Information & Research

How Exposure to Base-Station Radiation Can Adversely Affect Humans

February 2002

(page 2 of 2)

It should be noted that although microwave radiation is non-ionising – i.e. does not have enough energy to break chemical bonds, particularly in DNA – exposure can still cause interference with the natural DNA repair process, and produce chromosome aberrations and micronuclei. Such effects are consistent with the finding that exposure to pulsed microwave radiation (at intensities comparable to those realised during use of a mobile phone) promotes the development of cancer in mice that have been genetically engineered to have a predisposition to cancer, and also with the 2-fold increase in the incidence of a rare form of cancer in the periphery of the human brain (where the radiation from the handset most easily penetrates) - the laterality of which correlates with that of handset use - which has been found in a recent nationwide epidemiological study in the US. The relevance of these disturbing findings to the less intense, but often more prolonged, exposure to Base-station radiation is at present unknown, but the increasing number of reports of serious adverse effects in animals exposed to such radiation could well be valuable warning portents that should not be ignored.

It is essential to appreciate, however, that because the possibility of non-thermal influences is dependent on the organism being alive, it necessarily follows that not everyone will be equally susceptible, even under the same exposure conditions - susceptibility depending on the physiological state of the individual when irradiated, such as the stability of the brain’s electrical activity and the person’s level of stress prior to exposure. Whilst this admittedly makes the occurrence of non-thermal effects more difficult to predict than is the case with thermal effects – and hence to regulate against – it does not mean that they can be safely ignored, or that they cannot provoke adverse health reactions in some people, the severity of which will again vary from person to person, according to the robustness of their immune system. It is probably true to say that if the same degree of risk and uncertainty as to subjective noxiousness obtained in the case of a new drug or foodstuff, they would never be licensed. In connection with the biological noxiousness of low intensity microwave radiation, it should not be forgotten that during the ‘Cold War’, such radiation was used (rather successfully) by the Soviets to induce serious adverse health effects in the staff of Western Embassies in Eastern bloc countries, as well as in their children!

Quite apart from their weaker immune systems, children are particularly vulnerable because of the increased rate at which their cells divide (which makes them more susceptible to genetic damage) and their still developing nervous system - the size of their heads and the thinness of their skulls causing them to absorb more radiation than do adults. Particularly vulnerable to interference by the pulses of microwaves, is their electrical brain-wave activity, which does not settle into a stable pattern until about the age of 11 or 12 years. The use of mobile phones by pre-adolescent children is thus to be strongly discouraged, and the siting of Base-station masts in the vicinity of schools and nurseries resisted: financial gain must not be allowed to be the overriding consideration! It must be appreciated that whilst the intensity to which the Public is normally exposed in the vicinity of a Base-station is indeed very much lower than that encountered during use of a mobile phone, the information content of the signals is the same, so that they are equally potentially noxious.

To cite the examples of radio and television transmission in an attempt to support the claim that exposure to the (much less intense) radiation used in mobile telephony is flawed, on account of (i) the occurrence, in any case, of certain health problems that correlate with exposure to the radiation from these installations, (ii) the fact that, unlike the radiation used in GSM and some TETRA installations, this radiation is not emitted as pulses, in patterns that the brain can recognise, and (iii) the fact that the lower frequency carriers used in radio and TV are somewhat less biologically active than are higher microwave carrier frequencies used in GSM.

In conclusion, it can hardly be disputed that to enjoy an acceptable quality of life requires more than simply an absence of terminal disease. Adverse health effects in humans of the kinds already consistently reported worldwide – such as headaches, sleep disruption, impairment of short–term memory, etc. - whilst maybe not life-threatening in themselves, do nevertheless have a debilitating effect that undoubtedly undermines the general well-being of those affected, and which in the case of some children could well undermine their neurological and academic development. It should, of course, be stressed that the apparent absence to date of life threatening adverse effects on a global scale attributable to exposure to GSM or TETRA Base-station radiation is no guarantee of immunity in the long-term. For exposure to this kind of radiation is still in its ‘early days’ in comparison to the much longer (10-15 years) latency period of the kinds of cancers that could well be promoted or initiated in certain people.

REFERENCE: G.J. Hyland – On the Inadequacy of Existing Safety Guidelines

The GSM and TETRA systems deployed in Europe are similar to PCS/Digital in the United States.

In the U.S. human exposure to RF/MW radiation is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) based on standards developed by the private organizations American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The status of the non-ionzing radiation committee at the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement (NCRP).

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