Lancet report on wireless worries

If one has something published in The Lancet then then it is good as gold. Thoroughly checked, reviewed and checked again. The Lancet does not publish any old hare-brained tosh. And if it does, as happened in June 2020 – then the article is withdrawn and an announcement made. Full disclosure.

Some people might be surprised that The Lancet published a peer-reviewed scientific report by researchers Dr Priyanka Bandara and professor David Carpenter who are concerned about the fog of wireless radio waves smothering the planet and its affect on people.

The article – Planetary electromagnetic pollution: it is time to assess its impact – reminds readers that public exposure regulations for wireless services and products continue to be based on guidelines established in the 1990s when few people owned a mobile phone.

The regulations around wireless frequency were formed by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection in the belief that “only acute thermal effects are hazardous”.

In other words; if holding a phone to your head caused your skin to get warm (cook) then members of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection deemed it potentially a risk to health. If your skin didn’t get warm then they deemed it safe. The theory is maintained today by supporters of the wireless industry.

…acute non-thermal exposure has been shown to alter human brain metabolism…

However, it seems an overly simplistic indication of safety given we are talking about radio waves that are known to pass through solid objects (such as your skull and the not-so-solid brain). Could it be possible that as these radio waves pass through your skin, muscle and brain that harm is caused to blood cells and DNA?

Dr Priyanka Bandara and professor David Carpenter write in their December 2018 paper: “Prevention of tissue heating by radio frequency electromagnetic radiation is now proven to be ineffective in preventing biochemical and physiological interference.

“For example, acute non-thermal exposure has been shown to alter human brain metabolism by National Institute of Health scientists, electrical activity in the brain, and systemic immune responses.”

In plain English, just because your skin doesn’t get any warmer when using a mobile phone it can’t be assumed that the phone / radio waves are 100% harmless.

The authors also write that: “Chronic exposure [of wireless frequencies] has been associated with increased oxidative stress, DNA damage and cancer risk.

They say: “It has been widely claimed that radio frequency electromagnetic radiation, being non-ionising radiation, does not possess enough photon energy to cause DNA damage. This has now been proven wrong experimentally.

“Laboratory studies, including large rodent studies by the US National Toxicology Program and Ramazzini Institute of Italy, confirm these biological and health effects in vivo.”

In vivo means taking place/happening in a living organism. As opposed to in vitro (test tube).

The paper also states that levels of background radiation have risen by more than 1000 per cent as a result of mobile wireless technology. Technologies such as the Internet of Things and 5G will add millions more radio frequency transmitters to our surroundings.

So our environment, particularly in the cities, has been changed as a result of wireless technology. Think of it this way; if wireless frequencies were physical pollution that we could see and smell then we might be in permanent darkness and choking to breathe.

Man-made radiation V natural radiation

“Evidence of its [wireless radiation] effects on the central nervous system, including altered neuro-development and increased risk of some neuro-degenerative diseases, is a major concern considering the steady increase in their incidence,” say the authors.

“Evidence exists for an association between neuro-developmental or behavioural disorders in children and exposure to wireless devices, and experimental evidence, such as the Yale finding, shows that prenatal exposure could cause structural and functional changes in the brain associated with ADHD-like behaviour.”

That’s right. Modern wireless technology could cause babies to be born with issues they wouldn’t have had if they had been born 30 years ago. And those issues may manifest themselves as ADHD.

“These findings deserve urgent attention,” say the authors.

You might need to read the following twice too!

“A recent evaluation of 2,266 studies found that most studies (68·2%) have demonstrated significant biological or health effects associated with exposure to anthropogenic (man-made) electromagnetic fields,” write the authors.

“This weight of scientific evidence refutes the prominent claim that the deployment of wireless technologies poses no health risks at the currently permitted non-thermal radio frequency exposure levels.”

While 68% of the 2,266 studies Bandara and Carpenter reviewed showed negative health effects linked to wireless radiation – 32% (one third) did not. It is disparities such as these that allow some organizations to say that wireless radiation is – on the balance of probabilities – a safe technology.

While the balance may weigh in favour of the wireless industry, the level of doubt from the 32% must be taken into account as part of the precautionary principle.

Authors of The Lancet report

Dr Priyanka Bandara; Affiliations: Oceania Radiofrequency Scientific Advisory Association, Scarborough, QLD 4020, Australia

Professor David carpenter; Affiliations: Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany, Rensselaer, NY, USA

Further reading


Steve Hart is a writer and podcaster.