Do Cell Phone and Wifi Fields Harm Our Bodies?
Life requires energy. This isn’t something mystical, it’s biology. Electric impulses flow through our nerves, cells, and muscles—basically every cell and system in the human body carries a charge. This energy helps our bodies move and function.
But our energy environment isn’t what it used to be. Over the last few decades, more energy fields have pervaded our world. Some come from power lines, others are emitted from cellphone towers in the form of 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. Still others emanate from Wi-Fi hotspots and the high-frequency WiMax.
These energy fields are generated for operating our devices and technology, but in combination they may be affecting our bodies in a negative way. Some research suggests that the fields collectively known as electromagnetic radiation (EMR) or electromagnetic fields (EMF) interfere with our body’s natural processes—even damaging our DNA.
In 2007 (and again in 2012), a group of scientists and public health experts released a report suggesting people reconsider our relationship with these energy fields. Known as the BioInitiative Report, its aim is to assess scientific evidence on how EMFs impact our health.
The conclusion is that we need to drastically reduce our EMF exposure.
“Not everything is known yet about this subject; but what is clear is that the existing public safety standards limiting these radiation levels in nearly every country of the world look to be thousands of times too lenient,” states the report. “Changes are needed.”
Meanwhile, other scientists insist that these energy fields cause no harm to humans. The BioInitiative Report is widely criticized by industries around the world because it only considers science that supports its own position and doesn’t acknowledge research that suggests that EMFs are safe.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been investigating the research on both sides. In 2011, the WHO’s International Association for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified EMF radiation above the radio frequency range (RF-EMF) as a Class 2B carcinogen, which means it may cause cancer, but further research is necessary. This is due to evidence that links long-term wireless exposure to brain cancer.
However, recent research prompted some IARC panelists to take a stronger stance.
“RF-EMF should be regarded as a human carcinogen requiring urgent revision of current exposure guidelines,” stated IARC scientist and Swedish oncologist Dr. Lennart Hardell in a 2014 edition of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Despite growing evidence of harm caused by EMFs, U.S. public health officials have been skittish about using language that might suggest EMFs pose health risks. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control issued a public statement urging caution with cell phone use, but retracted the statement just a few weeks later.
However, in the U.K., Belgium, Russia, France, Israel, India, and elsewhere, regulators are taking EMF exposure, particularly wireless technology, much more seriously. In these countries, warnings are made clear and young children are discouraged from using this technology.
One of the contributing authors to the BioInitiative Report is Dr. Martin Blank, a scientist, lecturer, and retired professor from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has investigated the cellular and biological effects of EMFs. The New York-born Blank now lives in Victoria, Canada, and has doctorates in both physical chemistry and colloid science.
Epoch Times spoke with Blank about why there is so much controversy among scientists over the safety of EMFs, and why children are most at risk.
Epoch Times: There are many frequencies in our environment today: cellular technology and Wi-Fi, on top of the energy that comes into our house through power lines. I’m tempted to call all of it electromagnetic radiation. Is that correct?
Dr. Martin Blank: Technically, no. To get radiation, you really have to get the electric and magnetic fields acting together so that the electric field will cause the electrons to move, which will generate a magnetic field. They get intertwined. And it’s only when this is happening so fast up at the radiofrequency range that you can get the true blending.
The differences get smoothed out when you get to the radiofrequency range and higher. For example, the new 5G that’s coming out, that’s in the radiofrequency range. The 4G is radiofrequency. The 2G is electromagnetic.
Epoch Times: Some scientists insist that these energy fields are at too low a frequency to affect our bodies in any negative way. What do you think?
Dr. Blank: I’ve had this discussion many, many years ago with physicists who say this can’t do anything if it’s below thermal level. The answer is no. These effects occur at very low levels. They occur down at the ELF range (60 hertz).
Some of the things I studied were the basic enzymatic actions that cause ion movement in cells.
A very basic enzyme has a threshold level of 3 milligauss or 4 milligauss (a unit to measure magnetic fields). When people talk about radiofrequency stuff, this is thousands of times higher energy. There’s no question that even very minute forces can have an effect on a biological system.
Epoch Times: What does the science say in terms of the impact these frequencies have on our health?
Dr. Blank: This is a complex thing, but we studied a few enzymes and they are all affected. If you’re a lone electron sitting in the middle of nowhere and there’s a field nearby, you’re going to respond to those fields at relatively low levels.
For a system, you need a slightly stronger force to be able to cause a change in it. But we get changes in the functioning of cells with relatively small fields. That’s been shown.
When you go higher than the normal range you can get damage. In 1995, Henry Lai published a paper showing that if you took DNA and subjected it to radiation, 60-hertz stuff, you got fragments coming off. You were breaking off parts of the molecule. There was a lot of controversy about this, and forces against this finding.
This is damage that is not repairable. When you break a piece of DNA, you’ve broken the code. It’s not like when you get a cut and the skin heals. If you damage the DNA, that’s called a mutation, and you affect the function of a cell. So depending on where the damage has occurred, you can cause a lot of problems.
Epoch Times: How is this bad? What purpose does DNA serve in our body?
Dr. Blank: When I learned about DNA in high school, I was taught that this was hereditary stuff.
But when I learned biology at the university level, they taught that DNA does everything all the time. It has the whole code in it. You need the DNA to keep the system going. It’s telling the body which proteins to make and which systems to turn on. It’s upgrading all the time, and if you cause damage in that thing, you’re causing a lot of problems in the cell.
Often cells can’t survive this DNA damage, but the body has a lot of resilience. You can cause damage to DNA, and some other part will take over and get it to function. This is why our species survives.
Epoch Times: Are these fields more harmful to children?
Dr. Blank: There is no question in my mind that children are far more vulnerable. This is accepted by people who understand how this radiation works, and understand the difference between children and adults.
Biologically, when we compare an adult and a child, the child has a thinner cranium bone and the nerves in their brain are not as fully myelinated. This means the child will get more penetration as a result of the same kind of exposure. And of course a child is still growing, so whatever damage is done is going to propagate.
Epoch Times: I’ve read that other countries are taking this more seriously.
Dr. Blank: Yes. France, for example. They made it a big thing when the National Library in Paris rejected the use of the Wi-Fi system.
Epoch Times: Are there any precautions that you personally take to limit your own exposure?
Dr. Blank: I do own a cellphone, but I only use it when I go to the States, and I only use it if I have to. I don’t have Wi-Fi. You need a certain amount of this technology in order to do certain things, but I try to live without it.
Some of these things you can opt out of, but I think it’s going to become harder and harder to avoid this kind of thing as they put up more and more of these antennas around neighborhoods.
As a civilization, we believe that progress is good and that we should buy into it. But sometimes new things aren’t always to our benefit.
Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.