By John Weigel
World renown researchers into the toxic effects of microwave technology – from cell phones to wi-fi and digital television – are fighting back against what appears to be a concerted effort tosimultaneously close their research facilities across Europe
The pattern of shutting down experiments began earlier this year as three noted researchers, Drs. Olle Johansson, of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm; Dimitris Panagopoulos, of Athens University; and Annie Sasco, Bordeaux; had their positions threatened and their research premises requisitioned for other purposes, effectively silencing them.
The total value of the cell phone / microwave-based industry is an estimated $153 billion and involves the economic might of leading technology firms such as Motorola, Intel, AT&T, Apple, Nokia and Ericsson. Many of the firms hold close ties to the world’s military establishment.
Motorola developed and tested the Terrestrial Trunked Radio (Tetra) signal used by police and emergency services which uses a pulsed frequency matches the electromagnetic frequency of the human brain. Intel created the WiMAX signal which has been purchased by Sprint, The United States third largest telecommunications company.
Both signals were developed in Ireland where the government has a policy to invite overseas companies to test their technologies in alive environment. There is no provision for studying the health effects of the tests. Last week, Eamon Ryan, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, announced the roll-out of digital television.
The silencing of scientists for political and economic reasons began to form a pattern when a large number of scientists died prematurely or under unusual circumstances The much-documented pattern included the death of British UN weapons expert David Kelly in 2003. As questions about his death persisted, this year the Attorney General for England and Wales, Dominic Grieve, indicated that he remained “concerned” about the case and interested in exploring how to take the matter forward. The pattern of requisitioning offices and labs appears to be drawn from human resources techniques where institutions can exercise their right to manage their own space.
Prof. Johansson was told his lab was required to house ferrets while Dr. Panagopoulos’s office was reduced to a three by five foot room the size of a cupboard and Dr. Sasco has remained silent to date on the reasons for losing her post in France. A fourth scientist who claims harassment, Dr. Andrew Goldsworthy of the Imperial College, London, has retired.
The timing of the actions against the scientists appears to be silent testimony of a move against them and comes after they participated via a teleconference call to the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (HESA) to hear from witnesses on the dangers of wireless technology in Ottawa last April.
The significance of closing down scientific research is to limit growing public concern over safety issues relating to the mushrooming use of information-carrying microwave technology. Ordinary users appreciate the heat-generating properties of microwaves in their kitchens and feel safe because microwave ovens have sealed protective doors. Information-carrying microwaves, because they are broadcast into the environment offer no such protection and are attributed to lower property values, various diseases, infertility and death.
With Panagopoulos, Sasco and Goldsworthy either accepting decisions, remaining silent or slipping into retirement, Johansson has become the focus of the current conflict between industry and academia, lifting the bar to the issue of interference with academic freedom of enquiry. Just what is expected of an academic, Johansson is kindly in manner, hard-headed and used to controversy. In the 1970s his research led to higher standards for computer VDUs when his research revealed a threat to pregnant women using computer monitors and their unborn babies.
The current controversy began less than a year ago following a public meeting in Ireland where Johansson revealed DNA and cell changes to skin after only a half-hour’s exposure to microwaves and infertility in the fifth generation of mice following exposure. The meeting was held in Leixlip, home to Intel’s European headquarters. Within months, Johansson was informed by Prof. Staffan Cullheim, Chair of the Dept. of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute that his offices and lab were required for storing ferrets – an animal related to skunks and polecats.
The Karolinska Institute is home to the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine selected by the Nobel Assembly of 50 faculty members.
When Johansson refused to vacate his premises discussions were abandoned until last May when Cullheim informed Johansson that hispremises were again to be requisitioned, this time for an imaging facility. In addition to noting that Johansson’s premises were too large for his requirements, Cullheim noted that there had been staff rumblings that Johansson had received preferential treatment. Johansson’s work is independently funded.
Cullheim gave Johansson a deadline of July 31 to vacate his premises, immediately before he was to begin replication studies, an integral part of the scientific process, of work done by Dr. Magda Havas, of Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. It was on the strength of Havas’ work that the City of San Francisco abandoned the Google / Earthlink contract for wi-fi in favour of fibre-optic cabling and this year required the labeling of cell phones for health purposes.
A similar situation arose for Dr. Dimitris Panagopoulos, a biophysicist with the University of Athens and lead author of “Cell death induced by GSM 900-MHz and DCS 1800-MHz mobile telephony radiation” published in 2006. His group’s research outlines DNA fragmentation and cell death following exposure to microwaves. On May 6 construction work began in space adjoining his office following notice a week earlier that he was to leave. Panagopoulos says he was “out because he did not follow … instructions” to not participate in the Canadian conference. “I spoke as an individual reporting the results of my published works”, he says.
Anticipating difficulty, Panagopoulos removed his equipment and found that the lock on his office had been changed. Although he has asked for an explanation from the President of the Biology School, as of last week he had no response and works from a windowless cupboard.
Speaking on behalf of Prof. Johansson, Panagopoulos said, “As a biophysicist myself specialized in the Biological Effects of Non-Ionizing Electromagnetic Radiations, I am very familiar with the pioneer works of Dr. Johansson in this field. In fact a lot of people within the international scientific community and me personally, know his work and consider him as one of the leading international experts in this field. Moreover, Dr. Johansson is one of the most active scientists involved to the moral aspect of this scientific field which is directly related to human health and the protection of our natural environment.
“The world needs scientists like Dr. Johansson not only for his groundbreaking research on the effects of man-made electromagnetic fields/radiations on human health (cancer induction, electrohypersensitivity etc.) but also for his courage to fearlessly speak the scientific truth, a matter of vital importance for the public health and the moral values which are in great danger in our modern society.”
Panagopoulos is not alone in his concerns. He has been joined in a chorus of support from around the world – from New Zealand, to California, to Virginia, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Irish supporters of Prof. Joansson have lobbied the Nobel Assembly, warning “If you fail to assist Prof. Johansson, which member of the Nobel Assembly will be the next victim of this process?” and have referred the issue to Amnesty International in London which is investigating the circumstances.
“Imagine a world,” said Panagopoulos, “where pollution of all kinds is destroying our planet and spreads terrible diseases, where some people get huge amounts of money out of this destruction and no one dares to speak the scientific truth. This would be the living Hell.”
In defense of Paganopoulos, Daryl Vernon who writes a blog for the Green Party in Toronto asked the Greek ambassador to enquire into Panagopoulos’ circumstances. “Will you express the great dismay felt here, and the desire to avoid further internationally embarrassing repercussion? Will you intervene to restore our confidence that an institution such as the University of Athens not be a venue where inappropriate influences on academic independence are had, but rather continue to provide scholarship of world importance,” she said.
Writing to Prof. Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, President of the Karolinska Institute, biophysics writer Blake Levitt observed, “Over the years, I have followed Dr. Johansson’s important professional contribution to what must be the most contentious area of science & public health policy today — that of the health and environmental effects of non-ionizing radiation. This is a critically important subject with over 4 billion cell phone users now and all of the wireless infrastructure needed to make those technologies function. The human race has never been exposed to this form of radiation before, with its odd signaling characteristics, at such intensities, and with long, chronic exposures. We are in the throes of a massive global experiment with no end in sight, and little cautionary intelligence being brought to bear.”
Agreeing with Levitt is Dr. Martin Blank, Associate Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons and past president of the Bioelectromagnetics Society. “I urge you to reevaluate your decision, and change the current plans to enable Dr. Johansson’s vital research program to continue,” he said. Neither Wallberg-Henriksson, Cullheim nor Dr. Bernd Huber, chairman of the League of European Research Universities have responded to requests for comment.
Cautioning Profs. Wallberg-Henriksson and Cullheim of the possible consequences of appearing to suppress critical scientific research by Prof. Johansson, Dr. M.W. Brown-Beasley of Boston, a Harvard academicand research alumnus, formerly having been of service to Merck and Co. pharmaceuticals), (Royal Dutch) Philips Medical Systems (medical devices), and Lotus Development Corp., wrote, “It would be unfortunate – indeed a tragedy — for you to proceed on a course leading to your personal failure, leaving behind a legacy of embarrassment and shame not only for yourselves but staining the integrity and reputation of the institute as well.”
Curiously, the cancer rate is 10 percent higher in the left breast than in the right. This left-side bias holds true for both men and women and it also applies to the skin cancer melanoma. Researchers Örjan Hallberg of Hallberg Independent Research in Sweden and Ollie Johansson of The Karolinska Institute in Sweden, writing in the June issue of the journal Pathophysiology, suggest a surprising explanation that not only points to a common cause for both cancers, it may change your sleeping habits.
For unknown reasons the rates of breast cancer and melanoma have both increased steadily in the last 30 years. Exposure to the sun elevates the risk of melanoma, but the sun’s intensity has not changed in the last three decades. Stranger still, melanoma most commonly affects the hip, thighs and trunk, which are areas of the body protected from the sun. What is responsible for the left-side dominance and increasing incidence of these cancers?
An intriguing clue comes from the Far East. In Japan there is no correlation between the rates of melanoma and breast cancer as there is in the West, and there is no left-side prevalence for either disease. Moreover, the rate of breast cancer in Japan is significantly lower than in the West; only 3 percent of what is seen in Sweden, for example. The rate of prostate cancer in Japan is only 10 percent of that in the U.K. and U.S.
The researchers suggest an explanation based on differences in sleeping habits in Japan and Western countries. Previous research has shown that both men and women prefer to sleep on their right sides. The reasons for this general preference are unclear, but sleeping on the right side may reduce the weight stress on the heart, and the heartbeat is not as loud as when sleeping on the left. Still, there is no reason to suspect that people in Japan sleep in positions that are any different from those in the West. The beds in Japan, however, are different. The futons used for sleeping in Japan are mattresses placed directly on the bedroom floor, in contrast to the elevated box springs and mattress of beds used in the West. A link between bedroom furniture and cancer seems absurd, but this, the researchers conclude, is the answer.
The first line of evidence they cite comes from a 2007 study in Sweden conducted between 1989 and 1993 that revealed a strong link between the incidence of melanoma and the number of FM and TV transmission towers covering the area where the individuals lived. Despite epidemiological correlations like this one suggesting the possibility that electromagnetic radiation from FM and TV broadcasts stations could suppress the immune system and promote cancer, the strength of these electromagnetic fields is so feeble it has been difficult to imagine any biological basis for the correlation.
Consider, however, that even a TV set cannot respond to broadcast transmissions unless the weak electromagnetic waves are captured and amplified by an appropriately designed antenna. Antennas are simply metal objects of appropriate length sized to match the wavelength of a specific frequency of electromagnetic radiation. Just as saxophones are made in different sizes to resonate with and amplify particular wavelengths of sound, electromagnetic waves are selectively amplified by metal objects that are the same, half or one quarter of the wavelength of an electromagnetic wave of a specific frequency. Electromagnetic waves resonate on a half-wavelength antenna to create a standing wave with a peak at the middle of the antenna and a node at each end, just as when a string stretched between two points is plucked at the center. In the U.S. bed frames and box springs are made of metal, and the length of a bed is exactly half the wavelength of FM and TV transmissions that have been broadcasting since the late 1940s. In Japan most beds are not made of metal, and the TV broadcast system does not use the 87- to 108-megahertz frequency used in Western countries.
Thus, as we sleep on our coil-spring mattresses, we are in effect sleeping on an antenna that amplifies the intensity of the broadcast FM/TV radiation. Asleep on these antennas, our bodies are exposed to the amplified electromagnetic radiation for a third of our life spans. As we slumber on a metal coil-spring mattress, a wave of electromagnetic radiation envelops our bodies so that the maximum strength of the field develops 75 centimeters above the mattress in the middle of our bodies. When sleeping on the right side, the body’s left side will thereby be exposed to field strength about twice as strong as what the right side absorbs.
If this study is correct, the solution is simple: Replace the metal in our beds with a nonmetallic mattress or orient your bed, like an antenna, away from the direction of the local FM/TV transmission tower. Call it high-tech feng shui if you like, but if this new study has not identified the cause of left-side cancer, it will, for some, be the cause of insomnia.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
R. Douglas Fields, Ph. D. is the Chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Fields, who conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University, Yale University, and the NIH, is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Neuron Glia Biology and member of the editorial board of several other journals in the field of neuroscience. He is the author of the new book The Other Brain (Simon and Schuster), about cells in the brain (glia) that do not communicate using electricity. His hobbies include building guitars, mountain climbing, and scuba diving. He lives in Silver Spring, Md.
The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
Most people put their trust in organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society to inform the public about the risks of the dangers of electrical powerlines and cell phones if there is one. If we can’t trust the Doctors that they hire to do research – who can you trust?
Dr. Mary McBride works for the BC Cancer Society and is in charge of studying the effects that cell phones and electrical power-lines have on the human body. Recently, an investigative reporter from the Canadian Television Network aired a news program that found Dr. Mary McBride is in fact – not a doctor! Now all of her research including the Canadian portion of the Interphone Study has come under suspicion because her studies are often funded by the wireless and electrical industries.
Read another article from 1999 to understand how far back she has misrepresented herself as a Doctor on the subject of electromagnetic radiation.
Wednesday, June 16, 1999
Hydro lines pose leukaemia risk in children: report Consistent patterns: Statistics paint picture, but there is no biological explanation
After nearly 20 years of study, Canadian and U.S. scientists have concluded that children exposed to the powerful magnetic fields created by hydro lines are nearly five times more likely to develop leukaemia than infants who are less exposed.
However, while the statistics paint a consistent picture of elevated risk, scientists can point to no biological explanation for what is happening.
Leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer in Canada. About one in 6,400 children under 15 years of age is diagnosed with the disease -- about 300 a year. Childhood leukaemia is fatal if untreated, but about 80% of cases of are now cured.
The studies released today are the most comprehensive since a 1979 report in Denver, Colo., caused widespread concern by linking hydro lines to leukaemia. In the ensuing decades, groups have sought to link the presence of transmission lines to a greater incidence of Alzheimer's disease, depression and birth defects.
But in a major report to Congress, the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences concludes that evidence linking human disease with electricity is "weak."
The sole exception is childhood leukaemia, it says, which study after study has associated with living near a major hydro line.
"These epidemiological studies demonstrate . . . a fairly consistent pattern of a small, increased risk with increasing exposure," the $60-million (US) study said. It was financed by the U.S. Congress, the electrical industry in the U.S. and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
In a separate Canadian study published today, researchers from the University of Toronto and Toronto Hospital for Sick Children appear to confirm the risk.
The researchers measured the magnetic fields in the homes of 201 children diagnosed with leukaemia in the Toronto area between 1985 and 1993, comparing them with those of 406 healthy children. When family relocations, power use and the child's medical history were taken into account, children exposed to high magnetic fields were 4.5 times more likely to develop leukaemia.
"The [power] lines weren't the only things we looked at, because we took measurements inside the home, and we put a personal monitor on a group of the children," said Dr. Lois Green, an epidemiologist at the university's department of public health.
Dr. Green's study is reported in two separate papers in the International Journal of Cancer and the journal Cancer Causes and Control.
Magnetic fields are invisible lines of force that surround all electrical devices and wiring.
In most Canadian homes, the average strength of magnetic fields ranges from 0.5 to 1 milligauss (mG). One mG is equal to 1/1000 the Earth's natural magnetic field. But homes located near heavy transmission lines and utility transformers, or which have poorly grounded wiring, often have a much higher magnetic field.
The Canadian study was funded in part by the Ontario Hydro Services Company and the Canadian Electricity Association.
Some studies quoted in the U.S. report to Congress suggest a dramatic increase in leukaemia risk for exposures between 4 and 5 mG, a strength that is not unusual in urban areas across North America.
For this reason, "industry should continue efforts to alter large transmission lines to reduce their fields, and localities should enforce electrical codes to avoid wiring errors that can produce higher fields," said Kenneth Holden, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Until a biological reason for the association can be found, much skepticism about the statistical risk will remain. [....See guru's discussion below....]
Numerous studies, including a 10-year-long B.C. Cancer Agency study also partly funded by the Canadian Electricity Association and the U.S. Electric Power Research Institute, two lobby organizations for the power industry, found no significant association between magnetic field exposure and leukaemia, although the B.C. study, released in April, did find a link between the number of times a child moved and the disease.
Dr. Mary McBride, an epidemiologist, suggested that frequent moves may expose children to different patterns of viral infections, which may be linked to leukaemia.
"What we're seeing is positive results in some studies but not in others, so inconsistency points against a causal relationship," said Dr. McBride.
Robert C. Kane had been working as top developer inside Motorola for decades, developing mobile phones. He died from brain cancer a few years ago, not without leaving this planet with a message, which you can find in his book:
Robert. C. Kane
Cellular Telephone Russian Roulette
Robert C. Kane has been actively employed in the telecommunications industry for more than thirty years. He holds a BSEE from the Midwest College of Engineering, an MSEE with an emphasis in electromagnetics from the Illinois Institute of Technology and also at the Illinois Institute of Technology, has completed the full course of study and research leading to the Ph.D. in electrical engineering with emphasis in the fields of electromagnetics and solid-state physics.
As a research scientist and product design engineer, he has been directly involved with programs and projects for the design and development of portable cell phones, radio frequency mobile radios, microwave telecommunications systems, video display systems, and biological effects research.
The book is very technical, with limits of “considered” safe radiation levels discussed to no ends – but it goes to prove that the cell phones radiation is not safe.
The book is now out of print and used copies are selling on Amazon.com but you can download the book for free.
Click here to download the book
Is his time, Dr. Robert Becker was regarded to be the most well renown scientist who’s work involved demonstrating the healthful and harmful effects of electromagnetic fields on the human body. One of his books, Electromagnetism and Life has now been published for free on the internet and you can view it here:
Sweden recognizes “Electromagnetic intolerance” as an imparement
In Sweden, electrohypersensitivity (EHS) is an officially fully recognized functional impairment (i.e., it is not regarded as a disease, thus no diagnosis* exists).
It’s symptoms (listed below) are classified as an occupationally-related symptom-based diagnosis (code ICD-10) by the Nordic Council of Ministers since 2000. DIVS: 2000:839; ISBN: 92-893-0559-2 http://www.nordclass.uu.se/verksam/yrke_s.htm
“Electromagnetic intolerance” “El-allergy”. Usually general symptoms (tiredness, nausea, memory – and concentration difficulties etc.) related to use of TV/PC/data-screens, electrical transformers or fluorescent lamps. Symptoms disappear in “non-electrical environments”
An impairment is – by definition – not defined by someone else or proven by certain tests, etc. How do you measure and prove a headache, for instance? The impairment is always personal (private) and develops when in contact with an inferior environment.[N.B. Remember that functional impairments are only based upon each individual’s impaired accessability to – and contact with – an inferior environment (cf. the UN), thus, there is actually no need for any “recognition” in local laws (cf. the UN). In Sweden, the former Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Lars Engqvist – as a member of the previous government – anyhow gave his “approval” in a letter dated May, 2000 [Regeringskansliet 2000-04-06, Dnr S2000/2158/ST]. He also made it clear in his response that for EHS persons there are no restrictions or exceptions in the handicap laws and regulations. Thus, these laws and regulations are to be fully applied also for EHS persons.]
Treating members of the community equally is not something that should be done as a favour; nor is it something that any parliament or government should politely request other inhabitants to provide others with. Equality is not something to be done “out of the goodness of one’s heart”. It is something one does because it is expected of every citizen, because inaccessibility and discrimination are prohibited by law. Thus, it is not alright to deliberately make your symptoms worse.
The electrically hypersensitive must therefore, in every situation and by all available means, demand respect¸ representation and power. They shall very clearly reject all approaches which reflect a mentality of “feeling pity for them” or “caring for them”. Inaccessibility is not a personal problem. It is a problem for society. Inaccessibility is not about attitudes. It is about discrimination. And discriminatory actions and conduct shall not be dealt with by well-meaning talk about treatment. Discrimination is already illegal!
This view can fully be motivated in relation to national and international handicap laws and regulations, including the UN 22 Standard Rules/UN Convention and the Swedish Action Plan for Persons with Impairments (prop. 1999/2000:79 “Den nationella handlingplanen för handikappolitiken – Från patient till medborgare”; Proposition 1999/2000:79, 1999/2000:SoU14). Also, the Human Rights Act in the EU fully applies.
If this view can not be motivated in relation to your national and international handicap laws and regulations, what should your country then do with the EHS men and women, children and adolescents? Send them to concentration camps? Or…?
At times, the view taken of the electrically hypersensitive has resembled a medical pogrom with frightening overtones. Even more frightening is that the situation today, is and is allowed to be much the same. The entire public debate has been characterised by grand words, commitments and far-reaching promises, which have often been shown to lack the necessary effect. This nonchalance and lack of commitment has per se been particularly insulting. Is all this something that we should be proud about? How much simpler, cheaper and more creditable it would have been to have provided the electrically hypersensitive immediately with the assistance and solidarity that we like to boast about. An immediate decision on a housing adaptation grant, disability allowance, etc., would have been self-evident. Now we have instead endured almost 20 years of hostilities with big losers, namely the electrically hypersensitive and their next-of-kin.
I say, there must be an end to nonchalance, lack of consideration, indifference and lack of respect on the part of society. Never accept discriminatory treatment or an insulting special treatment. Stand up for your rights and in this way you’ll stand up for everybody’s future!
I would like to quote the very wise words of Jan Åberg, a freelance writer in Trollhättan, Sweden, “Everything that happens to us human beings only happens as long as we accept it”. For how long will your authorities and their civil servants accept it? Would they demand the same type of proofs if it was about themselves, their children, mother, father…?
Finally, remember that Lena Hillert, and others, all must adhere to and follow all the handicap laws and regulations. To do the opposite is a serious violation and should immediately be reported/filed as an official legal complaint to your local authorities, parliament, government, the EU and the UN. This is of particular importance since Katri Linna, the Swedish Diskrimineringsombudsman (=the Equality Ombudsman), clearly states in the newspaper Sydsvenskan (January 23-26, 2009; http://sydsvenskan.se/chattarkiv/article408013.ece) that “electrohypersensitivity is – according to the law – a functional impairment and I recommend EHS persons that are discriminated to file a complaint”. I, thus, take it for granted that she/they will be reported.
In addition, please, also note the following:
There have been some “EHS-issues” in the kind of courts we here in Sweden call förvaltningsdomstolar, “Länsrätt” and “Kammarätt”, as well as in the Governmental Court, the “Regeringsrätten “which by June 16, 2003, in case (Mål) no. 6950-2000, as well as in case (Mål) no. 6986-2000, recognized electrohypersensitivity as a functional impairment.
Further governmental documents (in Swedish).
The Swedish Association for the Electrohypersensitive gets a governmental subsidy as a handicap organization according to SFS 2000:7 §2 (SFS = The Swedish Governmental Statute-Book) [Regeringsbeslut 950621 nr. 8, Dnr: S1995/2965].
EHS persons’ right to get disablement allowances has been settled in the The Swedish Supreme Administrative Court, i.a. in the judgement ”dom 2003-01-29, mål nr. 6684-2001″.
Here are, in addition, two cases when two people with EHS – through the conclusions in courts – getting the right to support (from the state).
“Kammarrättens i Jönköping dom 2002-05-15 i mål nr 2644-2001 ang bilstöd till Maria G., född 1966, bl.a. elöverkänslighet.”
“Kammarrättens i Göteborg dom 2007-07-11 i mål nr 1229-07 ang. bilstöd för SP, född år 1953. (Länsrätten i Göteborgs dom 2007-01-18
i mål nr 1582-06).” For further reading, please, see the recent commentary, published on Don Maisch’ webpage, EMFacts, February 9, 2009:
#1014: “Electrosensitivity in Sweden” by Olle Johansson
I only wish I could do more…
With my very best regards
(Olle Johansson, assoc. prof.
The Experimental Dermatology Unit
Department of Neuroscience
171 77 Stockholm
The Royal Institute of Technology
100 44 Stockholm