Weekender: When I was a small child in the late 1940s and early ‘50s, shoe stores came equipped with x-ray machines that allowed salespeople and parents to make certain that a shoe fit a child’s foot without crowding growing bones. I remember eagerly stepping up on the platform and peering through the lens for a fascinating view of the bones of my feet surrounded by shoe leather.
Now, of course, routine x-rays of children’s feet are an appalling idea. But unfortunately, total numbskullery often becomes evident only in retrospect.
So what might our progeny say about our wholesale naivety – a decade or two from today – when looking back upon our quiescent acceptance of their omnipresent exposure to radio wave frequencies through cell phones and towers? Might they wonder how we could possibly have risked their future health for our present convenience?
Up till now, we’ve been lulled into a false sense of security by the cell phone industry and by some scientists who have reassured us that the risks are unproven and most likely negligible. Now, however, a German professor of biology – once described as the “longstanding chief witness for the harmlessness of mobile communication radiation” – has changed his mind. Alexander Lerchl, a professor of biology at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany recently made news by switching his position on this issue.
Looked upon by activists as an ‘industry lackey’ for his aggressive and vocal disavowal of scientific papers indicating the harmful effects of RF radiation, Lerchl has recently authored a report indicating that mice exposed in the womb to a cancer-causing agent – and then to a cell phone signal – had higher rates of lung and liver cancer as well as of lymphomas. Perhaps most unsettling about his findings are the fact that (1) the radiation levels were well below current safety standards; and (2) lower doses were more likely to produce tumors than were higher doses.
Dr. Franz Adlkofer is chairman of the board of the Pandora Foundation – a group that helps support independent scientific research that is likely to meet with corporate and/or political opposition. It was he who described Lerchl as ‘the chief witness’ for the safety of cell phone radiation. Now he describes Professor Lerchl’s study results “as the worst possible outcome for the telecom industry.” But this outcome may be slow in coming.
We may yet be allowed to remain in the bliss of ignorance by the media – most particularly if it is controlled by people with links to the cell phone industry. Recently, Nick Bilton, a rising tech reporter for The New York Times, was reprimanded by his boss – Public Editor Margaret Sullivan – for suggesting that precaution be taken in the wearing of electronics. This occurred despite the fact that Bilton’s conclusions were based on his reading of scientific papers and on the conversations he had with experts.
Michael Lerner, co-founder of Commonweal, suggested that if Carlos Slim, chairman of America Movil (with its 289 million wireless customers in 25 countries) was not the largest single shareholder of the Times, perhaps the reaction to Bilton’s article might not have come as quickly.
Over 20 years ago, a French and Canadian epidemiological study found a significant correlation between pulsed EMF signals and lung cancer in utility works. Unfortunately, however, the research could not proceed because the study sponsor, Hydro-Quebec, prevented further access to the data.
Professor Lerchl’s study confirmed what was found in the French and Canadian study. The designer of the EMF meter that was used in the study pointed out the parallels with Lerchl’s findings: “… both show exposure to pulsed electromagnetic energy, both show EMFs to be a cancer promoter, and both show a link to lung cancer” he said.
In 2011, when addressing an audience at Harvard Law School’s Center for Ethics speaker series, Dr. Adlkofer said that – “The practices of institutional corruption in the area of wireless communication are of enormous concern if one considers the still uncertain outcome of the ongoing field study with five billion participants. Based on the unjustified trivializing reports distributed by the mass media by order and on account of the wireless communication industry, the general public cannot understand that its future wellbeing and health may be at stake. The people even distrust those scientists who warn.” He went on to say, “In democracies, it is a basic principle that above power and their owners are laws, rules, and regulations. Since in the area of wireless communication this principle has been severely violated it is in the interest of a democratic society to insist on its compliance.”
It is also in the interest of our children — with their smaller, thinner skulls — and of ourselves to limit exposure to cell phone radiation in all the ways that we are able. Given the evidence, ‘better safe than sorry’ is an essential operating principle.
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Article by Laurel Airica – freelance writer/editor and creator of WordMagic.
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