Electrohypersensitivity: is it real?

| November 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

At a recent conference organised by ElectromagneticHealth.org in Connecticut in the US, world experts presented evidence that electromagnetic radiation emitted by cellphones and other digital devices such as tablets, Wi-Fi routers, cellphone masts or towers, baby monitors, antennae, Bluetooth earpieces and Smartboards can cause permanent and lethal harm to children.

Researchers from Yale University cited a study done on pregnant mice involving prolonged exposure to cellphone reception. The offspring showed damage to the prefrontal cortex of the brain, said the scientists, making the comparative point that young children have thinner skulls, smaller brains, softer brain tissue and more rapid cellular replication than adults, making them more susceptible to radiation damage.

“It’s not talking on the phone that matters, it’s any time the phone is turned on,” said study leader Hugh Taylor, professor and chairman, Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale. Harvard University professor Martha Herbert, who runs the Transcend Research Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital, summarised for conference attendees the research findings from various organisations including the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection.

The research links long-term exposure to, for example, cellphones, with the following conditions in schoolchildren: impaired cognitive function; limited attention span; poor memory, reaction time and perception; diminished learning capacity caused by fatigue, distraction or hyperactivity; reduced motor function and emotional control; and autism spectrum disorder. “Signals from Wi-Fi and cell towers can also be destabilising to immune and metabolic function. This will make it harder for some children to learn, particularly those who are already having problems in the first place,” said Herbert, drawing attention to a new medical diagnosis called ‘digital dementia’. Devra Davis, president of the American Environmental Health Trust, told the conference: “The cellphone standards we use today for the 6.5 billion cellphones in the world were set 17 years ago and have never been updated, despite the fact that the users and uses of cellphones are very different now.”

Davis reminded conference delegates that in 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a committee of 27 scientists from 14 different countries working on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO), determined that exposure to cellphone radiation is a “possible carcinogen” and that children who used cellphones for extended periods were at risk of developing nine types of cancer – including brain cancer, eye cancer, acoustic nerve cancer and thyroid cancer – in adulthood. The 2011 committee findings led to the European Council recommending via a ‘Precautionary Principle’ statement that mobile phones and wireless networks be banned in classrooms. Most countries have to date settled for issuing calls to educate citizens about the possible dangers of radiation exposure.

Researchers at the Paris-Descartes University in the French capital have coined the term electromagnetic intolerance syndrome, while in Sweden, where cellphone use is extremely high, electrohypersensitivity (EHS) is an officially fully recognised functional impairment affecting more than 240 000 patients who complain of ear pain and hearing problems, breathing dysfunctions, chest pains and heart ailments, burning skin, sleep disturbances, headaches, depression, vision troubles, blood pressure changes, sterility, autism and neurodegenerative diseases. Cancer Research UK issued a statement in 2013, saying: “So far, the scientific evidence shows it is unlikely that mobile phones could increase the risk of brain tumours, or any other type of cancer. But we do not know enough to completely rule out a risk.” In no country have the calls to heed possible radiation danger stemmed the development of wireless classrooms or the use of technology in schools.

Category: e-Education, Summer 2013

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