Excerpts from STOA Report on Non-Ionising EM Radiation

Allen L. Barker alb at datafilter.com
Tue Jul 2 00:17:08 EST 2002


A little late with the reply...

Rog wrote:
> 
> The (ex) Eastern Bloc countries have traditionally been quick to blame
> various electromagetic fields for a large number of vague maladies,
> most often "laziness," "forgetfulness," and a "lack of general
> well-being."  More serious maladies are now au rigor.  None of their
> findings to the best of my knowledge have been validated by Western
> researchers, although the domestic pseudo-scientific media has been
> quick to ferret out such "research" as cause for public concern if not
> outright alarm. 

The author of the study below, Dr. G. Hyland, is affiliated with British and
German universities.

> I suspect that a far more damaging syndrome has been
> created by such ill-advised material causing great distress to those
> who are susceptible to such quackery, possibly forming damaging
> neuroses as a result.  I've seen people prepared to vacate their homes
> and leave their families based on claimed sensitivity to RF or various
> "fields" and "energies." 

Do you propose keeping such research secret?  The STOA report is based
on solid research, and also points out where further research is
needed.  Without knowing about the hazardous effects, you cannot make
good policy to protect the public health.  (Strictly speaking, classified
research could theoretically also be used aid policymakers if they had
security clearances, etc.)  This knowledge of how nonthermal RF effects
can cause harm to the human body also unfortunately lends itself to the
construction of weapons.  This *deliberate* creation of harmful RF effects
is more my focus than electropollution, though the underlying research is
similar (as I mentioned in an earlier article in this thread).

> If these RF "hazards" are such an eminent
> threat to our health, then why haven't several generations of amateur
> and professional radio operators been affected?

Please read the sections of the report that deal with frequency-specific
effects, as well as pulsing effects.  Have epidemiological studies been
carried out on these populations?  That might indicate any harmful 
nonthermal effects to look for, or might well indicate that those particular 
sorts of signals do not cause detectable harm -- especially in the absence of
anecdotal indications of harm.

With regard to people concerned about RF sensitivity, I would say what is
needed are professionals knowledgeable in the area who could be consulted
by concerned people.  This requires a good research foundation as well as
a recognition of the problem, at least for certain segments of the population.

For more information, see the full report, including "Part B: ARGUMENTS and 
EVIDENCE" at

   http://www.sonic.net/~west/mc/hyland.htm



> 
> -Rog
> 
> On Sun, 12 May 2002 19:57:37 -0400, "Allen L. Barker"
> <alb at datafilter.com> wrote:
> 
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >Some excerpts from:
> >
> >EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
> >Directorate General for Research-Directorate A
> >STOA - Scientific and Technological Options Assessment
> >Options Brief and Executive Summary PE nr. 297.574 March 2001
> >
> >THE PHYSIOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF NON-IONISING ELECTROMAGNETIC
> >RADIATION
> >
> >http://www.europarl.eu.int/stoa/publi/pdf/summaries/00-07-03sum_en.pdf
> >
> >
> >
> >[...]
> >
> >specific absorption rate (SAR)... is in no way relevant to non-thermal
> >effects that the emissions from a mobile phone may have on the user.
> >
> >[...]
> >
> >* attempts be made ­ perhaps under the aegis of national regulatory
> >bodies - to increase awareness of the electromagnetic nature of living
> >organisms and their consequent hypersensitivity to coherent, ultraweak
> >electromagnetic signals. [Until this is achieved, the need to extend
> >thermally- based safety guidelines, by incorporating electromagnetic
> >biocompatibility, is unlikely to be accepted.]
> >
> >[...]
> >
> >* In the case of exposure to GSM radiation, reduce intensities to the
> >level below which no adverse effects have been empirically found in
> >exposed populations, bearing in mind that there are indications of
> >non-thermal thresholds for biological effects of the order of a
> >microwatt/cm2. Power densities a few tenths of this value are common
> >at distances of 150-200m from a typical 15m high Base- station mast
> >and within the range of the more localised side-lobes in the immediate
> >vicinity of a mast - adverse effects being reported at both locations.
> >
> >[...]
> >
> >* Ensure that there are no ELF frequencies ­ either of amplitude
> >modulation (including pulsing, as the extreme case) of RF fields, or
> >of other electric /magnetic fields - in the range of human electrical
> >brain-wave activity, or windows of calcium efflux.
> >
> >[...]
> >
> >we have no evolutionary immunity either against any adverse effects it
> >might directly have on our bodies or against possible interference
> >with natural electromagnetic processes, upon which homeostasis appears
> >to depend, for example, the Schumann resonance ­ a weak
> >electromagnetic field that oscillates resonantly in the cavity between
> >the earth's surface and the ionosphere at frequencies close to those
> >of human brain rhythms, isolation from which has been found to damage
> >human health.
> >
> >[...]
> >
> >A good example of such an `informational', frequency-specific,
> >non-thermal electromagnetic influence on the living organism is the
> >ability of a light flashing at a certain rate to trigger seizures in
> >people suffering from photosensitive epilepsy. This is primarily due,
> >not to the brightness (intensity) of the light, but rather to the
> >frequency of the flash ­ which, if close to the frequency of the
> >electrical brain activity involved in epileptic seizures, can trigger
> >their occurrence - i.e. the phenomenon is primarily a
> >frequency-specific effect of information transfer from the light to
> >the brain, the brain being able to `recognise' the light by the rate
> >at which it flashes.
> >
> >[...]
> >
> >There is a regrettable tendency to attribute market­friendly research
> >a greater significance, publicity and profile than non-market friendly
> >research, which suggest the possibility of adverse health impacts. An
> >example of this is provided by the recent publication of a USA
> >epidemiological study, in which the statistically significant finding
> >of an elevated risk amongst users of mobile phones of the incidence of
> >a rare kind of tumour (epithelial neuroma) in the periphery of the
> >brain ­ precisely where there is maximum penetration of radiation from
> >the mobile phone (the laterality of which also correlated with phone
> >usage) - was glossed over and completely escaped the attention of the
> >media, who focused instead on the finding that there was no overall
> >increase in the incidence of brain tumours amongst mobile phone users.
> >
> >[...]
> >
> >In contrast to thermal effects, non-thermal influence necessarily
> >depends on the state of the organism when it is exposed. This of course
> >varies not only between different individuals, but also for the same
> >individual, depending on his/her condition at the time of exposure ­
> >i.e.  such influences are inherently non-linear in nature. As such,
> >they often appear bizarre from a linear standpoint. In addition,
> >difficulties in independently replicating in experiments tends to lead
> >to their dismissal.
> >
> >[...]
> >
> >It is not so much that, in the haste to make this new and valuable
> >technology available, the necessary safety research has been bypassed
> >or compromised, but rather - and more reprehensibly - that already
> >available indications that the technology is potentially less than
> >safe have been, and continue to be, studiously ignored, both by the
> >industry and by national and international regulatory bodies.
> >
> >A good example of this is afforded by the conduct of the UK National
> >Radiological Protection Board, which was `unable' to provide the
> >Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) - for whom they were
> >acting as the Secretariat - with certain highly relevant published
> >papers, on the grounds that they could not `find' them, despite having
> >been provided with the full references by at least two individuals who
> >gave evidence to the IEGMP, and curiously having had no difficulty in
> >providing less significant papers from the same issue of the journal!
> >
> >[...]
> >
> >There is a lack of expert consensus on the significance and
> >credibility of research into biological effects of GSM-type radiation
> >and possible adverse health reactions in susceptible people (despite
> >many consistent, anecdotal positive reports).
> >
> >It is probably true to say that if the same lack of concensus and
> >level of concern surrounded a new drug or foodstuff, it would never be
> >licensed.
> >
> >Of particular concern to the public ­ and generating the most outrage
> >­ is the involuntary subjection of certain groups of the population 24
> >hours/day, 7 days/week to the emissions of GSM base-stations, when
> >they are insensitively sited near to homes, schools and hospitals.
> >The environment of these people is permanently and unavoidably
> >polluted. This is a totally unacceptable state of affairs, which raises
> >serious ethical questions, and arguably contravenes the Nuremberg
> >Code, in that it is these people who will eventually reveal the degree
> >to which chronic exposure to such fields is noxious ­ information that
> >is not currently available: in other words, they are effectively
> >involuntary subjects in a mass experiment.
> >
> >[...]



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