This page is by no means exhaustive on the many harms EMFs do to us, our animals and the environment. Many books have been written on this subject, and there are many websites with long lists of papers on all the different facets of the subject. The aim here is to give you an overview with enough detail to show you the problem is very real.
The electromagnetic spectrum is usually displayed as a picture with a number of artificial sub-divisions that are conventionally recognised starting with Extra Low Frequency (ELF), that has long wavelength, and low energy on the left, going sequentially through Very Low Frequency (VLF), radio waves, microwaves, infra-red, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays and finally gamma rays as the wavelength shortens and the frequency rises logarithmically to the right. These bands span both ionizing and non-ionizing divisions. Although the whole spectrum is found in the natural world to varying degrees, graphics usually depict man-made inventions that emit the different categories of artificial EMFs, such as pylons, radio, TV, phones, ovens, X-ray equipment and nuclear power stations.
Natural and Artificial EMFs
The Earth has a natural frequency called the Schumann Resonance of 7.83Hz and the Sun radiates very powerful EMFs across the full spectrum. Earth receives the infra-red, visible, and ultraviolet sections of these emissions. The Sun’s EMFs weaken in an inverse square relationship, which means that as the EMFs travel away from the Sun, their strength reduces exponentially. We can cope with the radiation that Earth receives from the Sun because it is very much weaker by the time it gets here. This is partly because it has travelled a very long way, and partly because our ionosphere and magnetosphere absorb and deflect significant amounts of this radiation. Astronauts in the Space Station outside of our atmosphere are exposed to very much higher levels of the Sun’s radiation – both ionising and non-ionising. This is why people are only allowed a certain length of time on the Space Station in one go, and cumulatively over time.
Microwave radiation below 3cm wavelength is absorbed by our atmosphere, which means the human body has not evolved to cope with these frequencies. We are therefore all the more susceptible when we encounter them. It is very easy to fall into the trap of considering that exposure to some artificially defined sub-divisions is safe, and exposure to others isn’t, and to forget that it is a continuous scale of radiation with no natural sub-divisions or categorisations. It should be no surprise that we encounter the full spectrum together to varying degrees, and not just one conveniently labelled sub-classification at a time. Likewise, the visible spectrum has a relatively narrow bandwidth, and it’s easy to forget about those bands and frequencies that we cannot see, although we can feel infrared as heat.
There is one other important categorisation of EMFs. Some people will try to "prove" the safety of telecoms EMFs on the basis that "there are natural EMFs all around us that are no different". Whilst there are natural EMFs, they are not the same and the body reacts differently to them. Natural EMFs differ significantly in that they are non-polarised, whereas artificial EMFs are polarised. We have not evolved to fully adapt to polarised radiation that only travels in a single plain. Natural non-polarised emissions that we evolved in, radiate and travel in all different planes. Scientists have discovered that the polarisation of EMFs is an important factor that prevents the body adjusting to the artificial signals. This is why artificial EMFs are dangerous, where natural unpolarised EMFs aren’t, although everybody knows that excessive sunbathing can lead to health issues too.
EMFs are rapidly increasing
Most people are unaware of the huge increases in artificial radiation levels that have occurred over the past 20-30 years. It has been likened to the boiling frog fable, where if a hypothetical frog is introduced to already boiling water, it would jump out immediately and keep well away. But if the (hypothetical) frog is put in cold water that is gradually heated, the frog would be immobilised by the increasing temperature before it realised what was happening.
It's not quite the same in reality. Many people are very conscious of their niggling adverse symptoms that have crept into their life as a result of the harm caused by the EMFs, but due to the slow insidious onset and the very general nature of their symptoms, people do not attribute the aches and pains they feel to the EMFs bombarding them. Their ailments are blamed on “life”, stress or whatever other excuse comes to mind. As a result, many more people are indirectly aware of the EMF smog than they realise.
As EMF levels continue to rise, more people will become ill. How many of them will realise that they are sensitive to EMFs, only time will tell. The fact that the symptoms are quite generalised and can be caused by other environmental and life stresses too makes it very much easier for the Telecoms Industry to deny their culpability. How convenient!
It's all about the cumulative exposure
When we strip away the emotion that EMF discussions bring up, it’s a very straight forward formula in reality. The amount of EM radiation our body receives is a product of the radiation frequency, the energy intensity at that frequency and the overall exposure time. Whether our body is harmed by it or not depends on the balance between the ability of an individual to compensate for the total energy delivered, and the ability to repair any damage caused by that exposure. When part of the adverse effects of EMFs is to damage and disrupt our DNA, then our ability to repair ourselves is reduced from where it started prior to the radiation exposure. Over time, our tolerance continues to spiral down as a result.
It's maybe easier to think of it a bit like the exposure of silver bromide film used for pre-digital cameras. In bright light, a film only needs a very short exposure with a high shutter speed to get the perfect picture, and it can be very easily over-exposed in a fraction of a second with the resulting picture losing colour and detail. However, the same picture wash-out can equally occur in much lower light levels if the film is left exposed for too long – even from moonlight if the shutter is left open for long enough! It’s just a much slower and longer process in the second scenario. This also explains the oft-quoted comparison that a 7-hour long haul flight at altitude in an aeroplane has the equivalent radiation exposure to an X-ray that happens in a fraction of a second. If the equivalent X-ray is being taken in a hospital, there are regulations that require all unnecessary personnel to leave the room, or to wear a lead apron; but for 400 people going on holiday trapped in an aircraft with no protective clothing it's perfectly fine. Isle seats are safer than window seats for this reason!
It is not a difficult leap therefore to consider that 24/7/365/life exposure to multiple polarised EMFs used for telecommunications, power and electrical gadgets over a wide range of frequencies, and of a nature that is not what we evolved in, is unlikely to be as safe as we’re being told. The authorities maintain they are safe because they don’t cause thermal effects. If we then consider that these same EMFs have been proven to cause biological changes that our body cannot properly compensate for without causing thermal effects, they look more and more like a harmful certainty.
In the video below, Dr Martin Pall, Emeritus Professor of Washinton State University gives an overview of how these EMFs can cause biological effects at levels lower than those considered safe according to official regulations. He also explains why 5G will have considerably worse adverse effects.
WHO classifies ALL artificial EMFs as possible carcinogens
In May 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) at the World Health Organization (WHO) published their evaluation of the scientific evidence for the risk of brain tumours. At that time, the IARC was independently financed and had its own governing and scientific councils. The working group reached the conclusion that all radio frequency (RF) radiation from devices that emit non-ionizing RF radiation in the frequency range 30 kHz-300 GHz, are Group 2B “possible” carcinogens, the same as vehicle exhaust fumes. Since then, more evidence has been found.
Following a report published in 2018 by the USA National Toxicology Program reviewing the association between EMFs and cancer, there have been calls by independent scientists for EMFs to be reclassified by the WHO as Class 1 “known carcinogens”.
Common sources of Electromagnetic Pollution
When it comes to artificial EMFs most people just think about mobile phones, WiFi and Bluetooth, but this is only a part of the problem. The following list is not definitive but includes some sources that many people wouldn’t necessarily think of as potential issues.
Electrical Equipment and Wiring
- External Electrical Power Lines, Sub-Stations, High-Voltage Cables, etc
- Home Wiring (50/60 Hz)
- All electrical appliances: electric blanket, hair dryer and tongs, vacuum cleaner, TVs, lamps,
- Work equipment: PCs, laptops, tablets, printers, routers, copiers, anything plugged in
Microwave/Radiofrequency Technology includes all Wireless and Digital Technology
- Digital TV broadcasts
- Cell Phones (2-5G)
- Digital cordless landline phone (DECT)
- Wi-Fi, Wi-MAX, Wi-LAN
- Microwave Ovens
- Radar (military, airports, etc.)
- Fluorescent light bulbs: These emit RF / Microwave Radiation due to a tiny transformer that is used to excite the gas inside the tube which emits light. Add this to the UV Radiation and mercury vapour from these ‘green’ light bulbs, and the old tungsten filament bulbs seem much more attractive!
- All other wireless devices such as baby monitors, alarm systems, Gaming equipment, smart meters, smart anything.
These objects aren’t powered, so do not generate their own EMFs, but can act as an antenna which collect and then radiate unnatural fields to their surroundings.
- Water Pipes, Gas Pipes
- Electrical Circuits, Telephone Lines
- Keys, Rings, Watches, Jewellery, Metal Piercings (ear, navel, tongue, etc.)
- Metal Fillings: EMFs near amalgam fillings cause mercury vapour to leak which is then inhaled through the mouth to the lungs and can eventually make its way to the brain.
- Springs in Mattresses
- Metal in underwired bras
The Science in Detail
The science as to how EMFs cause harm can be broken down into fairly easily understandable parts, but first we need to know a bit about the role of ions, especially the calcium ion in the body. Most people know that calcium is needed structurally for strong bones and teeth, but this is far from the limits of its function. The ionic form of calcium (Ca2+) takes part in virtually every physiological function in every cell. Disruption of Ca2+ therefore has widespread ramifications with multiple and varied symptoms.
All the ions in our body (Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, K+, Cl-, etc.) have physical properties including oscillating and rotational movements. There are over 80 naturally occurring ions in the body that each have their own roles. They interact with each other in complex ways, such that disturbances of one ion will unsettle the balance of others that function in relation to it. The oscillating and rotational movements generate a characteristic electromagnetic wave and associated field of a certain frequency unique to each ion that have been accurately measured and identified. These are an ion's characteristic "signature". An ion's signature is crucial to how it interacts with certain proteins that can hold and release it as required, or other proteins that allow it to pass through membranes via ion-specific ion channels. Ion channels can be actively controlled according to the voltage. One of the most important ion channels is the Voltage-Gated Calcium Channel - commonly abbreviated to VGCC.
The problem is that the operating frequencies of our electronic devices correspond to the spectrum of signature frequencies of these ions, in particular Ca2+. This overlap of frequencies creates resonance interference effects that are well understood by biophysicists at the cellular level. Disruption of ion channels and proteins that hold/release them have knock-on disruptive effects on all the processes that these ions are involved with. The greater the role of an ion in the body, the greater the impact of its disruption. Ca2+ is one of the fundamental triggers for the non-specific inflammatory cascade which means that it is responsible for many symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, brain fog etc that many people experience on a daily basis.
Because this is a general non-specific response, by definition, many different stresses can cause it. It is therefore easy to blame our adverse symptoms arising from EMF exposure on other causes that seem more obvious than invisible EMFs! The Telecoms Industry relies on this imprecision and difficulty in determining the exact cause of a non-specific inflammatory response to get away with taking responsibility for the adverse effects of the EMFs that their equipment and activities cause.
Mobile phone frequencies approximate to those of important ion channels
Different people have different sensitivities such that even if people don't think they are suffering from EMF exposure directly, it lowers their threshold to reacting to other things. Those who are very sensitive suffer from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) which has only recently been officially recognised as a medical condition. Chronic inflammation is the basis for pretty well all chronic diseases including arthritis, auto-immune disorders, suppressed immunity and cancers amongst many other health problems.
Normal ion properties prior to RF exposure
The circular movement of these ions is described as having a natural cyclotron radius which is characteristic for each type of ion.
Ion activity as a result of RF exposure
Constant bombardment of cells by external EMFs adds more energy into this system. The ions absorb this energy which causes an increase in its cyclotron radius.
Ion activity post RF exposure
Once the additional energy has been absorbed by the ion it maintains its excited state and enlarged cyclotron radius.
In reality, the vast majority of people are constantly exposed to EMFs and this hyper-excited state is constant. In this heightened energy state ions are more readily released from their holding protein.
The calcium ion (Ca2+) is held within proteins embedded in the cell membrane by biophysical forces. When the cyclotron radius is enlarged as a result of external EMFs, it changes the threshold at which the Ca2+ is released from its protein binding, and alters the functioning of the Voltage-Gated Calcium Channel (VGCC) through which the Ca2+ enters the cell, thereby allowing Ca2+ to flood into the cell.
When Ca2+ floods into the cells it sets off an inflammatory cascade that is the basis for a whole array of non-specific stress responses that manifest as the symptoms people commonly experience when exposed to EM pollution. We know this mechanism is correct because Prof Martin Pall discovered that these same symptoms could be prevented by giving people cardiac pharmaceuticals that block VGCCs. Chronic exposure to EMFs therefore leads to chronic inflammation which is the basis for many diseases that have been steadily rising, including cancer. Various scientists are now calling for EMFs to be up-rated by the World Health Organisation from a Class 2b "possible carcinogen" to a Class 1 "Known carcinogen" based on a wide array of research including a US National Toxicology investigation that revealed increased risk of gliomas (a type of brain cancer) associated with increased exposure to EMFs.
Prof Martin Pall's slide that shows the cascade of events can be seen below. Whilst controlled microcurrent stimulation can bring about therapeutic effects, uncontrolled random EMFs that surround us 24/7 interfere with calcium signalling and increase superoxide formation that leads to the pathophysiological effects.
Analogue v Digital
Prior to the use of digital technology all radio wave signals were broadcast in analogue format. In analogue technology, information is translated into pulses of varying amplitude as an unmodulated radio wave, ie the signal moves along through the air in a ‘sine wave’ - like a wave on the sea. This is how energy flows in nature. Since normal radio waves move in this flowing manner, they are not dangerous to us (the only exception being when standing too close to a transmitter tower and it heats the body). This is, in very basic terms, how radio stations, analogue TV, and some older cordless phones work.
In contrast to the analogue signal, a digital signal is a modulated radio wave. This means that instead of the smooth progression of the sine wave, we now have the unnatural, man-made ‘square wave’. This angular wave represents a pulsed signal which is either on (1) or off (0) with an immediate transition that the body cannot anticipate or accommodate to. This is exactly how mobile and DECT phones, digital TV broadcasts, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mobile Masts, and all other wireless technologies work. In order for all these technologies to carry the necessary information the signals must be modulated. This pulsed or modulated radio wave emits unnatural microwave radiation that because of its sudden onset and extremely brief nature is the greatest threat to our health. The unpredictable nature of these sudden fast spikes in power ensure our body can never adapt to them and so we have no effective natural resistance to their harms.
There are two aspects to digital signals – a high frequency, low power carrier broadcast microwave that carries the low frequency pulsed modulation (ie the data). The modulated portion (data transmission) is low frequency but very high power. These signals are amplitude modulated and the signal strength rises and falls in time at a lower frequency. It is these very sharp spikes (peaks) of high amplitude (high power) unnatural pulsed lower frequencies, many of which occur in the biologically active range of 3 – 25 Hz, which can and will interfere with everything from brain processes to hormone production to cell repair. Even though these signals are many magnitudes lower in power than guidelines established by the FCC in the U.S. or by the ICNIRP for Europe – which again only protect from thermal / heating effects – the body is negatively affected due to established non-thermal biological effects.
Safety Level Inadequacies
One way that EMFs are measurement is by the intensity of the electromagnetic waves, expressed in Gauss or Tesla for a magnetic field, and in volts/m for the electric field. For artificial electromagnetic waves (mobile phones, WiFi, TV, radio, antennas and transmission towers for mobile phone etc.) we measure the transmitted power (or more specifically the power density) which is defined as "the rate at which energy flows through a known surface", the measurement being taken at a distance of several wavelengths from the radio frequency source. This power density is expressed in Watt/m2. Devices are given an SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) figure and is the official parameter used to quantify the "danger" level of the emitted waves. It is the quantitative measure for an exposure close to the source and corresponds to the measure of the amount of energy absorbed by the body. Historically, it was thought that EM radiation could only have a biological effect if it generated heat. This has since been proven to be completely wrong, but regulatory authorities have not changed the national official safety levels to reflect the scientific fact that it is not necessary to have thermal heating for a biological effect to take place. For years, ICNIRP have recommended limits according to the assumption that adverse biological effects can only happen at power levels sufficient to cause a heating (thermal) effect. Nearly all Governments set EM radiation limits based on ICNIRP recommendations.
A French study published in 2017 found that when the SAR for the vast majority of popular mobile phones is measured with the phone touching the head, as many people frequently use them, the levels of EMF absorption exceed current set SAR limits. Many phones have a warning hidden in their small print not to use the headset within 15mm of the body, but even if you obseve this for calls, safety limits are exceeded if you carry your mobile phone in your jeans pocket or tucked into your bra as many inadvisably do.
When it comes to wireless earbuds that people put directly into the ear and much closer to the brain than even a mobile phone can be, the results show they have the potential to cause significantly more harm, and yet some people wander around with them in their ears constantly whether they are on a call or not. As with all wireless technology, earbuds regularly power up to check for connection to whatever devices they are paired with, and with each other.
The communicating signal between earbuds travels directly through the head between the ears, blasting the hypothalamus and pineal glands. The hypothalamus plays a crucial regulatory role in determining many different hormone levels. Disruption to the normal functioning of the hypothalamus can therefore have adverse effects on distant glands too.
Whilst the comparisons shown indicate the relative power levels of Apple airpods relative to other Apple devices, there is no reason to consider that earbuds from other manufacturers will be emitting any less electromagnetic radiation. Aircall pneumatic headsets will reduce wired earbud exposure even further through creating distance between the speakers and the head and through cable shielding.
Countless research papers have contradicted ICNIRP recommendations and there have been at least 37 different Appeals from concerned scientists and Doctors since 1997 that have called for further independent research to verify their findings. Doctors, in the Frieberg Appeal of 2002, stated that EMFs had become an obstacle to effective treatment at that time. Levels of EMFs are considerably higher now and with a much wider frequency range than in 2002, given that according to Prof Olle Johansson of the Karolinka Institute in Stokholm, Sweden, EMFs had increased a quintillion-fold in the 10 years prior to 2016 (that's 1, 000,000,000,000,000,000 times).
The Telecoms Industry is bigger and more powerful than even Pharma, and are pushing for relaxation of safety rules to allow higher power EMFs from 5G masts because the higher the frequency, the closer masts and relay masts have to be situated to maintain communication, and the easier it is for signals to be blocked by trees and buildings. This was the basis for why the local authorities of Brussels and Rome halted installation of 5G in 2019, but few other authorities have been brave enough to follow suit.
A whole new infrastructure is currently under construction to provide as much coverage as possible for the coming flood of Smart technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) that will massively increase both the proximity and number of sources we are exposed to, and thus the power and total amount of electromagnetic radiation we receive. Government directives attempting to stop local resident objections make it much more difficult to stop erection of new masts. Local Authorities are rubber-stamping planning applications in the name of technical advance. Having said that, some action groups have had some success in stopping some masts, but the vast majority of installations are going ahead. It makes putting mitigating measures in place now all the more important.
What about Electric Vehicles?
The push to phase out fossil fuelled vehicles in favour of electric and/or hybrid models in the name of Climate Change represents a huge rise in EMF exposure given the size of the battery under the floor pan and all the sensors and electronics that come with it. The end desire for fully autonomous driverless cars will only increase this hazard. Vehicles are already full of EMF-generating technologies already as the picture below indicates. With EMFs known to cause problems in concentration and brain fog etc the adverse effect on drivers does nothing to improve road safety. The picture indicates only those EMF sources actively involved with the car function, and omits dashboard display electronics, the addition of mobile phones (often 1 per person) brought into the car and in some cars the video screen imbedded into the back of the front headrests right next to the driver's and front passenger's heads!!
Infertility & Pregnancy Harms
Infertility: a modern day problem on the rise
For an increasing number of couples, fertility and being able to have children is becoming a major problem. Not only is there an issue with not being able to start a family but it puts strains on the would-be parents relationship itself that may be entirely avoidable. The following UK statistics give an idea of the scale of the problem.
- In the UK, currently 1 in 7 couples will have issues conceiving (about 3.5m people).
- Unexplained infertility accounts for 25-30% of all couples who go for IVF, many of which have successfully conceived in the past.
- The average time women spend trying to conceive before treatment is four years.
- Sperm counts in adult men halved in the period 1930-1990 and two out of three infertile men don’t know they’re sterile.
- Up to a fifth of young men have a low sperm count.
- A low sperm count is at the root cause of around 20% of cases where couples are struggling to conceive and is the most common cause of male infertility.
Infertility amongst the younger generations around the world has been rising rapidly, and is most notable in countries that typically use high levels of EMF-emitting technology.
- Singapore had a 31% drop in reproduction between 2016 and 2017
- At the same time Macao had a 26% drop.
- South Korea dropped 11% at the same time and experienced a further 9% drop in the 1st half of 2018.
- The COVID spike protein is also recognised to reduce fertility
European studies give rise for even greater concern. Two studies published in 2018 showed that in Finland and Denmark 78.5% and 79% of males respectively are either in the low fertility or infertile ranges. This was supported in 2019 when a study from Switzerland showed that 62% of young males are infertile. When infertility can be reduced by a range of different causes, some of which will be unknown and others that are very difficult to avoid, it becomes all the more important to protect against those factors that we can. EMFs fall into this category.
When it comes to IVF treatment itself, the statistics indicate that it isn't as successful as you might think, and the hormone treatment regime can be tough physically and emotionally too.
- Under 35 yo the number of successful births per embryo transferred is about 30% and the figures drop off as the women get older, especially if using their own eggs.
- Even on the NHS the cost of drugs per cycle is between £800-1600
- If you go privately to jump the long NHS queue it can cost up to £5000 per cycle and multiple cycles may be required with no guarantee of success.
So where do EMFs fit into the equation for men? Well there is a large body of research that indicates that male fertility especially is adversely effected by EMF radiation. Men frequently carry their mobile phone in a front jeans pocket which places it right next to the testes where sperm are produced.
EMFs have been shown not only to reduce sperm count but increase defects in the sperm. The known effect on DNA damage could mean that even supposedly healthy-looking sperm may not be carrying the male DNA in best condition.
Mobile phones aren't the only common source of EMF radiation close to the testes. Laptops and tablets or any other electronics should not used resting on your lap.
There is increasing amount of microwave radiation from cordless landlines, WiFi and Bluetooth from all surrounding sources, not to mention the increase in Smart gadgets such as Alexa, HomePod, Echo etc. One of the main points reasons companies want us to have a Smart Speaker such as those mentioned is because it enables them to listen in on all our conversations to gather marketing data, and because it will encourage owners to buy other Smart technology that can be voice controlled as it becomes available and more affordable. This will include lighting, curtains, heating and more besides. The result is evermore EMF radiation within our house, and incoming from neighbours too, especially in a block of flats or offices. WiFi boosters just amplify the problem as well as the signal.
Infertility in Girls
The reduction in fertility from EMFs is not restricted to men.
Women only have the number of eggs that they are born with, which mature and are released regularly from puberty throughout their fertile life until they reach the menopause. This has important ramifications for female foetuses, babies and children whose future fertility may be adversely and irretrievably damaged at any time during in utero development, their early life and right through to the menopause. The danger of exposure to EMFs is highest when DNA is dividing, ie during person growth, and egg maturation prior to ovulation.
This is fundamentally different to men who make sperm continuously after puberty. The maturation cycle of sperm is therefore considerably shorter, and provided the cause of poor sperm production and DNA damage is identified and removed, the testes have the potential ability to recover and regain fertility.
EMFs cannot be considered to be the only non-physical cause of infertility, and there are other factors such as nutrition, infections and other causes of stress too. When couples first start having difficulties conceiving and take steps to take responsibility to try to remedy the situation, these other factors are more likely to be addressed and rectified, yet few fertility clinics or couples will consider the adverse effects of EMFs which can be enough on their own to reduce fertility and to stop conception.
This has been demonstrated in the wild where birds nesting on or close to masts failed to conceive, or had a significantly lower number of hatchlings that were less likely to survive. Adversarial behavioural changes between birds in a couple were also noted.
EMF exposure during Pregnancy
OK, so let's assume that conception has been successful and an expectant mother is now carrying her child.
To begin with, the foetus is only a few cells, but they are rapidly dividing to generate growth (aiming for 37 trillion cells as an adult!); and then the cells need to differentiate into the 200 or so different cell types within the body. This requires precise replication of DNA for growth and then precise expression of the DNA for the differentiation process. There are many stages and molecules involved within the foetus itself but also for the mother to grow and develop the womb and placenta.
There are hormonal changes in the mother that help regulate and maintain the pregnancy. Recent research has even started to identify that the health of the mother at certain key stages of foetal development can have a future impact on the health of their child after birth, even into adulthood. In order to give her child the best opportunity for a healthy birth, development and future health it is imperative that the mother optimises her own internal environment whilst the foetus is developing.
Armed with a library of books on motherhood, internet research, and bombarded with advice from friends and family, a mother-to-be resolves to care for her body as kindly as possible during her pregnancy. Wholesome nutrition and supplements are sorted and she knows to stay away from alcohol, cigarettes, and other intoxicants. The love of shell-fish has been put aside temporarily, and the attention has switched to what chemicals are being used for washing, cleaning and even what's present in make-up!
However, there is one everyday hazard that becomes even more significant during pregnancy that virtually all pregnancy advice literature overlooks. EMFs are emitted by every electronic and powered device, but those that are used for wireless communication such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops and PC/Macs computers put out the biggest EMF pollution.
There is a large body of research that has discovered that EMFs below the levels deemed to be safe according to SAR regulatory standards are still capable of disrupting DNA, altering hormone levels and specifically target rapidly dividing cells which are of course the basis of growth in the developing foetus and baby. Any significant alteration in the normal development has the potential to increase the risk of miscarriage, or congenital abnormality.
It is for these reasons that pregnant women are prevented from being exposed to the risk of X-rays, which would be for a very short fixed time yet there has been no safety tests regarding exposure of pregnant women to everyday EMFs 24/7/280.
Research looking at the effects of continuous lower than safety level EMFs on animals give no reason for confidence. Researchers in Samsun, Turkey published findings that rats prenatally exposed to cell phone radiation developed impaired learning and also showed damage to those parts of the brain involved in memory and learning (Inkinci, et al 2013). Another paper found that pre and post-natal exposure to mobile phone frequencies increased the expression of autism-like behaviour in mice (Alsaeed et al 2014).
The circumstances of pregnancy possibly increase the potential risk to a developing foetus. Women who are on maternity leave and are less mobile thanks to their growing “bump” have more time to spend on a laptop, tablet or smart phone especially when they are keenly surfing the internet for pregnancy and baby information. The bump itself is rather convenient to lean a laptop or tablet up against which of course is the worst thing to do. As smart technology gets cheaper and moves into more areas of our lives there will also be the temptation to get more of it as expectant mothers become less mobile as their due date gets closer. It is hard to believe that something so important and potentially devastating has been given so little coverage and that there is no additional legislation to deal with it. However, as the following evidence demonstrates the risks are real and deserve consideration and action.
A Strengthening Correlation
A Kaiser Permanente cohort study published in Nature in 2017, 913 women were followed throughout their pregnancy. Discounting other risk factors researchers found that expectant mothers who fell into the “high exposure” category (75% of the subjects) were nearly three times as likely to suffer a miscarriage compared to those who had a “low exposure”. One important point to not in this study was that there seems to be a threshold of EMF exposure above which the risk jumps up, indicating that above this the response is not related to increased exposure.
This is consistent with the findings of multiple studies done on the subject over the last 15 years. A Chinese study in 2016 exposed female mice to Extremely Low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields throughout their pregnancy, with grim results. The exposed group produced 60% less offspring; spontaneous abortions and foetal deformities were prevalent in this group. Those offspring that were born displayed slowed development.
Whilst the Telecoms Industry might try to discredit studies where subjects were deliberately exposed because the aim was to induce adverse effects, this is the reality of everyday living now – we are all exposed. This situation was borne out in another study where 116 women, half of whom had experienced early spontaneous miscarriage, filled out questionnaires and had their homes tested for levels of EMF radiation. The group of women who miscarried were found to have significantly higher levels of EMFs within their homes. (Shamsi Mahmoudabadi et al 2013)
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- Autism-relevant social abnormalities in mice exposed perinatally to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields. Alsaeed, et al. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience 37:58-6 (2014).
- Influence of pregnancy stage and fetus position on the whole-body and local exposure of the fetus to RF-EMF. Varsier, et al. Physics in Medicine and Biology 59(17):4913-26(2014).
- Dosimetric study of fetal exposure to uniform magnetic fields at 50 Hz. Liorni et al. Bioelectromagnetics 35(8):580-97 (2014).
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- Stress Signalling Pathways that Impair Prefrontal Cortex Structure and Function. Arnsten, A. F. National Review of Neuroscience 10, 410–22 (2009).
- 900-MHz Microwave Radiation Enhances Gamma-ray Adverse Effects on SHG44 Cells. Cao, et al. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health A. 72, 727–32 (2009).
- Age-Dependent Effect of Prenatal Stress on Hippocampal Cell Proliferation in Female Rats. Koehl et al. European Journal of Neuroscience 29 635–40 (2009).
- Cell Death Induced by GSM 900-MHz and DCS 1800-MHz Mobile Telephony Radiation. Panagopoulos, etal. Mutation Research 626, 69–78 (2007).
- Acute Low-Intensity Microwave Exposure Increases DNA Single-Strand Breaks in Rat Brain Cells. Lai, etal. Bioelectromagnetics 16(3):207-10 (1995).
- Influence of Weak Non-Thermic High-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields on the Membrane Potential of Nerve Cells. Kullnick, et al. Bioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics 27:3, 293-304(1991).
- Dysbindin Modulates Prefrontal Cortical Glutamatergic Circuits and Working Memory Function in Mice. Jentsch, et al Neuropsychopharmacology 34, 2601–8 (2009).
- The Effects of 900 Megahertz Electromagnetic Field Applied in the Prenatal Period on Spinal Cord Morphology and Motor Behavior in Female Rat Pups. Odaci, etal. NeuroQuantology Volume 11, Issue 4: 573-581 (2013).
- Attention-Deficit/HyperactivityDisorder: An Overview of the Etiology and a Review of the Literature Relating to the Correlates and Lifecourse Outcomes for Men and Women. Brassett-Harknett, A. Butler, N. Clinical Psychology Review 27,188–210 (2007).
- Acute Exposure to 930 MHz CW Electromagnetic Radiation In Vitro Affects Reactive Oxygen Species Level in Rat Lymphocytes Treated by Iron Ions. Zmyślony, et al. Bioelectromagnetics 25, 324–8 (2004).
- Responses of Neurons to an Amplitude Modulated Microwave Stimulus. Beasond and Semm. Neuroscience Letters 333(3):175-8 (2002).
- DNA Damage in Molt-4 T-lymphoblastoid Cells Exposed to Cellular Telephone Radiofrequency Fields In Vitro. Phillips, et al. Bioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics, 45:1,103-105 (1998).
- Oxidative Stress of Brain and Liver is Increased by Wi-Fi (2.45 GHz) Exposureof Rats During Pregnancy and the Development of Newborns. Çelik, Ömer, et al. Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy 75(B):134-139(2015).
- Neurodegenerative Changes and Apoptosis Induced by Intrauterine and Extrauterine Exposure of Radiofrequency Radiation. Güler, Göknur, et al. Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy 75(B):128-133 (2015).
- Maternal Exposure to a Continuous 900-MHz Electromagnetic Field Provokes Neuronal Loss and Pathological Changes in Cerebellum of 32-Day-Old Female Rat Offspring. Odaci, Ersan, et al. Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy 75(B):105-110 (2015).
- Different Periods of Intrauterine Exposure to Electromagnetic Field: Influence on Female Rats' Fertility, Prenatal and Postnatal Development. Alchalabi, Aklilu, et al. Asian Pacific Journal of Reproduction 5(1):14-23 (2015).
- Use of Mobile Phone During Pregnancy and the Risk of Spontaneous Abortion. Mahmoudabadi, Ziaei, et al. Journal of Environmental Health Science and Engineering 13:34 (2015).
- Cranial and Postcranial Skeletal Variations Induced in Mouse Embryos by Mobile Phone Radiation. Fragopoulou, Koussoulakos, et al. Pathophysiology 17(3):169-77(2010).
- Maternal Occupational Exposure to Extremely Low Frequency Magnetic Fields and the Risk of Brain Cancer in the Offspring. Li, Mclaughlin, et al. Cancer Causes & Control 20(6):945-55(2009).
- Maternal Cell Phone Use During Pregnancy and Child Behavioral Problems in Five Birth Cohorts. Birks, Guxens, et al. Environment International (2017).
- Exposureto Magnetic Field Non-Ionizing Radiation and the Risk of Miscarriage: A Prospective Cohort Study. Li, De-Kun, et al. Scientific Reports (2017).
EMFs Harm Babies and Children
Increasing Exposure at an Ever Younger Age
As the information (taken from an official UK Report) in the diagram indicates, children of very young ages are being allowed to be over-exposed to EMFs. Exposure time steadily increases as they get older. This is storing up health problems for later in life because growing people of all ages (even into their teens) are very much more vulnerable than adults because it isn't just about size.
Recent official recommendations of 2 hours for tots under 2 years old is frequently exceeded. There are no recommendations as to how long is safe for older children and adolescents to use EMF-emitting technology. A World Health Organisation report from 2004 recognises that further research is required, yet considering that it is the youngest in our society who are most at risk there has been precious little attempt to quantify the issue in order to provide adequate guidelines. Since this report EM radiation has risen exponentially and continues to rise and with an increasing range of untested frequencies.
In 2011, two leading researchers, Elisabeth Cardis and Segal Sadetzki published their assessment of the science to date. They found indications of an increased risk of gliomas, a particularly dangerous form of brain tumour, in high and long-term users which is of concern. Their report stated...
" Even a small risk at the individual level could eventually result in a considerable number of tumours and become an important public-health issue.”"
The Precautionary Principle
There is an EU Precautionary Principle that states "citizens should be protected where there is reasonable evidence to suggest it is necessary even if not conclusive". There is more than sufficient evidence to prove that EM radiation adversely affects people and especially foetuses, babies, children and adolescents. Despite this, the method and SAR scale of assessing the dangers of EM radiation has not been changed to reflect the fact that EMFs do not have to cause a thermal effect in order to have a biological effect. The cartonn below would seem to be far more accurate in how the Precautionary Principle is interpretted in reality.
Two countries, France and Russia, currently have laws to minimise Wi-Fi exposure to children in schools. These two countries have the world’s longest history of research into the health effect of microwaves; both over 100 years. National policies such as these aren't lightly made or enforced without sound reason backed up by trusted science. Much of the research has focused on the effects of mobile phones, but there is also significant research on chronic exposure to the microwave frequencies used for Wi-Fi, Smart meters and others. The bigges question that has not been adequately researched is "What are the cumulative effect of 24/7/365/life exposure to multiple pulsed microwave radiation from many different sources together?". We wouldn't consider for a second the idea of continual exposure to vehicle exhaust fumes from multiple sources, yet they and EMF radiation are both classed as a Class 2b "possible carcinogen".
As the thermal imaging picture showing relative absorption in different ages indicates, children's skulls allow considerably more radiation to pentrate much deeper into the brain. This is due to a combination of factors involving children having a thinner skull, being smaller and potentially more hydrated too. The more rapidly dividing cells also replicate DNA damage faster.
Whilst this picture concentrates on the brain, other organs and areas of the body equally receive a higher level of radiation further into the body. Mobile phones receive most focus of attention because they are primarily placed close to the head for calls, but when used for gaming and/or tablets are considered too they are most frequently rested on the lap or belly during play. Precautions can and must be taken to minimise exposure from WiFi links etc during use but EMFs are still being produced by whichever device itself simply due to the fact that they are powered and electronic.
Although such devices are used for games for the majority of the time by children, they should not be considered as toys with unlimited access. Games/films should be downloaded away from the children who can then play/watch in airplane mode. Whilst this reduces WiFi exposure it is not zero EMF exposure and does not excuse taking mitigatory measures.
David Carpenter, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University of Albany, New York, concluded in his 2010 paper: “That for RF EMFs, standards are set at levels designed to avoid tissue heating, in spite of convincing evidence of adverse biological effects at intensities too low to cause significant heating. The cost of doing nothing will result in an increasing number of people, many of them young, developing cancer.” He is not alone in his warning. Kevin O'Neill, a Consultant Neurosurgeon at Charing Cross Hospital, London, reports that he is seeing more patients than ever and at ever younger ages.
It is very concerning that even low level use of a mobile phone are linked to increased risk, and is worse for those who use mobile phones before the age of 20. There has been a 40% increase in brain tumours in Australia in the last 20 years. It has taken over from leukaemia as the biggest child cancer killer. A statistically significant association has been found between of all benign brain tumours with cordless phone use, showing double the risk after more than 10 years use, even at a very low usage time per day. A greater risk is associated with having used mobile phones for more than 15 years, a finding consistent with other studies showing that observed risks significantly increase after six and ten years of use.
Later studies have corroborated these findings and have thus strengthened the evidence. Several laboratory studies including those by Professor Martin Pall of Washington State University have indicated mechanisms of action for RF radiation carcinogenesis on DNA repair, oxidative stress and down regulation of mRNA and DNA damage repair with single strand breaks. The IARC Class 2b cancer classification includes all sources of RF radiation. The exposure from mobile phone base stations, Wi-Fi access points, smart phones, laptops and tablets can be long-term, sometimes around the clock, both at home and at school. For children these days, this risk is likely to be amplified because of a cumulative effect of lifetime use from a very much earlier age than adults currently in the 50+s who only started to experience significantly higher levels of exposure since the mid 1990s. Stem cells are more sensitive to exposure to RF radiation than differentiated adult cells. Growing individuals of all ages having significantly greater numbers of circulating stem cells than adults. This is of greater significance than body size when assessing the dangers of EMFs on the young.
Learning, Memory and Behavioural Changes
When it comes to the dangers of EMFs, there is a natural tendency to focus on the dangers of cancer. Other adverse effects are likely to be more common, and whilst less immediately life-threatening, nevertheless can be life-changing. Some may be temporary but some may have permanent ramifications. Alterations to brain development during the early years cannot necessarily be reversed. Education can be significantly impeded by poor memory and concentration too.
The behavioural addictive nature that has been identified with using technology only increases the likelihood of increased exposure to the damging EMFs. Faced with a child having a tantrum and demanding access, many parents give in and allow further use and exposure to keep the peace in the short term, completely unaware of the longer term harm.
Using a CATEEN scanner in 2001, Dr Michael Klieeisen from the Spanish Neuro Diagnostic Research Institute in Marbella, produced the first images showing how radiowaves from mobile phones penetrate deep into the brain, not just around the ear; and that a mobile phone call lasting just two minutes can alter the natural electrical activity of a child’s brain for up to fifty minutes. Previously it was thought that any interference of brain chemistry and brain waves stopped when the call stopped.
Dr Klieeisen was concerned that regular exposure to mobile phone radiation might damage children’s immune systems, and could cause psychiatric problems, aggressive behaviour, lack of concentration and memory loss, all of which reduce the ability to learn. He also feared that using mobiles during break times might disrupt behaviour and learning in the classes which follow.
Dr. Gerald Hyland, a UK Government adviser on mobiles, found the results “extremely disturbing”. “It makes one wonder whether children, whose brains are still developing, should be using mobile phones.” he said. It should be no surprise that France who often leads the way regarding EMFs have banned the use of mobile phones at school for children up to the age of 15 years old.
- Baan R, Grosse Y, Lauby-Secretan B, ElGhissassi F, Bouvard V, Benbrahim-Tallaa L, Guha N, Islami F, GalichetL. Carcinogenicity of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Lancet Oncol. 2011;12:624–626. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(11)70147-4.[PubMed]
- International Agency for Research on Cancer . Non-Ionizing Radiation, Part 2: Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields. WHO Press; Lyon, France: 2013. IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans, Volume 102. [PubMed]
- Hardell L, Carlberg M, Söderqvist F,Hansson Mild K. Case-control study of the association between malignantbrain tumours diagnosed between 2007 and 2009 and mobile and cordlessphone use. Int J Oncol. 2013;43:1833–1845.[PubMed]
- Hardell L, Carlberg M, Hansson Mild K.Use of mobile phones and cordless phones is associated with increasedrisk for glioma and acoustic neuroma. Pathophysiology. 2013;20:85–110. doi: 10.1016/j.pathophys.2012.11.001.[PubMed]
- Coureau G, Bouvier G, Lebailly P,Fabbro-Peray P, Gruber A, Leffondre K, Guillamo JS, Loiseau H,Mathoulin-Pélissier S, Salamon R, et al. Mobile phone use and braintumours in the CERENAT case-control study. Occup Environ Med. 2014;71:514–522. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2013-101754.[PubMed]
- CarlbergM, Hardell L. Evaluation of mobile phone and cordless phone use andglioma risk using the Bradford Hill viewpoints form 1965 on associationor causation. BioMed Res Int. 2017;2017:9218486. doi: 10.1155/2017/9218486.[PubMed]
- MarkovàE, Malmgren LO, Belyaev IY. Microwaves from mobile phones inhibit 53BP1focus formation in human stem cells more strongly than indifferentiated cells: Possible mechanistic link to cancer risk. Environ Health Perspect. 2010;118:394–399.[PubMed]
- MeghaK, Deshmukh PS, Banerjee BD, Tripathi AK, Ahmed R, Abegaonkar MP. Lowintensity microwave radiation induced oxidative stress, inflammatoryresponse and DNA damage in rat brain. Neurotoxicology. 2015;51:158–165. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2015.10.009.[PubMed]
- DasdagS, Akdag MZ, Erdal ME, Erdal N, Ay OI, Ay ME, Yilmaz SG, Tasdelen B,Yegin K. Effects of 2.4 GHz radio-frequency radiation emitted from Wi-Fiequipment on microRNA expression in brain tissue. Int J Radiat Biol. 2015;91:555–561. doi: 10.3109/09553002.2015.1028599.[PubMed]
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- AkdagMZ, Dasdag S, Canturk F, Karabulut D, Caner Y, Adalier N. Doesprolonged radiofrequency radiation emitted from Wi-Fi devices induce DNAdamage in various tissues of rats? J Chem Neuroanat. 2016;75:116–122. doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2016.01.003.[PubMed]
- Hedendahl L, Carlberg M, Hardell L. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity - an increasing challenge to the medical profession. Rev Environ Health. 2015;30:209–215. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2015-0012.[PubMed]
EMFs Harm all Animals including our Pets
Whilst everybody tends to focus on our own and our children's exposure to EMFs it is easy to forget our furry friends both domestic and wild in the environment. Our pet dogs, cats (especially house cats) and other pets typically spend more time at home than the rest of the family. It is impossible to argue the validity of research carried out on animals to test pharmaceutical products as a model for people without concurrently recognising that the evidence for EMF damage in people must be equally representative of the harm being caused to our pets at home, farm animals and other animals in the environment of all types, but especially insects.
Most people go out of their home to work and/or for recreation. Dogs go out for a walk once or twice a day, and into the garden to answer the call of nature, but then spend the rest of the time in the home. Even cats that have access to the outside via a cat flap cannot necessarily escape EMFs unless they live in the countryside.
In cities where individual houses and flats. each with their own WiFi for security, are very much closer together, their combined fields form a dense overlapping electrosmog. The accumulation of EMFs from internal and external WiFi and emissions from mobile phone masts that may be situated on top of the nearest tall buildings means there is no escape 24/7/365. The advent of 5G (and 6G in future) where masts will require placement every 20-50m, and the Internet of Things where multiple relays will be required in the home, is an escalation in the proximity to EMF sources and their higher power levels that has never previously been witnessed nor safety tested.
Smart meters and/or WiFi routers may be placed close to where our pets sleep, which means they are getting a stronger exposure than we experience even when we are at home. Electrical goods are often concentrated in areas where pets sleep – in the kitchen or living room – all of which emit EMFs by virtue of being electrically powered. With increasing smart technology that links our mobile phone/tablet to the lighting, heating and cooker etc, the burden on our pets at home is rising fast - both from the need for previously unpowered goods to be powered, plus the wireless communication to control their function. Electrical curtains/blinds which allows us to give the impression of being at home even when we're not are a good example of this.
When it comes to the consequences of the adverse effects from EMFs, animals will experience at least the same amount of inflammation, DNA damage, hormonal disruption, cancer and more. It is entirely possible that the smaller the animals are, the greater the impact of these adverse effects will be. Cancer in pets is approaching 1 in 4, which cannot be purely pinned on EMFs, but to consider that they are not a factor ignores the evidence. Vets aren't taught about the potential harms of EMFs and so do not suspect or appreciate what role EMFs might be playing in their patients. The few who might be aware are unlikely to know how to address this problem other than symptomatic treatment of the presenting diseases. As the Doctors who signed the Freiberg Appeal in 2002 wrote, EMFs are an obstacle to cure, and the same must be considered for our pets too.
Birds are more seriously impacted
There is considerable evidence that animals of all types are adversely impacted by EMFs. A study looking at wildlife found that birds that nested in camouflaged masts or within 200m had zero fertility and disrupted behaviour which could help explain not only the drop in wild bird populations, but also the decrease in fertility we are witnessing in younger people. Increased bad behaviour between birds was also noted.
Whilst many pets are routinely neutered, the influence on behaviour is certainly possible. Birds are more susceptible to EMFs than mammals due to a piezoelectric effect that travels down the feather shaft into the body which amplifies the adverse effects, but in doing so gives us an insight into how we may be effected over a longer period of time with continual exposure.
Damage occurs from exposure to EMFs of lower frequencies and power that are considered safe because they do not cause any thermal effects. In 1994 Bundyuk found that there were disturbances in the immune system of mice at a power level of 0.00000001μW/cm2. According to Kositsky, a power level of 0.00001μW/cm2 initiates a conditioned avoidance reaction in rats. As early as 1973, Dumanskij discovered that EMFs altered EEG, disturbed carbohydrate metabolism, enlarged adrenals, altered adrenal hormone levels and brought about structural changes in the liver, spleen, testes, and brain in white rats and rabbits at a power level of 0.06μW/cm2. Salford found that the blood brain barrier loses integrity at 2.5μW/cm2 and in the same year (1997) Magras found irreversible sterility in mice was induced by power levels of 0.168μW/cm2. The most recent of these studies quoted is 2001, yet no attention has been paid to them or the warnings of many highly qualified scientists in numerous petitions and appeals.
Compagre these power levels with various permitted power levels and exposure times in different countries and there is no comparison given that permitted levels are orders of magnitude higher. Permitted safety levels should NOT just be set according to human exposure, although people are adversely impacted way below permitted power levels too. We rely on animals, especially bees and insects to pollinate our food crops, so it makes no sense at all to not consider their welfare in setting permissable power levels.
Dr Andrew Goldsworthy, a recognised expert in the biological effects of EMFs spoke out over 10 years ago about how EMFs can disrupt the cryptochrome and thus the activity of bees which are essential for pollination of our food crops. Another study looking at the action of a WiFi router on the activity of ants foraging for food found significant changes in their angular and linear velocity and thus their ability to function normally, with some individuals being completely debilitated. Researcher, Dr Cammaerts also found that using a Compensating Magnetic Oscillator (CMO) by Comosystems returned the ants' behaviour to normal.
Animals of all sizes are harmed
Whilst these are results from experiments on smaller laboratory animals, larger mammals up to and including dairy cow size have also been harmed. Adverse effects on fertility, milk production and hormones have all been detected. In 2002, San Francisco rejected installing city wide Wi-Fi based on a report which included references to these harms, and other papers including one where a significantly higher level of severe genetic damage was seen in white blood cells from cows on a farm close to a radar installation. It is not unreasonable therefore to consider that all animals ranging in size from mice to cows can thus be adversely impacted by EMFs at levels that are officially considered to be safe.
- Bundyuk, L.S., et al., 1994. Corrective action of millimeter waves on systems of various levels of hierarchy. Physics of the Alive 2(1):12-25.
- Dumanskij, J. D., and Shandala, M. G., 1974. The biologic action and hygienic significance of electromagnetic fields of super-high and ultrahigh frequencies in densely populated areas. Biologic Effects and Health Hazards of Microwave Radiation, Proceedings of an International Symposium,Warsaw, 15-18 Oct. 1973, P. Czerski et al., eds.
- Hart, V., et al. “Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth´s magnetic field.” Frontiers Zoology, vol. 10, no. 80, 2013.
- Kositsky, N. N., et al., 2001. Influence of high-frequency electromagnetic radiation at non-thermal intensities on the human body (a review of work by Russian and Ukrainian researchers). No Place To Hide 3(1) Supplement.
- Magras, I. N., and Xenos, T. D., 1997. RF radiation-induced changes in the prenatal development of mice. Bioelectromagnetics 18:455-461.
- Persson, Bertil & Salford, Leif & Brun, Arne. (1997). Blood‐brain barrier permeability in rats exposed to electromagnetic fields used in wireless communication. Wireless Networks. 3. 455-461. 10.1023/A:1019150510840.
Electro-Hypersensitivity (EHS) deserves its own section given that only until recently has it been recognised as a true medical condition. Despite it now being officially recognised, many doctors will still consider it to be "all in the patient's mind" as a psycho-somatic disorder.
El-allergy is the Nordic name given to EHS in 2000. However, the condition first occurred among radar and electrical workers in the 1930s. Only since the 1980s, with increasing use of personal computers, mobile phones and masts, and more recently WiFi, has the condition been found in the general population. That in itself should be sufficient evidence to link the symptoms with electromagnetic exposure, but that would have been too obvious and easy. It would identify a clear liability and pin it firmly on the door of the Telecoms Industry. Medical studies now focus on the autonomic nervous system and cell membrane permeability, with calcium ion release initiating inflammation and reduced melatonin as pathways. Sensitivity to electro-magnetic fields is often linked with sensitivity to noise, light and other allergens and environmental chemicals. Heavy metal toxicity in the brain has also been found commonly, suggestive that maybe the higher metallic composition of the brain attracts EMFs like an aerial, setting up local and systemic pathologies, some of which are listed above in the 2nd image.
Electro-hypersensitivity (EHS) is now recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is defined as:
“. . . a phenomenon where individuals experience adverse health effects while using or being in the vicinity of devices emanating electric, magnetic, or electromagnetic fields (EMFs)... Whatever its cause, EHS is a real and sometimes debilitating problem for the affected persons”
EHS occurs despite the levels of EMF in the neighbourhood being no greater than average exposures encountered by non-affected individuals. Those who suffer from EHS can do so at exposures that are generally several orders of magnitude under the “safety limits” set according to internationally accepted standards.
Several population-based studies have documented a varied prevalence rate for EHS: 1.5% in Sweden (Hillert, 2002); 3.2% in California (Levallois, 2002); 5% in Switzerland (Shreier, 2006); 9% in Germany (Infas, 2006); 4% in the United Kingdom (Eliti, 2007); 3.5% in Austria (Schröttner, 2008); and 13.3% in Taiwan (Tseng, 2011). The currently recognised prevalence within a population is now considered to be between 3% and 8%. Sweden led the way in recognising EHS as a disability and provides health care facilities with low exposure to electromagnetic fields and radio frequency radiation for sensitive individuals. Those with the most severe symptoms of EHS find that they are unable to live in our modern society with its electrical and electronic appliances, and with the ever-increasing exposure to EMF radiation. These people often move to more isolated areas and have to take extensive measures using shielding materials and paints for their house. A much higher percentage of the population (approximately 35%) has been estimated to suffer with moderate symptoms represented by an impaired immune system and chronic illness. Largely due to these symptoms being non-specific, meaning potentially from multiple causes, and given such vocal denial by Industry, in many cases the victims and their doctors fail to link their suffering to EMFs. Many more people have mild intermittent symptoms which nevertheless still negatively impact on their quality of life and long-term health.
Symptoms of EHS include cognitive dysfunction with reduced memory, concentration and problem-solving abilities; balance, dizziness & vertigo; facial flushing, skin rashes; feelings of external chest pressure, rapid heart rate; depression, anxiety, irritability, frustration, temper; fatigue, poor sleep; body aches, headaches; ringing in the ear (tinnitus) and are consistent with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, and other conditions with an aetiology of chronic inflammation.
Back in 2004, the Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association (IDEA) issued a position statement on electromagnetic radiation recognising an increasing number of people who complain of symptoms attributable to EHS in Ireland. They requested that the Irish government review research and management/treatments internationally; to establish a database for EHS; and to establish the strictest safety regulations for masts and transmitters. To date Ireland is no stricter than the standard EU requirements which many independent scientists claim are woefully inadequate.
Environmental sensitivity attributed to electromagnetic exposure was recognised in a Canadian Human Rights Commission report. In this document both radio wave sickness (associated with radar workers) and electromagnetic hypersensitivities (associated with ground current, low frequency electromagnetic fields, telecommunications, and radio frequencies on power lines) are identified as environmental sensitivities.
In February 2006, at a meeting of the Dutch working group on EHS, Hugo Schooneveld, a neurobiologist, and himself an EHS sufferer, showed how different radiation can have different effects on different people. He showed that there may be some delay before health effects are experienced. Indeed, they can be perceived as positive at first and negative after a lengthy exposure. Sometimes low and high frequency exposures do not cause problems, but exposure to frequencies in between does. This is easily explainable by ion channels resonant frequencies creating “windows” of effect. He also confirmed from his clinical experience that although EMFs may only cause small effects in a biological system on a cellular level, they can amplify to have much bigger consequences at the organ level. These variations in presentation have made the study and medical acceptance of, EHS very difficult at times and facilitated denial from Industry and from official authorities. As a result, GPs have often referred patients for psychiatric treatment claiming that their symptoms are psychosomatic in nature. There are some medical practitioners who, from evidence in their own practice, believe strongly that EHS symptoms can indeed be caused or exacerbated by EMFs, but these doctors are few and far between. Diagnosis isn’t helped by the fact that there are no officially recognised treatments for EHS other than symptomatic suppression which isn’t a long-term solution as sensitisation tends to worsen with ongoing exposure, plus exposure levels are ever increasing.
Research attempts into EHS were often skewed because those who suffered worst with EHS frequently had to excuse themselves from the experiments due to feeling so ill. Instead of noting these occurrences as proof of the existence of EHS, these people were excluded from the analysis, leaving only those who were sufficiently mildly affected that they were able to complete the research. The studies then concluded that those suffering from EHS were not sufficiently statistically different from the control group, and the existence of EHS was officially denied!
Recent research published in June 2020 has now confirmed the existence of EHS and proven beyond doubt that changes in the brain occur and can be objectively measured. This gives the ability for a definite diagnosis to be made in individuals who are complaining of the symptoms of EHS. Ultrasonic cerebral tomosphygmography (UCTS), also known as “encephaloscan”, is ultrasound-based pulsatile echoencephalography for both functional and anatomical brain imaging investigations. UCTS makes it possible to precisely locate the spontaneous brain tissue pulsations that occur naturally in the temporal lobes of the brain. It is fundamentally different from transcranial Doppler ultrasonography (TDU) that only measures blood flow. The problem now is that because the equipment is so expensive there are few such UCTS facilities available to refer suspect EHS sufferers to for diagnosis confirmation.
Those who do not suffer with EHS on an ongoing continual basis, but only where exposures go above a certain individual threshold will tend to experience symptoms where exposures are highest – typically in a hi-tec work environment. Where there are groups of similarly affected individuals, the blame gets shifted onto the building, and the workers’ discomfort is termed Sick Building Syndrome.
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