Wireless Interference: The Health Risks of RF-EMFs
The health risks of RF-EMFs, the radiation from cell phone towers and other media technology, are not entirely known, though early signs are troubling.
We now live in a wireless-saturated normality that has never existed in the history of the human race, and the effects of EMFs on human beings are largely untested.
In January 1990, a cell tower goes up 800 feet from Alison Rall’s dairy farm in Mansfield, Ohio. By fall, the cattle herd that pastures near the tower is sick, and Rall’s three young children begin suffering bizarre skin rashes, raised red “hot spots.” The kids are hit with waves of hyperactivity. The girls lose hair. Rall, when she becomes pregnant with a fourth child, can’t gain weight.
Desperate to understand what is happening to her family and her farm, she contacts an Environmental Protection Agency scientist named Carl Blackman. He’s an expert on the biological effects of radiation from electromagnetic fields (EMFs)—the kind of radiofrequency EMFs (RF-EMFs) by which all wireless technology operates, including not just cell towers and cell phones but also wi-fi hubs and wi-fi-capable computers, “smart” utility meters, and even cordless home phones. “With my government cap on, I’m supposed to tell you you’re perfectly safe,” Blackman tells her. “With my civilian cap on, I have to tell you to consider leaving.”
When Rall contacts the cell phone company that operates the tower, she is told there is “no possibility whatsoever” that the tower is the source of her ills. But within weeks of abandoning the farm, the children recovered their health, and so did the herd.
We all live in range of cell towers now, and we are all wireless operators. As of October 2010 there were 5.2 billion cell phones operating on the planet. “Penetration,” in the marketing-speak of the companies, often tops 100 percent in many countries, meaning there is more than one connection per person.
I don’t have an Internet connection at my home in Brooklyn, and, like a dinosaur, I still keep a landline. Yet even though I have, in a fashion, opted out, I’m bathed in the radiation from cell phone panels on the parking garage next door. The waves are everywhere. We now live in a wireless-saturated normality that has never existed in the history of the human race, and the effects of EMFs on human beings are largely untested.
In May 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a statement that the electromagnetic frequencies from cell phones would henceforth be classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The IARC decision followed multiple warnings, mostly from European regulators, about the possible health risks of RF-EMFs. In September 2007, the EU’s European Environment Agency suggested that widespread radiofrequency radiation “could lead to a health crisis similar to those caused by asbestos, smoking, and lead in petrol.” Double-strand breaks in DNA—one of the undisputed causes of cancer—have been reported in tests with animal cells. Neuroscientists at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia discovered a “power boost” in brain waves when humans were exposed to cell phone radiofrequencies. The brain, one of the lead researchers speculated, was “concentrating to overcome the electrical interference.”
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