Health

Health

There is quite a lot of information on the non-thermal effects of radio frequencies on trees on the BEMRI website. See
http://bemri.org/hese-uk/en/issues/nature1441.html?id=trees

What evidence is there for this? According to studies made in the 1990's on the effects of the VHF radar station at Skrunda in Latvia, the growth rings of trees were reduced during the period in which the station was operational and the pine needles made more resin (an indication of cellular stress). Incidentally, just for the record, a parallel study on the performance of schoolchildren in tests was significantly reduced in the main beam of the station compared with those in relative safety behind the antennas.

For my part, I was first alerted to these effects many years ago by a couple of Forestry Commission workers who thought that Die-back in Oak was correlated with the path of microwave transmission links, where they skimmed the surface of the trees. At first, I didn't believe it; that is until I saw what was happening to the trees around an old and powerful Vodafone mast near my local park. Many of the Oaks in the park within about 400 metres of the mast are suffering from severe die-back and one is now just a dead skeleton. Many of the badly damaged and dead trees have now been removed by the council, including many conifers and a whole row of dead Silver Birch extending up to about 300 metres from the Mast. The symptoms are those of drought, abnormal growth patterns, cancer-like growths beneath the bark ,and fungal disease.

Most of these effects can be attributed to the effects of the radio waves on the pigment cryptochrome. This is one of many pigments used by plants to detect the presence and wavelength of light, but most important of all, it forms a vital part of the biological clock that controls their circadian rhythms and it is also affected by radio waves. The mechanism of its radio sensitivity depends on the quantum mechanics of an electron's ability to move between two free radicals. This was first discovered by Ritz and his co-workers (Nature 249: May 13th, 177-180, 2004) in relation to magnetic navigation in robins, which use cryptochrome to sense the direction of the Earth's magnetic field. Navigation was upset by a broad range of frequencies up to about 7MHz. If this is also true of the cryptochrome that controls the biological clock in plant cells, then modulated or pulsed radiation containing any of these frequencies could upset their circadian rhythms and have potentially devastating effects.

Trees

Circadian rhythms are important in both animals and plants because they enable them to anticipate the arrival of dawn and dusk to get their enzymes and metabolic pathways ready in time (See "Introducing Biological Rhythms". Koukkari and Sothern: Springer 2006). In plants, they begin opening the stomata and synthesising photosynthetic enzymes before dawn. In both plants and animals, they control the immune system. In plants, it works best during the day when there is spare energy available from photosynthesis, but in animals it works best when we are asleep at night when the lack if physical activity make more energy available for it.

These circadian rhythms can usually go on for several cycles without external signals from the environment, but eventually they fade out under constant conditions. When this happens, at no time will the immune system function at maximum efficiency and the animal or plant becomes more susceptible to disease. Although much of the work has not yet been published, studies in the Netherlands indicate that in some plants at least, modulated microwaves cause these circadian rhythms to fade out, with a partial loss of immune function.

Photographic studies made in  the Netherlands and throughout Europe has also shown a progressive increase in the occurrence of tumour-like growths beneath the bark of urban trees over the last decade or so, which corresponds in time to the increases usage of mobile phones and WiFi. There also seems to be an increase in splits in the bark, which then become infected by various organisms and could be a mode of entry for various pathogens, which, together with a loss of immune function, could be the perfect storm.

All this needs checking out with a properly funded and independent research programme, and if governments are not prepared to do this, we must surely ask why.

Dr Andrew Goldsworthy

Lecturer in Biology (retired)

Imperial College London

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://mcs-america.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  http://www.hese-project.org/hese-uk/en/papers/cell_phone_and_cell.pdf

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.

Scientific American - Fact or Fiction? - Cellphones can cause Brain Cancer: 21.11.08

The relevance for Airwave (TETRA) - by Barrie Trower

In Melinda Wenner's article, she writes, concerning cellphone use:

"If cellphone use does, in fact, triple the odds of getting cancer, these statistics would suggest that over 60 years a man's risk of developing a brain tumour from cellphone use increases from 0.206% to 0.621%, and a woman's from 0.156% to 0.468%." (1)

This suggests an increase of 0.415% and 0.312% respectively, or 4.15 and 3.12 per 1,000 people - or an average of 3.635 for both sexes.  If we have 300,000 Officers and associated groups using TETRA (Airwave), this suggests a potential for a possible 1,090 slow-growing cancers.

However, these figures are based on ‘ordinary daily use' - a figure long argued over -  it can range from 20 minutes to 2 hours per day, depending on whom you ask.  Police Officers can, in fact, use such a microwave transmitter for a 14-hour shift, and it can have surges of power as a message comes through or is activated.  As all electromagnetic waves are, in fact, accumulative - does this seven-fold increase in ‘daily use' mean that the 1,090 cancers can become 7,630 cancers?

Also, the original figures took into account that the number tumours would be less as the dense bone of the skull offers some protection.  Police Officers tend to carry their transmitters on their neck (shoulder), which offers no such protection.

Melinda Wenner quotes Professor Challis - former Chairman of the MTHR programme as saying:

"For people who've used cellphone for more than 10 years, and who use their phone on the same side as the tumour, it appears there's an association".

The Nobel Prize-winning Irish Doctors Association have recently published details of 60+ recent research papers, showing how microwave radiation can trigger cancer promoters/initiators - change EEG patterns and cause other health problems. (2)

I do not accept the statement often given: "for every paper showing harm there is one showing microwaves are safe".  I am still waiting for just one independently financed, peer reviewed study showing no ill-effects from long-term low-level microwaves.

(1)    www.sciam.com/article/cfm?id=fact-or-fiction-cellphones-can-cause-brain-cancer

(2)    www.ideaireland.org/emrresearch.htm - Research Studies done on microwave radiation.  Irish Doctors Environmental Association 25.11.08.

(Note we have been sent the following Fact Sheet on "Energy Saving Lamps" which are certainly a concern for many people and especially those who can no longer tolerate radiofrequency outputs from such sources due to sensitivity brought on by Mobile Phone Masts and other microwave sources. For more information click here .)

There is a trend in the European Union of promoting the widespread use of energy-saving light bulbs. Moreover, the EU and several other countries across the world have recently decided to ban conventional, incandescent lamps in the near future.

Despite this trend, concerns have been raised on the safety and health effects of energy saving light bulbs, more specifically of Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs), the main type of energy-saving light bulb currently on the market.

Below is a summary of the three principal health risks associated with energy saving lamps, namely electromagnetic fields, mercury and UV radiation. 

Melatonin is a vital natural neuro-hormone that regulates the daily circadian rhythm in mammals. Melatonin is also one of the most potent known antioxidants. At night the pineal gland's output of Melatonin rises and the Melatonin is carried by the circulation system throughout the body, passing through the cell membrane and scavenging free radicals in the cell to protect the DNA. It also has many other vital functions involving the assistance of the immune system. Some Scientists believe that the pineal gland may be registering microwaves as light and so suppress the production of melatonin. Indeed there is an increased incidence of breast cancer in nurses who work at night and a drop in melatonin levels in women with breast cancer. Several studies have noted the reduction in Melatonin levels when the body is subjected to microwave radiation, as from DECT devices.

Nitric oxide (NO) is one of the most important molecules in the body. Many processes depend upon it, are mediated by it, regulate it, or are influenced by it, including many self repair mechanisms. However, too much of it can cause Multiple Sclerosis, diabetes and cancer, too little can cause high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. What is particularly interesting is that the production (or synthesis) of NO in the body is affected by electromagnetic radiation as are produced by DECT devices. Moreover, if you were to disturb NO synthesis deliberately, you would probably stimulate the same list of effects as we see in electro-hypersensitivity, even motor neurone disease, fibromyalgia and cancer. All the concerns over permeability of the blood-brain barrier, to calcium efflux and sleep disorders have links right back to nitric oxide.

Well replicated studies have shown that weak electromagnetic fields, as are produced by DECT devices, remove calcium ions bound to the membranes of living cells, making them more likely to tear, develop temporary pores and leak. Enzymes leaking through the membranes of lysosomes (small bodies in living cells packed with digestive enzymes) explain the fragmentation of DNA seen in cells exposed to mobile phone signals. When this occurs in the germ line (the cells that give rise to eggs and sperm), it reduces fertility and predicts genetic damage in future generations. Leakage of calcium ions into the main part of the cell acts as a metabolic stimulant, which accounts for reported accelerations of growth and healing, but it also promotes the growth of tumours. If too much calcium enters the cell, gap junctions will close and the cell tries to shut down, keeping toxins inside and nutrients out. Leakage of calcium ions into neurones (brain cells) generates spurious action potentials (nerve impulses) accounting for pain and other neurological symptoms in electro-sensitive individuals.

Probably the most dangerous effect is DNA fragmentation and the fragmentation of mitochondrial DNA (which is irreparable) which causes a loss of fertility and predicts genetic damage to future generations. Their cumulative effect threatens the entire human genome.

Reference:- 

Dr Goldsworthy - The Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Fields - http://www.hese-project.org/hese-uk/en/papers/goldsworthy_bio_weak_em_07.pdf