Beginning With Low-Level Radiation.
Dr. Alice Stewart was one of the first experts to alert the world to the dangers of low-level radiation in the early 1970s. These days controversy continues to surround low-level radiation, while the definitive answer on safety remains elusive.
Toxipedia’s “Radiation: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” mentions “Assessing the human health and ecological effects of both ionizing and nonionizing radiation is complex. While we depend on the sun, we are also familiar with the hazards of solar radiation that can result in sunburn, cataracts, and skin cancer. Microwave radiation, used by cell phones, is also a potential concern as it warms the skin or internal organs. Excessive use of a cell phone on the ear may increase the rate of brain cancers. There is also controversy around the potential hazards of exposure to low-frequency energy such as AC power lines. The challenge, as always, is to limit exposure.”
Also known as electric and magnetic fields. Electric fields are produced by voltage, whether or not a device is turned on, but are easily weakened by walls and other objects. As the voltage increases the field increases in strength. Magnetic fields are produced when current is flowing, and can pass through living things, buildings and other materials. The strength of magnetic fields decreases rapidly with increasing distance from the source.
The National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) indicates sources of exposure include radio and TV signals, radar, satellite stations, microwave ovens, cordless telephones, cell phone base stations, computer and TV screens, digital electric and gas meters (smart meters), WIFI networks, cell phones, Bluetooth devices, power lines, electrical appliances, and MRIs used in medical diagnosing.
Other EMF Exposure.
The Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) website states “Electromagnetic pollution, often subdivided into excessive EMF, dirty electricity, and electrosmog, depending on the frequency or mix of frequencies, rides along on a building’s electrical system with the ability to contaminate an entire home and even buildings and homes nearby.”
And power lines? CHE also states that “Low-frequency magnetic fields from power lines induce circulating currents within the human body. The strength of these currents depends on the intensity of the magnetic field. If sufficiently large, these currents can cause stimulation of nerves and muscles or affect other biological processes.”
One can visit BioInitiative to download charts from their 2019 report findings that summarize adverse health effects from cell towers, WI-FI, ‘smart’ wireless utility meters, wireless laptops, baby monitors, cell phones and cordless phones.
Cell Phones, Cell Phone Cases.
A recent article by San Roe at the Chicago Tribune caught my eye – it was on the topic of cell phone radiation. It’s important that you set aside less than 3 minutes to watch this video.
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) just completed the largest animal study to date. John Bucher, Ph.D., senior scientist of the study, said “We believe that the link between radio frequency radiation and tumors in male rats is real, and the external experts agreed.” The results? According to the final report released in November 2018 there was clear evidence that male rats exposed to high levels of radio frequency radiation, like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones, developed cancerous heart tumors. There was also some evidence of tumors in the brain and adrenal gland of exposed male rats. Also found was a significant increase in DNA damage in the blood cells of female mice. In January 2020 NTP shared a four-page summary of their radiation study in a well-illustrated, downloadable pdf file.
Interestingly, an investigation by the Environmental Working Group found that some cell phone cases actually diminish cell phone signal strength and can partially block the antenna, making the phone work harder to transmit a signal and intensifying the radiation that strikes a user’s head and body. Their report also addresses questions about internet browsing, WI-FI, tablets and laptops, and issues regarding exposure to children and teens.
2G, 3G, 4G And 5G.
NTP studies used 2G and 3G cellphones, indicating that results do not apply to 4G or 5G technologies, because newer technologies use different methods of signal modulation than those used in NTP’s studies. “5G is an emerging technology that hasn’t really been defined yet. From what we currently understand, it likely differs dramatically from what we studied,” said Michael Wyde, Ph.D., lead toxicologist on the NIEHS studies. In addition, he remarked “NTP scientists are still working to understand the impact of exposure to radiofrequency radiation on biological tissues.”
In their updated report of May 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a component of the World Health Organization, classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as Group 2B – possibly carcinogenic to humans, based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use.
The challenge is to limit exposure. Most experts suggest the following:
- Reduce the amount of time spent using your cell phone
- Use speaker mode or a headset to place more distance between your head and the cell phone
- If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure
- Cellphone cases can partially block the antenna, making the phone work harder to transmit a signal and intensifying the radiation that strikes the user’s head and body, while using a case also can lead to dropped calls and depleted battery power
- Don’t charge your phone near your bed while you sleep
- Put the router in a room where people spend the least amount of time
- Keep devices on a table and away from the body – including laptops and tablets
- Moving even a short distance from most electrical appliances reduces exposure dramatically
If you want to find out if you’re being exposed to EMFs the use of gaussmeter, available through a number of retailers, can help you determine where you are being exposed. Also, visiting RadTown can help you explore other sources of radiation exposure.
Where To Learn More.
For information on occupational exposure, visit OSHA and for information specific to your computer work station, OSHA offers this advice. The World Health Organization’s website allows one to download the entire document, “Extremely Low Frequency Fields, Environmental Health Criteria Monograph No. 238.” There is also an EMF Training Course which reviews the interaction between EMFs and biological systems.
On A Different Note – Social Media Disorder.
The National Institutes of Health is discussing whether or not “Internet Addiction” should be classified as a mental disorder. It breaks my heart to see a group of young people together and no one is talking to one another because of being so engrossed by their individual personal cell phones. The website psycom.net was founded by Dr. Ivan K. Goldberg, a New York psychiatrist in private practice for 50 years. On his website one can find the signs, symptoms and treatments for those who may suffering from any number of addictions. You may want to take advantage of the resources on the left hand side of the screen. For an analysis of screen time statistics in the US vs. the rest of the world, visit Comparitech.
Thank you, Cindy, for this plethora of information!
Thank you, Kathleen! While writing it I realized how vast the topic was! The information surprised me!