Hidden Health Costs of the Wireless Age

The Wireless Age

The Wireless AgeOur world is becoming increasingly connected wirelessly. More and more cities are becoming WiFi-enabled and stores boast free mobile hotspots to attract tourists and consumers, seeking easy connectivity. For busy professionals and those enjoying leisure, anything “free” and “easy” seems like a great perk. But with the rush to build towers and the high profit margins for this convenience, has anyone considered the potential downside? While it might seem like foolish to worry when so many do not, there is some truth in caution. A number of recent scientific studies, from reputed journals, indicate that there may in fact be reason to worry about wireless radiation.

The Latest Scientific Research

Wireless radiation (Radio Frequency (RF) radiation) exposure has been associated with a variety of disease conditions and discomfort. In 2006, Australia commissioned a rollout of smart meters in the state of Victoria. This lead to an unprecedented public health challenge as an entire population’s ability to avoid exposure to human-made, high frequency non-ionizing radiation became unavoidable. As an unintended result, over 142 people reported adverse health effects from the wireless smart meters as documented through information submission on the Australian public health and legal register websites. The most frequently reported symptoms from wireless radiation exposure to smart meters included insomnia, headaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), fatigue, cognitive disturbances, dysesthesias (abnormal sensations), and dizziness. As described in a paper published in the Nov-Dec 2014 issue of Alternative Therapy Health Medicine, the effects of these symptoms on people’s lives were significant. The participants’ symptoms were the same as those reported by people exposed to wireless radiation emitted by other devices other than smart meters (ex. mobile phones).

In Oct 2014, Oxford University published an article regarding the “Effects of fetal microwave radiation exposure on offspring behavior in mice.” Due to the recent rapid development of electronic communication in Asia, there had been public health concerns about the hazards of long-term environmental radiation exposure on the young for some time. Prior studies had indicated that wireless radiation exposure could induce nervous system disorders in human children. Therefore, Chinese researchers at Beijing Institute of Radiation Medicine explored whether or not this negative effect could be demonstrated in mouse models. Mice in utero were exposed to 9.417 GHz of microwave radiation through their gestation (Days 3.5-18) and then tested through a variety of maze and swimming tests at birth. The researchers found that mice showed less movement, suggesting increased anxiety-like behavior. Male offspring demonstrated decreased learning and memory. The article was the first to publish experimental evidence that microwaves could induce gender-dependent effects.

International Opinion

As of Oct 2014, according to the World Health Organization, mobile phone use is considered ubiquitous as 6.9 billion subscriptions exist globally. As there are only 7.125 billion people in the world (estimated as of 2013), this statistic indicates the overwhelming majority of the earth’s population (>95%) are subscribers. For those who are not, the sheer volume of subscribers in proximity of others de facto exposes everyone to radiation. Currently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer lists mobile phones as possibly carcinogenic to humans. Studies are still on-going to “more fully” assess the potential long-term effects of mobile phone use. By 2016, the WHO expects to conduct a formal risk assessment of all studied health outcomes from wireless radiation exposure.

Studies have been conducted on wireless radiation for the past two decades. However, conclusive information has been hard to come by. Most studies focus on short-term effects. Studies that focus on long-term effects require information that is still in the process of being generated. With regards to short-term effects, a number of studies have focused on the effects of RF fields on tissue. Studies have focused on the brain’s electrical activity, cognitive function, sleep, heart rate and blood pressure in volunteers. While some adverse effects were reported, the research largely has been unable to provide an exact causal relationship between exposure to EMFs and self-reported symptoms. However, to prove mechanistic action of any type of cause-effect relationship typically requires a great deal of intense research. For instance, to elucidate the mechanism of glycolysis (to show how eating sugar creates energy in humans) took close to 100 years (1854-1940) and many scientists contributions (including Louis Pasteur) to become fully established.

Studies focusing on the long-term effects of wireless radiation are currently underway. Several large multinational epidemiological studies have been completed and the data is being examined. In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) was created to determine whether or not there are links between the use of mobile phones and head and neck cancers in adults. So far, there is only data for the last 10 years. There are some indications of increased glioma or brain cancer for those who report the highest cumulative hours of cell phone use, but there is not a dose-related trend. Generally, it is recognized that cancer is caused by an accumulation in genetic changes or damage to the DNA, which results in the undifferentiated proliferation of abnormal cells. These cells starve healthy cells of nutrients, causing the body to die. Because cancer is a disease that may take a long time to manifest, long-term conclusions are still awaiting more data as to what can cause cancer and how it may do it. Consequently, further research on wireless radiation exposure is being conducted to understand potential health effects.

Convenience at a Price

While it may seem like sensationalism, it is right to be concerned about Electromagnetic Radiation in the wireless age. Cell phone towers are popping up all over America. People barely blink twice, even as their children are being dosed by EMFs. Radiation is cumulative. The more you are exposed to it, the higher you are being dosed. Convenience and ease may be on everyone’s mind but forethought is wise, especially because much data is still pending. Let’s not wait to take action. Stay informed and avoid excessive wireless radiation exposure.

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