- At what point will the Australian government acknowledge the biological effects from exposure to chronic low-level wireless radiation and take precautionary measures to protect children and future generations?
- The Australian Radiation Protection Agency and Nuclear Safety Agency which sets the safety standards states, ‘research relating to children is limited and the possibility of harm cannot be completely ruled out’. Given these circumstances why are there no precautionary measures in place to protect children from the potential long-term health risks from chronic exposure to wireless radiation?
- Do we have to wait until the damage is extensive and irreversible to our children before action is taken?
- Who will be held responsible for neglecting to act cautiously despite mounting scientific evidence of biological harm from low level EMR exposure, and calls from international doctors and scientists for immediate precautionary measures?
- Why should our children and teachers be forced to be in an environment that exposes them to untested and unregulated wireless radiation emitting devices when there are safer options available?
- Is it ethical to conduct this social experiment on our children?
- What measures are in place for parents who do not consent to have their children exposed to wireless radiation in school?
- Given the gaps in scientific understanding about the long-term effects of WiFi use, why are there are no precautionary measures being considered or advised to protect children in schools from the potential long-term health effects?
- Why is there so much resistance to developing new biologically based standards to better protect public health and the environment from the rapid increase in wireless technologies and exposure to EMR?
- Should convenience and financial gain be placed before our children’s long-term health?
- Conflict of interest issues are failing to provide credible scientific evidence as highlighted by leading scientists and experts; how is this being addressed to ensure research favours public health instead of industry profits?
- What measures have been considered for people who suffer from electrosensitivity?
- Who will cover the economic costs for the percentage of the population whose health will be affected from chronic low level exposure to EMR?
- In the face of uncertainly, where children are concerned, shouldn’t we take a more cautious approach to reduce exposure to the EMR, rather than rush to install radiation emitting technologies at schools?
After reading the scientific literature it is perplexing to understand why there is disagreement amongst scientists about possible biological harm from EMR since there has been evidence of biological effects for several decades.
Over the last few decades the overall scientific evidence shows that biological effects and some adverse health effects occur at very low levels of exposure to EMR. The weight of the scientific evidence reflects flaws in the current public safety standards which only accounts for heating of body tissue (thermal effects).
Non-industry funded studies show effects which occur at non-thermal or low-intensity exposure levels thousands of times below the current public safety limits. Therefore groups of scientists, experts and doctors are calling for new biologically based safety standards to better protect public health.
Despite the increasing warnings and calls from these scientists for stricter safety standards and for authorities to inform the public of the possible health risks, there is much resistance from pro-industry representatives to facilitate any precautionary measures until there is conclusive proof.
Pro-industry representatives argue that since some epidemiologic studies (studies of health and disease in a population) are positive and some are negative there is insufficient evidence and that there are no biologically confirmed pathways.
Waiting for conclusive proof could take over 20 years and we still may not have absolute proof since electromagnetic smog now baths our entire planet and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find unexposed people for controlled studies.
It is only after researching the background to the debate that it becomes clearer why there is still a lack of government reaction to known or emerging environmental and health risks, and resistance to develop new biologically based standards that better protect the public from EMR exposure.
The BioInitiative report was written by 14 scientists, public health and policy experts. It documents the scientific evidence of EMR’s health impact below current exposure limits and evaluates what changes in these limits are warranted to reduce possible public health risks in the future. Link to report
As explained in the BioInitiative report 2012, exposure limits have traditionally been developed by scientists and engineers that belong to pro-industry associations. Their recommendations are then adopted by government agencies. In the standard-setting process there is virtually no input from others outside professional engineering and other industry related interests. Therefore, their perspective on allowable risk of harm and proof of harm is greatly different to what public health experts consider acceptable to protect the public from harm.
The BioInitiative report identifies the following reasons for disagreement among experts:
- Scientists and public health policy experts use very different definitions of the standard of evidence used to judge the science, so they come to different conclusions about what to do. Scientists do have a role, but it is not exclusive and other opinions matter.
- The scientists are all talking about essentially the same scientific studies, but use a different way of measuring when “enough is enough” or “proof exists”.
- Some experts keep saying that all studies have to be consistent (turn out the same way every time) before they are comfortable saying an effect exists.
- Some experts think that it is enough to look only at short-term, acute effects.
- Other experts say that it is imperative we have studies over longer time (showing the effects of chronic exposures) since that is what kind of world we live in.
- Some experts say that everyone, including the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with illnesses have to be considered – others say only the average person (or in the case of RF, a six-foot tall man) matter.
- There is no unexposed population, making it harder to see increased risk of diseases.
- The lack of consensus about a single biological mechanism of action.
- The strength of human epidemiological studies reporting risks from ELF and RF exposures, but animal studies don’t show a strong toxic effect.
- Vested interests have a substantial influence on the health debate.
a) only conclusive proof warrants change
b) whether precautionary actions should be taken based on the current growing body of evidence which provides early but consequential warning of possible risks (but not yet conclusive proof).
However, the credibility of scientific research backed by industry, the bias and criticism of the agencies tasked with setting exposure limits (ARPANSA and ICNIRP), the government’s conflicting responsibilities to protect industry revenue ahead of public health, and other related factors all play a major role in maintaining the current standards that are no longer adequate to protect public health.
These issues have been questioned by the Council of Europe and several international scientists, experts, public health professionals and civil society groups. Dr. Don Maisch PhD investigates these issues in depth in his paper ‘A Machiavellian Spin’and also in 'Conflict of Interest & Bias in Health Advisory Committees: A case study of the WHO’s Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Task Group'.
Research scientist and columnist Dariusz Leszczynski also raises these conflict of interest issues amongst the various groups of scientists and points out the limitations of these groups (including groups that were created to counter-balance the dominant ICNIRP position). Since members within each group share similar scientific opinions, he suggests that the range of possible scientific interpretations, options and perspectives are not fully challenged within each group.
To help bridge the current divergent gaps in scientific understanding, the scientific community certainly needs fresh eyes and a new more inclusive approach to challenge the current limiting belief structures that exists within the framework of science, society and the individual. “Beliefs can easily cause us to become blind to the obvious. Recent research on ‘inattentional blindness’ has shown that even minor tweaks to one’s expectations can cause a form of blindness.” (Dean Radin PhD, Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality, p43). Click to view video of the experiment.
What is also very clear is that the public has not been involved in the decision-making process on exposing our children and future generation to increasing levels of EMR. The public is not informed about the potential risks, nor has the public been given a choice if we collectively want to take these risks.
The decision to protect human health and the environment should not be determined by commercial interests or decided by those who stand to profit from maintaining the outdated safety standards that leaves the public inadequately protected from increasing EMR exposure.
The Resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe states that there is significant evidence of biological harm to warrant immediate precautionary measures and that waiting for conclusive proof could ‘lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco’.
Despite the early warnings and recommendations from many authorities to inform the public about the known and suspected health impacts of EMR and especially on children, the Australian government fails to do so. See Council of Europe Resolution “The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment.”. It includes excellent recommendations for governments and industry.
The government and education authorities need to put children’s health before cheaper short term costs and the convenience of installing wireless in schools. Although education authorities may have initially considered WiFi installation to be the right choice, the mounting overall scientific evidence on related wireless technologies showing evidence of harm, and the lack of studies on long-term WiFi use should now prompt an immediate precautionary approach.
Today’s government and industry may be liable for negligence and may be held responsible for the potential long-term health of our children. However as parents, caregivers and educators of children, we are all responsible to our children and future generations for the actions we take or don’t take at this important point in humanity’s history.
Not everything is known about how man-made EMR interfers with the body's bio-electrical signals. However, it is clear from scientific reports like the BioInitiative report 2012, that we urgently need to reduce EMR levels especially to protect vulnerable sections of the population like children and electrosensitive people. We need to find alternatives that do not pose the same level of possible health risks that currently exists. With our increasing use of untested wireless technologies these risks are growing exponentially. We need to act now while there is still time to make the needed changes.
Parents need to get informed, get involved and urge the government and education authorities to respond to these warnings with swift preventive precautionary measures as recommended in various international appeals/ resolutions and as acted upon by a number of responsible governments overseas.