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Cell Phones, Etc: Industry Muzzles And Punishes Those Who Dare Say They Are Dangerous To Health
ICHF (International Council for Health Freedom) Newsletter Vol. VI, Nos. 3-4
October, 2003

One of the most widely publicized cases of electrosensitivity is that of former Norwegian Prime Minister and now World Health Organization Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland, who is also a medical doctor by profession. Brundtland says she is electrically sensitive to cell phones and computers and does not own a mobile phone but says that there is not yet enough scientific evidence to prove the devices are dangerous.

An interview in March 2002 with the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet has put the WHO Director-General on the top of the list of persons known to be sensitive to HF EMF – low-intensity but high-frequency electromagnetic fields – as reports accumulate that researchers who question the health aspects of the rapidly escalating multi-billion-dollar industries in mobile phones, computers and related technological marvels are being gagged, muzzled and being pressured out of their jobs.

In Spain – reported the Cellular Phone Taskforce’s information-crammed No Place to Hide newsletter for June – a judge ordered 49 cell phone antennas removed from a rooftop in downtown Valladolid, the second time a Spanish court has ruled antennas should be removed for health reasons.

“This time the fight was led by parents of children at Garcia Quintana Primary School, where three children had contracted acute lymphoblastic leukemia and one Hodgkin’s lymphoma since the antennas were installed,” reported the newsletter.

Indeed, reported Arturo Soria y Puig, who provided information for both the Taskforce and Spain’s influential El Mundo newspaper: “. . . (T)he popular response to the rapid and chaotic installation of some 30.000 mobile phone antennas in Spain has been impressive. Because of judicial rulings (in a few cases) and because of pressure on municipal authorities (in the majority of cases) the mobile phone providers have had to disconnect and dismantle 2.000 already-installed antennas.”

In Switzerland, an initiative to amend the Swiss Constitution and called “Moratorium on Mobile Telephone Antennas” would stop the construction of antennas particularly for “mobile telephony” as long as “the harmlessness of pulsed non-ionizing radiation, and of pulsed magnetic or electromagnetic fields, taking into account their non-thermal effects, has not been demonstrated.” The signature-gathering deadline is Sept. 12, 2003.

In Oregon, Dr. William Morton, a professor at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) who pioneered studies into multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) and their apparent relationship to porphyria and became one of a handful of physicians with experience in diagnosing and documenting electrical sensitivity (ES) chose to give up his medical license on Jan. 19 rather than continue to face a raft of complaints and allegations of misdiagnosis and further investigation by the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners. The Task Force noted that the widely respected physician and researcher will continue teaching at OHSU School of Medicine and continue to do research into MCS and ES.

In France, Dr. Robert Santini, a veteran researcher in “bioelectromagnetics” said he had been forbidden by the director of the government laboratory with which he has long been associated from speaking to journalists, politicians and other researchers about “cellular phone and base station bioeffects.”

On March 6 and at the request of two senators, he told the Parliamentary Office for the Evaluation of Science and Technology Choices: “We are witnessing today the development of pressure aimed at discrediting, within their institutions, certain researchers and their findings. These campaigns of moral and professional harassment are orchestrated, in particular, by certain cell phone providers, public health bodies and elected officials. Some scientists who work on the problem of the biological effects of cell phones and relay stations have recently been made the object, following these pressures, of discriminatory measures on the part of their institutions: firing, professional change, change of research topic, blockage of career, loss of collaborators, ban on speaking.”

He referred to three examples of noted scientists in France and the case of Claudio Gomez Perretta MD in Valencia, Spain, who on Feb. 25 – four days after he wrote a letter to the Valencia Medical Assn. Expressing his concern that the Spanish equivalent of the American Medical Association had taken no position on the matter of HF EMF problems – was notified that he must discontinue his work on electromagnetic fields immediately.

In his letter he reminded the local medical body: “Let us remember that there were once commissions that denied the dangers of tobacco, asbestos, and therapeutic X-rays.”

In Sweden, a group of victims of electromagnetic sensitivity asked the prime minister and the prestigious Karolinska Institute not to proceed with threats to close down Karolinska’s Unit for Experimental Dermatology, whose Prof. Olle Johansson has produced some of the most riveting scientific questioning of the safety of cell phones and related devices.

Said the Association for the Electrically Sensitive in Orebro County, Sweden, last Oct. 3 on hearing of a cutoff in funds for Prof. Johansson: “We see the lack of research funding and space as an affront not only to a scientist in whom we have great confidence but also to us and the handicapped organization to which we belong.

In Germany, veteran medical physicist and researcher Dr. Lebrecht von Klitzing of the Medical University of Lubeck was forbidden by the University dean to address the German Bundestag (parliament) on the medical effects of cell phones, claiming such a presentation would damage the university’s reputation.

The Task Force reported that von Klitzing, forbidden to do any more research on his own, resigned from the university in March in order to continue his research.

In England, Dr. Gerald Hyland, University of Warwick, took early retirement in March following high-level pressures against his research into the biocompatibility of magnetic fields with the human organism.

In Bangkok, Thailand, the English language Nation newspaper reporting May 24 on the near-ubiquity of mobile phones among Thai teenagers (“many teens today are utterly devoted to their mobiles, even to the extent that they regard them as an extra limb”) accompanied its in-depth coverage with the following recitation of health risks known to be associated with the omnipresent gadgets:

  • A study published in the UK (in April) suggested mobile phone use may be as addictive for teenagers as smoking.
  • A recent British study reported that phone driving is more dangerous than drunk driving. The Transport Research Laboratory found reaction times for those driving on the phone was 30 percent slower than those driving drunk and nearly 50 percent worse than someone sober and not using a cell phone.
  • The (Thai) Ministry of Public Health in 2001 recommended that people under 12 should not use a mobile phone, while studies on health risks – particularly the links to brain cancer – are underway by the World Health Organization.
  • In 2000, a study by Action on Smoking and Health in London found a number of common traits, including the desire to rebel, prevalent among smokers as well as young cell-phone users.
  • A recent study by the Physicists Association in Japan warned of the harm of using mobile phones in passenger trains. Researchers said “passengers might be harmed by microwaves emitted from phones, which reflect on the train’s metal structure and accumulate on the passengers.” The researchers suggested there should be a ban on the use of mobile phones in trains, busses and elevators.

In her March 9 interview. WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland MD, a former prime minister who said she has never owned a mobile phone herself and that there now is reason to be cautious about the technology, told Dagbladet’s Aud Dalsegg: “In the beginning I felt a local warmth around my ear. But the problem grew worse, and turned into a strong discomfort and headaches every time I used a mobile phone.”

At first she tried to avoid the pain by cutting her calls short, but this did not work. Nor was it sufficient to stop using the phones herself, because everyone around her, including at her workplace at the WHO in Geneva, used them. “I gradually understood that I had developed a sensitivity to this type of radiation,” she said, “and in order not to be suspected of being hysterical – that someone should believe that this was only something I imagined – I have made several tests: People have been in my office with their mobile phone hidden in their bag or pocket. Without my knowing whether it was off or on, we have tested my reaction. I have always reacted when the phone has been on – never when it is off. So there is no doubt.”

As for wireless home phones, Brundtland said: “I get an instant reaction if I touch such a phone.”

She also spoke about her reactions to computers: “If I hold a laptop in order to read what is on the screen it feels as if I get an electric shock up through my arms. So I must keep portable computers away from me. I have a regular desktop computer in my office, but only the secretary uses it. I have not noticed the same symptoms near it, but I turn it off as soon as I come in.

The headaches she gets from mobile phone radiation subside about a half hour to an hour after the exposure stops, she said.

Last year, the ICHF reported (ICHF V:2, 2001) on 20 years of Western-suppressed research from the former East Bloc which suggests the “microblitzing” of the human race by what was variously described as low-intensity but high-frequency electromagnetic fields or radiation (HF EMF, HF EMR) coming from cell phones, computers, television, antennas and a wide range of electrical marvels.

Research primarily from Russia and the Ukraine connected such radiation to immune disorders, environmental diseases, cancer, neurological impairment and even a physically based addiction syndrome to computer use. “It can be proposed that the current increase in electromagnetic pollution of the environment exceeds human adaptation capacities” warned Ukrainian researchers Nikolai Nikolaevich Kositsky, Aljona Igorevna Nizhelska and Grigory Vasil’evich Ponezha.

Where to learn more:

(Important information in this area is available from the Cellular Phone Taskforce, PO Box 1337, Mendocino CA 95460 – not available through the internet. Its publication No Place to Hide is must reading. Other resources include:

Chemical Injury Information Network, Cynthia Wilson, Director, PO Box 301, White Sulphur Springs MT 59645.

The Electromagnetic Research Foundation, c/o Dr. Duane Dahlberg, 1317 Sixth Ave. N., Moorhead MN 56560.

Disability Council of the White Mountains, c/o Susan Molloy, PO Box 483, Snowflake AZ 85937.

EMR Network, Janet Newton, President, PO Box 221, Marshfield VT 05658.

Heavy Metal Bulletin: international forum focusing on immunotoxic effects of dental fillings and related disorders, Monica Kauppi, Editor, Lilla Aspuddsv. 10, S-12649 Hagersten, Sweden.

Electromagnetic Radiation Task Force Canada, Milt Bowling, Director, 3570 Corsica Way, Vancouver BC, V5S 4J3, Canada.

Council on Wireless Technology Impact, Libby Kelley, Executive Director, PMB 206, 936-B 7th St., Novato CA 94945.

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