A British government
expert panel recently recommended that children should refrain from using
mobile telephones. In December this year, there will be leaflets warning
mobile phone buyers about the uncertainty over mobile phone’s potential
health risks. This might prove a very sound measure. But why is it that
the Swedish or the Finnish governments, usually progressive and eager to
prohibit harmful substances, have said nothing about the possible
dangers of microwaves and mobile phones? Why so quiet on the northern front?
The answer is simple. The British health warnings could simply not have
been issued in Nokia and Ericsson country. Stockholm is becoming the wireless
capital of the world and American companies are establishing a foothold
there. The new generation mobile phones are here and three times as many
antennas as there are today, are about to be built. It is therefore politically
impossible to say anything that remotely threatens the mobile phone industry,
the golden goose that brings so much prosperity to industry and government.
But mobile phones might one day become a BSE crisis.
The Swedish Council
for Work Life Research is a central government agency for the long-term
planning and funding of research and development. In 1997 it was asked
by the government to make an inventory of EMF -related health risks. The
final report was presented November 30, 2000. Two of the three individuals
who prepared this report(Lena Hillert and Ulf Bergqvist) have industry
connections. They are ”scientific consultants” to Swedish Telecom mobile
phone operator, Telia and therefore hardly unbiased.
The report presented
on the website www.ralf.se gives mobile phones a clean bill of health.
The report also incorrectly claims that the general public is not particularly
worried about health risks from mobile phones. Some smaller groups however,
the report states, are concerned about EMF health risks. The following
wording is interesting ”…this concern can itself be a health problem
and should be dealt with”. This sounds very ominous indeed and is reminiscent
of Soviet style thought management. Do they mean that everyone concerned
about EMF health problems, including the authors of the British government
report recommending caution with the use of mobile phones, are themselves
a health problem and should be ”dealt with”? That kind of wording one might
find in industry lobby group memos, not in a report from a government agency.
Compared to the British report, this is a farce.
The government has
been told that individuals that are not so heavily biased should remake
the report. The government has yet to react. If they do not use unbiased
advice, mobile phones will one day become their BSE(mad cow) crisis.
We regard ourselves
as very sophisticated individuals, but biologically we are as primitive
as Stone Age man is. We have no built-in protection against environmental
toxins or microwaves. One day when the party is over and we soberly look
back at this period, we might wonder how entire populations allowed themselves
to be continually exposed to low levels of microwaves. We might regret
not having worried more about the ”microwave sickness” that Soviet scientists
identified decades before. We might regret not having heeded warnings from
the likes of Dr. John Holt of Australia when he pointed out that mobile
phone frequencies double the amount of histamines and thus cause asthma
and allergies. We might also regret having left research in the hands of
the mobile phone industry. How likely were they to sponsor research
that would threaten their existence?
Industry is powerful
enough to influence the Finnish and Swedish governments and also the EU
to tone down the dangers from mobile phones and base stations. This means
that we will simply have to sit back and wait for very concrete and widespread
illness caused by microwaves from mobile phones. Maybe somewhat cynical,
but it is logical; most people are probably not willing to stop using their
mobile phones without substantial physical proof regardless of government
warnings. So the question is: is there any evidence of any illness so far?
Can we identify any specific symptoms?
Holt’s theory that
asthma is caused by microwaves is interesting. It is not in the heavily
polluted, less developed countries that asthma is more frequent, but in
the heavily developed countries of the West with most electrosmog, where
almost every other child has some kind of allergy today.
Children are more
sensitive to microwaves than adults and recently there has been an increase
in children getting severe inflammation of the gut, Crohns disease. This
disease shows the same pattern as do allergies and asthma. Both cause inflammation
processes and both involve the immune defense (Svenska Dagbladet October
In Scandinavia we
suffer from en epidemic of ”burned out” individuals from all walks of life.
People who become dysfunctional due to stress and have to leave work, in
the best of cases for a few month, in some cases, never to return.
A new vocabulary has been invented. Journalists love the subject.
Even children are
affected. ”Teenagers are stressed to pieces” says the Danish psychiatrist
Gideon Ziotnek in Expressen newspaper November 22, 1999. Ziotnek thinks
that stress will cause the brain to atrophy. ”Young people can get emotional
and intellectual disturbances”.
Another paper (GoteborgsPosten)
wrote the previous day: ”A study among a thousand schoolchildren in
Gothenburg show that 13 percent with normal hearing experience tinitus.
This can be a sign of social stress”.
A question worth
asking: Why is everyone suddenly so stressed? Have we changed our social
behavior so much? We are working harder, but are we working that much harder?
In the past people worked hard also, but what is new in our lives?
What has dramatically
changed to cause this stress?
There is an important
factor: the increased radiation from mobile phones, television and radio
During 1994- 1996,
when Swedish teenagers started using mobile phones, prescriptions for sleeping
pills to young women of the ages between 15-24 years have doubled.(Radio:
Dagens Eko October 4 1999). At the same time, prescriptions of anti-depressants
to the same group have increased by 40 percent.
But how exactly can
we attribute the stress we experience to microwaves? Professor Henry Lai
from USA during a visit to Gothenburg explained that microwaves have the
same stress effect on the human body as loud sound has. The invisible microwaves
that we cannot see, but that pass through our bodies, is a chronic stressor.
Our bodies, whether we want to or not, experience the microwaves as stress,
as though we were exposed to loud noise continuously. This might explain
the epidemic of ”burned out” individuals. With an ongoing background stress
from microwaves and other electrosmog, we cannot carry out ordinary hard
work. We have become stress sensitive and brittle. A further worrying comment
from Professor Lai was that this stress, like any other stress, has an
Are people finally
beginning to make associations between their environment and their symptoms?
Yes, some are. When young people show an increase in oral cancer, there
is certainly cause to pause. A professor in tumor surgery for nose and
throat, Staffan Edström at the Sahlgrenska hospital in Gothenburg,
explains (in the newspaper GP 13 December 1999) that we all live in an
environment with intensified radiation from mobile phones, computers, and
cars and that this gives cause to think that the environmental factor can
explain this increase in oral cancer among the young.
Will our national
health system be able to cope with the new illnesses caused by mobile phones?
Brain tumors are comparatively easy to deal with if they occur. Either
people die or they survive after surgery, but if a large part of the working
population is becoming prematurely senile, (microwaves cause toxins to
pass the blood brain barrier into the brain where they can cause Alzheimer’s
disease) then we face a practical and ethical situation one hardly dare
In Sweden, health
care is locally funded and local politicians, show no compunction whatsoever
in letting severely ill people wait for urgent operations (cataracts, hip
replacements)for several years. Even urgent cancer operations are delayed.
With this attitude, one might only guess what cost-efficient, non-sentimental
and highly practical Swedes might come up with in dealing with a large
senile population with no place to go and no one to care for them.
Mobile phones might
mean a tidy profit today. But tomorrow we might have to pay. The golden
goose might very well turn out to be the mad cow.
FEB Foreningen for
El- och Bildskarmsskadade
THE SWEDISH ASSOCIATION
FOR THE ELECTROSENSITIVE