(Op-Ed - Response to: Your Phone vs. Your Heart
by Barbara L. Fredrickson, New York Times, 23 March 2013
March 28, 2013
Your Phone and Your Heart Health - and your Brain!
Our increasing dependency on electronic communication can impair our social interactions, as reported by Dr Barbara Fredrickson in Sunday's editorial Your Phone vs Your Heart.
We want to draw your attention to another vital cost that she did not mention: adverse health effects from the microwave radiation emitted by all mobile devices. No doubt you have heard the unsettling evidence of DNA damage and risk of brain cancer. There is also strong evidence of potential cognitive impairment and cardiac symptoms.
Well-being in this high-tech digital age is becoming complicated and inconvenient as wireless radiation quite literally envelops the globe. The smog of this electro-pollution is a new factor in environmental health and possibly the greatest medical threat of our time.
You may be asking, Are government safety standards not protecting us?
Columbia University scientist Dr Martin Blank has demonstrated that adverse biological effects on the cells of our body occur when we are exposed to EMF (electro-magnetic fields), as they do to other proven harmful effects such as oxidative stress. This stress protein synthesis is evident at low, non-thermal levels – a mere fraction of government standards that are based only on thermal exposure (Bio Initiative Report 2012).
In other words, if the radiation from your mobile device, or digital cordless phone or baby monitor was not strong enough to warm human tissue it was deemed safe. The harmful effects noted here occur at non-thermal levels - thousands of times lower.
No one tested for bioactivity at these low levels, nor did they test for accumulated or long-term exposure. The test subject was a 200 lb male; they did not consider the impact on pregnant women, the unborn - or even on women. The standards have not been up-dated for many years and are criticized by many leading scientists as, “just plain wrong.” (Bio Initiative Report 2012.) And, in 2011 The World Health Organization re-classified this radiation as “possibly carcinogenic.”
There is also scientific evidence that pre-natal exposure can result in damage to the foetus. (The Journal of Toxicological Sciences Vol. 27, 2002.) So when Dr Fredrickson notes the "life-limiting fingerprints" left by parents who "text while breast-feeding or otherwise paying more attention to their phone than their child," our main concern is the potential neurological and/or cardiac effects.
As a cardiologist, Dr Stephen Sinatra of the Heart MD Institute warns, "From the cardiovascular point of view, the perfect storm in children is the suppression of heart rate variability by prolonged exposure to microwave radiation from digital cordless phones, cell phones, wi-fi, etc., especially in a vulnerable child. There have been cases of sudden death in children in the presence of industrial wi-fi in previously undiagnosed vulnerabilities of the heart. (Simcoe County District 2006-2010.) Thus, children with undiagnosed cardiomyopathies, bypass tracts, are extremely vulnerable to industrial wi-fi. Certainly any child with a mitochondrial disorder should never be playing with a cellular phone or be exposed to wi-fi.
Many less vulnerable children as well as adults may present to their physicians with lightheadedness, dizziness, cardiac palpitations, atypical chest discomfort and headache and nausea. Probably the greatest symptom in America today is any form of sleep disorder as wi-fi and RF (radio-frequency radiation) absolutely diminish melatonin in the brain."
As a pediatric neurologist, Dr Martha Herbert of Harvard Medical School cautions, "There are thousands of papers that have accumulated over decades – and are now accumulating at an accelerating pace, as our ability to measure impacts become more sensitive – that document adverse health and neurological impacts of EMF/RFR.
Children are more vulnerable than adults, and children with chronic illnesses and/or neurodevelopmental disabilities are even more vulnerable. Elderly or chronically ill adults are more vulnerable than healthy adults. Current technologies were designed and promulgated without taking account of biological impacts other than thermal impacts. EMF/RFR from wifi and cell towers can exert a disorganizing effect on the ability to learn and remember, and can also be destabilizing to immune and metabolic function. This can interfere with healthy brain function, particularly those who are already having problems in the first place."
Yes, with the amount of time most of us spend daily staring at one screen or another digital distraction is disconnecting us from ourselves, and each other, emotionally. Underneath this may be a lot of frazzled brain and heart cells that are having a hard time holding things all together. Moving throughout our day from one wi-fi 'hot spot' to another, 99% of people are in the dark about what they may be doing to themselves with wifi, and the tragedy is that these same adults are oblivious to the risks to their children (and grandchildren) and especially the newly born and the unborn.
While one of our main concerns is wifi exposure in schools, there is another looming on the horizon – wifi-enabled aircraft with pilots unknowingly subjected to cognitive impairment and sudden cardiac episodes.
Martha Herbert, PhD, MD
Pediatric Neurologist and Neuroscientist, Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, FACC
Heart Md Institute
Kerry Crofton, PhD
International EMF Alliance
Author of Wireless Radiation Rescue