Mobile Phone

            A recent peer reviewed study by the Environmental Working Group (USA) has made an important addition to the growing number of warnings by experts  regarding the high possibility of risks from radiofrequency radiation emitted by wireless devices including cell-phones and tablets. This study,  published in  Environmental Health journal, has made an important plea for revising the highly outdated health standards for wireless radiation which were set up by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), USA, about 25 years back in 1996.

This was a time when these devices were being used to a much lesser extent, particularly by children. Hence separate standards were not even set up for children. However since then the use of these devices has increased very rapidly, even by small children. Also sporadic research has revealed the risks to be particularly very high for children. Hence there is a pressing need for revising the health standards and in fact this should have been done a long time back.

In fact the Environmental Working Group (EWG) guidelines recommend that the exposure limits for children should be 200 to 400 times lower than the whole body specific absorption rate (SAR)  limit set by the FFC in 1996. For adults this should be 20 to 40 times lower than the  limit set by the FCC set up 25 years back. The EWG study says that the exposure limit should be set at whole body   specific absorption rate  of 0.2 to 0.4 milliwatts per kilogram while for adults this should be set at  2 to 4 mW/kg.

Earlier studies like those of the National Toxicology Program ( USA)  had also drawn attention to serious health risks of 2G and 3G wireless radiation, as observed in laboratory animals. The findings of Ramazzini Institute( Italy) have also been significant in drawing attention to these serious hazards.

This year (2021) another organization of prominent international experts  issued an important statement on serious and adverse health impacts of Non-Ionising Radiation (NIR). This statement was issued by Physicians’ Health Initiative for Radiation and Environment (PHIRE). PHIRE is an independent association of medical doctors and associated specialists assembled for the purposes of improving education regarding health effects of non-ionising radiation.

This statement says– Medical experts and practitioners from around the world have united once again to make clear their concerns regarding the health effects of escalating non-ionising radiation (NIR) exposures. NIR is electromagnetic energy ranging from Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) waves right the way up to Ultraviolet (UV). In particular, they are concerned about radiofrequency (RF) emissions from existing mobile phone networks, Wi-Fi, and the rollout of 5G.

Further this statement adds–Whilst such emissions were historically presumed to be biologically inert, and are still purported to be safe by many to this day, there is now highly credible evidence to the contrary. The main risks associated with exposure to such (wireless) non-ionising radiation in the peer-reviewed scientific literature include: increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damage, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans.

Summarizing the mounting evidence on high health impacts of NIR this statement asserts – Mounting human epidemiological evidence of increased cancer has now been corroborated by ‘clear evidence’ of carcinogenesis from animal studies. These include the two largest investigations ever undertaken globally, from the widely respected National Toxicology Program (USA), and Ramazzini Institute (Italy). What is more, law courts are now validating such links: with compensation for health damages from mobile phone radiation being won in a growing number of cases internationally. Some legal teams are so certain of negative health effects that civil suits for Wi-Fi and other wireless injury are now being brought on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, and insurance underwriters consider related risks to be ‘high’.

This statements draws attention to the fact that hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies have demonstrated adverse biological effects occurring in response to a range of NIR exposures below current safety guidelines; however, emissions continue to escalate. Medical evidence of harm has now reached the critical mass necessary to inspire the medical community to step out of their usual roles, stand up and speak out regarding their concerns.

The document has been signed by medical groups representing over 3,500 medical doctors so far, including experienced clinicians and widely published and respected scientists who are experts in this field. It declares current safety levels to be inadequate and highlights some of the disease processes linked with NIR exposure in peer-reviewed publications; it points out the vulnerabilities of children  and other hypersensitive groups, whose symptoms may include sleep problems, impaired concentration, headaches, and mood disturbance.

Professor Anthony B. Miller, MD. Professor Emeritus, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto (UofT) has said, “This statement has been supported by several senior medical experts – This is an important statement that should be read by all concerned with public health. Those responsible for exposing children to non-ionising radiation, especially in schools, should take immediate action to reduce exposure to non-ionising radiation of the children entrusted to their charge. There is sufficient evidence to now classify radiofrequency radiation as a human carcinogen. Action must be taken now to reduce human exposure to non-ionising radiation to as low as can be achievable, including a moratorium on the introduction of 5G.”

The recent statements by EWG and PHIRE  as well as the opinion of several independent experts and scientists provide convincing evidence of the seriousness of these hazards and urgent action should be taken to reduce these hazards, above all for children.

Bharat Dogra is a freelance journalist and author. His recent books include Planet in Peril and Protecting Earth for Children


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