DEBATE. In many cities around the world, the visible smog from air pollution is overwhelming. For instance, in Thailand the Thai government has apologised to Bangkok citizens about the air pollution that continues to disrupt their daily lives and is threatening their health. No such apologies are, however, yet offered to citizens when it comes to the toxic 'electrosmog'.
By Olle Johansson, associate professor; previously - before retirement - at the Karolinska Institute and the Royal Institute of Technology, both located in Stockholm, Sweden; now heading The Institute of Common Sense for Common Sense, Stockholm, Sweden
In many cities around the world, the visible smog from air pollution is overwhelming. For instance, in Thailand the Thai government has apologised to Bangkok citizens about the air pollution that continues to disrupt their daily lives and is threatening their health. No such apologies are, however, yet offered to citizens when it comes to the toxic 'electrosmog'.
The only apologetic actions so far are from big players, such as the insurance companies and the manufacturers of wireless gadgets, who all have excused themselves from any form of legal liability.
Electromagnetic pollution, or 'electrosmog', is made up of the artificial frequencies that we nowadays use in our "modern society". It has been called one of the greatest environmental challenges of our lifetime, since it affects not only humans but plants, bacteria, and wildlife as well. Indirectly it also contributes significantly to global warming.
Industry and the mainstream political parties are nearly always in a state of denial that may ultimately cost many lives and yield a massive public health bill. However, ordinary citizens are now waking up.
Recently, a brilliant poster campaign was launched in the UK by ES-UK, The EM-Radiation Research Trust, and ElectromagneticMan.co.uk. On it they repeat the classical question "How safe is your phone?". Had they asked me, I would have said with certainty "Not safe at all", based upon the fact that the major players, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the radiation protection authorities, the operators, the manufacturers, and the insurance and reinsurance companies all have abandoned ship, and refuse to take any form of legal responsibility for gadgets such as cell phones, tablets, babyalarms, smart meters, powerlines, laptops and the Internet of Things.
Left on the circling ship are you, your government, your parliament and your health authorities, the latter not very famous for stepping up and willingly and lovingly taking all-encompassing responsibility.
From the poster, people in the UK can learn that the recent US National Toxicology Program $30 million study of radiofrequency radiation on animals shows "clear evidence" of cancer (2018), and that The World Health Organization classifies radiofrequency radiation as a 2B possible human carcinogen (cancer agent; IARC, 2011), together with a number of other agents parents never would allow their children to be exposed to in a class room, such as formaldehyde, lead, DDT, petrol and diesel exhausts, and welding smoke.
Furthermore, already in 2011 the UK Chief Medical Officers of the National Health Services advised that "children and young people under 16 should be encouraged to use mobile phones for essential purposes only, and to keep calls short". Finally, the poster makers also pointed out - very rightfully - that health effects of this type of electromagnetic radiation can include reduced male fertility, anxiety, disturbed sleep and headaches, as well as cancer.
The Australian Green Party
In January, this year, I wrote a letter to the Honourable Senator Jordon Steele-John of the Australian Green Party, and a member of the Parliament's Senate, urging him to also include persons with the functional impairment electrohypersensitivity in his very impressive plan to end discrimination for persons with functional impairments/disabilities in Australia.
All over the world, and also in Australia, currently persons with the functional impairment elecrohypersensitivity make up a group that I understand is facing barriers when trying to access their human rights, and for whom the major parties have sat by and allowed it to continue.
I told the Senator, as for all functional impairments/disabilities, to bring them in from the cold, and allow everyone and everything to benefit from their accessible environment. As this matter relates strongly to discrimination, I want him to peruse the material on this subject that has been made available to him, and include electrohypersensitivity in his anti-discrimination initiative. Hopefully he is the man - rather than a mouse - to do it.
The British National Health Service
On February 3, 2019, the Daily Mail announced that the British National Health Service is to use energy smart meters to monitor dementia patients in their homes. The devices will track patients’ daily routines, such as when they boil the kettle, cook dinner or turn the washing machine on. They will flag up any sudden change in behaviour which could indicate an illness, a fall, or a decline in their mental state. The meters will be able to send alerts to family members or carers, who can pop round to check if the patient is all right.
Critics warn, however, about a huge range of privacy concerns over data sharing, and it is – of course – natural to compare with grim futuristic sci-fi books and films where we all are monitored, from birth to the grave. But is that really the way we want to live, or is it time to start to discuss the modern surveillance society before it bites us in the rear?
Furthermore, on January 22, in the site golem.de ("IT-News für Profis"), we could learn that the manufacturer of outdoor housings, Berthold Sichert, will integrate 5G antennas into fixed-network multi-function housing made of polycarbonate, which does not shield radio radiation. "We bring 5G to the street", said managing Director Julian Graf von Hardenberg. Apart from being grey and very ugly-looking, who will guarantee that the radiation from them is not harmful to humans, animals, plants and bacteria? Will the future 'slogan' rather be "We brought cancer to the street"?
An Italian Court
But all is not dark, quite the opposite! An Italian court has very recently ordered the government (Ministries of the Environment and Education) to launch a campaign to advise the public of the health risks from mobile and cordless phones: "Cellulari, Tar del Lazio obbliga i ministeri a fare informazione su rischi connessi al loro uso: “Campagna entro 6 mesi”".
And the Court of Florence has ordered the immediate shutdown of Wi-Fi in a school to protect the health of a minor and to use hardwiring. The order was issued to the school manager of the Botticelli Comprehensive Institute: "Court ordered to turn off Wi-Fi at a school in Florence".
And, the United Educators of San Francisco, which is the teachers' union of San Francisco Unified School District, passed a resolution recently regarding radiofrequency radiation and cell phones, where they call for safer standards: "San Francisco Educators Pass Resolution Calling For Safer Technology Standards For All San Francisco Schools".
I have been told that from 2018, the City of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, recognizes electrohypersensitivity: "Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS)Tip Sheet" (PDF) in Zaragoza, Spain, a judge has recognised the occupational nature – work accident – of an employee’s temporary disabilities derived from electrohypersensitivity.
The ruling recently issued by the Juzgado de lo Social (The Labour Court) No. 1 of Zaragoza, established that the sole and exclusive cause of the electrohypersensitivity suffered by an Endesa employee was his work activity. The occupational nature of the temporary disabilities granted to this employee since 2014 is therefore ascertained and said temporary disabilities are to be considered work-related accidents (Ruling 203/2018, PDF), and a court in Murcia, Spain, has acknowledged permanent work incapacity due to the syndrome of electromagnetic hypersensitivity and chemical sensitivity. The ruling was awarded to an employee of a university in the region: "Spain – Judge grants an employee permanent incapacity for work due to electromagnetic hypersensitivity".
In recent years, research has taken several major and important steps, among other things regarding the effect on bacteria of mobile radiation and the connection to antibiotic resistance, the latter a highly serious issue that is discussed very much nowadays in the media, see e.g. Johansson O., ”Bacteria, mobile phones & WiFi – a deadly combination?”, Nya Dagbladet on May 31, 2017.
Similarly, the effects of mobile radiation on human sperm cells and on pollinating insects are also very much in focus, as well as the impact on our children, and the connection to different cancers with the recent American National Toxicology Program and the Italian Ramazzini results particularly in mind.
As stated above, what, however, parents and other consumers do not know is that the big players have long ago abandoned the ship. For reasons of monetary 'safety' they have left their and others' "safe" products to us to deal with, and such discussions have been central for the last years, at conferences, symposia and in think-tank debates.
Scientists' - including my own - wishes for practical solutions now begin to carry fruit, including this new Swedish mobile phone shell (patent pending) that reduces radiation by up to 99%: Rpofsweden.com, without interfering with the functionality or battery time The measurements of the shell have been done completely independently by Danish (EKTOS A/S, Copenhagen) and Finnish (Verkotan OY, Oulu) laboratories.
Very likely, this is not the final and only answer to the question "How can one protect oneself?", but it may definitely be worth trying the shell. To do nothing is - at least - definitely a way that will not yield any protection, especially not with the oncoming increase of radiation via 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and similar installations.
The industry is pressing on for 5G, and further future versions of the same. But the road to success is suddenly not as smooth as it used to be, the small pebbles - in the form of critical scientists, medical doctors, technicians, inventors, entrepreneurs, campaigners and activists - have grown in size and are now together forming a counterforce that may awake also the most techno-prone, naive politicians and civil servants.
Maybe it is time for all of us to feel the inner meaning of the latin proverb "per aspera ad astra" ("through hardships to the stars")?
By Olle Johansson, associate professor; previously - before retirement - at the Karolinska Institute and the Royal Institute of Technology