Aug 31, 2012

WIRELESS: THE EPIDEMIC THAT MAY AFFECT 50% OF THE WORLD


An Excellent article regarding EHS, following the publication of the letter by the 40 scientists "Smart Meters: Correcting the Gross Misinformation". The article was written by an esteemed and senior Israeli journalist, Aviv Lavi, for the Online Magazing Mako, which is owned by the biggest TV channel in Israel - 'Channel 2'. The article was written in Hebrew, following is a translation to ENGLISH.


The Quiet Radiation Epidemic

Wireless Radiation: The Epidemic that Will Affect 50% of the Population

By Aviv Lavie, Mako Onine Magazine, August 8, 2012


For years we have been told that the cell phone may cause cancer, however, it turns out that the danger does not stop there.  A recent statement by 40 senior scientists warns that as a result of the gallop towards a wireless networked world, within 5 years, 50% of the population may suffer from EHS symptoms of sensitivity to radiation, and there are already people who are forced to disconnect themselves from civilization in order to survive. So what precautions should we take? First and foremost, disconnect the Wi-Fi.  

Every morning Dafna Tachover goes out to swim in the lake near her house, located in the Catskill Park Forest Preserve in northern New York State. Later in the day she hikes for a couple of hours on remote trails in the mountains, and then returns to the wood house where she lives alone in the forest. Though what may sound like an itinerary for a dream vacation is actually a prison sentence with no release date for the 39-year-old Israeli who until three years ago, was a successful lawyer who worked on the line Israel- U.S. She does not live in the American forest by choice; she simply cannot live near human beings. Or more accurately, near radiation-emitting devices. Since nowadays in any place where there are people, there are also cell phones, antennas, routers and all this wireless jungle, she is forced to live a lonely life in the forest. This is actually an improvement compared to the period of time in which she lived in her car to avoid suffering the intolerable pain caused by radiation exposure.

Tachover is suffering from a condition called EHS, abbreviation for Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (intolerance) to radiation, a condition which the medical world does not know yet how to digest. Many countries, including the U.S and Israel, do not formally recognize it, which adds immense frustration to the physical pain.

Tachover who worked in the past for the District Attorney in Jerusalem and then as a legal consultant for the investment company ‘Boymelgreen’, discovered one day that every touch with her loyal friends – the laptop and the cell phone, are causing her terrible pains.

From a wired telephone in the U.S, she explained what happened when she called an American doctor to report about her symptoms:"She said: don't take it the wrong way, but maybe you want to see a psychiatrist? I made a complaint against her, and my husband, who is an M.D himself, called her and yelled at her that it is a bad medical judgment to say this to someone who does not have any symptom of phobia. We received an apology."

And indeed, recently cracks have begun to form in the loneliness circle which covers Tachover and the people who share the same fate, as more and more people realize that these are probably not mentally sick people. In a letter of opinion which was, published recently by 40 scientists, some of which are highly esteemed in the field of radiation, not only re-ignited the debate on the cellular radiation effects, but also opened it to new directions: if until today the controversy around the effects from the devices around us revolved mainly around cancer, in this troubling document, these scientists determined that exactly the same radiation can cause to more and more people to develop a real sensitivity to it. Moreover, it may be that within 5 years, 50% of us will suffer from symptoms of EHS with varied degrees of severity. In Hebrew it has a name: an epidemic.       


Dafna Tachover outside her house. She was told she's a nut.

Recognition of EHS as a Disability

In the meanwhile it is a mystery. EHS is a general term for negative physiological reactions to exposure to electromagnetic radiation from various sources, and the symptoms are varied and vast. They can vary from appearance of an headache after few minutes on the cell phones to a wide array of unpleasant symptoms that may include - chronic fatigue, eyes irritation, skin rashes, ringing in the ears, dizziness and more difficult symptoms that may affect the ability to function including, muscle and joints pains, difficulties to breath and balance problems. In the cruel edge of the scale, as mentioned above, there are people who simply cannot be in an environment where there are radiation emitting technologies. Their number is still unclear, but in recent years, in the American media, more and more tragic stories are  published about increasing number of normative high-tech people and software engineers, who have no choice but to escape the modern world and to move to remote and isolated corners of America.     


Among subjects who spoke on the cell phone on average during half an hour and more, there was found increased risk of 40% to develop brain tumors. Photo: Getty images 

Not only the cell phone harms us



In Israel, the  activity of people who suffer from EHS is centered on the website of Amir Borenstein, www.norad4u.co.il, a 38-year-old high tech person, who 15 years ago got a suspected headache following a cell phone conversation, and since then his life are run in the shadow of his EHS. Recently, Yael Dan’s radio show dealt with the issue several times. At the end of each show, Amir Borenstein's website was flooded with  Israelis who are suffering from similar symptoms but did not associate them with radiation, or simply because the doctor they approached was unaware of the condition. These people may be glad to learn that in 2009, The European Parliament called Member States to recognize people who suffer from EHS as people with a disability,  to protect them and safeguard their freedom of opportunities.

 

According to studies that were conducted in Europe, 10% of the population is already suffering from EHS. Is it possible that more than 700,000 Israelis are EHS and we don't know about it? Maybe it is an exaggeration but maybe many of the Israelis are EHS but do not associate the symptoms with its cause for the simple reason that they never heard of the condition and worse-  the doctors did not hear about it.

 

 But assuming that within several years a big section of humanity will not be able to handle close presence of so many radiation emitting devices – tablets that work on Wi-Fi, wireless routers, networked trains, buses, coffee shops and even wired streets – it seems that something will have to change fundamentally. 

 

The current round of publicity regarding EHS, which causes a real public storm in North America, started from a marginal issue. Apparently in the center of the story standing what are termed the “Smart Meters" – digital devices that are connected to a central computer, transmitting wirelessly consumption data  and which are gradually replacing the primitive water and electricity meters that are used today to read the bill. The Smart Meters, which already arrived to Israel and were installed in certain places in Petah-Tikva, Ramat-Gan, Modiin and additional cities, have many advantages: if nowadays it is only possible to detect a leak or theft once in two months, when receiving the catastrophic bill, a computerized meter sends a notice after 3 days during which an increased consumption would be identified. Savings to the pocket, and savings to the Sea of Galilee (Israel’s water source).  Only, that this technological paradise has a problematic side. In order to transmit the data, the smart meters are continuously communicating wirelessly with the central computer. This communication is creating radiation in the living environment.                          

 


Dr. Yael Stein: "People always talk about concern from high levels of radiation. Here the concern is the continuous and chronic low-level radiation. The more you are exposed, the greater the risk to develop sensitivity".  Photo: Getty images.

Everything is wirelessly networked

Our friends in North America were not enthusiastic about this package deal - progress plus radiation, and after the water corporation of  Quebec informed of its intention to install 3.8 million meters in the houses of the residents, media and public protest erupted, and citizens and environmental organizations initiated demonstrations and filed a petition.

In response to the strong protests, an open letter to the public was published in the daily newspaper "Le Devoir." On the letter signed about 60 chemists, engineers and doctors in an attempt to calm down the public and to dissipate the concerns regarding smart meters specifically and cellular radiation in general. The Canadian academics claimed that thousands of studies and experiments done until today, did not show any increase in cancer morbidity as a result of exposure to cellular radiation; and that despite the increased use of cell phones, the rate of brain cancer in the world is left the same throughout the years; they also wrote that EHS maybe exists, but it is caused mainly by fear and not from real physiological problem. Meaning, they too sent Dafna Tachover and people like her to get mental help.

"There is here an issue of a lot of money, go deal with it"

This letter was not left unanswered for long. Professor David Carpenter is the Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany in New York. He is also a graduate of Harvard Medical School. Professor Carpenter decided it was time for scientists to speak out.

He gathered 40 scientists from different countries, most of them with an impressive history in research of radiation biological effects, and together they formulated a position statement of six pages, which refers to all the issues that were raised in the Canadian academics’ letter.

"The Letter of the 40 Scientists " does not include a new study that was suddenly pulled out of the sleeve, but it is a clear and disturbing statement about the effects of the technology which surrounds us ,and mainly regarding the gap between how  scientists, or at least some of them see the situation, and the way in which this issue  is presented to the general public. It seems that the letter's title – "Correcting the gross misinformation" – speaks for itself.      


 Professor David Carpenter: Children are especially at risk

 

And that's how it's opened: "We, the undersigned, are a group of scientists and health professionals who together have authored hundreds of peer-reviewed studies on the adverse health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs). We wish to correct some of the gross errors which are found in the Canadian academic letter; …the letter in question reflects an obvious lack of understanding of the science behind the adverse health effects of the radiofrequency (RF) radiation. The statement that "thousands of studies show no increase in cancer cases as a result of exposure to cellular radiation…" is a lie. . In fact…Non industry-funded studies have clearly demonstrated a significant increase in cancer cases among individuals who have been exposed to prolonged exposure to low-level radiation…" 

 

They write that "Children are especially at risk…In May 2012, the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics reported a 50 percent increase in incidence of frontal and temporal lobe tumors in children between 1999 and 2009. …the evidence is sufficiently compelling for any cautious parent to want to reduce their loved one’s exposure to electromagnetic radiation as much as possible…"

 

Professor Elihu Richter, the Director of the Environmental and Occupational Health Unit in Hadassah Ein-Carem, is the Israeli representative of the "The l=Letter of the 40 Scientists". As far as he is concerned, his engagement with this issue is unavoidable. "Today researchers who speak against the cellular industry are marked as looking for trouble, but in my case, patients with cancer are knocking on my door and ask for help," he says. "It could be said that the problem is seeking for me."

 

Many scientists claim the association between radiation and sickness hasn’t been proven yet.

 

"They ignore a large body of research which has already proven that exposure to low levels of radiation has clear biological effects. Before speaking of cancer, I am talking about changes in cell membranes, changes in DNA, and effects on nerve function. There are many studies that have proven this conclusively. Each study stands by itself, but if there is doubling of the trend from different angles, it already gives meaning, there is a trend here". 

 


Prof' Elihu Richter. The researchers who speak against the cell phone industry are marked

 

Should we start panic?

 

Listen, it is better to be safe than sorry. This reminds me of what happened in the 1940’s, when they started adding lead as a gasoline supplement because it improved engine performance. It was considered a great advance, a great technology, but even then there were people who warned that lead was toxic and dangerous. Today regarding the cellular technology, everybody agree that we need to take precautions, but in reality they are running forward with smart meters installation and Wi-Fi everywhere, forcing radiation on everyone. If someone chooses to surround himself with routers in his house it is his business, but in the train or bus, which are public spaces, it's a different story."

 

Sometimes we hear the claim that researchers such as those who are signed on the letter, who challenge the cell phone industry, have difficulties to get research funding

 

"For those scientists who discover 'positive' findings, meaning that the radiation has adverse biological effects, it is almost impossible to get funding. Someone checked and showed that when the industry funds an experiment, the chance for positive results is about 20% compared to an independent study. Since most scientists are eventually honest, you see a situation in which many times, there is a gap between the results of the study and how it is presented to the public. You see that the scientists did not have a choice".

 

A scientist who is not signed on the letter is Prof. Sigal Sadezky from The Gertner Institute in Tel Hashomer. If Carpenter, Richter and their 38 associates are identified as extreme marker in the radiation issue, Sadezky is the voice of the establishment- she is the one who formulates the formal recommendations of the Ministry of Health and even represented Israel in the largest international research which was done until today on the link between cellular radiation and cancer- the ”Interphone Study”, which included scientists from 13 countries. The Interphone researchers found that among the subjects who talked on the cell phone an average of half an hour a day and more, there was a 40% higher risk to develop brain tumors. In the Israeli branch of the study, for example, there was found an increased risk of 34%, to develop parotid glands tumors on the same side of the head where putting and holding the phone.  


Prof. Sigal Sadezky. There is not yet a conclusive proof on the association between radiation and cancer.

 

 

If you were approached, would you sign the letter?

"No"

 

Why?

"Because at least in the areas in which I am most familiar with, primarily the association between radiation and cancer, there is a little bit extreme and there is a lack of accuracy in the letter. As a scientist, this disturbs me. We do not yet have a conclusive proof of a link between radiation and cancer, and it is important to be accurate. However, I certainly identify with the scientists’ call for precaution. I support this principle in the strongest way."

 

How your precautionary approach is implemented in practice? We are surrounded by radiation from every direction.

 

"Listen, not everything is based on what we scientists say or want, and sometimes I am very frustrated. A few days ago I was invited to participate in a TV program, where I explained that it is important that internet networks in schools will be wired rather than wireless. Two days later the same program began to advertise the ‘ Social Wi-F Program’ of Bezeq (phone and internet provider in Israel who ask people to share their routers to enable wi-fi access everywhere) and the fact that municipalities across the country distribute wireless on the streets. There is more than an indication that the radiation harms, but there is big sway after the new technologies and as the person who is in the middle, this story is a little bit tiring. As scientists we say what we say, but there is an issue here of a lot of money and publicity, and go deal with it"

Suffering, sweat and breathlessness

The crossroads in which Sadezky's opinion is completely separated from the authors of the letter is the issue of EHS.

According the 40 scientists' estimation, people like Dafna Tachover are maybe extreme case, but they are on large spectrum on which many of us are on, even without knowing.

"Since the turn of the millennium, people are increasingly affected by ambient microwaves due to the growing popularity of wireless devices such as cell phones and Wi-Fi Internet," the scientists wrote.

According to seven surveys done in six European countries between 2002 and 2004, about 10% of Europeans have become EHS, and experts fear that the rate could reach 50% by 2017.  

The most famous person to publicly reveal her EHS is Gro Harlem Brundtland, formerly Prime Minister of Norway and retired Director of the World Health Organization (WHO)."


Radiation?

Photo: getty images

The amazing story of Dr. Brundtland indeed made waves in the international community. Professor Stelian Gelberg, director of the radiation department of the Environment Protection Ministry in Israel, said in a conference some time ago, "Every time I met her, it was enough that I got close near her with a turned on cell phone in the pocket, and she got a spasm of pain."

Sigal Sadezky is far less convinced that sensitivity to radiation is a global disaster in the making. "Everyone agrees that such symptoms exist, the question is whether they are associated with radiation. To the best of my knowledge, this is not yet proven, although it should not be complicated to check."

How do you respond to the data that appear in the scientists’ letter? Can you say how many people today in Israel suffer of EHS symptoms?

"The problem is that no one knows. I cannot state a number and I think that also others do not have trustworthy data as well."  

Who was supposed to check this issue in depth, if not the Ministry of Health?

"It would be wonderful if we had more time and money for everything that should be done. With all the cutbacks in the budget, it does not get easier and we do our best. I follow the studies that deal with EHS, and so far, the WHO is not convinced that there is a conclusive proof regarding this issue.

Dr. Yael Stein is a medical doctor in Hadassah Ein-Carem who has been researching the biological effects of radiation on the human body for the past several years. She has no intention of waiting for the WHO. She determines that "It is ridiculous to say that it's not real". "When a person gets a stomach ache every time he eats something specific, it's clear he's sensitive to that specific food, isn't it? One day a man from Haifa arrived at the hospital and told us he has EHS. His condition began while he was in the army, and since then he suffers every time he gets near an antenna.  All this time he's been told that he is crazy. He asked that we examine him, so we laid him down and covered his eyes. Every time a cell phone was turned on near him, he recognized it and pointed to the exact place on his body which was the closest to the phone. For an hour and a half following the examination, he was red, he sweat, and had difficulty breathing. It looked like a strong allergic reaction."  


Wi-Fi hot-spots will soon be everywhere

 

 

The question is whether this is a syndrome that affects only a small percentage of the population, or that everyone who is exposed to radiation-emitting devices is adversely affected.

 

"People always talk about the concerns from high levels of radiation. Here the concern is exposure to chronic exposure to low-levels of radiation. The more you are exposed, the greater is the risk to develop sensitivity. One of the most important studies in the area which probably discovered the mechanism that causes EHS shows that there is something called the Blood Brain Barrier- a series of cells which protect the brain like a wall in order to prevent from toxins to get into the brain, and the radiation probably damage the barrier and enables the toxins to penetrate into the brain. Following this study, the Council of Europe declared that EHS is a real condition and not a mental disorder. Until recently the public and media discussion focused on the issue of cancer, and this is very unfortunate as the radiation has much broader array of effects on the human body".  

 

Nevertheless, you have a cell phone

 

"I try to use it mainly for SMSs. When I bought the device I made sure it has the lowest SAR (the level of radiation of each device which the manufacturer must state in the user manual). We don't have a microwave oven in the house, we don't have a wireless router, and not a cordless phone which emits radiation like a mobile phone. In the past, I had a cordless phone, but when I started researching the issue of radiation and I learnt what I know today, I removed it from the house".

 

A response from the Israeli Cell Phone Companies Association:

"The cellular antennas in Israel are operating in accordance with all the strictest standards of the Environmental Protection Ministry. We act and we will continue to act in accordance with the guidelines of the WHO, the Health Ministry and the Environment Protection Ministry.

 

 

How to reduce the radiation in your life 

 

Keep your cell phone as far from your body as possible: use a speaker or a wired earpiece (NOT Bluetooth).

 

Avoid using a cell phone in areas with low reception and in enclosed spaces, an elevator. 

 

Buy a mobile phone with lowest levels of SAR as possible.

 

Try and postpone giving your children a cell phone as much as possible  and limit their use.

 

Use a wired internet connection instead of a wireless router. 

 

Use a computer which is connected to the internet with a wire instead of using a tablet, which is able to use only wireless connection, a Wi-Fi. If you use a laptop, do not put it on your lap.

 

Use a wired landline phone instead of a cordless phone. Most cordless phones emit radiation similar to a cell phone.

 

Keep your distance from a microwave oven while in use. Or, rdo not use a microwave oven.

 

When you sleep, disconnect the electric bed after you adjusted it, avoid electric sheets and do not put digital alarm clocks close to the head.

 

Are you cold? Do not use electric under-floor heating. Many of these heating systems emit high levels of radiation. 

Source:

http://www.mako.co.il/digital-weekend/Article-e0fa13cb5f60931006.htm&partner=homepage_jumbo