Friday, December 09, 2011

You too may be electrohypersensitive

You too may be electrohypersensitive


Brain researcher, Michael Hutchison states that 7.83 hertz is the frequency at which all life forms have developed; until a few decades ago, it remained the most prevalent frequency on Earth.

In 2010, Dr. Olle Johansson told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health, “In the room you are sitting in right now, just from the third generation mobile telephony…you are sitting in levels that are approximately one million billion times above natural background [electromagnetic radiation, emr].” And mobile telephones are just part of an ever-increasing cumulative burden of unknown total consequence.

Dr. Johansson was one author of thousands of international studies on emr published by the U of Albany as the Bioinitiative Report. A few among its findings and those of similar independent research are DNA breakage, dysfunction of mitochondria (cell power sources), and decreased levels of norepinephrine, a brain hormone which controls nervous system functions such as temperature regulation and may contribute to memory disturbance and depression. The latter and many other common chronic or recurring conditions, e.g. headaches, insomnia, allergies, blood pressure changes, blood sugar fluctuations, can be symptoms of the growing phenomenon of electrohypersensitivity. This was the condition suffered by Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway, who banned cell phones from her office when she headed the World Health Organization.  

Last month, petitions with 15,528 signatures asking for a smart meter moratorium were presented to the B.C. legislature. Meanwhile, Corix continues to install. While BC Hydro and Itron/Cisco suppliers have visions of lucrative add-ons dancing through their heads, B.C.’s poor prepare to satisfy the reduced consumption vision of the Clean Energy Act. They’ll do so by going without power while suffering the emr health consequences. A few may even reduce the estimated $9 billion provincial cost of poverty by opting to leave us forever.

Susan Fletcher


Questioning the rise of mobile phone towers

8 December, 2011 2:41PM AEDT

Questioning the rise of mobile phone towers

It might not be to everybody's liking but along with the rest of the country, western NSW is seeing a growing number of mobile phone towers pop up around the place.

Download this mp3 file
Angela Owens interviews MP Andrew Wilkie and Dr Don Maisch

It's hardly surprising, given the rapid rate at which we're turning to smart phones and other wireless devices to keep us connected.
But for some locals, they feel there's too high a price to pay for this is sort of technology and have been battling to block the installation of such towers in their neighbourhoods -on the grounds of potential health impacts.
The Land and Environment Council has held a hearing at a contentious site in Kelso today, proposed to host a Telstra tower. You may remember, this site in question is the one that Bathurst Council dropped its opposition over, after receiving legal advice that it would lose the case and incur costs of up to $60,000 awarded against it. The result has left a group of residents to take on the telco.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has campaigned for communities to get a greater say in the erection of new towers like these, recently introducing a private members bill to Parliament on the matter.
Mr Wilkie joined Mornings Presenter Angela Owens to discuss the issue.
"This is a popular technology, it's experiencing very rapid growth and we do need the wireless infrastructure. I'm in no way anti the wireless infrastructure, and nor do I think many of the communities are anti the wireless infrastructure. It's just a case of putting the towers in the most sensible spots and realising that there are some spots where they simply cannot be put," he said.
Recently, public health expert at the University of Sydney, Professor Bruce Armstrong, talked with Mornings about the safety of the towers.
He said research didn't show any evidence to give cause for concern.
"There's been a very large study done in the United Kingdom, certainly the best of the studies of its kind done, in which they used a range of measures of exposure to the energy from mobile phone towers, which based on the location of a child's residence would develop cancer, the average for children and the distance from the mobile phone tower, the number of mobile phone towers in the area, the amount of energy being released from them... came up with a range of different measures of exposure and none of them showed any evidence to suggest that there was increased risk of leukemia, lymphoma or brain tumour in the children, based on their proximity to the mobile phone towers or the exposure that was coming from them," he said.
Joining the conversation with Mr Wilkie was Don Maisch, who has a PhD in telecommunications standards and was a previous Standards Australia Committee member concerned about potential health impacts of these towers.
Dr Maisch said while there was limited information in relation to cancer, other neurological effects had been documented in research.
"Certainly there is a lot of evidence showing there can be other effects, for instance, sleep disruption, chronic fatigue, and a number of neurological problems. That's one thing which comes out fairly consistently in the literature," he said.
"In some situations there are risks. Now, that's not saying that every mobile phone tower is a hazard. I think with a lot of the towers around, there are no issues. But unfortunately, when they say low impact making it lower down, in fact by lowering the height of a tower you are increasing the exposure levels to people on the ground."
Dr Maisch said focusing on old research, as well as new, would help further our knowledge in the area.
"Let's go back and see what's been done in the past and that can give us directions to what to do in the future," he said.

2012 ELECTIONS: Group calls for electromagnetic waves regulation

2012 ELECTIONS: Group calls for electromagnetic waves regulation

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Members of the Taiwan Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard Protection and Control Association call for laws to regulate the use of electromagnetic radiation during a press conference yesterday. The idea for laws regulating the use of electromagnetic radiation was first proposed by People First Party vice presidential candidate Lin Ruey-shiung.

Photo: CNA

The Taiwan Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard Protection and Control Association yesterday urged the presidential candidates to pay more attention to the issue of electromagnetic waves and pass laws to protect people from their harmful effects.
The call came amid a claim by People First Party vice presidential candidate Lin Ruey-shiung (林瑞雄) that he was attacked by 18,750kHz electromagnetic waves for three consecutive nights from Sept. 20.
Lin said he had to move from his residence to a hotel because of the attacks, adding that he knew it was an electromagnetic radiation (EMR) attack because he is an expert in the field.
The National Security Bureau has rebutted Lin’s statement and quoted the National Communications Commission as saying that neither the military, the bureau nor any other government agency had applied to use the 18.75MHz or 1,875MHz frequency.
At a press conference yesterday, association chairman Chen Chiao-hwa (陳椒華) said the WHO has noted an increase in the number of individuals who are sensitive to EMR because of the rise in the number of base stations.
Citing a report from Sweden, Chen said the Swedish government had identified 2 percent to 5 percent of its population who demonstrated symptoms of being sensitive to electromagnetic radiation.
A dozen residents living close to electric power stations also attended the press conference and said the EMR from the power stations in their neighborhoods was the source of their sufferings, ranging from leukemia and cancer to depression.
As the vice presidential candidates are holding their televised debate today, Chen said that one of the questions should be directed at Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), the running mate of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), regarding his understanding of EMR.
Chen said the Cabinet and other government agencies had spent taxpayers’ money on projects to reduce EMR in buildings, but Wu has said he does not know much about it.
Chen also encouraged Lin to share his knowledge about EMR.
“As a public health expert and vice presidential candidate, Lin should speak out louder than anybody else [about the hazards generated by EMR],” Chen said. “Not only did he have to flee [from the EMR], he should also show us how to flee.”

Twenty-six People in One Building Sick from Cell Towers

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dangers of Wi-Fi in Schools

Dangers of Wi-Fi in Schools
alert'Wi-Fi should be considered as an impediment rather than an aid to learning and may be particularly hazardous for pregnant teachers.'
Dr Andrew Goldsworthy - November 2011
Most of the damage done by digital telecommunications is not due to heating but by the electrical effect their pulsating signals have on living tissues, which occurs at much lower energy levels.
The human body can act as an antenna and the signals make electric currents flow through it in time with the pulsations. It is this that does the bulk of the damage by destabilising the delicate membranes that surround each cell and also divide it into internal compartment such as mitochondria (the energy factories of the cell) and the lysosomes (the cell’s recycling factories).
All of these membranes are just two molecules thick and have a similar basic structure. They are
liquid crystals, made largely of negatively charged molecules (which repel one another) stabilised by divalent positive ions (mostly calcium) that sit in between them by mutual attraction and hold them together like mortar holds together the bricks in a wall.
It was first shown by Bawin et. al. in the 1970s that weak amplitude modulated radio waves, where the strength of the signal rises and falls at low frequencies, could remove some of this calcium from brain cell membranes. This destabilises them and make them more likely to leak. The low frequency pulsations of Wi-Fi and mobile phone signals can be expected to behave in much the same way.-
This is important in the brain because the normal function of brain cells depends on the controlled passage of specific ions through their membranes. When these membranes leak, ions flow through them in a relatively uncontrolled way, which results in brain hyperactivity and may cause attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in some people. When this occurs in the brain of a foetus or very young child it prevents normal brain development, which may result in autism (see http://mcsamerica. org/june2011pg2345.pdf ) . Wi-Fi should therefore be considered as an impediment rather than an aid to learning and may be particularly hazardous for pregnant teachers.
Effects on the peripheral nervous system are equally damaging since hyperactivity here causes false sensations such as pain, heat, cold, and pins and needles in some people (i.e. symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity). Hyperactivity in the cells of the inner ear can cause tinnitus and affect the sense of balance causing dizziness and symptoms of motion sickness, including nausea.
Pupils showing any of these symptoms should be treated with sympathy and the Wi-Fi switched off.
Many other effects on health can be attributed to membrane leakage, including damage to DNA due to the release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from mitochondria, and digestive enzymes from lysosomes. Such DNA damage can cause a loss of fertility and an increased risk of getting cancer.
Membrane leakage can also open the blood-brain barrier, leading to Alzheimer’s disease and early dementia. There are similar barriers protecting all of our body surfaces from foreign chemicals.
Damage to these can cause or exacerbate a variety of illnesses, including asthma, multiple allergies and autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis. More on these, including references, can be found at
Fortunately, because of genetic variability, not everyone will suffer the same symptoms and many may suffer none at all but, for the sake of those that do suffer, Wi-Fi is not a good idea in schools or anywhere else for that matter.
Andrew Goldsworthy BSc PhD is a retired lecturer from Imperial College London. He spent most of his career there, where he taught and researched a variety of topics ranging from plant and animal physiology and biochemistry to the ways in which living organisms use weak electric currents to control their growth and metabolism. These currents are due to specific ions flowing through cell membranes in a highly controlled way. Much of his work was on calcium ions, which are important in the control of metabolism and in maintaining the stability of cell membranes. His studies involved making measurements of the weak natural currents flowing into and out of living cells, looking at the ways in which artificial electric currents and electromagnetic fields affected them and also their consequences for normal growth and development. Following his retirement in 2004, he took a special interest in the effects of the radiation from mobile telecommunications on both animals and plants. The effects observed on plants preclude any possibility that they are of psychosomatic origin.

Cell Phone Addiction

Cell Phone Addiction

Cell phone addiction (particularly in teenagers) is becoming common as cell phones become more popular. If your teen is constantly texting, avoiding home work and is preoccupied with her phone, she might be addicted. Studies show that cell phone addiction is similar to pathological gambleing.

Are you or your teen addicted to your cellphone? Are you are your teen uncomfortable if you are out of reach of your cell phone? Are you constantly checking to see if you have a missed call? Is your teen constantly texting?Is there decreased production due to your cell phone use? If you can answer yes to these questions, it’s a fair guess to say you or your teen are addicted. Recent studies show cell phone addiction resembles those of pathological gambling. Among the signs of addiction is feeling anxious and depressed without your phone. Using it to escape feelings of loneliness and isolation is another sign.

Read more:

Image via Wikipedia
Male and female addictions are about the same for either sex. Outgoing adults and teens are even more prone to addictions than their more introverted brothers and sisters. Bored and inactive for too long, teens turn to cell phones to socialize. This increases the chance of addiction. They worry they will miss a connection. Some kids can’t control the cravings. Cell phones numerous functions, phone, camera, email, games, and the Internet offer lots of reasons to stay on the phone. And if you take the cell phone away, the kids turn moody, depressed and irritable.

Image by Ed Yourdon via Flickr
The more teens talk and text on the phone the less productive they might be in more important areas. They may lose interest in developing their minds, their learning abilities, and joining in social situations. It’s in your teens best interest to keep an eye on his cell phone activities and limit cell phone use if you suspect it’s getting out of hand.
Studies on the risk of cell phones use and cancer goes on. When holding the cell phone close to your ear, it’s antenna sits close to your brain. It seems high risk for absorbing the antenna’s electromagnetic radiation. In one study Swedish researchers found an association between long term cell phone users and brain tumors. One type of tumor is an acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor of the brain’s auditory nerve. The side of the head where the cell phone meets the ear may be at risk for gliomas, malignant tumors of the connective tissue found in the central nervous system. Youngsters and teen’s nervous systems are still developing so that puts them at even greater risks for cancer associated with radiation from cell phone use. Experts cannot tell us a safe limit for cell phone use. So cutting back can only help.

Read more:

Pick of the Week #20: Early Research on the Biological Effects of Microwave Radiation: 1940-1960

Pick of the Week #20: Early Research on the Biological Effects of Microwave Radiation: 1940-1960

February 21, 2011. The early research on biological effects of microwave radiation between 1940-1960 is reviewed by Cook and colleagues and is available here for download as a pdf.
Cook, H.J., N.H. Steneck, A.J. Vander, and G.L. Kane. 1980. Early Research on the Biological Effects of Microwave Radiation: 1940-1960. Annals of Science 37:323-351.
Two overriding considerations shaped the development of early research on the biological effects of microwave radiation-possible medical application (diathermy) and uncertainty about the hazards of exposure to radar. Reports in the late 1940s and early 1950s of hazards resulting from microwave exposure led to the near abandonment of medical research related to microwave diathermy at the same time that military and industrial concern over hazards grew, culminating in the massive research effort known as ‘the Tri-Service program’ (1957-1960). Both the early focus on medical application and the later search for hazards played important roles in dictating how this field of research developed as a science.
I. Introduction . . . 323
2. Background, 1885-1940: early work on short-waves and therapy . . . 324
3. Early debates over thermal and nonthermal effects. . . 326
4. The war years and after,1940-1953: military interests in harmful effects . . . 330
5. Return to therapeutic interest . . . 332
6. The discovery of medical hazards . . . 333
7. Renewed concern, 1903-1957; worries of industry . . . 335
8. The military response to industrial concern . . . 337
9. The Tri-Service era:’1907-1960 . . . 341
10. Safety standards and the ending of the Tri-Service program . . . 345
11. Conclusions . . . 348

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Electropollution and the Decline in Health of a Nation

Electropollution and the Decline in Health of a Nation

The biggest health threat to the US is electropollution. The explosion of iPhones, Blackberries, WiFi, WiMax, video game consoles and even remote-control toys has fundamentally changed our electrical environment. You can’t see it, you can’t taste it, you can’t touch it; but the air all around us is increasingly filled with electromagnetic radiation (EMR) that is penetrating our bodies and disrupting our body chemistry – perhaps forever.

Every moment of every day, invisible fields of electrons are striking our bodies like tiny darts, triggering dozens of bio-chemical reactions, which undermine our health and stealthily lay the groundwork for disease.

How does this happen? As Nobel-prize nominee, Dr. Robert Becker described in “The Body Electric,” our brains; our hearts and every one of the seven trillion cells in our bodies operate on electrical impulses. These minuscule electrical fields can easily be disrupted by the electropollution around us, especially when frequency wavelength is in the brainwave region (0-33 hertz), or matches up with and resonates with electrically-charged particles like ions and chemicals or organs of the body. Becker also found that healing only takes place if the current at the point of injury is negatively charged. When it turns positive, the healing process shuts down. So, even our ability to heal is fundamentally dependent upon electrical fields and thus subject to interference from ambient EMR. In the 1960s NASA found that astronauts would lose up to 50% of their bone mass in just weeks without the presence of the earth’s natural electromagnetic field. Later an artificial version of the earth’s electromagnetic field was added to the spacecraft, which reduced the problem.

Human life could not exist without the presence of natural electromagnetic fields. But what about the explosion of artificial magnetic fields around us, how are these burgeoning signals affecting us? Since the early 1960s, there has been an ongoing debate between scientists, government, industry and the military as to the health impacts on humans from electromagnetic radiation. In fact more than 16,000 studies have tackled the issue. Now, more than 6000 studies connect wireless and other EMR with more than 122 biological effects. Another 10,000 fail to find the connection. US regulators and policy-makers are using these numbers as a rationale to continue to approve the deployment of unproven technologies. They typically claim that there is no consensus in the science. Despite the science showing a better than 1 in 3 chance (38%) that wireless technologies are causing bio-effects, these regulators and policy-makers are betting that these ‘untested’ technologies won’t make us sick. But how do they know?

The US government is neither tracking the health effects of these newly adopted technologies nor has it funded a single non-classified study on the biological effects of wireless technologies since the late 1990’s. During that time twelve new ubiquitous technologies have been rolled-out, including public WiFi, 3rd generation (3G) cell phones, 3G Cellular networks, Bluetooth, WiMax, DECT cordless phones, 4G cell phones and broad deployments of GPS in cars, phones and devices. Meanwhile the fourteen international scientists, who produced the BioInitiative Report ( document more than two thousand, mostly independent studies, which connect wireless and other EMR with the following: DNA damage, brain cancer, Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, children’s cancers (leukemia), immune system dysfunction, cardiac symptoms, alteration of melatonin production, inflammation and electromagnetic sensitivity. The 630 page report also links numerous modern age symptoms such as headaches, sleep disturbances, concentration issues, fuzzy thinking, joint and muscle pain and memory loss to wireless.

As science is often crippled by abstract experiments with unproven simplifying assumptions, a better way to judge and validate scientific findings may be to look at the key health trends:

Beginning in the 1980’s at the advent of the ‘wireless revolution’ a profound change in our national health began to quietly unfold. It began with the emergence of a bevy of previously-unknown auto-immune diseases like chronic fatigue (CFS), lupus, environmental illness (EI) and fibromyalgia. Soon an explosion in neurological disorders began with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s all showing a dramatic increase. Next, the incidence of certain cancers began to suddenly rise such as melanoma, testicular, lymphoma, breast and prostate cancers. Then, in the 1990s, ailments like diabetes, attention deficit disorder (ADD/ ADHD) and Autism began to explode.

In the past fifteen years sleep disturbances and mood disorders have sky-rocketed. In the 1970s only about 4% suffered from sleep issues. It is now closer to 60%. Meanwhile more than 18 million Americans are clinically diagnosed as depressed. Depression in children is growing at 23%. It should be no surprise that the top selling pharmaceutical drugs are for pain, depression, and sleep.

What has happened to our health?

It might surprise you to know that the 1950s, when there were few health clubs; the American diet was loaded with fat; vitamin supplements were rare; executives downed three martinis at lunch and everyone smoked like a smokestack, may have been the healthiest decade ever. Expectations for getting cancer were only 1 in 6; it is now 1 in 2 for men. Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis and most modern autoimmune diseases were unheard of. Neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and ALS were rare. Diabetes was only beginning to emerge and heart disease for young people was unusual.

In the previous three decades, we had extended the average life expectancy from 55 to 72 years – a 31% gain. Well here’s the good news: we now live to 80 – 8 more years. But more than half of that eight year gain is spent in a nursing home, suffering from either dementia, or Alzheimer’s.

What has happened to our health?

Despite the many advances in medicine during the 20th century, the US and other industrialized nations have been experiencing explosions in disease and pervasive ill-health. While many scientists and the pharmaceutical industry are rushing to find drugs to manage the symptoms of these illnesses, almost no progress has been made to find root causes. Theories abound on the causes and underlying factors for the big six diseases: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurological disorders (Alzheimer’s et al), autoimmune disorders and allergies (asthma). But none are conclusive.

We’ve gotten really good at managing symptoms the past two decades but no one can explain the spontaneous explosion of the six major disease groups with no obvious connection that began in the 1980’s. Almost everyone agrees that these diseases are closely associated with environmental, and/or lifestyle choices. We hear incessantly about the importance of diet and exercise; the impacts from smoking; and exposures to chemicals and other toxins in our environment. But are these the lead causes, or simply supporting actors in the emerging health drama?

Millions are spent each year on research, attacking the possible causation of the big six diseases. Most of this research is approached from either a purely biological or chemical angle. Sometimes there is an interdisciplinary approach, involving experts in biology and chemistry. Yet the human organism is clearly much more than simply the sum of body parts, operating in a bio-chemical paradigm. The missing factor is the role of electrical energy and the tiny electromagnetic fields that are triggering our heart, our brain, our endocrine system and constantly transmitting messages to every cell in our body. As few scientists are trained across biology, chemistry and electricity, we are left in the dark as to the interrelationship of all three key factors. More importantly we are blinded by continuing to ignore the pivotal role of electrical disturbances transmitted from our environment that is setting off a chain of bio-chemical events that are leading to an epidemic of disease.

Is electropollution the unifying factor in the exploding diseases that are making us all so sick?

New Evidence

In the past several months, there have been two potentially landmark events that shed new light on the science, linking EMR from wireless technologies to broad health impacts, dozens of biological effects and virtually all of the currently exploding diseases.

In July 2010, a previously unrecognized collection of nearly 5000 studies linking low-level wireless signals to bioeffects was discovered by noted scientist, Magda Havas, PhD of Trent University in Ontario, Canada. More than 2300 of these studies, concerned with radio-frequency and microwave radiation, were compiled by Dr. Zorach Glaser, PhD, an officer in the US Navy at the request of the Naval Medical Research Institute. Many of these studies were previously classified and others originated in Eastern Block nations such as the USSR, Poland and Czechoslovakia and have only recently been translated. Here is a sampling from Dr. Glaser’s report on the 122 biological phenomena (effects) and clinical manifestations attributed to microwave and radio-frequency radiation:

This treasure trove of “lost” science that was compiled at the request of the US Navy opens the door for a real renaissance in research for scientists, who are examining the link between wireless technologies and impacts to our health. But will it be enough to awaken the US government to this call to action?

Meanwhile in a spectacular announcement that got very little coverage in August 2010, noted epidemiologist, Samuel Milham, MD makes the link between the growth of electrification and the incidence of four of the big six diseases. In "Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization." Dr. Milham connects dirty electricity with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, neurological disorders like ALS and suicide.

Dirty electricity refers to unusable electrical energy, which is caused by the interference of electronics on the power lines within your home, office or public building. It is virtually everywhere. Dirty electricity is created by fluorescent lights, dimmer switches, cell phone chargers, plasma TVs, laptop computers and the dramatic increase of electronics all around us. Seven studies have shown that what is considered electrical noise on power lines is also biologically-active. (Havas, Milham, Morgan et al). These studies, many of which were performed in schools, shows that this electrical noise may be causing, or worsening health conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), chronic fatigue, diabetes (glucose rise) and asthma.

Eerily four of the diseases most associated with inflammation – cancer, heart disease, diabetes and neurological disorders are directly linked to dirty electricity. Both Dr. Zorach Glaser’s bibliography and the BioInitiative Report ( separately connect electrical fields from wireless technologies with inflammation.

If the inflammation connection can be confirmed, then we may have solved the most important health issue of our time. If wireless technologies cause inflammation and inflammation leads to:

  • cancer
  • heart disease
  • autoimmune disease
  • diabetes
  • Neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS and MS
  • Attention Deficit Disorder

as TIME Magazine proposes in “The Fires Within,” then the mystery of these diseases, which have been exploding since the advent of the wireless revolution in the 1980’s may be finally solved!

Meanwhile a nationwide roll-out of the smart grid, super WiFi and 4G cellular networks is about to begin. With these three powerful and ‘untested’ wireless technologies poised to be deployed, the time has never been better to pause and ask the question:

Are we willing to take the bet that these wireless technologies won’t make us sick?

And what will we tell our children, if we are wrong?

- Alex Richards

Warning: High Frequency

Warning: High Frequency

By Christopher Ketcham

Consider this story: It’s January 1990, during the pioneer build-out of mobile phone service. A cell tower goes up 800 feet from the house of Alison Rall, in Mansfield, Ohio, where she and her husband run a 160-acre dairy farm. The first thing the Rall family notices is that the ducks on their land lay eggs that don’t hatch. That spring there are no ducklings.

Illustrations by Michael Morgenstern,

By the fall of 1990, the cattle herd that pastures near the tower is sick. The animals are thin, their ribs are showing, their coats growing rough, and their behavior is weird – they’re agitated, nervous. Soon the cows are miscarrying, and so are the goats. Many of the animals that gestate are born deformed. There are goats with webbed necks, goats with front legs shorter than their rear legs. One calf in the womb has a tumor the size of a basketball, another carries a tumor three feet in diameter, big enough that he won’t pass through the birth canal. Rall and the local veterinarian finally cut open the mother to get the creature out alive. The vet records the nightmare in her log: “I’ve never seen anything like this in my entire practice… All of [this] I feel was a result of the cellular tower.”

Within six months, Rall’s three young children begin suffering bizarre skin rashes, raised red “hot spots.” The kids are hit with waves of hyperactivity; the youngest child sometimes spins in circles, whirling madly. The girls lose hair. Rall is soon pregnant with a fourth child, but she can’t gain weight. Her son is born with birth defects – brittle bones, neurological problems – that fit no specific syndrome. Her other children, conceived prior to the arrival of the tower, had been born healthy.

Desperate to understand what is happening to her family and her farm, Rall contacts the Environmental Protection Agency. She ends up talking to an EPA scientist named Carl Blackman, an expert on the biological effects of radiation from electromagnetic fields (EMFs) – the kind of radiofrequency EMFs (RF-EMFs) by which all wireless technology operates, including not just cell towers and cell phones but wi-fi hubs and wi-fi-capable computers, “smart” utility meters, and even cordless home phones. “With my government cap on, I’m supposed to tell you you’re perfectly safe,” Blackman tells her. “With my civilian cap on, I have to tell you to consider leaving.”

Blackman’s warning casts a pall on the family. When Rall contacts the cell phone company operating the tower, they tell her there is “no possibility whatsoever” that the tower is the source of her ills. “You’re probably in the safest place in America,” the company representative tells her.

The Ralls abandoned the farm on Christmas Day of 1992 and never re-sold it, unwilling to subject others to the horrors they had experienced. Within weeks of fleeing to land they owned in Michigan, the children recovered their health, and so did the herd.

We are now exposed to electromagnetic radio frequencies 24 hours a day. Welcome to the largest human experiment ever.

Not a single one of the half-dozen scientists I spoke to could explain what had happened on the Rall farm. Why the sickened animals? Why the skin rashes, the hyperactivity? Why the birth defects? If the radiofrequency radiation from the cell tower was the cause, then what was the mechanism? And why today, with millions of cell towers dotting the planet and billions of cell phones placed next to billions of heads every day, aren’t we all getting sick?

In fact, the great majority of us appear to be just fine. We all live in range of cell towers now, and we are all wireless operators. More than wireless operators, we’re nuts about the technology. Who doesn’t keep at their side at all times the electro-plastic appendage for the suckling of information?

The mobile phone as a technology was developed in the 1970s, commercialized in the mid-80s, miniaturized in the ‘90s. When the first mobile phone companies launched in the United Kingdom in 1985, the expectation was that perhaps 10,000 phones would sell. Worldwide shipments of mobile phones topped the one billion mark in 2006. As of October 2010 there were 5.2 billion cell phones operating on the planet. “Penetration,” in the marketing-speak of the companies, often tops 100 percent in many countries, meaning there is more than one connection per person. The mobile phone in its various manifestations – the iPhone, the Android, the Blackberry – has been called the “most prolific consumer device” ever proffered.

I don’t have an Internet connection at my home in Brooklyn, and, like a dinosaur, I still keep a landline. But if I stand on my roof, I see a hundred feet away, attached to the bricks of the neighboring parking garage, a panel of cell phone antennae – pointed straight at me. They produce wonderful reception on my cell phone. My neighbors in the apartment below have a wireless fidelity connection – better known as wi-fi – which I tap into when I have to argue with magazine editors. This is very convenient. I use it. I abuse it.

Yet even though I have, in a fashion, opted out, here I am, on a rooftop in Brooklyn, standing bathed in the radiation from the cell phone panels on the parking garage next door. I am also bathed in the radiation from the neighbors’ wi-fi downstairs. The waves are everywhere, from public libraries to Amtrak trains to restaurants and bars and even public squares like Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan, where the Wall Street occupiers relentlessly tweet.

We now live in a wireless-saturated normality that has never existed in the history of the human race.

It is unprecedented because of the complexity of the modulated frequencies that carry the increasingly complex information we transmit on our cell phones, smart phones and wi-fi systems. These EMFs are largely untested in their effects on human beings. Swedish neuroscientist Olle Johansson, who teaches at the world-renowned Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, tells me the mass saturation in electromagnetic fields raises terrible questions. Humanity, he says, has embarked on the equivalent of “the largest full-scale experiment ever. What happens when, 24 hours around the clock, we allow ourselves and our children to be whole-body-irradiated by new, man-made electromagnetic fields for the entirety of our lives?”

We have a few answers. Last May, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, a branch of the World Health Organization), in Lyon, France, issued a statement that the electromagnetic frequencies from cell phones would henceforth be classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The determination was based in part on data from a 13-country study, called Interphone, which reported in 2008 that after a decade of cell phone use, the risk of getting a brain tumor – specifically on the side of the head where the phone is placed – goes up as much as 40 percent for adults. Israeli researchers, using study methods similar to the Interphone investigation, have found that heavy cell phone users were more likely to suffer malignant tumors of the salivary gland in the cheek, while an independent study by scientists in Sweden concluded that people who started using a cell phone before the age of 20 were five times as likely to develop a brain tumor. According to a study published in the International Journal of Cancer Prevention, people living for more than a decade within 350 meters of a cell phone tower experience a four-fold increase in cancer rates.

The IARC decision followed in the wake of multiple warnings, mostly from European regulators, about the possible health risks of RF-EMFs. In September 2007, Europe’s top environmental watchdog, the EU’s European Environment Agency, suggested that the mass unregulated exposure of human beings to widespread radiofrequency radiation “could lead to a health crisis similar to those caused by asbestos, smoking and lead in petrol.” That same year, Germany’s environmental ministry singled out the dangers of RF-EMFs used in wi-fi systems, noting that people should keep wi-fi exposure “as low as possible” and instead choose “conventional wired connections.” In 2008, France issued a generalized national cell phone health warning against excessive cell phone use, and then, a year later, announced a ban on cell phone advertising for children under the age of 12.

We now live in a wireless-saturated normality that has never existed in the history of the human race.

In 2009, following a meeting in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, more than 50 concerned scientists from 16 countries – public health officials, biologists, neuroscientists, medical doctors – signed what became known as the Porto Alegre Resolution. The signatories described it as an “urgent call” for more research based on “the body of evidence that indicates that exposure to electromagnetic fields interferes with basic human biology.”

That evidence is mounting. “Radiofrequency radiation has a number of biological effects which can be reproducibly found in animals and cellular systems,” says David O. Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the State University of New York (SUNY). “We really cannot say for certain what the adverse effects are in humans,” Carpenter tells me. “But the indications are that there may be – and I use the words ‘may be’ – very serious effects in humans.” He notes that in exposure tests with animal and human cells, RF-EMF radiation causes genes to be activated. “We also know that RF-EMF causes generation of free radicals, increases production of things called heat shock proteins, and alters calcium ion regulation. These are all common mechanisms behind many kinds of tissue damage.”

Double-strand breaks in DNA – one of the undisputed causes of cancer – have been reported in similar tests with animal cells. Swedish neuro-oncologist Leif Salford, chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Lund University, has found that cell phone radiation damages neurons in rats, particularly those cells associated with memory and learning. The damage occurred after an exposure of just two hours. Salford also found that cell phone EMFs cause holes to appear in the barrier between the circulatory system and the brain in rats. Punching holes in the blood-brain-barrier is not a good thing. It allows toxic molecules from the blood to leach into the ultra-stable environment of the brain. One of the potential outcomes, Salford notes, is dementia.

Other effects from cell phone radiofrequencies have been reported using human subjects. At Loughborough University in England, sleep specialists in 2008 found that after 30 minutes of cell phone use, their subjects required twice the time to fall asleep as they did when the phone was avoided before bedtime. EEGs (electroencephalograms) showed a disturbance of the brain waves that regulate sleep. Neuroscientists at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia discovered in 2009 a “power boost” in brain waves when volunteers were exposed to cell phone radiofrequencies. Researchers strapped Nokia phones to their subjects’ heads, then turned the phones on and off. On: brain went into defense mode. Off: brain settled. The brain, one of the lead researchers speculated, was “concentrating to overcome the electrical interference.”

Yet for all this, there is no scientific consensus on the risks of RF-EMFs to human beings.

The major public-health watchdogs, in the US and worldwide, have dismissed concerns about it. “Current evidence,” the World Health Organization (WHO) says, “does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low level electromagnetic fields.” (The WHO thus contradicts the findings of one of its own research units.) The US Federal Communications Commission has made similar statements. The American Cancer Society reports that “most studies published so far have not found a link between cell phone use and the development of tumors.” The cell phone industry’s lobbying organization, CTIA-The Wireless Association, assures the public that cell phone radiation is safe, citing studies – many of them funded by the telecom industry – that show no risk.

Published meta-reviews of hundreds of such studies suggest that industry funding tends to skew results. According to a survey by Henry Lai, a research professor at University of Washington, only 28 percent of studies funded by the wireless industry showed some type of biological effect from cell phone radiation. Meanwhile, independently funded studies produce an altogether different set of data: 67 percent of those studies showed a bioeffect. The Safe Wireless Initiative, a research group in Washington, DC that has since closed down, unpacked the data in hundreds of studies on wireless health risks, arraying them in terms of funding source. “Our data show that mobile phone industry funded/influenced work is six times more likely to find ‘no problem’ than independently funded work,” the group noted. “The industry thus has significantly contaminated the scientific evidence pool.”

The evidence about the long-term public health risks of exposure to RF-EMFs may be contradictory. Yet it is clear that some people are getting sick when heavily exposed to the new radiofrequencies. And we are not listening to their complaints.

Take the story of Michele Hertz. When a local utility company installed a wireless digital meter – better known as a “smart” meter – on her house in upstate New York in the summer of 2009, Hertz thought little of it. Then she began to feel odd. She was a practiced sculptor, but now she could not sculpt. “I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t even finish sentences,” she told me. Hertz experienced “incredible memory loss,” and, at the age of 51, feared she had come down with Alzheimer’s.

One night during a snowstorm in 2010 her house lost power, and when it came back on her head exploded with a ringing sound – “a terrible piercing.” A buzzing in her head persisted. She took to sleeping on the floor of her kitchen that winter, where the refrigerator drowned out the keening. There were other symptoms: headaches and nausea and dizziness, persistent and always worsening. “Sometimes I’d wake up with my heart pounding uncontrollably,” she told me. “I thought I would have a heart attack. I had nightmares that people were killing me.”

Roughly one year after the installation of the wireless meters, with the help of an electrician, Hertz thought she had figured out the source of the trouble: It had to be something electrical in the house. On a hunch, she told the utility company, Con Edison of New York, to remove the wireless meter. She told them: “I will die if you do not install an analog meter.” Within days, the worst symptoms disappeared. “People look at me like I’m crazy when I talk about this,” Hertz says.

Her exposure to the meters has super-sensitized Hertz to all kinds of other EMF sources. “The smart meters threw me over the electronic edge,” she says. A cell phone switched on in the same room now gives her a headache. Stepping into a house with wi-fi is intolerable. Passing a cell tower on the street hurts. “Sometimes if the radiation is very strong my fingers curl up,” she says. “I can now hear cell phones ringing on silent. Life,” she says, “has dramatically changed.”

Hertz soon discovered there were other people like her: “Electrosensitives,” they call themselves. To be sure, they comprise a tortured minority, often misunderstood and isolated. They share their stories at online forums like, the EMF Safety Network, and the Electrosensitive Society. “Some are getting sick from cell phones, some from smart meters, some from cell towers,” Hertz tells me. “Some can no longer work and have had to flee their homes. Some are losing their eyesight, some can’t stop shaking, most cannot sleep.”

In recent years, I’ve gotten to know dozens of electrosensitives. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, I met a woman who had taken to wearing an aluminum foil hat. (This works – wrap a cell phone in foil and it will kill the signal.) I met a former world record-holding marathoner, a 54-year-old woman who had lived out of her car for eight years before settling down at a house ringed by mountains that she said protected the place from cell frequencies. I met people who said they no longer wanted to live because of their condition. Many of the people I talked to were accomplished professionals – writers, television producers, entrepreneurs. I met a scientist from Los Alamos National Laboratories named Bill Bruno whose employer had tried to fire him after he asked for protection from EMFs at the lab. I met a local librarian named Rebekah Azen who quit her job after being sickened by a newly installed wi-fi system at the library. I met a brilliant activist named Arthur Firstenberg, who had for several years published a newsletter, “No Place to Hide,” but who was now homeless, living out of the back of his car, sleeping in wilderness outside the city where he could escape the signals.

In New York City, I got to know a longtime member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) who said he was electrosensitive. I’ll call him Jake, because he is embarrassed by his condition and he doesn’t want to jeopardize his job or his membership in the IEEE (which happens to have for its purpose the promulgation of electrical technology, including cell phones). Jake told me how one day, a few years ago, he started to get sick whenever he went into the bedroom of his apartment to sleep. He had headaches, suffered fatigue and nausea, nightsweats and heart palpitations, had blurred vision and difficulty breathing and was blasted by a ringing in the ears – the typical symptoms of the electrosensitive. He discovered that his neighbor in the apartment building kept a wi-fi transmitter next door, on the other side of the wall to his bedroom. When Jake asked the neighbor to shut it down, his symptoms disappeared.

The government of Sweden reports that the disorder known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHS, afflicts an estimated 3 percent of the population. A study by the California Department of Health found that, based on self-reports, as many as 770,000 Californians, or 3 percent of the state’s population, would ascribe some form of illness to EMFs. A study in Switzerland recently found a 5 percent prevalence of electrosensitivity. In Germany, there is reportedly a 6 percent prevalence. Even the former prime minister of Norway, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, until 2003 the director general of the World Health Organization, has admitted that she suffers headaches and “strong discomfort” when exposed to cell phones. “My hypersensitivity,” she told a Norwegian newspaper in 2002, “has gone so far that I react to mobile phones closer to me than about four meters.” She added in the same interview: “People have been in my office with their mobile hidden in their pocket or bag. Without knowing if it was on or off, we have tested my reactions. I have always reacted when the phone has been on – never when it’s off.”

“People are reporting these symptoms all over the globe. It’s not likely a transcultural mass hallucination.”

Yet the World Health Organization – the same agency that Brundtland once headed – reports “there is no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF exposure.” WHO’s findings are corroborated by a 2008 study at the University of Bern in Switzerland which found “no evidence that EHS individuals could detect [the] presence or absence” of frequencies that allegedly make them sick. A study conducted in 2006 at the Mobile Phone Research Unit at King’s College in London came to a similar conclusion. “No evidence was found to indicate that people with self-reported sensitivity to mobile phone signals are able to detect such signals or that they react to them with increased symptom severity,” the report said. “As sham exposure was sufficient to trigger severe symptoms in some participants, psychological factors may have an important role in causing this condition.” The King’s College researchers in 2010 concluded it was a “medically unexplained illness.”

“The scientific data so far just doesn’t help the electrosensitives,” says Louis Slesin, editor and publisher of Microwave News, a newsletter and website that covers the potential impacts of RF-EMFs. “The design of some of these studies, however, is questionable.” He adds: “Frankly, I’d be surprised if the condition did not exist. We’re electromagnetic beings. You wouldn’t have a thought in your head without electromagnetic signals. There is electrical signaling going on in your body all the time, and the idea that external electromagnetic fields can’t affect us just doesn’t make sense. We’re biological and chemical beings too, and we know that we can develop allergies to certain biological and chemical compounds. Why wouldn’t we also find there are allergies to EM fields? Shouldn’t every chemical be tested for its effects on human beings? Well, the same could be said for each frequency of RF radiation.”

Dr. David Carpenter of SUNY, who has also looked into electrosensitivity, tells me he’s “not totally convinced that electrosensitivity is real.” Still, he says, “there are just too many people with reports of illness when chronically near to EMF devices, with their symptoms being relieved when they are away from them. Like multiple chemical sensitivity and Gulf War Syndrome, there is something here, but we just don’t understand it all yet.”

Science reporter B. Blake Levitt, author of Electromagnetic Fields: A Consumer’s Guide to the Issues, says the studies she has reviewed on EHS are “contradictory and nowhere near definitive.” Flaws in test design stand out, she says. Many with EHS may be simply “too sensitized,” she believes, to endure research exposure protocols, possibly skewing results from the start by inadvertently studying a less sensitive group. Levitt recently compiled some of the most damning studies of the health effects from cell towers in a report for the International Commission on Electromagnetic Safety in Italy. “Some populations are reacting poorly when living or working within 1,500 feet of a cell tower,” Levitt tells me. Several studies she cited found an increase in headaches, rashes, tremors, sleep disturbances, dizziness, concentration problems, and memory changes.

“EHS may be one of those problems that can never be well defined – we may just have to believe what people report,” Levitt says. “And people are reporting these symptoms all over the globe now when new technologies are introduced or infrastructure like cell towers go into neighborhoods. It’s not likely a transcultural mass hallucination. The immune system is an exquisite warning mechanism. These are our canaries in the coal mine.”

Swedish neuroscientist Olle Johansson was one of the first researchers to take the claims of electrosensitivity seriously. He found, for example, that persons with EHS had changes in skin mast cells – markers of allergic reaction – when exposed to specific EM fields. Other studies have found that radiofrequency EMFs can increase serum histamine levels – the hallmark of an allergic reaction. Johansson has hypothesized that electrosensitivity arises exactly as any common allergy would arise – due to excessive exposure, as the immune system fails. And just as only some people develop allergies to cats or pollen or dust, only some of us fall prey to EM fields. Johansson admits that his hypothesis has yet to be proven in laboratory study.

One afternoon not long ago, a nurse named Maria Gonzalez, who lives in Queens, New York, took me to see the cell phone masts that irradiate her daughter’s school. The masts were the usual flat-paneled, alien-looking things nested together, festooned with wires, high on a rooftop across from Public School 122 in Astoria. They emitted a fine signal – five bars on my phone. The operator of the masts, Sprint-Nextel, had built a wall of fake brick to hide them from view, but Maria was unimpressed with the subterfuge. She was terrified of the masts. When, in 2005, the panels went up, soon to be turned on, she was working at the intensive care unit at St. Vincent’s Hospital. She’d heard bizarre stories about cell phones from her cancer-ward colleagues. Some of the doctors at St. Vincent’s told her they had doubts about the safety of their own cellphones and pagers. This was disturbing enough. She went online, culling studies. When she read a report published in 2002 about children in Spain who developed leukemia shortly after a cell phone tower was erected next to their school, she went into a quiet panic.

Sprint-Nextel was unsympathetic when she telephoned the company in the summer of 2005 to express her concerns. The company granted her a single meeting that autumn, with a Sprint-Nextel technician, an attorney, and a self-described “radiation expert” under contract with the company. “They kept saying, ‘we’re one hundred percent sure the antennas are safe,’” Maria told me as we stared at the masts. “‘One hundred percent sure! These are children! We would never hurt children.’” She called the office of Hillary Clinton and pestered the senator once a week for six months – but got nowhere. A year later, Gonzalez sued the US government, charging that the Federal Communications Commission had failed to fully evaluate the risks from cell phone frequencies. The suit was thrown out. The judge concluded that if regulators for the government said the radiation was safe, then it was safe. The message, as Gonzalez puts it, was that she was “crazy … and making a big to-do about nothing.”

I’d venture, rather, that she was applying a commonsense principle in environmental science: the precautionary principle, which states that when an action or policy – or technology – cannot be proven with certainty to be safe, then it should be assumed to be harmful. In a society thrilled with the magic of digital wireless, we have junked this principle. And we try to dismiss as fools those who uphold it – people like Gonzalez. We have accepted without question that we will have wi-fi hotspots in our homes, and at libraries, and in cafes and bookstores; that we will have wireless alarm systems and wireless baby monitors and wireless utility meters and wireless video games that children play; that we will carry on our persons wireless iPads and iPods and smart phones. We are mesmerized by the efficiency and convenience of the infotainment appendage, the words and sounds and pictures it carries. We are, in other words, thoughtless in our embrace of the technology.

Because of our thoughtlessness, we have not demanded to know the full consequences of this technology.

Perhaps the gadgets are slowly killing us – we do not know. Perhaps they are perfectly safe – we do not know. Perhaps they are making us sick in ways we barely understand – we do not know. What we do know, without a doubt, is that the electromagnetic fields are all around us, and that to live in modern civilization implies always and everywhere that we cannot escape their touch.

Christopher Ketcham has contributed to ORION, Harper’s, and GQ, where portions of this reporting appeared previously. Find more of his work at