Microwave - and other forms of electromagnetic - radiation are major (but conveniently disregarded, ignored, and overlooked) factors in many modern unexplained disease states. Insomnia, anxiety, vision problems, swollen lymph, headaches, extreme thirst, night sweats, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, muscle pain, weakened immunity, allergies, heart problems, and intestinal disturbances are all symptoms found in a disease process the Russians described in the 70's as Microwave Sickness.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Is cell phone radiation actually dangerous? We asked an expert
Is cell phone radiation actually dangerous? We asked an expert
“It’s looking increasingly likely that cellular phones (mostly smartphones these days) are
harmful in terms of cancer risk, particularly to the head and neck,” says Joel M.
Moskowitz, Director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of
California at Berkeley. “A lot of scientists have come round to the view that
radiofrequency radiation is probably carcinogenic because of new research that has
emerged since 2011.”
That was the year the World Health
Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified
radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” A
panel of 31 expert scientists from 14 different countries concluded
radiofrequency radiation, which is emitted by cell phones and other wireless
communication devices should be placed in Group 2B alongside a fairly long list
of other substances that includes lead, coffee, nickel, and gasoline.
But is it really so dangerous? Despite the
passionate views espoused by many experts, others are confident that the risk
is overblown, or at least reluctant to push for sweeping societal changes. So
should you be afraid, or gab away as usual? We asked a few experts to find out
Independent studies are showing danger
Cell phone emissions were classified
as “possibly carcinogenic” based on an increased risk of glioma, which is the
most common form of brain cancer, but they were also strongly linked with
another type of tumor, benign acoustic neuromas. A lot of the available evidence
back in 2011 came from a series of studies known as the Interphone
studies, which were partly funded by the wireless communications
A panel of 31 expert scientists from 14
different countries classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as
“possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
“I’ve been tracking the research for five
years now and the evidence of the effect is growing stronger,” Moskowitz told
Digital Trends. “This is perhaps in part because the new studies are
independent, not funded by the wireless industry.”
Back in 2006, Henry Lai, a professor at
the University of Washington analyzed all available studies on cell phone
radiation from 1990 to 2006. He found that 50 percent of the 326 studies showed
a biological effect from radio-frequency radiation, but when he divided them
into independently funded studies and those funded by the wireless industry he
found the split was 70 – 30.
“Even if you accept all the industry
studies, you still end up with 50-50,” Lai told Seattle Mag in 2011. “How could 50
percent all be garbage? People always start with the statement ‘hundreds of
studies have been done on this topic, and no effect has been found’ — but this
is a very misleading statement.”
Another potentially telling revelation is
that the industry can’t get product liability insurance for mobile devices.
Some people within the insurance industry feel that there’s a real risk of a
wave of lawsuits related to brain tumors and other conditions caused by cell
phones over the next couple of decades. Insurance giant the Swiss Re Group
included “unforeseen consequences of electromagnetic fields” in its Emerging Risk Insights report.
“Governments are flying blind on this,
they’re either ignorant or they’re in denial,” Moskowitz says. “In part it’s
ignorance, but in part they’re getting pressure from an industry that dwarfs
big tobacco. It’s just too profitable, about a sixth of your cell phone bill in
the U.S. goes to government in fees or taxes.”
Do we all have our heads in the sand? This
is a controversial topic and it’s hard to get definitive answers. We
decided to speak to Dr. Kurt Straif, Head of the World Health Organization
program that classified RF electromagnetic fields as “possibly
carcinogenic” back in 2011. And in Straif’s eyes, the situation is far muddier.
“We don’t know for sure if it’s causing
cancer or not.”
“We’ve done almost 1,000 different agent
assessments,” Dr. Straif told Digital Trends, “and this is probably the most
heated controversy in terms of strong believers — scientists in the
field that say we already know it’s causing cancer to the other extreme that
says every additional cent spent on research is wasted because we know it can
never cause cancer.”
The IARC Monographs program Straif headed
up was formed with the backing of the World Health Organization and the United
Nations, at the request of member states looking to identify substances and
circumstances that are known to cause cancer in humans, and to make that
information available for cancer prevention.
An independent advisory group suggests
topics and the Monographs group decides what to pursue. It gathers all the
published research, identifies the best experts in the world for each topic,
and they draft working papers, and then there is an 8 day meeting to
classify each possible carcinogen and create a volume of Monographs.
Dr. Kurt Straif, left, led the World
Health Organization program that classified cell phone radiation as “possibly
carcinogenic to humans.”“The Monographs are the most authoritative program in
cancer-hazard identification, running for the longest time, looking at all
types of environmental exposure, but also known for being the strongest program
in terms of a very strict policy to exclude conflicts of interest,”
Straif explains. “Scientists with a link to industry, or on the other
hand, scientists with a very strong link to advocacy groups, would not be
eligible to serve on the working group.”
He points out that, though the Interphone
study was partly funded by industry, there was a very strict firewall in place
overseen by the Union for International Cancer Control.
“I did not sense any strong orchestrated
efforts by industry to influence the outcome of the 2011 meeting,” he told us.
We can safely say that the IARC group is
impartial. It’s no stranger to controversy and it does not bend to big business.
Take for example the recent classification of glyphosate — the main chemical in
the pesticide Roundup — as “probably carcinogenic,” a move that incurred
the wrath of Monsanto, the pesticide’s maker. Glyphosate is in group 2A, which
is still one step down from Group 1, “carcinogenic to humans.” Radiofrequency
EMF radiation was placed in Group 2B, largely based on cell phone studies. So
what does the “possibly carcinogenic” classification actually mean?
The IARC, headquartered in Lyon, France, conducts research without funding from the wireless industry.
The IARC, headquartered in Lyon, France,
conducts research without funding from the wireless industry.
“It means that there is scientific
evidence, in this case limited evidence from the human studies, that it could
cause cancer in humans,” says Straif. “There is also limited evidence from
animal studies, and there is weak mechanistic data. These three things together
result in the evaluation of possibly carcinogenic.”
There is currently no firm plan to
reassess radiofrequency EMF radiation, but Dr. Straif says it is on the radar,
and if important new evidence was to emerge, the IARC Monographs group could
make it a priority.
“Knowing about the studies that have been
published since 2011, I think that the epidemiological evidence is still
limited,” says Straif, making it clear that this is his personal opinion and
not that of the IARC group. “It has not changed in the one or the other
direction. There are lots of different scientific groups out there. Some think
with the new publications that the human evidence is now sufficient to result
in a Group 1 classification as a known human carcinogen. I don’t think these
studies would change the current overall evaluation of 2B.”