MY VIEW: ELECTROMAGNETIC EXPOSURE HAZARDOUS TO HEALTH
William J Bruno
I'm a Ph.D. physics researcher who applies physics to biology. My research is cited in textbooks, and in 2003, I served on a committee of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, trying to prevent epidemics.
About that time, in my early 40s, I started having dull headaches every afternoon at work. By 2005 I had trouble concentrating at the computer, when my ears would ring. I came home from work exhausted, yet had terrible trouble sleeping.
By the end of 2006, my ears always rang. I had trouble remembering colleagues' names and following technical conversations. After two or three hours of sleep I'd be wide awake, but still exhausted. My face became contorted. The doctors said the ringing was caused by nerve damage, and they confirmed my memory problems, but knew of no cures.
Then, I noticed that my ears rang louder upstairs.
One night, approaching bed, I remembered being told that having electronics near the headboard is unhealthy. I unplugged my clock radio, hoping. The ringing didn't change, but within seconds, a muscle in my face that I had not been aware of suddenly relaxed.
I began sleeping better as I unplugged more and more of our computer gear, digital surround sound and electronically enhanced appliances. Our daughter, then in pre-school, also began sleeping straight through the night! Fixing a wiring error in the house helped me further, and a sense of well-being returned.
The ear ringing was gone sometimes, but turning on a dimmer switch could start it again. Also, it would get suddenly louder seconds after I drove near certain cell-phone towers. I questioned whether this effect might be psychological, but found it could happen with towers not in view. Some towers were so well disguised that I only confirmed their presence later using a microwave meter.
The microwaves produced by cell phones, towers and Wi-Fi networks are millions of times stronger than the microwaves emitted by the sun and stars. The visible and UV light from the sun contains more energy, but our bodies have defense and repair mechanisms to cope with that. We have no natural defenses against microwaves. I realized that the slight sensation I got in my head when using a cell phone or our cordless could be a danger sign. I decided to stop using all microwave-based devices.
Now if I pay attention and limit my exposure to all electromagnetic fields, including Wi-Fi wireless Internet, my memory recovers, my mind is clear, and I sleep well, with only occasional ringing in my ears. If I go somewhere far away from electricity and microwave transmitters for a day, my ears don't ring, and I feel great again.
I know other people, including kids, with chronic headaches, ear ringing and sleep disturbances. Some have tried turning off their Wi-Fi and had remarkable improvements.
As a scientist who cares about public health, I'm disturbed to realize that the regulations meant to protect us from over-exposure to microwave radiation are completely inadequate and based on faulty assumptions. Research clearly demonstrates negative health effects, from behavior changes to devastating incurable diseases, caused by microwave and other electromagnetic exposure well below the current limits.
It's time we paid attention to this research, much of which has been buried in the literature for years or even decades. We must stop accepting our declining neurological health as a normal part of modern life, and we must not allow decades of harm as happened with asbestos, DDT, tobacco and trans fats.
Those interested to learn more can find an index of hundreds of studies at
www.electricwords.emfacts.com and other links at www.whyfry.org .
William J. Bruno, Ph.D., is a research scientist living in Santa Fe.
A 1998 telephone survey by the California Department of Health Services found that 3.2 percent of respondents stated that their health was seriously affected
The Santa Fe New Mexican 01 june 2008
MY VIEW: VOTING 'NO' ON WI-FI RIGHT THING TO DO
I was appointed by Mayor David Coss last year as one of two citizen advisors to the committee charged with examining the pros and cons of installing Wi-Fi in city buildings, and with submitting a plan to City Council. The council is expected to make a decision on that plan at its June 11 meeting.
Thirty years ago, I was in medical school in California. I learned anatomy and physiology, microbiology, pharmacology and all the other academic subjects. I was taught to examine and treat patients and I assisted at surgeries. But I learned the hard way that something vital was missing from the curriculum: The interaction of electromagnetic energy with biology and health, a discipline known as bioelectromagnetics. I learned it by getting sick.
My illness was acute: My heart rate dropped below 50, and weeks later I collapsed with symptoms similar to a heart attack, but with a normal EKG. I lost a lot of weight, was confined to bed for a period, and became short of breath with the least exertion. It took me three years to recover. And during those years, I learned two important facts: My recovery depended on avoiding exposure to electromagnetic fields as much as possible; and my illness was precisely described in the medical literature of Eastern Europe and was called radio wave sickness. I also learned that the electrocautery devices used to cut tissue and seal blood vessels expose surgeons to much higher levels of radio frequency radiation than is allowed in any other profession.
In 1996, when the wireless revolution began in earnest in the United States, I joined a worldwide network of concerned scientists and doctors and became active in disseminating information about the health and environmental effects of these new technologies. I also began advocating -- because no one else was doing it -- for the surprisingly large numbers of Americans who might have been injured, disabled, made homeless and driven to suicide by the increasingly inescapable radiation emitted by cell phones and towers, wireless computers, routers and access points and the seemingly endless variety of other products containing radio transmitters.
A 1998 telephone survey by the California Department of Health Services found that 3.2 percent of respondents stated that their health was seriously affected by electromagnetic fields, and that an estimated 120,000 Californians were disabled by such fields and couldn't work. This study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, the journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, received no publicity.
The alarming experiments conducted on more than 2,000 laboratory animals since 1988 by neurosurgeon Leif Salford and his colleagues at the University of Lund in Sweden have received no publicity either. Their studies show that a two-minute exposure to an ordinary cell phone causes leakage of the blood-brain barrier; that a two-hour exposure causes permanent damage to brain cells; that chronic exposure causes permanent impairment of memory; that DNA is altered; and that all these effects can occur at power levels equivalent to holding a cell phone or a wireless computer four feet from your head, or living 500 feet from a typical cell tower.
Wi-Fi is newer than cell phones, and the experiments done with phones haven't yet been done with computers. But in principle, the biological effects should be identical, and in practice complaints about Wi-Fi, everywhere in the world, are more widespread, and the health effects appear to be more severe.
This technology has effects on environment, health, and access to buildings by people with disabilities, that our society has yet to come to grips with. The council should do the right thing and vote "no" on this plan.
Santa Fean Arthur Firstenberg is the founder and president of the Cellular Phone Task Force.