Do We Know Enough to Take Action?

There is more evidence than we need.

The last five years worth of new scientific studies tell us the situation is much worse than in 2007 and yet people around the world have so much more daily exposure than even five years ago. Exposures are linked to a variety of adverse health outcomes that may have significant public health consequences. When added across billions of people world-wide, no argument for the status quo can be persuasive now.

In twenty-one technical chapters of this 2012 update, the contributing authors discuss the content and implications of about 1800 new studies. Overall, there is reinforced scientific evidence of risk where there is chronic exposure to low-intensity electromagnetic fields and to wireless technologies (radiofrequency radiation including microwave radiation).

There is more evidence in 2012 that such exposures damage DNA, interfere with DNA repair, evidence of toxicity to the human genome (genes), more worrisome effects on the nervous system (neurology) and more and better studies on the effects of mobile phone base stations (wireless antenna facilities or cell towers) that report lower RFR levels over time can result in adverse health impacts. There has been a big increase in the number of studies looking at the effects of cell phones (on the belt, or in the pocket of men radiating only on standby mode) and from wireless laptops on impacts to sperm quality and motility; and sperm death (fertility and reproduction).

In other new studies of the fetus, infant and young child, and child-in-school – there are a dozen or more new studies of importance.

The 2007 BioInitiative Report was prepared by world- recognized experts in science and public health policy.  Outside reviewers also contributed valuable content and perspective. It was concluded even in 2007 that existing public safety limits were inadequate to protect public health, and agreed that new, biologically- based public safety limits were needed five years ago. The public health cost of doing nothing was judged to be unacceptable in 2007.   This did nothing to change the rules, nor roll back the technology tsunami of wireless-everywhere.

The levels of exposure we face in 2012 are higher, and have crept into every day life, even for children.  The levels at which undesirable effects on health and well-being are seen is much lower. The levels of concern  at have dropped lower in 2012 by 10s to 100s of times.  There is much greater involuntary exposure, and it is nearly unavoidable even for people who choose not to ‘go wireless’ (second-hand radiation effects).  Safe forms of communication by land-line telephone are being phased out without general public knowledge or agreement.  There is no informed consent for consumers (warning labels on cell phones, for example, have been defeated by telecom industry lobby groups).  It is still difficult or impossible for a consumer to get reliable information on levels of exposure from wireless devices, It is simply beyond the reach of people to identify where excessively high levels of exposure occur in their communities, and it is very rare for a county or state health department to accommodate requests for information or provide measurements.

Today the evidence is stronger than ever and it may be placing people at risk, but most people have no idea.  There is little indication that cell phone users (whose numbers have risen from roughly 2 billion in 2006 to 6 billion users globally in 2012) are aware of the risks.  In that time, whole-body exposures from other RFR sources like WI-FI, WI-MAX, smart grids using wireless utility meters, and vast commercial applications of wireless RFR (in commerce, transportation, in banking, in surveillance and monitoring, in medical imaging and ironically in health care record-keeping and learning environments for education – all these new applications of wireless over wired communications and data transmission add to the RFR saturation in cities. Wireless laptops and wireless internet in schools, and home offices and for homework mean even more chronic exposures to RFR, a designated IARC 2B Possible Human Carcinogen (May 31, 2011).

The range of possible health effects that are adverse with chronic exposures has broadened. The most serious health endpoints that have been reported to be associated with extremely low frequency (ELF) and/or radiofrequency radiation (RFR) include childhood and adult leukemia, childhood and adult brain tumors, and increased risk of the neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Recent studies largely reinforce the potential risks to health (rather than reducing our concerns, or providing actual indications of safety). In addition, there are reports of increased risk of breast cancer in both men and women, genotoxic effects (DNA damage, chromatin condensation, micronucleation, impaired repair of DNA damage in human stem cells), pathological leakage of the blood–brain barrier, altered immune function including increased allergic and inflammatory responses, miscarriage and some cardiovascular effects. Insomnia (sleep disruption) is reported in studies of people living in very low-intensity RFR environments with WI-FI and cell tower-level exposures. Short-term effects on cognition, memory and learning, behavior, reaction time, attention and concentration, and altered brainwave activity (altered EEG) are also reported in the scientific literature. Biophysical mechanisms that may account for such effects can be found in various articles and reviews.

We could do otherwise. Each wireless need had a wired solution in counterpart that has none of the health effects that wireless RFR does, with the exception of cell phone use for talking directly to someone. It is time to re-think the wireless tsunami and educate people about health, privacy and security risks. It is past time to develop new safety standards. It is necessary now to look to less harmful ways to communicate, move ourselves from place to place, shop, sleep, recreate, save energy, and educate our children in school. It is time to rethink our global commerce, energy, banking, transportation and communications infrastructures so we are all committed to sustaining healthy living spaces and conserve safe sanctuary for all species on earth.