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Adverse Health Effects from the Operation of Digital Broadcast Television Stations
Global Research
By: Dr. Cornelia Waldmann-Selsam and Dr. Christine Aschermann and Dr. Markus Kern
February 12, 2009

The following text written as an open letter to president Obama by three prominent German physicians provides details on the adverse health effects of digital broadcasting.

Bamberg, February 12, 2009

To the President of the United States of America

To the Citizens of the United States of America
To the Members of the House of Representatives
To the Members of the Senate

Warning Against Adverse Health Effects from the Operation of Digital Broadcast Television Stations

Dear President Obama:

Dear Members of the House of Representatives:
Dear Members of the Senate:
Dear Citizens of the United States of America:

In the US, digital broadcast television is scheduled to start operating on February 17, 2009. We  write  to  you  today  because  we  wish  to  save  you  from  the  significant  negative  health  consequences that have occurred here in Germany.     In  Germany,  analog  broadcast  television  stations  have  gradually  been  switching  to  digital  broadcast  signals  since  2003.  This  switchover  first  took  place  in  metropolitan  areas.  In  those  areas, however, the RF exposures in public places as well as at home continued to increase at  the same time. As a result, the continuing declining health status of children, adolescents, and  adults in urban areas could not be attributed to any single cause.    On May 20, 2006, two digital broadcast television stations went on the air in the Hessian Rhoen  area  (Heidelstein,  Kreuzberg),  which  until  recently  had  enjoyed  rather  low  mobile  phone  radiation  exposure  levels.  Within  a  radius  of  more  than  20  km,  the  following  symptoms  that  occurred abruptly were reported:    constant headaches, pressure in the head, drowsiness, sleep problems, inability to think clearly,  forgetfulness, nervous tensions, irritability, tightness in the chest, rapid heartbeat, shortness of  breath,  depressive  mood,  total  apathy,  loss  of  empathy,  burning  skin,  inner  burning,  leg  weakness, pain in the limbs, stabbing pain in various organs, weight increase.  

Birds had fled the area. Cats had turned phlegmatic and hardly ever went into the garden. One  child committed suicide; a second child tried doing it.    Over  time  the  same  unbearable  symptoms  showed  up  in  other  locations—most  recently  in  Bamberg and Aschaffenburg on November 25, 2008. Physicians accompanied affected people to  areas  where  there  was  no  DVB‐T  reception  (valleys,  behind  mountain  ranges)  and  witnessed  how these people became symptom‐free only after a short period of time.   

The respective agencies responsible in Germany were approached for help, but they declined to  follow  up  on  the  strongly  suggestive  evidence  in  the  actual  locations.  The  behavior  of  the  government  agencies  disregards  the  fundamental  rights  of  affected  people  guaranteed  in  the  German Constitution.   

In  Germany,  DVB‐T  (Digital  Video  Broadcasting Terrestrial) uses  Orthogonal  Frequency  Division  Multiplex Modulation. The fundamental principle of this type of modulation works by spreading  the  information  across  several  thousand  carrier  frequencies  directly  adjacent  to  each  other.  A  channel is 7.8 MHz wide. The amplitude also changes constantly.    The  WHO,  the  German  Radiation  Protection  Commission,  and  the  German  Federal  Ministry  of  the Environment rely on the Guidelines for Limiting Exposure to Time‐varying Electric, Magnetic,  and Electromagnetic Fields (up to 300 GHz), (Health Physics 74 (4): 494‐522; 1998) published by  the International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection  (ICNIRP). In this document,  it says:  p.  495:    “These  guidelines  will  be  periodically  revised  and  updated  as  advances  are  made  in  identifying  the  adverse  health  effects  of  time‐varying  electric,  magnetic,  and  electromagnetic  fields.”    p.  507:    “Interpretation  of  several  observed  biological  effects  of  AM  electromagnetic  fields  is  further  complicated  by  the  apparent  existence  of  “windows”  of  response  in  both  the  power  density  and  frequency  domains. 

There  are  no  accepted  models  that  adequately  explain  this  phenomenon, which challenges the traditional concept of a monotonic relationship between the  field intensity and the severity of the resulting biological effects.”    Why are the German agencies in charge not willing to help identify the adverse health effects?  Since  immediately,  after  digital  broadcast  television  stations  had  started  transmitting,  adverse  health  effects  have  occurred,  the  review  of  the  Guidelines  announced  by  the  ICNIRP  is  imperative. Obviously, there are response windows contained within the broad frequency bands  with  their  several  thousand  frequencies  that  change  constantly  and  whose  amplitude  also  changes constantly. The ICNIRP had already pointed out this possibility.   

In 1992, Dipl.‐Ing. Rüdiger Matthes, member of ICNIRP and of the Geman Radiation Protection  Agency (BfS), emphasized the preliminary status of the exposure limits in a hearing on the health  risks of electromagnetic radiation: “…They (electromagnetic exposure levels) are several orders of  magnitude  higher  than  the  natural  background  radiation  levels  of  nontechnical  sources…In  parallel to this development, findings of scientific studies according to which long‐term exposure  to  such  fields  may  trigger  adverse  health  effects  keep  accumulating.…In  this  context,  it  is  also  important  to  recognize  that  there  are  large  differences  in  exposure  levels  within  a  given  population.  A  small  child,  for  example,  absorbs  much  more  RF  energy  than  an  adult  person…There  are  several  findings  on  low‐level  exposures,  which  are  considered  scientifically  validated  because  they  have  been  reproduced  often  but  which  are  rather  difficult  to  interpret.

The  impact  of  mostly  pulsed  or  ELF  modulated  RF  radiation  on  cell  metabolism,  for  example,  counts among them. It has been observed that the efflux of certain ions (e.g. calcium) from a cell  increases  during  exposure  to  such  fields.  The  occurrence  of  this  effect  is  described  almost  completely independent of the actual field strength. It can be found at extremely low absorption  levels.…With  all  the  currently  available  scientific  findings,  there  remain  some  crucial  questions  unanswered.  …There  are  gaps  in  the  so‐called  body  of  evidence.  That  means  that  the  biological  effects,  for  example, have only been investigated for individual frequencies. Data (e.g. effect thresholds) on  the  various  biological  effects  across  the  entire  frequency  spectrum  are  not  available. 

The  exposure limits, therefore, are based on an approach that greatly simplifies the very complex  reality whose details are unfathomable. It should also be noted that concrete data on possible  effects of long‐term exposures are mostly lacking.”     Real life teaches us that it was wrong to simplify. In Germany, we see strong evidence of a direct  temporal  association  between  the  start‐up  of  terrestrial  digital  broadcast  television  and  the  occurrence of severe health symptoms.    Dr.‐Ing.  W.  Volkrodt,  former  R&D  engineer  at  Siemens,  recognized  the  danger  of  electromagnetic  fields  for  humans,  animals,  and  plants.  He  pinned  his  hopes  on  policymakers  who  would  listen  to  reason  when  he  wrote  in  1987:  “Future  historians  will  refer  to  the  RF  dilemma during the period from around 1975 to 1990 as a short, time‐limited ‘technical incident.’  Owing to the introduction of fiber optic technology, this incident could be remediated quickly and  effectively.“    Satellites  and  cable  provide  the  US  population  with  television  services.  By  contrast,  the  risk  associated with terrestrial digital broadcast television transmitters is unacceptable.

We,  therefore,  ask  you,  dear  Mr.  President,  who  has  the  wellbeing  of  his  citizens  at  heart, to stop the scheduled introduction of this new technology in the United States  of  America  and  to  save  the  people  from  the negative  health  consequences  that  have  occurred in our country.

Dr. med. Cornelia Waldmann‐Selsam
Founding Member of the Bamberg  Appeal

Dr. med. Christine Aschermann
Founding  Member  of  the  Freiburg  Appeal 
Dr. med. Markus Kern

Psychosomatic Medizin
Founding  Member  of  the  Physicians  Appeal Allgäu‐Bodensee‐Oberschwaben

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