“Wireless Technology and Public Health: Health and Environmental Hazards in a Wireless World”

Posted by on Oct 31, 2015 in Events | 0 comments

Oct 10, 2015 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
Summary by David Moyer, Lt Col USAF, LCSW, ret

On October 10th I got up at zero dark 30 and drove through the early morning fog from Penn Valley to Mountain View, the epicenter of Silicon Valley, a place where innovations in technology have revolutionized our culture. I drove there to attend—of all things—a day-long conference on the health and environmental hazards from living in a wireless world. The conference was put on by the Santa Clara County Medical Association Alliance Foundation. The presenters were highly qualified leaders in their respective fields. Their perspectives were decidedly not mainstream.

I had no problem with that, having written three books that while currently not mainstream, will hopefully some day be. The two most recent books, Beyond Mental Illness (2015) and 10 Ways to Keep Your Brain from Screaming ‘OUCH!‘ (2015) portray a picture of mental illness that includes a number of environmental factors, one of which is electrical magnetic frequencies (EMF). My first book, a medical memoir, expanded the scope of bipolar disorder to include nutritional deficiencies and infections such as Lyme disease. The title of that book is Too Good to be True? Nutrients Quiet the Unquiet Brain (2003). If the conclusions of these presenters are accurate and if we are poisoning ourselves with electrosmog, then the implications may simply be perceived as too bad to be true. This may actually cause increased denial and resistance from a gullible unsuspecting public. Here is my summary of the presentations.

Joel M Moskowitz, PhD, Director Center for Family and Community Health, School of Public Healthh, UC Berkeley:
Dr Moskowitz began his talk with some notable statistics. Three hundred thousand 300,000 EMF-emitting cells towers are in the United States generating income of 200 billion dollars a year. About half of all 12 year-olds have cell phones. So much for the big picture.

Most industry-sponsored studies minimize the risks to humans based on the fact that EMF does not produce ionizing irradiation like X rays do. However, other effects such as heating of tissues are ignored by these studies. The World Health Organization, Federal Communications Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and National Cancer Institute all claim there is no evidence of adverse health effects. All these government agencies have close ties to corporate America.

One reason industry-funded studies show little to no correlations between EMF and health effects such as cancer is the design of the studies. For example, in several studies, a “regular user” of a cell phone was classified as someone who made one phone call a week. On the other hand, multiple independently-funded studies show significant correlations between EMF exposure and cancer.

In May 2011 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer ( IARC) declared that cell phone use is “possibly carcinogenic.” This was based on their review of the scientific literature. The risk of brain cancer in the general population is one in 200. For those with 10 years of heavy cell phone use it is 1.8 per 200.

Dr Moskowitz discussed the work of Hardell who found that mobile phone use increased the risk of glioblastoma, an almost always-fatal brain cancer. Among those who used cell phones for more than 25 years, the odds ratio for this type of cancer was 3.0, or, three times the expected risk. Those who used cordless phones more than 20 years had an odds ratio of 1.7. He discussed a 2015 literature review by Yakymenko who found that use of a cell phone 20 minutes daily for five years increased the risk of one type of brain cancer three fold. Using the phone for an hour a day for five years increased the risk of some brain tumors three to five times.

Martin Pall, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences in the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University.
EMF exerts its influence by opening voltage gated calcium channels that exist in all cells of the body. Each channel has a voltage sensor that is exquisitely sensitive to subtle changes in voltage because this is one way the body communicates with itself. When these channels open, calcium enters, stimulating release of neurotransmitters from storage vesicles. For example, it may release an excitatory neurotransmitter called glutamate. The net effect is to increase free radicals (e.g. nitrogen reactive species). These can damage single and double strands of DNA. They activate a type of enzyme (matrix metalloproteinases) that compromise the blood brain barrier.

Dr Pall listed a number of symptoms secondary to excitation of these calcium channels. Among them are infertility, depression, sleep deprivation, tachycardia, cataracts, rashes and genetic changes (e.g. single nucleotide polymorphisms). To summarize his presentation, EMF negatively impacts our heath, our brains, our genome and our ability to have healthy offspring.

Suruchi Chandra, MD (Board certified psychiatrist)
Rates of autism are up 1200% since 1987!!! Genetics are not considered the problem as the genome doesn’t normally change that quickly and twin studies support the role of environment.

Autistic and ADHD children have elevated cortisol, a stress hormone. Their cells are responding as if they are in danger. EMF is one of many causes of cell danger response. This metabolic response to threats can play a role in chronic diseases.

Peter Sullivan, founder of Clear Light Ventures
Peter Sullivan made his fortune with Netflix as a programmer and has supported numerous philanthropic causes. He founded Clear Light Ventures to help other families whose children have been adversely affected by EMF. He had two sons who manifested autism symptoms. After a long search for factors that could be affecting his sons, he decided to stop as much EMF exposure as he could. Reducing the exposure improved the behavior in both boys. Now he helps families reduce their EMF exposure.

Dr Toril Jelter MD
Dr Jelter talked about seeing one of her patients, a nonverbal 10-year-old autistic boy. She instructed his parents to remove all EMF from his environment, or, as much as they could. After two weeks the boy surprised himself and his parents by saying, “Mom would you give me the scissors?” Dr Jelter also discussed a four-year-old anti social Asperger’s child. After filters were installed in the home to remove dirty electricity, the boy began having eye contact with his mother. His intestinal problems improved and he advanced two grade levels in a short time.
She made the point that our desire to talk to anyone anywhere seems more important than a “child’s ability to speak at all.” She raised the provocative question, “If we do nothing can we be accused of child abuse?”

Victoria Dunkley, MD, board-certified integrative child psychiatrist. And author of “Reset Your Child’s Brain.
Apart from the risks of EMF, interacting with the screen itself has deleterious effects. The changing visual input is rewarding and stimulates dopamine activation and thus can become addictive. Watching TV is not the same because there is no interaction with the device. She coined the term Electronic Screen Syndrome and reported dramatic clinical improvements with four-week “screen fasts.” She said that Electronic Screen Syndrome mimics and exacerbates psychiatric disorders. If a screen fast solves the behavior problem, then a more severe diagnosis can be ruled out.

Katie Singer, medical journalist
In a video taped interview she discussed effects of EMF on wildlife.

Loretta Lynch, Former President of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and one of California’s most influential Attorneys

“Smart grid” and “smart meters” are a “lucrative boondoggle” approved by the CPUC which has become a “rogue agency” essentially controlled by corporations. A parade of former CPUC Commissioners now work for the utilities due to the so-called “revolving door.” She correctly predicted that Governor Brown would sign a law a few days hence making it easier for corporations to proceed with building cell towers in spite of local opposition.

Summary and Implications:

The conference focused on personal risks, not on macro solutions such as restricting smart meters, zoning low radiation communities for the electrically sensitive, or mandating optical WiFi systems. Perhaps the child abuse angle can eventually be used to protect the most vulnerable among us from this invisible, but increasingly ubiquitous risk to public health. But before solutions such as these can be explored, the public needs to be aware of the risks of electrosmog. Even with increased awareness, any attempts to minimize the risks have faced and will face considerable headwinds. The Wireless Association, formerly known as the Cellular Telephone Industries Association, has secured through its lobbying efforts, protection of their interests in spite of documented deleterious health effects from EMF. This conference, soon to appear on YouTube did an outstanding job of outlining some of the greatest risks.

I was pleased to find support for ideas I discussed in my two most recent books. For example, I discussed how EMF breaks down the blood brain barrier, how excessive calcium in the voltage-gated calcium channels is harmful. I also discuss the “revolving door” as it pertains to the telecommunications and other industries.

After Dr Pall’s presentation I chatted briefly with him. I told him that calcium channel blockers have been used to effectively treat mania and that excitation of those calcium channels may play a role in mania. He said he hadn’t heard that. He is interested in discussing these issues with mental health care providers. He told me he sees a tipping point coming as people become more aware of the risks of electrosmog. I hope he is correct. Maybe this conference will help make it happen.

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