The Largest Biological Experiment Ever.
by Arthur Firstenberg

In 2002, Gro Harlem Brundtland, then head of the World Health 
Organization, told a Norwegian journalist that cell phones were banned 
from her office in Geneva because she personally becomes ill if a cell 
phone is brought within about four meters (13 feet) of her. Mrs.
Brundtland is a medical doctor and former Prime Minister of Norway.

This sensational news, published March 9, 2002 in Dagbladet, was 
ignored by every other newspaper in the world. The following week 
Michael Repacholi, her subordinate in charge of the International EMF 
(electromagnetic field) Project, responded with a public statement
belittling his boss' concerns. Five months later, for reasons that 
many suspect were related to these circumstances, Mrs. Brundtland 
announced she would step down from her leadership post at the WHO 
after just one term.

Nothing could better illustrate our collective schizophrenia when it 
comes to thinking about electromagnetic radiation. We respond to those 
who are worried about its dangers (hence the International EMF 
Project) but we ignore and marginalize those, like Mrs. Brundtland, who have
already succumbed to its effects.

As a consultant on the health effects of wireless technology, I 
receive calls that can be broadly divided into two main groups: those 
from people who are merely worried, whom I will call A, and those from 
people who are already sick, whom I will call B. I sometimes wish I
could arrange a large conference call and have the two groups talk to 
each other, there needs to be more mutual understanding so that we are 
all trying to solve the same problems.

Caller A, worried, commonly asks what kind of shield to buy for his 
cell phone or what kind of headset to wear with it. Sometimes he wants 
to know what is a safe distance to live from a cell tower. Caller B, 
sick, wants to know what kind of shielding to put on her house, what 
kind of medical treatment to get, or, increasingly often, what part of 
the country she could move to to
escape the radiation to save her life.

The following is designed as a sort of a primer: first, to help 
everybody get more or less on the same page, and second, to clear up 
some of the confusions so that we can make rational decisions toward a 
healthier world.


Fundamentals

The most basic fact about cell phones and cell towers is that they 
emit microwave radiation; so do Wi-Fi (Wireless Internet) antennas, 
wireless computers, cordless (portable) phones and their base units, 
and all other wireless devices. If it's a communication device and 
it's not attached to the wall by a wire, it's emitting radiation. Most 
Wi-Fi systems and some cordless phones operate at the exact same 
frequency as a microwave oven, while other devices use a different 
frequency. Wi-Fi is always on and always radiating. The base units of 
most cordless
phones are always radiating, even when no one is using the phone. A 
cell phone that is on but not in use is also radiating. And, needless 
to say, cell towers are always radiating.

Why is this a problem, you might ask?  Scientists usually divide the 
electromagnetic spectrum into 'ionizing' and 'non-ionizing'.  Ionizing 
radiation, which includes x-rays and atomic radiation, causes cancer. 
Non-ionizing radiation, which includes microwave radiation, is 
supposed to be safe. This distinction always reminded me of the 
propaganda in George Orwell's Animal Farm: 'Four legs good, two legs 
bad'. 'Non-ionizing' good, 'ionizing' bad is as little to be trusted.

An astronomer once quipped that if Neil Armstrong had taken a cell 
phone to the Moon in 1969, it would have appeared to be the third most 
powerful source of microwave radiation in the universe, next only to 
the Sun and the Milky Way. He was right. Life evolved with negligible
levels of microwave radiation. An increasing number of scientists 
speculate that our own cells, in fact, use the microwave spectrum to 
communicate with one another, like children whispering in the dark, 
and that cell phones, like jackhammers, interfere with their signaling.

In any case, it is a fact that we are all being bombarded, day in and 
day out, whether we use a cell phone or not, by an amount of microwave 
radiation that is some ten million times as strong as the average 
natural background. And it is also a fact that most of this radiation 
is due to technology that has been developed since the 1970s.

As far as cell phones themselves are concerned, if you put one up to 
your head you are damaging your brain in a number of different ways. 
First, think of a microwave oven. A cell phone, like a microwave oven 
and unlike a hot shower, heats you from the inside out, not from the 
outside in. And there are no sensory nerve endings in the brain to 
warn you of a rise in temperature because we did not evolve with 
microwave radiation, and this never happens in nature. Worse, the 
structure of the head and brain is so complex and non-uniform that 
'hot spots' are produced, where heating can be tens or hundreds of 
times what it is nearby. Hot spots can occur both close to the surface 
of the skull and deep within the brain, and also on a molecular level.

Cell phones are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, 
and you can find, in the packaging of most new phones, a number called 
the Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR, which is supposed to indicate 
the rate at which energy is absorbed by the brain from that particular
model. One problem, however, is the arbitrary assumption, upon which 
the FCC's regulations are based, that the brain can safely dissipate 
added heat at a rate of up to 1 degree C per hour.

Compounding this is the scandalous procedure used to demonstrate 
compliance with these
limits and give each cell phone its SAR rating. The standard way to 
measure SAR is on a 'phantom' consisting, incredibly, of a homogenous 
fluid encased in Plexiglas in the shape of a head. Presto, no hot 
spots!  But in reality, people who use cell phones for hours per day are
chronically heating places in their brain. The FCC's safety standard, 
by the way, was developed by electrical engineers, not doctors.


The Blood-Brain Barrier

The second effect that I want to focus on, which has been proven in 
the laboratory, should by itself have been enough to shut down this 
industry and should be enough to scare away anyone from ever using a 
cell phone again.  I call it the 'smoking gun' of cell phone 
experiments. Like most biological effects of microwave radiation, this 
has nothing to do with heating.

The brain is protected by tight junctions between adjacent cells of 
capillary walls, the so-called blood-brain barrier, which, like a 
border patrol, lets nutrients pass through from the blood to the 
brain, but keeps toxic substances out. Since 1988, researchers in the  
laboratory of a Swedish neurosurgeon, Leif Salford, have been running 
variations on this simple experiment: they expose young laboratory 
rats to either a cell phone or other source of microwave radiation, 
and later they sacrifice the animals and look for albumin in their brain
tissue. Albumin is a protein that is a normal component of blood but 
that does not normally cross the blood-brain barrier. The presence of 
albumin in brain tissue is always a sign that blood vessels have been 
damaged and that the brain has lost some of its protection.

Here is what these researchers have found, consistently for 18 years: 
Microwave radiation, at doses equal to a cell phone's emissions, 
causes albumin to be found in brain tissue. A one-time exposure to an 
ordinary cell phone for just two minutes causes albumin to leak into the brain.
In one set of experiments, reducing the exposure level by a factor of 
1,000 actually increased the damage to the blood-brain barrier, 
showing that this is not a dose-response effect and that reducing the 
power will not make wireless technology safer.

And finally, in research published in June 2003, a single two-hour 
exposure to a cell phone, just once during its lifetime, permanently 
damaged the blood-brain barrier and, on autopsy 50 days later, was 
found to have damaged or destroyed up to 2 percent of an animal's 
brain cells, including cells in areas of the brain concerned with 
learning, memory and movement.

Reducing the exposure level by a factor of 10 or 100, thereby 
duplicating the effect of wearing a headset, moving a cell phone 
further from your body, or standing next to somebody else's phone, did 
not appreciably change the results!  Even at the lowest exposure, half 
the animals had a moderate to high number of damaged neurons.

The implications for us?  Two minutes on a cell phone disrupts the 
blood-brain barrier, two hours on a cell phone causes permanent brain 
damage, and secondhand radiation may be almost as bad. The blood-brain 
barrier is the same in a rat and a human being.

These results caused enough of a commotion in Europe that in November 
2003 a conference was held, sponsored by the European Union, titled 
'The Blood-Brain Barrier (Can It Be Influenced by RF [radio 
frequency]-Field Interactions?) as if to reassure the public: 'See, we 
are doing something about this'.  But, predictably, nothing was done 
about it, as nothing has been done about it for 30 years.

America's Allan Frey, during the 1970s, was the first of many to 
demonstrate that low-level microwave radiation damages the blood-brain 
barrier.  Similar mechanisms protect the eye (the blood-vitreous 
barrier) and the fetus (the placental barrier), and the work of Frey
and others indicates that microwave radiation damages those barriers 
also.  The implication:
No pregnant woman should ever be using a cell phone.

Dr. Salford is quite outspoken about his work. He has called the use 
of handheld cell phones 'the largest human biological experiment 
ever'.  And he has publicly warned that a whole generation of 
cell-phone-using teenagers may suffer from mental deficits or 
Alzheimer's disease by the time they reach middle age.


Radio-Wave Sickness

Unfortunately, cell phone users are not the only ones being injured, 
nor should we be worried only about the brain. The following brief 
summary is distilled from a vast scientific literature on the effects 
of radio waves (a larger spectrum which includes microwaves), together 
with the experiences of scientists and doctors all over the world with 
whom I am in contact.

Organs that have been shown to be especially susceptible to radio 
waves include the lungs, nervous system, heart, eyes, testes and 
thyroid gland. Diseases that have increased remarkably in the last 
couple of decades, and that there is good reason to connect with the 
massive increase in radiation in our environment, include asthma, 
sleep disorders, anxiety disorders, attention deficit disorder, 
autism, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, 
fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, cataracts, hypothyroidism, 
diabetes, malignant melanoma, testicular cancer, and heart attacks and 
strokes in young people.

Radiation from microwave towers has also been associated with forest 
die-off, reproductive failure and population decline in many species 
of birds, and ill health and birth deformities in farm animals. The 
literature showing biological effects of microwave radiation is truly 
enormous, running to tens of thousands of documents, and I am amazed 
that industry spokespersons are getting away with saying that wireless 
technology has been proved safe or, just as ridiculous, that there is 
no evidence of harm.

I have omitted one disease from the above list: the illness that 
Caller B has, and that I have. A short history is in order here. In 
the 1950s and 1960s workers who built, tested and repaired radar 
equipment came down with this disease in large numbers. So did 
operators of industrial
microwave heaters and sealers. The Soviets named it, appropriately, 
radio wave sickness, and studied it extensively. In the West its 
existence was denied totally, but workers came down with it anyway.

Witness congressional hearings held in 1981, chaired by then 
Representative Al Gore, on the health effects of radio-frequency 
heaters and sealers, another episode in 'we are doing something about 
this', while nothing is done.

Today, with the mass proliferation of radio towers and personal 
transmitters, the disease has spread like a plague into the general 
population. Estimates of its prevalence range up to one-third of the 
population, but it is rarely recognized for what it is until it has so 
disabled a person that he or she can no longer participate in society. 
You may recognize some of its common symptoms: insomnia, dizziness, 
nausea, headaches, fatigue, memory loss, inability to concentrate, 
depression, chest discomfort, ringing in the ears. Patients may also 
develop medical problems such as chronic respiratory infections, heart 
arrhythmias, sudden fluctuations in blood pressure, uncontrolled blood 
sugar, dehydration, and even seizures and internal bleeding.

What makes this disease so difficult to accept, and even more 
difficult to cope with, is that no treatment is likely to succeed 
unless one can also avoid exposure to its cause (and its cause is now 
everywhere).  A 1998 survey by the California Department of Health 
Services indicated that at that time 120,000 Californians (and by 
implication 1 million Americans) were unable to work due to 
electromagnetic pollution.  The ranks of these so-called electrically 
sensitive are swelling in almost every country in the world, 
marginalized, stigmatized and ignored. With the level of radiation 
everywhere today, they almost never recover and sometimes take their own lives.

They are acting as a warning for all of us, says Dr. Olle Johansson of 
people with this illness. It could be a major mistake to subject the 
entire world's population to whole-body irradiation, 24 hours a day. A 
neuroscientist at the famous Karolinska Institute in Stockholm,
Dr. Johansson heads a research team that is documenting a significant 
and permanent worsening of the public health that began precisely when 
the second-generation, 1800 MHz cell phones were introduced into 
Sweden in late l997.

After a decade-long decline, the number of Swedish workers on sick 
leave began to rise in late 1997 and more than doubled during the next 
five years. During the same period of time, sales of antidepressant 
drugs also doubled. The number of traffic accidents, after declining 
for years, began to climb again in 1997. The number of deaths from 
Alzheimer's disease, after declining for several years, rose sharply 
in 1999 and had nearly doubled by 2001. This two-year delay is 
understandable when one considers that Alzheimer's disease requires 
some time to develop.


Uncontrolled Proliferation

If cell phones and cell towers are really deadly, have the radio and 
TV towers that we have been living with for a century been safe?  In 
2002 Írjan Hallberg and Olle Johansson coauthored a paper titled 
'Cancer Trends During the 20th Century', which examined one aspect of that
question.  They found, in the United States, Sweden and dozens of 
other countries, that mortality rates for skin melanoma and for 
bladder, prostate, colon, breast and lung cancers closely paralleled 
the degree of public exposure to radio waves during the past hundred years.

When radio broadcasting increased in a given location, so did those 
forms of cancer; when it decreased, so did those forms of cancer. And, 
a sensational finding: country by country (and county by county in 
Sweden) they found, statistically, that exposure to radio waves 
appears to be as big a factor in causing lung cancer as cigarette smoking!

Which brings me to address a widespread misconception. The biggest 
difference between the cell towers of today and the radio towers of 
the past is not their safety, but their numbers. The number of 
ordinary radio stations in the United States today is still less than 14,000.
But cell towers and Wi-Fi towers number in the hundreds of thousands, 
and cell phones, wireless computers, cordless telephones and two-way 
radios number in the hundreds of millions.

Radar facilities and emergency communication networks are also 
proliferating out of control. Since 1978, when the Environmental 
Protection Agency last surveyed the radio frequency environment in the 
United States, the average urban dweller's exposure to radio waves has 
increased 1,000-fold, most of this increase occurring in just the last 
nine years. In the same period of time, radio pollution has spread 
from the cities to rest like a ubiquitous fog over the entire planet.

The vast human consequences of all this are being ignored. Since the 
late 1990s a whole new class of environmental refugees has been 
created right here in the United States. We have more and more people, 
sick, dying, seeking relief from our suffering, leaving our homes and our
livelihoods, living in cars, trailers and tents in remote places. 
Unlike victims of hurricanes and earthquakes, we are not the subject 
of any relief efforts. No one is donating money to help us, to buy us 
a protected refuge; no one is volunteering to forego their cell 
phones, their wireless computers and their cordless phones so that we 
can once more be their neighbors and live among them.

The worried and the sick have not yet opened their hearts to each 
other, but they are asking questions. To answer caller A: No shield or 
headset will protect you from your cell or portable phone. There is no 
safe distance from a cell tower. If your cell phone or your wireless
computer works where you live, you are being irradiated 24 hours a day.

To caller B: To effectively shield a house is difficult and rarely 
successful. There are only a few doctors in the United States 
attempting to treat radio wave sickness, and their success rate is 
poor, because there are few places left on Earth where one can go to escape
this radiation and recover.  Yes, radiation comes down from 
satellites, too; they are part of the problem, not the solution. There 
is simply no way to make wireless technology safe.

Our society has become both socially and economically dependent, in 
just one short decade, upon a technology that is doing tremendous 
damage to the fabric of our world. The more entrenched we let 
ourselves become in it, the more difficult it will become to change 
our course. The time to extricate ourselves, both individually and 
collectively (difficult though it is already is) is now.

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