"The stakes are very high. Human beings are bioelectrical systems. Our hearts and brains are regulated by internal bioelectrical signals. Environmental exposures to artificial EMFs can interact with fundamental biological processes in the human body.
In some cases, this may cause discomfort, or sleep disruption, or loss of wellbeing (impaired mental functioning and impaired metabolism) or sometimes, maybe it is a dread disease like cancer or Alzheimer’s disease." —Authors of the international BioInitiative report
Scientists used to believe the radiation emitted from a cell phone was safe
Most of us are so busy sorting out our technology choices and keeping up with the latest software, that we don't have the time to invest in understanding how it all works. We want to show how 'with-it' we are in doing clever things with the latest technology. But as for the 'back end', we tend to leave this area to the acronym-speaking engineers and to computer-programming geeks.
What many of us do not understand is that all of these tools put out electromagnetic fields that are much, much, more powerful than the body's own, or that the body is also electrical and magnetic, and artificial fields affect (mostly adversely) our biology in a variety of ways.
The majority of wireless technology is based on wireless radiation. Many scientists and engineers were taught and still believe, that only strong radiation categorised as ionizing radiation (radiation strong enough to knock an electron off an atom) has biological effects. Which is why cell phones were put on the market without any safety testing, they were regarded as too low powered to do harm. We now know without a doubt that non-ionizing radiation also does harm. However, even some of the current leaders of research in this field initially believed, and even taught the theory that non-ionizing radiation did not affect our biology and was therefore safe.
Despite claims of no possible effect, there have been 123 years of research into the
biological effects of radiation of the class
used by WiFi and cell phones
Russian researchers have actually been finding effects on biology by non-ionizing radiation for a very long time. In fact, in 2017 Russia held a celebration of the 120th anniversary of the presentation of the first Russian dissertation on research on neurological effects from non-ionizing radiation. They have also been having conferences in this area of science since 1935.
But, this belief that the non-ionizing radiation doesn't have the strength to do harm below the strength needed to heat flesh, theory, is why most of us have been unwittingly putting our health at risk, especially for cumulative damage. Proving these risks involves difficult science with something unable to be felt, touched or seen directly. Also, proof in scientific terms is different from the anecdotal proof that most of us get by on. Calling attention to these risks of harm was and is neither in the interests of the telecommunications industries nor the military ones. DNA researcher Dr Jerry Phillips explains a little of this in an interview on YouTube. In the case of Dr Phillips, the telecommunications industry did not want the fact that non-ionizing radiation has biological effects known, including the positive effects he was getting.
The "Non-ionizing radiation cannot do harm" myth is still being propagated
We still see the myth that 'there is no biological effect, and there is no mechanism to cause an effect from non-ionizing radiation' propagated in our news media (Stuff). But the Telecommunications industry has known for over 20 years of the potential harms from its technology. Industry unpopular science is likely to suffer 'death by de-funding,' or diversion of research funds to PR to control the damage. Such as the case of the 28.5 million-dollar Wireless Technology Research project (WTR), this was funded by the Cellular Technology Industry Association (CTIA). It employed 200 hundred scientists and was led by Dr George Carlo. The first studies failed to show harm from RF radiation, however, within this study, Drs Henry Lai and Narendra "NP" Singh were achieving unpopular results: finding the presence of micronuclei in the blood, this is evidence of DNA breakage and was caused by exposure to radio-frequency radiation in the 2.4GHz range used with cell phones, Wi-Fi, and other devices, and within the safety guidelines that protect from heating effects. This was particularly alarming in view of the strong correlation between micronuclei and cancer. After the Chernobyl accident in 1986, the presence of micronuclei found with DNA breaks in the blood was used to identify children at high risk for developing cancer.
Lai and Singh worked for close to 4 years being promised but never receiving the money from the WTA. Dr Henry Lai, had to endure events such as his university receiving an anonymous call saying that he was not using their funding for its intended purpose. After Lai and Singh’s research found effects on DNA was published in 1995, Lai learned of a full-scale effort to discredit his work. In a Motorola internal company memo leaked to Microwave News (a publication that examines the health and environmental effects of electromagnetic radiation) Motorola described its plan to “war-game” and undermine Lai’s research. His science was portrayed as having questionable relevance.
In 1999 the full board of the Cellular Technology Industry Association was presented with the information health risks
Dr George Carlo was initially an 'insider', he was experienced at protecting toxic industries. Carlo had downplayed dioxin and tobacco health threats. He had trained telecoms employees on how to (not) answer direct questions about cell phone safety. When one of these employees Debbra Wright had recurrent brain tumours, she charged him and the CTIA with a systematic orchestration of a cover-up of health risks. Although the case was lost, it shook Carlos up and also the CTIA wouldn't cover his court costs. He became a whistleblower and continues to 'out' the industry.
Carlo's February 1999 presentation to the full board of CTIA presented information that the industry did not want to hear. By 1998, his group’s research showed that the nearfield electromagnetic plume of approx 17-20cms around the antenna of the cell phone caused leakage in the blood-brain barrier, as well as rare neural epithelial cancers and double to triple the risk of benign and malignant brain tumours and DNA breakage. Instead of publishing and publicising these important findings, a public relations company was used to damp down the findings. The PR company used was the politically well-connected Powell-Tate public relations firm. (Jody Powell was former press secretary for President Carter and Sheila Tate was spokeswomen for former First Lady Nancy Reagan).
Now Carlos represented a danger to Industry. He was physically threatened, a house he owned was burnt down in an arson attack. He has written a book about this "Cell Phones, Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age" along with journalist Martin Schram. Having been an insider he has a unique perspective on exactly how the game is being played. In his letter to the AT & T chairman in 1999, requesting AT&T’s assistance to distribute information on risks to consumers he wrote "...that some segments of the industry have ignored the scientific findings suggesting potential health effects, have repeatedly and falsely claimed that wireless phones are safe for all consumers including children, and have created an illusion of responsible follow up by calling for and supporting more research" He goes on to write"I am especially concerned about what appear to be actions by a segment of the industry to conscript the FCC, the FDA and The World Health Organization..."
Typically, the most recent research study will be reported as a revelation to be investigated further while industry continues to treat each such study as if it were isolated in the scientific universe. Important and well-executed science is ignored and any deficits or anomalies in independent (of industry) research are portrayed as making the science inconclusive by scientists or administrators with close ties to the industry, even within organisations we should be able to trust, like the World Health Organisation (WHO). The military have consistently been misleading on health effects but are called in to advise WHO. according to this back issue Microwave news article p.19. Also, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the EU’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) (now defunct but its reports are still circulating on the Internet) and various cancer societies such as The American Cancer Society. While creditable organisations and people contribute to such organisations reports, industry influence is consistently making sure these reports are amended so that recommendations are watered down and risks are taken less seriously.
The president of the CTIA managed to get safety warnings removed
Tom Wheeler, president of the Cellular trade group (CTIA) raised objections to a draft of a mobile-phone manual that, among other things, advised consumers how to limit radio-frequency radiation from mobile phones. Wheeler succeeded in getting warnings removed and the industry consumer safety document watered down.” Schram and Carlo conclude that Wheeler’s intervention in matters of public relations, funding and personnel ultimately undermined the scientific foundation of the WTR mobile phone-cancer research program. He has a clear conflict of interest as ex-CEO and now retired partner of Core Capital Partners which has invested in 45 companies that focus on wireless technologies. Wheeler was Obama's biggest donator and was appointed as chairman of the FCC.
Another example is how the World Health Organisation classified the type of radiation we get from our cell phones as being a probable carcinogen in 2011, but soon after, issued materials seemingly oblivious to this claim. What are we to believe? The confusion comes from the fact that some of WHO's advisors are Industry independent and some are not. The most influential committee who effectively set our regulatory standards and many other countries in the world, the International Commission on Non-ionizing radiation Protection (ICNIRP) is definitely not. Our Ministries of Health and Education and the Scientific advisory to the Government refer to this agency that appears as creditable on the surface but has been found to be lacking independence from industry influence and completely lacks transparency in the way decisions are made about the science reviewed.
Junk science and fluorescent poop
Dr Allan Frey, the scientist who discovered that that RF radiation opened the blood-brain barrier, believes misinformation in the scientific literature may all be collateral damage of the Cold War between the USSR and the United States. The use of microwave-generating equipment, such as radar, was seen by some as critical to the security of the United States. Efforts were taken to ensure that such innovations, were not suppressed by findings that suggested that such technology be unsafe. Frey's science was knowingly mis-replicated, by Brooks Air-force base contractors. Frey's science showed that that the blood-brain-barrier was made permeable, by putting fluorescent dye into a mouse's femoral artery. When the mouse was exposed to RF frequencies dye was seen in the mouse's brain within five minutes. The contractors injected dye into the mice's stomachs instead, so did not, in fact, replicate Frey's science and did not get dye in the mouse's brain, despite claiming to do so. We expect they would have achieved fluro coloured poop.
Funding for EMF research was also blocked because of a military race to develop EMF weaponry so that unclassified science wasn't available to opposing military forces. Electromagnetic weaponry has been developed and used, and this why scientists that worked in this area of the military are so worried about the ubiquitous use of WiFi frequencies and also the opening up of the spectrum: they know exactly what damage can be done.
Our laws protect us from the effects we see in our microwave ovens
Our laws do protect us a little: they protect us from having high-powered exposures of these radio waves. Otherwise, we would be affected like the food in our microwave ovens where the radio waves are high-powered and we would be: cooked. So a regulation was made to prevent this heating effect. One large thick-skulled soldier was used to create a safety calculation: the measurements were not made on a range of people, for example, children who have much thinner skulls.
Both the radiation from our cell phones and WiFi, Bluetooth etc, and the microwaves in our microwave-ovens are within the radio frequencies band. Microwave ovens came about after a radar engineer Percy Spencer noticed while working on increasing the power of a military-grade magnetron, that his pocketed peanut cluster chocolate bar had turned into a gooey mess. The next day he brought an egg to test, and that ended up with it all over his face. The following day he tried popcorn, and that was followed by the development of the microwave oven.
We wouldn't put our head in a microwave oven
These days we realise Spencer was probably doing something dangerous and we wouldn't put our heads in a microwave oven, but many of us do not realise that there is still harm from lower power levels of this electromagnetic radiation classified as radio waves, that come out of Bluetooth, WiFi routers, or cell phones, as well as, our microwave ovens. As Dr Gerald Goldberg author of the book titled "Would you put your head in a Microwave Oven" says "Technology has transformed this planet into an open microwave system with its satellite transmissions." and he sees the cumulative effects on our bodies as having the tell-tale pattern of injury from this. In the European Union's Reflex Report there are pictures comparing the effects of x-rays on a cell, cell-phone radiation on a cell, and a cell exposed to neither. The effects on the cell from cell-phone radiation appear very similar to that of the x-ray exposures, and without the radiation, the cell looks very different.
If we do not feel quite right, we find ourselves more tired than we expect we should be, or have a chronic health issue, it is our diet, our stressful lifestyle or how we caught a germ that we blame. We are not really alerted to any sort of health impacts associated with our use of technology. In fact, we regularly encounter news articles quoting authorities and "science" that imply that any fears or suspected effects from our use of technology are both stupid and unscientific.
You are not meant to have your phone touching your head or any other part of your body. If you do, your body will absorb radiation above the NZ safety standards
Buried in your phone's safety regulations is information that you must not carry or hold your phone directly against your body to comply with safety regulations. (In this phone the information is found by clicking on the SAR logo). This one must be held at least 10mm away. Your manufacturer's recommendations might be as little as 2mm or as big as 25mm.
If you look at the safety information of a Blackberry you will also find advice to keep 25mm away from the abdomen of a pregnant woman and lower abdomen of teenagers.
Many popular phones such as the iPhone 7 and new iPhone 11 do not meet the safety standards
This model of phone shown above is available in New Zealand supermarkets, it is an Alcatel Pixi 4, it was not found to be compliant with international (or NZ) safety standards when independently tested by French researchers. When this was revealed, the manufacturers then updated the phone's software to comply.
The New Zealand safety limit (NZ2772.1.1999) for the specific absorption of radiation from transmitters close to the body (i.e. cell phones) is 2W/kg over any 10 grams of body tissue. This limit is a legacy, from the days when it was believed harm would come if the radiation was powerful enough to heat flesh. You might rightfully question whether we should allow radiation to be absorbed by the body in the first place. This phone, measured by the French Phonegate researchers was beyond that limit at 2.04W/kg, it now measures at 1.58 w/k.
The most popular iPhone 7 was tested by an accredited RF Exposure Lab in San Marcos, California. The specific absorption of radiation was found to be 2.81 W/kg tested at 5mm from the body. This same lab tested the latest iPhone 11 and found the specific absorption of radiation to be 3.8/W/kg
For human brain tissue less than 5 mW/g is sufficient to cause a temperature rise that initiates tissue damage. RF energy absorbed within a fraction of a second can be enough to damage and modify the structure of brain cells and molecules.51 H. P. Schwan and G. M. Piersol, "The Absorption of Electromagnetic Energy in Body Tissues." Iriterriatiorial Review of Physical Medicine and
Rehabilitation (June 1955):424-48. l A
The leaked memo discussing wargaming of Dr Lai and Singh's work and reputation.
Robert C Kane worked for Motorola as a research scientist and product design engineer, He had a PhD in electrical engineering with an emphasis in the fields of electromagnetics and solid-state physics. He died of a brain tumour contracted from his exposures to cell phones antennas. Before he died he wrote Cellular Telephone Russian Roulette explaining that both Industry and governments have evidence of harm from cell phone radiation for many years. He introduces the scientific research base they have had access to. He explains just how quickly the radiation from cell phones can do damage to brain tissue (in less than a minute) and why we know this is the case. While the book was published in 2001 much of it is still relevant,
It is vital that we gain from technology
—without doing harm
It should be a fair assumption that if something is on the market that it adheres to regulations that make it safe., but this isn't the case. Safe ICT NZ aims to advise on best practices in the choosing and use of technology. We are not about rejecting technology, but we must be informed to gain from it, without doing, or receiving harm. What many of us are doing at the moment is not keeping ourselves, our families, our pets, and the other species we share the planet with, safe.
What tools define our era
—if it is not our electromagnetic devices?
As we text, talk, type, listen, share images, upload, download or otherwise use our devices, we rely on electricity and magnetism. This use of electromagnetic tools defines our age as surely as the development and use of bronze tools or iron tools did in the past.
A few generations back, turning the one and only light switch on in a house for the first time was a nerve-wracking event. Amusing to us now are stories of people prodding their light switches with a long broom handle, or requiring the son next door to come back to the house to turn off the light switch. Back then, how could people even imagine the myriad uses that electricity would be put to, or the devices that would be built—let alone that anyone would be able to watch video footage of women in their space-suits repairing the international space-station while it orbited our planet at 7 kilometres per second?
What tools define our era—if it is not our electro-magnetic devices?
What tools define our era—
if not our electromagnetic devices?
Christina Koch 2019 Spacewalk courtesy NASA
The majority of people would not have expected that a few generations ahead of them, that people would be able to watch this extraordinary event on a device small enough to put in their pockets. Although having a portable phone was being predicted a century ago, and the horror of it possibly going off at weddings and other inconvenient times was lampooned with uncanny accuracy back in 1919 in the Daily Mirror.
The daily mirror's cartoonist W.K Hazeldean wasn't the only one prescient of today's technology. Nikolai Tesla was recorded in Collier's magazine 1926 saying "We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do this will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket."
Serbian inventor Nikolai Tesla
How many of the 478 billion cell phone users know to take precautions?
Tesla's prediction was correct and the take up of all kinds of electric and electronic technology has been exponential. These days we do not undertake projects without a slew of power tools and if a computer crashes or we have a power outage, our working and domestic lives come to a standstill. In 2020, 478 billion cell phones are in use around the globe. Not only are we able to do the amazing things Tesla predicted, but we are also paying the price by being addicted to our devices. Electronic devices are now so incredibly enmeshed into our lives, that we have pretty-much outsourced our memory to Google and feel naked without our smartphones or similar devices. However, pervasive does not equal safe. How many users even know that buried in their phone's safety instructions is advice to keep the phone a distance from your body?
Safe ICT NZ wants you informed
Safe ICT NZ (Safe Information and Communications Technology for New Zealand) wants you to know the basics of how your devices work and how they affect your biology. If you apply this knowledge to reducing unsafe use and choices, you may well find current and future health problems averted or at least lessened.
It is vitally important to realise that our technologies are a major threat to plants, insects, and other living things and that an Electronic Silent Spring is likely unless we make changes rather than accept this status quo.
At the very least, we believe you have a right to know the levels of risk you may be subjecting yourself to. You should not have these risks foisted upon you without warnings, choice, or debate, as is happening currently. If a phone needs to be a certain distance away from the body to comply with international safety regulations (even if, as Safe ICT NZ believes, they are not safe enough) then that information should not be buried. A visit to an infertility specialist should not be the first time you receive information to store your phone away from your body. Australian Neuro-surgeon Dr Charlie Teo, who faces children coming to his hospital to be diagnosed with malignant cancers, believes that Australians should have the right to know about the dangers of cell phone radiation. We advocate New Zealanders should also have this right.
We also wish to avoid being complicit in the use of conflict minerals, or the turning of a blind eye to occupational health dangers, and exploitation happening in the assembly of our devices.
Recent exposures by Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks' Julian Assange have alerted many of us to at least some—though not quite all—of the unconsented privacy, security, and Artificial Intelligence invasions from our use of digital devices. As with health effects, Safe ICT NZ believes these privacy incursions should not be happening, and full understanding must be ensured before consent is given.