Electromagnetic Radiation and Health Effects

An Excerpt from the Overview of Public Health Trends

Sarah Benson


Whilst the increase in certain illnesses has been steady for about four decades, to what extent do these trends reflect the research into adverse effects on health of Electromagnetic Radiation?

A discussion paper indicates that for the last 15 years we have seen, worldwide, a marked increase in illnesses such as cancers, cardiac illness, obesity, diabetes, asthma, allergies in children, short term memory problems and sleeplessness, to name but a few.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare announced in 2007 that the five leading causes of non-fatal illness in Australia were diabetes, ischemic heart disease, dementia, asthma, anxiety and depression. As 90% diabetes is related to weight gain this could be included as a sixth.
Billions of dollars per year go towards ‘keep fit’ campaigns and research into cures – but we need to start addressing causes.

Factors such as population growth and the ageing population need to be considered, as do environmental chemicals, food additives and hormones. However there would need to be something new for such a marked spike to occur.

There is, in fact, only one significant new factor: the sudden explosion in wireless communications technology, which began in Australia approximately 15 years ago – earlier in the US.

For decades now, the medical fraternity has been greatly concerned by the huge incidence of literally un-explained cancers in our population and the finger is pointing to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) as the likely culprit – or at least a major contributor. Radio and TV have been broadcasting in the radiofrequency range since the 1950s, but microwave radiation as emitted by communications infrastructure is relatively new, with millions of antennas and satellites irradiating the global population 24 hours a day, 52 weeks a year since the early 90s.

This is not new: electromagnetic fields (wiring, appliances) and electromagnetic radiation have been a fact of life for many decades now – it is only in recent times however that the load has increased to a point where the effects on human health are becoming a major issue.

Most people don’t think about this fact, they somehow think that these frequencies that are being sent all around the planet, somehow magically find their way to our phones, TVs and radios without even touching us. But the human body has its own delicate and sensitive electrical system, which is easily affected by the many electromagnetic frequencies we are surrounded by and which penetrate our bodies daily.

This report aims to show the correlation between current health trends and the research into adverse health effects of W1EMR. Whilst not all research shows the same results – it is worth noting that the numerous positive studies appear to be reflected in the steep rise in certain health problems. Additionally it largely addresses the health issues as listed as they relate to the research into RF/MW rather than electromagnetic fields as they relate to powerlines, substations and domestic wiring.. However it is worth noting that these fields also have been shown to produce similar conditions.

A group of scientists and doctors in Freiburger, Germany, presented evidence at a conference in 2002 of “a dramatic rise in severe and chronic diseases among our patients” exposed to RF/MW. These included extreme fluctuations in blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes in increasingly younger people, degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and epilepsy, leukaemia and brain tumours. They also found a rise in headaches, sleeplessness, tinnitus and other ailments that were able to be correlated with the onset of exposure to communications microwaves.

Communications frequencies use so-called non-thermal levels of radiation – i.e. they do not directly heat living tissue in the same way a microwave oven does. Well-known scientist and author Robert Becker said in 1985, “…when non-thermal dangers were originally documented in America, military and industrial spokespeople refused to acknowledge them, lying to Congress and the public. Many scientists who naturally wanted to continue working went along with the charade.”

“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 fields.”

Dr Robert O. Becker, Nobel Prize nominee1

Dr. G. J. Hyland of theUniversity of Warwick, UK, calls the human body “an electrochemical instrument of exquisite sensitivity,” noting that, like a radio, it can be interfered with by incoming radiation. Therefore it is misguided to think that electromagnetic radiation would not be having a negative effect on public health, and there is plenty of scientific research to show that this is the case. One scientist in particular led the charge a decade ago, trying to warn us of the dangers.

As far back as 1994 Australia’s CSIRO did a 150 page literature review on the status of health effects from EMR. The report’s author, Dr Stan Barnett, said: “whilst researching the scientific database in preparation for this report it has become evident that subtle changes in cell structure and biochemistry have been frequently reported at exposure levels where gross thermal change could not be attributed as a cause.”2

From 1996 until he died in 2003, New Zealand physicist and electromagnetic radiation (EMR) meta-analyst, Dr Neil Cherry, studied over 600 researchers worldwide. He found that EMR caused DNA breakages, chromosome aberrations, increased oncogene activity in cells, altered brain activity, altered blood pressure and increased brain cancer at very low levels – much lower than those allowed by the Australian standard. He also found that it impacts on the pineal gland in the brain, resulting in a reduction of melatonin – a vital part of many of the body’s biochemical systems, including the mediation of many hormone functions (including the control of weight) and a
major scavenger of damaging free radicals.”3

These findings – in direct conflict with the interests of the multi-billion dollar telecommunications industry – have not only been replicated many times since, but have proved to be prophetic: cancer, leukaemia, cardiac disease, diabetes, sleep disturbances, dementia, weight gain or loss, weakened immune system, asthma, allergies, arthritis, nausea, memory and concentration problems, neurological conditions, and depression to name but a few – all on a sharp rise.
He was surprised to find how much published research there is to show that – across the entire EMR spectrum – damage”2 was done to cellular DNA, rendering it genotoxic and therefore likely to be implicated in the formation of tumours and other illnesses.

Since then other scientists have turned up further studies showing similar results. A study published in August 2007 indicates that mobile phone radiation causes cancer in mice”4 , and another one – published in August 2007 in New Scientist by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel – finds that after only 5 minutes of exposure to radiation one tenth of the power of a mobile phone, rat and human cell chemicals undergo changes.

Marshall and Wetherall found an exponential increase in the USA of autism, ADHD, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Alzheimer’s since 1984, the year the first commercial cell phone networks started to spread across the USA. These rates increased even further with the switchover from analog (1G) to digital (2G) in the early 1990s.”5
In 2005 researchers in China found that relatively low-level RF radiation can lead to DNA breaks6, and in 2004 the REFLEX project, which summarised the work of 12 research groups in seven European countries, reported that RF radiation could increase the number of DNA breaks in exposed cells, as well as activate a stress response – the production of heat-shock proteins. The manager of the project, Franz Adlkofer, said: “…available scientific evidence of such critical events demonstrates the need for intensifying research – precautionary measures seem to be warranted.”7

Dr Peter French found that mobile phone radiation switched on heat shock proteins:

“In plain English, the point is that it has been demonstrated by several researchers that increasing the amount of heat shock proteins in cells results in the increased potential for developing tumours, increased stimulation of metastasis or spread of cancers, the direct development of cancer, de novo, and the decreased effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs.” Dr Peter French”8