Saturday, July 07, 2007

UK Independent: "Two in three believe cell phone radiation damaged their health"

Two in three believe radiation from phones damaged their health

By Geoffrey Lean

Published: 08 July 2007

Independent on Sunday Newspaper

Two-thirds of Britons believe radiation from mobile phones and their masts has affected their health, a startling official survey shows. And huge majorities are dissatisfied with government assurances about the potential threat.

The survey is the result of a giant European Union exercise that polled more than 27,000 people across the continent, 1,375 of them in Britain. It shows that concern about the radiation is far greater than even the most ardent campaigners had dared to believe, and that official attempts to downplay the issue have backfired.

It also goes some way to explain the overwhelming public response received by The Independent on Sunday since we started raising questions about the effect of the radiation on people and wildlife in April.

This month, two councils - Haringey in London and Carmarthenshire in Wales - will be considering whether to allow Wi-Fi in their schools, after concern expressed by Sir William Stewart, the chairman of the Health Protection Agency. Sir William told the BBC's Panorama, "I believe that there is a need for a review of the Wi-Fi and other areas ... I think it's timely for it to be done now."

The survey, by the EU's Eurobarometer programme, which samples opinion across the continent, found 65 per cent of Britons believed mobile phones affected their health, and 71 per cent thought the masts did.

Across Europe, the figures were 73 and 76 per cent respectively, sharply up from 55 and 58 per cent five years ago.

Recent years have seen increasing evidence of risks from the phones. Scandinavian studies have suggested that people who have used them for more than 10 years are much more likely to get brain tumours, and thatthe radiation kills brain cells, which could lead to today's young people being senile from their forties.

There is much less evidence on effects from the masts, but studies have revealed a worrying incidence of symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, nausea and memory problems. Campaigners also claim they may cause cancers.

The survey shows that more than half of Britons are "very" or "fairly" concerned about such potential health effects, despite efforts at reassurance by ministers, officials and some scientists. Moreover, it reveals great dissatisfaction with the information they are given.

Nearly three-quarters of Britons say they are "not very well" or "not at all" informed about the official "protection framework" against the "potential health risks" from the radiation.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Mainichi News: "Overuse a cell, and zap your brain cells."

The once silent - about EMR - Japanese media seems to have started to cover the EMR issue in Japan. Hopefully, this trend will continue. The only reason for this that one can fathom can only be the steep escalating number of people being made sick here from it is that it is just becoming too difficult to ignore.

Overuse a cell, and zap your brain cells.

Using a mobile phone gives an unbearable headache; simply walking by a utility pole brings on nausea -- these are just a couple of symptoms often felt by the growing number of Japanese suffering from electromagnetic wave hypersensitivity, according to Sunday Mainichi (7/8).

No standards exist to judge whether someone has picked up the crippling disease and there's no known cure.

The afflicted suffer physically and mentally, yet because their condition is not recognized as a disease, they receive little support from those around them. And they can receive little respite, either, with electromagnetic waves almost literally everywhere around them.

"Electromagnetic waves are like the radiation leaked from high-voltage power lines, electrical booster stations, power stations, microwave ovens, mobile phones and other electronic goods," Shoya Ogino, head of the Electromagnetic Wave Environment Laboratory, tells Sunday Mainichi. "Electromagnetic waves are around everywhere you can find electricity."

Mutsuo Sano found out he'd developed electromagnetic wave hypersensitivity after undergoing an MRI examination back in 1993.

"The examination went on for 1 hour, 40 minutes and I collapsed as soon as it finished," Sano tells Sunday Mainichi. "My head and chest were searing with a pain that felt something like a burn. I couldn't sleep for three days afterwards."

Sano received painkillers, which provided some relief, but as soon as he stopped taking them, the symptoms would return. He sought help from a dozen hospitals, but was told his pain was all in the mind. Finally, he was told he had electromagnetic wave hypersensitivity. Ever since, he's moved house six times to avoid high-voltage power lines or mobile phone transmission bases. He can't use a computer, or mobile phone, must sit at least 6 meters away from his TV and can't stand for long in front of his fridge.

Sadatoshi Okubo, head of an activist group dedicated to research electromagnetic waves, says his group gets about 30 calls a month from people suspecting they have the same condition as Sano.

"We started getting more and more calls from about five years ago, just as mobile phones were becoming more deeply involved in people's lives," Okubo says. "What really stood out was the number of people who complained that their ears felt like they were burning every time they used their mobile."

Motoharu Miyoshi, the head of the Hosumekku Clinic in Kanagawa Prefecture, says he has found electromagnetic wave hypersensitivity in about 60 people.

"It's really hard to diagnose and I just have to guess by asking patients about their condition," Miyoshi tells Sunday Mainichi, adding the only way to deal with the condition is to try and avoid being near electromagnetic wave sources. "The only way you can tell the difference between what they're feeling and depression or other nervous disorders is to hear what happened to them just before they started feeling sick." (By Ryann Connell)

June 29, 2007

WaiWai stories are transcriptions of articles that originally appeared in Japanese language publications. The Mainichi Daily News cannot be held responsible for the contents of the original articles, nor does it guarantee their accuracy. Views expressed in the WaiWai column are not necessarily those held by the Mainichi Daily News or Mainichi Newspapers Co.

Townsend Letter: (July 2007) "Hazards of WiFi" or "WiFi Blues"

Wireless broadband Internet access is all the rage.
The noise is drowning out concerns for this technology's risks.

Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love is going to have it; many in San Francisco want it: wireless broadband Internet access (WiFi)1 seems too good to be true. At relatively low cost, anyone can get on the Internet anywhere in a city. All the city needs to do is install a network of WiFi antennas. An often-repeated argument in favor of citywide WiFi is that it will help close the digital divide, since the poorer you are, the more limited your access to the Internet and its wealth of information resources. Cities like Philadelphia and San Francisco are actively trying to close the digital gap. One option is WiFi.

Yet, in weighing the options, virtually nothing is heard about the potential health risks. Saturating an entire city with WiFi adds to the existing burden of radio frequency radiation (RFR). That burden, called electrosmog 2 by some, consists of long-term, low-level exposure to non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation in the radio frequency and microwave range from familiar sources like radio and TV broadcast signals, radar, and the ubiquitous cell phone.

Health Risks
Henry Lai, PhD, has been researching the biological and health effects of RFR for 35 years. His research focuses on the effects of RFR in the range used by cell phones and other wireless technologies. His laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle is the single remaining lab in the US that conducts such research. Ten years ago, Dr. Lai's laboratory was one of four.

There is no funding in the United States for research of the biological and health effects of RFR and electromagnetic fields (EMF). No foundation, government agency, or corporation will lay down money to help clarify the science behind concerns about WiFi, cell phones, and other wireless devices. Dr. Lai keeps his lab going by doing cancer research, some of it concerning the use of electromagnetic radiation to treat cancer.

In Europe, there are many well-funded projects in RFR research. Citizens are more organized. Public figures have championed the issue. And the European Union has a much greater public health orientation than the United States. These days we have to rely on the Europeans for the science of wireless technology health risks. 3

It was not always so. For example, in the early 1990s, the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) came up with $25 million for research into the potential health effects of cell phones. The CTIA is the cell phone industry's trade organization. Their intention was to lay concerns about cell phones to rest. The Wireless Technology Research (WTR) program administered the funds and research program. When the $25 million was spent, the WTR final report submitted in 2000 recommended further study. The CTIA cut a deal with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to spend another $1 million to review further research. 4 The money is still there. The FDA has been waiting since 1999 when the deal with CTIA was cut to spend the money. According to the FDA website, "the FDA plans to convene a meeting in the near future to evaluate all completed, ongoing, and planned research, looking at health effects associated with the use of wireless communication devices, and to identify knowledge gaps that may warrant additional research." 5

Initially, the WTR found no cause for concern. But in 1995, Dr. Lai and his colleague NP Singh, PhD, found that exposing the brain cells of rats to RFR at a level similar to cell phones produced breaks in strands of DNA. Their discovery was a turning point in the research and in the CTIA's enthusiasm for the project. Dr. Lai and Dr. Singh had uncovered a mechanism that explained how RFR exposure might cause health effects. 6

Since 1990, Dr. Lai has maintained a database of research on the effects of RFR on humans, lab animals, and cell cultures. He has amassed over 300 studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. To avoid bias, he excludes his own research from the database. Of these studies, 56% show a biological or health effect 7 from exposure to RFR. These effects include the following:

• cancer;8
• genetic effects, such as to DNA;9
• cellular and molecular effects, such as reduction in enzymes critical to the central nervous system;10
• changes in electrophysiology, such as reduced activity between nerve cells;11 and
• physiological and behavioral changes, such as impairment of peripheral vision.12

Biased Research?
An interesting thing happens when the studies from Dr. Lai's database are placed in two stacks: one stack containing studies funded by the wireless industry (30% of the studies), the other stack of independently funded studies (70%). Of the studies that show a biological or health effect from wireless RFR, 14% are industry-funded, while 86% are independently funded. Of studies showing no effect, 49% are industry-funded, while 51% are independently funded.

To make the point another way, of industry-funded studies, only 27% found an RFR effect. Independently funded studies found an RFR effect 68% of the time. This discrepancy is consistent among the effects listed. Of studies that found an effect on cancer, 11% were industry-funded; 47% were independently funded. Cellular and molecular effects: 19% industry, 69% independent. Electrophysiology effects: 33% industry, 77% independent. Physiological and behavioral effects: 57% industry, 83% independent.

If Dr. Lai's research were included in the tally, the percent of studies showing an effect from RFR would be even greater. But when Dr. Lai is asked about these statistics, he often says that 50% of the studies show an effect. And then he points out that 50% is a significant number, significant enough to justify a precautionary approach that minimizes exposures.

The differences between the industry-funded stack of studies and the independently funded stack suggest bias. Bias enters research through the way a study is designed, the methods used in the study, how data is collected, and how results are interpreted. It might be that some independently funded researchers are biased because they are consumed by a burning passion to eliminate RFR exposures or, even more sinister, destroy the wireless industry. They might have consciously or unconsciously designed their studies, chosen methods, collected data, and interpreted the results to show health effects from RFR. However, the rewards for doing so are not great. Many researchers who advise precaution regarding RFR have been ostracized, or their research funding has been slashed. Careers have been stalled and, in some cases, terminated – hardly circumstances that would encourage jumping on that particular bandwagon. 13

The rewards for producing industry-friendly results are obvious: funding, professional recognition, a clear career path, and employment opportunities in industry. This is not to say that these researchers are dishonest. It is to say that rewards are more likely as a consequence of producing the "right" answers. In other words, researchers typically aren't corrupted into conducting biased research. More often they're already biased, and the rewards flow to them as a consequence. 14

Within each group, whether industry- or independently funded, results don't always agree – some studies show an effect, while others do not, regardless of who did the funding. That difference suggests another kind of problem: scientists don't know enough yet to conduct decisive experiments that can produce something like a professional consensus regarding the biological and health effects of wireless RFR. Many of the scientists who work in this field and who believe that there's ample reason for concern will say that the science is not yet conclusive. 15 This drives some activists crazy. Yet it is a true statement about the state of the science.

We should not be surprised that this lack of conclusive science has led the wireless industry to claim that cell phones and other wireless technologies are safe. The FDA is with them, stating that "[t]he available scientific evidence does not show that any health problems are associated with using wireless phones. There is no proof, however, that wireless phones are absolutely safe." 16 This carefully constructed statement is intended to reassure us. Yet Dr. Lai's database puts the lie to the first sentence: it's simply false. The framework set up for us is that a technology should be adopted, unless there's conclusive evidence that it does harm. Not all regulatory agencies think this way.

The UK's equivalent to the FDA, the Health Protection Agency (HPA), has declared a voluntary moratorium on marketing cell phones to children as a precautionary measure.17 The moratorium has so far been observed by the UK cell phone industry. The HPA opens its discussion of the health risks from cell phones with the following statement:

There is a large body of scientific evidence relating to exposure to radio waves, and there are thousands of published scientific papers covering studies of exposed tissue samples (e.g., cells), animals, and people. It is not difficult to find contradictory results in the literature, and an important role of the HPA Radiological Protection Division (RPD) is to develop judgments on the totality of the evidence in controversial areas of the science. 18

Unlike the FDA, the HPA points to contra-dictory science regarding cell phone radiation. The reassurance is that they're paying attention, not that cell phones very likely don't cause harm. The HPA goes on to cite the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), which reviews the science and recommends standards. The NRPB, and with it the HPA, explicitly adopt a precautionary standard. With regard to children, the NRPB's 2004 report recommends that "…in the absence of new scientific evidence, the recommendation in the Stewart Report on limiting the use of mobile phones by children remains appropriate as a precautionary measure." 19

In 2004, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) decided that they would not permit cell phone antennas on firehouses. The decision was made by resolu-tion at the IAFF's annual delegate assembly. The resolution directed the IAFF to review the potential health risks from cell antennas. If the science demonstrated a risk, then the union would oppose the use of fire stations as sites for cell antennas until further science demonstrated that cell antennas are safe. 20 The resolution was passed in August 2004. In April 2005, the union's Health and Safety Department completed the review of the science. They found more than ample evidence to conclude that the union should oppose cell antennas on fire stations. The position paper included 49 references and a bibliography of 40 citations. 21 Based on that evidence, the resolution cites a wide range of effects experienced by fire fighters:

• slowed reaction times,
• lack of focus,
• lack of impulse control,
• severe headaches,
• anesthesia-like sleep,
• sleep deprivation,
• depression,
• tremors, and
• vertigo. 22

Three things are worth noting about the substance of the resolution and the union's official position. First, the firefighters were focused on their ability to do their job. Second, firefighters were involuntarily exposed to a health risk. And third, the firefighters oppose cell antennas on fire stations until they are proven safe.

The decision that the firefighters faced – a decision we all face – is how to evaluate the safety of wireless technologies and decide what level of involuntary risk we are willing to take:23

• use it unless there's good evidence that it's harmful,
• or don't use it until there's good evidence that it's safe.

So consider this: 47% of independently funded studies found cancer effects, 69% found effects on cell function, 77% found effects on electrical signaling in the body, and 83% found physiological and behavioral effects. Suppose you have several hundred marine biologists study your swimming pool. Forty-seven percent (or 69% or 77% or 83%) of the biologists say you've got a shark in your pool. Would you dive in? Would you let your kids dive in? 24

RFR Exposures
Citywide WiFi is only the latest RFR wireless technology to place us involuntarily at risk. Cell phone networks are the best-known; these include personal digital assistants (PDAs) such as the Blackberry™. Wireless networks at home and at the office are newer than cell phones and are another RFR exposure. Even if you don't have one, your neighbor might, and that will expose you. Also relatively new are the Bluetooth technologies used for applications such as hands-free telephone headsets that operate using RFR. The familiar cordless phone is another RFR exposure that might put you at as much risk as a cell phone. 25

What these technologies share is reciprocal receiving and transmitting of RFR signals between an end-user device and antennas that link the device to a network. There are three characteristics of these RFR signals that are believed to contribute to the biological and health effects of wireless technologies: signal strength, frequency, and modulation. 26

Citywide WiFi uses a signal strength similar to cell phones. Signal strength is measured in watts, a standard unit of energy. Wireless networks for the home and office have less signal strength (although they can be increased with boosters), while Bluetooth devices and cordless phones have even less strength.

All these technologies use roughly the same frequency band: 0.3 to 3 GHz. GHz stands for gigahertz. A hertz is a standard measure of electromagnetic radiation created by sending an alternating electrical current through an antenna that is one cycle per second. A gigahertz is one billion cycles per second. The higher the GHz, the faster the current alternates.

An alternative way of measuring RFR is in wavelength. Wavelengths have an exact and inverse relationship to frequency: higher frequencies correspond to shorter wavelengths. Visible light is electromagnetic radiation with higher frequencies and shorter wavelengths than RFR, with red light having a lower frequency and longer wavelength than blue light.

Modulation refers to whether the signal comes at a constant frequency (as in AM radio and analog cell phone systems) or in pulses (as in FM radio and digital cell phones). All digital wireless technologies are pulsed.

Risk increases with signal strength. The frequencies used by wireless technologies are to some extent "ideal" for affecting our bodies because the wavelengths are at a human scale. Digital (pulsed) signals are of greater risk than analog signals. 27

Short-term, high-intensity exposures to wireless RFR have received the most research attention, in particular the acute affects of cell phones. Far fewer studies have looked at long-term effects of cell phone use let alone the use of other wireless devices. Even less-studied are the effects of the low-intensity, persistent exposure to RFR from cell phone and WiFi antennas.

Much of the discussion about RFR health effects is framed as a concern for people who are electrohypersensitive. Unlike immune-mediated hyper-sensitivity that responds to allergens, electrohypersensitivity is a reaction to nonionizing electromagnetic radiation from video display monitors, cell phones, cordless phones, wireless routers, or other RFR source. Characteristic symptoms of electrohypersensitivity can include any of the following: 28

• localized heat and tingling,
• dry upper respiratory tract and eye irritation,
• brain fog, headache, and nausea,
• swollen mucus membranes,
• muscle and joint pain,
• heart palpitations, and
• progressively severe sensitivity to light.

Critics argue that electro-hypersensitivity is not a physical ailment but a psychological one. Research led by Olle Johansson, MD, at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm identified changes in mast cells in electrohyper-sensi-tives. 29 So Dr. Johansson exposed rats to RFR exposures similar to his human subjects, assuming that the rat psyche is not predisposed to produce the symptoms of electrohypersensitivity. The study produced results similar to what he found in human subjects: enlarged mast cells aggregated close to the surface of the skin. Dr. Johansson went further and tested both electrohypersensitive and nonsensitive human subjects in similar exposures. Though the nonsensitives had no hypersensitivity symptoms, the mast cells in their skin showed the same behavior as electrohypersensitives, although the effect was less severe. 30 Based on this research, Dr. Johansson and his colleague Shabnam Gangi proposed one mechanism for the health effects of RFR as an immunological response, hypothesizing as to how this mechanism affects internal organs such as the cardiovascular and neurological systems. 31

In The Hidden Disease,32 Finnish journalist Gunni Nordström associates electrohypersensitivity with multiple chemical sensitivity and chronic fatigue syndrome. People in Sweden made electrohypersensitivity a public health issue when cathode ray tube-based video display monitors were introduced into offices. The rise of Silicon Valley – both in the original Silicon Valley and the many Silicon Valleys that have developed around the world – gave rise to similar health effects among computer-manufacturing workers. Researchers observed a relation-ship between materials used in products and their synergistic reaction with electromagnetic radiation. 33 But both funding for research and data collection on occupational health quickly dried up when these issues came to light.
Electrohypersensitives are not an unlucky few. They are likely harbingers in a complex landscape of environmental risks. Just like any other environmental stressor, RFR affects some people more than others. And as with other environmental stressors, the greater the overall burden, the greater the risk of becoming one of the "unlucky few."

Citywide WiFi adds to the existing burden of RFR.34 Just as burning more fossil fuels adds to the level of smog, adding more RFR adds to the level of electrosmog. You don't have to expose your home or your city to the increased burden created by WiFi. There's a viable alternative: a wired Internet access and network. The hype might make it seem less convenient and more expensive. But what's a good night's sleep – or reducing your risk of cancer – worth? 35

1. See the Wireless Philadelphia and San Francisco TechConnect websites: Wireless Philadelphia accessed October 5, 2006 at and San Francisco TechConnect accessed October 5, 2006 at

2. The term is more familiar in Europe than in the US because of the greater political attention paid to the issue by citizen groups and politicians who support them. Beginning in Sweden in the 1980s, citizens suffering from electrohypersensitivity have been vocal advocates for research into the health risks from nonionizing electromagnetic radiation and for the reduction of electrosmog. See Swedish Association for the Electrosensitive website: Swedish Association for the Electrosensitive accessed October 5, 2006 at

3. Slesin, Louis. EMF Health News. Your Own Health And Fitness. L. Berman: KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley, CA. 2006: 60 minutes.

4. Carlo G, Schram M. Cell Phone: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age: An Insider's Alarming Discoveries About Cancer and Genetic Damage. New York, NY: Carroll & Graf; 2001.

5. FDA. Cell Phone Facts: Consumer Information on Wireless Phones. Available at: . Accessed July 3, 2006

6. The original Lai and Singh research was published in 1995 (Lai H, Singh NP. Acute low-intensity microwave exposure increases DNA single-strand breaks in rat brain cells. Bioelectromagnetics. 1995. 16: 95-104.). The next year they published a paper showing even more alarming effects on DNA: double DNA strand breaks (Lai H, Singh NP. DNA single- and double-strand DNA breaks in rat brain cells after acute exposure to low-level radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation. Int J Radiat Biol. 1996. 69: 513-21.). Subsequent research has confirmed these findings and found that the breaks can persist in cell cultures through multiple mitotic cycles. Gandhi, G. Genetic damage in mobile phone users: some preliminary finding. Ind J Hum Genet. 2005. 11(2): 99-104.

7. The phrase "biological or health effect" is common in this literature. Some research is focused specifically on illness while other research simply looks at effects on the organism which might have a downstream health effect.

8. For example, Hardell L, Carlbert M, Hansson K, Mild KH. Pooled analysis of two case-control studies on use of cellular and cordless telephones and the risk of malignant brain tumours diagnosed in 1997-2003. Int J Oncol. 2006. 28(2): 502-18.

9. For example, Diem E, et al. Non-thermal DNA breakage by mobile-phone radiation (1800mhz) in human fibroblasts and in transformed Gfsh-R17 rat granulosa cells in vitro. Mutat Res. 2005. 583: 178-83 and Gandhi G. Genetic damage in mobile phone users: some preliminary finding. Ind J Hum Genet. 2005. 11(2): 99-104.

10. For example, Barteri M, Pala A, Rotella S. Structural and kinetic effects of mobile phone microwaves on acetylcholinesterase activity. Biophys Chem. 2005. 113(3): 245-53.

11. For example, Xu S, et al. Chronic exposure to Gsm 1800-Mhz microwaves reduces excitatory synaptic activity in cultured hippocampal neurons. Neurosci Lett. 2006. 398(3): 253-7.

12. Langer P, et al. Hands-free mobile phone conversation impairs the peripheral visual system to an extent comparable to an alcohol level of 4-5 G 100 Ml. Hum Psychoparmacol. 2005. 20(1): 65-6.

13. A telling example is described in the November 2005 edition of Microwave News: Slesin, L. When enough is never enough: a reproducible EMF effect at 12 Mg. Microwave News. 2005. 25(2): 1-2. Beginning in 1992, seven separate research projects have demonstrated an effect on breast cancer cell metabolism from extremely low electromagnetic radiation, intensities much lower than current standards and well below intensities that are supposed to have any effect. The effect disrupts cell signaling. Each report was ignored. The original researcher was, as Louis Slesin describes it, "drummed out of the EMF profession." The others have had funding cut and endured other harassments. An even more chilling example is described in Gunni Nordström's The Invisible Disease: The Dangers of Environmental Illnesses Caused by Electromagnetic Fields and Chemical Emissions. (New York: O Books. 2004.) She describes how the once-promising career of Olle Johansson, MD, a leading dermatological researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, has been damaged. With over 400 peer-reviewed publications and major discoveries in dermatology, Dr. Johansson has been refused promotion to full professorship, denied research funding, and denied research facilities for his continued interest in RFR health effects and for his advocacy for electrohypersensitives.

14. The notorious example of how pharmaceutical companies shape medical research and medical practice is described by two insiders: Marcia Angell, MD, a former editor at the New England Journal of Medicine and John Abramson, MD, a professor at the Harvard School of Medicine Angell, Marcia. The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It. New York: Random House; 2004; and Abramson, John. Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine. New York: Harper; 2005.

15. Dr. Lai's 2005 review article is a good example. It describes the many issues in the field that remain unresolved: Lai H. Biological effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. In Encyclopedia of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering. G.L. Bowlin and G. Wnek: Taylor & Francis Books; 2005.

16. FDA. Cell Phone Facts: Do Wireless Phones Pose a Health Hazard? Available at: Accessed July 3, 2006.

17. In April 1999, the UK's Ministry of Health formed the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones to evaluate the safety of cell phones. Chaired by Sir William Stewart, the commission of independent scientists (which became known as the Stewart Group) reported in May 2000 that enough scientific evidence existed to be concerned about health risks from "subtle effects on biological functions, especially those of the brain." The Stewart Group noted in particular that children would be more susceptible to harm. See the Stewart Group's report: Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones. Chilton, Oxfordshire, UK: National Radiological Protection Board 2000. Available at Accessed July 3, 2006.

18. Health Protection Agency. Mobile Telephony and Health: Health Protection Advice. Available at: Accessed July 3, 2006

19. National Radiological Protection Board. Chilton, Oxfordshire, UK: National Radiological Protection Board; 2004: 11.

20. International Association of Fire Fighters. International Association of Fire Fighters, Division of Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine. 2005.

21. Ibid. pp. 13-38. Dr. Lai's database was used as a resource.

22. Ibid. p. 13.

23. For an excellent discussion of how to evaluate environmental risk, see Mary O'Brien's Making Better Environmental Decisions: An Alternative to Risk Assessment . Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press; 2000.

24. Some might rightfully howl at this analogy. An "exposure" to a shark is nothing like an exposure to RFR. No analogy is perfect. So consider another. Hundreds of microbiologists test your pool water for cholera, and 47% find it. Or hundreds of chemists test your pool water for a powerful toxin with both short-term and long-term effects, something like mercury, and 47% find it at various concentrations. Sharks are just so much more dramatic. And the analogy makes the same point: how much agreement among scientists do you need to be assured that something is safe?

25. Although the signal strength from cordless phones is far less than cell phones, people tend to use them for longer periods of time: exposure per unit time is less for the cordless phone, but the total exposure is equivalent to that of a cell phone. A European study found equivalent cancer risks for cell phone users and cordless phone users (Hardell L, Carlbert M and Mild KH. Pooled analysis of two case-control studies on use of cellular and cordless telephones and the risk of malignant brain tumours diagnosed in 1997-2003. Int J Oncol. 2006. 28(2): 502-18.)

26. Lai H. Biological effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. In Encyclopedia of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering . G.L. Bowlin and G. Wnek: Taylor & Francis Books, 2005.

27. Ibid.

28. Johansson O. Screen dermatitis and electrosensitivity: preliminary observations in the human skin. In Electromagnetic Environments and Health in Buildings. D. Clements-Croome. New York: Spon Press; 2004: Chapter 20. Nordström G. The Invisible Disease: The Dangers of Environmental Illnesses Caused by Electromagnetic Fields and Chemical Emissions. New York: O Books; 2004. and Swedish Association for the Electrosensitive. Available at Accessed October 5, 2006.

29. A mast cell is a type of immune cell that stores histamine crystals, which are released during an allergic response. The skin of the electrohypersensitives Dr. Johansson examined had an abnormally high concentration of mast cells close to the skin's surface that also had high loads of histamine. In other words, these subjects' immune-mediated responses are in a reactive state.

30. Johansson O. Screen dermatitis and electrosensitivity: preliminary observations in the human skin. In Electromagnetic Environments and Health in Buildings. D. Clements-Croome. New York: Spon Press; 2004: Chapter 20, Johansson O, et al. A case of extreme and general cutaneous light sensitivity in combination with so-called 'screen dermatitis' and 'electrosensitivity' – a successful rehabilitation after vitamin a treatment – a case report. Journal of the Autralasian College of Nutrition and Envrionmental Medicine. 1999; 18(1): 13-6.

31. Gangi S and Johansson O. A theoretical model based upon mast cells and histamine to explain the recently proclaimed sensitivity to electric and/or magnetic fields in humans. Medical Hypotheses. 2000; 54(4): 663-71.

32. Nordström G. The Invisible Disease: The Dangers of Environmental Illnesses Caused by Electromagnetic Fields and Chemical Emissions . New York: O Books; 2004.

33. LaDou J. Occupational health in the semiconductor industry. In Challenging the Chip: Labor Rights and Environmental Justice in the Global Electronics Industry . Smith T, Sonnenfeld DA, Pellow DN. Philadelpha, PA: Temple University Press; 2006: Chapter 3.

34. The total burden of already existing electrosmog goes beyond send-receive wireless technologies like WiFi and cell phones and includes pedestrian technologies like radio and television broadcast signals. Research by Dr. Johansson and his colleague Örjan Hallberg at the Karolinska Institute looked at the incidence of cancer and other 20th Century illnesses in Europe and the US and found a striking association between the increase in certain cancers during the 20th Century and exposure to RFR as measured by radio and TV broadcasts. Hallberg O, Johansson O. Cancer trends during the 20th century. Journal of the Autralasian College of Nutrition and Environmental Medicine. 2002a; 21(1): 3-8; Hallberg O, Johansson O. Melanoma incidence and frequency modulation (Fm) broadcasting. Archives of Environmental Health. 2002b; 57(1): 32-40; Hallberg O, Johansson O. Fm broadcasting exposure time and malignant melanoma incidence. Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine. 2005; 24: 1-8.

35. The Your Own Health And Fitness radio show ( has carried several interviews over the past year on RFR health risks and safeguards. Havas, Magda. Dirty Electricity and EMF Health Dangers. Your Own Health And Fitness. L. Berman: KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley, CA. 2006: 60 minutes; Johansson, Olle. The Science of RFR Health Risks. Your Own Health And Fitness . L. Berman: KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley, CA. 2006: 60 minutes; Johansson, Olle and Doug Loranger. Electrosmog. Your Own Health And Fitness. L. Berman: KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley, CA. 2005: 60 minutes; Levitt, B. Blake and Jan Newton. Wireless Public Health Crisis. Your Own Health And Fitness. L. Berman: KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley, CA. 2006: 60 minutes, Sage, Cindy. Smart Exposures: Understanding Risks from EMF and RFR. Your Own Health And Fitness. L. Berman: KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley, CA. 2005: 60 minutes; Sage, Cindy and B. Blake Levitt. Where You're Exposed and What to Do: EMF and RFR. Your Own Health And Fitness. L. Berman: KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley, CA. 2006: 60 minutes; Slesin, Louis. EMF Health News. Your Own Health And Fitness. L. Berman: KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley, CA. 2006: 60 minutes.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Japan Today: Radio Waves Causing "Respiratory problems, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue."

Hello! I am a bit suspicious that all these stomach ailments (colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's Disease) all started with increases in EMR in ourenvironment, WiFi, and cell phones? I talked to a guy who suffered from diarrhea for years - until he got rid of his cell phone and then his diarrhea mysteriously and completely disappeared. A number of stories posted on this list certainly connect intestinal disturbances to exposure to EMR. Sarah Docre had iritable bowel syndrome and a person who started the list also had Crohn's Disease - and I know that with CFS (aka Microwave Sickness) one of my main symptoms was intestinal disturbances.



Radio waves causing host of ailments

The symptoms began in 2003, four years after the Hayashis (as we'll call them) moved into a house near high-tension power lines in Fuchu, Hiroshima Prefecture. Stomach pains, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue. The hospital diagnosed clinical depression, but the anti-depressants didn't work, and besides, why should four family members all get depressed simultaneously? To say nothing of the teenage son's chronic colitis and the teenage daughter's asthma. Then the third child, born six months after the family's move in 1999, had to be hospitalized with respiratory problems.

The parents suspected the power lines had something to do with it. They moved again and, says Sunday Mainichi (July 8), most of the symptoms cleared up – though even now when the weather's bad, the daughter can't walk near a cell phone transmission tower without feeling a tightness in her head.

Sadatoshi Okubo, who runs the Electromagnetic Wave Problem Citizens' Research Center in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, says the number of people coming to him to talk about similar symptoms began surging five years ago. There occurred another marked increase around the same time, he notes – the number of cell phones in use.

It's too soon to deduce cause and effect, Sunday Mainichi cautions. Nor are cell phones the only potential culprits – far from it. As far back as 1974, scientists in the former USSR identified what they called Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome, of which the Hayashis seem typical sufferers. The evidence accumulating since then suggests, without so far conclusively proving, that electromagnetism leaking from power lines or household appliance can cause heartburn, burning eyes, dizziness, fatigue – and possibly cancer.

On June 18, the World Health Organization (WHO) released new environmental health standards that warn of the potential danger of exposure to stray electromagnetism, and advised governments to take preventive measures. Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) promptly set up a working group to discuss regulations pertaining to electromagnetic waves.

Other countries have declined to wait for iron-clad scientific confirmation. Sweden, Sunday Mainichi says, has made it illegal to build houses within 240 meters of high-tension power lines. In Britain, children under nine are forbidden to use cell phones. Researchers in Sweden and Austria fear that by 2017, half of us will be suffering from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome.

Japan's medical establishment, meanwhile, scarcely acknowledges its existence. "It's your imagination, you better see a psychiatrist," 72-year-old Mutsuo Sano of Futtsu, Chiba Prefecture, says doctors told him when he complained of pains severe enough to keep him awake for three days at a time.

It was the Kitazato Research Center Hospital in Tokyo's Minato-ku that finally diagnosed his condition as Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome. Now he avoids the likeliest sources of electromagnetic leaks, but finds that stray current is pretty much ubiquitous. He's moved six times in as many years. He doesn't use a cell phone or a personal computer, and he watches TV from at least six meters away. He'd like to travel, he says, but is understandably afraid to.

METI's report is expected this fall. "Let's hope they manage to come up with preventive measures," concludes Sunday Mainichi.

July 1, 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Wi-fi 'victory' for school protesters in the UK

Wi-fi 'victory' for school protesters in the UK
04 July 2007

WIRELESS internet technology in schools should be suspended and an "open and honest debate" on the issue should take place, an influential [Tottenham] council committee has recommended.

The call was made by councillors after months of debate on the issue, which has focused on Tetherdown School.

Anti-wi-fi campaigners, who made a presentation to overview and scrutiny members, were delighted by the outcome.

Sarah Purdy, who has fronted a campaign against wi-fi and mobile phone masts near schools, said: "I'm pleased. I hope the executive will approve the recommendations and I hope Tetherdown will take note while they can and get some cabling in the school."

Concerned parents last month appealed to the governors of Muswell Hill's Tetherdown School not to install wireless internet in a new building because of the possible health risks.

Despite objections during consultation on the plans, the school decided to press ahead with the wireless networks, which links computers using pulsed radiowaves in a similar way to mobile phones and phone masts.

Campaigners cited a recent Panorama programme in which Sir William Stewart, chairman of the Health Protection Agency (HPA), suggested potential health risks should be reviewed.

Councillor Emma Jones (Labour), Bruce Grove, said: "I, quite frankly, think we are frying children's brains. I'm really worried we going to wake up in 20 years with serious problems."

Mrs Purdy added: "We really don't know what we are doing to them."

Ian Bailey, deputy director of the children's and young people's services, made clear he was not at the meeting to advocate wi-fi technology.

He said: "A fairly cursory five minutes spent on the internet will reveal there is an awful lot on contradictory advice available."

He added: "Since the well-known Panorama documentary we have kept track of the advice that's been issued but the advice of the HPA has not changed since soon after the documentary."

The committee recommended the council should write to all schools notifying them of the council's concerns, suspend wi-fi use and installation, host an open seminar on the issue, promote hard wired internet, consult parents over installation and only switch wi-fi on when it's needed.

Councillor David Winskill (Liberal Democrat, Crouch End), said: "There are genuine questions and concerns over the use of wi-fi in Schools. Up to now we have had to rely on spin from the IT and telecoms industries.

"A properly organised, neutral seminar will at least give head teachers and governors the opportunity to make choices and decisions based on the best available information and advice."

The proposals must now be approved by the council's cabinet.

Nationally about 70 per cent of schools are using wi-fi technology.