2016-09-21 / Opinion

Study Highlights Dangers of Cell Phone/Smart Meter Radiation

BY ED FRIEDMAN

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) under the National Institutes of Health has completed the largest-ever animal (rats and mice) study on non-ionizing radiation and cancer. Partial results released on May 26 confirm whole body exposures to low level radiofrequency radiation (RFR) of the type emitted by cell phones, smart meters and other wireless devices (including those our schools are flooded with) and within currently allowable safety limits, are the “likely cause” of brain and heart cancers in these animals, according to Dr. John Bucher, Associate Director of the NTP.

The $25 million dollar study planned since 1999 showed 1 in 12 male rats (8.3 percent) developed either malignant cancer (brain and rare heart tumors) or pre-cancerous lesions that can lead to cancer. Tumors called schwannomas were induced in the heart, and in the same kind of brain cells that have led to acoustic neuromas seen in human studies. The NTP says it is important to release these completed findings now, given the implications to global health (8.3 percent is 49,800 CMP households). No cancers occurred in the control group.

Dr. Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD of Sweden’s Orebro University and an expert witness in the Maine Smart Meter Health Investigation says “This NTP evidence is greatly strengthening the evidence of risk, is sufficient to reclassify cell phone radiation as a known cancer-causing agent, and confirms the inadequacy of existing public safety limits.” (www.bioinitiative.org)

Dr. Christopher Portier, formerly with the NTP commented this is not just an associated finding—but that the relationship between radiation exposure and cancer is clear. “I would call it a causative study, absolutely. They controlled everything in the study. It’s [the cancer] because of the exposure. “This is by far—far and away—the most carefully done cell phone bioassay, a biological assessment. This is a classic study that is done for trying to understand cancers in humans”(www.bioinitiative.org).

The dangers of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) from wireless devices, particularly smart meters, bring exposures to rural Maine. Birds, bees, other insects and mammals all show adverse responses to low-level electromagnetic field exposures. As levels of “electrosmog” grow with wireless proliferation not only from land sources but now also space-based platforms, the harbinger of an “Electronic Silent Spring” should alarm anyone who cares about our wildlife and civilization, as Rachel Carson’s alarm did in bringing the effects of pesticide exposure to the public eye.

Telecoms and utilities have known about and hidden these dangers for years just as tobacco companies did. Dr. Jerry Phillips, PhD, is biochemist and director of the Excel Science Center at the University of Colorado. An educator and research scientist, Phillips conducted Motorola-funded research into the potential health impacts of cell phones during the 1990s. Phillips also testified, in vain, for health advocates in Maine’s smart meter investigation.

“The most troublesome finding to Motorola at the time is that these radiofrequency signals could interact with living tissues, which is what we saw in the rats,” he said in a recent Scientific American interview, adding:

“But you have to realize that this issue opens up a much bigger can of worms than cell phones. If this radiation, this form of energy can interact with biological tissue then it’s going to reopen a lot of what were supposedly settled issues regarding the safety of wireless communications. If we’re going to be bathed in a whole new electromagnetic environment, how safe is it?”

While cancers from RFR are certainly of great concern, perhaps of greater concern are debilitating non-cancer symptoms disorienting and causing avoidance behavior and other biological and behavioral responses in wildlife and humans. In people, relationships have commonly been stressed and destroyed, jobs have been lost and homes of many years sold or abandoned as a result of sensitivities to RFR. Consider if you suffer from any or many of these common RFR symptoms: pressure in the head, tinnitus, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, heart arrhythmia, headaches, agitation, memory problems, dizziness, tingling/burning skin, and or fatigue. How do you feel? The personal suffering and economic effects victims have experienced since smart meter installation cannot be ignored. Their ability to live normal lives in the 21st century has been severely compromised immediately versus 10-30 year latency periods typical in cancer development.

By conservative estimates, 3 percent of our population suffers acute electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) symptoms now, and few recognize their source. We are all being exposed and are all susceptible. Consider that 3 percent of CMP’s 600,000 ratepayers means 18,000 people may be suffering ill effects from smart meters, a program the Maine Public Utilities Commission initiated and has affirmed.

As my dear friend Nate says about our species, “We could not be more clever, but we’re not very smart.”

For more information, visit mainecoalitiontostopsmartmeters.org

Ed Friedman is a member of PeaceWorks. He lives in Bowdoinham.

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