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EMF Studies

09 November 2015

Protect Children from EMF

"Very few parents are aware about the potential hazard for their children when RF driven electronic toys are in the hands of little boy or girl, who even cannot read yet. We would like to finish this paper with an appeal to parents – be cautious with new electronic tools. Follow a couple of simple rules and educate your children how to use these fancy items:

- Consult the store personnel about the EMF from any device you plan to purchase
- Read in the store instructions for use. Especially small prints
- Explain to your child how to use the electronic item
- Make sure that the child understand the necessity to keep the device away from the brain and genitals
- Be sure that during the night electronics is away from the child (better outside the room)
- Specifically, be careful that the electronic device is not under pillow of the child"

Following are the abstract and excerpts from the study.

Protect children from EMF

Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine
Volume 34Issue 3, 2015
DOI:10.3109/15368378.2015.1077339

Received 24 July 2015 Accepted 24 July 2015 Published online 7 October 2015
pages 251-256

M. Markova* & Y. Grigorievb

Abstract

The twenty-first century is marked with aggressive development of the wireless communications (satellite, mobile phones, Internet, Wi-Fi). In addition to thousand of satellites that deliver radio and TV signals, large satellite and base station networks secure intensive instant delivery of audio and video information. It is fair to say that that the entire civilization, both biosphere and mankind are exposed to continuous exposure of multitude of radiofrequency (RF) signals. It should be taken into account that the entire world population is exposed to exponentially increasing RF radiation from base stations and satellite antennas. While several years ago the potential hazard was connected with placement of mobile phones close to human head, today ‘‘smart phones’’ represent small, but powerful computers continuously receiving audio and video data. The largest group of users is the children and teenagers who ‘‘need’’ to communicate nearly 24 h a day. This is even more important because cell phones and tablets may be seen in the hands of children as little as two years in age. There is no way to assess and predict the potential damages of children brain, vision and hearing under exposure to RF radiation. The WHO precautionary principle and IARC classification must be applied in discussing the potential hazard of the use of today’s and tomorrow’s communication devices.
...

Children in today’s RF environment

It is known that human head is a complex structure of many different tissue types. Each of the tissues – skin, bone, cerebrospinal fluid, fat, brain, dura, etc. – absorbs and reflects RF energy in its own way. In addition, the human head is far from having uniform shape, volume, and structure.
Therefore, “hot spots” are to occur with RF exposure in the most sensitive parts of the head. Some of them depend on the radius of curvature of the human head. It is easy to assume that the radius of the curvature is different for a baby, a little child, a teenager, or an adult individual. In addition, RF energy is absorbed within a fraction of a second which can be enough to modify the structure of selected brain cells and molecules.

Here we should clarify that the term “hot spot” does not mean “hot” in the sense of heating. The term indicates that the spot is most sensitive to RF radiation among the tissues and parts of the head. Following publication in literature one should be convinced that a small portion of EMF energy cannot produce heating capable of initiating conformational changes or alteration in signal transaction pathways.

Long before the introduction of cellular telephones, scientists obtained data indicating that children absorb approximately 50% more radiation within their heads than adults (Durney et al., 1978).
The nonuniform energy absorption was initially characterized by Schwan (1972). He suggested that as a child’s head diameter is smaller, the energy absorbing “hot spots” become more pronounced. Clearly, this indicates an increased risk of “hot spot” absorption within the brains of women and children, with small children being at maximum risk a “hot spot” absorption within their brains. It had also been reported by Schwan (1972a,b) that maximum “hot spot” energy absorption occurs in the frequency region around the cellular telephone frequencies. Remember, there were no cellular telephones in use at that time. However, these statements are still valid. The question is: Why engineers prefer to forget them.

Unfortunately, the engineering approach towards the hazard of RF for children does not take into account the specifics of child’s head. In ICNRP publication 66 of 1994, an adult human model was scaled for reference of 10-year-old child. In 2011 Nikita and Kiourri stated that “in the case of canonical models, the child model is perfectly proportional to an adult model”. This is possible only in theoretical (more likely mathematical) modeling where no one cares about the specifics of geometry, composition, and development of children head and brain. Koulouridis and Nikita (2004) obtained children model through uniform deformation of spherical adult head models. We should remind the engineers and mathematicians that neither adult head is spherical, nor the brain composition of adult and children is homogeneous. Several more recent publications on cell phone dosimetry in children (Christ et al., 2010a, b; ICNIRP, 2009) reported higher SAR for children brain which is correctly attributed to geometrical difference in the head of children and adults.

Very important is that children’ brain as the entire organism of children is in a process of development for many years and no one can predict the long-lasting problem that might occur as a result of exposure to RF in the early age.

Usually discussion about potential RF effects on human brain starts and ends with the probability of brain cancer occurrence. We believe that this is very superficial approach. Yes, brain is a major player in the central nervous system. Main, but not the only.

For the first time during the whole history of civilization, the most critical system of the body—the brain and nervous structures of the inner ear of the child and adolescent are exposed to unknown risk of RF EMF. In this case, the potential risk to the health of children is very high (Grigoriev, 2012). Exposing brain and located in the inner ear nerve structures, such as receptors and transmission pathways (securing the normal functioning of hearing and vestibular analyzers) children undergo serious risk (Grigoriev, 2005).

Recently, Grigoriev and Khorseva (2014) published a 230 pages book “Mobile communications and children health” that summarizes the existing knowledge in potential hazard of RF on children. For objective reasons, most of 439 cited publications are on short time exposure. Even epidemiological data are concerning relatively short time of exposure. Grigoriev and Khorseva provided data of eight-year continuous psycho physiological investigation of school students that indicate alterations in the functioning of visual and hearing analyzers under RF mobile telethons exposure. It also reported the correlation between the RF exposure and worsening of cognitive functions.

Data are available also on the effect of RF EMF on children in prenatal period and in the first years of children development when they do not use mobile phones, but are exposed to signals in the environment (mostly when mother uses mobile phone).

Today, the world exhibits increased frequency of detection of autism in children in developed countries. A question arises – could this “epidemy” be related to elevated electromagnetic background?

However, the mobile phones are just a part of the problem. The fast development of satellite communications, followed by wireless communications and recently Wi-Fi technology dramatically changes the electromagnetic environment. To continuous action of complex and unknown (by sources, amplitudes, frequencies) electromagnetic fields are exposed entire biosphere and every organism living on this planet. We usually neglect the fact that radio and TV transmissions, satellite signals, mobile phones and base stations, wireless communications generate and propagate variety of signals that act simultaneously.

Talking on the potential hazard of Wi-Fi technologies, one should not forget that it includes not only mobile phones, but what is more important – all means of emitters and distributors of Wi-Fi signals, mainly antennas, base stations, satellites. In many public locations, internal systems are introduced in order to facilitate the work performance. Well, this might be understood. However, why Wi-Fi communications are secured in the subway tunnels? It obviously requires high and oriented power to which are exposed all passengers in the trains. Just to make comfortable the users of mobile phones or other Wi-Fi gadgets. And again and again – the largest cohort of users of these items are children.
It is clear now that this popular technology that allows an electronic device to exchange data wirelessly (using RF signals) including high-speed Internet device that use Wi-Fi can be connected to a network resource such as the Internet via wireless network access points that have a range of about 20 m indoors and a greater range outdoors.

Generally speaking, it is not known to which extent the Wi-Fi radiation alters physiology of normal, healthy organisms. The situation became more complex when we are discussing the influence on children, on aging adults or on sick individuals. Especially for children we should consider that they are exposed to all spectrums of EMF polluters in the biosphere and for them such electronic toys as cell phones, tablets and wireless games are very attractive. Due to the age specifics, children cannot evaluate the potential hazard of the mobile phone. Rather they consider it as a wonderful tool for communication and entertainment. Taking into account the technological development in the wireless communications, will be fair to say that children at the age of 3–4 will be using mobile communication for many more years and with longer daily duration than their parents in the respect of entire life (Markov and Grigoriev, 2013).

It is reasonable to remind the position of the WHO “CHILDREN ARE DIFFERENT FROM ADULTS”. Children have a unique vulnerability. As they grow and develop, there are “windows of susceptibility”: periods when their organs and systems may be particularly sensitive to the effect of certain environmental threats (WHO, Backgrounder N 3, 2003, 5 p.).

Unfortunately, there is lack of scientific data and analysis of the estimation of the potential hazard of mobile communications. Nobody has thoroughly investigated potential damages in the brain of children which potentially could occur in their developing brain. (Grigoriev, 2005; Grigoriev and Khorseva, 2014; Markov, 2012). Studies of potential of development of the long-range modification of the brain functions in children whose brain have been exposed to continuous irradiation with high frequency EMF are completely absent. Therefore, we should start from zero. At the same time international and governmental agencies responsible for standards are slow in responding to the exponential growth of technologies and in principle completely neglect the hazard for children (Grigoriev, 2008; Markov, 2012).

Precautionary principle and children health

We had participated in a series of International meetings organized by Michael Repacholi in the late 1990s and early 2000s on harmonization of standards. These meetings were held under the umbrella of WHO “precautionary” principle. There were enough reasons to approach the RF from mobile communications with a fear, with skepticism. It is difficult to accept that we are cautious when trying new food or new drink until it is found that the food or drink is suitable for us, but we easily accept any new technological development. Moreover, we are happy and proud with the new electronic tool. For birthday or for Christmas more and more children receive electronic gifts – cell phones, tablets or even laptops.

Very few parents are aware about the potential hazard for their children when RF driven electronic toys are in the hands of little boy or girl, who even cannot read yet. We would like to finish this paper with an appeal to parents – be cautious with new electronic tools. Follow a couple of simple rules and educate your children how to use these fancy items:

- Consult the store personnel about the EMF from any device you plan to purchase
- Read in the store instructions for use. Especially small prints
- Explain to your child how to use the electronic item
- Make sure that the child understand the necessity to keep the device away from the brain and genitals
- Be sure that during the night electronics is away from the child (better outside the room)
- Specifically, be careful that the electronic device is not under pillow of the child

These “rules” could be continued, but the most important is to apply a precautionary principle and prevent any potential hazard and damage from the use of mobile communication device. Everybody should remember that any new generation of smart phones is essentially a more powerful computer that constantly receives and transmits data.

In conclusion: two general problems

As it was shown above, the development of mobile communications, Internet, Wi-Fi and other wireless communications place the mankind in complicated electromagnetic background. 

Unfortunately, the elevation of the levels of electromagnetic pollution leads to less strict regulations in the wireless communications. Let summarize two important problems: precautionary principle and epidemiology in the evaluation of the hazard of RF exposure.

Precautionary principle was briefly described above. The WHO has this term in the various documents, and it was in the background of the EMF project of the WHO. European Union suggests applying precautionary principle when there are reasonable grounds of concern.

However, while European Union clearly supports this principle, the USA basically rejected it. European Union takes a step further identifying the role of government for implementation (including financially) of the precautionary principle. Unfortunately, at 21 August 2014 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention removed from the “Frequently asked questions about cell phones and your health” the precautionary advice (WHO, 2014).

Epidemiology cannot be criteria for biological and health hazard, especially when the mechanisms of action of RF from wireless communications are considered as “thermal effects”. It is not possible thermal effects to be a subject of statistical elaboration.

Obviously, a lot is supposed to be done in evaluation of potential hazard of wireless communication for population and especially the hazard for children.

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