Silicon Valley is probably the last place you’d expect to hear health warnings related to your cellphone. But that’s where you’ll find Peter Sullivan, a man with a mission to help the public understand how their devices cause real harm.
Sullivan started out as one of the biggest fans of a technology he now does his best to avoid. He attended graduate school at Stanford University in Silicon Valley, and later worked as a software designer, rubbing shoulders with people who would go on to design the devices that shape our wireless world. Living on the cutting edge, Sullivan became one of the earliest adopters of wireless technology, but he also got sick from it long before most people knew it was possible.
His illness—now known as electrosensitivity—and the realization that it was caused by wireless radiation exposure, pushed Sullivan to find answers. While government regulators and the telecom industry insisted that the level of microwave radiation flowing from his phone was safe, Sullivan talked to several top scientists who found strong evidence showing otherwise.
Some of these scientists can be seen in a film Sullivan produced in 2017 called “Generation Zapped.” This eye-opening documentary tells of the manipulative tactics the telecom industry uses to sell the public a technology despite overwhelming evidence that it was harmful.
Today, Sullivan’s full-time job is spreading the word about the dangers related to electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation, urging people to keep their devices off or at a distance whenever possible. He also funds research at Harvard, Stanford, University of California–Berkeley, and several leading environmental health nonprofits in an effort to provide a better picture of a technology we all use because most of us assume it’s safe.
The Epoch Times talked to Sullivan about the problems associated with wireless radiation exposure, and what we can do to protect ourselves from it. Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
The Epoch Times: It seems like people are just starting to realize the dangers related to wireless technology, but you’ve been looking at this for the past 10 years. What gave you a head start?
Peter Sullivan: I basically got to experience what people are experiencing now about 10 or 15 years ago, because we were on the cutting edge in Silicon Valley, and getting a lot of different exposures.
My brain was saying, “All this stuff is good,” but my body was having some really serious problems. I had to learn the hard way on this one that our assumptions about the safety were just totally false.
At first, I thought I had food allergies. Then I determined I had high levels of mercury. But even after detoxifying myself, cleaning up my diet, and doing all these things, my health just kept going down. I got really skinny. My teeth were cracking. My body was demineralizing. I felt spacey and weak, and I’m not a weak person. I was a Navy pilot. I ran marathons. I did triathlons, so I’m not used to being weak, but I got physically and mentally weak.
I got to where if I put a cellphone next to my head, I could feel it, and it didn’t feel good.
I didn’t think there was any research out there about this, but I got invited to a session at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco where there were some scientists talking about wireless exposure. So I started looking at the research. Thousands of these studies show harm.
The Silicon Valley folks aren’t clued into this, but the telecom industry, the FCC, and U.S. government really know about this issue, but they’ve sold the spectrum anyway. They’re basically using tobacco tactics. Did you read the article from The Nation about this? They did a six-month investigation about how the industry has been covering it up.
The Epoch Times: How does wireless radiation impact our bodies?
Mr. Sullivan: I think the most important thing people should know is Dr. Martin Pall’s work on the calcium channel. He has shown that these frequencies and fields can impact the calcium channel in our cells. Calcium channels are really fundamental to brain development, the immune system, T-cell function, the blood-brain barrier, the gut-brain barrier—they’re really a central factor.
The number one risk factor for autism is a calcium channel variation. From twin studies we know that the genetic component of autism is only about 38 percent. The rest is environmental, so we’re looking for environmental factors that can have an impact on the calcium channel. Dr. Pall has spoken about this at autism conferences.
Variations in calcium channel functioning are associated not just with autism, but with ADHD, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. People with these variations are at a higher risk.
Calcium channel variations also increase the risk factor for electrosensitivity. But even if you have very normal calcium channel function, you can become electrosensitive with a high exposure. It still gets overloaded at some point, and especially as we add in more things like 5G.
So some people can get completely overloaded by wireless, but it’s not just the wireless. It’s really a combination of multiple things in the environment. Dr. Lisa Nagy says that people will frequently have mold exposures that can damage the calcium channel, and then that makes them more susceptible. Some people have toxic exposures. Some people have dental risk factors, like mercury fillings or infected root canals that also make them more susceptible. So you really have to lighten the load of all of these factors to stay ahead of the game right now.
The Epoch Times: We live in a world where lots of factors conspire against us.
Mr. Sullivan: And that’s what we’re looking at with autism. We went in thinking it was just going to be one gene, and one environmental factor. But it turns out it’s multiple genes but along the same pathway, and multiple environmental factors that are affecting that single pathway.
Of course, that pathway is also a target for drugs. So if folks are taking calcium channel blockers for their heart or their mental health, EMFs are working against those drugs. At some point you’re going to start having to control these exposures, and having a reality check on this whole thing. Some problems are not going to be solved by adding more drugs. We need to start removing interference factors to really restore our health.
The Epoch Times: I’ve read that supplementing with magnesium can help with the disruption of the calcium channel.
Mr. Sullivan: Dr. Pall and others have found that magnesium is a natural calcium blocker. It downregulates the calcium channel. If you are low in magnesium, your calcium channel becomes hyperactive. When the calcium channel gets excited, it’s telling your nervous system that something important is going on so we should stay alert.
The problem is, we’re not meant to be in that state all the time. It’s a very stressful state to be in. You can think of it like a cell danger-mode state. It consumes a lot of energy, and it’s exhausting. The body is not meant to stay in this fight-or-flight state all the time.
Many of the doctors that I’ve talked to have been recommending a certain form of magnesium that gets into the brainstem and the brain more directly. It’s called magnesium threonate. It’s been shown to really help with brain connections.
The Epoch Times: It’s amazing that the disruption of this tiny cellular mechanism can result in all these different problems.
Mr. Sullivan: Dr. Pall says the calcium channels are most dense in the heart, the nervous system, and brain. We are starting to see the effects on both mental health and physical health.
People need to understand that the primary symptom of EMF exposure is sleep disturbance. Next is headaches, attention issues, anxiety, and memory issues.
The one that blows my mind the most is sperm damage. Dozens of studies show that these frequencies and fields can damage sperm. So a cellphone in a pocket of a man who is about to become a father is a major concern that needs to be investigated. People need to understand that when they put a cellphone in their pocket they’re playing genetic Russian roulette. They’re taking all these good genes that have gone through the test of time and they just randomly flip them. That’s going to be really challenging to reverse.
The Epoch Times: What should people do to reduce their exposure to wireless radiation?
Mr. Sullivan: The first thing is to clear out devices close to you in your sleep environment. These exposures undermine sleep, and they undermine your melatonin production and your depth of sleep.
It’s very common right now for people to use their cellphone as their alarm clock and they’re charging it and having it right next to them all night.
Some people are even using fitness trackers that have a constant wireless exposure, like a Fitbit, to track their sleep. We also tell people to turn off their Wi-Fi at night, or turn off their cordless phone base station. Don’t have a tablet or modem anywhere near you at night. These will all disrupt sleep.
Sleep is really fundamental to your health and mental health, and of course child development.
An important one for children: We tell parents to turn off the baby monitor at night. At minimum, move it across the room.
In general, create space around your sleep environment and your work environment. The strategy should either be to turn it off, or move it away. If you can’t turn off the device, move the device away from you. If the device can’t move, like a smart meter, you move away from the device.
Distance makes our exposure signal rapidly drop off. Every time you double the distance, the exposure drops off by 75 percent.
People should never, under any circumstances, touch the cellphone to their head when they’re talking on it. The FCC has never tested that configuration. Every phone has a warning which says that it’s tested with a space between itself and the body. They are not tested directly next to the body as most people are using them. Even if they’re just close, there is a risk of them going over the FCC limit, which is already not a biologically based safety limit.
I also have a wireless safety card on my website ClearLightVentures.com. This card shows you some basic solutions for some of the most common sources of wireless radiation. It has a little bit of the science, and a little bit of the health effects on one card. I give these away to parents. When people see this in writing and they see that there is science there and see that there are solutions in place, then they start taking action.
The Epoch Times: I think a big reason people don’t take wireless radiation seriously is because they can’t see it.
Mr. Sullivan: That’s right. It’s invisible so it’s hard for people to get a sense of it. One of my jobs is to make the invisible visible for people. We’ve gone to a couple of autism conferences where we’ve given people an experience. We set up a 10 foot by 10 foot canopy, kind of like a farmers market tent, but the sides are covered. It’s basically a wireless clean room. We tell people who enter it to turn off their phones, their Apple watches, or whatever you’ve got that’s emitting a wireless signal, then you go into this room.
On average, between 85 to 95 percent of the people will feel a difference when they step into that room. The most common thing they report is feeling calmer. This calcium channel interference stops and the body starts unloading.
We’ve had some people who have had so much exposure for so long that they get a little nauseated when they step into this environment.
The Epoch Times: What is this tent made out of?
Mr. Sullivan: It’s made of a shielding material that blocks and reflects wireless radiation. And shielding is one of the strategies people can do to limit their exposure, but I recommend people do all the free and easy stuff first before they buy anything new.
The Epoch Times: So shielding is a more advanced level.
Mr. Sullivan: Yes, and to do it right you may need a professional to help you so that it doesn’t reflect it back and make your environment worse. People should put most of their attention on exposure reduction.
The Epoch Times: Is testing your environment important? And if so, how do you do it?
You can also get people who will measure this for you. Search for EMF experts. Sometimes they’re called building biologists or environmental consultants. They are trained in this and they will come in and give you a one-time assessment.
The Epoch Times: What are some other things people should know about wireless radiation?
Mr. Sullivan: People should also know that it has failed safety testing many times at various levels. Of course, the newest level, 5G, is not being tested again. So people should demand that these devices be tested before they use them and before their children use them.
Wireless safety needs to be a market requirement just like automotive safety. People should start actually looking at science and not just taking industry talking points at face value.
Conan Milner is a health reporter at The Epoch Times.