Is Your Smartphone Damaging Your Health?
|October 17, 2012||Posted by Staff under Environmental|
Radiofrequency (RF) radiation, particularly from mobile-phone towers, has been rising rapidly. Is anyone liable?
by Lynne Wycherley
Aware of the rapid growth of radiofrequency (RF) radiation, particularly from mobile-phone ‘towers’, Colorado researcher Katie Haggerty had an inspiration: she planted three test plots of aspen seedlings. Carefully matched in all other respects, one plot was shielded from a nearby town’s RF radiation, one was ‘mock’ shielded, and the other was left unprotected. The difference, recorded in the International Journal of Forestry Research, was startling: the fully shielded saplings were vigorous and healthy, but both the ‘mock’ shielded and the exposed plants were small, lacked pigments, and had sickly leaves.
Across the Atlantic, Spanish biologist Alfonso Balmori of the Institute for the Environment (Consejería de Medio Ambiente) in Castilla y León was conducting a sensitive study of tadpoles. Sited 140m from a set of phone masts, those shielded from its radiation developed normally and in sync; but the unshielded tadpoles grew unevenly, and only 10% survived.
In Switzerland, the University of Zurich’s Michael Hässig recorded multiple cataracts in calves near masts, whilst Belgian researcher Joris Everaert of the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) mapped striking declines in house sparrows in fields that contained masts. Anil Kumar of the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Jammu in Kashmir, and Sukhdev Dongre of Jayvanti College in Betul, Madhya Pradesh echoed his findings.
Meanwhile, Marie-Claire Cammaerts and her team at the Université Libre in Brussels studied the effects of a weak signal on ant colonies and discovered that they became confused to such an extent that they no longer remembered the cues that led them to food.
In the words of Balmori, informed by his years of research, “the electromagnetic field is a perfect secret agent: you cannot see it, you cannot smell it, you cannot hear it, you cannot feel it, and its effects are slow but relentless.”
When human beings first walked the Earth, singing their praise to the stars, background radiation was low. Today, in the words of Olle Johansson of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, “you are sitting in levels (3G) that are approximately one million billion times above natural background… Therefore you must ask yourself, do we through evolution have a microwave shield built into our bodies? …of course we don’t.”
Householders in America have been fleeing pulsed-microwave smart meters: the insomnia, headaches and heart arrhythmia these can trigger have sent some people to the law courts, and others to the hills.
An alternative is to return to the use of cable. (Many laptops and tablet computers can use ethernet; telephone landlines can take our bulk calls.) Following reports of health problems, a number of French libraries have swapped Wi-Fi for cabled internet. Others have binned cordless-phone stands: health researcher Magda Havas of Trent University, Ontario discovered that the non-stop pulsed microwaves they emit can disturb the heartbeat.
Similarly, Hermann Stever and Jochen Kuhn of the University of Koblenz-Landau found that few honeybees returned to hives exposed to microwave signals, and a small Dutch study at Wageningen University noted bark lesions and leaf death in ash trees next to routers.
Though brief lab studies quite often find no ill effects, this does not rule out chronic influences – Klaus Buchner of the Technical University at Munich, and Emad Eskander, an endocrinologist at the National Research Centre in Cairo, each found long-term hormonal imbalances in people living near new or existing masts. And even more ominously, when environmental engineer Adilza Dode of the University of Minas Gerais scrutinised public health records in Brazil, she found that cancer deaths increased sharply with local mast density. In Israel, physiologist Ronni Wolf of Tel Aviv University documented triple and quadruple cancer rates in their near fields.