“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe,
then man would only have four years of life left.”
– Albert Einstein
For all the talk about the importance of “new media” – including blogs, email, cell phones, Facebook and Twitter – to the democracy movements arising around the globe, and the ease and speed of global communications and virtual networking, there is far too little discussion about the downsides of these technological wonders.
I’ve often addressed the illusory and inadequate nature of cyber-community, it’s tendency to distract us from real, local community, the fact that it supports yet another global corporate mega-industry, and that the internet was originally created by the military for its own purposes and now provides government intelligence agencies a real time means to eavesdrop and infiltrate our conversations – including the latest project to create and manage multiple false personas as agent provocateurs.
But there is another, purely technical, problem with our addiction to these technologies that has long been deliberately squelched, hidden or ignored. Just as only a few courageous physicists, researchers and doctors had been willing to speak and write about the harmful effects of chronic exposure to low-level ionizing radiation (such as from the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear power generation) and the fact that there is no safe threshold level (contrary to what the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric is telling the residents around the failed Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant), there is a small but vocal body of scientists and activists trying to inform the public about the harmful effects of chronic exposure to the non-ionizing radiation in which we are bathed by our telecommunications systems, as well as our electrical grids.
Electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) – from the extremely low frequency (ELF) fields of AC power lines to the radio frequency fields of communication equipment, microwave ovens and the increasing prevalence of Wi-Fi and GPS – have profound effects on carcinogenesis, neurological function, chronic and wasting diseases, and ecological balance. It’s highly likely, for instance, that bee colony collapse and possibly the white nose syndrome that is decimating bat populations are related to the global fog of EMF pollution. And it’s certain that the most vulnerable humans are the very ones that technology corporations are most targeting: youth.
After a lifetime of bio-electrical research, Dr. Robert O. Becker concluded: “I have no doubt in my mind that, at the present time, the greatest polluting element in the earth’s environment is the proliferation of electromagnetic radiation.” And environmental health researcher Dr. Neil Cherry predicted that soon, due to EMF exposures, cancer will not occur at its 1900 level of one in 100, nor at its late-century level of one in four – but will erupt in each of us several times in a lifetime.
Here are some selected quotes from those who understand this problem intimately:
William Rea, MD; Founder & Director of the Environmental Health Center, Dallas; Past President, American Academy of Environmental Medicine:
“Sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation is the emerging health problem of the 21st century.”
Samuel Milham, MD, MPH, medical epidemiologist in occupational epidemiology, first scientist to report increased leukemia and other cancers in electrical workers and to demonstrate that the childhood age peak in leukemia emerged in conjunction with the spread of residential electrification:
“Very recently, new research is suggesting that nearly all the human plagues which emerged in the twentieth century, like common acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children, female breast cancer, malignant melanoma and asthma, can be tied to some facet of our use of electricity. There is an urgent need for governments and individuals to take steps to minimize community and personal EMF exposures.”
James S. Turner, Esq., attorney; Chairman of the Board, Citizens for Health; co-author, Voice of the People: The Transpartisan Imperative in American Life:
“According to the BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-Based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields – from electrical and electronic appliances, power lines and wireless devices such as cell phones, cordless phones, cellular antennas, towers, and broadcast transmission towers – we live in an invisible fog of EMF which thirty years of science, including over 2,000 peer reviewed studies, shows exposes us to serious health risks such as increased Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, Lou Gehrig disease, EMF immune system hypersensitivity and disruption of brain function and DNA.”
Martin Blank, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons; Researcher in Bioelectromagnetics:
“Cells in the body react to EMFs as potentially harmful, just like to other environmental toxins, including heavy metals and toxic chemicals. The DNA in living cells recognizes electromagnetic fields at very low levels of exposure; and produces a biochemical stress response. The scientific evidence tells us that our safety standards are inadequate, and that we must protect ourselves from exposure to EMF due to power lines, cell phones and the like, or risk the known consequences. The science is very strong and we should sit up and pay attention.”
David Carpenter, MD; Professor of Environmental Health Sciences; Director, Institute for Health and the Environment, School of Public Health, University of Albany, SUNY:
“Based on the existing science, many public health experts believe it is possible we will face an epidemic of cancers in the future resulting from uncontrolled use of cell phones and increased population exposure to WiFi and other wireless devices. Thus it is important that all of us, and especially children, restrict our use of cell phones, limit exposure to background levels of Wi-Fi, and that government and industry discover ways in which to allow use of wireless devices without such elevated risk of serious disease. We need to educate decision-makers that ‘business as usual’ is unacceptable. The importance of this public health issue can not be underestimated.”
Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD; Professor at University Hospital, Orebro, Sweden; world-renowned expert on cell phones, cordless phones, brain tumors, and the safety of wireless radio frequency and microwave radiation:
“The evidence for risks from prolonged cell phone and cordless phone use is quite strong when you look at people who have used these devices for 10 years or longer, and when they are used mainly on one side of the head. Recent studies that do not report increased risk of brain tumors and acoustic neuromas have not looked at heavy users, use over ten years or longer, and do not look at the part of the brain which would reasonably have exposure to produce a tumor.”
Eric Braverman, MD; brain researcher; author of The Edge Effect; Director of Path Medical in New York City and The PATH Foundation; expert in the brain’s global impact on illness and health:
“There is no question EMFs have a major effect on neurological functioning. They slow our brain waves and affect our long-term mental clarity. We should minimize exposures as much as possible to optimize neurotransmitter levels and prevent deterioration of health”.