Why haven't we been told about the risks?
Merchants of doubt
As there are health and environmental risks associated with wireless technology in its current state, you may be wondering why you have not heard about them from the government or any public bodies. We know however from past experience with many toxic substances that public health bodies and governments are often slow to accept evidence of harm from a new chemical or technology and to recognise the need to exercise precaution, especially when billions of pounds of tax revenue and industry profits are involved. This failure to put people before profit was underlined in Resolution 1815 of the Council of Europe:
“The Assembly regrets that, despite calls for the respect of the precautionary principle and despite all the recommendations, declarations and a number of statutory and legislative advances, there is still a lack of reaction to known or emerging environmental and health risks and virtually systematic delays in adopting and implementing effective preventive measures. Waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof before taking action to prevent well-known risks can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco.”
A 2013 report by the European Environment Agency emphasized the power wielded by industry to create confusion about the risks associated with new technologies:
“Manufacturing doubt, disregarding scientific evidence of risks and claiming over-regulation appear to be a deliberate strategy for some industry groups and think tanks to undermine precautionary decision-making.”
American epidemiologist David Michaels has described the modus operandi of industry as follows:
“Attack the science. Ignore the science. Demand of the science something neither it nor any institution possesses: absolute certainty. Erring on the side of protecting people's health when the potential harm is great (death from cancer would seem to qualify) is a fundamental public health principle. It should not be too much to ask of our great industrial corporations, but apparently they disagree.”
Time and again, industry’s insistence on the need for what it defines as “consistent” evidence, definitive proof of harm, or details of the exact mechanism by which harm occurs, has drowned out warnings from the expert scientists and doctors working in the field. The cost of ignoring such warnings has been very high in terms of impaired well-being, damaged health and lives lost.
As far back as 2006, Professor Henry Lai of the University of Washington in the United States built up a database of the funding of studies on the biological effects of RF radiation. His data—represented in the graphic below—demonstrate what’s known as a funding bias, where the source of funding for scientific research influences its results: industry-funded studies predominantly find no effects whereas non industry-funded studies predominantly find biological effects.
Industry funded research
Non-industry funded research
Industry is wise to the health risks
Many smart phones and tablets now carry warnings—often difficult to find—advising users to keep a certain distance between the device and their bodies:
“To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, the supplied headphones, or other similar accessories. Carry [the phone] at least 5mm away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at or below the as-tested levels. Cases with metal parts may change the RF performance of the device, including its compliance with RF exposure guidelines, in a manner that has not been tested or certified.”
Very few people use their device as advised. For more information on the small print of your wireless device see www.showthefineprint.org.
In addition, most parents are unaware that UK Chief Medical Officers advise children under 16 to use mobile phones for essential purposes only and to keep calls short.
Some insurance companies no longer cover liability for damage to health from RF radiation:
“The Electromagnetic Fields Exclusion (Exclusion 32) is a General Insurance Exclusion and is applied across the market as standard. The purpose of the exclusion is to exclude cover for illnesses caused by continuous long-term non-ionising radiation exposure i.e. through mobile phone usage.”