many species of birds, and ill health and birth deformities in farm
animals. The literature showing biological effects of microwave
radiation is truly enormous, running to tens of thousands of documents,
and I am amazed that industry spokespersons are getting away with
saying that wireless technology has been proved safe or just as
ridiculous that there is no evidence of harm.
I have omitted one disease from the above list: the illness that Caller
B has, and that I have. A short history is in order here. In the 1950s
and 1960s workers who built, tested and repaired radar equipment came
down with this disease in large numbers. So did operators of industrial
microwave heaters and sealers. The Soviets named it, appropriately,
radio wave sickness, and studied it extensively. In the West its
existence was denied totally, but workers came down with it anyway.
Witness congressional hearings held in 1981, chaired by then
Representative Al Gore, on the health effects of radio-frequency
heaters and sealers, another episode in ³See, we are doing something
about this,² while nothing is done.
Today, with the mass proliferation of radio towers and personal
transmitters, the disease has spread like a plague into the general
population. Estimates of its prevalence range up to one-third of the
population, but it is rarely recognized for what it is until it has so
disabled a person that he or she can no longer participate in society.
You may recognize some of its common symptoms: insomnia, dizziness,
nausea, headaches, fatigue, memory loss, inability to concentrate,
depression, chest discomfort, ringing in the ears. Patients may also
develop medical problems such as chronic respiratory infections, heart
arrhythmias, sudden fluctuations in blood pressure, uncontrolled blood
sugar, dehydration, and even seizures and internal bleeding.
What makes this disease so difficult to accept, and even more difficult
to cope with, is that no treatment is likely to succeed unless one can
also avoid exposure to its cause and its cause is now everywhere. A
1998 survey by the California Department of Health Services indicated
that at that time 120,000 Californians and by implication 1 million
Americans were unable to work due to electromagnetic pollution.4 The
ranks of these so-called electrically sensitive are swelling in almost
every country in the world, marginalized, stigmatized and ignored. With
the level of radiation everywhere today, they almost never recover and
sometimes take their own lives.
³They are acting as a warning for all of us,² says Dr. Olle Johansson
of people with this illness. ³It could be a major mistake to subject
the entire world¹s population to whole-body irradiation, 24 hours a
day.² A neuroscientist at the famous Karolinska Institute in Stockholm,
Dr. Johansson heads a research team that is documenting a significant
and permanent worsening of the public health that began precisely when
the second-generation, 1800 MHz cell phones were introduced into Sweden
in late l997.5,6 After a decade-long decline, the number of Swedish
workers on sick leave began to rise in late 1997 and more than doubled
during the next five years. During the same period of time, sales of
antidepressant drugs also doubled. The number of traffic accidents,
after declining for years, began to climb again in 1997. The number of
deaths from Alzheimer¹s disease, after declining for several years,
rose sharply in 1999 and had nearly doubled by 2001. This two-year
delay is understandable when one considers that Alzheimer¹s disease
requires some time to develop.
If cell phones and cell towers are really deadly, have the radio and TV
towers that we have been living with for a century been safe? In 2002
Örjan Hallberg and Olle Johansson coauthored a paper titled ³Cancer
Trends During the 20th Century,² which examined one aspect of that
question.7 They found, in the United States, Sweden and dozens of other
countries, that mortality rates for skin melanoma and for bladder,
prostate, colon, breast and lung cancers closely paralleled the degree
of public exposure to radio waves during the past hundred years. When
radio broadcasting increased in a given location, so did those forms of
cancer; when it decreased, so did those forms of cancer. And, a
sensational finding: country by country and county by county in
Sweden they found, statistically, that exposure to radio waves
appears to be as big a factor in causing lung cancer as cigarette
Which brings me to address a widespread misconception. The biggest
difference between the cell towers of today and the radio towers of the
past is not their safety, but their numbers. The number of ordinary
radio stations in the United States today is still less than 14,000.
But cell towers and Wi-Fi towers number in the hundreds of thousands,
and cell phones, wireless computers, cordless telephones and two-way
radios number in the hundreds of millions. Radar facilities and
emergency communication networks are also proliferating out of control.
Since 1978, when the Environmental Protection Agency last surveyed the
radio frequency environment in the United States, the average urban
dweller¹s exposure to radio waves has increased 1,000-fold, most of
this increase occurring in just the last nine years.8 In the same
period of time, radio pollution has spread from the cities to rest like
a ubiquitous fog over the entire planet.
The vast human consequences of all this are being ignored. Since the
late 1990s a whole new class of environmental refugees has been created
right here in the United States. We have more and more people, sick,
dying, seeking relief from our suffering, leaving our homes and our
livelihoods, living in cars, trailers and tents in remote places.
Unlike victims of hurricanes and earthquakes, we are not the subject of
any relief efforts. No one is donating money to help us, to buy us a
protected refuge; no one is volunteering to forego their cell phones,
their wireless computers and their cordless phones so that we can once
more be their neighbors and live among them.
The worried and the sick have not yet opened their hearts to each
other, but they are asking questions. To answer caller A: No shield or
headset will protect you from your cell or portable phone. There is no
safe distance from a cell tower. If your cell phone or your wireless
computer works where you live, you are being irradiated 24 hours a day.
To caller B: To effectively shield a house is difficult and rarely
successful. There are only a few doctors in the United States
attempting to treat radio wave sickness, and their success rate is poor
because there are few places left on Earth where one can go to escape
this radiation and recover.
Yes, radiation comes down from satellites, too; they are part of the
problem, not the solution. There is simply no way to make wireless
Our society has become both socially and economically dependent, in
just one short decade, upon a technology that is doing tremendous
damage to the fabric of our world. The more entrenched we let ourselves
become in it, the more difficult it will become to change our course.
The time to extricate ourselves, both individually and collectively
difficult though it is already is is now.
1. Leif G. Salford et al., ³Nerve Cell Damage in Mammalian Brain After
Exposure to Microwaves from GSM Mobile Phones,² Environmental Health
Perspectives 111, no. 7 (2003): 881883.
2. Allan H. Frey, Sondra R. Feld and Barbara Frey, ³Neural Function and
Behavior,² Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 247 (1975):
3. Allan H. Frey, ³Evolution and Results
of Biological Research with Low-Intensity Nonionizing Radiation,² in
Modern Bioelectricity, ed. Andrew A. Marino (New York: Dekker, 1988),
785837, at 809810.
4. California EMF Program, The Risk Evaluation: An Evaluation of the
Possible Risks From Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMFs) From Power
Lines, Internal Wiring, Electrical Occupations and Appliances (2002),
5. Örjan Hallberg and Olle Johansson, ³1997 A Curious Year in
Sweden,² European Journal of Cancer Prevention 13, no. 6 (2004):
6. Örjan Hallberg and Olle Johansson, ³Does GSM 1800 MHz Affect the
Public Health in Sweden?² in Proceedings of the 3rd International
Workshop ³Biological Effects of EMFs,² Kos, Greece, October 4-8, 2004,
7. Örjan Hallberg and Olle Johansson, ³Cancer Trends During the 20th
Journal of Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine
21, no. 1 (2002): 38.
8. David E. Janes Jr., ³Radiofrequency Environments in the United
States,² in 15th IEEE Conference on Communication, Boston, MA, June
1014, 1979, vol. 2, 188.8.131.52.5.
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